Nonprofits are lining up their best fundraising campaigns as people prepare to give this holiday season. Charitynavigator.org reports that on average, charities get 40 percent of their annual contributions during the holiday season. With so many organizations vying for attention, the right campaign can mean the difference between a successful new year or one filled with financial struggles.
Technology has changed the way nonprofits raise money. Social media, a powerful word-of-mouth tool, is the perfect engine to spread awareness of a good cause. As you plan your nonprofit’s holiday fundraiser, consider these three avenues to spread awareness and earn support for your cause.
Social Media Incentives
You may have a worthy cause and a great plan to support it, but unless your nonprofit can reach new donors, you’ll struggle. Luckily, a new trend in fundraising is helping charities and nonprofits go viral without much of a financial investment. An October 2012 eMarketer survey revealed that 60 percent of U.S. nonprofit organizations were spending more time on social media.
Facebook, Twitter and other popular social platforms can be at the center of your holiday fundraising campaign. Present your cause and provide a link to donate a few times in the first few days of your campaign. To spread the word, offer incentives for users who post and tweet the link to the donation page. Whether it’s an iPad, gift card or T-shirt, users love a chance to win free stuff. One caveat: If you say you’re giving something away, announce the winner in a future post. That way, your followers will know you didn’t lead them on.
Man on the Street
No organization captures the heart of persistent and warm-spirited fundraising more than the Salvation Army. Bell-ringing representatives with a donation can in hand wait outside what seems like every department store in town. This simple strategy has worked for decades, and small nonprofits might be able to get their campaigns started with some good old-fashioned human interaction.
Raise the bar with your man-on-the-street campaign by accepting plastic along with cash. Mobile credit card processors turn smartphones into POS systems. Simply plug a card reader into your headphone jack and download the corresponding app to accept mobile payments. Providers usually charge between two and three percent per transaction, and card readers are usually free.
A Fundraising Event
Holiday fundraising events provide a forum to raise a lump sum of cash and head into the new year with momentum. The type of event will depend on your cause, target donors and budget. If you’re aiming to collect donations from affluent members of the community, a formal dinner or silent auction may be your best option. If your campaign is smaller in scope, however, a bake sale or community yard sale is more manageable.
The hardest part of a holiday fundraising event may be finding a time that doesn’t conflict with the busy schedules of potential donors. As a starting guideline, schedule your event at least a week before Christmas, and send out invitations a month before the event.
We are thrilled to be heading down to the HUG Super Forum in Washington D.C. next week! It’s our second year attending, and we can’t wait to see old faces and meet new people.
Make sure to check out our very own John Foley, Jr.’s session with Higher Logic’s CMO, Hunter Montgomery. They’ll be talking content marketing for associations and how to leverage content for success. Stop by the interlinkONE booth to check out our new product designed to help associations manage and execute successful automated marketing campaigns! We’ll have awesome swag (the good stuff…I promise!), and you’ll be among the first to see our new product.
Learn more from John in his latest video:
Looking forward to seeing everyone there!
Savvy marketing professionals know that having a great website will increase their business. Putting up a great looking site is a good first step, but the key in creating increased business is in getting more people to find your site on a regular basis. SEO, or search engine optimization, is a way of writing web content that allows interested users to find your site more easily, and at the core of SEO is a program known as Google Analytics. Once you have this in play, you can find out more about your customers and learn how to entice more of them to visit your site.
In order to use Analytics for your site, you need to set up an account. Go to their website and enter the requested information about your page. You will get a tracking code that works only on your site. If you’re using a commercial platform like Blogger, Tumblr, or WordPress, you only need to add the code to your theme or template. If your site is custom made, you’ll need to add it to the individual pages. Once the code is in place, Google will begin to gather information and analyze it for you, as Mashable explains.
Once Google begins tracking your traffic, you can find out valuable information about your visitors. You’ll learn what pages caused the most interest, what keywords they used in order to find your site and even how many downloads and shares your pages got. Armed with this information, you can begin to craft your articles or blog posts to take advantage of how people search for your site, and to attract more of them.
Once you find out the words your readers are using to find your site, you can convert these keywords into lists of keyword phrases and draw more readers in, converting them to customers. Use the Google Keyword Planner tool to find new and similar phrases to the ones already working. For example, a designer for a wedding planner site could put in a popular keyword, such as “Macy’s wedding rings,” and then find popular phrases that get just as many visitors as “wedding ring sets” and “women diamond ring.”
Write Using SEO
Use each new phrase as the topic or focus of a blog post or article for your site. If the phrase you want to use is “wedding ring sets,” write any article about the topic, making sure you use the phrase in a logical and natural way about once every paragraph or 100 words, as AmyPorterfield.com recommends. Don’t try to squash it in anywhere; write an informative article and just use the phrase where it makes sense. Google will find the blog post, and when people search for the phrase “wedding ring sets,” it will present your site as one of the possible places for them to go for information. Each word phrase you use will draw a slightly different group of searchers, giving you an increasing number of new readers to your site each day.
Wait, you’re not on Google+? Why not? Do you have any idea what you are missing out on?
Google+ accounts for businesses are like money in your pocket. That sounds crazy, but think about all of the people that you’re not showing content to when you’re not on G+.
Google is the largest search engine company in the world, even with Microsoft’s Bing in the ring. By joining G+, you’re helping your company be found on the network and in relevant searches.
At one time the only thing that mattered to a web page was SEO.
While SEO is still very relevant, using social media has increased the possibility of a post or article going viral. G+ is essential in showing up high on search results as Google feeds its own sites to the search engine of itself first.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t use good SEO tactics on your website. What you should do is up your presence on G+ by publishing links to your Google+ account to your site or articles.
There are plugins for WordPress based sites that will publish your links to G+ automatically, along with Facebook and Twitter. You must also install a G+ button on your site so that readers can share your work.
When you use G, your profile and everything you post become available to the world.
Google has a huge array of products from maps to browsers. The content you share on G+ will show up in all of these products. Some people have referred to G+ as Google 2.0, though no one is ever quite sure what Google is going to do next with the network.
G+ has quite a few tools that can help you grow your customer base.
Marketing on G+ is easier than it looks. Adding people to ‘Circles’ allows people to find you or decide to follow you back. You can use your contacts from years old emails and invite those people to add you back.
Hangouts are a video service, like a video conference that you can invite your contacts to. People can also join if they see you have a hangout running. Think of Hangouts as podcasts with video and increased exposure built right in.
As mentioned, G+ results show up in Google search, but do you know why?
When you are signed into your Google account the search engine searches results relevant to you; your location, your previous searches, and your social networking circles or ‘pluses’. Google calls this Share +Your World. This layering helps you be found by your contacts when they are searching for something that is relevant to your product or service.
You simply must be on G+ if you are running a business if you want to reach the world in a clean, simple way not offered by other social networks.
About the Author: Tina Samuels writes on budgeting tools, social media, small business, and mobile payments.
No marketing plan can afford to exclude social media during this digital age, and one tactic to attract followers and boost traffic is promoting giveaway contests. A giveaway is a free way to gain online exposure for your brand and market your products and services. A Facebook contest engages people who like to win, which helps create brand loyalty and customer relationships — at low or no cost to you as a business owner.
Excite people about your brand by giving away one of your own products as the prize for your Facebook contest. People are drawn to free, whether they truly want or need the prize or not. For example, a site that sells specialty items, like motorcycle gear, knows it has a niche audience with specific interests. If a new or updated motorcycle part or accessory is released, the online shop can advertise the new merchandise with a giveaway. If a bigger ticket item like a motocross helmet is given away, the marketer can share the winner wearing the helmet while riding a bike on Instagram and Facebook. Use hashtags to spread your content into the digitally social universe. Sharing a photo of your giveaway’s winner also captures the attention of followers who will look forward to your next sweepstakes.
Building your base of Facebook followers may be your goal. Revolve your contest around users who generate the most “shares” or “likes.” Social media blog Business Boxx notes that businesses use easy contest management programs, like the free software Rafflecopter, to track and monitor contest participation easily and manageably. Using this program, you can promote your contest across a range of social media platforms, which increases brand exposure and recognition. For example, cross-promote your contest by posting to Facebook that entrants need to upload their favorite photo of their motorcycle to Instagram and hashtag your company’s name. You’ll pick the best photo as the winner.
Once you’ve set a goal, secured a prize and established a clear timeline for your contest, it’s time to make moves. Compelling social media contests must be timely, so don’t plan to run your giveaway for more than a month or so. Install a Rafflecopter countdown widget to keep your fans and followers motivated to enter and then track the results. Once you’ve chosen the winner, celebrate the winner widely on your Facebook page. Avoid making the mistake of not following through or not publicizing the winner. Nonprofit organization I Wuv Dogs devoted to animal advocacy failed to follow through on their Facebook promise to donate funds to a “winning” animal shelter in need. The bad publicity as a result of this campaign equates to a bad reputation. The needs and satisfaction of your customers and target audience are your top priorities. Continually post updates to your contest during the month and use buzzwords such as “last chance,” “free,” “win,” “for a limited time only,” “special offer,” and “discount.” Don’t disappoint entrants by not selecting a winner on time.