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4 Reasons to Run a Digital-Only Fundraising Campaign

fundraising nonprofit Mar 30, 2020

When most nonprofits think of digital fundraising, they usually think of digital as a marketing channel to support or supplement direct mail. And honestly, that’s how fundraisers should think of digital (for now), especially when creating multi-channel campaigns. For single-channel campaigns though, you’ll find that most fundraising is done via direct mail only rather than digital-only. This is due to a number of reasons that may include anticipated ROI, historical performance, or the ‘ol “this is how it’s always been done” approach. Yet, there can still be value to running digital-only campaigns that stand alone from direct mail. The following are 4 reasons that you may want to add digital-only campaigns to your marketing mix this year:


1. Test Creative

There are many creative tests you can do with direct mail, which include everything from the envelop size and design to premium items like address labels. For digital, there are creative...

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5 Digital-Only Nonprofit Marketing Campaign Examples

fundraising nonprofit Mar 17, 2020

“Yeah, I recognize direct mail generates more fundraising revenue than digital but….”

 How many times a year do I say this? Too many to count. Yep, it’s true, direct mail raises tons more money than online fundraising channels. However, online fundraising revenue has steadily increased year over year. Even in years where fundraising overall has been flat, digital has increased. In my previous work with fundraising agencies for nonprofits, the client mix was focused on direct mail as the primary fundraising channel with digital as an afterthought. And I can sorta be ok with that.

What’s not OK is to be complacent with digital or just limit it to email or fundraising campaigns. There are so many ways that you can capitalize on digital marketing tools to connect with your current and prospective donors. For example, just creating a blog post provides content that you can share on social media, email, and direct mail. Let’s check out 5 different...

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6 Insights from the 2019 Blackbaud Charitable Giving Report

fundraising nonprofit Mar 01, 2020

Do you work for a nonprofit? Consider joining Fundraisers Unite and gain access to monthly fundraising and marketing training, weekly live coaching, and downloadable marketing templates for nonprofits. Learn more here!

If you’re into nonprofit fundraising, especially on the digital side, then it’s that special time of year where industry benchmark reports begin rolling out. Most recently, Blackbaud kicked off the benchmark season with its 2019 Blackbaud Charitable Giving Report. This is one of the most significant reports for digital fundraisers for the sheer size of the data set. The report is based on data procured from 8,210 nonprofits and $36.3 billion in fundraising revenue. So yeah, it’s kind of a big deal, and why it’s one of my favorites.

As always with benchmark reports, I advise that you review it, take notes and examine how your organization stacks up to others in your nonprofit sector and size. However, I also always caution that you create...

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9 Components of a Nonprofit Brand Book (Style Guide)

Let’s do a quick exercise. When you see the Disney logo, what do you think of? What about Apple’s apple? McDonald’s arches? Coca-Cola’s wave?

Chances are, you have formed some memory or emotion (good or bad) towards the thought of any of these logos or brands. Branding is powerful. It’s an intangible asset of your nonprofit that goes well beyond a logo. It creates a reputation that has the ability to impact your donors for a lifetime. This is why the characteristics that your brand embodies must remain consistent overtime. Donors can count on this consistency, which equates to trust.

I recently posted articles about how to establish your nonprofit's brand and also provided 8 examples of nonprofit brand books. These are great resources to see finished versions of what every nonprofit should have, which is documentation of your brand standards. When it comes to creating a brand book, consider using the following nine components as an outline of items...

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Nonprofit Branding: Before Logos and Colors, Start With This

Whether you’re a start-up nonprofit or been around for decades, there comes a time when you either establish or refresh your brand. Branding is so much more than having a logo and smacking it everywhere you can. It’s a multi-dimensional force that is used to take residence in the hearts and minds of your donors. There are physical and emotional aspects that work together creating a seemingly real-life personality, drawing people closer to the brand, or in some cases away from the brand. And just like a human personality, deep change comes from within an individual, rather than changing what’s on the surface.

That said, my approach to branding is a lot like self-care, begin within and seek a better understanding of your nonprofit so that its existence can take better care of others. This means taking a dive into your nonprofit’s brand identity. Establishing your nonprofit’s vision, mission, and values helps to set the tone not only from an organizational...

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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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