Boston-based jam band up and comers The Jauntee have revealed an extended tour schedule, spanning from mid-February through the beginning of April. The band kicks off their new tour on February 12th in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and has stops planned at the Brooklyn Bowl, Nectar’s and more in the Northeast, before heading out West to Colorado. The tour also sees them play alongside a number of jam favorites, including Formula 5, The Fritz, Sprocket, The Southern Belles, Dangermuffin, Dopapod, LITZ, and Gang of Thieves. Don’t miss out!Check out the full tour schedule below, and head to the band’s website for further details.
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Continuing on the Thanksgiving theme of gratitude, here’s a wonderful thanks to donors from the Humane Society. (Hat tip to Alia McKee for sending it to me!)This is a great model to follow! Click on the image below or go here for the full experience.
Today, I’m answering another reader question:What are your suggestions for approaching corporations about giving to our non-profit? The ones with grants have specific request methods. Others give to charities, but it often seems sort of a random process, such as who has the ear of the president this week. What’s the best way to handle this?Here are four quick thoughts for Judy. For more thoughts, read what Wal-Mart and other companies had to say on this topic here.1. Know the company – do they have a formal grant process with clear objectives for social good or is it more ad hoc? Do your homework on the corporation and frame your issue according to what you learn about the company’s top philanthropic and business agendas. What can you find out about the individual you are approaching? How does your cause speak to what the company or individual cares about?2. Get to the heart of your cause and why it matters to people. It’s important to reach the heart not just the mind. Tell stories and use examples of the difference the company could make – just don’t forget to tie that message back to #1!3. Talk about how the cause drives business interests in addition to social good. Is your cause a way for the company to draw a distinction from competitors, a way to build employee engagement or a means to boost the brand in your community?4. Start small if you’re hitting a wall. Propose a simple, small grant for a pilot project. That will be easier to get approved – and once you show the impact, you can use that success to ask for more.
Image via the Traditional Fundraiser’s Coloring BookBecause I’ve been posting a lot about the state of the fundraising field – and the critical role of boards in bettering it – I wanted to invite you to a free Network for Good webinar, Building a Strong Board for Fundraising Success. It’s next Tuesday, April 30 at 1 p.m. Eastern. (If you can’t make that time, register anyway, and we’ll send you a recording after the event.)Here’s a description of what we have in store.Nonprofits everywhere are challenged to engage board members to solicit support and donations but let’s be real, that’s a really hard thing to do! Arming your board with the right tools can make all the difference: clear understanding of the fundraising expectation, knowledge about your organization’s cause and mission, and the confidence to pull-off “the ask.”Board “whisperer,” Dick Walker, will join Network for Good for a Nonprofit 911 webinar to present resources and practices that will help you shape your board into a rockstar fundraising resource for your organization.Be sure to tune in to this free event on Tuesday, April 30th at 1 p.m. Eastern; you don’t want to miss this! Register now.
I co-presented a session at the Nonprofit Technology Conference, “Creating Habits for Social Good: Use Behavioral Insights to Get Your Audience Hooked on Your Web Experience.” If you missed it, now is your chance to hear it! I’m re-presenting it as a free webinar on May 14.Here is the description:The bar is higher. As a cause website, it’s no longer enough to just be informative. You have to engage and delight your users throughout their web experience. By applying insights from social psychology and neuroscience, companies like Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook have created addictive user experiences and you can do the same. See3’s Allan Burstyn will join Network for Good’s Katya Andresen and together, they’ll explore these concepts and how they can be applied to your organization’s online efforts. They’ll cover how your organization can harness the hardwiring of the brain to achieve social good. If you’ve ever been stymied by unresponsive online constituents, this session is for you!Register here.
This is a test. I repeat, this is a test. I’ve got a few questions to run by you to figure out if your nonprofit’s website is doing all it can to bring in donations. 3. Do you have an e-newsletter or a downloadable asset to collect email addresses?A) Yes!B) We have an email list and send a newsletter out every few months.C) We have a snail mail newsletter that goes out semiannually.D) No, should I?If you responded all As, it looks like you have everything covered. Congratulations!If you answered D, make it your goal to build a quality email database. Google Analytics is a lifesaver in terms of getting to know your website visitors’ habits, but it can only track so much.Give people a reason to hand over their email address in exchange for something they wouldn’t otherwise have access to, whether it be an insider’s guide to fundraising success or a newsletter with priority registration for your events. Make it clear that when someone gives you their email address for a downloadable asset, they’re automatically opting in to your subscriber list. Give them the ability to opt out. An email address is the beginning of a relationship with a visitor who could potentially become a donor, so be mindful of the content and frequency of the messages you send.So, how did you do? If you’re 0 or 1 for 3, don’t worry—the best part of the web is that it can change! The time you spend improving your site to be more donor-friendly will be rewarded with more donations in the long run, just wait. I truly believe you will have little to no trouble accomplishing the steps we just walked through.Emily Lonigro Boylan is the founder and creative director at LimeRed Studio, a creative services firm in Chicago that works with groups that inspire positive change. LimeRed works with nonprofits, higher education, and social enterprises that promote the people, programs, and ideas that make people’s lives better. According to NTEN’s Staffing & Investments Survey Report, the average nonprofit organization has 0.7 full-time staff members allocated to “web” work and 0.7 allocated to “online/digital” work. Let’s face it, 1.4 people can’t possibly spend as much time maintaining and updating an organization’s website as an outside firm could. Many of you are the web/online/digital person at your organization, right? And we’d all be millionaires if we had a nickel for every well-meaning comment or email we’ve received that encourages us to try a new tool, make the site copy more meaningful, and, most importantly, get more donations.I’m happy to report that the three things I recommend will be fairly easy to implement and will make a difference in your donor efforts. (Want some step-by-step guidance? Download our eguide, “How to Create an Effective Nonprofit Website.”)So, back to that test.1. Is your site responsive?A) Yes!B) Somewhat …C) I’m not sure.D) What’s responsive?If you answered A, pat yourself on the back and move on to the next question. For the rest of us, let’s talk about what makes a site responsive.Most of us have accessed websites on mobile devices. In fact, a few people might be visiting your website on mobile devices right now. If your site doesn’t respond to users on specific devices, they’ll have more reason to take their eyeballs elsewhere.Imagine a first-time visitor experience: Jane comes home from work. She makes dinner and sits down to watch a few days’ worth of The Daily Show while she catches up with friends. She scrolls through her newsfeed on her iPhone’s Facebook app and sees that a good friend in another state is running a marathon to raise money for cancer research. Jane wants to support her friend from afar, so she clicks the link in her friend’s post and ends up at the beneficiary organization’s site.It’s like a Choose Your Own Adventure book—Jane’s ability to donate will depend on whether this site works on her phone. Otherwise, she’ll have to wait until she goes back to work and remembers to donate. Jane is a busy woman; do you really think she’ll remember to do that? Probably not. 2. Is your donation form easy to use?A) Yes!B) There are five questions, is that easy?C) There are three pages of five questions, is that easy?D) I get a lot of error complaints, so maybe not.If you answered A, you’re 2 for 3. Go on to the third question and see if you passed the website donor test with flying colors. If you answered B, you’re on the right track, as long as those questions are simple and essential. If you answered C or D, we’ve got some work to do so let’s get to it. (Need some help setting up a donation page that matches your website? Check out DonateNow!)Getting people to your site is most definitely the first step. But once they’re there, how easy is it to donate no matter where they are on the site? Donation forms run the spectrum from stunning and touching to disastrous and annoying. It’s best to make the form simple and don’t ask for too much. Handing over hard-earned dollars should be a joy, not a chore.No matter how simple or complex your organization’s donation forms are, regularly test the checkout experience. Check it from different browsers and make sure you’ve got a confirmation and thank you email set up to send within minutes of the donation processing. Acknowledging and thanking donors—whether they’re regulars or first-timers—should be a given, but not everyone is on top of that essential step.That reminds me of one more thing you could add to the checkout process to strengthen your relationship with potential, new, or ongoing donors.
Barrier #2: I’m not sure where to tell our stories. Stories can be told anywhere and everywhere and in a variety of ways: in your email appeals or newsletters, on your website, and on your social media channels. You can tell stories in words, photos, or video. The key is to use channels that work for your audience. Tell stories where donors are most likely to interact with them and see them. It’s not worth spending hours on a video if your donors aren’t watching them.Think about how donors interact with your organization and their typical response methods. Select one of those areas as your first priority for storytelling. Barrier #3: I don’t have buy-in from senior leadership. Many executives and board members are clinging to fundraising methods that are no longer effective. It can be frustrating to receive campaign feedback from a senior leader who deletes the storytelling bits and replaces them with dry corporate-speak. In this case, an effective course of action is to “manage up” and educate them about storytelling.Consider an A-B test or another sort of testing where you can show senior leadership – in quantifiable, measurable terms – the positive effect of storytelling on fundraising.Whatever storytelling barrier you’re trying to break through, remember that it’s worth the effort. You aren’t telling stories just for the sake of telling a story. You’re connecting donors to their impact, inspiring them to care about your cause, and ultimately raising more money to help your nonprofit’s mission succeed. Adapted from Network for Good’s Nonprofit 911 webinar “3 Strategies for Using Stories in Year-End Campaigns” with fundraising and communications strategist Vanessa Chase. Download the full webinar here. Did you meet your year-end fundraising goal? And are you telling your nonprofit’s stories to current and potential donors? If you answered yes to the first question, we bet you also said yes to the second. Storytelling is a super-effective way to connect people with your cause and raise more money for your organization, but getting started can feel more difficult than you anticipated.Here’s how you can break down some common barriers to nonprofit storytelling. Barrier #1: I don’t have direct access to our stories. Maybe you feel one or two steps removed from client services in your job. This makes it challenging to know about all the great stories your donors need to hear. Set up a regular meeting with program staff, even it’s just a 10- to 15-minute check-in, to find out if they’ve worked with any interesting clients, have seen exciting results, or are working on a new initiative.Remember: You can tell more than just client stories. Talk about donors, other staff members, volunteers, board members, or community advocates.
Giving is social.Study after study shows that people are more likely to give when asked by someone they know. Social connections and personal ties are strong drivers of behavior, and charitable giving is no exception. So how do you inspire your supporters to spread the word and raise funds on your behalf? Try these five ideas for recruiting passionate fundraisers who will help you reach new donors and bring in more donations.Tap into your board. Help your board fulfill their give or get commitment by making it easy for them to launch their own personal fundraising page. Your board members are passionate about your work, and they likely have the most influence over a larger network.Leverage your volunteers. Ask your volunteers to help you spread your message via social media and their personal connections. Their dedication to your work is the kind of inspiration that will make others want to join in.Let donors do more. Once a donor gives, invite them to share your work with others and encourage them to create a personal fundraising page to help reach your goals. In most cases, the contributions they bring in will far eclipse their original donation. The trick is to make it super simple for them to do.Turn your events into challenges. Whether you host a large annual event, an open house, or are just celebrating a milestone, give event attendees the ability to raise funds before and during the event. Everyone likes a little healthy competition: offer special incentives, recognition, or access to those who bring in the most dollars or donors.Encourage personal stories. Most of your supporters have a personal connection to the work you do. Offer the opportunity for them to share what your cause means to them with a personalized fundraising page. These stories are likely more powerful than your existing marketing materials and will go a long way in breaking through the noise in a crowded inbox or Facebook feed.Ready to put these ideas into action? In this archived presentation, I share more tips on creating an effective peer-to-peer fundraising campaign that will help you turn your donors into fundraisers.