Why naming is important

Working in marketing, one of the hardest things to get right — at least for me — is naming things.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how important naming things are and one of the great examples I’ve been tossing around in my head lately is “global warming” vs. “climate change.”

In the early days of the discussion of what carbon was doing to the environment, “global warming” was used quite often.

And, it’s true. Carbon emissions are causing the planet to warm up. But, global warming is not such a great name for everything else that is happening. Environmental advocates have been trying to get “climate change” used more, but global warming still floats around.

Once a name is out there, it’s hard to get something known by something else.

Great news about the Nonprofit Technology Conference #14ntc

If you had been hesitating to sign up for this year’s Nonprofit Technology Conference (#14ntc), some great news today! They’ve extended the registration deadline two weeks until 2/14. That gives you another two weeks to convince your boss that you should attend NTC.

Here are some great reasons why you should attend:

  1. You get the opportunity to meet me! And, 2000+ other people. Community is my favorite part of each year’s NTC and seeing all of the awesome nonprofit techie people is fantastic. I have even been known to come hang out in the lobby at conferences I haven’t been able to attend.
  2. You get to hear some amazing speakers. Whether you’re a super techie, a coder techie, a marketing techie (like me) or an accidental techie, NTC definitely has the content for you. You can even spend a good chunk of the day prior to the conference talking with some of the top nonprofit Drupal experts. Some of the panels I’m post looking forward to:
    – Unlocking Hidden Gems: Tales of Social Intelligence Wizardry and ROI of Supporter Acquisition
    – Online Testing – Practical Insights & Lessons Learned
    – Engage all the Things: Rethinking Online Engagement
    – Strategy is not a 4-Letter Word: How setting a plan for your online approach reaps rewards
    – 2014 M+R Benchmarks
    – Email Matters – Three Case Studies from Acquisition to Conversion
    – Salesforce 101: What it is and what is right for your organization
    – Progressive Enchantment: Crafting a Responsive Design
    – Mark Your Calendars: How to Create Holiday Fundraising Digital Campaigns … Not Just at Year-End
    – Make it Mobile
    – Choosing the right partner for your next website or CRM Project
  3. The amazing social events. Many of the sponsors hold evening activities that are super fun. You also have #ntcbeer, an annual event that many people look forward to attending. And, you can’t forget about geek games, which finish off the event.

Don’t miss out on registering for the Nonprofit Technology Conference. It really is a must not miss event.


Charity: Water — Integrating Social Media & Email Marketing in their Holiday Campaign

Charity: Water always does an excellent job with their marketing, and their campaigns for the 2013 Holiday Season were certainly no exception.

In my opinion, one of the best ways to increase engagement with social media — which eventually may lead to donations — is to make sure that your messages that people are seeing on social media match what they are receiving in the email inboxes.

Charity: Water started out with a very simple message in early December. It’s message was straightforward and very clean to read.

Throughout the next couple of weeks, Charity Water sent out a series of messages highlighting each of the topics discussed in it’s first email. The little thumbnails that were in the message on December 12th became the centerpiece of new messages.

At the same time, Charity: Water shared the same image and message on their Facebook page.

Screenshot 2014-01-04 02.07.30

Charity: Water used these paired images throughout the holidays to integrate their social media and their email marketing efforts.

Their final message at end-of-year incorporated several of the images in one message. They used the same image on Facebook that day.

If you would like to see what other nonprofits used for their email marketing campaigns for the Holiday season and end-of-year, make sure to check out my Pinterest boards.

What I Accomplished in 2013 / Goals for 2014

I wanted to do a bit of a wrap-up post about 2013 and my plans for 2014, but I was a bit stuck … until I read this post by Chad Allen and it gave me the perfect framework of what I wanted to write.

What made me proud? 

What do I regret? 

What are my goals / plans for 2014? 

I plan on doing a similar post about my personal goals over on sueanne.me tomorrow.

This is what nonprofits need more than a Facebook donate button

Sign the petition #FacebookAdGrantsEarlier this week, Facebook announced a new way for nonprofits to collect donations via Facebook. I shared my take here. While I love the idea of people being able to immediately donate to a nonprofit on Facebook, there is a something that nonprofits need more.

Facebook needs to launch an ad grant program similar to Google Grants.

That’s why I’m supporting this petition that calls on Facebook to launch an ad grants program.

The Google grant program has been a great success for Google — and for the nonprofits that participate in the grant program. When I was with EMQ FamiliesFirst, we used our Google grant to build brand awareness, recruit donors and also to help recruit foster parents. In fact, our foster parent ads were the most successful of all the ads we ran on Google.

As Facebook continues to tweak its Edgerank algorithm, it’s made it clear that in order to get into people’s news feeds, brands need to be willing to pay for advertising. For large brands with huge marketing budgets, that’s awesome. But, for cash-strapped nonprofits, that’s a challenge. An ad grant program would go a long way to helping nonprofits reach those that may be interested in supporting their cause.

And, there’s an easy way for Facebook to turn this into a win-win. Facebook wants people to make donations to nonprofits on Facebook because those transactions add to the collective of information that Facebook has about that person, and it also makes it easier in the future for those users to complete other transactions (like Facebook gifts). Having an ad grant program which drives more people to a nonprofit’s Facebook profile will lead to increase in donations on Facebook’s new donation platform. The nonprofit wins with increased visibility. Facebook wins with more users using its transaction system.

Please sign this petition to get Facebook to launch a grant program for nonprofits.

My Take on the New Facebook Donate Feature

Facebook donateToday, Facebook announced a new donate feature that offers participating nonprofits the ability to quickly accept nonprofits via their Facebook profile.

Facebook users can choose to donate $10, $25, $50, $100 or $250. And, they can either donate with a credit card or via a Paypal account.

There’s a lot of good news about this announcement.

First, Facebook is covering all of the transaction costs, so 100% of the donation made is going to the nonprofit.

Second, the donation from a user perspective is super simple. I had previously made a Facebook transaction using my paypal account, so it literally took me under a minute to make a donation.

I also received a thank you almost immediately from Facebook with the co-branding of the nonprofit thanking me for my donation.

What I think is missing:

I’m not presented with an opportunity to share that I just made the donation with my Facebook friends. This seems like a key missing step.

Facebook is also not allowing users to opt-in to sharing their information with the nonprofits. This decreases the amount of future engagement the nonprofit can have with the donor.

I also cannot change a donation amount. If I wanted to give a specific amount, this isn’t possible. It’s also not possible to give a donation of more than $250.

Another major missing piece is the nonprofits that were chosen to participate in the campaign. While it’s a great list — with many nonprofits that I support — the list is of mostly expected nonprofits (WWF, American Red Cross, Water.org, Livestrong, UNICEF, etc.). It would have been great to see some unexpected nonprofits on the list. Nonprofits not on the initial rollout do have an opportunity to apply to be part of the program, but there’s no timeline on when those applications will be accepted.

It will be interesting to see how nonprofits choose to use this feature. Will they encourage people to make donations, even with the limitation that they won’t receive donor information? Will they choose to send people to their donation page instead? Will they try to use other tools, like ActionSprout, to increase engagement and gain donor information?


Lightboxes for the holidays

Yesterday over on the “company” blog, I wrote about the importance of lightboxes for holiday and end of year donations.

I shared what a couple of our clients have done, including Defenders of Wildlife, The Wilderness Society, National Audubon Society and the American Diabetes Association.

I’m also sharing some of my favorite holiday marketing ideas over on the 2013 Christmas Holiday Nonprofit Campaigns Pinterest board.

Here are some of my favorites:

Feeding America



National Audubon Society



First Book Gift Catalog

Screenshot 2013-12-08 19.09.25

Don’t forget to say thank you

One of the biggest challenges with a day like #GivingTuesday or with holiday giving season in general is that you spend so much time preparing for the campaign and cheerleading for engagement and donations that when its over you just want to be done.

But, it’s important to complete the cycle and say thank you to your supporters.

Here are some of my favorite thank yous I saw after #GivingTuesday …

What I love about the MDA thank you is that its easily shareable on social media. It highlights what the thank you is for (#GivingTuesday) and it gives other ways to get involved and continue supporting MDA.

This is another one that I really loved. It highlights #GivingTuesday and also highlights the League of Women Voters in a great way.

So, this thank you is almost great. A) Everyone loves dogs and animal photos are hugely shareable. B) It says Thank You and talks about #GivingTuesday. However, the major bummer is they didn’t incorporate any of their own branding into the image and so as soon as someone shares it, it gets disconnected from the nonprofit that created it.

My favorite #GivingTuesday campaign – #NoKidHungry

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past couple of days looking at different #GivingTuesday campaigns. (And, also reviewing what many nonprofits were doing leading up to #GivingTuesday.)

Far and away, the nonprofit that I thought did the best in regards to marketing #GivingTuesday was No Kid Hungry.

There are likely nonprofits that raised more on #GivingTuesday than #NoKidHungry, but here’s what I thought they did right.

First, they started talking about #GivingTuesday at least a week before December 3rd.

They set up a ThunderClap campaign to allow supporters to “donate” a tweet on GivingTuesday to promote the campaign. They had 322 people sign up for Thunderclap with a reach of 2.7 million. Their thunderclap not only got people to donate their support, but also had great information on it about their campaign.



Another thing they did correctly was setting up a specific campaign page for #GivingTuesday. Over half of the nonprofit pages randomly selected sent people to a generic donation page for their organization. I believe that it definitely helps to set up a specific campaign. There were several items on this page that I thought were stellar:

The #NoKidHungry team was also very active on Twitter throughout the day sending several hundred tweets thanking supporters and encouraging others to be involved.

They also were very active in getting their partners involved in helping to spread the word about the #GivingTuesday campaign. The Food Network, Mimi’s Cafe and Tyson Foods were all involved.

They also had great graphics throughout the day highlighting the campaign. The images were graphic, bold and connected to their central message that each donation helps feed a hungry child.

To see more examples of what other nonprofits did on #GivingTuesday, be sure to check out my Pinterest board.


100 Organizations Participating in #GivingTuesday

As I began collecting pins for my #GivingTuesday pinboard, I began noticing a trend. Organizations were choosing to highlight giving for #GivingTuesday in one of 4 ways:

  1. Setting up a special donation page / microsite just for #GivingTuesday
  2. Pointing people to their end of year / holiday giving campaign
  3. Sending people to their main donation form and/or home page
  4. Setting up a campaign on Razoo, Indiegogo or a similar platform

Here are how a randomly selected 100 organizations chose to ask people to give. By complete coincidence, exactly half pointed people to one of their main donation forms with no mention of holiday giving or GivingTuesday on the donation page. (Note: I did not include any of the Indiegogo or Razoo campaign pages on this list.)

Special GivingTuesday Page / Site:

  1. AutismSpeaks
  2. NY Charities
  3. Heifer International
  4. Wounded Warrior Project
  5. Humane Society of the United States
  6. Network for Educational Opportunity
  7. Project Renewal
  8. Isles
  9. League of Women Voters
  10. GLAAD
  11. The Wilderness Society
  12. Cancer Research Institute
  13. National Audubon Society
  14. Feeding America
  15. Surfrider Foundation
  16. Free the Children
  17. PETA
  18. No Kid Hungry
  19. WaterFire Providence
  20. CARE
  21. Operation Blessing International
  22. Invisible Children
  23. George Washington University
  24. Mission Blue
  25. San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center
  26. National Breast Cancer Coalition
  27. Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation
  28. Michael Hoefflin Foundation
  29. Salvation Army – Midland
  30. Grist

Holiday Giving Page:

  1. The Salvation Army
  2. The American Gastroenterological Association
  3. Ronald McDonald House Charities
  4. Cancer Schmancer
  5. Food for the Poor
  6. Palmer Home for Children
  7. St. Jude Children’s Hospital
  8. The Nature Conservancy
  9. First Book Gift Catalog
  10. EMQ FamiliesFirst
  11. Best Friends Animal Society
  12. American Cancer Society
  13. Jane Goodall Institute
  14. ACT
  15. World Vision
  16. Casey Cares
  17. International Rescue Committee
  18. Lutheran Church Charities Fund
  19. College Possible
  20. Our Father’s Children

Main donation form / website:

  1. City Year
  2. The Bowery Mission
  3. Shelby Humane Society
  4. Institute for Responsible Technology
  5. It Gets Better Project
  6. Greenpeace
  7. Sea Shepherd
  8. The Water Project
  9. Pacific Crest Trail Association
  10. Special Olympics Indiana
  11. National Marine Life Center
  12. KYRS
  13. Sun Sentinel Children’s Fund
  14. American Red Cross Stories
  15. US Against Alzheimers
  16. CitySquare
  17. National Head Start Association
  18. Moton Museum
  19. Keep A Child Alive
  20. True Colors Foundation
  21. Maine Conservation Voters
  22. The Family Place
  23. Slow Money: Gatheround
  24. I Can Go Without
  25. Johns Hopkins Medicine
  26. No H8 Campaign
  27. Summer QAMP
  28. National Kidney Foundation
  29. US Soccer
  30. Free the Slaves
  31. The Ali Center
  32. Portland Museum of Art
  33. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
  34. Monterey Bay Aquarium
  35. Chicago White Sox Charities
  36. Africa Yoga Project (Featured on Google Hangout)
  37. Creative Commons
  38. DoSomething
  39. 826LA
  40. Variety
  41. SLE Lupus Foundation
  42. Diabetes Hands Foundation
  43. College Summit
  44. Be The Match
  45. Water.org
  46. 100 Cameras
  47. Habitat for Humanity SFSCV
  48. Students Rising Above
  49. Theatre Development Fund