npENGAGE Nonprofit thought-leadership and trends Wed, 23 Apr 2014 22:42:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 13 #npEXPERTS Share their Most Valuable Donor Acquisition & Fundraising Ideas Wed, 23 Apr 2014 18:16:39 +0000 Frank Barry

Due to the incredible response we received the last time we brought together leading nonprofit experts to share their best fundraising insights, we decided to do it again!

That’s right – we’ve rallied 13 nonprofit thought leaders to share their best fundraising strategies, tips and ideas with YOU.

In our latest installment of npEXPERTS – “Cupids Arrow: Targeted Strategies to Acquire Supporters“ - you’ll find 36-pages of thoughtful advice on donor acquisition strategies, written collaboratively by a cross-section of nonprofit fundraising experts. I have no doubt that you’ll improve your fundraising efforts and boost acquisition rates if you take the advice each of these professionals are sharing.

Here’s a look at what you’ll find in this free eBook:

madeline 13 #npEXPERTS Share their Most Valuable Donor Acquisition & Fundraising Ideas
How to Get Noticed and Turn Heads

By Madeline Turner: A lover of words, fellow middle children, bold ideas, and Thai food. Managing Editor @Blackbaud. Find Madeline On Twitter

scott 13 #npEXPERTS Share their Most Valuable Donor Acquisition & Fundraising Ideas
Know Your Type

By Scott Gilman: Louisville Cardinals, horse racing, nonprofits, music, movies, various rants. Find Scott On Twitter

ryan 13 #npEXPERTS Share their Most Valuable Donor Acquisition & Fundraising Ideas
Think Speed-Dating, Not Dinner and A Movie

By Ryan King: Senior Marketing Manager. Tweets about #marketing, #nonprofit and #nptech,#arts and #museum best practices. Husband, new dad, Clemson alum. Find Ryan On Twitter

nancy 13 #npEXPERTS Share their Most Valuable Donor Acquisition & Fundraising Ideas
Be Accommodating to Different Preferences

By Nancy Palo: A fundraising strategy consultant who is passionate about helping non-profits raise money to further their missions and make the world a better place. Find Nancy On Twitter

mike 13 #npEXPERTS Share their Most Valuable Donor Acquisition & Fundraising Ideas
If You’ve Got It, Flaunt it

By Mike Snusz: Nonprofit online fundraising & marketing consultant @Blackbaud. Past fundraiser @roswellpark. Blog at . Occasional #sjubb posts. Find Mike On Twitter

andy 13 #npEXPERTS Share their Most Valuable Donor Acquisition & Fundraising Ideas
What Does Your “About Me” Section Say About You?

By Andy Welkley: Peer to Peer Commentator, Serial ‘Couch to 5K’ participant, Dad, Ravenous consumer of content. Find Andy On Twitter

andrew 13 #npEXPERTS Share their Most Valuable Donor Acquisition & Fundraising Ideas
Get as Many Phone Numbers as You Can

By Andrew Shoaff: Passionate about the NGO community. Strategic thinker. Manager for Blackbaud’s Interactive Strategy team. Find Andrew On Twitter

chas 13 #npEXPERTS Share their Most Valuable Donor Acquisition & Fundraising Ideas
Don’t Forget to Make the Call

By Chas Offutt: Find Chas On Twitter

frank 13 #npEXPERTS Share their Most Valuable Donor Acquisition & Fundraising Ideas
There’s Plenty of Fish in the Sea

By Frank Barry: Grateful husband. Triplet Dad! icon smile 13 #npEXPERTS Share their Most Valuable Donor Acquisition & Fundraising Ideas Movie lover & Tech geek. I help non-profits w/ tech., social media, online strategy and fundraising. Find Frank On Twitter

emily 13 #npEXPERTS Share their Most Valuable Donor Acquisition & Fundraising Ideas
Give ‘em Something to Talk About

By Emily Goodstein: #birthphotographer. online organizer at @westendstrategy. loves: naps + breakfast tacos + reproductive justice. jewess. blogger at Find Emily On Twitter

michael 13 #npEXPERTS Share their Most Valuable Donor Acquisition & Fundraising Ideas
Play the Game

By Michael Beahm: Customer Advocacy Marketing Manager @Blackbaud. Contributor at . @IJM Freedom Partner. Dad of 2 boys. Crossfitter. Find Michael On Twitter

danielle 13 #npEXPERTS Share their Most Valuable Donor Acquisition & Fundraising Ideas
It’s About Give and Take

By Danielle Johnson: Fundraising geek. Mom. Interactive Consultant. Speaker. All around bad ass! I love working with organizations that are changing the world. Find Danielle On Twitter

steve 13 #npEXPERTS Share their Most Valuable Donor Acquisition & Fundraising Ideas
It’s All About Conversion

By Steve MacLaughlin: Director of the Blackbaud Idea Labs, Fundraising data nerd, and 15+ years building successful online initiatives with for-profit and nonprofit organizations across the world. Find Steve On Twitter


We’d love to hear your feedback! After you’ve had a chance to download and read the eBook, please come back and let us know what you learned. The npEXPERTS are eager to hear icon smile 13 #npEXPERTS Share their Most Valuable Donor Acquisition & Fundraising Ideas

Frank Barry is the Director of Digital Marketing at Blackbaud and blogger at npNGAGE. He digs helping nonprofits excel at digital marketing, social media and online fundraising. Follow him on Twitter @franswaa and make sure to download npEXPERTS.


]]> 0
Do you want to change the world? Prove it. Tue, 22 Apr 2014 12:14:43 +0000 Ben Baker Do you want to change the world?

Such is the call of a recent integrated marketing campaign launched by Mission of Hope, Haiti (MOH). For the past fifteen years, MOH Founders Brad and Vanessa Johnson have indeed been changing the world, dedicating their lives to save tens of thousands of children in poverty-stricken Haiti. To date, approximately 70,000 children and students have received daily meals, 6,000 children have been educated, 430 families have been provided long-term housing and 6,000 children have attended MOH’s Vacation Bible School program. Hefty numbers, to say the least.

Looking for Sponsors

Mission of Hope currently has 7,700 students enrolled in its network of schools across Haiti, 2,000 more than they had the year before. Through MOH’s program, each of these students is provided for by a “sponsor,” who, by donating $35 a month, can help provide for the needs and education for one individual child. In return, the sponsor receives pictures from his or her child throughout the year, as well as a report card of the child’s school process. Also, the sponsor can correspond with the child through letters. Unfortunately, the need grows and Mission of Hope, Haiti is facing a problem that is no small endeavor. Of the 7,700 students enrolled across Haiti, 2,800 still need sponsors. How do you tackle a challenge of this size, especially when so much is on the line?

The Integrated Campaign

To further child sponsorships, Mission of Hope recently launched a 3 week integrated digital campaign, coordinating hashtags, Facebook and Twitter cover photos, posts and email blasts to drive traffic towards its newly revamped website in hopes of recruiting new sponsors. An email blast sets the tone for each week, social profile photos change, and tweets and Facebook posts follow the cadence. Each post features a different tracking link to MOH’s sponsorship catalog to help the group measure originating website traffic and campaign ROI.

This integrated campaign for the Mission of Hope is a well-oiled machine. Though there are no hard numbers as of right now as the campaign is in full swing. Rest assured, children will be sponsored.

MOH twitter post week 2 Do you want to change the world?  Prove it.

Lessons for All

When asked what sorts of lessons had been learned thus far in the integrated campaign, Mission of Hope provided four key takeaways that could great advice for other NGOs.

  • Have a well laid out execution plan.
  • Track your links so you can see where your traffic is coming from.
  • Coordinate your staff and contacts to spread the word about your campaign through their own personal social media accounts.
  • Encourage your constituents to share their personal stories. These can be encouraging to both you and to those who you are trying to reach.

So, again, do you want to change the world? Through a well-executed marketing campaign, Mission of Hope is challenging YOU to #ChangeOneLife and ensure #everychild a quality life and a quality education.

]]> 0
Personal Stories – Arts Orgs Need Not Apply? Mon, 21 Apr 2014 13:06:05 +0000 Ryan King This is a guest post from Anah McRae, Manager of Customer Support for Altru at Blackbaud.

According to the blog there are 5 key motivators for giving:

  • to support a particular organization,
  • because we are inspired by other’s stories,
  • to support a cause,
  • to feel good, and
  • to participate in an event.

If the first one is easy what can we do to get those that already support us to inspire others to do so?

Working with arts organizations there are often concern that your constituent stories aren’t as impactful. There is a perception that you have to have dirt and stitches to change the world for the better.  Of course we know this is not the case! We are changing the world and there are stories to be told.  Our job is to get those people, those lives, those schools and communities to want to tell our stories.  If a picture of an angry cat can get 4.5 million likes surely someone touting the effect of music and art on their lives can get just as many. And if 1/100th or 1/1000th of those people who like it go donate just imagine the impact. (Check out staggering updated statistics on social media).

How do we get personal stories out there?

Here are a few tips on encouraging those who support you to tell their story:

1. Recognize the impact.

If a mother or counselor calls you to express gratitude for that after school program, that summer art camp that kept her child off the streets or the guitar class in the gym on Saturdays, dig in. A few simple questions can help you craft a quick blurb for your site or an email that the mother can tweak and send:

  • How did the class help you?
  • How did it help your child?
  • Would you like to share this with others that may contribute to our program?

These contacts make us feel warm and fuzzy but if there is no follow up we have lost an opportunity.  I love this blog from last year that is a quick read on how to get someone to tell their personal story.  My favorite: Here’s my story about the program, what is yours? Another idea – create an exit survey at your museum that asks simple questions like “what’s your favorite exhibit” or “how many times have you visited the museum.”

2. Make it easy.

Educate those that want to help. It is one thing to agree that you want to help but yet another to have the time, the patience and the confidence to reach out.  Give your supporters resources like The Top 3 Things to Do After Making A Fundraising Page that gives step by step instruction on the best way to get your message out. Remember that blurb and email I mentioned in step 1? What is easier than copying something into a message and hitting send? People love to talk about themselves! Take notes, whip something thoughtful up and send it to them along with a link to a quick, easy fundraising page.

3. Make it fun!

Participatory fundraising often starts with events that allow people to get involved causally with a small time commitment.  Participants typically have a story and by raising money for the event they can dip their toe into the storytelling waters with one or two sentences about why they are participating. This blog talks about participatory fundraising ideas and the effect of healthy competition. Once you get the parent, the runner, or the dance-a-thoner engaged they will reach far and wide to raise as much as they can for the cause and while they are at it they’ll get experience acting as a fundraiser for you.

4. Reward them!

This article from PTO Today regarding the ABC’s of PTO recruitment (ok ok I’m a parent, forgive me) actually applies to ways that we can increase involvement universally and reward those that do help us. When you reward someone, thank them and show them the impact of their efforts they are more likely to return next year. Blackbaud’s Benchmarking study on Peer to Peer Fundraising Events notes that returning participants raise two or three times more than first time participants.

As we move farther into the age of overshare and crowdsourcing everything from our next pair of shoes to the best performing arts high school for our child personal stories will become more and more important to fundraising efforts. If 40 is the new 30, personal stories are the new mass mailing. When is the last time you told your story?

]]> 0
Are Nonprofits Now “Stuck” With Facebook? Wed, 16 Apr 2014 13:22:46 +0000 Mike Snusz Perhaps you saw last month’s news that Facebook posts are now reaching just 6% of fans?

An Ogilvy & Mather analysis of 100+ brand pages found the organic reach of Facebook posts has declined 49% since October.

Facebook admitted an impending drop-off in organic reach last December. There have even been reports that organic reach will be further reduced to 1% to 2% of fans.

From Time’s post on the free marketing gravy train is over to Eat24′s popular Facebook break-up letter, there’s been no shortage of reactions to the news (this post, now included).

Michael Lazerow wrote Facebook is simply following the path of similar digital advertising breakthroughs. As Facebook’s popularity has increased – with more businesses/organizations competing for attention – “free” is being replaced by “paid” distribution. He cites similar paths previously taken by Yahoo and Google.

How Declining Facebook Reach Affects Nonprofits

Nonprofits have largely been told they need to be a part of Facebook over the past 5+ years. Most have spent time and resources building up and engaging a fanbase.

The thought that they’ll need to advertise to continue reaching their fanbase may be tough for nonprofits to digest, especially compared to brands or companies. Reasons include:

  • Budget: Many nonprofits don’t have an advertising budget for Facebook – or anything else – like brands and companies do.
  • Expertise: Nonprofits may just be perfecting how to engage constituents, convert them to subscribers or use it as a retention tool. They’ll now need to learn the mechanics and best practices of Facebook advertising.
  • Resources: It’s more difficult for many nonprofits to simply hire someone who knows Facebook advertising, especially smaller shops.
  • Decisions on Smaller Fanbases: Some nonprofits haven’t built up a substantial Facebook fanbase. Should they now advertise to build up a fanbase, then advertise more to engage them? Or shift efforts to other free social media platforms like Instagram or Google+?

Are Nonprofits Now “Stuck” with Facebook?

As the shift from free to paid distribution occurs, some nonprofits may feel like they’re now “stuck” with Facebook.

Many nonprofits have built up a fanbase – possibly substantial – that has become an important piece of promoting their mission, including acquiring, cultivating and retaining constituents. Even though Facebook ads offer tremendous targeting capabilities, nonprofits will now likely need advertising dollars to continue reaching them.

For large and savvier nonprofits, this transition may have already occurred. But for many smaller and less sophisticated nonprofits, the challenges and learning curve will be much steeper.

Will Facebook Give Nonprofits a Break?

The nonprofit world has already started calling for Facebook to provide free advertising options for nonprofits, similar to Google Grants. There’s even a #FacebookAdGrants petition you can sign. For now, though, nonprofits need to think about whether they’ll start using Facebook ads to continue reach their fanbase.

Do you have thoughts on how Facebook’s declining reach will impact nonprofits? Please share them below.


]]> 1
Team Captains Bring Home the Bacon…and the Eggs! Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:19:42 +0000 Jori Taylor Jori Taylor is a Senior Strategy Consultant at Blackbaud, focusing on everything peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising. During 2013, Jori combined Blackbaud’s powerful P2P software, TeamRaiser, with innovative group consulting services to create Go! TeamRaiser. Go! is a comprehensive email strategy program that boosts P2P fundraising success by advancing recruitment and coaching tactics.

Who’s ready for another Blackbaud Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Study? I know I am and it gets released this week. Let’s take a sneak peek at a couple of data points and get the conversation started.

Let me begin by asking this…

Do you use the concept of teams/team captains with your event? Do you treat your team captains like recruitment and fundraising super heroes? Do you focus on the retention of team captains year over year?

If not, start doing all of this. Here’s why.

team captains bring home the bacon graph Team Captains Bring Home the Bacon…and the Eggs!

90-10 is the new 80-20

We knew team captains had value, but we never realized how much until now. Without team captains, there wouldn’t be teams with team members. Think about it. Have you heard of the 80-20 rule? It’s a rule that exists beyond fundraising, but when it comes to event fundraising, it means 80% of the money raised comes from 20% of event participants. Well, throw that rule out. If you really look at the data above, you’ll notice that it’s more like 90% of the money raised comes from 10% of event participants. Why? Together, team captains along with the team members they recruit are raising nearly all of an event’s revenue. Team captains truly are our recruitment AND fundraising super heroes.

The VITC treatment

Team captains are your most important segment. Seriously. It’s crucial to employ a stewardship program that caters specifically to them and their needs. Let’s call it the VITC, “Very Important Team Captain,” treatment. When creating a VITC stewardship program, consider the following.

Ask yourself:

  • Why do they choose this cause?
  • What keeps them engaged?
  • What keeps them motivated?

Be available:

  • Assign a staff member or volunteer to act as a fundraising coach to all registered team captains.
  • Create an email address or help line accessible only by team captains.

Lay it on thick, but not too thick:

  • Craft email messages with personalized content that provides the tools and guidance team captains need to recruit more team members and raise more money.
  • Schedule regular check-in calls.
  • Host in-person meet-up groups.
  • Create special apparel that recognizes team captains on event day.
  • Consistently feature a team captain in your general event communications to showcase their contributions.
  • Plan regular call-outs on social media that celebrate the successes of team captains.

Hold on for dear fundraising life

Team captains can make or break an event. Although participant retention is important year over year, retaining team captains is especially valuable. Invaluable, actually.  Team captains likely have a connection to the cause and the motivation to fundraise and motivate others to fundraise. If you lose a team captain, you lose an entire team. Ouch!

Want to learn more about the peer-to-peer benchmark? Join Blackbaud’s Amy Braiterman and Nancy Palo on April 16th for a webinar to dive into the findings of The 2013 Blackbaud Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Study. Register today!

]]> 0
Crisis Management 101: Tips to Help You Survive Tough Times Tue, 15 Apr 2014 15:36:03 +0000 Rachel Hutchisson No one likes a crisis. Especially nonprofit leaders like you.
With life already overly busy, increased demand for your services, a constant push to increase funding and more ideas being suggested than you can possibly implement, when do you have time for a crisis? Never.
Alas, that’s the nature of crisis. Things happen when they happen, and usually when you’re least expecting it. So what do you do? Push the worry away and deal with problems if and when they happen? No, instead, you should plan. Here’s a high-level view to get you started.

#1 – Accept that bad things will happen.

Ok, this doesn’t mean you make a plan to ensure they happen. This means, as a nonprofit leader, you should be realistic and accept that they WILL happen. Fire, flood, improper use of funds by an employee, an accusation of impropriety? Crisis takes all kinds of forms.

#2 – Own the problem.

When something DOES happen – whether it be a natural disaster or something caused by human action, don’t ignore it. As the leader, step up. Be transparent. And make it clear you will do your best to steer the organization through the problem – in the sunlight, not the shadow.

#3 – Tell the Story Yourself.

Make sure that it’s you – the official spokesperson for the organization – who takes the story public, not a third party. Contact the press. Be transparent. Share all that you can while maintaining whatever confidentiality is required. Be open. Be honest. And if you don’t know, say you don’t know but that you’ll keep the lines of communication open.

#4 – Keep the Team Updated. Ensure the core team of people – and the rest of your employees – know as much as it’s appropriate for them to know about how the crisis is being handled. A little information goes a long way. The absence of information often leads people to fill the void, relying on conjecture instead of fact to figure out what’s up.

#5 – Learn as You Go. As you develop and follow your plan for handling the crisis, document everything and keep notes about what worked and what didn’t. As soon as the waters are calm again, these notes will help you craft a better, stronger plan for next time. Although you didn’t welcome the crisis in the first place, you WILL learn from it. It WILL make you stronger.

A final note — As the months pass and you gain a little distance from whatever the problem was, consider sharing the story with others in your community. Perhaps other nonprofits like yours would benefit from what you learned. Is there a conference where you might present lessons learned and tips for others? In the end, enduring a crisis well can actually put you in an even stronger leadership position.

]]> 0
Include Paper in Your Spring Cleaning Tue, 15 Apr 2014 14:29:10 +0000 Ryan King Guest Post by Laura Ngan Tian, Senior Consultant for Blackbaud’s Financial Management suite

Spring is here! Wouldn’t it be nice if you can just go “spring-clean” office, de-clutter, and rid of all the papers in your desk? Can a paperless office work? Can you really maintain acceptable system of records while saving some trees?

With advances in technology, most organizations are now operating with less and less dependency on printed documents. And maybe it’s time for you to consider it in your organization and go with the trend.

A Document Management System (DMS) is a software system used to store and manage electronic copies of documents. The advantages of implementing a DMS are as follows:

  • less physical storage requirements
  • ease of access to documents
  • secured access to confidential and sensitive materials
  • faster and more efficient way of searching for documents
  • reduced cost associated with archiving and secured document destruction

What do you need to implement a DMS?


Don’t look far or think that you need to spend a lot of money on a good scanner. Keep in mind that most copy machines or printers already offer the capability to scan your documents. Most scanners have OCR (Optical Character Recognition) features that can convert images into its digital version which can substitute data entry or enable a user edit/update the text version of the document


A good document management system would not only provide you with storage, indexing, and retrieval capability but it should also offer versioning, security, and workflow.


Digitizing documents mean that it now lives in a hard drive somewhere. Now more than ever, backup, and retention is at the forefront. Remember, a backup is only good if it can be restored so routine testing plays a big role.


It is important to define the series of steps, workflow, status, and the approval for documents stored in your system.


And last but certainly not the least, you must ensure that you create or update the policy related to document management. You don’t want to invalidate all the efforts put into implementing a new system by not having a policy.

]]> 0
Not Performing to Your Potential? Maybe It’s Time for Some Self-Reflection Mon, 14 Apr 2014 12:00:22 +0000 Guest Blogger This is a Guest Post by Ann Marie Houlihan, a “self-dubbed helper of others” and Channel Marketing Manager at Blackbaud. Ann Marie is a training champion on a quest to ensure all customers are properly using the software they’ve invested in.


It’s important that we take the time to look ourselves in the mirror and evaluate how we’re performing.

We need to ask ourselves how we are measuring up against our employers objectives, against our personal goals and whether or not we are still on track for long term professional success.

What if you look in the mirror and you don’t’ like what you see?  Maybe you’re not performing to your potential, or you’re not sure that you’ve taken the right path.

Follow these steps to get yourself back on course.

Ask yourself the right questions

  • Are there aspects of your job that you just KNOW should be easier?
  • Do you find yourself doing the work and still questioning the results?
  • Are you spending time on details that don’t move the needle?
  • How would you spend your time if the pesky details were handled more efficiently?

Stop being a victim

Of course there are flawed processes and circumstances.  Everyone faces them in some form or another.  The opportunity is to rise above and seek out a solution that is feasible.  Once we get past the frustration of why things are broken, we can often find a way forward.

What if your flawed circumstance is lack of funding?

Then I challenge you to think differently.  Remember the question from above “How would you spend your time differently?”  Use the answer to that question as motivation.  It might be hard to justify funds for training for the sake of improving yourself professionally.  But if investing in training meant you could dedicate 50% of your time to a meaningful activity that is currently being overlooked, suddenly the investment doesn’t seem so extravagant.

Set a new goal

Decide when you want to start spending time on that other meaningful project.  What do you need in order to achieve that will free up the time required?  Training, consulting, data clean-up?  Secure funding from leadership based on your commitment to take on additional responsibilities.  Get training scheduled and push toward the new goal.  Keep leadership informed and track your progress.  Once you discover the power of self-assessment AND taking action, you’ll want to keep it up!!  It’s best to detail success now in anticipation of your next date with the mirror.

Start Now

Take this short 7 question quiz to uncover how efficient you are in using The Raiser’s Edge.  You may discover there are opportunities to save considerable time and improve the quality of your results.  If you discover there is opportunity, Blackbaud is here to provide the resources you need.  At the end of the quiz you’ll receive a coupon code for one free class to put you on the road to success.

]]> 0
How Can I Raise More Money with My 5K? Fri, 11 Apr 2014 17:39:52 +0000 Kathryn Hall We got a sneak peak at the 2013 Blackbaud Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Study this week. The stats and analysis give us some interesting insights into different types of fundraising events.

By studying the benchmarks, we can get insights into achieving greater fundraising success – and the solutions definitely vary depending on the type of event. A great example is the tale told by this graphic, entitled Revenue: Where does the money come from?

2013 Revenue Sources How Can I Raise More Money with My 5K?

Of the four types of events we study, all but one get the majority of their revenue through fundraising. In the case of 5Ks (and most short-distance competitive races), most revenue comes from registration fees. The graph suggests there is a lot of room to expand revenue by increasing the focus on participant fundraising. Clearly only a small percentage of 5K participants are fundraisers. Participants in 5Ks have the potential to be great fundraisers like their peers participating in other programs.

The most common ways to grow revenue from a 5K is to raise the registration fee or to expand the size of the field. But if you’ve raised the fee to the level the market will bear and/or if your number of participants is limited by the course you’re running … how then to expand your revenue?

Done indiscriminately, increasing the volume on the fundraising message may alienate the competitive runners who just want to do a 5K. This means we need to focus carefully on runners receptive to this message.

Let’s look at some practical ways to grow fundraising without turning off the weekend running crowd.

  • If we expect 5K participants to fundraise, do we ASK them to?
    When Blackbaud asked event participants, why didn’t you fundraise?, 47% of those surveyed responded “no one asked me to”. Maybe we’re so sensitive about using “the F word” that we don’t talk about fundraising enough? With this in mind, make a dispassionate audit of your website, marketing materials and event-related emails.

    • Does messaging imply that the fee covers participation and there’s no need to do more? Make sure it’s clear the fee gets you in the door AND we still want / need you to fundraise.
    • Does your communication focus on mission … or the race? Could you make it clearer that the intent of the event is to raise funds for the mission?
  • Do we treat everyone the same by sending the same messages to all 5K participants?
    By the nature of the event, we know a lot of participants are there to run more than for the cause. So instead of treating all participants the same, concentrate on expanding relationships with those already fundraising or who are mission connected.

    • Focusing on those most likely to fundraise, and creating a separate communication stream for them, lets us talk more about fundraising to a receptive audience … without alienating those who just want to race.
    • Develop an intensive cultivation plan for the “mission-connected” group, including emails with targeted messages, personal phone calls, and reminders about incentive levels.
    • Make the goal of increasing communication and “direct touches” to increase the average dollars raised by this group of active participants.
  • How do we identify likely fundraisers?
    Most likely fundraisers include those declaring their mission connection during registration or who self-identify as survivors (by answering your “why do you run?” or similar question on the registration form), previous fundraisers and current, active fundraisers.

    • For the mission-connected, experiment with creating compelling incentives, like a “champions for the cause” club for those who reach an elite fundraising level. Make this an extremely desirable club to join by the special attention you give to members before, during and after race day.
    • For those who don’t fundraise or declare a mission connection, invite them to fundraise and send them mission-related messages, but don’t continue to send fundraising messages if they don’t express an interest by making a self-donation, personalizing their page, or bringing in at least one donation.

Want to learn more about using peer-to-peer benchmarks to get better results?

Join Blackbaud’s Amy Braiterman and Nancy Palo on April 16th for a webinar to dive into the findings of The 2013 Blackbaud Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Study. See where you’re succeeding with event fundraising and where there’s room to grow. Register today!


]]> 0
Do You Know Your Ideal Supporter? Do They Like Borscht? Fri, 11 Apr 2014 14:03:46 +0000 Guest Blogger Guest post by Peter Gulka, Consultant for Blackbaud’s Arts & Cutlural Solutions.


As a person of Ukranian heritage, I am often asked “Hey – do you like borscht???”

If you’re unaware, borscht is a traditional Ukranian soup made from beets. Whenever I’m asked, I immediately get uncomfortable and try (usually in vain) to explain that no one likes borscht.

No one.

We feel we should like it, heritage and what-not, but really borscht was invented at a time when the only alternative was rocks. (This is completely made up, but I hate borcht so much that it might as well be true.)

Beets or rocks – which would you choose to eat?

Now, people all over the world order borscht thinking it is some sort of delicacy and that they should like it too, all the while gritting their teeth, but smiling politely and saying “Oh – it’s great!”

But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there are actually people who really and truly like it. They eat it on purpose,enjoy every second of it, and rave to their friends about it.

Let’s say you are a non-profit whose mission is to preserve and promote the heritage of borscht as a Ukranian delicacy.

Who are you going to ask for donations?

Are you going to try and convince everyone you see that borcht is awesome and they should support your cause to promote the production of even MORE of this delicacy? Unlikely…

But one day you stumble upon a cook who happens to make borcht. Nothing fancy, nothing ostentatious – he just makes it for himself and his family, and they really like it. He’s not even Ukranian.

What would happen if you came to him with your message so many others have rejected?

So it goes with many organizations we see today.

So much time and energy is wasted on the production and distribution of messages and materials designed to convince people to give or support an organization that, unfortunately, they just don’t care about. Imagine what could happen if that time, effort, money and creativity was spent, instead, on finding those who already had an affinity for your mission.

The surgical approach vs. shotgun approach

This premise is the basis of donor analytics and other screening processes. How can you use the information you have on donors, members, volunteers, and patrons to identify those most likely to support you. Who is your ideal supporter?

 Try answering some of these questions with your team:

  1. What characteristics does an ideal donor/volunteer/member have?
  2. What is it about them that you think will really set them apart from the rest?
  3. What is it about them that says they are opening to giving?

Going through this process will help you to determine the audience you should be targeting and how you can develop more meaningful messages. What will they find attractive? How can your organization empower them to save the world? 

]]> 0