Showing posts from 2017

The Psychology of Giving

The million-dollar question that we all wish we had the perfect answer to: why do donors give? The truth is that donor and organizational advocates give a gift for a plethora of reasons. Whether a supporter is motivated intrinsically or extrinsically, we know that they give because it makes them feel good about making a positive change in the world. Our job at RKD Alpha Dog is to help our partners communicate that message and feeling. Giving Empowerment

When a person makes a gift to a nonprofit, they are doing so out of trust that the organization will use that money to better serve a community need. Someone once said, “People don’t give to causes, people give to lives with causes”. At the end of the day, there are many ways to give and there are different ways your organization can receive monetary funds. What matters the most is the donor relationship and the feeling of empowerment they get when they support your cause. So how do you make sure they get that warm fuzzy feeling?

Refresh Your Next Fundraising Appeal

A major part of compelling storytelling is the verbiage you use to paint the picture for your donors. Using the right words can directly impact your campaign’s success. Don’t forget about the specific and intricate details of a story that tug on the heartstrings and build that emotional response with your constituents. Here is a list of 35 fresh terms for your holiday and new year’s appeals: ResilientCourageousRemarkableRevolutionaryDiligentDependableCompassionateDedicatedGenuineCommittedGraciousHumbledSincereDiscoverGlowingPhenomenal SelflessSensationalAdvocateEmpatheticDynamicHeroicDevotedTenaciousUnwaveringZealousReliableResourcefulSevereComprehensiveSubstantialEnrichment
There are also many words we suggest staying away from, such as cantankerous, curmudgeon, copacetic, or cockamamie. One of our best tips for publishing stories is to remember your audience. Omit jargon, large confusing words, and words that may paint a negative picture.Your donors do not necessarily care about the d…

Hitting The Google Adwords Jackpot!

Successfully using a Google Grant and AdWords requires give and take, research, continual improvement, and consistent management. Not all organizations have the time or knowledge to do this on their own so they turn to RKD Alpha Dog. However, if you are currently managing your own Google Grant and AdWords without the expert guidance of our digital fundraising team, here are a few insider points to improve your results.
Segment and Target the Right People

Google’s purpose is to provide users with relevant content generated by keywords that pull pertinent information based on what was typed in the search engine. Keywords are vital to organizations who want to fundraise in the digital world. Google AdWords allows nonprofits to target potential prospects and current supporters by a simple search on Google. Below are five rules for selecting and managing your AdWords:
Think Like Your Advocates.  Consider the terms that current or prospective donors might use to search and keywords related to …

No-Nonsense Newsletter: Part 3

A blank screen or piece of paper can be intimidating when you don’t know what to write. Here are a few ideas to help fill your pages with relevant, engaging and inspiring content: Financial News.  Openly discussing your finances tells donors you have nothing to hide and that you are using donations wisely.Program Stories. Pick one of your programs and talk about why the program matters and how donors can help it succeed.Press Releases. If you think it is news to the outside world, it is likely to be news your donors want to hear.Did You Know? This type of content offers a surprising, relevant, or unknown facts about your mission or organization that readers will find interesting. Current Offers. Tours, special events, fundraising campaigns, educational classes and more help strengthen and build relationships.Previews and Reports. What’s ahead? What are the latest findings and numbers? How has your latest campaign helped meet a need or support a program?Client Case Histories. This story…

No-Nonsense Newsletter: Part 2

When your newsletter is composed properly it can showcase your important work and keep your donors engaged. A well-done newsletter will build stronger emotional connections, which compel donors to support your mission. A successful newsletter is more than just the content – it is the design too! Color attracts the eye. The only people who tell you color isn't important are the ones who refuse to use it. Color animates everything!  Use interesting formatting. With the proper use of shading, reverse text borders and bold fonts, you can design a professional newsletter template that grabs attention.Don't go crazy with fonts. Stick to a maximum of three font types throughout your newsletter. Inconsistency makes it harder for eyes to follow and read. Make your lead article engaging. If the main article is boring or sounds boring, you've lost the reader's attention before you even started. Position draws the eye. Eyes will land about two-thirds of the way up on a page and s…

No-Nonsense Newsletter Tips: Part 1

Newsletters have become a go-to piece for fundraising and direct response marketing. When done right, an organization’s newsletter can offer major financial and donor loyalty benefits. Dedicated supporters will give frequently and donate more when treated like important stakeholders of the nonprofit. Keep Your Newsletter Donor-Centric
People don’t give to your organization because they made a calculated decision to support you. Although somewhat interested in the nuts and bolts of your organization, they give because you have moved them to support your mission. They care about how you positively impact the community and help those in need. It is important your newsletter articles are donor-centric. Find an angle that makes the donor continue to care. Make your newsletter about your donors. Let them know how they are making a difference with their support to your mission.
How People Read Newsletters
People skim before they read. They browse a little and then go on with their lives. If they…

How To Be A Proofreading Pro

Writing, in general, can be challenging enough when you are trying to create content for a newsletter, annual report, email campaign, social media, or anything in between. Running a spell check is an easy first step but what else can you do to identify errors? Practice. Practice. Practice.
Typos can undermine your message, causing your well-thought-out piece to get passed over and forgotten. We can miss these annoying little details when editing because when you write, you are thinking about more than just the words. You consider the meaning of the message and the outcome for which you want to achieve. As with any task, the more you practice the better you will become. Train your eyes and brain to seek out typos and mistakes. No one is a perfect proofreader and even computer programs can miss things. When in doubt, we suggest getting a second pair of eyes to review your copy. Sometimes a fresh perspective, like what a donor would see, can make all the difference.
The Eagle Eye Has Lande…

Reporting Season Is Upon Us

It’s that time of year when fresh industry and benchmark reports are released. We are a bit geeky about results and reporting at RKD Alpha Dog which is why we have dedicated the entire issue of our April Embark newsletter to reporting, benchmarks, metrics and results. Our Favorites
We have a few reports that are our favorites: Blackbaud’s Annual Charitable Giving Report, M+R Benchmarks Study (available at the end of April), and AFP’s Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report. Blackbaud’s report is great to capture results and industry performance for the entire nonprofit sector for the past year. AFP’s report gives the reader an overview of the last 10 years or so which is helpful when looking for trends and changes in donor behavior. M+R Benchmarks Study offers insight into recent trends of the nation’s top nonprofit organizations and covers topics from direct mail to newsletters, to social media and the future of fundraising.
Benchmark Tease

M+R recently sent out a sneak peek of their 201…

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:
Emerging E-Commerce

Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter all have capabilities that let users purchase product…

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: DMA Washington Nonprofit Conference February 22-24 Washington, DCNonprofit Technology Conference March 23-25 Washington, DCFeeding America Executive Director’s Summit April 26-28 San Diego, CAHSUS Animal Care Expo May 9-12 Ft. Lauderdale, FLSAWA Management Conference June 14-16 Long Beach, CABridge Conference August 2-4 Washington DCFeeding America Mobilizing the Public Conference August 21-23 Chicago, ILSAWA 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 strateg…