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4 Impactful Ways to Start Annual Planning for Digital Fundraising

fundraising nonprofit Jan 31, 2020

Whether your nonprofit’s fiscal year mirrors the calendar year or not, there’s an annual cycle to fundraising. Typically, it’ll start out a little slow in the calendar year, pick up a little steam in the spring, dip a little bit in the summer, then go full steam in the fall through the end of the calendar year. Outside of direct mail, there is a symphony of digital marketing channels, and it can be a challenge to understand them all, let alone organize them in a way that will bring in more revenue for your nonprofit.

To help get you started, here are 4 steps you can take to plan and organize your digital fundraising for the year:

1. Identify Your Goals for the Year

This may sound like a no brainer, but many nonprofits fail in digital fundraising because they don’t take the time to set goals. Agendas get packed, fires need to be put out, and work doesn’t slow down. It’s important to block time out on your calendar at least once a year to get...

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6 Reasons Why Your Nonprofit Needs a Year-Round Digital Marketing Plan

I’ve got to admit it. Sometimes it’s tough being a digital fundraiser in a direct mail fundraising world. I see a heavily disproportionate amount of money invested in direct mail fundraising compared to digital. I also understand why. Digital has still not even cracked 10% of fundraising revenue generated industry-wide. Direct mail still works, and it generates a lot of money that keeps nonprofits in business.

Sometimes it’s hard to convince a client to invest $X into a digital strategy or tactic when there is no clear answer to what the ROI will be. This is especially the case for organizations that have little to no history of online fundraising. Sure, industry benchmarks exist, but performance is still unique for every organization. As such, many nonprofits default to direct mail as a safety net because it has proven to work. It’s often a dependable cash cow that you don’t want to take food (i.e. investment) away from. I get it. Direct mail is safe,...

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It’s January, Here’s What You Should Do as a Digital Fundraiser

fundraising nonprofit Jan 14, 2020

It’s January. It doesn’t matter the year because the cycle is the same. Maybe your fiscal year hasn’t ended, but you’ve finished the race to the end in December for fundraising. Maybe you lost a few pounds last month because you didn’t find time to eat while you were hustling up donations. Or maybe you actually gained a few pounds because instead of taking time to eat healthy, you crammed whatever was closest to you into your mouth just to survive (oftentimes chocolate Christmas candy). Either way, you’re ready to exhale a little bit. Well, you can’t.

But wait a minute, you mean to tell me there’s no break for fundraisers? Nope, it’s time to get back on the horse for another lap around the track. It’s January, do you know where your digital fundraising is? Sadly, I can tell you where it might be:

1) You still have banners on your website about your holiday or year-end giving campaigns

2) Your social media still has a...

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5 Secret Weapons for Nonprofit Year-End Fundraising

fundraising nonprofit Dec 17, 2019

There it is. December 31st is in your view. To most industries, it’s just the end of a calendar or fiscal year and a time to close out the books for the year. Things are slowing down. But not you. Not the nonprofit fundraiser that you are. December 31 is a deadline frantically approaching — you’re losing sleep over it, and it’s a date that may be causing some mild anxiety within you. It’s ok, you’ve got support.

According to Blackbaud’s Charitable Giving Report, 17% of overall giving happens in December, which is almost 2X the second-highest month out of the year. While those direct mail pieces are hitting homes and some of your digital activities are activated, let’s talk about 5 secret weapons to increase your online revenue before the calendar strikes January 1.

1. Search Marketing — I’ve partnered with several nonprofits over the years and helped execute search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns on Google and Bing....

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5 Year-End Search Marketing Tips for Nonprofits

fundraising nonprofit Dec 13, 2019

The finish line of this calendar year is in sight, which means nonprofits are frantically working to secure those year-end gifts. Most are going heavy into direct mail and many are integrating email campaigns with direct mail. There’s also been a pretty big increase the past few years of nonprofits getting into the Facebook Ads game, which is great; however, more competition equals lower ROI for campaigns in many cases. All of these channels are great, but I believe one of the most overlooked channels for year-end fundraising is search engine marketing.

I was digging around in Google’s Keyword Planner in the Google Ads platform to pull some data. I looked at the following keywords for December 2018:

· Donate to charity online

· Donation tax benefit

· Tax deductible donation

· Nonprofit donations

· Charitable donations

· Donation

· End of year donation

Keyword Pricing

Let’s talk a moment about keyword pricing. The...

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9 Ways to Use Facebook Live for Giving Tuesday

fundraising nonprofit Nov 22, 2019

OK, you’ve been hearing a lot about Facebook Live and other live-streaming social media platforms. You’re even toying with doing it this year on Giving Tuesday but are still having some reservations. Maybe it’s because you’ve never done it before and don’t want to mess anything up. Perhaps you have no idea how to even go live on Facebook. Maybe you think it’s a waste of time, that if you go live, nobody will even show up.

Get out of your head with it, and take the plunge. If you mess up, it’s ok, it’s not supposed to be perfect anyways. If you don’t know how to go live, it’s super easy, just Google it. If you’re afraid nobody will show up, do it anyways. Let this be the year you jump into the live game.

When the floodgates of Giving Tuesday open, you have to do more than just participate. You need to stand out. How can you separate yourself from the thousands of other nonprofits asking donors for money the same day as...

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Giving Tuesday Marketing Schedule & Checklist

fundraising nonprofit Nov 19, 2019

My last post examined four important ways your nonprofit can prepare and plan for Giving Tuesday. This post fast forwards in time to the actual day.It’s Giving Tuesday, do you know where your donors are? (Relax, this is only a test, you still have some time)

I do keep in mind that as you’re reading this, you may be a team of one that is doing the work of “the marketing department.” You may also be on a larger team, specifically involved with digital fundraising. Either way, you likely have a Giving Tuesday plan in place, but things can get thrown off quickly the day-of for a number of reasons. Most organizations will plan the marketing messages and marketing channels in advance, but not actually schedule what to do when this magical day arrives of generous do-gooders showering your organization with money to power your cause. Savvier organizations will schedule social media posts and emails in advance, which is great.

So let’s take some action. Pull up...

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4 Ways Your Nonprofit Can Prepare for Giving Tuesday

fundraising nonprofit Nov 12, 2019

If you work with a nonprofit, then it’s that time of year where you start to feel the nervous nibbling anxiety of Giving Tuesday looming on the horizon. You have more questions than answers, which may look like these:

- Will we be ready?

- What if we don’t raise as much money as last year?

- Is it even worth the time and effort?

- What can we do differently this year?

According to, 2018’s Giving Tuesday resulted in 3.6 million gifts and $400 million raised in the United States alone. So the question is not really should we do it, but how can we prepare for it to be successful? My next couple blog posts will examine what your nonprofit can do the day of and after Giving Tuesday. This one will dive into what your organization can do before Giving Tuesday to be intentionally successful.

1. Set a Goal for this Year

This may sound basic, but most nonprofits won’t take the time to see how much money they raised or how many new donors they acquired...

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Online Fundraising Tools You May be Overlooking, Part 3 (Google Tools)

fundraising nonprofit Oct 23, 2019

The first post of this series examined Amazon’s tools for nonprofits, and part 2 examined what Facebook tools are available. Though Google has a few different services available through its Google for Nonprofits program, this post will focus on Google Ad Grants for nonprofits.

Google Ad Grants Overview

Google is definitely a pioneer in the tech space for nonprofits. It’s Google for Nonprofits program unlocks features through YouTube, Google Ads, and more. This article won’t break down all of the facets of Google for Nonprofits, but will focus on the most widely used feature, which is Google Ad Grants. With Ad grants, your organization can up to $10,000 a month in FREE search engine marketing advertising on Google.

What you need to know:

  • To be eligible for Google for Nonprofits, your organization must hold charity status in your country. Government entities, hospitals/medical groups, schools, academic institutions/universities are not eligible.
  • Set up...
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Online Fundraising Tools You May be Overlooking, Part 2 (Facebook Tools)

fundraising nonprofit Oct 10, 2019

My last post took a look at some of Amazon’s tools that are available for nonprofits. This one is going to dive a bit into Facebook’s capabilities for your nonprofit.

Facebook Charitable Giving

What is it?

Facebook Charitable Giving is essentially the gateway to unlocking all of Facebook’s features exclusive to nonprofits.

What you need to know:

  • Charities in the USA must be a 501(c)3, registered with the IRS, have a tax ID number and bank account.
  • Charities in Europe must provide a VAT number, charity registration number, a charity registration document issued or approved by the government, and a bank account. You can check here to see if your country is available for Facebook donation and fundraising tools.
  • Donation Buttons on Facebook page headers:
  • A Donate button on Facebook page headers that points to pages (URLs) outside of Facebook (i.e. your nonprofit’s website or donation page) is currently available for nonprofits in the USA, UK on-boarded...
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