Monday, August 24, 2015

5 (More) Simple Strategies for YouTube Success

We had such a great response from our last YouTube Optimization blog post that we decided to post a follow up! YouTube and other video sharing sites, like Vimeo, give organizations with limited resources the ability to publish multimedia broadcasting. Here are five more ways you can get the most out of your YouTube channel.
  1. Tag! Video tags will help those searching for your videos to find you on YouTube. Use tags in the title of your video, in the description, for strong keywords, and in video categories. The goal is to accurately represent the content of your videos, strengthen your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and increase your brand awareness.
  2. Subscribe and follow other organizations that you are interested in. By subscribing to other channels that are either associated with your organization or that you are interested in, you are opening your channel up for more traffic from those outside channels. There is a higher chance that someone will like your channel if you subscribe to theirs.
  3. Share! Use your other social media channels, like Facebook and Twitter, to spread your video. This provides content for those channels, as well as, expanding your audience. Send your video through email and embed it in your website to reach even farther.
  4. Use testimonials from volunteers, staff and donors! Allowing your audience to have a voice will increase the significance of your channel. By giving way to the two-way communication you are creating a stronger connection and therefore increasing the value of your online relationships.
  5. Plan your content. Create a content calendar with valuable, relevant and consistent information in order to acquire more followers. Thinking about your audience is the first step in deciding what to include, when to post, and where to publish your content. Having a consistent message in your strategy will build brand loyalty and awareness. Steps to creating content are first defining your mission and who your target audience is, which themes your content will follow, how you will distribute the information, and finally evaluating and measuring the performance of your content marketing.

Check out Alpha Dog Marketing’s new YouTube channel for more industry updates, recorded webinars, and educational videos!

Monday, August 10, 2015

5 Simple Strategies for YouTube Success

In case you hadn’t heard, Alpha Dog Marketing just launched our own YouTube channel last month, so we thought it would be a good idea to give a few tips and best practices about how to make the most out of this social networking site. YouTube can be a great tool to expand your brand exposure and is one of the most engaging social media sites to date. Here are 5 simple ways you can optimize your YouTube channel:
  1. Be strategic in your channel design and initial setup. The first step to creating a great YouTube channel is to make the viewing experience pleasurable. Your organization’s logo, colors, and brand should be immediately recognizable in the profile and cover photos. Limit your channel description to a short paragraph that reflects your mission and core values.
  2. Create a strong call to action and utilize annotations. Customize each call to action and annotation message specifically to the video playing. The goal is to keep the viewers engaged, take action (share), make a donation, and get involved. Be sure that your annotations and overlays link to an external site where a gift can be easily made.
  3. Use compelling thumbnails and titles. Choose an image that is entertaining and represents the video. Pick a shot that is clear, well-framed, and easily visible on multiple devices. Your title should be compelling and descriptive. Both of these elements will be the first impression of your video to the audience – so make it memorable!
  4. Tell your stories visually. People respond better and are further engaged when pictures are posted with text. A story can be more impactful when told verbally rather than only on paper. Keep your stories simple and speak to people’s emotions. People will remember how you make them feel so give them a great, simple story with a strong emotional connection.
  5. Apply to the YouTube Nonprofit Program. Once your 501(c)(3) is correctly listed in, you are eligible to apply for YouTube’s Nonprofit Program. Once approved, your organization will be listed in the nonprofit directory -  giving you access to a premium design, increased promotion opportunities on YouTube, better branding options, and a Google “Donate Now” button.

For more, check out this great resource for more tips and tricks straight from YouTube to specifically help nonprofit organizations.

Don’t forget to watch Alpha Dog Marketing’s industry updates, recorded webinars, and educational videos!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Donor Communication Series: Younger Donors

It is never too late to start building a relationship with those in your donor database who are part of a younger generation. Someday soon, they will become your largest donor segment! But first, you need to understand their communication preferences, what drives them to take action, and what their expectations are for your organization.

Generation X and the Millennial Generation are more likely to engage with causes that aim to help other people, support social issues rather than individual groups, are strongly influenced by their peers, and enjoy being part of an organization without having to be physically on site. Both generations respond well to digital fundraising efforts and are driven by results and information. It is important to communicate with these donors that their specific gift has made a direct impact to your cause and mission.  

Millennials are tech savvy, connected, and driven to making smart well-informed decisions about whom they support and where they place their resources.
Keep communication with Millennials short and to the point. This group is more likely than any other to donate through digital channels so use engaging pictures to draw them in. This group loves to volunteer so offer opportunities of how they can get involved with your organization using their specific skill-set or expertise.

On average, Generation X gives twice as much to nonprofit organizations as Millennials. This generation of people came of age sending donations through the mail but now prefer digital donation channels. As the first generation to donate online and the generation that pioneered web design, email, blogging, and online advocacy, they are entering their peak giving years. And, Gen X donates to animal rescue and protection, environment and conservation and health causes more than other generations (just a lower gift).

Keep your communication with Generation Xers short with the intent to inform them with what is happening in the organization. This is the goal setting and achieving generation, so allow them to take part in your challenge matching campaigns and communicate your organization’s goal to get the best results.

Both of these generations are excellent prospects for monthly giving, so make sure the option is extended to them once they have donated to your organization. Alpha Dog can help you lay out a plan for the year to help you maximize the giving potential of your donors. Keep in mind that the Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation are still your largest group of donors. Continue to focus on those generations while building your relationship with Generation X and Millennials.

Source: Next Generation of American Giving and Bloomerang

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Donor Communication Series: First-Time Donor Retention

We all preach the importance of donor retention. Getting a first-time donor to give again can be the hardest, yet least expensive, way to increase your bottom line.  There are many ways to go about decreasing your donor attrition rates, but how do you actually communication with your first time donors?

People will donate because they feel a need to help and have a level of caring or concern for your cause and mission. In order for them to feel that need, there has to be a connection. Your messaging towards donors should focus on making that connection stronger and longer lasting.

If a donor knows that their gift has made a difference to your organization, they will be more likely to give again. After all, that is the reason they want to help! Use copy that answers the question, "What about me?!"

Look at your current marketing messages. Are there words like "us" and "we" that can easily be change to "you" or simply omitted? Copy that is less organization-centered will have the ability to be more donor-inclusive.

Check out our blog post on donor centricity for more ways to change your verbiage:  

There are as many effective ways to communicate with donors as there are segments in your donor database file. Each group requires different messaging and communication channels. By segmenting your whole database file, you will be able to pinpoint how to communication with each group.

To help convert new donors and acquire the second gift, we recommend a new donor lift note as well as voice broadcast messages and other strategies. Call one of our sales team members for assistance in setting up your plan to increase donor retention and to effectively communicate with your donors.




Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Donor Communication Series: Planning for Planned Giving Donors

This first of three installments in the 2015 Summer Donor Communication Series concentrates on how to recognize planned giving potential for your current and prospective donors. Every donor has the capability to become a planned giving donor. The key is successfully communicating your message to build that connection. But how do you organize these donors into a meaningful segmentation of your database?

American Fundraising Professionals (AFP) presents a Planned Giving Prospect Matrix to aid in targeting your message to the right donors:

Affinity is the measure of brand loyalty and passion for your mission. Individuals with high affinity enjoy your relationship and are always willing to strengthen it. Finding the wealth of donors is the easy place to start. Measuring a donor’s brand loyalty and willingness to give starts with an examination of a donor’s giving patters, such as gift amounts and frequency of gifts.

Segmenting donors into this matrix will allow you to start building the right relationships in the right way. Asking questions such as, “Do you have a will?” and “Do you have a planned gift with another charitable organization?” will get you critical information about that donor as well as give you the opportunity to build the rapport towards a planned gift.
Talk with Alpha Dog Marketing about strategies to reach this special group of donors who help secure the future of your nonprofit. 

* and AFP

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Mastering Donor Centricity

Donor centricity means focusing on what your donors want most and how they think. It is your decision to change your communication style to stop language that is all about your agency and begin concentrating your messages about how wonderful and important your donors are to your mission. Below is a short list, and by all means not all of the ways to master donor centricity:

1. Timely Response. Make the time between donation and receipt as short as possible. The longer it takes the more likely your donor is to think that their donation is unimportant.

2. Appreciative and Relevant Acknowledgements. Your thank you notes need to be ‘love letters’ and should include language that mirrors the theme of your ‘ask’ message. It should be personalized specifically for your donor. This will encourage your donor to give again in the future.

3. Inspire Through Newsletters. Use your newsletter to connect your donors back to why they are supporting you first, and then continue to let your donors know that they are making a difference. Making your organizational newsletter language reflect ‘You/because of you’ will steward and inspire them to keep making donations and stay connected to your cause. We have great tips about reworking your newsletter language and content placement. (

4. Internet Friendly. Make online giving simple and easy to use. Supporters will give online if the donation form is easier than giving though the mail. It should be fast and convenient. Also, if your website is not yet mobile optimized, it’s time to move forward quickly. We can help!

5. Adapt.  Donor centricity and satisfaction is an ever revolving door. Asking one time for feedback is not enough. Continually make adjustments on what your donor base best responds to.

Increasing your donor centric practices will increase retention rates and new donor growth. Word will spread how wonderful your agency is in providing the best services for a cause that resonates with your donor and how appreciative your agency is of their support. Alpha Dog Marketing is here to help you measure your agency’s donor centricity to see how you performed before and after becoming donor centric.