Tuesday, February 14, 2017

How to Rock Your 2017 Social Media Strategy

Digital is a fast moving and ever-changing fundraising channel. There are updates and changes made on a regular basis that can completely change how you communicate with your donors. Check out this short list of changes and trends to take note of this year:
Live Videos and 360-Degree Streaming

Live video content allows your followers to interact with your organization in real time, which up until now has been difficult to accomplish. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all have some form of live video streaming capabilities while other platforms are expected to roll out their own versions. Live videos give you an opportunity to tell a story as it happens. Facebook also has a really cool feature that gives viewers a one-of-a-kind look at an event, facility, volunteer activity, and more. Read about how to set up your own 360-degree live stream here: https://facebook360.fb.com/

Emerging E-Commerce

Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter all have capabilities that let users purchase products directly from a company’s page. We think this could be a great way to solicit a donation! Users could “buy” medicine for an animal in need or canned food from your virtual food drive. Pair this online shopping experience with social media ads to create stronger multichannel results!

Mobile Ads

80% of Facebook’s $7 billion in 2016 ad revenue came from mobile. Mobile advertising is constantly evolving with changes in technology. It is projected that in 2017, $41 billion will be spent on social media advertising across all platforms. From 2015 to 2016, paid search ads grew by 76%, social ads grew by 74% and promoted posts grew by 76%. Instagram alone drew $1.53 billion in mobile ads from around the world in 2016. The trick to successful social media ads is being able to provide followers with relevant and engaging content that is visually compelling. Most social networks have algorithms in place that give priority to great content that users want to see.

Start Today

Take a few minutes each day to review and refresh your social media pages. Is all of the information listed correctly? Do your logos and profile pictures look clear and are they consistent with your branding? How do your cover photos look? Check out this handy guide (here) with optimal image sizes for 7 different platforms. Remember, if you need any help with the creation of social media ads, content, strategy, implementation, or analyzing data, you can always talk to our team of digital experts.

“Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.” – Leo Burnett
Your furry friend,



Thursday, January 12, 2017

2017 Conferences, Newsletters, and More!

Happy New Year! We are so excited to see what 2017 will bring. One part of RKD Alpha Dog staying at the forefront of industry knowledge and trends is the conferences our team attends across the country each year. Check out the lineup for 2017 and mark your calendars:
  1. DMA Washington Nonprofit Conference February 22-24 Washington, DC
  2. Nonprofit Technology Conference March 23-25 Washington, DC
  3. Feeding America Executive Director’s Summit April 26-28 San Diego, CA
  4. HSUS Animal Care Expo May 9-12 Ft. Lauderdale, FL
  5. SAWA Management Conference June 14-16 Long Beach, CA
  6. Bridge Conference August 2-4 Washington DC
  7. Feeding America Mobilizing the Public Conference August 21-23 Chicago, IL
  8. SAWA Annual Conference November 12-14 Miami, FL

We also have an excellent list of topics scheduled for our bi-monthly newsletter, Embark. Make sure you are subscribing to our newsletter to get fantastic content in 2017 including the ins-and-outs of donor segmentation, personalization, and localization; digital strategies that bring in better results; reporting results and analytical insights; everything you need to tackle the holiday giving season, and more!

Not currently a subscriber? Text the keyword ALPHADOG to 22828 and follow the instructions, or talk to one of our incredible account service team members. 
Your furry friend,


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Renewing Our Pledge To You

As 2016 comes to a close, 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.

Your furry friend,


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

So Very Thankful

It is again that special time of year when many of us give thanks for the people in our lives and the things we appreciate most. We want to thank you for allowing us to share our thoughts through this blog and for being fantastic partners all year long.

The following is a short list of what we are thankful for from each of us at RKD Alpha Dog:
  • We are thankful for our partners, who have chosen to associate with us in order to help fulfill their noble and necessary missions. We work with many organizations, and each and every one is important to us.
  • We are thankful for the caring individuals who support all the many worthy causes that help sustain our communities.
  • We are thankful for our expanded family of RobbinsKersten Direct and are excited for new strengths and fundraising strategies we can continue bring to you through this flourishing partnership.
  • We are thankful for our colleagues and friends in the business and nonprofit communities. The encouragement and collaboration we receive from vendors, associates, service providers and, yes, even our competitors, is truly appreciated.
What are you thankful for? Share your “thankful” list with us in the comments section or on social media. #GivingThanks #AlphaDogCares

Your furry friend,


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Magic of Media

With so many holiday and year-end strategies, campaigns, and messages being sent, it can be difficult to keep track of the technical details. If you aren’t working with an agency or partner like RKD Alpha Dog, it can be even harder to sift through the information on different types of ads and how to successfully execute each one. #GivingTuesday is right around the corner, so we are going to take a few minutes to talk about earned media, owned media, managed media, and of course, paid media.
Earned Media

Earned media, or inbound marketing, is exposure you did not pay for. For example, when a newspaper covers one of your events or when someone tweets about how awesome your services are, that’s earned media. Since it is unprompted and doesn’t come directly from your organization, earned media can be cost effective, build donor trust, lead to higher retention rates, and offer higher conversion rates. What’s the best way to get more earned media? Your organization should create content that is worth sharing, provide excellent customer service, and interact with your followers on social media. Building relationships = increased earned media.

Owned Media

Owned media is media that your brand owns and controls. This includes channels such as newsletters, direct mail, a website, emails, social media pages, or a blog site. These are channels through which your brand message should be the most consistent. Owned media is the first building block to brand recognition. Double check that your messages and tone, logo, colors, tagline, and types of images are consistent. Since you control owned media, you can effectively target and segment specific donor groups, monitor results, and easily make adjustments.

Managed Media

Managed media is where RKD Alpha Dog really shines. This type of media is exactly like it sounds. We are able to manage channels and campaigns on behalf of our nonprofit partners based on their individual branding guidelines. Since we have a talented team of experts, we offer both product and industry knowledge. This channel is centered on content and requires a level of strategic alignment between fundraising and marketing channels. Since RKD Alpha Dog is managing each campaign, we are able to provide our partners with customized reporting and analytical insights. This allows each organization to make adjustments for future campaigns and improve fundraising and marketing strategies.

Paid Media

Paid media, or outbound marketing, is where the fun truly begins. The opportunities are pretty endless. This kind of media requires money to gain more traffic and lift results. A few examples of paid media include Google AdWords, TV/radio/print ads, sponsorships, online banner ads, and social media ads. Paid Media allows an organization to test campaigns and optimize messages which leads to measurable results. Society is currently trending towards using paid media in conjunction with both earned and owned media. This means that paid media will do the hard work of getting someone to your website but your brand image, social media actions, and direct marketing channels will compel someone to take action.

“Unity is strength…where there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” – Mattie J.T. Stepanek
Your furry friend,


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

7 Big Year-End Essentials

Ready? Set? Go! It is already mid-October which means the 2016 season of giving will be going full speed in a few short weeks. There are a limited number of days left until 2017. Follow these 7 essential preparation tactics:
Don’t Wait for The Eleventh Hour
  1. Review your year-to-date results: Pull reports from last year that show total revenue raised, retention, average gift size, acquisition, the number of gifts, etc. Pay attention to which parts of the campaigns were successful and which could be improved. Confirm that these changes were made and that your planned campaigns align with your goals.

  2. Storytelling is king: What stories have you collected that offer insight into your organization, provide testimonials, or highlight how you help your community? What do your donors care about most? Don’t forget to include photos and videos to grab the attention of your donors!

  3. Perfect your strategies: RKD Alpha Dog can launch your organization ahead of the competition and put you in front of the right donors at the best time. We can help you strategize your campaign theme, highlight the timeliness of your need and demonstrate how to present your message to your audience in an impactful manner. You will need to have all details of your campaigns planned out and messages integrated to achieve maximum results!

  4. Convenience is key: Campaigns that make it incredibly easy for someone to show support and give are the most successful. Do you know how many times someone needs to click to actually make a donation? How detailed is your donation form or remit slip? A donation should be more about the impact a person is making rather than the information that is required to make that gift.

  5. Inspect all digital: Your website, social media strategy, online donation form, lightboxes, emails, Google AdWords, banner ads, video, and other digital campaigns are just as important as your direct mail appeals. By performing an audit, your organization will be able to communicate in a way that will encourage action. Test everything and then test it again. Confirm that text is clear and large enough to read on a small screen, images are responsive, and donation buttons are large enough for a mobile device. It is easier to make changes now than in the midst of your campaign.

  6. Approve all the details: Connect with your Account Services team to figure out what packages need to be approved, what data files need to be sent to us, or any other campaign details that need your attention. If you are unfamiliar with our Essential Dates Calendar or do not have a copy, speak with your account supervisor. This will give you important dates to follow when you need to have your campaigns approved for timely execution.

  7. Integrate: Diversify your appeals to maximize net income. Your account supervisor can create a coordinated campaign with multiple touch points via various channels to increase frequency. Here is a sample:
    • October:
      • Tease #GivingTuesday campaign toward the end of the month.
      • Schedule a Voice Broadcast message to accompany your EOY campaign.
      • Organize an acknowledgment program for gifts made specifically in the fourth quarter.
    • November
      • Year-end campaign kickoff: Digital and Direct Mail channels; Social Media Kit.
      • Launch banner ads that reinforce your campaign and drive traffic to your site.
    • December:
      • Send a direct mail appeal and follow-up (perhaps as a greeting card), with the campaign theme, message, and ask.
      • Emails: minimum 1 per week containing information about upcoming events, your needs, storytelling, opportunities to share on social media and more.
      • Reinforce your campaign message through social media and your website – short videos or lightboxes are perfect!
      • Continue running the banner ads, consider testing creative and messaging to find the optimal mix.

“Change is inevitable. Progress is optional.” – Tony Robbins
Your furry friend,


Monday, October 3, 2016

2016 #GivingTuesday Planning Kit

November 29th will mark the 5th annual #GivingTuesday – a globally recognized day of giving fueled by the power of collaboration and social media promotion. It was originally created to support and celebrate not-for-profit organizations and now kicks off the holiday giving season.

October is the perfect time to start planning for this day of giving. RKD Alpha Dog's #GivingTuesday kit will allow you to see why you need to participate in this day, how to strategize your promotional efforts, set your campaign plan, determine content and goals, offer a checklist and a plan of action to get you started down a path to success.

Your furry friend,