You're Doing It Right—Spontaneous Online Gifts

One of our clients has had a lot of large unsolicited gifts come in online lately. Our interest is piqued because we're not in the middle of a campaign. There's nothing radically share-able that's been released. If I had to say it, this part of the quarter is a relatively quiet and calm period for this group.

Then it hit me.

This is when you can see your annual plan pay off. The consistency and authenticity of your workhorse communications make all the difference, e.g., newsletters, e-newsletters, alerts, tweets, etc. Being in front of your donors with useful information and copy that shows them exactly why they're so important keeps your group top of mind ... in a good way.

So when they feel moved to give, you're at the top of their list.

You've built a relationship with them that isn't reliant upon a hard ask or gimmicky campaign for support (written with full appreciation for the well-timed usefulness of the hard ask and gimmicky campaign). They feel involved—they feel necessary—to the success of your organization's work. They give freely and with a full heart.

That's when you know you're doing it right.

What Is Social Media Doing for You?

"It’s hard to replace paper dollars with digital dimes."

A publisher friend was actually talking about the difference between online and print advertising revenue.

But I suspect many development directors feel the same.

Sure ... online revenue is growing. And direct mail is falling (especially for those organizations that decided to save money the past two years by cutting back on their mailings!)

But the bulk of donations are still being generated through direct mail.

I was asked to be a part of a workshop last week. The topic was “Communications and Social Media Strategy for Your Nonprofit.”

But I wasn’t asked to talk about social media; I was asked to focus on segmentation ... and how to develop messaging strategies to address different segments differently.

I opened by admitting I'd feel like it was a bait-and-switch tactic if I was sitting in the audience. This was old hat. Boring stuff. Research. Data. You know, the kind of learnings you get from direct mail.

Or from tracking online interactions. If you have the ability (and discipline) to do that, of course.

But the fact is, no matter what the medium, you’re only going to be as successful as your messaging strategy. Knowing what you want – or need – to say.

And to whom. Knowing where your constituent is in terms of their understanding of - and commitment to - your mission.

Knowing what the next step on their path to advocacy could be.

Success stories on blogs. Facebook groups for events. Tweets about volunteer needs. It’s all good (as they say).

But, is it as good as it could be?

I’d say that depends on your messaging strategy.