#FUNDRAISING: Outreach Tactics & Technologies Need To Adjust To Demographics

With the texts and tweets and the touchscreens and with those crazy(-cool) Google goggles and whatnot, a nonprofit would be daft to send those old-fashioned appeals by mail. The cost of printing and stamps, the hassle of upkeep of a database of address, the imposition of making potential donors find their checkbooks buried ever-farther into their desk drawers… who would bother?

But an extensive whitepaper from the folks at Convio makes it quite clear that not only is the traditional through-the-snail-mail appeal still a great way to solicit support for your charity, it is the hands-down winner over all media outreach. As the chart to the left reveals, outreach by mail achieves incredibly high response rates. That said − and unsurprisingly − the impact of mailers fades as one moves down the age groups, as Generations X and (especially) Y choose to respond to other media as well. What media will carry the donation message into the future?


| Category Advice, Advocacy, Aging, Campaigns, Cause Marketing, Civics, Communications, Community, Cross-Post, Development, Direct Mail, Donor Acquisition, Education: General, Fundraising, How-to, Marketing, Marketing Skills, Measurement, Mobile, Nonprofit, Permission Marketing, Planned Giving, Public Relations, Publications, Resource, Social Marketing, Social Networks, Study, Technology, Technology for Aging, Technology for Nonprofits | | Comments Off

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#COMMUNICATIONS: Postal Service Rates To Rise on 27 January

US Postal Service Stamp

Forever stamps still good after the 27th.

We have managed to put off the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ for a couple of months, but we can’t avoid the changes in postal rates coming in a couple of weeks. Thanks to our fine business partners at Ecoprint in Silver Spring, Maryland, for the heads-up! The US Postal Service (USPS) has been on hard times over the last 5-7 years due to the overwhelming presence of email, social networks, and e-fax services. Moreover, the semi-private/ public service is carrying a striking burden of compensation packages for its executives that, frankly, seem to outweigh the performance of the venerable institution. Be that as it may, be prepared for upticks to many of the services. What’s coming at the end of the month?


| Category Advice, Campaigns, Civics, Communications, Cross-Post, Direct Mail, Education: General, Marketing, Marketing Budget, News and Current Affairs, Newsletter, Newspaper Article, Nonprofit, Politics, Publications, Resource, Web and Print | | Comments Off

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#Communications: Postal Rates Raised Last Week – Not For Nonprofits

The US Postal Service is fenced in by long-term imposed costsThe United States Postal Service has been struggling financially for the last few years. The Bush Administration saddled the service with pre-paying its future retiree benefits for a decade (2006-2016), a demand uniquely imposed on the USPS. Bush’s policy meant the service went from profits in the $1.4 billion range in 2005 to one that has laid off thousands of works, closed numerous branches, and still needs to raise postal rates in an effort just to stay open. So what he did to the postal service he did to the country.

This past Monday many postal rates changed. For example, first-class mail went up by a penny and its guaranteed one-day delivery (depending on distance) was removed. Or perhaps you didn’t notice?


| Category Advice, Campaigns, Civics, Communications, Community, Direct Mail, E-Mail, Fundraising, Interview, Marketing, Marketing Budget, Marketing Skills, Measurement, National/International, News and Current Affairs, Newsletter, Newspaper Article, Nonprofit, Politics, Publications, Strategic Marketing, Web and Print | | 1 Comments

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#Interview: Allison Fine, Author & Analyst — Examines Intersection of Social Media & Social Change

Allison Fine HeadshotAllison Fine researches and writes about the intersection of social media and social change. She is the co-author (with Beth Kanter) of the bestselling book, The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change, as well as the award-winning Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age. She hosts a monthly podcast for The Chronicle of Philanthropy called “Social Good.” The interview was conducted by Don Akchin, a principal of Nonprofit Marketing 360 and a frequent contributor to the MKCREATIVE blog.

MKC: You’ve researched and written about social media and how it could impact democracy in the 21st century. Is the Occupy Wall Street movement along the lines of what you were envisioning?

ALLISON: Occupy Wall Street is absolutely part of the same DNA of social protests that we’ve seen for about the last ten years or so. They are widely distributed – meaning there’s no centralized organizing person or organization. They are fueled, but not caused, by social media – the ability to share messages, share photos, share videos, which are very powerful, is part of what’s stirring the pot and helping to organize the events. Occupy Wall Street has some of the drawbacks of this kind of mobilizing as well: the lack of a centralized message and the lack of goals. Whether or not those ultimately stop the momentum for these self-organized efforts locally will be interesting to watch.


| Category Blogs, Book Review, Campaigns, Case Study, Cause Marketing, Communications, Community, Cross-Post, Crowdfunding, Development, Direct Mail, Donor Acquisition, Fundraising, Grants, Grants and Funding, Interview, Major Gifts, Marketing, Marketing Skills, Nonprofit, Permission Marketing, Resource, Reviews, Social Media, Special Series, Sponsorship, Strategic Marketing, Technology, Technology for Nonprofits, Tools, Twitter | | 1 Comments

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#Interview: Gail Perry, Fundraising Consultant, Trainer & Author of Fired-Up Fundraising

Photo of Gail PerryGail Perry is a fundraising consultant and trainer and the author of Fired-Up Fundraising: Turn Your Board’s Passion into Action. She is a highly sought speaker and writes a popular blog. Her most recent venture is an online coaching group. The interview was conducted by Don Akchin, a principal of Nonprofit Marketing 360 and a frequent contributor to the MKCREATIVE blog.

MKC: What are the issues that are keeping your clients awake at night?

GAIL: I think the economy is just a huge issue. People are worried about whether they can raise the money they need or not. But I’m also seeing a really interesting problem. My consulting clients are struggling to learn how to take donors who are identified as potential major prospects and bring them into the major prospect arena by closing a gift. It’s a very delicate, step-by-step, intuitive process to bring a major donor along. That’s a lot of what I’m teaching my clients, all these little subtleties of developing that type of relationship.


| Category Blogs, Campaigns, Cause Marketing, Communications, Community, Cross-Post, Crowdfunding, Design, Development, Direct Mail, Donor Acquisition, E-Mail, eNewsletter, Facebook, Facebook, Fundraising, Grants, Grants and Funding, Interview, Major Gifts, Marketing, Marketing Skills, Measurement, Nonprofit, Permission Marketing, Research, SEO, Social Media, Special Series, Sponsorship, Storytelling, Strategic Marketing, Twitter, Web Design, Writing | | 1 Comments

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#Fundraising: To Bring Donations In, Keep Sending Emails Out

With all the buzz about social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, we can lose track of tried-and-true outreach tools. Though these other platforms might be great ways to advertise events or spread late-breaking news about your organization’s work, they are not proving to be efficient fundraising instruments (yet?). John Haydon at Inbound Zombie and Razoo Fundraising has been crunching numbers to demonstrate the fact that email remains the best way not only to bring in donations, but to bring in bigger donations.

What makes email, the communications platform that seems oh-so-90s, so successful as a fundraising platform?


| Category Advertising, Advice, Campaigns, Cause Marketing, Communications, Community, Development, Direct Mail, Donor Acquisition, E-Mail, Fundraising, How-to, Marketing, Marketing Skills, Media Review, Nonprofit, Public Relations, Reviews, Social Media, Technology, Twitter, Web and Print | | Comments Off

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#Fundraising: Online/Mobile Donations Still Need The Personal Touch

Apple's website commemorating Steve Jobs at his death

Apple's online memorial

First and foremost, we must mark the death of Steve Jobs, former CEO at Apple, who died of pancreatic cancer yesterday at the age of 56. He helped build a great computing tool. He reconfigured the way movies are made. He revitalized a music industry about to die on the reef of file-sharing, and he inspired a phenomenally innovative company to strive always to outdo itself. Our thoughts are with his family and close friends who have helped each other through these final months.

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life. Stanford University commencement address in 2005.

One of the worlds his products opened up to us was mobile communication. The iPhone for sure, but even the accessibility of the laptop in the early 1990s and the tablet today. And mobile communications have offered a new realm of possibility for spreading information and encouraging donations for nonprofits.

Nevertheless, a few old-school skills can go a long way, even in the realm of instant digital communication.


| Category Campaigns, Communications, Crowdfunding, Development, Direct Mail, E-Mail, Fundraising, Marketing, Marketing Skills, Nonprofit, Site Administration, Social Media, Web and Print | | Comments Off

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#Interview: Sarah Durham, Nonprofit Communications Strategist & Author of “Brandraising”

This interview series is produced with the generous support of the Nonprofit Marketing and Fundraising Zone.

Sarah Durham left the world of corporate communications and marketing in 1994 to launch Big Duck, an agency that works exclusively with nonprofit organizations to help them communicate effectively so they can fulfill their missions. She is the author of Brandraising: How Nonprofits Increase Visibility and Raise Money through Smart Communications (Jossey-Bass, 2010). The interview was conducted by Don Akchin, a principal of Nonprofit Marketing 360 and a frequent contributor to the MKCREATIVE blog.

MKC: First of all, as Chico Marx once asked, “Why a Duck?”

Sarah: I think the true answer is deep and Freudian and subliminal, but the conscious answer is, when I was starting Big Duck, I was leaving Disney Consumer Products, where I had worked on some of the branding issues around Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Pluto, and I think I had the mice, the ducks and the dogs in my head. I wanted to come up with something that had the personality I was going for – creative, playful and sort of open-ended and flexible. (more…)

| Category Advertising, Advice, Blogs, Book Review, Branding, Campaigns, Case Study, Communications, Community, Cross-Post, Direct Mail, Facebook, Facebook, Interview, Marketing, Marketing Budget, Marketing Skills, Measurement, Nonprofit, Permission Marketing, Public Relations, Publications, Research, Resource, Reviews, Social Media, Special Series, Twitter, Writing | | Comments Off

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Communications: A Beginners Guide to the Social Networking Services


Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Leading Age (formerly the American Association for Homes & Services for the Aging) has published a useful guide on their website: it’s a quick look at what social networking is, why you should use it to connect to others and share resources, what the various services do for organizations/individuals, and why one would prefer one service over another. It’s a quick read and will help young and old alike know the difference between a “Tweet” and a “Twit.”


| Category Adult Kids, Advertising, Aging, Assisted Living, Branding, Communications, Direct Mail, Facebook, Geo-Location, Grandparents, Independent Living, Marketing, Nonprofit, Nursing Home, Permission Marketing, Public Relations, Research, Resource, Retirement Living, Seniors Life, Social Media, Twitter | | Comments Off

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#Communications: Postal Rates Up? No Worries: Direct Mail Still Makes Sense.

USA 10-cent postage stamp, 1973: "It all ...

Image via Wikipedia

We’re firm believers that direct mail is not dead, its merely entering the final stages of a metamorphosis into the perfect solution to support:

So when our friends at Ecoprint reminded us that postal rates will change on April 17 AND we needed to update our The Intelligent Mail (IMb) barcodes for new designs of reply envelopes, we took notice.


| Category Advertising, Communications, Direct Mail, Marketing, Marketing Budget, Measurement, printing, Resource | | Comments Off

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Charities Must Increase SM Outreach As Email Becomes Obsolete

PINE Command-line Email System (ca.1992)Most of our readers (and certainly this writer) can probably well remember our first forays into email. Mine began on the blue-and-grey screen and terminal command line of my university’s PINE email system. The development of graphical interfaces via AOL, then Yahoo! and the like meant (pretty) free and (fairly) instant communication across the street or around the world. But that wondrous technology is already sliding toward extinction. It is too slow for the under 30s who could tolerate texting from a phone keyboard, but not waiting a few hours for a response.

If email is your organization’s way of reaching out to your constituents, the technology is probably suiting you fine – for now. If you are thinking of moving your charity or mission-based business toward the next human generation, though, you should consider the next communications generation.


| Category Campaigns, Communications, Direct Mail, E-Mail, eNewsletter, Facebook, Fundraising, Marketing, Marketing Skills, Public Relations, Social Media, Technology, Twitter | | Comments Off

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Email Remains An Evolving Technology, Not A Dead-End One

Before I had to start paying the bills, I used to love all the stuff that came through the mail slot at this time of year: announcements, coupons, cards, and catalogs – glossy, full-color, hundreds-of-pages thick catalogs. My brother and I spent weeks poring over them picking out each and every thing we needed for Christmas.

Now I am paying those bills and no one sends out such catalogs any more. Instead, many of us wade through the spam of our email inboxes sifting out the stuff that would have been recycled if anyone was savvy about recycling in 1975. Different medium, same problem? Neil Davey at pulls in some resources that suggest ‘no.’ People are not only still engaged with their email, but they are enticed by further integration of email and social-media networks. Even the ‘junk mail’ draws pretty positive responses. How come?


| Category Advertising, Communications, Direct Mail, E-Mail, Facebook, Interview, Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media, Technology | | Comments Off

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