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1 POWERING YOUR YEAR-ROUND FUNDRAISING WITH RESOURCE GUIDES Powering Your Year Round Fundraising with Inbound Marketing Classy.org 1

2 A powerful fundraising operation is essential to the long-term sustainability of just about any nonprofit organization. And with more nonprofits than ever competing for donors limited dollars and attention, it s critical to stay on the leading edge of what s coming next in both marketing and fundraising. In this guide, we ll show you how to tie together two emerging trends in the marketing and fundraising worlds (inbound marketing and year-round fundraising) to inspire your current constituents and their networks to support your cause. By combining the power of these two new methods of engagement you can raise more money and create an ever-expanding community around your cause. INBOUND MARKETING YEAR-ROUND FUNRAISING YOUR COMMUNITY Powering Your Year Round Fundraising with Inbound Marketing Classy.org 2

3 But first What Exactly is Inbound Marketing? Inbound marketing is the concept of creating inspiring and educational content, sharing it on your organization s blog and website, to attract more traffic through social media, marketing and search engine optimization. By telling the story of your nonprofit and the fundraisers that support you, you can inspire your extended network of potential constituents to support you as well, SUPPORT ENGAGE GROW growing your community and engaging your existing base simultaneously. And What is Year-Round Fundraising? 2014 YEAR-ROUND FUNDRAISING SUPPORTER DRIVEN Year-round fundraising allows supporters to start fundraising online for your organization at any time. Supporters can use birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, or other life milestones as reasons to support your organization. By connecting fundraising with these personal life events, you create an even stronger reason for the fundraisers friends, family and colleagues to support their efforts and donate to your cause. In contrast, time-based fundraising focuses around an event or is limited to a specific time frame (generally 6 to TIME-BASED FUNDRAISING NONPROFIT DRIVEN 8 weeks). Holiday campaigns or campaigns that revolve around a particular programmatic outcome, like building 3 new schools, are examples of time-based fundraising. Unlike year-round fundraising, where supporters decide when they want to fundraise, time-based campaigns are driven by the nonprofit. The organization usually has a tangible result or Powering Your Year Round Fundraising with Inbound Marketing Classy.org 3

4 goal and carries out the campaign to build community, acquire new supporters, and reach its predetermined funding goal. Time-based fundraising campaigns require team collaboration and a well-targeted marketing strategy. Ultimately, you want to build a community around your organization s mission that extends beyond your staff and major donors. You want a base of support that will help sustain your organization for the long run. And you want to effectively tell the story of your organization, and those that support its mission, to attract new, engaged and inspired supporters. Tying inbound marketing and year-round fundraising together helps you achieve this. Powering Your Year Round Fundraising with Inbound Marketing Classy.org 4

5 TABLE OF CONTENTS Inbound Marketing is a Great Match for Year-Round Fundraising 6 Section 1. Increasing Visits to Your Website Inbound Marketing Runs on Content 9 Blogging to Increase Traffic 12 Examples for Blogging Best Practices for Blogging Using Social Media to Amplify Your Efforts 15 Examples for Social Media Best Practices for Social Media Section 2. Converting Visitors into Fundraisers Effective Calls to Action 18 Examples for Call to Actions Best Practices for Call to Actions Using Lead Nurturing to Fuel Your Fundraising 21 Best Practices for Lead Nurturing Putting it All Together: Using Inbound to Drive Fundraising 24 Powering Your Year Round Fundraising with Inbound Marketing Classy.org 5

6 Inbound Marketing is a Great Match for Year-Round Fundraising Inbound marketing involves creating quality content that attracts people to your website. When someone searches on Google and lands on a blog article you wrote, it s because they were already looking for that type of content. While they may not have known they were looking for your brand, or your specific article, they were looking for something relevant to your offering. You attracted a visit by creating content that was relevant to what the visitor was searching for. Traditional marketing, or outbound marketing, relies on the exact opposite approach. Instead of attracting people, you put out images and messages that interrupt people in the hopes that they will decide they want what you are offering or recognize it as something they have been wanting. Outbound marketing, like TV commercials or popup ads, interrupt your audience and clamor for its attention. Inbound attracts. Outbound interrupts. INBO ND INBOATTRACTS ND MARKETING TYPES ATTRACTS INTERRUPTS INTERRUPTS Powering Your Year Round Fundraising with Inbound Marketing Classy.org 6

7 Like with inbound marketing, a year-round campaign doesn t rely on interrupting people with advertising; instead, it turns people already visiting a nonprofit organization s website into active supporters. Nonprofit organizations engaged in year-round fundraising provide tools for website visitors to create individual fundraising pages letting casual browsers turn into engaged supporters whenever they feel like it. Both inbound marketing and year-round fundraising share this opt-in style of interaction. Fundamentally, both are premised on the idea that the individual is the one driving the interaction. The individual decides whether or not they want to engage with your content and the individual decides whether or not they want to start fundraising. If you are already attracting new site visitors through inbound marketing, launching a yearround fundraising campaign just makes good sense. By providing site visitors with the tools to fundraise, you will allow ordinary donors to increase their level of engagement at the drop of a hat. But before you can convert web traffic into dollars, you need to make sure you are doing enough to grow visits to your site month over month Powering Your Year Round Fundraising with Inbound Marketing Classy.org 7

8 SECTION 1. INCREASING VISITS TO YOUR WEBSITE Powering Your Year Round Fundraising with Inbound Marketing Classy.org 8

9 Inbound Marketing Runs on Content Inbound marketing is powered by content. If you want to get serious about inbound marketing so you can attract new supporters, then you need to get serious about creating content. In this section, we ll show you why interesting pieces of content act like magnets that attract visitors to your website. But first, let s take a look at the types of content that tend to be effective for nonprofits: Inbound Marketing Runs on Content A lot of nonprofit organizations believe they can t create engaging content, when in reality they have an advantage over other businesses nonprofits have hundreds, even thousands, of personal stories at their disposal. Volunteers, staff, constituents, and fundraisers all support your mission for one reason or another, and each has a story waiting to be told. Creating short, feel good stories about why these individuals give their time or money is a great place to start when thinking about content you can share with a broader audience. By showcasing what others are already doing, like starting a birthday fundraiser, you may also help spark a personal connection between new supporters and your organization. Other personal story ideas: Highlight your top fundraisers and how they ve managed to run such successful fundraising campaigns Create a video montage of interviews with staff members about why they support your mission Snap photos of volunteers on-site and accompany the pictures with a short description of the work and people Powering Your Year Round Fundraising with Inbound Marketing Classy.org 9

10 Fundraising Successes and Milestones Creating multiple year-round fundraising milestones to share with your audience, whether those come quarterly or monthly, can be a great way to engage new and current constituents and encourage them to reach their own personal fundraising goals. Each time you hit a fundraising milestone you can tie that achievement to the impact the funds raised will have on the ground. This helps close the loop with donors and fundraisers by making the end result of their efforts visible and tangible. Let s say, for example, that every $10,000 raised through your year-round fundraising initiative builds a school. Each time your reach another $10,000 milestone, you can write a blog post about where the new school will be built. Then, you can all of the fundraisers that made that accomplishment possible, say thank you, and direct them to the article. Repurposed FAQs A majority of individuals that are on your website are simply looking for more information. By providing answers to frequently asked questions, whether they re about your organization, your work, how to give, or something else, you will be creating value for visitors. Making this information easily accessible from your blog and website is important and helps keep new visitors informed. Cause-related News Whether you re an organization that provides funds for research, or one lobbying for change in local communities, it s always important to keep your constituents up to date on news related to the issues you work on. This helps connect your organization s work to the bigger picture of what you re trying to accomplish and it s also an opportunity to engage your current audience with fresh and timely content. Powering Your Year Round Fundraising with Inbound Marketing Classy.org 10

11 Cause-related Research or Educational Materials This type of content is often packaged as a downloadable e-book or brochure with information that s related to the work your organization is doing. For example, if you re a cancer research organization, you might provide early detection or prevention best practices in a fact sheet. Resources like this provide value for new and old visitors while simultaneously helping to advance your mission. Powering Your Year Round Fundraising with Inbound Marketing Classy.org 11

12 Blogging to Build Your Traffic As we ve already mentioned, content is at the heart of inbound marketing, and for the typical inbound marketer, the blog serves as the hub of all content creation. Why? Because blogging is a great way to create quality content over a relatively short period of time. Writing a brief ( words) blog article about any of the previously mentioned types of content will help your organization with a number of things: fundraising successes personal stories cause-related educational materials repurposed faqs cause-related news Website Traffic Blogging is the #1 way to increase your website traffic. A study done by HubSpot found that organizations that blog get 55% more traffic than those that do not. Every time you write and publish a well-optimized blog article, search engines like Google and Bing recognize the new page and will index it, increasing the chances of someone finding your organization through search. Social Sharing Every time you publish a new article, you are providing your community with something new to read and share with their networks, whether that be in person, via or on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Your online networks work as a sounding board for your stories and expand your reach to bring in even more new visitors. Powering Your Year Round Fundraising with Inbound Marketing Classy.org 12

13 Subscriber List Blogging is a great way to build traffic over time and it s also a good way to grow your list. Make sure your website includes an option to opt-in to regular blog updates. Maintaining a blog subscription list ensures that people that are interested in your content stay up-to-date with your organization. Each time a subscriber receives another blog update , they have another chance to click through, land on your website, learn from your content and, hopefully, become a more active supporter of your cause (donor, fundraiser or volunteer). Remember, not everyone will be ready to make a donation or start fundraising for your organization right away, so engaging them with stories like this is incredibly valuable. Powering Your Year Round Fundraising with Inbound Marketing Classy.org 13

14 Best Practices for Blogging Connect your blog to your website. Your blog should be a subdomain of your website so your main domain gets the SEO credit for each new blog post. For example, your blog s URL might be blog.yourcharityname.org. Write high quality content. You want to inspire your readers with stories of those that have been successful at fundraising and show that it s easy for anyone to do. Above all strive to produce content that you would choose to read yourself. Enable social sharing. Your audience will want to share your stories on Facebook and Twitter, and possibly other networks. Make sure to make this easy for them to do. Be visual. Images are engaging and help break up dense content. Pages upon pages of words can be intimidating, so using graphs, photos or videos to break up blocks of words will encourage the reader to keep scrolling. Take note, though, that if you re highlighting a fundraiser, make sure they re ok with you sharing pictures of them. Be committed. The traffic benefits of blogging are not realized over night. Blogging is a long term growth strategy. You need to commit to regularly producing content and be persistent in order to reap the rewards. Powering Your Year Round Fundraising with Inbound Marketing Classy.org 14

15 Using Social Media to Amplify Your Efforts If great content is the engine that runs your inbound marketing machine, then social media is like turbo fuel that helps you travel further, faster. By sharing content through social media channels you can reach a large audience of your existing supporters. Through social media, your content has a chance to reach people outside your organization s immediate network, as supporters help spread the word to their own friends and family. Social media also provides your organization with lots of opportunities to make your brand more personal by interacting and engaging directly with supporters. Here s one typical social media inbound marketing scenario: 1 You write a story about a power fundraiser (one that raises tons of money) on your blog. I BLOG therefore I AM 2 You post a picture and a link to that story on your Congratulations Facebook page. to our top fundraiser So cool! How can I help 3 That power fundraiser shares your post with her network of 1,500 friends. A percentage of those people may donate to that person s campaign A percentage may want to learn more about your organization and go to your website or blog post A percentage may convert on a call-to-action and start a fundraiser after being inspired by their friend s story Yes, there are people who will not act on the post, or may not even see it, but the possibility of increasing visibility to even a small percentage of 1,500 people is still valuable. Powering Your Year Round Fundraising with Inbound Marketing Classy.org 15

16 Besides gaining visibility among new audiences, social media is a large driver of traffic back to your site. While getting likes, retweets and shares are great, getting people to your website is the key. Your website serves as the epicenter of conversions, helping you turn casual browsers into donors, fundraisers and volunteers (more on this coming up). Best Practices for Social Media Tell your organization s story over and over again. Empower your fundraisers to share your organization s story. They are part of your success and can be large advocates for your mission. Be sure to fully understand your audience on different channels. Not all social media platforms are created equal. Understand the differences and choose which you ll use according to your resources and your needs. Make sure everything you post is highly engaging. Try using vivid images in your posts and always include a link back to your website. Track every post. Keeping tabs on where your traffic is coming from and what posts are more popular than others, is important to understanding what content is driving supporter engagement. Tools like Google Analytics can help you track this information. Be data driven and data informed. Make sure your story and branding are consistent. You want to keep things consistent with your offline channels, including direct mail, e-newsletters and your website. Communicate and be social with your audience. Your audience wants to know that there is a person on the other end of your social media channels. Don t just push content at them (even if it s good content). Make sure you engage them in conversation! Powering Your Year Round Fundraising with Inbound Marketing Classy.org 16

17 SECTION 2. CONVERTING VISITORS INTO FUNDRAISERS Powering Your Year Round Fundraising with Inbound Marketing Classy.org 17

18 Effective Calls to Action So far we ve focused primarily on how you can use content to increase visitors to your website. As we ve mentioned, a regularly updated blog can be a powerful hub for your inbound marketing efforts. By attracting visitors from search engines and spreading content over social media channels, you can bring more and more visitors back to your website over time. But what happens once those visitors wind up on your site? Well, that is largely up to the visitors. If they want to click away, they will. If they want to read more articles, they will. You don t have control over their behavior, but you can provide them with some direction. By presenting a variety of ways for them to get involved, you can empower them to deepen their commitment to your organization whenever they are ready. $ You ve undoubtedly heard the term before, but the device inbound marketers use to convert simple website visitors into something more is called a call to action (CTA). CTAs are really where the rubber meets the road when it comes to connecting your inbound marketing efforts with a year-round fundraising campaign. Creating engaging call-toaction buttons and placing them at the end of your blog posts (among other places) can help you convert visitors into active fundraisers. Good calls-to-action invite your blog readers to take the next step to become a fundraiser while they re still inspired by what they ve just read or watched. Powering Your Year Round Fundraising with Inbound Marketing Classy.org 18

19 Take a look at this example from Liberty in North Korea below. The organization is blogging about Duk Jin, a North Korean man who recently escaped the country with his wife after drawing suspicion from the North Korean secret police. In this post, LiNK is celebrating a recent success (facilitating the escape and relocation of a refugee), putting a tangible face on the impact of the organization s work, and inviting others to get involved through the call to action at the bottom of the post. This is a perfect example of how to connect your inbound marketing to a yearround fundraising campaign. The call to action - Start A Campaign - invites blog readers to help create their own success stories by creating fundraising pages and raising money to facilitate more escapes. Even though we are focused on the intersection of inbound marketing and year-round fundraising, it s important to note that you need to provide a variety of engagement options for visitors. One of your standard sidebar elements might be a call to action to create a personal fundraising campaign, but you will likely want to have softer options as well. Remember, inbound marketing is premised on the idea that visitors decide how they want to interact. Powering Your Year Round Fundraising with Inbound Marketing Classy.org 19

20 When you provide lower commitment options to get involved like subscribing to your blog, requesting more information, or making a simple donation, you allow people to get involved at a level they are comfortable with. Sure, you will convert a portion of your visitors right into fundraisers, but most won t be ready for that at the beginning. By getting them involved at a lower level, you can continue to engage them with content, and warm them up until they are ready to fundraise. And that s where our next topic, lead nurturing, comes into play. But first, some best practices for crafting effective calls to action. Best Practices for Calls to Action Keep it in the visitor s line of sight. This may seem obvious, but it s still worth mentioning your calls to action should be in places where you know visitors will see them. They should be big, bold, and truly hard to miss. Draw a sharp contrast. With any call to action, the first step is getting your visitors to see it. Beyond putting the CTA in an obvious line of site, you should also make sure that the color of the call to action contrasts with the background so in won t get lost on the page. Use concise and actionable language. Skip generic words like submit or lengthy descriptions that take too much time to process. Stick to the point and focus on the value the person clicking the CTA will receive (E.g. Download Brochure, or Start Fundraising ). Make it clickable. If you can add some drop shadow or texture to your call to action it will help visitors recognize on a visual level that this is something they are supposed to click on! Powering Your Year Round Fundraising with Inbound Marketing Classy.org 20

21 Using Lead Nurturing to Fuel Your Fundraising Most organizations prefer having other people evangelize for them. Why? Because 1) it s more efficient in terms of resources, and 2) the source is more credible. That means you have a huge opportunity to communicate your organization s mission and impact if you empower lower level engagers (blog subscribers, content downloaders, or donors) to fundraise. But how do you accomplish that? How do you take a less engaged supporter like a one-off donor or a blog subscriber and get them to fundraise? You do it with the help of lead nurturing. If you re not already familiar with lead nurturing the basic idea is pretty simple. Essentially after someone converts on one of your offers (e.g. makes a donation, downloads an e-book, etc.) you send them automated messages tailored to that person s situation. If someone downloads an e-book on early detection practices for breast cancer, for instance, you might follow up with two or THANK YOU FOR DOWNLOADING three s with related educational content. Nurturing campaigns help you sustain the initial interaction you have with supporters and increase their level of engagement over time. As you build trust and rapport by delivering tailored content to your supporters, you keep them coming back to your site, and give them more chances to convert into active fundraisers. Here are a few more reasons why lead nurturing is so beneficial: It keeps you on their mind. When someone makes their first donation, they may or may not be familiar with all the work your organization does throughout the year. Sending information about your work, upcoming events, fundraising milestones or volunteer opportunities will consistently engage your new donors throughout the year. Also sharing stories of how other fundraisers have been successful can inspire others to get off the sidelines and start fundraising. It s easy. Once you outline the content that you want to send in the s and format them, you can set the lead nurturing s to go out automatically over a specified period of time. It gives Powering Your Year Round Fundraising with Inbound Marketing Classy.org 21

22 you time to write more stories, focus on engaging major donors, as well as your social media audiences. You can easily update the content when it s out of date or eliminate or add on to the series to optimize it. It s personal. When you segment your lists based on where the donor or fundraiser is either in the giving HAPPY BIRTHDAY STEVE! HERE ARE SOME TIPS FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY FUNDRAISER... cycle or during a campaign, you can then send them the right messages at the right times. You can set up a lead nurturing campaign for your volunteers, new fundraisers, event registrants, or even your major donors. The ability to very important when you re trying to optimize your communications. tailor the content to your different donor personas is It s effective when trying to convert subscribers and individuals that download your content into fundraisers. Providing them with information about your mission, your year-round campaign, the impact you ve already made and ultimately a call-to-action to start their own fundraising campaign in an drip campaign can have a real impact on growing your fundraiser base. It s effective when following-up with pledgers. If you are running a campaign that is asking people to pledge that they will fundraise, let s say for their birthday or wedding, and you want to follow up with them on a specific date, you can use nurturing to do so. You can remind them of their campaign, and encourage them to start early. It s useful when coaching active fundraisers. Even after you ve converted individuals into fundraisers, you can continue to nurture them throughout their campaign with best practices and tips that will help them be more effective. Powering Your Year Round Fundraising with Inbound Marketing Classy.org 22

23 Best Practices for Lead Nurturing Segment your lists. This is really important when you re communicating to different people at different stages of the fundraising process. Here are some suggested list segments: Blog subscribers New donors who have never fundraised before 1st time fundraisers Returning fundraisers Power fundraisers celebrities, community leaders, and evangelists Include actionable content. s should always be creating value for the reader, otherwise they might view it as spam. You re using this communication channel to empower your fundraisers to be successful. Provide tips to be a successful fundraiser, sample social media posts, blog posts and templates, and also encourage fundraisers to invite their friends to join them. Keep It Short. This is not the time to worry about fonts, or adding images or custom HTML. The reader should be able to glance at your and within five seconds know what value you re providing. Test, track and optimize all your nurturing campaigns. Measuring the effectiveness of your nurturing content vs. your fundraising success is very important. You want to make sure the content you re sending out is actually doing what it s supposed to and helping your fundraisers raise more money. Powering Your Year Round Fundraising with Inbound Marketing Classy.org 23

24 Putting it All Together: Using Inbound to Drive Fundraising When you step back and think about how inbound marketing and year-round fundraising fit together, it becomes clear that the connection isn t exclusively about fundraising at all. Inbound marketing is really a more general method for attracting visitors to your website and then engaging those visitors over time. Within this general framework, however, a year-round fundraising program can be a powerful asset. With a year-round campaign, your supporters get to decide when, and how, they want to fundraise. It s a truly supporter-centric form of engagement. As the Internet has continued to permeate our lives, and expectations about what should be available on demand have grown, it s not terribly surprising that year-round fundraising has come into its own. This type of engagement option puts the power in the hands of your supporters by allowing them to personalize their charitable support. This focus on the individual, makes year-round fundraising a great fit for organizations that are investing in inbound marketing. By marrying the two, it s possible to grow a continuous revenue stream that will help fund your mission and, at the same time, give your supporters more control over the way they are interacting with your cause. Powering Your Year Round Fundraising with Inbound Marketing Classy.org 24

25 Join thousands of nonprofits turning fans into fundraisers Get more supporters to stand by your mission with the world s leading peer-to-peer fundraising platform. VISIT CLASSY.ORG Powering Your Year Round Fundraising with Inbound Marketing Classy.org 25

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