social media

How the #MPRraccoon Translates to Modern Fundraising Strategy

What does the #MPRraccoon have to do with modern fundraising? Everything. 

#MPRraccoon inspired people around the globe on topics ranging from completing college to world peace.

#MPRraccoon inspired people around the globe on topics ranging from completing college to world peace.

In case you missed it, #MPRraccoon is the tale of a raccoon who was observed scaling the side of 25-story building in downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota. Quite literally, millions (billions? It was the top trending story on Twitter worldwide at one point) followed this furry little critter's harrowing climb up several hundred feet in the middle of a busy work day. (Thank you, social media) It was a unifying event that, according to many tweets, inspired observers across the globe.

So what does this have to do with fundraising? Again, everything ...because online fundraising works best when you are able to catch potential donors at the right point in time. 

In most cases, we try to accomplish this by tying digital campaigns to established events we can anticipate. #GivingTuesday, national awareness days, founding anniversaries ...and that can be successful. But rarely are those events as inspiring as a sudden, viral Internet sensation.

So how on Earth can you prepare for something as random as a miniature mammal taking center stage before the world? If you're an conservation or animal welfare organization, the answer should be obvious. Early the day after the #MPRraccoon hit the news, you should have had a social media campaign with promoted tweets and Facebook posts ready to fire. Emails should have been created and sent - a giving page with a screen grab of the raccoon and clear call to action should have been ready to go.

The messaging? For animal rights orgs: "Not all wildlife achieves the fame of #MPRraccoon - give today to ensure happy endings for all those animals who aren't trending topics"

For the conservation org: "Don't force more raccoons up high rises - give today to preserve habitat for generations to come"

It's concept we at Groundwork have coined "agile fundraising" (a play off the more well known "agile marketing" term). You can prepare your fundraising shop to leverage this concept and react nimbly when the social media gods deliver opportunities that align with your mission. Here's how:

  • Hire internally or outsource a team of quick thinking communicators and producers who can work with the news cycle. (This is why Groundwork aims to hire fundraisers with experience in the news industry ... women and men who are accustomed to delivering impactful stories that align with the events of the day on excruciating tight timelines are fundamental to our strategies)
  • Be ready to quickly produce short, succinct video which can be deployed via social media. OR ...create video content in advance that can easily be connected to a more predictable news item with a slight edit. (A full screen graphic, for example)
  • Use technology that allows you to build a content-rich online giving page in less than an hour. Most crowdfunding platforms allow for this. 
  • And develop a strategy that prepares your team - from major gift officers who secure matching gifts in less than a day (our clients have done this - it is possible if you've built the framework in advance) to content producers ready to turn on a dime to leadership who is comfortable with the pace.

At Groundwork, we are doing agile fundraising for our clients right now and we have examples of how this has helped raise hundreds of thousand of dollars and hundreds of new major gift prospects. In fact, later this summer (2018), we'll be releasing a case study about our most recent agile fundraising campaign with one of our client partners. Click here to let us know if you'd like to be added to the email list so we can send you a copy when it's ready.

Agile fundraising is not without it's challenges, but the opportunity that exists with this strategy is tremendous. Have you had success with agile fundraising or agile marketing for your nonprofit? If so, let us know in the comments!

 

HOW TO Build Multi-channel Fundraising Campaigns

Whether a giving day, end-of-calendar-year campaign, #GivingTuesday, spring appeal ...whatever the cause for the solicitation, TRUE multi-channel fundraising campaigns are proven to significantly increase fundraising outcomes. (Online and offline)

So what is a "true multi-channel campaign?" We explain in the video below. Just click to watch... *NOTE: the content starts at the 2:10 mark. (There is nothing wrong with your audio!)

Do you want an expert leading your multi-channel fundraising strategy? Groundwork Digital offers packages to align and modernize your fundraising efforts across social media, email, direct mail, and phone. Click here to send us an email for more information. 

Rethinking the Online Giving Day

Online giving days and events like #GivingTuesday are adding hundreds of millions of fundraising dollars to nonprofits every year. And this trend shows no signs of slowing any time soon.

So it makes sense that nonprofits would be feverishly trying to find the best, most significant dates in their calendars to launch an inaugural online giving day. Or maybe improve a long-standing giving day.

But maybe the organizational calendar is the wrong place to look for the right date for your giving day? Instead, shouldn't we be asking our donors - individually, in some cases - which date makes the most sense to them?

Have a look at this astonishing online-ambassador fundraising event conducted by Marquette University...

MarcusLemonisChallengeCrop.png

The $1 million Challenge launched in 2016 when Marquette alumnus Lemonis offered up a $300,000 match to spur giving at all levels. Using his enormous social media clout, Lemonis led the charge in tandem with the Marquette development team to raise more than $1 million, including Lemonis' matching gift.

Lemonis and Marquette teamed up again in 2017, this time on a $1.5 million matching gift from Lemonis. The result? An additional $1.7 million raised in addition to Lemonis' match for a total of $3.2 million.

Major Donor Online Ambassadors

The key to successful campaigns like Marquette's giving challenges with Marcus Lemonis is in finding your online ambassadors who also have major gift capacity. And they are out there. Right now Groundwork Digital is combining influencer screening with wealth screening to single out the big-time social media users with the capacity to give transformational gifts.

But finding these large-gift-donor ambassadors is only part of the process. Next, work with gift officers and prospect development to enhance solicitation strategies with the newfound digital data on prospects. This step includes merging gift officer knowledge with donor info in the database plus the psychographic info pulled from the social listening data (the data that came about via the influencer scan).

The goal is uncovering digital campaign concepts that match important aspects of a major gift prospect or donor's life. Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations - any life event could be leveraged to build an online campaign that has deep personal meaning to the donor or prospect. And that deep personal meaning translates into fervent online ambassador activity from the major gift donor or prospect.

This major-donor-centered digital campaign could be short and intense like a 24-hour giving day or it could be longer duration, like a crowdfunding campaign. Regardless of the specific parameters, building digital fundraising events around a personal milestone or cause of a major donor can both lead to new major gift prospects from the donor's network and a significant boost in small-gift giving in support of the campaign.

How to Build Digital Campaigns Around Major Donor Ambassadors

For a quick recap, here is how Groundwork Digital works with clients to develop major-donor-centered digital campaigns:

  1. Conduct a social media influence screening for your entire database of donors. (In addition to uncovering major donor ambassadors, you can use the larger group of annual fund influencers to build a comprehensive online ambassador program to assist fundraising and communications at all levels)
  2. Segment your influencers based on existing wealth data or conduct a wealth screening on the list of those with significant influence. (Klout scores of 50+, for example, would indicate significant influence)
  3. Meet with gift officers and prospect development to merge existing knowledge with new data from social media and online sources to create enhanced, hyper-targeted solicitation strategies.
  4. Leverage digital campaign opportunities as part of your ask to unlock big gifts from these digitally savvy donors.
Innovative nonprofit Charity:water leverages personal events to build substantial online fundraising campaigns around celebrities and major donors.

Innovative nonprofit Charity:water leverages personal events to build substantial online fundraising campaigns around celebrities and major donors.

To be clear, the traditional online giving day is a tremendously effective fundraising and marketing tool for your organization. The exposure and excitement around broad-based giving days rapidly grow an nonprofit's culture of philanthropy adding new donors and enthusiasm to a development program. 

In addition to the traditional giving day model, consider expanding your digital fundraising by rethinking the giving day and adding a number of major-donor-ambassador-led campaigns throughout the calendar.

Are you interested in finding digitally active major donors and prospects and working with them to launch huge online campaigns in 2018? Groundwork Digital is helping multiple clients do exactly that right now. Click here to send us your email and we'll be in touch on how we can help your organization rethink the giving day in the new year and beyond.

Facebook Live - The Modern Pledge Drive [WEBINAR]

Facebook Live is a powerful tool that can instantly drive thousands of attentive viewers to your organization’s mission and message …when it is done well. Content, the right equipment, an energetic host – there are many factors to producing a game-changing Facebook Live event.

Below is Groundwork Digital's webinar, produced in partnership with Mighteor, that outlines how Facebook Live can be used to drive huge results for online fundraising campaigns. Enjoy!

Trust in Influencers

The for-profit world has been placing value in peer-to-peer influencers or "online ambassadors" for years. And the results show that trust in ambassadors is paying off for many companies.

In fact, "trust" has a lot to do with why ambassadors are so effective in modern marketing and communications.

Check out this link for some stunning online ambassador statistics

People buy based on what their friends tell them, because of trust. When a relationship starts with trust, it tends to last longer. Consider these stats from the above link:

  • 92 percent of people trust recommendations from individuals (even if they don’t know them) over brands
  • 74 percent of consumers use social media to make purchase decisions
  • 37 percent better retention is reported for customers acquired through word-of-mouth advertising

What does that mean for donor acquisition? ...and retention? The fact is, online ambassador communication works just as well - maybe better - in the nonprofit world.

In reviewing online ambassador activity that that took place on the ScaleFunder giving day platform in 2016, each ambassador would, on average, raise $125 during a giving day.

Perhaps even more staggering is this 2015 Blackbaud study that found 1 in 4 emails from online ambassadors led to a gift - a whopping 25 percent conversion rate. That's compared to 1 in 1,250 emails from the organization that led to a gift - a paltry .08 percent conversion.

Again, for those keeping score, that's a 25 percent conversion rate for ambassador-sent email versus a .08 conversion rate for emails sent by the organization.

It almost makes you wonder if you should ever send a solicitation email that is not from an online ambassador?

And it works for major donors, too. Check out the video below that details how the higher the price tag (a major gift, for example), the more peer influence impacts the decision.

Now here's the catch - it's not easy. Online ambassador programs are volunteer programs and they require careful and frequent management ...but if you do it right, you have the potential to transform your development operation for the 21st century.

And guess what? Groundwork Digital has built dozens of online ambassador programs. Click the "Contact Groundwork" button below to send us a message and set up a time to talk about how we can help revolutionize your development operation with peer-to-peer fundraising.