• Tip Of The Month: Stay in the Loop with Jon’s 2015 Fundraising Predictions

    jon-schaffrathNetwork for Good reported a 13% increase in online donations in this past year, this is a trend that is gathering steam for 2015. One way for your organization to take advantage of this trend to is to maximize your stewardship of these online gifts. Big or small, a timely and relevant gesture can make a significant impact on retaining these donors from one year to the next.

    Take the Stewardship Offline
    It is wonderful to be receiving so many gifts online these days and it is definitely cutting down on the time and cost or processing them for your organization (with automatic deposits and computer generated tax receipts). However, if you want to have a real impact on your top donors, think about sending them a handwritten note of thanks. Maybe have your Executive Director sign it or maybe just send it yourself. This added touch will cut through the e-mail noise and make your donor feel that they are important to you and your organization. My Tip: take a half hour each morning for a week (before you check e-mail!) and write these notes – having stationary, stamps, and pre-printed envelopes on hand will make you more likely to follow through.

    Be Broad with Your Impact
    Often times online gifts are designated to your organizations general fund and showing the impact of those specific dollars can be challenging, don’t let this stop you in your tracks. Take a subset of your online donors (preferably those you know and are likely to read your message) and send them an e-mail with a brief update on a couple of new programs from the past six months and a couple of initiatives on the horizon. Let them know that their annual support made these happen and that you can only be successful next year because of their recent support. Let them know that you will follow up in another six months to share another update or offer to stop by and provide them an update in person (a great way to get in the door!)

  • Tip Of The Month: Prep Your Nonprofit for December Donations


    The holiday season is one of the most important times of the year for nonprofits. According to the 2014 Charitable Giving Report, more than one-third of charitable giving happens during the last three months of the year, most of which occurs in December.

    So what can you do to get the most out of this time of year?

    Make the process fast and easy with click to give donation options.
    When you have a “donate” button on your site, you allow your audience to donate quickly and efficiently. This saves them the time of writing a check, and saves you the time of processing it. It also brings your donors through the giving process very quickly by allowing them to click on a link from your email or a social media posting and donate instantly. Per our previous Tip Of The Month, it is important to understand all of the steps required before fundraising online.

    Make your emails stand out.
    This time of year, people are receiving a higher than average number of emails. Whether they are about Black Friday sales or donating to other causes, it is easy to get lost in the mix. To get your emails to the forefront of someone’s inbox, have a subject line that is concise and direct about the content. Make sure that the email is visually clean, and is clear about the mission/organization and what the recipient can do to help. After you have made your case, link to your donate page.

    With these quick implementations, you will have the ability to capitalize on the biggest giving month of the year.

  • Tip Of The Month: Understand All the Steps Required Before Fundraising Online

    In our current digital age, nonprofits of all sizes typically have some online function for their fundraising efforts. Whether it is as simple as a “Donate” button on your website, or more along the lines of a full social media and email campaign, there are a number of rules and regulations that must be followed before you take your fundraising campaign online.

    Currently, 43 states and DC have charitable solicitation laws, most of which require some type of registration. Failure to do so can result in penalties for your organization. Additionally, you will need proof of this registration when filing your annual 990 with the IRS. Additionally, many potential donors want to research organizations before donating, so depending on your state, this will get you on the proper lists.

    So what steps can you take to ensure that you are properly registered?

    1. Read up on state requirements, then decide what steps your organization should take.
    2. Register in every state. For larger campaigns, this is often required as your donors can come from anywhere in the US.
    3. Accept donations from certain states only. For smaller organizations, it may make sense to register in a few states at a time to save time and money. However, your solicitation activities would have to be confined to those states.

    Read full article from Business 2 Community here.

  • Tip Of The Month: How to Avoid Getting Hacked

    mindmax-c6d85b40-76b4-4017-8190-ca52baf8a764-v2Being “hacked” is something that we are constantly hearing about in the news. Whether it’s leaked celebrity photos or credit card information being compromised from a large chain, this phenomenon continues to be on the rise. What we don’t hear as much about on the news, however, is small businesses or individual’s information being hacked.

    So how can you protect your, and just as importantly your database’s, information? Here are some tips:

    1. Better passwords. It is important to make sure that everything used for the business is encrypted, from laptops to cell phones to iPads. These passwords should be complex to be most effective.
    2. Safe Emailing. Be very careful about what attachments you open, and make sure that you know the sender.
    3. Phone Wipeout. In the event that your phone, tablet, laptop, or other device with sensitive data is stolen, make sure that you know how to wipe it so that the information on it is kept secure.

    See more about protecting yourself from hackers here.

  • Tip Of The Month: Use Viral Marketing to Make a Difference

    mindmax-e37119c0-99bc-45cd-8e03-aff84c8752e4-v2The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a fundraiser that has been sweeping the nation which was started by Pete Frates who is currently suffering from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

    For those who have not been checking their Facebook feed: the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge invites someone to pour a bucket of ice over their head or donate $100 towards the ALS charity of their choice (many do both). Upon completion of the challenge, the invitee is welcome to nominate their friends to participate within 24 hours. This is all done within a video that is posted to social media.

    The Ice Bucket Challenge has already raised $13.3 million for the ALS association with 260,000 new donors, and even more awareness: having been mentioned 2.2 million times on Twitter in the past few weeks alone. “Did we ever imagine the level of awareness or the money that is coming in? In our dreams we did,” said Mr. Frates’s mother, Nancy Frates. (NY Times).

    So what can we learn from this? While it is difficult to predict what will and will not “go viral,” we can still draw inspiration from the format of this campaign. It’s a perfect blend of something fun and something serious, and challenges people by name to participate.

    Next time you are working on a creative campaign to raise money and awareness, try this format. It may not go viral, but the results could surprise you.

    To see the full article from NY Times, click here.

  • BU Honored for Excellence in Online Education

    At its sixteenth annual international conference in November, the Sloan Consortium honored Boston University for excellence in institution-wide online education. The Sloan Consortium is the leading professional organization for online teaching and learning, with the stated mission of leading efforts to integrate online education into the mainstream of higher education—and in so doing, improving the quality, scale, and breadth of education. - Read article