Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spring Ahead, Fundraising Look Back

I can't believe it's almost March.  We actually had a taste of spring last Friday when the temperature in DC rose to 73 degrees!  While I'm definitely looking ahead to longer days, azaleas, and tulips, from a fundraising perspective, I'm still trying to wrap my head around what happened last fall.

Luckily, Blackbaud issued the 2010 Online Giving Report last week.  You can download your FREE copy here.  The report includes online giving data from over 1,400 nonprofits.  These organizations represent $5.1 billion in total fundraising

Here are some key findings of the report.
  • Online giving grew 34.5% in 2010.
  • 7.6% of total fundraising now comes from online giving.
  • 88% of nonprofits had at least one online gift of $1,000 or more.
  • 31.3% of all online giving takes place in October, November and December.
  • Haiti-related giving had a big impact on online giving trends.
What this means for your nonprofit
  • While online fundraising is still a drop in the bucket compared to snail mail, it grows exponentially each year. Also, online giving increases vary by size of nonprofit.  For example, according to the report, "large nonprofits, with annual total fundraising greater than $10 million, grew their online fundraising 55.6% on a year-over-year basis.
  • Your major donors are online.  Don't ignore them! Check out The Wired Wealthy: Using the Internet to Connect with Your Middle and Major Donors by Convio, Sea Change Strategies, and Edge Research for more information on how to connect with big dollar donors online.
  • Year-end is no joke for nonprofits. I'm always dismayed by and disappointed in groups that don't take year-end fundraising seriously.  Build your list NOW and get an editorial calendar in place so that you'll be ready to raise more money this fall. 
  • While you can't and wouldn't want to predict the next disaster, you should have a disaster fundraising plan in place.  This means, discussing how you will respond and who will be in charge when the #$%* hits the fan.  Also, enlarge your definition of the term - disaster.  It means more than an environmental meltdown.  "Disasters" are times when your issue is top of mind.  For example, the pro-choice community is clearly facing a DISASTER now as the GOP pursues its' anti-woman agenda.  Capitalize on the news cycle and use it to rally your base, reach new supporters and raise more money!
How did your fundraising efforts fare last year?  Did you fall flat or spring ahead?


Monday, February 21, 2011

Submit Your Video!

Got a great video to share?  Enter the 5th Annual DoGooder Nonprofit Video Awards today!

This annual award program is brought you to by the great folks at See3 and YouTube. (You have to be a member of the YouTube Nonprofit Program to apply.)

This year, for the first time, in addition to awards for Best Small, Medium and Large Nonprofit, there is also a Best Thrifty Video category for videos under $500.

What You Can Win
And... (drumroll) the winning videos will be announced at this year's Nonprofit Technology Conference and featured on YouTube's homepage in March.

Don't miss out!  Enter today.  Deadline to apply is March 2nd.



Thursday, February 10, 2011

On Telling the Truth

Facts are the enemy of truth.
Don Quixote

Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

I had the privilege of attending NARAL Pro-Choice America's annual luncheon today.  The event was hosted by Felicity Huffman of Desperate Housewives.  It also featured speeches by the awesome Nancy Keenan, Executive Director of NARAL and Kamala Harris, California's new Attorney General.  (They are calling her the female Obama!)

These women are AMAZING, but I have to say that hands-down the best speech of the meal was given by Roz Jonas, who told her PERSONAL STORY of a harrowing, illegal, "backroom" abortion at age 19.  It brought me to tears.

STORIES.  Real, personal, authentic stories are all we've got, especially in this Connected Age when no one trusts anyone even though everyone is a "friend."

All of your favorite movies, songs, documentaries, and conversations are driven by TRUTH - a fearless expression of the real, hard, beautiful, tender, underbelly of life.

My dear friend and colleague, Mark Rovner, Principal of Sea Change Strategies puts it this way, "there is a real "crisis of content" in our sector -- we are really good at building new pipes for content, but often pay too little attention to whether the content is great or even good."

He's right.

We have to dig deeper.  We have to EXPOSE ourselves and SHARE the truth of our lives.

Only real experience and vulnerabilty can MOVE us and other people to change.



Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Don't Redesign Your Website Yet

I spend so much time talking about how nonprofits need to improve the usability, design and performance of their websites, that you'd think I'd be a huge advocate for website redesigns.  And, I am but...

I just read The 7 Deadly Sins of Website Redesign by Shabbir Safdar of Safdar Analytics and it gave me pause. 

According to Safdar, there are seven grave errors (sins) that many nonprofits and their consultants commit when engaging in expensive and time consuming redesigns. 

For example, in Sin #1, Safdar asserts that if you aren't careful, you may break all the links to your website when you launch your new site.  This is a NO-NO as it can seriously damage your Search Engine Ranking.  When people can't find your site it damages your traffic and credibility.  All the "link-juice" you've built up over time is gone to waste.

In Sin #4, Safdar explains that a redesign, while it may improve the aesthetics of your site, can actually make it HARDER for prospective donors, volunteers and clients do what they come to your site to do!  The answer:  Be sure to do some basic usability testing BEFORE you launch.  IMHO the best and most accessible book about usability testing for novices is Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug.

Your website is your home base on the Net.  It is still a critical tool for helping you to achieve your organizational goals.  As such, you should continually refine and improve its' performance. 

However, read Safdar's new FREE e-book BEFORE you engage in a full-fledged redesign.  (Heck, share the e-book with your designer!)  It will save you lots of heartache.