Tuesday, January 30, 2018

posted by
Kylah Strohte 
Editor-In-Chief 

Adult beverages are often part of the routine checklist when hosting nonprofit events. Open bars seem the ideal solution because it brings in money and it eliminates the need for guests to serve themselves. However, there are several points to consider before setting up an open bar in order for it to become a successful component of your event. 

Insurance and Liability

If your organization is a large entity and you regularly host events that serve alcohol, it is likely that liquor liability is included with your nonprofit's insurance.  However, never presume; always double check, and confirm with your insurance provider. If you're new to the NPO world, consult your state and local laws about social host liability. This coverage typically protects you from hazardous actions and behavior conducted by intoxicated guests, including self-harm. Coverage may also be the responsibility of the hosting venue, whether it's a community center, civic hall, or someone's home.

Requirements vary between states, which is why it's important to research all of the intricacies. Even if you don't foresee regularly hosting fundraisers that serve alcohol, it's usually possible to obtain a temporary permit for the occasion in question. It's also a good idea to hire professional bartenders, who are insured for their services.

Provide Varied Menus and Activities

There is nothing wrong with providing adult beverages for guests, and a cash/open bar may prove profitable. Yet make sure to also provide a range of non-alcoholic drinks, to accommodate those who cannot or do not drink liquor, and to offset alcohol consumption for those who do. Offer more than bottled water – include flavored seltzers and iced teas, as well as a coffee and tea station. Discuss “mocktails” with your bartenders, and promote those drinks at the bar.

Always keep snacks available, even if it's simply crudité platters, mini desserts, and other small and light finger foods. Remember that high-sodium foods such as chips and pretzels tend to make people thirstier, which some may quench with more alcohol. 

Additionally, give guests things to do other than drink, and plan “last call” about one hour before the dancing, live music, games, and fun photo ops end. These activities, along with a continued round of food; also allow the effects of alcohol to wane. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

posted by
Chris Pontine
Digital Marketing

Many nonprofit organizations are getting onboard in the digital world and have found the website builder which best fits their needs and budget. 

There is much more you can squeeze out of your website just by tweaking or adding a few things to give your nonprofit the jump it needs to stand out.

I want to break down six best practices that can add to your nonprofit website. These tips will help grow your cause and take it to the next level.

You ready?

1.  Stay Transparent

According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, one in three Americans lack confident in charities they are considering donating to. That number is high, and not a statistic you want to be a part of.  

Do the following to help:

  • Provide financials.
  • Present stories of impact.
  • Add videos to show what’s going on.

2.  Make Sure You're Mobile Friendly

Most readers will be on a mobile device and you have to make sure it’s easy for them to read, scan and navigate on them.  Google and other search engines consider this a huge thing. Make sure you consider this an important factor as well. 

3.  Optimize Your Main Donation Page

Many charities are making it super simple to donate.  You need to focus on decreasing the time it takes and get it down to as few clicks as possible.  This will increase your conversion percentage as well. 

A few other things to do:

  • Add trust indicators – use badges, financial info, human quotes and ratings on your donation page to help increase your conversion rate.
  • Use emotional appeal – show who it’s impacting.
  • Translate donation amount into what the impact of that money will do.
  • Offer a monthly donation offer.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

posted by
Chris Giarratana
Digital Strategy Consultant

Working for nonprofit organizations comes along with many exciting things. It’s one of the few jobs that can keep you motivated especially because you’re making a difference in people’s lives. However, the job has its challenges as well, and one of them is reaching out to potential donors

Raising funds or getting potential donors’ attention can be one of the most exhausting or perhaps discouraging situations faced by many nonprofit marketers. This may be caused by lack of enough resources, budget, or time. 

While a large number of nonprofit organizations have turned to the online environment to seek help, a lot of them still encounter problems with communicating to their right audience. According to a study by Content Marketing Institute, about 92 percent of nonprofits use content marketing as means of communication, but the majority of them don’t believe in their effectiveness. 

If this describes your nonprofit, then keep reading because this article will show some ways that your nonprofit organization can use effective communication strategies to get more donors.

1. Build A Strong Social Media Community

As a non-profit marketer, building a social media platform with followers who believe and support your job is quite imperative. To do that, you need to keep your social media active by sharing compelling posts that your potential audience can believe. You also need to share real stories about your nonprofit’s efforts that will help you raise awareness. 

You may also promote the work of other people who have donated to your organization and how they helped your team. Share their stories and if possible accompany the stories with their photos. This will motivate others to support your cause. 

If you use Facebook, it helps a lot to include a “Donate Now” tab on your Facebook page to make it easier for people to donate. When the potential donors click the tab, they should be directed to the donation site. For Twitter, you may run a contest such as a person who likes a tweet first or retweet it would get a reward such as a t-shirt. This will increase your followers.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

posted by
Chris Giarratana
Digital Strategy Consultant

For any nonprofit organization to succeed in its cause, it’s essential that they have a strong, engaging online presence. Social media is one of the best platforms to spread your organization's message and get to achieve your goals.

 To succeed in social media communication, you have to use a robust strategy and put significant efforts so that you can convince your target audience to support your organization. But how do you know if your social media strategy is working or if it’s time to rethink your strategy?

 The best way to answer this question is to measure the impact of your social media campaign. But how do you do it? Read on to find out five crucial metrics that can help nonprofits measure the success of their online communication efforts. 

1. Sentiment

The first metric your nonprofit organization can use to gauge the success of your online communication is to take a holistic view of the sentiment that your audience has for your organization. Though it’s an intangible metric, sentiment can help you know how your target audience perceives your nonprofit organization and how positively they view your brand.

 If your target audience holds a negative perception of your nonprofit organization, odds are you are not likely to receive more support. But there are some things you can do to cause a shift in sentiment such as participating in conversations, educating new groups of people, and answering questions.

 These not only show that your organization is engaged with your audience, but you are also actively building a relationship.

 You can also use free online business marketing tools to think about your nonprofit organization like Twilert.com to set up Twitter alerts for Twitter mentions of your name. Keep track of the tone of the comments and see how many praises and complaints you receive so that you can paint an overall picture of your brand sentiment. 

 


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

posted by
Chris Giarratana
Digital Strategy Consultant

The truth is, it's easy to attract people to a nonprofit fundraising campaign, however, ensuring that they're going donate a different story. This can be an issue, especially if they don't even know how to navigate your website. 

As a result, your nonprofit can put all your hard work to waste since interested donors are less likely to donate to your cause if your online donation process is inconvenient. That's the last thing you want, and to prevent that, you have to ensure that you'll avoid these common nonprofit donation mistakes.

Common Mistake #1: Asking for Too Much Information

Aside from making sure that your website is easy to use in a sense that your prospects would be able to find the donation form right away, it's also important that it's something that wouldn't make them have second thoughts, so your nonprofit needs to be sure that your online donation process follows the rule of keeping things simple

More often than not, donation pages ask people to create an account first and answer the form. Try to be in their shoes-- you wouldn't want to be welcomed by online forms where you are “required” to fill out a lot of information. 

This is one of the common reasons why donors end up abandoning the process of donating because aside from creating an account, other irrelevant questions are being asked.

How to Avoid: Instead of forcing your prospective donors to create an account just so they can donate, have an option where they can give as a 'guest.' Also, limit the number of required fields on the donation page to enjoy higher conversion rates.

Friday, December 29, 2017

posted by
Chris Giarratana
Digital Strategy Consultant

A nonprofit organization communication team must be skilled communicators to achieve the broader goals and objectives of the nonprofit organization. Communication teams at nonprofits convey information to the public sector, private sector, the media, communities, organization’s staff, and other responders.

The primary goal of nonprofit communication teams is to raise awareness of the work of the nonprofit organization so that you can secure volunteers and funding to continue your mission. 

Your communication teams serve to empower communities, governments, donors, and the public at large with information regarding the impact and influence of the organization’s work. This is necessary to ensure government authorization, active community engagement, and positive feedback form the media and society.

Communication teams at nonprofits are responsible for developing proposals and requests for funding for donors. This process occurs in collaboration with the management team to present a clear and concise plan of an organization's achievements and plans. Nonprofits rely on donor funding for their operations. Donors require concise plans and objectives for funding projects.

1. Brand Management

Communication teams build brand awareness through tailored advertising, social media engagement, and local groups on the ground. Brand awareness is key to raising awareness of goals and work that nonprofit organization does in local communities. There are several free marketing tools for small business that your nonprofit can use to manage your brand without having to break the bank. 

Brand management can enhance community engagement, and improve donor-funding requests by a nonprofit organization. Local communities and society also tend to be brand aware. People engage more in attractive brands as compared to unattractive brands.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

posted by
Gloria Kopp
Business Writer, Educator and eLearning Consultant

Email marketing campaigns are just as effective for nonprofits as they are for any other business. So, nonprofits must utilize every opportunity to push their cause forward. Aside from sending out emails on behalf of your nonprofit, there are other things that can be worked on in order to see a greater level of success. 

DO use pictures of people

Captivate your readers with engaging pictures throughout your emails. Messages are never as interesting when they are just text. Add real photos of people you are helping, volunteers and more. Steer clear of stock images that do nothing to enhance the message. If you're building a community playground or other structure, include pictures of the progress or design drawings, so donors can feel included in the process. It is more impactful to show someone a picture of what is being done, not  just describe it. When others can see  real people and things their money is affecting, they get encouraged to continue donating. Putting a face and name to  donations is highly effective in connecting donors, which is why organizations like World Vision will send a photo and information about a specific child to their contributors. If you want an all-in-one design and email service, Mad Mimi can help with pre-made templates and easy to use email automation.

DO divide your list

When it comes time to send out  messages, have it organized into targeted segments so that you can direct specific messages to each group. Do not overload your donors with messages that are not relevant to them and their interests.  Keep messages limited by only sending those that are most relevant to each donor. You can quickly overstay your welcome in someone's inbox if you're constantly bombarding them with messages. Even if they were enthusiastic about the cause from the start, they can grow frustrated with constant requests for more money or messages that are irrelevant or repetitive. If  donors are supporting a local food bank, sending them information and requests for other projects may be unwelcome and seem like you are asking too much from them. Targeting your messages means each message you send out will have a greater impact with your donors and their willingness to participate. Reach Mail is a great email marketing service that can help  segment and target your email database in order to send relevant messages.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

posted by
Suhey Ortega
Interdisciplinary Studies, B.S. with concentrations in Transborder Chican@/Latin@ Studies & Sustainability, BS

The 46th Annual Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) conference was held Nov. 15-18 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The theme of the conference this year was “Strengthening Local Communities: The Role of Nonprofit and Philanthropic Organizations.” I was selected to go to this year’s ARNOVA conference as an Undergraduate Diversity Scholar, a new initiative to bring underrepresented students and undergraduates to a mostly graduate and research-based conference.

As a Chicana, studying Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Transborder Chican@/Latin@ Studies and Sustainability, I already felt out of place entering a conference like this.However, I knew I was chosen for a reason and I wanted to expand on my knowledge in the nonprofit field.

The first few days of the conference started with introduction to the other 15 scholars and to ARNOVA. I wanted to go to panels I knew I could benefit and learn new from, so I went to workshops surrounding the topics of: multi-sector collaboration, representation and diversity, managing volunteers, activist philanthropy, and social enterprises. During a poster presentation, I even had the opportunity to meet two groups of ASU graduate students showcasing their work!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

posted by
Chris Giarratana
Digital Strategy Consultant

Storytelling is a strategic tool that has been used since the beginning of humanity to transmit a meaningful message to others. Through stories, people can speak out their minds, share wisdom, and pass information to others. 

Telling a good story can influence the mindset of the audience, and this explains why a lot of businesses today are using this tool to market their brands to their potential customers. Nonprofits can also make use of storytelling to engage their audience, get their attention, and influence them to change their behavior and take action. 

Generating compelling stories is no longer a luxury or a choice for nonprofits. Potential donors and volunteers have increasing amounts of pressure to spend money elsewhere and volunteer their time with other activities. This is why your nonprofits needs to rely on storytelling as a foundation for a strong digital media strategy in the future. 

If you want your nonprofit to thrive and grow, then you need to craft stories that can inspire their audience and motivate them to donate to their organization. In this article, we shall discuss 8-step guide which nonprofits can follow to collect and use compelling stories that will make a difference in their audience behavior. 

1. Know Your Goals

The first step of generating a good story is to articulate your goals. Since it may be difficult to create one story that will accomplish all your goals, you may choose to run multiple storytelling campaigns that will achieve one goal at a time, depending on your budget and resources. 

You should know why you are telling the story or what you want to accomplish. For instance, your goals may be to raise awareness, tell that you have a new program, drawing new donors, etc.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

MacKenzie LeBeau

posted by
MacKenzie LeBeau
Fall 2017 Alumna, ASU Master of Nonprofit Leadership & Management 

In the face of increased accountability pressures, nonprofits are searching for ways to demonstrate their effectiveness (Liket and Maas, 2015). Stakeholders should be asking how do we identify effective practices throughout the organization and how do we improve organizational effectiveness to achieve greater impact? Nonprofit organizations are increasingly under pressure from funders, clients, and others to “prove” that they are achieving their mission effectively and efficiently (Renz and Murray, 2010). Over the past decade, efforts have been increasingly made to encourage the adoption of effective practice methodologies in the nonprofit sector (National Resource Center, 2010). What is considered effective should advance the organizations mission and goals to achieve greater impact.

Meaningful tools to evaluate effectiveness are largely absent (Liket and Maas, 2015). This means an increased demand for more and better evaluation (Renz and Murray, 2010) is needed. Currently, nonprofit organizations are measuring effectiveness in a variety of ways including benchmarking, organizational effectiveness evaluations, key performance indicators, and outcome based evaluation. Nonprofit organizations should identify evaluation methods to assess their programs and organization effectiveness on an ongoing basis. The goal is to identify best practices and opportunities and subsequently to adapt to improve (Bridgespan, n.d.).

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