Elaine Fogel


More than Two-Thirds of Nonprofits Have NO Social Media Strategy

strategy-with-question-markA new study by Bloomerang, reported on HubSpot’s blog, gives us some valuable data about nonprofits’ use of social media. Of the 9000 respondents, almost half say that social media marketing is very valuable.

The top three goals of nonprofits’ social media efforts are:

  1. Sharing news about the organization.
  2. Sharing news about the cause.
  3. Brand recognition.

Interestingly, fundraising came in fourth, which makes sense because online giving made up only 6.4% of overall giving in 2013, down from 7% in 2012. (Blackbaud)

Here are some other findings:
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Top 10 Nonprofit Blog Posts from 2013

Top 10 words over white backgroundAs we begin a new year, I thought it would be apropos to create a list of the top 10 posts I wrote for the nonprofit sector.

The Smart Way to Use Donor Gifts

Do thank-you gifts actually increase contributions? According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, two Yale University researchers tried to answer this question in a 2012 study of charitable behavior.

Is Your Nonprofit Marketing to Boomers Effectively? 7 Nonprofit Boomer Marketing Tips

Did you know that Baby Boomers contribute 43% of all charitable giving? In fact, Baby Boomers control 70% of Americans’ disposable income, yet only 5% of advertising is geared toward their age group. Is your nonprofit organization adequately targeting them and marketing to them effectively?

3 Tips on Nonprofit Customer Service

Yesterday, I facilitated a half-day customer service training workshop for a local nonprofit organization. I find it refreshing when I receive inquiries from nonprofits, across the country, about this topic – not because they aren’t doing a good job at it, but, because they recognize that their level of customer service extends past the receptionist and front-line staff. In fact, their adoption of a customer orientation can have a great bearing on their success. With that in mind, here are 3 tips on nonprofit customer service…

Nonprofit is a Tax Status!

Nonprofit organizations are exempt from paying federal taxes in many countries. But, that doesn’t mean they should be exempt from operating like businesses. I have been speaking and writing on this topic for a long time, so I especially enjoyed Marc Chardon’s Huffington Post article called, “Nonprofit Trends: Tax Status vs. Business Model.” Hallelujah!

Yes, Size Does Matter – in Nonprofit Branding That is

When it comes to brand awareness in the nonprofit world, size definitely does matter. A new study by Grey Matter Research of Phoenix, Arizona asked a demographically representative sample of American adults to name the first nonprofit organization, charity, or ministry that comes to mind for them (excluding any local place of worship). Here’s what this research uncovered…

Should Nonprofits Use Consumer Tactics to Build Support?

Here’s a thought. What if nonprofits used consumer tactics like couponing, discounts, and contests to drive support? Sure, it’s a bit unusual, but not unprecedented. The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation in Toronto, Canada (my old home town) started the first fundraising lottery and many others throughout North America followed suit. Not only are the prizes amazing, they raise a ton of money.

But, what about smaller nonprofits? They can certainly do things on a smaller scale.

Don’t Be Chintzy When Honoring Donors, Volunteers, and Employees

If you’ve ever worked or volunteered for a charitable organization, or made a significant donation to a cause, how did the organizations show their appreciation to you? It’s a fairly common practice to give out awards and gifts of appreciation to those who help move a nonprofit’s mission forward. What many organizations may not realize is that the award or gift they give out speaks volumes about their brands.

Charitable Online Giving Success Depends on Relationship Building

Just as in traditional fundraising, building relationships is crucial to a nonprofit’s success at online fundraising. So says The Online Giving Study from Network for Good.

Nonprofits Spending More Time Using Social Media – But is It Paying Off?

A recent, small study by Vertical Response says that a majority of nonprofits are spending more time using social media now than they did a year ago. Findings show that…

My 2013 Dream for Charities and Donors

When my nonprofit marketing colleague, Nancy Schwartz of the Getting Attention blog, asked me to write about my dream for the nonprofit community this year, it didn’t take long to come up with one. In reality, I could write an entire book on the subject, but I narrowed it down to one dream.


Here’s to a successful year in 2014 to all my nonprofit colleagues and friends!

The Smart Way to Use Donor Gifts

Mug we had made for Phoenix Rescue Mission

Do thank-you gifts actually increase contributions? According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, two Yale University researchers tried to answer this question in a 2012 study of charitable behavior.

Once again, research shows that using fundraising incentive gifts don’t work. In fact, “We found when you offer a thank-you gift as part of an initial donation request—such as a pen, tote bag, or mug—people end up donating less than if you just asked them how much they’d be willing to donate,” says George E. Newman, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at Yale’s School of Management.

“People seem to be concerned that if they were to accept the thank-you gift, it would create ambiguity about their reasons for giving,” adds Newman. “There’s actually a very long literature in psychology on this idea, known as the ‘crowding-out’ effect, where a person’s intrinsic motivation ends up decreasing once an external incentive is added.”

On the other hand, Roger Dooley, neuromarketing expert and author, says that using free address labels, greeting cards, and other items that show up in your mailbox, accompanied by a request for a donation, actually do work.

“The psychological principle involved is ‘reciprocity’ – when you get those mailing labels, you feel a subtle urge to reciprocate by making a donation. There is even data that shows the size of the gift accompanying the request can have a big influence on donations.” Continue reading

Good News for Charities - Giving is Up!

U.S. year-to-date charitable giving through September 2013 totals $308.28 billion, an increase of 11.9% over last year! Wuhoo!

It’s another positive indicator that the economy is recovering and people are demonstrating their altruism. Plus, there’s more good news.

The Atlas of Giving predicts that 2013 giving will total $412.41 billion, 11.8% higher than 2012. The state with the most generous donors is New York, with a projected year-end increase of 23.8% The state with the least increase is Texas at 8.8%.

The report also forecasts an increase in foundation gifts - up 17.2%. But, the same increase isn’t true of corporate gifts.

Corporate gifts will account for the smallest growth in 2013 at 8.7%. What’s with that, corporations? Come on, get with the CSR program!

Religion will remain the largest giving sector, declining from 36% in 2012 to 35% overall in 2013. The most significant 2013 increase will be in human/disaster services – up 17.3%.

As we head into the holiday season, charities will be bombarding us with fundraising marketing. It’s up to all of us to give as much as we can to help restore the causes that took such a big hit during the downturn.

Do you plan to make donations before the end of the year? More, less, or the same as last year?

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