3 things to do if your nonprofit is new to social media

23 Jul

The best campaign results we have seen with our customers has been driven through and via social media. The sharing and trending we have seen for social media-centric fundraising campaigns is eye-opening and yet somewhat to be expected since sharing and following are easy to do via the device at arms length 91% of the time-a mobile phone.

All social media is now (and always has been) mobile-centric and becoming increasingly so with each passing day. Email is the same with almost 70% of email being opened first on a mobile phone. This is indicative of the mobile phone supplanting the PC as the primary (or exclusive) internet access device.

And yet, as powerful as social media is, some nonprofits are on the fence or just getting started and are working to build their audience up to UNICEF-like size (almost 3M followers on Twitter). How did they get this big and can your nonprofit do the same thing?

Building your social following starts with one person, just like every great journey starts with one step. So let’s just say that your nonprofit has cleared all the internal hurdles needed to use social media-what now?

Here’s the 3 things I would suggest if your nonprofit is new to or just getting started in social media.

Work with others that have larger followings

Your nonprofit likely knows and hopefully works with local businesses and organizations who may have much larger social followings than yours. Work with them on what messages and frequency they would be willing to let you place in front of their audience. The beauty of this is that both parties win. The business is seen as a good community citizen and they will introduce you to people that you likely would never meet on your own. A yearlong calendar of this would do wonders to help you build your audience. And as we’ve seen, this has also proven to be a WINNER when it comes time to raising money.

So all you have to say to them is “Hey, we are trying to build our audience and would you be OK with tweeting to your followers about what we do?” I don’t know of many, if any, that would say no.

Don’t give up

This one really applies to all of us using social media and that is be there at all times and don’t stop delivering your message. It may seem that it’s not going well but one mustn’t take a short term view on social media. Th goal is to build an audience and that means always saying something whenever you can. Planning social media posts can be fun for staff to create if you let it be that way. And the reward can be like we saw last Christmas-one of our customers received $2000 from a single tweet. This customer is a one man nonprofit and with a tweet he was there when the donor felt the impulse to give. Very powerful indeed.

Make sure conversation extenders are mobile-optimized

Focus on this point for a moment. Social media = mobile.

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This is one that is perhaps the most cumbersome for nonprofits to address. Much of their social content points to links where the content is not optimized to be seen on a mobile phone. Besides presenting a broken link, nothing ends the conversation faster than making someone pinch, swipe and wait for the PC experience you want to share with them slowly renders on their phone. But it doesn’t have to be this way. With platforms like ours the conversation can be extended easily to your fully optimized, stocked-with-content RAZ Mobile site.

The same applies even more with asking for donations in social media. The mobile donation experience must be easy to complete in the moment. Relying on a PC experience for mobile giving is a path to lost donations (and frustration at an impulse denied).

Social media, no matter how your board feels about it, is powerful and here to stay. Get started today or if you’re having trouble getting into a groove, hopefully these tips help.

Dale Knoop is part of a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a great platform for any cause engaged in fundraising. Any cause can create an content-rich mobile presence, share it through text messages, social media, QR codes, advertising and more and best of all-quickly and securely process donations from motivated supporters. Dale holds multiple patents and applications for patent in the mobile space including advertising, content optimization, geo-targeting and negative QOS.

“Eventually” your nonprofit will go mobile?

16 Jul

Let me start this week’s post with an apology to our followers for missing last week. You see, I was dealing with this.

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So there was the tree. About which, much like the headline of this week’s post, I was reminded that “eventually your house will be back to normal”.

Well the tree is gone and the repairs have begun. My thanks to all who expressed their concern and best wishes.

But the question remains-when exactly is “eventually”? Can it be today? In the case of nonprofits missing mobile donations the answer is “it should be today”. In the case of many though this is the answer and their response – “Eventually we will go mobile”.

Imagine Bill Gates saying this. Or anyone at Google or Apple? Mobile technology is moving so fast that one could argue that each month that goes by for a nonprofit or for-profit entity without a great mobile experience is equivalent to 2 or 3 months. Each month that goes by not giving your supporters (and customers) a great mobile experience means catching up will take more time than you think. Sadly, some will never catch up.

I’ll say the same thing I always say: online is the only growing channel for giving and the online channel, with each passing day, increasingly means mobile.

“Eventually” as the timeframe for a nonprofit to embrace mobile and to deploy a mobile-optimized version of their primary domain, to say nothing of optimizing giving pages for mobile donors, strikes me as simply a cop-out and an excuse to keep doing the same thing over and over expecting better and better results.

And yet, I have heard “eventually” as the timeframe to go mobile from too many nonprofits who likely don’t realize that the pace of going online mostly via mobiles has hastened and now stands at 34% according to PewResearch. Restated, just over 1 in 3 are mostly mobile on the internet. In the next 12 months I predict this figure will close in on 50%. Let that sink in-1 in 2 will be mostly mobile on the internet and sooner than you think.

So while you plot “eventually” as a date on your nonprofit’s calendar to go mobile, your supporters are already moving on, transferring their PC internet activity to their mobile phone. And, along with it, their loyalty and support to another cause.

When that day of “eventually” does come and you do go mobile you will be able to say at that time “Eventually our supporters will come back” even though they will have likely moved on with their time, talent and treasure to another nonprofit that engages them and values them enough to make their mobile experience the best it can be.

Dale Knoop is part of a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a great platform for any cause engaged in fundraising. Any cause can create an content-rich mobile presence, share it through text messages, social media, QR codes, advertising and more and best of all-quickly and securely process donations from motivated supporters. Dale holds multiple patents and applications for patent in the mobile space including advertising, content optimization, geo-targeting and negative QOS.

For millennials technology is a need not a want

2 Jul

 

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My favorite quote from the just-released Experian report titled Millennials Come of Age is this:

“While the rest of adults see smartphones and the Internet as revolutionary, for Millennials, they’re just part of the natural order of things,” (John) Fetto added. “As such, they have expectations about how things should work that may seem unrealistic to those who grew up without such technologies. Technology and connectivity is not a want for this generation; it’s a need.”

It’s my favorite because it completely captures the situation facing businesses and nonprofits-millennials look at their world as one that’s infused with technology and mastering technology for the sake of engaging this audience of 80,000,000 people is the same as they view their smartphone-it’s a need and at the center of their life.

Need more proof? From the report:

  • Millennials are mobile dominant. Fifty percent of Millennial smartphone owners say that they access the Internet more often through their phone than through a computer.

What’s this mean? Your nonprofit is getting an ever-increasing amount of traffic from mobile phones and if you’ve followed our blog you know that using a PC experience for mobile visitors gets your Google search rank demoted and puts you at high risk for missing donations.

You can expect the mobile dominance for millennials to rise over time along with your inbound traffic to your primary domain from mobile phones.

All of this points to a persistent mobile experience for all age groups, not just millennials. If mobile is a lifestyle and at the center of an ever-increasing amount of people then your nonprofit should not look at mobile as just something to leverage for your next event.

Think of it this way-mobile usage is not an event so why look at mobile engagement and giving as an event? (I know this is in large part driven by the perception that mobile giving equals text-to-give but text-to-give falls way, way short of being what mobile giving really is and solves none of the challenges presented by relying on a PC experience for mobile visitors to your primary domain.)

I know nonprofits are inundated with stats and findings about the millennial generation but this is to be expected when the stakes are so high. All nonprofits must embrace mobile technology now and focus more on learning what works rather than just “trying it out”. A growing number of Americans, millennials and other groups like Boomers, rely on their mobile phones daily and they’re not “trying it out”.

Time to think like the people your nonprofit needs to attract for furthering your mission.

Dale Knoop is part of a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a great platform for any cause engaged in fundraising. Any cause can create an content-rich mobile presence, share it through text messages, social media, QR codes, advertising and more and best of all-quickly and securely process donations from motivated supporters. Dale holds multiple patents and applications for patent in the mobile space including advertising, content optimization, geo-targeting and negative QOS.

A “what if” from the 2014 Millennial Impact Report

25 Jun

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The Millennial Impact Report for 2014 is out and if you have missed it you can get it here. I love these reports because they shed massive light on what’s ahead for nonprofits. Their findings have shown in 2012 and 2013 that millennials want to give through their phones when they are “in the moment” and that they don’t want their gifts limited to $10.

Millennials are 80 million in number, bigger than the Boomer generation and all nonprofits and businesses need to pay attention to research that focuses on them like the Millennial Impact Reports.

The 2014 issue of the report took a different path than the last two reports. The focus for 2014 was on millennials and their employers/work/job and the gist of it for the workplace is that businesses could be missing out on the best employees if they aren’t actively providing ways for the employees to help nonprofits and particular causes they believe in.

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When I was at Sprint a couple years back Sprint was all about “green”. They won an award for being green and yet them being green never really factored into my work or reason for being at Sprint. They had an annual United Way campaign and I participated but I always felt that more could have been done to help me find a cause that resonated with me so I could do more good than just giving money.

Here at RAZ Mobile we have our mission to help nonprofits prepare for the millennial generation so our mission is “baked in” to what we do. Making the world a better place via mobile engagement and fundraising is at the center of what we do. I love that about working at RAZ Mobile.

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As I read the new report a “what if” scenario popped into my head. There was once a time that if a business put its arm around a nonprofit in public the business did so despite their worries of backlash or an attitude of “why not me” from other nonprofits not chosen to be helped by the business.

Thankfully this attitude is fading away and 2014 report suggests that business must embrace causes openly to score good employees and to be seen by millennials in general as a “good” business.

The “what-if” I speak of is what if a business ran or at least helped with and perhaps paid for the online presence for a nonprofit? This may sound far fetched and I know some business websites are not always the best but the fact remains that businesses in general likely have more expertise in online tools than many nonprofits. The businesses know that technology cuts costs and helps them compete and be profitable. The same applies to nonprofits.

So what if there was a way for every nonprofit to partner with a business with the stated goal of making that nonprofit more successful in online tools? After all, online giving is the only channel growing right now and the businesses have expertise in lessening their own reliance on direct mail through online tools, which can help nonprofits. And an added benefit is that millennials know and live online so they have the experience to share with the nonprofit. I could see the business helping with the nonprofit learning more about social media from the business as well.

Conceivably the business could claim expenses in their partnership with their chosen nonprofit as in-kind donations to the nonprofit while at the same time allowing the employees of the business advocate and participate in the mission of the nonprofit.

Perhaps this new 2014 Millennial Impact Report will usher in new ways for businesses and nonprofits to work together? The report strongly suggests that the next generation of donors and supporters are looking for this to happen and that they will welcome it.

Dale Knoop is part of a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a great platform for any cause engaged in fundraising. Any cause can create an content-rich mobile presence, share it through text messages, social media, QR codes, advertising and more and best of all-quickly and securely process donations from motivated supporters. Dale holds multiple patents and applications for patent in the mobile space including advertising, content optimization, geo-targeting and negative QOS.

9 things melting the glacier of direct mail

18 Jun

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Last month there was a blog posted at Charity Engine that talked about the “melting glacier” of direct mail. (I know the polar bear is on ice and not a glacier-i just love the picture’s connotation.) The blogger noted that their post ticked many in the nonprofit sector off. The blogger cited book buying as evidence of behaviors being re-imagined by the likes of Amazon and I would go further to point out that many companies large enough to know better have struggled to be part of the demographic and efficiency-driven technologic changes all around us.

Oldsmobile, Microsoft, Nokia, Blackberry, the music industry, getting a taxi, pay phones, landline phones, watching TV and on and on…..

So place me in complete agreement with the blogger-nonprofits are clinging to the glacier of direct mail while it melts away and there’s nothing that will save it from total meltdown. My meaning here is that at some point direct mail will no longer dominate as the way to give as it has for decades.

Here are the 9 things I see (among many) that are melting the direct mail glacier for nonprofits.

1. Increasingly, direct mail is driving online giving especially among older donors

This is an instructive finding from a report released by Dunham and Company in November 2013:

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Certainly there are less expensive ways to get people to make donations than using direct mail to drive them online. It should be noted that younger age groups likely don’t even open your direct mail since they favor social media as the way to learn about causes. It should be noted that the online channel is the only one that’s growing in the nonprofit sector.

2. Giving is an impulse and online satisfies the impulse faster-especially mobile giving

In the same Dunham and Company report it was stated that the reason for making a gift was:

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Ahead of direct mail which is, as pointed out earlier, driving donors to go online to give versus give through the mail, you see “in person” and “nothing in particular” as motivators for online giving. Direct mail is not an impulse fulfillment channel whereas online and mobile are. There’s nothing like being able to respond to an ask and the impulse to give via the mobile phone.

3. The fear that responding to direct mail begets more direct mail

I have talked to donors about direct mail and they fear getting more mail if they respond. Even online gifts solicit more direct mail. Why ask online donors to switch channels? You might say because they don’t give via email and social media. I would say that’s because both those channels are mobile channels and 84% of nonprofits rely still on their PC donation experience for mobile donations. Doing so frustrates donors and makes them give up, resulting in lost donations.

Worse yet is the selling of mailing lists to other nonprofits resulting in direct mail from nonprofits you’ve never heard of.

4. Millennials intentionally shun things their parents do

This is something that, amazingly, is facing Facebook right now-millennials running into their parents and their parent’s friends on social media and not wanting to be like them. Blog after blog has been written about how millennials eschew owning a home, a landline phone, a car, getting married, checking accounts, etc. Lumped in with this is how to give to a nonprofit. There can be no doubt that millennials and direct mail giving are a total mismatch.

5. Credit card info on a form is an identity-theft no-no (and a major PCI risk)

If I don’t have a checking account (see above) and use a credit card to make purchases to get points and perks then I either go online (again, see above) or I have to fill out your form with my personal information and hand it to a total stranger. Hello opportunity for identity theft. Right next to me, at arm’s length while I stare at your form, is my mobile phone. Please let me fill out a donation form on my phone that has been designed for my phone. All nonprofits should stop using paper credit card forms for gifts.

6. The USPS, fuel costs and a bad rep for a heavy carbon footprint

The rolling train wreck that is the USPS and their bosses in Congress will continue to drive postage rates higher and higher. Fuel costs play a role too and I don’t see $2 gas on the horizon. I defy anyone to look at direct mail as a benefit to the environment. How can it be? I once read that one day’s direct mail can heat 250,000 homes.

Can a carbon tax on direct mail be too far off?

7. Results

I have spoken to many nonprofits and when I ask about direct mail they say 1) it still “works” and 2) it’s a break-even branding exercise for us or 3) we won’t do it. Break-even is fine for awhile but when the 80,000,000 millennials are the ones your nonprofit will rely on then what?

The ROI on direct mail is weak at best. We have seen campaigns on our platform reach almost 3000% ROI. Direct mail will NEVER reach this level EVER.

8. Ever shared a direct mail nonprofit call-to-action with a friend?

I have never shared a piece of nonprofit direct mail with a neighbor or a friend because it’s way easier to share online via email and social media and all nonprofits should use social media for this very reason-it’s all about sharing.

At the center of sharing is mobile phones. Direct mail cannot foster or grow sharing. Period.

9. Your appeal goes into my stack of bills

I may be alone in this behavior but I don’t think so. Anytime I thought I might want to open a nonprofit’s direct mail piece it went into my pile of bills so I could respond when I paid my bills after I saw what was leftover money-wise for the month. If bills were high, no gift. This isn’t fulfilling my impulse which occurred when I decided to keep your direct mail piece. If giving only took 20 seconds I might have made a gift right then and there.

My stack of bills is no place for a call-to-give and being seen as a bill is bad for a nonprofit.

Dale Knoop is part of a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a great platform for any cause engaged in fundraising. Any cause can create an content-rich mobile presence, share it through text messages, social media, QR codes, advertising and more and best of all-quickly and securely process donations from motivated supporters. Dale holds multiple patents and applications for patent in the mobile space including advertising, content optimization, geo-targeting and negative QOS.

2 large numbers to share regarding mobile fundraising

11 Jun

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Everyone likes large numbers when it comes to fundraising. We’re no exception to that notion. Here at RAZ Mobile we started June with two very large numbers: $10,000 and $100,000.

Last week our customer ArtsKC held their annual #timetogive one-day campaign and their campaign page on our platform raised a little over $10,000 in one day. To me this just highlights the amazing potential of social media and mobile giving made easy. This is the second year that ArtsKC has done held this campaign and achieved these powerful results.

During the day on June 4th ArtsKC along with many of their supporters drove the hashtag #timetogive to the top of the trending list for Kansas City. And along with the rise in prominence of their campaign that day the donations flowed in.

ArtsKC is a great customer of ours and a prime example of how very easy it is to drive mobile donations from anyone at anytime. The large number of $10,000 in one day proves it.

The other large number is even bigger, $100,000 and it’s how much our customers in total have raised through their RAZ Mobile campaigns and general donation pages. For a start-up like us we love it when our customers raise money because they’re doing many things.

  • They’re getting ready for a future dominated by millennials living on their phones
  • They’re learning what works
  • They’re raising their fundraising ROI
  • They’re lowering the average cost of a dollar raised

Many nonprofits are taking a wait-and-see approach for mobile fundraising and yet these same nonprofits are very likely missing donations and donors and don’t realize this.

Kudos to our customers for leading the way and showing the power of mobile giving. Perhaps your nonprofit should join them today?

Dale Knoop is part of a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a great platform for any cause engaged in fundraising. Any cause can create an content-rich mobile presence, share it through text messages, social media, QR codes, advertising and more and best of all-quickly and securely process donations from motivated supporters. Dale holds multiple patents and applications for patent in the mobile space including advertising, content optimization, geo-targeting and negative QOS.

The surprising reason millennials haven’t given to your nonprofit

4 Jun

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Each year The Millennial Impact Report comes out and is FULL of amazing data about millennials (20-35 year olds) preferences and habits as it pertains to their philanthropy. And there’s always some stats from the reports that stick in my head like a commercial jingle. The one that’s been playing over and over in my head is from the 2012 report. In it was perhaps one of the most surprising pieces of data and I guess that’s why it sticks in my head.

You see, smartphone penetration for millennials is up there-approaching 85%. They live on them and in social media. This generation is larger than the Boomer generation and just as concerned about making an impact in the world with their time, talent, treasure and social network. The millennial generation will become, almost overnight it seems, the most important generation to reach for nonprofits.

For millennials, your direct mail reminds them of things their parents do or did and they are all about doing things differently. They see the large carbon footprint of direct mail and the reliance on a relic, the US Postal Service, as nothing they want to be part of. Many don’t and will never have checkbooks or landline phones. They are online; you can think of millennial and online as synonymous. And when online, they choose experiences they like versus those that frustrate them. It’s a matter of their time and being associated with something that in their mind “doesn’t work”.

What frustrates them about nonprofits today is their lack of a mobile-optimized experience but this is not the reason for this post. Yes, 84% of nonprofits do not have a mobile-optimized giving experience but this is not the number one reason millennials cited for not giving to your nonprofit via their smartphone.

The number one reason they haven’t given is that they’ve never been asked to give via their smartphone.

Now I know this may have a lot to do with the fact that even on a PC your donation experience designed for the PC is not very good. You likely have multiple pages and too many fields to complete and I understand the hesitancy to present this to mobile givers.

But at some point you have to start asking them. It’s the number one reason they haven’t given to you and it’s easily solvable!!!

In fact, I will wager that every nonprofit in the US is missing donations every month for this one reason-they’ve never asked their supporters to make a mobile donation.

So my advice is to start asking and don’t stop with just millennials. I’ll also wager that your donors love it when you make giving easy. After all, giving is an impulse and all age groups love satisfying an impulse when it happens and this is especially true when they feel inspired to make the world or someone’s life better than it was yesterday.

Dale Knoop is part of a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a great platform for any cause engaged in fundraising. Any cause can create an content-rich mobile presence, share it through text messages, social media, QR codes, advertising and more and best of all-quickly and securely process donations from motivated supporters. Dale holds multiple patents and applications for patent in the mobile space including advertising, content optimization, geo-targeting and negative QOS.

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