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Create Great Visuals: 10 Tips and Tools for Nonprofits

More and more nonprofits are using visuals to tell their story, illustrate impact, and create a case for giving. But creating visuals can sometimes be costly, time consuming, and seemingly impossible without advanced software. At Network for Good, we see clients using visuals in amazing ways to share their stories, engage donors, and raise more money in ways that are effective, easy, and—guess what?—FREE! We've compiled a top 10 list of tools and techniques to help you incorporate more visuals into your organization's work.

What Is Social Fundraising Anyway?

Social fundraising is empowering your supporter base to fundraise on your behalf. Social fundraising is also known as peer-to-peer fundraising, P2P, or personal fundraising.

Think beyond the walkathon

When you think of social fundraising, you probably think of a walkathon, dance marathon, or another event that social fundraisers will attend. Although this is the best-known type of social fundraising, you don’t have to have an event to justify launching a social fundraising campaign.

Doubling Down on Monthly Giving

How much do we believe in monthly giving here at Network for Good?

A whole lot.

Today I’m super jazzed to announce that we’ve DOUBLED the amount of Challenge Rewards we’re giving away as part of our Recurring Giving Challenge. Thanks to a generous grant from the Network for Good Generosity Fund, we’re now awarding a total of $20,000 to Network for Good clients with the most successful, creative, and compelling monthly giving campaigns.

Yep, that’s right: twenty large!

How awesome is that?

The challenge ends on April 30, 2015, but there’s still time to join in to improve your monthly giving programs, get more recurring donors, and grab your share of the Challenge Rewards. First, sign up for the Challenge. Then, if you’re not a Network for Good client, I encourage you to reach out to us today and find out how easy it is to get started with more effective online fundraising software. We even have a free demo tomorrow afternoon so you can get all your questions answered.

Need some more inspiration? Catch up with other posts in our Recurring Giving Challenge Series:

Nonprofit Spotlight: Firecracker Foundation

Network for Good works with so many amazing nonprofits and we want to introduce you to them and the great work they are doing! Because May is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, I want you to meet one of my favorite customers who is doing amazing work helping child sexual abuse survivors heal their whole being.

Meet Firecracker Foundation  Firecracker Foundation

On a day-to-day basis, The Firecracker Foundation works with survivors of childhood sexual trauma through long-term strategies of therapy, arts enrichment, and yoga practice. Their work is focused on healing the whole individual.

On a larger scale, however, The Firecracker Foundation is about community. Tashmica Torok, the founder of Firecracker, has built her organization around the historical idea of community members being charged with keeping the communal fire burning. From their mission to their fundraising strategy, this ethos of the many coming together for a common goal is extremely evident.

Nonprofit Link Round Up

I hope you celebrated National Volunteer Week. Did you do something to make your volunteers feel special? I got a sweet card and gift in the mail from an organization I've been volunteering with for many years now. It really did make me feel appreciated. Even if you just send out a personal email to those who volunteer with your organization, I promise your volunteers will never forget it!

Now, let's get to those links!

The Key to More Effective Donor Communication

To truly connect with donors and inspire them to become a part of the work that you do, you need to speak to them. Really speak to them. This means getting extremely clear on the message you’re trying to send, and making it incredibly relevant to why they care about your mission in the first place.

This is why the key to more effective communication is specificity

When your emails and other communications are specific, they can be more relevant, interesting, and authentic. Your job as a marketer or fundraiser is to definitively answer the question, “Why me?”  You can’t do that with broad and generic messages. Generic messages are not just typically boring; studies have shown that vague statements can introduce skepticism among readers. Definitely not the feeling you want to evoke!

How do you make your message more specific, and in turn, more relevant? Think about the unique stories your donors have when they relate to your cause. Group donors into meaningful categories based on:

Make the Most of Mother’s Day

There’s no better way for your organization to get the attention of your supporters and prospects (and the media) than by piggybacking on what’s already top of mind. Your people are already thinking about this stuff, making them far more likely to connect with your campaign than at other times.

That’s “right thing, right now” marketing, and I’ve seen some fantastic Mother’s Day models from nonprofits like yours in recent years.

Nonprofit Link Round Up

Happy Friday!

Link Round Up

Here’s what caught our eye in the world of fundraising and nonprofit marketing this week:

National Volunteer Week is coming up! Wild Apricot has ideas for how you can celebrate and resources to help improve your volunteer programs.

We love John Haydon and all his wise words on social media for nonprofits. Here’s another gem from him: 7 Deceptively Simple Ways to Promote a Fundraiser on Facebook.

Joe Garecht from the Fundraising Authority wants you to step out of your comfort zone and ask your donors the most important question you probably aren’t asking.

During the Association for Fundraising Professionals’ international conference last week, the Chronicle of Philanthropy asked fundraising pros to share what they wish they had known when they started a career in fundraising. The video is definitely worth three minutes of your time!

Kivi and Kristina over at NonprofitMarketingGuide.com have some great tips for you when it comes to leveraging hashtags to promote your cause.

If you’re in the DC area, grab your 3D glasses (they have extras if you’ve misplaced yours) and head over to the M+R event showcasing what they learned from their annual Benchmarks Study. And if you can’t make it to DC, you can still get the highlights from a webinar they’re hosting in May.

I’m a fan of Maeve Strathy’s blog, What Gives Philanthropy? It’s always clever and on point. You must check out a recent post from guest blogger Kimberly Elworthy: 11 Things I Learned About Fundraising/Philanthropy When I Fell into the Field Temporarily. It’s rich with GIFs and will make you chuckle.

That’s all for this week! Have a great weekend and share your best resources in the comments below!

Nonprofit Spotlight: Campus Pride

Network for Good works with so many amazing nonprofits and we want to introduce you to them and the great work they are doing! We’re rebooting our Nonprofit Spotlight series this week and I want you to meet one of my favorite customers, Campus Pride.

Meet Campus Pride  Campus Pride

In his elevator pitch, Steve Windmeyer, Campus Pride founder and executive director, will tell you that his organization builds future leaders and safer campuses. What won’t make it into the conversation between the first and second floors is all of the dynamic ways Campus Pride does this. Through leadership training, advocacy workshops, on-campus climate studies, and college fairs, Campus Pride is making a tangible difference in the lives of LGBTQ college students.

Must-Read Insight into Millennials: Interview with Kari Saratovsky (Part 1)

Wow! I’m amazed and delighted by the just-released Millennial Donor Playbook (download your free copy here). We finally have a much-needed guide to engaging these prospects who are influencing change across organizations and generations.

When I finished reading the Playbook, I was thirsting to know even more, so I asked to interview superstar author Kari Saratovsky.

Kari Saratovsky

Nancy Schwartz: Kari, why did you dig into this topic?

Kari Saratovsky: I’ve spent the better part of the past five years trying to understand the complexity of what is now the largest and most diverse generation in our history.

What I’ve learned is that while organizations are on an endless search for the silver bullet to engaging Millennials, there is no magic wand to engage the broad range of Millennial perspectives and backgrounds. Alas!

However, Millennials will be the recipients of a $41 trillion transfer of wealth. This presents nonprofits with a huge opportunity to build relationships today that will deepen over time. When NFG recognized that its community was struggling to engage this younger donor cohort, I jumped on the chance to craft this guide.

Increasing Your Monthly Gifts

The Recurring Giving Challenge is in full swing and our top contenders are on the leaderboard. Check out the campaigns in the lead to get inspiration for your own monthly giving program. The challenge runs through April 30, so there’s still time to join!

Monthly donors are so valuable because they give more over the course of one year vs. one-time donors, and they’re more loyal, with retention rates of 80% or higher. They’re also more likely to build on their investment once they’ve seen the impact their gift can have. The good news is that by upgrading monthly donors even by just a few dollars per month, you can raise 20-30% more from per sustainer each year.

So, how do you do it? Here are four tips on increasing monthly gift amounts from existing recurring givers:

1.  Have a solid stewardship plan in place. Before you even think about asking a monthly donor to upgrade, you must have regular communications going out to thank your sustainers and tell them how their gift is being used. In addition to a great thank you letter, celebrate your monthly donors in your newsletters and reach out to them to show them how they are helping you accomplish your mission. They need to know their gift is making a difference before they’ll give more.

2.  Illustrate the impact. Be sure to answer the question “What for?” in your upgrade appeal. What more will be accomplished if they increase their contribution? How many more meals can you serve or patients could you treat with the additional contribution? Remember: be specific and show the human impact that will result from the increased amount.

3. Show your social proof. Donors are more inclined to take action if they see that others doing the same. Let your donors know how many others have already upgraded and offer a testimonial from another donor who has increased their gift. You’ll establish a social norm that signals to the donor that the action you want them to take is one that is seen as the right thing to do.

Nonprofit Link Round Up

Round UpYeehaw! Another Friday, another great round up to finish out the week. Here’s what caught our eye in the world of fundraising and nonprofit marketing:

Network for Good and storytelling rock star Vanessa Chase have teamed up for a look at the state of storytelling in the nonprofit sector. We want you to be a part of it! Please take a few minutes to share your experiences in our quick survey. We’ll share the results with you in our white paper, coming out later this spring.

Participating in a giving day this year? Joanne Fritz shares smart tips in this list of 10 Ways to Make a Giving Day Work for Your Charity. via About

Are you a one-person communications department? Consider an informal nonprofit employee champion program to help you get more out of social media. via Beth’s Blog

The Women Give 2014 study finds non-religiously affiliated younger women give approximately two times larger amounts than their counterparts. via Think Advisor

Going Viral: A Small Nonprofit Gets National Attention

Estella's Brilliant Bus

How does a small nonprofit go viral and capture attention on the national stage? I set out to learn the answer from a Network for Good customer that has achieved the biggest exposure opportunity any business, organization, or individual could hope for: a commercial spot during the Super Bowl.

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