Tuesday, June 14, 2016

CAUTION! Database Cleaning in Progress

You’ve heard it from us before. “Clean up your database now while the summer months are slow and you are planning for the holiday giving season!” Did you clean up your database last year? If not, when was the last time you cleaned up your list of donors? We’ll say it once more: bad data creates an inefficient process, mails to incorrect records, and can cost you a lot of time and money.

The Slippery-Floor
Database cleanup may not be the most fun part of your job. However, not spending the time or focus to fix issues can hinder your fundraising efforts. Your donors and supporters are your most valuable asset so to send them duplicate pieces of mail or incorrectly spell their name can cost you more than you think. Take into consideration your acquisition mailings throughout the year and how hard your organization works to recruit fantastic new donors to your cause. Now think about how easy it is for someone to stop donating just because they were not asked for a forwarding address or they received three pieces of the same appeal. How would you react?

The Best Defense
Prioritize, train, backup, and evaluate. Rank and segment your records by major donors, volunteers, monthly donors, and other key groups. This will let you update the most relevant information efficiently and in an organized manner. Train personnel to enter new donor information correctly. If donor data is input the same way every time, it will make cleaning up files next time that much easier. Backup your database. Technology is not always our friend so keeping an extra copy of records will save you a headache later. Evaluate your data and donor files. Pay attention to individuals who are moving, going through life changes, upgrading, or lapsing. Knowing movement within your file will help you effectively communicate!

The Resources Available
No matter what database platform your organization is using, there is training available! Most database websites have a section filled with upcoming webinars, quick resource references, or basic training videos to get you started. For more cleaning best practices, such as dedupe and NCOA changes, check out a great webinar we did last year here. We also published an informative article about cleaning your donor files, which you can read here.

“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The realist adjusts the sails.” – William A. Ward

Your furry friend,


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Why a Google Grant is Worth Your Time

Digital advertising through Google is one of the best ways to create traffic to a website or landing page online. The Google Grants program allows a nonprofit to create an ad in search engine results through the use of keywords and targeting options. The biggest challenge nonprofit organizations have is meeting the full $10,000 allotted amount each month. RKD Alpha Dog’s goal was to spend the advertising dollars and manage the Google Grant account for Humane Society of Tampa Bay. Once an organization consistently hits the $10,000 spend goal, Google will promote them to a premier Google Grants account which is worth $40,000 of advertising.


The Humane Society of Tampa Bay was approved for a Google Grant on February 14, 2016 and RKD started collecting data to take full advantage of the free advertising money from Google. The humane society ran six different campaigns during both February and March, which included topics of adoption, donation, veterinary services, seasonal, volunteers, and brand awareness.
Click-through-rate (CTR) ins found by dividing the number of clicks by the number of impressions. Although this number decreased in March, Google defines a successful CTR as 0.5% making this campaign extremely successful!
Average Cost Per Click is the amount spent in Google advertising divided by the number of clicks. A small jump of just 9 cents means the ads were very efficient when considering the enormous increase in March impressions.

 Your furry friend,


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Supercharge Your SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be an intricate process to implement into your organization. Our digital team can do amazing things with your website, but is there something you could be doing right now to boost your online discoverability? Here are three simple steps you can do today to enhance your digital presence.
Create Impeccable and Relevant Content
First, build a foundation for what people want to read and hear about. Ask yourself these questions:  What do I search for?  What do I want to see? What do I want to show up in a search engine about my organization? Armed with answers to those questions, you can begin to post content about sector updates, current partnerships, reports and case studies, stories that invoke an emotional tug, or recent fundraising successes. Update your content regularly to keep the search engine algorithms accurate, which will turn up your website more often.

Master Unique Descriptions, Titles, and Keywords
Descriptions and web page titles are here to help! Rescue your SEO by simply changing how you title your website pages. For example, instead of using the title “About Us”, rename the page to say “About (Nonprofit Name)”. These titles appear in search engine results and will assist users in navigating to the right pages on your site. Include descriptions in your links and strong calls to action. Use “Click Here to Donate” or “Check Out Volunteer Opportunities” opposed to “Click Here”. RKD Alpha Dog can help you identify your best keywords and plug them into your content, titles, and descriptions.  

Google+: Friend not Foe
Google+ is Google’s own social networking site that connects to the search engine and can easily increase the chance of someone finding you online. Google+ takes into consideration how many people you have in your circles and how many circles you belong to; it’s more than just what you post, it’s how you interact with those online. Join RKD Alpha Dog on Google+ to connect with others in your industry, get updates, and add us to your own organization’s circles. Spend some time finding thought leaders, social media influencers, your own team members, other nonprofits in your sector or geographical location, news outlets, and more.

SEO is a key digital element to unite your donors and supports to your cause. For deeper analysis and the ability to crush SEO, talk to our digital team! 
“All the best heroes are ordinary people who make themselves extraordinary.” – Gerard Way
 Your furry friend,


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

How Effective Is Your E-appeal Donation Form?

When was the last time you checked out your online donation form? How easy is it to use? Do you know how many donors have made a gift online in the last year? It's time to ensure your 2016 online fundraising efforts are first-rate.

The Test
Your donation forms are vital to the success of your e-appeals and emails that accompany a direct mail campaign as well as the overall results for your fundraising during the year. We ran a year over year comparison from September to October in 2014 and 2015 to see if a $75 pre-selected gift amount would improve the overall giving for Animal Legal Defense Fund. In 2014, ALDF was linking to a donation form that used $50 as a pre-selected amount for the donation and in 2015 that gift amount was increased to $75. The e-appeal was partnered with a donation matching opportunity campaign that was sent via direct mail.

The Results
The results were fantastic! The $75 pre-selected online donation form received more gifts, had a higher average gift, and raised 48% more than the previous year.

Take Action: We strongly recommend you take a look at your current donation forms for your e-appeals and talk to your Account Manager to see if this is a change that can boost your digital results.

“The road to success is always under construction” – Lily Tomlin
Your furry friend,


Monday, January 25, 2016

How to Rock Your Thank Yous in 2016

One of the hottest topics every year in the nonprofit industry is donor retention, which is why we are talking about it in January! The best road to a great retention rate in 2016 begins with gift acknowledgements. Saying thank you to your donors should be a top priority for your organization this year, if it isn’t already #1 on your list!

Be a Retention Superstar

Sending a gift acknowledgement can come in many different forms: an automated email; a personalized thank you card; or a thoughtful phone call. However, all acknowledgements should have the intent of deepening your relationships. Donors need to know their donation made a significant impact on your organization’s mission. What is your current retention rate? If you don’t know, how can you improve? (P.S. Your Account Services team member will know.) Sending a simple donation receipt without a heartfelt message will make your donors run for the hills. Take some time this month to review and implement a better and more comprehensive gift acknowledgement process. You will reap the benefits of your new and improved donor cultivation strategies at the end of the year.

Don’t Be Stale, Thank Donors Creatively

Timely, meaningful, handwritten and personalized thank you cards and phone calls are a great way to stay in touch with your donors after a contribution has been made. But there are also other ways to let your donors know how appreciative you are for their gifts. Think outside of the box and have fun with your gift acknowledgements! Short videos will be all the rage this year on social media, so why not create one on the landing page after a gift is made? Invite your donors to an event or a tour of your facilities. Send donors an anniversary card on the date of their first donation or annual gift or send a shout out to your supporters through social media.

Put yourself in your donor’s shoes. If you contributed to a mission that you really cared about but didn’t receive any recognition or acknowledgement for your gift, how likely would you be to make a future gift? You can build a stronger connection with your donors by letting them know how grateful you are for their support. For more on retention rates and gift acknowledgements, check out our headline article in the next issue of Embark, which will be released mid-February.

“Fundraising is not really about money, it’s about people.” – Larry C. Johnson
 Your furry friend,


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New Year’s Resolutions to Actually Keep

Happy New Year! The fresh start of a brand new year and the promise of great potential often present an opportunity to create resolutions and goals to accomplish. Here are three resolutions you will actually be able to keep in 2016:

  1. Thank Your Donors. Take a good look at your current procedures for thanking donors after a gift is made. Make 2016 the year that you send timely and personalized thank you notes and consider a welcome series online. Thanking your donors in a timely manner will retain their loyalty and commitment to your mission. Stay tuned for our next blog post that focuses on gift acknowledgements. 
  2. Update Your Website. This resolution does not need to be a complete overhaul of your current site. Consider optimizing your donation forms, Search Engine Optimization, call to action, and usability on mobile devices. Blackbaud reported a 45% increase in mobile giving from 2014 to 2015! View the whole report here.
  3. Keep Your Data Clean. Plan time at the beginning of the year to look through your database and use the NCOA and dedupe reports from your Account Manager. Then, schedule to clean your database on a regular basis. A fresh file will save your organization time, money, and resources for direct mail and digital fundraising. Contact us sooner rather than later if you need help reorganizing and cleaning your file!
January is also a time for planning and setting objectives. Remember that RKD Alpha Dog is always available to talk about your 2015 results and how you can further spread your mission in 2016.

"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney

Your furry friend,


Monday, December 28, 2015

Renewing Our Pledge To You

As 2015 comes to an end, we look forward to starting the new year with many of you. (OK, we admit we actually started the 2016 work quite a while ago!)

Seriously, we want to remind you about our commitment to you and your mission. You are the foundation of RKD Alpha Dog. Every day, we strive to give our best to show you that our partner relationship is highly valued and appreciated.

The following is our pledge to you:
  • Every day, our team of professionals will provide you service that exceeds your expectations.
  • Every day, we will listen to your needs and respond to your requests.
  • Every day, we will give your projects, packages, and programs the attention to quality they deserve.
  • Every day, we are committed to your success, and will assure that all details are attended to without error or oversight.
  • Every day, we will ensure that your activities are aligned with your organization's strategic vision. We will know your organization as a whole in order to support your mission.
  • Every day, we will continue to grow and learn to make ourselves experts in our field in order to serve you better.
  • Every day, we will go the extra mile to get you the results you need to advance your mission.
RKD Alpha Dog began with a vision of a company that would serve nonprofit organizations with the same passion that they demonstrate in their communities. It means you get our best work every day.

We thank you all for another great year and we look forward to the next bright year of making the world a better place for all.