Monday, November 23, 2015

CRITICAL: Data & Payment Processing Changes

Holiday season is officially in full swing and while you may be focusing on other critical issues, we urge you to take some time to look into your current payment processing system. As we review the latest industry issues, updates, and hot topics, we would like to pass along this great article written by Roger Craver, at The Agitator, about the upcoming credit card processing changes that are taking place with American credit card companies.

Because you work so hard during the year to keep retention rates high, we would never want to see you lose donors because you are unprepared. Take a few minutes to read this article and then keep an eye out in our next issue of the Embark Newsletter for more on this topic and how you can take action!

Follow this link below to read the article.

Roger Craver, The Agitator, Beware of the Sustainer Stranger:


Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Digital Donor

The last fundraising push for donations during the 2015 holiday season will have a greater digital presence than ever before. Now is the time to take a donor centric approach to your digital channels to maximize giving. Below is a checklist focused on website, email, and donation pages in order to increase success:

  • Do you make it clear why a donor should join your email list?
  • How easy it is to sign up for your agency’s email communications?
  • When someone submits their email address, do they get a welcome response in their inbox?
  • Do your agency emails translate to mobile devices? Are the emails built on a responsive design?
  • When you view the email, do you see the correct creative graphics for your current fundraising campaign?

  • How visible is your organization’s contact information?
  • What happens when you test the links to reach out through phone, email, and/or through the contact form? Are these channels set up correctly?
  • Can you easily see the donate button?
  • How does your organization’s website translate to mobile devices? Is it a responsive design?

Donation Page:
  • What happens when you click “Donate” on the website? Have you optimized your donation forms?
  • Does the correct landing page appear and does it look correct on all devices?
  • Do you see the correct creative graphics for your current fundraising campaign?
  • How easy is it to make a donation on mobile devices? (Yes, test it!)
  • How many times does a donor need to click in order to finish making a gift?
  • How long does it take to complete the donation process?
  • What happens after a donor makes a gift? Is there an automated thank you message in their inbox and/or do they receive a thank you note in the mail?
  • How long does it take for a donor to receive a thank you note after making a gift?

Taking the time now to follow the steps a donor makes in order to give a gift will allow you to see the process that they must go through in order to fulfill their donation. It puts you in the donor’s shoes and gives your organization an opportunity to make adjustments before the holiday season is over.
For more help or to get a more detailed list of everything you can do to enhance your digital presence and increase holiday giving, contact your Account Services Team!


Monday, October 19, 2015

Planning for #GivingTuesday 2015

December 1st will mark the 4th annual #GivingTuesday – and with more than 10,000 organizations planning to participate, this annual event has turned into much more than just a temporary, philanthropic fad. It was 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.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

RobbinsKersten Direct Announces Acquisition of Alpha Dog Marketing

RobbinsKersten Direct, a multi-channel direct response fundraising and marketing agency with offices in Boston and Dallas, has acquired Lincoln, Nebraska-based Alpha Dog Marketing.   

Alpha Dog Marketing is now RKD Alpha Dog, a Division of RobbinsKersten Direct, and will provide fundraising and marketing solutions to regional food banks, animal care, and chapter-based nonprofit organizations nationally.

The acquisition deepens RobbinsKersten Direct’s commitment to the nonprofit food bank sector where RKD has provided marketing and fundraising services since 1997, and which Alpha Dog Marketing has served since 2006. The acquisition also provides RKD a strong presence within the animal shelter and local/regional humane society sector, which market leader Alpha Dog Marketing has served since 2006.
RobbinsKersten Direct is a premier provider of integrated multi-channel fundraising and marketing services to nonprofit organizations throughout the United States and Canada. A winner of numerous nonprofit and technology awards for creative excellence and results, RobbinsKersten Direct is a Google-Certified Partner.
Mike Monk, founder and CEO of Alpha Dog Marketing and Connie Monk, President of Alpha Dog Marketing, will serve as Co-Presidents of the RKD Alpha Dog division of RobbinsKersten Direct.
RKD Alpha Dog clients will benefit from RKD’s digital and analytics resources and RKD’s large team of fundraising and marketing experts. Specifically, RKD Digital, which provides leading-edge online fundraising and marketing strategies, will help clients diversify their revenue streams beyond traditional channels.  RKD’s advanced data science team, RKD Analytics, will help drive improved results across all marketing channels in clients’ marketing and development programs.

“We are grateful to be combining with Alpha Dog Marketing to create this new division serving food banks, animal care organizations and chapter-based nonprofits,” stated Tim Kersten, CEO of RobbinsKersten Direct. “RKD Alpha Dog is now part of a team of more than 170 highly talented and dedicated professionals who have a shared passion to help our nonprofit clients make the world more humane, just and compassionate. We welcome RKD Alpha Dog into the RKD family. Together we’ll be able to achieve even more great things for our clients,” he continued.

“This merger brings together two highly regarded agencies with complementary strengths. Our combined teams will provide even deeper and broader expertise to help nonprofits raise more net revenue to support their missions,” stated Mike Monk, Co-President of RKD Alpha Dog. “Our client partners will benefit from the creative, strategic and analytical resources of a much larger team of expert fundraisers and marketers,” he continued.

About RobbinsKersten Direct
RobbinsKersten Direct offers complete multi-channel fundraising and marketing solutions, including online and offline strategy, advanced data analytics and modeling, award-winning creative, direct mail production, digital acquisition, email marketing, SEM/SEO, media, website design and site optimization.
The agency’s clients represent regional and national constituencies and virtually all sectors of the nonprofit world. Clients include American Bible Society, American Institute for Cancer Research, BrightFocus Foundation (Alzheimer's Disease Research, Macular Degeneration Research, and National Glaucoma Research), Coast Guard Foundation, Humane Society International, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, National Park Foundation, St. Labre Indian School, and Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.
RKD Alpha Dog, a Division of RobbinsKersten Direct, serves regional food banks, local and regional animal care organizations, and chapter-based nonprofits nationwide. RobbinsKersten Direct operates from offices in Holliston, Massachusetts, Richardson, Texas and Lincoln, Nebraska.

For more information, please contact:
Polly Papsadore, Vice President, Marketing
RobbinsKersten Direct
201 Summer Street
Holliston, MA 01746-5835
Tel: 800.229.5972, ext. 200
Direct: 508.474.2200

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Focus on Donor Attrition and Improving Retention

Why Donors Leave*:
  • 5% thought charity did not need them
  • 8% received no information on how money was spent
  • 9% have no memory of supporting the organization
  • 13% were never thanked for their gift
  • 16% have passed away
  • 18% received poor communication from organization
  • 36% gave resources to agencies believed more deserving
  • 54% could no longer afford to give

Research shows that there is about a 2% chance of obtaining a gift from a new donor compared to a 60-70% chance of obtaining a gift from a current donor. Donor retention is one of the most important topics in fundraising and yet it is often financially supported the least. Your organization spends a large amount of resources on acquisition strategies for new donors.  So why are so many agencies not budgeting to spend resources to retain those donors?

Let’s break down some of these statistics. If 53% of donors leave due to an organization’s lack of communication - aside from the 16% who stop donating because of death - all of these reasons can be prevented with better communication. Thirteen percent of donors were never thanked for their donation.  Now is the time to look at your acknowledgement strategy and evaluate if there is anything your organization should be doing to make sure your donors feel appreciated.

By communicating with donors how they are your hero and how their gifts are being used to support the cause, you will improve your communication and retain those donors you’ve worked so hard to bring on the team.  Are you including stories with passion and how a donor’s investment has been used in your newsletters?  Focus on news that clearly communicates success, what the need is, and how a donor can help and get further involved. 

If you believe that you fall into any of these statistics, please talk to a member of the Alpha Dog Marketing Account Services Team to discuss ways to increase your retention. Timely, consistent and clear communication, combined with a strong call to action, is the key to retaining loyal donors.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

September Checklist for End of Year Preparation

There are a limited amount of days left until the Holiday Giving Season begins and we want to make sure you are ready for it! Follow this checklist to prepare for the upcoming fourth quarter:
  • Look at last year’s EOY campaign: Pull the reports from last year that show total revenue raised, retention, acquisition, number of gifts, average gift size, etc. Pay attention to which parts of the campaigns were successful and which could be improved.

  • Create your objectives: After reviewing last year’s campaign, you will be able to set goals to improve your results and expand your community impact.

  • Develop campaign concepts: Alpha Dog Marketing can launch your agency ahead of the competition and put you in front of the right donors. We can help you strategize and create your campaign theme, showcase the timeliness of your need and demonstrate how to present your message to your audience in an impactful and effective manner.

  • Do a website audit: Your agency website is crucial to your digital fundraising success. By doing an audit, your organization will be able to communicate to volunteers, supporters, and donors in a way that will encourage a gift during your campaign. For more help with this, contact your Alpha Dog Marketing account manager!

  • Test your tech: Review your entire giving flow from the donor’s viewpoint through email, direct mail, website landing pages, lightboxes, donation forms, social media posts, acknowledgements, follow-ups, and every way that you are communicating with your audience. It is easier to make changes now than in the midst of your campaign.

  • Approve your creative: If you are unfamiliar with, or do not have a copy of our Essential Dates Calendar, talk to your account manager. This will give you crucial dates to follow of when you need to have your campaigns approved for timely and effective execution.  

  • Collect strong stories: You know your donors better than anyone else. What do they care about? What stories have you collected that offer insight into your organization, provide testimonials from the clients you serve, or highlight how you help your community? Collect more than needed because you can always use stories for social media and email content. Don’t forget to include photos and videos with your stories to grab the attention of your donors!

  • Integrate: Diversify your appeals to maximize net revenue. Your account manager can create a coordinated campaign with multiple touch points via various channels to increase frequency. Here is a sample:


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!