December 2010 Archives

December 29, 2010

A Lot of Charitable Donation Decisions Happening Now!

It's staggering to contemplate: More than 20% of all charitable giving for the ENTIRE YEAR occurs on December 30th and 31st. (That's according to the "Online Giving Study: A Call to Reinvent Donor Relationships" recently completed by Network for Good and TrueSense Marketing.)

One out of every five people -- or at least people allocating one fifth of their annual charitable giving dollars -- are currently asking themselves, "Hmm, which causes are closest to my heart, and where will my donations have the strongest impact?" (Or they're doing as my sister-in-law did, and asking "Where would you like me to donate in your name as a holiday gift," a question I love!)

As an aside, could there be any clearer indication that the charitable deduction impels people to make contributions? Even if they'd been planning to donate anyway, the prospect of losing the deduction is probably a great kick in the hindquarters for those who'd procrastinated.

At this point, your nonprofit has probably done most of what it can to attract these last-minute donations: fostered connections year-round, sent a holiday appeal (which may be sitting on people's desks right now, for consideration), and perhaps held a recent event or phon-a-thon.

But there are still a few things you can do in these final hours -- which I say apologetically, because vacations are important too -- but the Darwinian truth of the matter is that every other nonprofit in town is trying to curry the procrastinators' favor. My email box is full of the evidence, with as many nonprofit appeals as post-Christmas sales.

So, here are a few ideas (which, even if I don't mention it outright, should all include info on how to donate at the end -- and don't be afraid to ask for large amounts):
  • Email a summary of what your organization achieved this year. If you haven't done this already, it's a fine way to tap into people's year-end spirit of reflection, while reminding them of the great work you do. Try to put the summary into colorful terms, using more stories than statistics. Post this on your Facebook page, too.
  • Find a fun photo that donors haven't seen yet. Post this on your Facebook page, or if it's got a good enough story to go with it, email it too. If enough people are in the office, you could even take a group photo, with new-year greetings from all.
  • Send a thank-you email. Remind donors of how all they've given so far has made a difference in the world.
  • Identify a discrete, immediate, and still unmet need. For example, if you can spotlight one family who could start the new year with warm coats with your group's help, or one animal that needs surgery in order to find an adoptive home for the new year, send a quick email about it.
Not too surprisingly, most of these channels are online -- nothing else will reach people as quickly at this late date. If your group hasn't already established a long list of email contacts and a social networking presence, then let that be one of its New Year's resolutions.

December 15, 2010

Fundraising Kudos to the Friends of the Packard Library

. . . for its creative spin on the walkathon idea, and one that non-athletes can get involved in. This Friends group had volunteers line up sponsors for guerrilla readings of poems by Emily Dickinson, at unlikely spots throughout the town of Marysville, California -- such as a bar, gas station, and laundromat.

The amount earned wasn't overwhelming -- $1,000 -- but it no doubt raised the library's visibility, and it got some press coverage, to boot -- read all about it in the Sacramento Bee, here.
December 13, 2010

Is Your Nonprofit Choosing Whether to Start Networking With Facebook or Twitter?

If so, you'll be interested to hear the results of Pew Internet Research's recent study, as reported on by Tom Belford in his always-readable-and-relevant Agitator blog.

Bottom line: Facebook, to this point, has a lot more readers than Twitter.

My two cents: Facebook is also easy to use, and you're not restricted to expressing your thoughts in 140 characters or less!
December 7, 2010

Is Your Nonprofit on Jumo Yet?

I don't pretend to understand Jumo -- in fact, the name reminds me of a fictional African dictatorship on the TV show 24 -- but I do believe in trying to keep your nonprofit's Web presence up to date, and taking advantage of social networking tools.

To that end, here's a clear and helpful description of what Jumo is about, and how it can help nonprofits make their place in cyberspace, from the folks at Nonprofit Tech 2.0. Take particular note of the description of how, if you don't get on their and manage your profile, someone else might!