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Technology

Community Crowdfunding: Together, We Can Do More

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sharon-greenCommunity Crowdfunding: Together, We Can Do More
Sharon Green, Chief Development Officer for WonderWe

Editor’s Note:  We are pleased to introduce Sharon Green as a guest contributor to this month’s issue of News You Can Use. Sharon is the Chief Development Officer at WonderWe, a multi-campaign, crowdfunding social network that enables individuals, nonprofits and faith-based organizations to raise funds and awareness. Sharon is passionate about helping organizations grow to serve the community, and has extensive experience in the nonprofit sector, including Hannah & Friends, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for children and adults with special needs and 3rd & Goal – Veterans Home Aid, which assists veterans facing homelessness and requiring home improvements in order to make their lives more accessible.

When we act as a community, goodness flows.  WonderWe, a free fundraising company located in Kansas City, Missouri, is committed to using technology for the good of communities around the world, knowing a community can consist of an individual, a handful of individuals, or dozens of handfuls (even dozens of dozens.) Size doesn’t matter.  Goodness does.  WonderWe supports those who do good, wherever and however that goodness is shared.

Crowdfunding is a contemporary, click-away opportunity to learn about the needs of organizations and individuals around your neighborhood, your city and our collective world. If an issue tugs at your heartstrings, it will take you only a moment to make a meaningful difference. WonderWe elevates crowdfunding technology to a fresh new level with exclusive design and inspired patent-pending features, including the We#code—a unique code assigned to every campaign. The We#code makes it easier to give—and manage giving—to any campaign WonderWe supports. Because WonderWe embraces a pricing model that relies on the goodwill of the donor, WonderWe is free to everyone.

Other distinctive features of the WonderWe crowdfunding platform include team fundraising, built in social networking and other communication options, the We#Code for sharing and promoting and a mobile video ask for peer-to-peer viral, personal fundraising requests. The app is mobile-ready with native and responsive products.

When we contribute our resources as a group—as a community—we can do more.  Consider a truck.  A four-wheeled vehicle doesn’t usually inspire an emotional sigh.  However, when the truck is used to deliver food to children of abused women, to clear parking lots for women seeking shelter from violence, to take in donations for families who left home with only the clothes on their back, the truck becomes a lifeline.  Hope House, Missouri’s largest domestic violence shelter, needs $50,000 to replace a 15-year old truck. Repairs have been made, and made again. Soon the truck will no longer serve any useful purpose.  When we—together—start thinking of a truck as a lifeline for food, donations, supplies and safety, it somehow becomes more than a four-wheeled vehicle. It becomes an essential part of a caring community. However, Hope House, like so many nonprofits serving community need, has more pressing priorities and a new truck, though necessary, falls to the bottom of the priority list.  With WonderWe, tapping into the power of group sharing, it’s just possible the funds for that essential, yet essentially dull and boring, truck can become reality.

When you tap into the influence of a crowdfunding resource such as WonderWe, you can browse the site for background, testimonials and endorsements. You can take your time as you tease out that particular need that sparks your personal passion—whether for a domestic violence shelter, a softball team of motivated young girls, or a hospital tucked into the jungles of Ecuador.

It’s easy to give. It’s easy to create opportunities to give. And it’s free.  Click here  to walk through the steps. Then talk to your friends. Talk to your family. Encourage them to join a community.  When ten people share a little, the gifts multiply.  When 100 share what they have, goodness grows beyond measure. Clearly we’re a community of individuals, yet together, how much more we become.  Communities matter.  You matter.  Believe in the wonder of the “we” who can do more.

Help your nonprofit make the most of #GivingTuesday 2016: 501 (c) Success with Asha Curran – September 15, 2016

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Lessons Learned in Nonprofit Innovation
Thursday, September 15, 2016
7:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Kauffman Foundation Conference Center

Reserve your spot and register today.

Lessons Learned in Nonprofit Innovation with Asha Curran is a program of the 2016 501(c)Success National Speaker Series. Make sure to attend, and help your nonprofit make the most of #GivingTuesday 2016 and other powerful innovations.

Asha CurranAsha Curran is the Director of the Center for Innovation & Social Impact with the 92nd Street Y in New York. In her role with one of the most respected and historic cultural institutions in New York, she leads initiatives that have garnered national and global attention, most notably, #GivingTuesday.

You won’t want to miss Asha as she shares her expertise and lessons learned in embracing innovation – working in the paradigm of the entrepreneurial world to increase social good.

Check out this recent article by Asha Curran and Henry Tims (Executive Director of the 92Y) in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. “Five Lessons on Innovation and the Institution” outlines solid principles for nonprofits to follow as they re-define how they will remain relevant and impactful in an ever-changing world.

 

Don’t Commit Fundraising Malpractice

By | All Posts, Campaign Planning + Management, Database Management, Donor Cultivation, Major Gift Solicitation, News You Can Use, Prospect Research, Technology | No Comments

Jeffery ByrneJeffrey D. Byrne, President + CEO

I truly believe it is “fundraising malpractice” when nonprofits do not do their “homework” about prospective donors.  Much more than learning about the estimated wealth and capacity of a prospect, research can reveal information about philanthropic giving history and involvement as well as natural partners and connections. Then add the “human touch” of the prospect review committee process, and the result is powerful quantitative and qualitative data to help inform strategy development for prospective donors.

I am a big proponent of using philanthropic and wealth screenings in campaign planning (and I am speaking about this topic at the upcoming DonorPerfect Community Network Conference in Philadelphia on September 19.) They offer a valuable data, help you determine when/if more in-depth individualized research is necessary and provide information beneficial beyond the campaign, that can help with strategies for planned giving and annual fund.

Here’s my simple and universal process for utilizing philanthropic and wealth screenings to strengthen campaigns:

  1. Determine your “end use”
    You cannot simply import the results back into your database, never look at them again and expect magic to happen. Be disciplined in defining how you are going to use the results to empower your fundraising activities. Do you need help in determining target ask amounts? Do you need to know more about giving histories, to determine if prospects might have an affinity for your mission?  Do you need to better understand the prospects’ peer networks to help you develop appropriate ways to connect with them? Before you select a screening vendor and before you select the screening product(s) to purchase, carefully think through how you need to use the data.
  1. “Screen” your vendor and product options
    Wealth and philanthropic screenings are investments – of both time and money – that merit a careful selection process. There are several vendor options, so do your homework. What is their methodology? What are their deliverables? Is education/training included? Do they verify their results? How long will the screening process take? Can the data be easily imported/integrated into your database? Do they support that process?  Ask for references. Then call them. And don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish.  Screenings are also opportunities to clean up your database. There are valuable services available that will assess and address the accuracy and completeness of the contact information in your records (such as address verification and email, phone and address appends.)
  1. Select records to screen
    It may not be cost effective – or necessary – to screen your whole database. The flip side is that you don’t know what you don’t know – screenings often uncover wealth you never knew you had in your database. Your consultant or screening vendor can and should help you select the records you want to run. And it is imperative to provide all the fields the screening vendor requires in their upload template.  (Garbage in typically means garbage out.)
  1. Interpret the results
    A lot of information comes back in a screening, so you’ll want to make sure you are able to understand it, digest it and use it the way you need. A good screening vendor will help you do just that – and will be accessible to you beyond a 30-minute webinar or 30-page guide. You not only need to be able to interpret the data yourself, but you’ll need to interpret it for other members of your organization – both staff and volunteers. You’ll also need to determine what is appropriate to share and how.
  1. Integrate the data results
    Again, this doesn’t mean just importing the results into your database. You have to make the data work for you. Integrating the screening results means synthesizing the information and incorporating it into your donor development efforts through the steps below.
  1. Prospect review committee
    A small and select group of volunteers and staff, the prospect review committee is a most effective – and personal – way to rate prospects, as a complement to screenings and in-depth research profiles. Composed of those “in the know” in your organization’s community, this highly-confidential group works early on in the campaign planning process to rank capacity and potential interest (not just for giving but for volunteering as well.) The committee works in sessions over several days or a couple of weeks, but the process is fast-paced and highly-facilitated (typically by staff or a consultant.) The end result is a prospect list that is “categorically” ranked/prioritized and supported by anecdotal information.
  1. In-depth research profiles
    Some prospects merit additional, in-depth research. These profiles contain expanded details about a prospect’s education, employer, professional career, family, hobbies/personal interests and civic/community activities. The information gathered should only be information that affects a person’s ability or inclination to give: relevant and publicly available. 
  1. Appraisals/Solicitation Amounts
    Determining appropriate ask amounts is a combination of several factors:  the capacity recommendations/target ask amounts provided in the screening results, the anecdotal and ranking information provided by the prospect committee review, the prospect’s relationship with your organization and last but certainly not least, good judgement.
  1. Strategies
    Now you’ve got a solid foundation for developing personalized and customized plans for prospect cultivation and solicitation.  A “good ask” is more than just an amount. Knowing through whom, how and when to approach a prospect makes for more effective relationship-building.  Strategy is about encouraging and empowering the prospect to become an important part of your organization’s mission.

The resources and methods for prospect research may feel endless, overwhelming and even cost prohibitive. But it does not have to be that way.  If you use research information appropriately, there can and should be a very valuable return on your investment.

#GivingTuesday 2016

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#GivingTuesday 2016 will soon be here:  November 29.

Be sure to watch for #GivingTuesday billboards throughout Kansas City, courtesy of Lamar Advertising. For the fifth year in a row, Lamar Advertising is collaborating with JB+A to support this global day of giving, by generously providing pro bono digital billboards throughout the Greater Kansas City Metro.

Is your organization ready to be a part of this powerful, annual tradition of giving?

The fourth year of #GivingTuesday (2015) set another milestone:  an estimated $116.7 million in donations were made on December 1, 2015 – a 181% increase over 2014. What’s in store for 2016?

A solid plan for the big day will increase your chances of fundraising success.

Here are some quick tips for getting started now:

  • Examine last year’s results
    Gather input from staff, volunteers and donors who participated in #GivingTuesday.  What went well?  What are areas for improvement?  Look at your data.  Did you hit your goals?
  • Set goals
    Do you want to raise awareness?  Attract volunteers?  Raise dollars?  Clearly defining your goals and objectives will help you map out tactics.
  • Gather your resources
    Do you have everyone and everything you need for the big day?  #GivingTuesday has lots of moving parts:  people, content and platforms, just to name a few.  Make a list of activities and who’s responsible.
  • Start ramping up on social media
    Send out “Save the Date” reminders.  Put a banner on your website.  Add a footnote about #GivingTuesday to your newsletters and blog pieces. Let your friends and followers know you are gearing up for the big day.
  • Brainstorm
    Do you have a specific project that has #GivingTuesday appeal?  Who could be a matching donor to double the impact to your organization? How can you tell your organization’s story concisely and creatively?

Want more ideas and tips in mapping out your #GivingTuesday plan?  Click here for the JB+A #GivingTuesday Guide.

YES! Nonprofits Can Hashtag

By | All Posts, Capacity Building, Donor Cultivation, Fundraising, Insights, News You Can Use, Nonprofit Marketing, Stewardship, Technology | No Comments

Anne Headshot for uploadAnne Corless
Associate Consultant

In last month’s newsletter, we talked about the #GivingTuesday 2015 campaign for your nonprofit.  So, you’ve downloaded the JB+A GivingTuesday_Toolkit_2015 and reviewed all the materials.  “Now what?” you might ask.

Before joining JB+A, I had an amazing opportunity to work in NYC for what has become one of the world’s foremost e-commerce companies. Its incredible success was built through grassroots consumer-driven marketing, especially on social media platforms. By engaging with customers on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and in the blogosphere, the company grew its brand exclusively through peer-to-peer referral via likes, shares, tweets, retweets, video reviews, blogs and reblogs.

From the mouth of Mark Zuckerberg himself, however, “Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission—to make the world more open and connected.”

The #GivingTuesday campaign seeks to capitalize on this idea. As a participating organization, you will become part of the global conversation about philanthropic giving that was continued by more than 15,000 nonprofits and 20,000 partner organizations last year, and which translated into more than $100 million in total gifts. Tapping into this energy, you will be able to expand your audience by increasing awareness for your mission, you will improve conversation about your cause by connecting with your audience in a meaningful way, and hopefully, you will be able to inspire your community to action.

Connect.
The best way to make new friends is through old friends.

Think of a blind date:  would you be more likely to sit down to dinner with a stranger if along with flowers and a nice head of hair, he came with a gushing recommendation from your best friend? Probably. Similarly, an introduction or solicitation from your organization will be better received if it is made with the endorsement of a mutual friend.

Social media channels empower businesses and organizations to make these personal connections. Your organization can capitalize on the established social networks of Board members, staff, volunteers and avid supporters of your cause. This is totally free promotional space that has the additional benefit of personal endorsement.

Reach out to your supporters and ask them to like, share and tweet your message. As follow up, like, retweet and respond to all posts and comments from your organization’s page – you can even like your own posts from your personal accounts. On Facebook, these interactive touches have the additional benefit of generating ticker stories that will show updates in real-time not only to people in your immediate network, but to friends of friends as well.

Message.
Engage in a two-way conversation.

Cramming your organization’s mission statement, future goals, past achievements, current projects and a call to action into 140 characters is a daunting task.  Actually, it’s an impossible one. Instead of a one-shot solicitation attempt, approach your #GivingTuesday campaign as beginning a conversation.

Speak with one voice. Decide on a tone and tenor to interact with your audience, and make sure that verbiage and formatting are consistent across platforms. Engage your audience by using a conversational tone – use appropriate jargon, but simplify your message so that it is accessible.

Provide speaking points, suggested captions and tweets. Arm your staff and volunteers with examples of appropriate and effective messages to share on #GivingTuesday.

“It’s #GivingTuesday, and I am donating to @ _____ because_________.”

“I’m gifting the money I saved during #BlackFriday to @______. I hope you’ll join me in supporting a worthy cause on #GivingTuesday.”

“The work we do @_________ is very near and dear to my <3. Show your support on #GivingTuesday and #savealife”

Increase your message’s visibility by using the #GivingTuesday hashtag across all platforms; this will link your post to Twitter’s Trending Topics feed, where it can be seen alongside posts from other participating organizations. Make your messages stand out by creating your own unique hashtag!

Image.Thirst Water #GivingTuesday tweet
A picture is worth a thousand words.

Attention is most easily captivated by visual content. In fact, posts that include pictures or some graphic element see greater engagement than text-based posts – producing an up to 85% interaction rate on Facebook and an increase in retweets by 35%.

Heifer International #GivingTuesdayCreate an image or info graphic that helps your audience quickly understand your organization’s mission and impact in the community – use charts and statistics to illustrate the issues at hand, how your organization is addressing them and the success you have had in a visually interesting way.

To make #GivingTuesday posts even more personal, encourage your supporters to post an #UNselfie – or “unselfish selfie”—to tell why they are donating to your cause.  Even encourage staff to take behind-the-scenes pictures of your #GivingTuesday activities (make sure to tag everyone!) This is a fun, interactive way to extend the reach of your message to untapped networks with a personal touch.

So, when you carry out your organization’s #GivingTuesday campaign, remember the key takeaways:

  • Use #GivingTuesday to open your audience’s eyes to the need for your organization.
  • Show them the work that you do.
  • Invite discussion.
  • Explain why you need their help.
  • Call them to rally to your cause.
  • Imagine for them the change you can achieve together.
  • Ask them to be an advocate.
  • Say thank you.
  • And say thank you again.

givingtuesday-unselfie