Showing posts from 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,

So Very Thankful

It is that special time of year when many of us give thanks for the people in our lives and the things we appreciate most. As you make your gratitude list this holiday season, we want to thank you for allowing us into your digital world to share our thoughts through this blog.

The following is a short “Thankful” list (in no particular order) 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 newly expanded family of RobbinsKersten Direct and are so excited for the new strengths we will bring to you through this partnership.
We are thankful for our colleagues and friends in the business and nonprofit communities. The encouragement and collaboration we receive fro…

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:

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:
Email: 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?
Website: 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 organiz…

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.

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 no…

Focus on Donor Attrition and Improving Retention

Why Donors Leave*:
5% thought charity did not need them8% received no information on how money was spent9% have no memory of supporting the organization13% were never thanked for their gift16% have passed away18% received poor communication from organization36% gave resources to agencies believed more deserving54% 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 pr…

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 fundraisi…

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.
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. 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 …

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: 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.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, …

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 res…

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 orga…

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 ri…

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 …

Happy Birthday Alpha Dog!


Increasing Your Donor Referrals

You know better than anyone how hypercompetitive it is for nonprofit organizations to acquire new donors that are loyal and engaged. Getting donor referrals are an excellent way to fight through the fundraising clutter. Follow these steps to help with donor referrals:

1.Analyze Your Online Traffic: When you understand where your traffic is coming from and how that traffic is engaging with your organization, you can make a smart decision on how to ask for more referrals from current donors.

2.Ask the Right Way: Asking for a recommendation is important but in order to be successful, you should be asking for referrals the right way. Your ‘ask’ message should be tailored to the targeted audience.

3.Remind Your Donors to Refer: Take every opportunity to remind your current donors about referring their friends, family, and business associates. Include your referral message in all forms of marketing media and campaigns.

4.Engage in Active Feedback: Is your website easy to navigate? Is it easy…

Do You Know the Retention of Your Donors?

Need help improving your donor retention rate? Contact us! 800.730.0668

Planned Giving Challenges

Planned giving is a way for donors to continue making contributions to your organization after they have passed on. A planned gift is often the largest gift that a donor will make to an organization. Planned giving is an essential part to maintaining the long-term health of your organization. It includes gifts made through a will, annuities, trusts, life insurance policies, retirement, and more. However, there can be challenges and obstacles that organizations face when marketing a planned giving program.

One of the challenges of planned giving is how to communicate the right message to your donors. Most individuals have beneficiaries currently set up for any assets that are left behind. One easy way to receive a legacy gift is through a change of beneficiary form which will include your agency on their list of beneficiaries. This is the easiest solution!
Beneficiary designations are great to market because it does not involve wills and death. To communicate your message use verbiage …