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Showing posts from 2016

Renewing Our Pledge To You

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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, w…

So Very Thankful

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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 f…

The Magic of Media

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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…

7 Big Year-End Essentials

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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
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.
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!
Perfect your strategies: RKD Alpha Dog can launch your organization ahead of the competition and put you in front of t…

2016 #GivingTuesday Planning Kit

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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,


Building A Stronger Brand

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Over the next few months, your organization will be sending numerous appeals, posts, emails, and messages into the world. It is vital that what you send your supporters reflects your mission and brand. The one simple tip in this blog post: check your campaign message before publishing.
Define Your Brand

To successfully execute consistent brand messaging, you will need to have a clear idea of what your brand is. This includes logo specifications, colors, tagline, fonts, slogans, mission statement, etc. It also includes your voice, target audience, how you tell stories, the kind of pictures you use, your programs, motivation for making a difference, and more. Your brand is how the outside world perceives your organization.
Do Your Homework

Below is a comprehensive tool to plan your brand messaging. (click to enlarge) You can click HERE for a worksheet version to fill out your own information. This plan is easy to follow and can be posted around the office to make everyone aware of the orga…

Your Donor Retention Adventure Begins Here

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Do you remember the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books? When the reader comes to the end of a passage, they must make a decision. Do they enter the dark cave or take the road that runs through the forest? Each decision takes the reader through a different part of the story and results in an unforeseen result. Donor retention strategies require the same decision making and risk taking. 
The Cave or The Forest?

According to the 2016 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report, the new donor retention rate for last year was a dreadful 26.6%. In a recent Gallup survey involving over 17,000 donors nationwide, 47% gave money to three to five nonprofit groups and 15% gave to six or more. Moreover, over 80% of donors say that they need to believe in the organization’s mission, and over 60% want to know exactly how their gift will be used. So the question is, what is your current retention rate and which path are you going to choose to improve it?
Choose Wisely...

By now, you know how important it is …

Planned Giving Pop Quiz! How Do You Score?

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Planned Giving is all about relationship building and gaining trust with your donors. It is an integral part of your comprehensive fundraising strategy that cannot be overlooked. Take the short quiz below to get warmed up, then find out how well you are tapping into this fundraising strategy.
True or False? A recent study found that fewer than 9.5% of people who donate $500+ a year to a nonprofit had a charitable estate plan. Planned Giving can be referred to as deferred giving, legacy giving, and endowment building. One part of a successful planned giving program is learning what motivates donors. GivingUSA.org reported that total bequest giving in 2014 grew by 8%. For most U.S. charity organizations, 70-80% of planned giving dollars come from bequests. How Did You Do? Wondering how you did? If you answered “True” to all of the above, then you passed! Yes, all of the above statements are true. A study that tracked 20,000 Americans over 50 years old from 1995-2006 did in fact discover t…

3 Things Donors Secretly Ask Themselves

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Do you wish you knew what your donors are thinking? What did they think when they opened your most recent direct mail piece or email campaign message? It is practically impossible to break down what a donor feels about every single touch point, but we have a few insights that are helpful.
Will I make a difference?
In today’s world, donors have access to an unlimited amount of information about all nonprofit organizations and causes. Do not settle with publishing a communication piece that only talks about YOUR organization, YOUR programs, and YOUR achievements. An appeal that uses storytelling, compelling photos, donor-centric copy, interesting statistics, and a strong call to action will get the best responses and yield the best results. Think of every email, direct mail piece, or newsletter as an opportunity to have a conversation with each donor to deepen the connection and communicate how they have made an impact on your mission. Did I donate to the right cause?
Unfortunately, a few…

Treading Water in the Trending Topic Pool

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You might be familiar with a new mobile game that has individuals walking around town to collect imaginary creatures. You also might be thinking to yourself, “How can my organization take advantage of this craze?” There will undoubtedly always be a new app or trending topic that gets individuals excited, so it matters how or even if your organization should jump on board to increase donations and support in the community.
Do Your Research
Once a trend has shown up on your radar, your first instinct should be to research the trend thoroughly before diving in headfirst. You should be sure that the game, app, or movement aligns with your organization’s mission. It may be a good idea to hang back for the first few moments of the trend to let others take any risks that may arise. (We’ve all seen social media posts of people walking into walls or tripping while looking at their phones!) Your organization would not want to be liable for someone’s safety. Think Outside the Craze
What is the prim…

7 Mind-Blowing Direct Mail Stats

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Even with the increased need to integrate marketing campaigns and incorporate digital strategies, the foundation of your fundraising plan should be direct mail. This tried and true strategy should not be forgotten, in fact, it should be continuously monitored, tested, and improved to achieve even bigger and better results for your bottom line.
Stronger Responses On average, direct mail appeals garner up to 37 times more responses than email80-90% of direct mail gets opened - compared to 20-30% of email (on a good day!)98% of people open their mail the day it is received
Decision Making 40% of people have responded to a direct mail piece in the last three months92% of millennials are influenced to make a decision because of direct mail48% of people hold on to important mail for future use and decision making
Testing Leads to Better Results

At the end of 2015, one of our hunger relief partners sent an appeal to major and mid-level donors to test the effectiveness of using a post-it note insi…

CAUTION! Database Cleaning in Progress

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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 the…

Why a Google Grant is Worth Your Time

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Challenge: 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.








Strategy: 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, seaso…

Supercharge Your SEO

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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 he…

How Effective Is Your E-appeal Donation Form?

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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 rai…

How to Rock Your Thank Yous in 2016

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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 comprehensi…