BRIGHT BEGINNINGS INC. Integrated Marketing Communications Plan Prepared by: Strategies Inc. Georgetown University April 28th, 2011
TABLE OF CONTENTS A. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY B. BACKGROUND • Organization • Industry • Key Publics • Competitors • Situational Analysis (SWOT) C. FUNDING AND DONORS • Revenue Sources • Donors (Geography & Demographics) • Donor Segmentation • RFM Methodology D. GOALS and STRATEGY 1. Learn • Online Surveys • Informal Conversations • Learning More About Online Giving 2. Cultivate • House Parties • Phone Calls • Small Meetings • Social Media 3. Ask • Appeal Letters • Email Marketing • Social Media • Using Volunteers 4. Appreciate • Thank You Notes • Social Media 5. Access Referrals • Open House Events • Letters • Phone Calls • Social Media E. DONOR JUMPSTART CAMPAIGN: “A Piece of Bright Beginning” • Budget F. METRICS & MEASUREMENTS G. APPENDIX 2
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY When it comes to fundraising in 2011, nonprofits are getting back to basics. This year’s goals focus on engaging individual donors and cultivating relationships through consistent and honest communications. Like other nonprofits navigating their way through a tough and unpredictable economy, Bright Beginnings, Inc. (BBI) could benefit from strengthening its relationships with its individual donors. Combined with an overall commitment to a cause, a high-‐level of emotional involvement with an organization amplifies a potential donor’s willingness to give and directly influences the amount they will give. Better donor relationships would allow Bright Beginnings to credibly and reasonably ask for higher donations; and they could help open the door to donors’ social networks, making it easier to identify potential new donors. Building stronger relationships with donors stimulates deeper community involvement, volunteerism and a higher level of support for the organization’s mission overall while simultaneously paving the way to creating a reliable revenue stream. While “donor cultivation” can be an overwhelming and somewhat imprecise concept in the philanthropic community, the following integrated communications marketing plan by Strategies, Inc., demystifies “cultivation” and offers a series of strategic conceptual and practical recommendations that can be implemented in a campaign to make the most of the fundraising opportunities surrounding BBI’s 20th Anniversary. Our Strategy Increasing donations from individual donors begins with analyzing current donors’ contribution patterns. We did this by creating a rating for each donor based on the recency, frequency and monetary value of their past contributions. We then divided your donors into three categories: Inner Circle, Dedicated Donors and Supporters. Segmenting your donors in this way allows you to focus your outreach efforts toward the donors who are most likely to deepen their engagement and commitment to you. For example, there are 216 donors in your Inner Circle. While we believe all donors are important and valuable, these donors should be your first priority if there are limited resources available for tailored personal outreach. The strategy can be summarized in five stages of outreach: 1. Learn. Gather as much information about donors as possible via surveys and informal conversations. Keep the dialogue open and honest and ask for feedback at every opportunity. 2. Cultivate. Create a deeper sense of “belonging” for donors by enabling greater access to Bright Beginnings’ staff and facilities through cultivation events. Cultivation events are events that allow you to strengthen the bond with donors in advance of planned solicitations. 3
3. Ask. Sharpen Bright Beginnings’ solicitation practices by increasing the quantity and the quality of the way you ask for gifts in each communication channel—online, direct mail, phones, etc. 4. Appreciate. Create an appreciation protocol that triggers an appropriate and timely response for every contribution that comes into Bright Beginnings. 5. Access Referrals. Spend several months reconnecting with existing donors in order to open up referral networks and ask for referrals for new donors. Donor Jumpstart Campaign: “A Piece of a Bright Beginning” The implementation plan that follows will utilize Bright Beginnings 20th Anniversary as a hook to recognize past donor contributions, create urgency and begin asking for higher donations. BBI’s 20th Anniversary in September 2011 is a perfect time to roll out donor relationship initiatives. The campaign entitled, “Piece of a Bright Beginning” will demonstrate how the marketing strategies and tactics come together to achieve the overall goal of increased individual donor contributions. This comprehensive, multi-‐channel campaign will look back to the past 20 years and recognize donors’ contributions and look to the future where a partnership with donors will advance BBI’s mission and help more homeless children have bright beginnings and bright futures. 4
BACKGROUND Organization Bright Beginnings Inc. was established in 1991 and is a nationally-‐accredited child and family development center that offers care and support for homeless infants, toddlers, preschoolers and their families. The organization originated after a community needs assessment determined an immediate and critical need for childcare for homeless families living in Washington, DC. In over a decade, Bright Beginnings has provided assistance to more than 1,000 homeless children in the district. In 1998, Bright Beginnings moved to the Perry School Community Services Center. The increase in the number of children served doubled when they added a program for infants/toddlers and childcare slots for low income families living in the community. Several years later, Bright Beginnings launched its Early Learning Evening Care Program that is open to all working families in need of safe and reliable evening care. Today, Bright Beginnings has started the pre-‐development phase of a second center to double its current capacity. The second center, located in the District’s most chronically poor region, Wards 7 and 8, will serve 100 additional homeless children and their families. This site is expected to open in 2010 and fundraising efforts have already begun. As only one of two centers in our nation’s capital devoted to homeless children, Bright Beginnings is dedicated to meeting the immediate needs of children and families living in homeless environments by: • Providing children with a safe and healthy environment • Preparing children for kindergarten • Supporting and educating parents to stabilize their lives Industry Families with young children are among the fastest growing segments of the homeless population in Washington, DC. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, which conducted a survey on the population and housing in DC from 2005-‐2009, 18% of people in the district were in poverty and 29% of children were below the poverty level. The National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth recently published a report showing that there are close to 1,000,000 homeless children enrolled in U.S. schools. This is a 41% increase from just a few years ago. One child out of every classroom of thirty is homeless and the average age is nine years old. 5
Key Publics Strategies Inc. recognizes that good communication planning calls for the identification of Bright Beginnings various publics. Each of the publics identified below are linked with the organization through a unique relationship. In identifying the key publics we can better understand and avoid wasting time and money trying to communicate with people who do not have a relevant relationship to Bright Beginnings. The key publics that are linked with Bright Beginnings are identified as: • Board of Directors • Dr. Betty Jo Gaines, Executive Director • Junior League • Staff and Volunteers at Bright Beginnings • Donors o Federal Government o DC Government o Foundations o Corporations o Community Partners o Individuals o Faith-‐Based Among these publics, the key stakeholders and influencers for Bright Beginnings are the Board of Directors and Dr. Betty Jo Gaines, Bright Beginnings Executive Director. Second to these stakeholders is the Federal Government for their involvement with the Head Start and Early Head Start Grants and the DC Government, Office of the Superintendent, as they regulate early childhood education services. Appendix: Key Publics Chart Competitors Bright Beginnings competitors can be defined as broadly as any and all nonprofits and organizations that donors are supporting and funding. Considering just the Washington, DC-‐based organizations focused on children, early development and homelessness, the competitors are as follows: House of Ruth helps women, children and families in the greatest need and with very limited resources build safe, stable lives to achieve their highest potential. At House of Ruth, women, children and families heal from lifetimes of abuse. Community of Home DC provides hope and stability to low-‐income and homeless adults and children in Washington DC. This organization offers a range of programs from 6
healthcare to housing with supportive services and programs promoting and creating stable lives for themselves and for their children. The Homeless Children’s Playtime Project is the only children’s program offered in five shelters a total of eight times each week. The program model provides one-‐on-‐one attention, healthy snacks and access to developmental toys and activities designed to reduce the traumatic effects of homelessness on children and to promote learning and joy. Bright Beginnings House of Ruth Focuses on Early Childhood Focuses on Abused Women & Development and preparing the Children -‐Support Services to child to enter Pre-‐K recover from domesmc violence Oﬀers Full Service Program -‐to Oﬀers Temporary Housing reposimon parents for a more stable future & Daycare The Homeless Children Community of Home DC Play^me Project Focuses on Healthcare Focuses on Children’s program and Temporary Housing oﬀered in shelters -‐8 mmes each Oﬀers Tutoring & Mentoring week Aoer-‐school acmvimes Promotes healthy living and reduce tramamc eﬀects on children Every product, business or service needs a Unique Selling Proposition that will make it stand out from the competition. Strategies Inc. considered the following questions to determine BBI’s USP. • What does the organization do the best? • What does the organization do better than our competition? • What awards have been won? • What does the organizations service do better than anyone else? • What makes the organizations business model different from our competition? 7
Strategies Inc. feels that BBI’s uniqueness lies in that it is the only local organization that provides comprehensive, long-‐term benefits to homeless children and families through a holistic approach that focuses on the highest standards of early childhood education. Bright Beginnings, Inc. has earned accreditation, twice, as one of the nation’s premier child and family development centers by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. This award has only been achieved by eight percent of early childhood centers nationally, is one of the most respected and widely sought after designations for child and family development centers. Appendix: Competitor Communications Audit Situational Analysis (SWOT) Strengths Bright Beginnings strength lies in the service and care they provide to homeless children and their families. Their program is full-‐circle; taking the child in, preparing that child to enter Kindergarten, as well as counseling and educating the parents to stabilize their lives. Bright Beginnings addresses the immediate and long-‐term needs of the children and their families. The following are Bright Beginnings strengths: • A Head Start/Early Head Start grantee. • A curriculum centered on High/Scope, an approach to learning that is widely recognized for helping young children in disordered environments. • Comprehensive case management program that addresses the root causes of homelessness. • Strong emphasis on parent involvement in the healthy development of their children. Weaknesses The organization relies too heavily on funding from government and institutions and needs to pay attention to developing their individual donor base. They have not developed and cultivated relationships for long-‐term support and financial stability. Their internal focus needs to shift to develop a program that proactively communicates and tracks their individual donor base. Bright Beginnings weaknesses can be defined as: • Underdeveloped relationships with current individual donors. • Underdeveloped tracking system for donors. • No strategic communications and outreach programs to sustain and develop new donors. 8
Opportunities The timing is right to grow Bright Beginning’s individual donor program. Institutionally, Bright Beginnings needs a way to manage increased demands from the community. At the same time, according to an annual survey conducted by Wilson Research Strategies, Americans plan to increase their charitable giving in 2011 for the first time since the recession began in 2007. This plan takes advantage of that anticipated trend with a manageable, tailored program that maximizes donations from individuals. Threats With so-‐called Republican “deficit hawks” controlling the U.S. House and promising to eviscerate all discretionary government spending, the current political climate in Washington is exceptionally hostile to organizations that serve America’s underprivileged. Likewise, Bright Beginnings faces the threat of reduced funding from foundations and corporations, which could potentially retrench during the economic downturn. 9
FUNDING & DONORS Revenue Sources The primary challenge facing nonprofits today is financial stability. Bright Beginnings has successfully established and maintained solid revenue sources; however, their financial support is imbalanced toward corporations, foundations, and the government. In 2009, approximately 64% of Bright Beginnings’ total funding came from government contracts, grants, foundations and corporate contributions. While those sources have remained stable, Bright Beginnings’ demand for services has tripled and the loss of jobs and chronic underemployment has continued to take its toll on DC’s poorest. In order to meet higher demand in the community, Bright Beginnings must maintain its current revenue sources, while simultaneously shifting focus to expand and cultivate its individual donor base. In 2009, individual donations represented 8% of its funding support, indicated significant room for growth. Growing the individual contributions is important because individuals tend to offer more flexibility in their donations, giving more room to spend on operational needs. Bright Beginnings 2009 Total Revenue and Support Government Contracts & Grants (46%) Foundamon & Corporate Support (18%) Contribumons (8%) (Individual Donors) Donamon Services & Equiptment (9%) Special Events (2%) Interest & Other Income (1%) Net Assests Released from Restricmon (16%) 10
Donors (Geography & Demographics) Mindful of Bright Beginnings’ lean staffing and resources, Strategies Inc. recommends maximizing the giving potential of each existing donor. Working with existing donors saves time and money. It costs much less to energize current donors, compared to the costs of a larger campaign to acquire new donors. The following section offers an overall picture of the geography and demographics of Bright Beginnings’ entire donor database. The Heat Map below is a snapshot of where the current donor base lives and the demographic characteristics they share based on a geographic analysis. 11
An analysis of donor zip codes shows that the highest concentrations of Bright Beginnings’ donors reside in wealthier areas: • Northwest Washington, DC • Fairfax • Arlington • Bethesda • Silver Spring These affluent neighborhoods are populated with highly educated, upper income professionals. The following is a list of characteristics of Bright Beginnings’ donors based on their geographic information: • Median household incomes of more than $140,000. • Mostly educated to the graduate level. • Professionals in management positions. • Predominantly white, with a high concentration of Asian Americans, with some Hispanic/Latino and black. • Travel enthusiasts; technology-‐savvy with a penchant for the good things in life such as: expensive imported cars, exclusive retail shopping and specialty exercise. Appendix: Personas, examples of donors Donor Segmentation Since the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, Strategies, Inc. proposes segmenting Bright Beginnings’ donors based on the recency, frequency, and monetary value of previous donations. Segmenting donors creates groups of individuals who share similar characteristics. This will allow Bright Beginnings to focus on cultivating the most promising donors, while offering them specific, tailored messaging. Strategies Inc. utilized a scoring methodology to better understand the donation behaviors of the current donors. This scoring method is referred to as RFM. Recency – How recently has the individual donated? Frequency – How often does the individual donate? Monetary Value –How much does the individual donate? 12
Strategies, Inc. created categories based on behavior patterns for each attribute, which were scored on a scale from 1-‐5. RFM Methodology RECENCY FREQUENCY MONETARY VALUE • 2011 -‐ 5 Points • 10+ donamons -‐ 5 Points • $5000 + -‐ 5 Points • 2010 -‐ 4 Points • 6-‐9 donamons -‐ 4 Points • $1000 -‐ $4999 -‐ 4 Points • 2009 -‐ 3 Points • 3-‐5 donamons -‐ 3 Points • $500 -‐ $999 -‐ 3 Points • 2008 -‐ 2 Points • 2 donamons -‐ 2 Points • $100 -‐ $499 -‐ 2 Points • 2007 or earlier -‐ 1 Point • 1 donamon -‐ 1 Point • $0 -‐ $99 -‐ 1 Point RFM Model: Donors Segments based on the RFM Score Dedicated Inner Circle Supporters Donors • 11-‐15 Points • 6-‐10 Points • 1-‐5 Points • 216 Donors • 501 Donors • 307 Donors • 21% • 49% • 30% 13
Inner Circle • There are 216 donors (21% of the total database) who scored between 11 and 15 points. • The ideal “Inner Circle” Donor gave in 2011, has donated more than 6 years, and gives $5,000 or more. • Inner Circle donors are concentrated in 20007, 20008, 20009, 20016 and 20815 zip codes. Dedicated Donors • There are 501 donors (49% of the total database) who scored between 6 and 10 points. • The ideal “Dedicated Donor” gave in 2010, has donated more than 3 years, and gives $500 or more. • Dedicated Donors are concentrated in 20007, 20008, 20015, 20016, 20815 and 22101 zip codes. Supporters • There are 307 donors (30% of the total database) who scored between 1 and 5 points. • The ideal “Supporter” gave in 2008, has donated 1 or 2 times, and gives $100 or more. • Supporters are most likely donors who contributed during a fundraising event such as the 5K race or the Help the Homeless Walkathon. • Supporters are concentrated in 20007, 20008, 20009, 20816 and 20016 zip codes. 14
GOAL Based on the 2009 annual report, total individual donations were $226,629, representing just 8% of Bright Beginnings’ total revenue. The goal of this plan is to increase individual giving by 25% or $56,657 by end the end of 2011 by focusing on: • Increasing value of each donation • Increasing frequency of donations • Accessing donor referral networks STRATEGY Strategies Inc. has created a five-‐step strategy to strengthen BBI’s Individual Donor Cultivation Program that focuses on strengthening the bonds with individual donors by meeting their emotional needs and expectations. We recommend using a multi-‐channel approach while executing the strategy. A study by Blackbaud, Inc. showed that using a multi-‐channel approach resulted in an increase in first-‐year donor retention rates by 61% compared to 32% retention rates for offline donors and 24% for online donors. Multi-‐channel donors also give higher donations than single channel donors. Below are 5 strategy points, followed by a description of how to implement the strategy through multiple channels. 1. Learn. Gather new information about donors via surveys and informal conversations. Keep the dialogue open and honest and ask for feedback at every opportunity. 2. Cultivate. Create a deeper sense of “belonging” for donors by enabling greater access to Bright Beginnings’ staff and facilities through cultivation events. Cultivation events allow you to establish a trusting, long-‐term relationship in advance of planned solicitations. 3. Ask. Set up more fertile opportunities to ask donors for their support, then sharpen BBI’s solicitation practices by increasing the quantity and the quality of the “ask” in each communication channel—online, direct mail, phones, etc. 4. Appreciate. Use your insights on donors to put together a meaningful appreciation program. Create an appreciation protocol that triggers an appropriate and timely response for every size of contribution. 5. Access Referrals. Spend several months reconnecting with existing donors in order to later ask your donors to help identify new prospects. 15
1. LEARN: Learning about your donors. The first step to creating a meaningful donor cultivation program is recognizing that the relationship with the donor is a two-‐way street. Below is a list of the core reasons people give when asked why they donate to charity: • Because they were asked • Belief in the organization’s mission • Recognition • Self-‐image, honor • Sense of belonging to something bigger than oneself • Giving back to a cause that has helped them • Peer pressure • Admiration for a professional leader of the organization • They want or already occupy a leadership role in the organization • To set an example • Family or religious tradition • Tax deduction • Personal gain (getting basketball seats, etc.) While it’s clear that Bright Beginnings’ donors are already motivated by the mission, this list shows that donors have many reasons for giving, and several of those reasons are about fulfilling an emotional need. We recommend reaching in deeper to find out more about your donor’s needs and what they expect to get emotionally in exchange for their donation. Here are several ideas of activities that help you learn more about what makes your donors tick. • Online donor surveys, for example Survey Monkey, are a free and eﬃcient way to take the temperature Online Surveys of your donors. You can ask up to 10 quesmons for free and get the results tabulated and analyzed instantly. (Sample survey included in the appendix.) • Ask donors or volunteers to describe the reasons why they donate and how they feel about the Informal quality and the quanmty of communicamon they Conversamons receive from you. Reasons may change over mme, so it’s important to check in periodically. Appendix: Sample Donor Survey 16
Learning More About Online Giving There are several important key findings to help us learn more about the benefits of online giving. According to the 2010 Online Giving Report from Blackbaud: • Online giving grew 34.5% in 2010. • 7.6% of total fundraising now comes from online giving. • 88% of nonprofits had at least one online gift of $1,000 or more. • 31.3% of all online giving takes place in October, November and December. What does this means for Bright Beginnings? • While online fundraising is usually small compared to direct mail, it grows exponentially each year. • Your major donors are online, so use email marketing and social media to learn more about your online donors. • Year-‐end fundraising is important. Build your list now and create a plan so that youll be ready to raise more money this year. • Capitalize on the news cycle and use it to rally your base, reach new supporters and raise more money. 2. CULTIVATION Bright Beginnings’ core strength lies in its compelling mission and institutional longevity. It has successfully raised money from individual donors on those merits without a significant or systematic individual donor cultivation program. The good news is that local donors already respond very positively to BBI’s mission—as they should. In 2009, BBI brought in $226,629 in individual donations, an impressive number. Clearly, the work that BBI does to improve the quality of life in our community inspires donors. Even better news is that while donor dollars have rolled in despite modest outreach, research shows BBI’s donors are positioned to give more. According to IRS data, “households making more than $100,000 represent about 10 percent of the population but make up 69 percent of all individual charitable donations.” Analysis of BBI’s donor base shows that most of BBI’s donors live in households exceeding that income level. Combined with an overall commitment to a cause, a high-‐level of emotional involvement with an organization amplifies a potential donor’s willingness to give and directly influences the amount they will give. Better donor relationships allow you to credibly and reasonably ask for higher donations; and they help open the door to donors’ social networks, making it easier to identify potential new donors. In addition to paving the way to a more reliable revenue stream, building stronger relationships with donors stimulates deeper community involvement, volunteerism and a higher level of support for the organization’s mission. 17
In order to create a sense of community and guard against donor fatigue, it is important initially to have a series of personal contacts in which they are not actively solicited for funds. Here are some ideas for learning more about donors and creating a sense of belonging: • Culmvamon parmes are small parmes that allow you to get to know your donors bever and create a sense of community. These parmes can be hosted by the Execumve Director or Inner Circle Luncheon Board Members in geographic hotspots such us NW, Washington DC, Northern VA and MD; these are culmvamng (House Parmes) events that aim to build strong relamons with core individuals with the goal of later meemng potenmal new donors through their referrals. • Consider phoning through the donor list to say thank you for past gios and give an update on the capital campaign or 20th Anniversary events, without asking for a donamon. (Messages Phone Calls on answering machines are okay too.) The idea is that you reach out to donors in a friendly, informamve way before the next solicitamon. • Face-‐to-‐face interacmon creates deeper mes and sets the stage for asking for more money, volunteerism and referrals. Small Meemngs Meet with nner Circle donors frequently, and with Dedicated Donors as ooen as possible. Face-‐to-‐face meemngs encourage the idea that donors are not just donors, put partners. 18
Cultivating Donors Through Social Media Social networking gives nonprofits a cost effective way to promote events, educate and raise awareness, and ultimately, create an ongoing conversation between the organization and its supporters. Social media platforms such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter are crucial in building a fully engaged online community that will lead to campaign success. Bright Beginnings currently uses Facebook and Twitter platforms as their main social media online tools. Here are some posting suggestions for practices already in place: Post daily, but only if posts Start a conversamon and are interesmng and relevant. generate word-‐of-‐mouth Make sure posts relate to fan The goal is to build markemng instead of demographics. relamonships, not bombard broadcasmng “calls to readers. acmon.” Post armcles that show stamsmcs and facts about Foster interacmons that homelessness in the U.S., or connect people with BBI’s relay informamon on local mission. legislamon that aﬀects the homeless. 3. ASK Bright Beginnings needs to sharpen its solicitation practices by increasing the quantity and the quality of the way it asks for gifts in each communication channel—online, direct mail, phones, etc. Appeal LettersCurrently Bright Beginnings mails two annual appeal letters per year. Strategies Inc. recommends that Bright Beginnings begin sending appeal letters quarterly.Consider creating seasonally themed appeals that give you a natural “reason” to contact donors. For example, in the late summer an appeal letter with a “back to school” theme that focuses on BBI’s needs during the start of the new school year. No matter how many appeals are sent, it’s best to vary the tone of the communications so that a donor is not getting a letter every month that says, “The situation is critical! Please send money now!” Donors don’t respond to a tone of constant desperation, instead they like to feel as though their donation is making a positive difference. 19
Tips for an effective appeal letter: • Highlight a speciﬁc event or project. For example, an appeal lever suppormng a back-‐to-‐school drive could ask for funding for children’s Highlight Special Projects books, art supplies, paper and pencils. Idenmfying seasonal needs will grab donors’ avenmon and jusmfy the addimonal appeal. • Use a personal story. Personal stories illustrate how BBI makes a Use a personal story. diﬀerence in childrens lives. Appeal levers could also highlight a project that children students are working on. • Invite two-‐way communicamons. Consider solicimng donors’ Invite two-‐way opinions on an issue related to BBI or suggest ways in which interested donors can help with a parmcular task including the communicamons. development of BBI’s policies. • Include a clear, strong call to acmon-‐-‐ this is where the “ask” for the donamon takes place (or in-‐kind donamon or volunteer help Include a clear, strong call to when applicable). BBI should always be direct in telling people acmon what they can do to make the parmcular project, event, campaign a success. Speciﬁcally refer to past gios and directly ask for an increase. • Phone calls are an eﬀecmve supplement to direct mail and email Follow Up with a Phone Call markemng. A phone campaign in conjuncmon with direct mail can increase direct mail response rates by 500 to 1000%. 20
Using Email Marketing To Make The “Ask” Email marketing is an easy way to reach out to your donors and make the “ask.” Here are a few tips to create a solid “ask” in an email campaign: 1. Include a compelling call-‐to-‐action • Compel readers to do something • Give them a sense of excitement and/or urgency • Use specific action-‐oriented language 2. Create supporting landing page(s) – cultivate, ask, refer • Draw them to the website • You got them to act, bring them closer by emailing them basic points and allowing them to find out more info on your website It is also important to note that according to a recent comScore study, web based email declined in 2010, while mobile email increased by 36%. Bright Beginnings should consider optimizing action alerts and fundraising appeals on mobile email and ensure that they are focused and easy to read with a clear call to action. Using Social Media To Make The “Ask” As you have read above, we suggest that BBI send appeal letters four times per year. Strategies, Inc. also recommends updating all social networking with the same messaging as used in the appeal letters. It is important to make sure the messaging is consistent through different online channels. Below are a few tips for making the “ask” through social media: Create complementary Create larger “Donate” buvons Send an email guiding donors messaging for Twiver, in the top leo corner of all to ﬁnd you on your online Facebook, Email and the website. online media sites. channels. Add “join my list” to the Bright Add a Causes link to Facebook. Beginnings’ Facebook page. Request acmon by asking When users click on Facebook Facebook friends to donate to from the Bright Beginnings’ your cause. website, Facebook should open to the join my list page. 21
Who Will Do The Asking? Building Up Your Fundraising Army With modest staffing members working on both communications and development, BBI will need to recruit, train and manage a group of volunteers to assist in fundraising. 1. Idenmfy a core group • Volunteers make especially eﬀecmve fundraisers because they care about your mission and other donors respect of 10 volunteer them as messengers. fundraisers. 2. Create a volunteer • The program should clearly deﬁne the goals of the 20th Anniversary campaign and deﬁne “the ask” for each level orientamon/training of donor. program. 3. Put volunteer • For example, the ﬁrst project should be phone calls to fundraisers to work re-‐ previous donors who have dropped oﬀ. establishing bonds with previous donors. 4. APPRECIATE A thank-‐you note is the beginning of a donor’s next gift to Bright Beginnings. While nonprofit organizations almost always thank donors, very few do it well or often enough. Implementing a thorough and strategic plan of gratitude ensures that you stand out from any other organization that your supporters may give to. The task of thanking should take up about 20% of the staff time. A thank-‐you note serves four important functions • It lets the supporter know the gift was important to you • It reminds them that they actually gave a gift • It gives them written proof of their gift for the IRS • It is an opportunity for Bright Beginnings to establish or further the relationship with the supporterIf done well, it sends the message: • “We value you—not just your money” • “We’ll use this money wisely—as promised” 22
Thank You Follow Up Diagram by Donor Segment: Receive “enhanced” thank-‐you lever Supporters within one week of donamon Receive handwriven If mme allows, thank you lever follow-‐up with this Dedicated Donors within 24-‐72 hours donor with a phone of receipt of gio call within a week. Follow-‐up with donor Receive phone call Follow-‐up with to make sure they Inner Circle within 24-‐72 hours handwriven thank know an invitamon is of receipt of gio you note extended to supporter Thank-‐you Notes A thank-‐you note should be more than a receipt or form letter. A well-‐executed thank you note is personal and memorable. Unexpected touches like sending a personalized, hand-‐crafted card, artwork or picture makes a difference. The thank-‐you note is an opportunity to reiterate how the gift is helping Bright Beginnings do its work. Supporters enjoy hearing something they haven’t heard before about the organization, such as, what progress is already underway on the specific project to which they gave, or what upcoming events BBI has planned, or how many new supporters have recently given donations. Every donation should be seen as an opportunity to further a relationship with the supporter. • Everyone who donates any amount of money or in-‐kind gift to Bright Beginnings should be acknowledged for his/her effort. • Anyone who makes more than a token gift to Bright Beginnings should receive a prompt, ideally hand written letter within 24-‐72 hours of receipt of their gift. • Those that give a substantial amount should receive a phone call and an invitation to come to the Bright Beginnings campus. 23
A thank-‐you note is about the person who made the donation. Some sample language you might consider using: • “You made my day” • “Guess what you made possible” • “I opened my mail today and saw your donation” • “I have a great story to share with you” • “Your donation came across my desk today” • “Your donation is helping us provide X” • “Your support has helped us to...” While form letters may be the easiest way to send out large quantities of thank-‐you letters they are the least effective. If you absolutely must use a form letter you can make personalize it by: • Including children’s artwork or photos. • Including a brief, handwritten note at the bottom of the letter. • Including an insert or invitation to an upcoming event at Bright Beginnings. • Following up in a personal way like a phone call or note in the mail when you have time. 24
Sample Thank You Letter Dear Don: Thanks to you, Anthony and his twin sister, Jane, will enter kindergarten this August ready to succeed. I was thrilled to open today’s mail and find your very generous donation of $75. Your commitment to helping displaced children in Washington D.C. grow and learn in a loving environment is appreciated by those who help them and, most importantly, by those who benefit from our services -‐-‐ children just like Anthony and Jane and their families. Community support has been very encouraging as we have received gifts from over 100 people so far in 2011. And, there’s even more exciting news to report to you today: Your gift will be used to help open our new campus in Washington D.C. We are almost at our goal of $5 million dollars. This means you are an integral part of helping give 150 additional children a safe place to learn and grow. To comply with Internal Revenue Service regulations, this letter also confirms that you are receiving no goods or services in return for your contribution. I am so thankful for people like you. We hope you’ll come see the difference your gift has made, at our celebration th thfor Bright Beginnings 20 anniversary, on October 24 —at our Bright Beginnings campus. Look for more details in an upcoming mailing or on our website at www.BrightBeginningsInc.org. To a brighter future, Joan Woods Development Director Bright Beginnings Inc. Appendix: Handwritten Thank You Note 25
Appreciate Through Online Media It is important to show appreciation to all online supports. Use email marketing and social media to thank your donors and supporters. Post an individualized thank Send thank you emails and Post tesmmonials from you to donors who make a update all social media parents and kids that have gio of $5,000 or more. This sending a thank you aoer beneﬁted from Bright can be included in BBI’s each event. Beginnings’ services. newslever as well. Respond to @menmons or Post pictures of children’s retweet thanking the artwork and pictures from individual or organizamon for each event. their support. 5. ACCESSING REFERRALS The donor relationship strategy comes full circle when current donors engage in peer-‐to-‐ peer fundraising by becoming BBI’s “brand ambassadors.” The concept of amplifying your Inner Circle and Dedicated Donors is best summed up by Seth Godin: “Turn strangers into friends. Turn friends into donors. Then do the most important job: Turn donors into fundraisers.” A collaborative, donor-‐centric strategy to build up BBI’s individual donor stream may be the most effective and cost-‐efficient approach to reaching new donors. With limited budget and short staff, getting through all the clutter and reaching potential new donors, it is best to leverage relationships with current donors and access their social networks for referrals. Events are an ideal way to do accomplish this. 26
• Invite deeply engaged donors to bring their friends to BBI Open House for an Open House. Introducing them to the facility and the kids creates a compelling call to acmon. • Levers invimng donors to the open house is a crimcal tool to encourage them to bring their friends. Stress that Levers advancing BBIs mission is a collaboramve eﬀort between the donor and the organizamon. • An invitamon via a phone call adds a personal touch to a Phone Calls mailed invite. It makes the request more sincere and creates an opportunity to reinforce the appeal to bring a friend. Accessing Referrals through Online Media It is simple to ask for referrals through online channels using the following tips: • Email marketing and social media posts should include a request to share with friends. • Generate more fans by challenging current fans to invite their friends to support Bright Beginnings’ cause. To help Bright Beginnings make the most of their social media networks, we also recommend the use of a social media dashboard called Hootsuite.com. Appendix: Quick Tips on Mobile Email Optimization Appendix: How to Grow Your Email List 27
DONOR JUMPSTART CAMPAIGN: “A Piece of a Bright Beginning” Campaign Overview BBI’s 20th Anniversary on September 2011 is a fitting event to launch and put into practice the relationship-‐ building recommendations outlined in this plan. The campaign entitled, “A Piece of a Bright Beginning” will demonstrate how the 5-‐point strategy of LEARN, CULTIVATE, ASK, APPRECIATE & ACCESS REFERRALS will come into play within a 7-‐month period or the remaining part of the year. The first three months will aim to know current donors through online survey and personal conversations, while cultivating relations with them. This part of the campaign will pave the way for an effective “ask” during the anniversary month. The final three months of the campaign will create a venue to appreciate their contributions, continue cultivation initiatives and tap into donors’ networks for future referrals. This comprehensive, multi-‐channel campaign will highlight BBI’s success over the past 20 years and set the organization’s goal to help more homeless children in the future through a robust and mutually beneficial partnership with donors. 28
The campaign will utilize BBI’s current resources. Strategies Inc. will not reinvent the wheel, but rather, maximize the tools that BBI currently employs and incorporate a personal aspect to the whole experience. We will refine and tailor current communications and introduce new ones that will be easy to execute. We recommend using current photos, images, children’s artwork and materials to develop campaign-‐related collateral. We can help provide scripts and training for volunteers who will engage in personal communications with donors; set-‐up online donor survey and help set-‐up events that will be venues for personal interaction with donors. The Big Idea Puzzles are effective but fun tools to develop motor, memory and problem solving skills among young children-‐skills that are essential to prepare them for real-‐world challenges. Given the importance of the puzzle in early childhood education, Strategies, Inc. recommends using it as a metaphor around which the ASK will be made. It also represents the homeless child who stands isolated in the world without the pieces that should come together to make him whole: a home, the nurturing of parents and teachers, and access to education. The puzzle concept represents a compelling call to action to contribute or get involved with BBI. If you hold “a piece of the puzzle,” it will be difficult to ignore the appeal. Donors will feel they have a role to play in making sure these homeless children have a chance at having better futures. Messages: • We recognize and appreciate your invaluable contributions to the organization and our mission. • Moving forward, let’s work together to build a new center and continue to help more homeless children have bright beginnings and brighter futures. • Your contributions not only help homeless children with their immediate needs. You help mold them into good and responsible citizens of the future. Tone of the Campaign Overall tone of the campaign will be optimistic and consistently enjoin donors to get involved with the mission. It will present them with the current problem of growing homelessness but offer ways to solve the problem by their support of BBI. Individual communications with donors will bring the mission to a more personal level, and therefore create a more urgent reason for them to contribute or get involved. The initiatives should be engaging enough so donors pass on the message to their peers. This may be a good jumpstart for BBI to begin mining their current donor’s networks for prospects or referrals. 29
Tactical & Media Elements: Strategies Inc. recommends a multi-‐channel approach that consistently communicates the same messages through different personal and mostly interactive channels. Note that the more personalized tactics are geared toward the Inner Circle and/or Dedicated Donors. All initiatives will be supplemented by social media across all segments. COS T 30
Among the list of tactics, the 20th anniversary event, puzzle material and anniversary video are recommendations specific to this campaign. • 20th Anniversary Event – we recommend a function be held at the location of the future center. A model/architectural rendering of the facility will be unveiled and a poignant video will be the highlights of the event. • Pieces of the Puzzle – the appeal/solicitation letter that will be distributed among current donors in August will include an actual puzzle piece. The letter will explain that the puzzle piece at hand is part of a bigger puzzle that represents the homeless child, and the class puzzles that each BBI class will complete within the anniversary month. The letter will provide donors with various ways to get involved such as attending open houses and events, volunteering opportunities and actual monetary or in-‐kind donations. • Anniversary Video -‐ channel the effects of storytelling to activate the emotional trigger that will make people give more to BBI. This video will be launched during the organization’s 20th anniversary event and will be available online for distribution through social media outlets. The same video may also be utilized as an audiovisual tool for prospective individual donors in the coming year. 31
“Piece of Bright Beginnings” Campaign Schedule TARGET AUDIENCE TACTICS PER MONTH Inner Dedicated MESSAGE & GOALS Supporters Circle Donors JUNE APPRECIATE & CULTIVATE Acknowledge donors for their contributions over the years; inform about 20th anniversary in September Letters (Thank/Invite) Introduce and encourage participation in online donor survey Invite core donors to Inner Circle Cultivation Events in their area Reiterate messages above; Phone Calls collect email addresses; calls to be conducted by select volunteers Acknowledge donors for their Email contributions over the years; inform about 20th anniversary in September Social Media Reiterate general email message JULY CULTIVATE Events will be hosted by select members of BBIs Board of Directors in geographic hotspots Inner Circle Luncheon such us NW Washington DC, (Cultivation Event) Northern VA and MD; these are cultivating events that aim to build strong relations with core individuals with the goal of acquiring potential new donors through their referrals AUGUST ASK Acknowledge donors presence Letter (Thank You) during Inner Circle events and 32
reiterate value of their support Make the "ASK" in the spirit of the 20th anniversary celebration; insert token puzzle piece with Letter (Appeal) letter Invite donors to 20th anniversary event Make the "ASK" using the "piece Email of the puzzle" messaging Reiterate email and letter appeal Social Media message Follow-‐up on the "ASK"; calls to Phone Calls be conducted by volunteers SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER ASK & APPRECIATE Acknowledge donors contributions; make the "ASK" more urgent (i.e., present concrete plans on the new Anniversary Event facility that will be funded by the (September) Capital Campaign); emphasize value of partnership between BBI and donors; continue "piece of the puzzle" messaging To be launched during the anniversary event; leverage the art of storytelling to make the "ASK" more compelling, urgent and personal Video Use online media (email, social media, website) to get the video out for all current and potential donors to see; material may be used to cultivate relations with new donors or make "ASKs" in the future Acknowledge donors presence Thank You Card and support of the anniversary event Acknowledge donors response Thank You Letter to 20th anniversary "ASK" 33
Donors belonging to the Inner Phone Calls Circle group will receive acknowledgment phone calls Donors with contributions of $5000 and above will receive a personal visit from either the BBI Face to Face Meeting Exec Director, management staff or Board member Acknowledge donors support of Email the anniversary fundraising efforts Reiterate email & letter Social Media acknowledgement of donors support NOVEMBER ASK Make the "ASK" in time for Letter (Appeal) Thanksgiving and in preparation for donors holiday giving Reiterate holiday "ASK", as Email explained in letter Reinforce the "ASK" across all Social Media networking sites Invite Inner Circle donors to the BBI open house in December; Purpose is to bring them inside Letter (Invitation) BBI and show them the organization in action, at the same time, start tapping into their social networks Reinforce the invite to the open Phone Calls house and encourage donors to bring a friend/s during the event DECEMBER APPRECIATE, ACCESS REFERRALS Acknowledge donors response and donations relating to the Letter (Thank You) holiday fundraising; include holiday card in packet All Inner Circle donors will Phone Calls receive acknowledgment phone calls 34
Donors with contributions of $5000 and above will receive a Face to Face Meeting personal visit from either the BBI Exec Dir., management staff or Board member Reiterate acknowledgment of Email donors response to holiday initiatives Social Media Reinforce appreciation message To be held in the BBI facility; Donors will be asked to bring a friend/s during the event with the goal of finding potential new Open House (Referral donors for BBI: Strategies come event) full circle when current donors bring in new donors to the organization; Follow-‐up with potential new donors is crucial after the event Budget This campaign will be implemented with a $25,000 budget. It will run from June to December 2011. Appendix: Budget 35
METRICS/EVALUATION Getting started with marketing metrics: Tactics Metrics and Evaluation JUNE APPRECIATE & CULTIVATE Measure reach and frequency: How often are letters sent, how many people were sent the letter Letters (Thank/Invite) Measure responses from the online donor survey Measure RSVPs for the Inner Circle Cultivation Event Record the number of phone calls made, track the number of Phone Calls successful contacts, collect email addresses, track RSVPs, and donations per call Measure reach and frequency: How often are emails sent, how Email many people received the email, how many people opened the email Social Media Measure how many people "like" BBI on Facebook, Measure how many people "follow" BBI on Twitter JULY CULTIVATE Inner Circle Luncheon (Cultivation Measure the number of attendees, collect contact information Event) including home address, phone number and email address AUGUST ASK Letter (Thank You) Record the number of thank you letters sent Letter (Appeal) Record the number of appeal letters sent. Track RSVPs from the invite sent regarding to the 20th anniversary event Measure reach, frequency and monetary giving: How often are Email emails sent, how many people received emails, how many people opened the email, how many people donated when asked to donate, how much did they donate Social Media Measure discussions on social media after email and direct mail letter appeal message goes out to the donor/supporter list Record the number of phone calls made, track the number of Phone Calls successful contacts, collect email addresses, track amount donated per call SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER ASK & APPRECIATE Measure the number of attendees, collect contact information Anniversary Event (September) including home address, phone numbers and email address, track donors contributions 36
Video track number of views, review and measure comments Thank You Card Record the number of thank you letters sent, collect response or feedback Thank You Letter Record the number of appeal letters sent, track number of attendees at 20th anniversary event, obtain contact information Record the number of phone calls made, track the number of Phone Calls successful contacts, collect email addresses, track amount donated per call Face to Face Meeting Record how often and how many face-‐to-‐face meetings are conducted Measure reach, frequency and monetary giving: How often are Email emails sent, how many people received emails, how many people opened the email, how many people donated when asked to donate, how much did they donate Social Media Measure discussions on social media after email and letters are sent to acknowledge donors support NOVEMBER ASK Letter (Appeal) Keep track of the number of appeal letters sent. Track donations given in support of holiday season. Measure reach, frequency and monetary giving: How often are Email emails sent, how many people received emails, how many people opened the email, how many people donated when asked to donate, how much did they donate Social Media Measure discussions on social media after the ask has been reinforced through email and direct mail Letter (Invitation) Track RSVPs to the open house event, create a list of new supporters who are referrals from current donors/supporters Measure RSVPs via phone for the open house event, measure Phone Calls number of new attendees who are referrals from current donors/supporters DECEMBER APPRECIATE, ACCESS REFERRALS Letter (Thank You) Record the number of thank you letters sent. Track donations given in support of holiday season. Record the number of phone calls made, track the number of Phone Calls successful contacts, collect email addresses, track amount donated per call Face to Face Meeting Record how often and how many face-‐to-‐face meetings are conducted Measure reach, frequency and monetary giving: How often are Email emails sent, how many people received emails, how many people opened the email, how many people donated when asked to donate, how much did they donate 37
Social Media Measure discussions on social media after email and letter is sent out to reiterate and acknowledge donors support Measure the number of attendees, collect contact information including home address, phone number and email address, Open House (Referral event) measure number of new attendees who are referrals from current donors/supporters Appendix: Communication Objectives 38
TABLE OF CONTENTS A. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY B. BACKGROUND • Competitor Communications Audit • Key Publics C. FUNDING AND DONORS • Personas D. GOALS and STRATEGY • Handwritten Thank You Notes • Donor Survey Email • Recommended Survey Questions • Mobile Email Optimization • How to Grow Your Email List • Social Media Guide E. DONOR RE-‐ENGAGEMENT CAMPAIGN: “A Piece of Bright Beginning” • Budget • Appeal Letter F. METRICS & MEASUREMENTS • Communications Objective • Website Audit and Recommendations REFERENCES
Competitor Communications Audit Organization Web Site Strengths Web Site Weaknesses House of Ruth -‐Clean home page, not too much text -‐No “donate now” button on home page -‐Clearly states mission -‐No social media links -‐Use of donor testimonial -‐Do not partner with other organizations -‐Great visuals that could support their mission -‐Tabs are focused with complete informationCommunity of Hope -‐Clean and well organized home page -‐Do not list what your money buys for DC -‐donate, volunteer, social media tabs the organization. located top of home page -‐No upcoming events or fundraisers -‐FB link takes you directly to join email list page -‐More info tabs, make access to info easy -‐Great at partnering with organizations that help their cause and have similar missions -‐Each page has a link to join their email listHomeless Children’s -‐Lots of information about their -‐News on home page is out of date. -‐ Playtime Project organization and their mission how to help “get involved” info should -‐Good visuals – pictures and artwork be on home page. created by the children -‐No social media. -‐News is easy to see in bullet points -‐Site is written in paragraph form, the -‐Quote from President Obama adds a colors make it hard to read. nice touch -‐Pull out main points, make it neat and -‐Linked with igive similar to BB’ss tight. program with Safeway. Org Social Media Social Media Strengths Weakness House of Ruth -‐No social media -‐No social media -‐Branding issue: other local charity has the same name but supports HIV/Aids Community of -‐Start conversation: they post relevant facts, stats -‐Small amount of fans on Hope DC and articles about homeless families that they have Facebook helped and they post things they’ve done well
-‐ Mentor program: engage audience -‐Even less followers on -‐ Clear “call for action” in posts twitter -‐Ask audience to spread the word and follow them on FB and Twitter -‐Partner with similar organizations to spread their messages -‐Causes tab on Facebook to help raise moneyHomeless No social media No social mediaChildren’s Playtime Project Org Donor Program Donor Program Weakness StrengthHouse of Ruth -‐Clearly give options on how to donate with No “Donate Now” button on home great descriptions. page -‐Explains why they need monetary gifts and not in-‐kind gifts. Offers a charity that will -‐Do not accept in-‐Kind gifts take in-‐kind gifts.Community of -‐Donate button is top of home page. -‐ -‐ No list of what your money buysHope DC Donate page offers guidance and various ways to give. -‐No “Donate” link on Facebook -‐Donor page also includes info on how to get page other than a wall post that involved, volunteer and has a large icon for will disappear as more posts are signing up for important email updates made -‐Facebook page has a causes linkHomeless -‐Donate now button is on home page. -‐info could be tighter and shorterChildren’s -‐Lots of info on what they need, how to -‐hard to readPlaytime Project donate, and how to get involved
Key Publics Chart Patrons Producers BB Staﬀ Homeless Children/ Families Donors Board of Directors Dr. BeYy Jo Gaines Junior League Volunteers PUBLICS Limiters House of Ruth Enablers Community of Home Federal Goverment DC DC Governement The Homeless Children’s Playme Project
Personas Elizabeth Affluent working women with sophisticated tastes, very active lifestyles and good investing habits. Demographics: Median Age: 42 Median Income: $174,000 Education: college and above Lifestyle/Interests: • community/civic activities • donate to charitable causes • current affairs and politics • avid book reading • running/jogging • self-‐improvement
Bill & Nancy Dual-‐income, older couples who use their discretionary incomes to enjoy all aspects of the good life. Demographics: Median Age: 61 Median Income: $144,000 Education: college and above Lifestyle/Interests: • community/civic activities • donate to charitable causes • current affairs and politics • travel • grandchildren • nation’s heritage
Handwritten Thank you Note Front of Card Inside of Card Dear Don, When your donation crossed my desk today I was thrilled. Your $75 donation is going to directly provide for new books for one of our classrooms. Our kids are going to be so excited to see those new books. And I have great news to share with you: were already under construction with our new campus. This means that we will be able to provide a loving and healthy learning environment for 150 additional children in need. I am so thankful for people like you in our community. By the way, were having a big event coming up and wed love for you to join us. Information will be forthcoming and be sure to check our website www.BrightBeginningsInc.org for more information. Is it okay that I call you to chat more about what were doing? I look forward to talking with you. To a brighter future, Joan p.s. Don’t forget to keep this note for proof from the IRS of your generous donation.
Donor Survey Email Subject Line: Bright Beginnings Needs Your Feedback Dear [First Name], You have been recognized as a key supporter of the Bright Beginnings community. We thank you for your generosity in supporting our cause and kindly request your participation in the Bright Beginnings “Donor Satisfaction Survey.” We value your input and look forward to gaining new insight into the community members who are critical to the success of our mission. Your past support has helped us to maximize our impact within the community. Your generosity has helped countless children and families living in homeless environments. High-‐quality childcare makes a difference in the lives of these children and families. You have made a difference too. Bright Beginnings relies on supporters like you and we hope to get your feedback. Please click on the link below, or cut and paste the entire URL into your browser to access the survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/3S5QKWJ This survey will take 5-‐10 minutes of your time. Your volunteered information will remain confidential. Please complete the web-‐based survey by [2 days from date of email]. We appreciate your participation in this important survey. As always, thank you for your continued support. Your contributions have made a difference in the lives of so many children at Bright Beginnings. Sincerely,
Recommended Survey Questions 1. Zip code: 2. What is your age category? a) 18-‐29 b) 30-‐45 c) 46-‐59 d) 60 and up 3. What is your favorite way to keep up with Bright Beginnings? (choose one) a) Facebook or Twitter b) Bright Beginnings Website c) Mail from Bright Beginnings d) Email Newsletter e) Volunteer visits 4. How do you make your donation to Bright Beginnings? (check all that apply) a) Bright Beginnings Website b) Mail in a check c) Fundraising Events d) In-‐kind gifts to the school 5. If Bright Beginnings asked you, would you consider adding to your current giving? (Y/N) 6. How satisfied are you with the information you receive about how your donation was used? a) Very Satisfied b) Somewhat satisfied c) Satisfied d) Somewhat Dissatisfied e) Dissatisfied 7. Do you feel recognized by Bright Beginnings as a donor? (Y/N) 8. Are you interested in volunteering at Bright Beginnings? (Y/N) 9. Do you encourage members of your professional and social network to donate or support a charity? (Y/N) 10. If so, would you recommend Bright Beginnings? Why or why not?
Mobile Email Optimization Every organization needs a mobile marketing strategy. Web based email declined in 2010, while mobile email increased by 36%. Nonprofits should consider how their action alerts and fundraising appeals look on mobile email and ensure that they are focused and easy to read with a clear call to action. Quick Tips: • Include a plain text version of every message, so that it is easy to read on various applications. • Keep text links uncrowded and make them standout from each other. Your members are reading on a very small screen. • Don’t use large images links. They can be time consuming for users to download. • Use a good subject line to catch people’s attention. Battle of the inboxes happens on mobile. • Have a clear call to action. Dont bury your ask and dont be wishy-‐washy. Be direct. • Test mobile emails on different smartphones. • Ask your email provider to offer mobile friendly formats and options.
How to Grow Your Email List Know your list: regularly measure the size/growth rates of your email list vs. your entire data base. • Keep your list clean -‐ allow users to verify and modify personal data, allow easy opt-‐outs, remove bounced addresses. • Set clear expectations and keep subscribers engaged -‐ communicate regularly, always recap why you are emailing them and how they can opt out/update their subscription preferences. o Use your website • Make email a required field on all online forms • Encourage subscriptions through acknowledgement emails when supporters donate • Encourage readers to pass along messages to friends (include option to subscribe on all publications and social media outlets) • Direct staff, board members, volunteers, and close supporters to include a subscription link in their email signature • Use SEO to increase traffic (post web based versions of your newsletter/past email archives) • Make it easy to subscribe. Feature a quick way to subscribe from each page and each social media page (offer relevant incentives; offer multiple subscription options) o Grow list through third parties • Align through partnerships with similar or complementary organizations to reach common supporters. • Promote email newsletters in press releases/online article. • Use social networking to increase reach (works well with call to action/campaigns). o Grow your list offline • Ask for email addresses at every touch point (when they visit BB, when they call, etc.). • Include website address on all printed materials. o Cultivate new subscribers • Keep them engaged over time. • Send out welcome message immediately after they subscribe, thank them for signing up, include contact info, provide tax info, add a link to manage subscriptions. • Send follow up message within a week or less – link most recent newsletter, provide important places to visit – include links to Facebook, twitter, the blog and the website. • After a few months of active email, survey readers to see if you are meeting their expectations. o Targeting Non-‐responders • Three is the magic number (emails perform best when the same message is sent to a non-‐ responder three times) • Don’t forget these people, reach out to them and create a sense of urgency (use subject lines like “last chance” or “urgent need”)
Social Media Guide To help BB make the most of their social media networks, we recommend the use of a social media dashboard called Hootsuite.com. You can sign up for the free version, however for $5.99 per month Hootsuite can provide the organization for your social media campaign. How it works: • Links and spreads messages in multiple social media accounts – facebook, twitter, etc. • Track results: reviews success in real-‐time with click through stats and easy reporting and exporting of data. • Social on the go: compose and converse using mobile aps • Team collaboration: manage multiple contributors and share data and access without sharing passwords. • Assign tasks: fine-‐tune your team by delegating messages and monitoring responses and progress. • Schedule updates: optimize delivery by choosing the best time and date to reach your audience. • Monitor mentions: gather intel by tracking mentions about your organization or search terms. • Custom interface: work efficiently with social streams, tabs and columns– choice of design themes
Budget This campaign will be implemented with a $25,000 budget. It will run from June to December 2011.
Communications Objectives METRICS/EVALUATION How to Evaluate Bright Beginnings Communications Objectives Stages Activities Methodologies Measure increase in donations and new Outcome supporters from referrals Objec]ve Acheived Change in Behavior or A^turde Response Rates, Attendance at Events, Out-‐takes Readership, Inquiries Increased Awareness Number who consider message Email & direct mail distribution Outputs Number who recieve message statistics (Appeal Letters), number of Number of messages suppor]ng objec]ves phone calls, and face-‐to-‐face meetings Number of messages sent Expert Review, Feedback, Inputs Quality of message presenta]on Awards and Recognition Appropriateness of message content Appropriateness of the medium Adequate background informa]on and research
Website Audit and Recommendations Can Supporters and Potential Supporters Find You Where They Are Looking? The Web has become the preferred research tool, contact method, and communication channel of choice for many Americans. As such, creating a strong online presence and offering current and potential new supporters multiple ways to stay in touch is vital in today’s digitally connected world. The purpose of Bright Beginnings’ website is to make it simple and easy for supporters to find your organization, research and connect with your cause and hopefully to donate right there on the website. Your website should serve as your communications and marketing “home base.” This is where you want people to begin when contacting Bright Beginnings for the very first time. Potential new supporters will base their entire impression of you based upon your website. Your website is also your “contact information” that you want your current supporters to pass along to their friends, family, or colleagues that may be interested in your cause. It is important that your website is current and up-‐to-‐date and is a site that your supporters would be proud to share with their family and friends. The first place that many of us turn these days when we have a question or are looking for an answer is to a search engine like Google. In order to be found when someone is looking for you or asking a question related to your organization Bright Beginnings must have a website that you update regularly, that others link to, and that involves itself in the conversation online. Any user that is savvy enough to visit your website is likely to be comfortable giving online as well using a credit card. Since Bright Beginnings already has an online donation system in place it should be mentioned in all of Bright Beginning’s organization’s fundraising materials. Online giving may be preferable to some people who are reading your materials on paper but find it easier to go to the website and donate than fill out a check and send in an envelope. This means that it is important to bring supporters to the website where they’ll be able to read further information about the organization. The Goal for our Website Optimization is to: • Increase website traffic by 25% • Increase online donations by 10%
Website Audit for wwww.BrightBeginningsInc.org A heat map shows where the greatest amounts of clicks are on the first page of Google’s search engine return page. Search Engine Optimization The term “search engine optimization” is the art and science of making web pages attractive to the search engines so that your website is easily found by those looking for what you have to offer. A 2008 study by the search engine marketing firm iProspect found that 49% of people look at only the first page of results if they don’t find what they are looking for on the first page, they’ll change their search terms or search engine. That means that you must optimize your site for the search engines using a variety of tactics that we’ll out line below so that your site appears on the first page when someone searches for those terms. Competitive Domain Analysis An overview analysis of Bright Beginnings website compared to three of its local competitors with similar missions and goals shows that the Bright Beginnings website has significant room for improvement. Overall, the House of Ruth website www.HouseOfRuth.org scored highest in every category.
URL BrightBeginningsInc.org Choosing a keyword-‐rich URL is important not only for search engine optimization but also from a usability standpoint. When an organization uses a keyword-‐rich URL it helps the user immediately know what that site is about. Although the URL www.BrightBeginningsInc.org is the company’s brand name, it is not easy to remember because it unnecessarily includes the abbreviation “Inc.” It is reasonable to believe that the average person would not remember to include “Inc.” in the URL. The risk is that a person would search for “Bright Beginnings” and be confused with the large number of Bright Beginnings schools and organizations that are present online. Beginnings Google Analytics report for 2010 shows that most visitors to the website arrive to the site via a search engine and many people include the geographic identifier “DC” when searching. Suggested Recommendation: It appears that the URL BrightBeginningsDC.org is available. This is a better choice for a URL than BrightBeginningsInc.org because it tells both the user and the search engine that the site is about the specific organization in DC. Page Title The page title is the first of several critical pieces of real estate within each of your websites’ individual content pages. A page title is usually a good indicator to tell whether or not a site has been optimized A title tag is an important Meta tag that is located at the top of each web page. The title tag should contain highly searched relevant keywords. The title should not be too long or contain too many characters or the reader (and the search engine) may not get to see the entire title tag. Some web designers/developers prefer to create a generic page title and then repeat it verbatim or in some variation throughout an entire website. This is a missed opportunity because the page title is the first item Google looks at when indexing a site’s content page to determine the page’s relevance to the keyword’s found within the particular page’s content.
A page’s title also becomes the clickable link that Google displays within its search results. By having a title that describes the content on the page using targeted keywords Bright Beginnings is both increasing the likelihood that a user clicks on the site and increasing the sites value in the eyes of Google. There are several problems with the title tags on the BrightBeginningsInc.org website. The title tags are not keyword rich and they are not unique to each individual page’s content. Currently there are 35 duplicate page titles on the BrightBeginningsInc.org website. Currently the title page on 35 of the 36 pages of Bright Beginnings website is simply “Bright Beginnings.” Urgent Recommendation: Fix title tags on Bright Beginnings website. Example Title Tag: “Bright Beginnings DC Programs for Homeless Children” META Descriptions The Meta description is a brief description of the overall website which is created by the website owner. Search engines sometimes use Meta descriptions to display them in the search result listing. While accurate Meta descriptions can improve the number of people who “click through” they wont necessarily impact your site’s ranking within search results. It is a common problem during the web design process to not include a META description fields on your web pages. Developers tend to focus on the design and usability of the site and do not necessarily pay intention to content optimization. The Meta description should employ the keywords intelligently, but also create a compelling and attention grabbing description that a searcher will want to click. The description should optimally be between 150-‐160 characters. The Bright Beginnings website does not have a Meta description on any page. This is a lost opportunity to grab the reader’s attention or tell the reader what the site is about. It is important to differentiate the Meta descriptions for each page within the site. Urgent Recommendation: If you dont have time to create a description for every single page, it is recommended to try to prioritize the content on your website. You can start by creating a Meta description for the most critical or important URLs that are on your site like your home page and popular and frequently visited pages.
Alt Tags An alt tag is an HTML tag that provides “alternative text” when non-‐textual elements, which are typically images, cannot be displayed. There appear to be no alt tags on the images on Bright Beginnings website. It is important to have alt tags not only for search engines to know what kind of content is on the site, but it is also extremely important for visually impaired readers who are visiting your site and are relying on the alt tags to know what is in the image. Essential Recommendation: It is recommended that Bright Beginnings add alt tags to the nontextual elements on the website. This is an easy fix and one that can be very valuable from an SEO standpoint. Alt tags should always describe what is in the picture but it is recommended to use keywords in the alt tags. Example: “Photo_of_Bright_Beginnings_DC_5k_Race”Keyword Prominence, Frequency, and Density All three of these terms deal with the location and repetition of the keywords you place within your page content. Keyword prominence is the determination of how close a keyword is to the start of a paragraph. A keyword appearing at the top of the beginning of a sentence, and at the beginning of a paragraph will be considered more relevant by a search engine, versus keywords found toward the bottom of a page’s content. Frequency represents the number of times a given keyword or keyword phrase is repeated within the same page of content. Keyword density takes your keyword frequency and divides it by the total numbers of words within the text-‐based content of the page. An example of five of the most commonly searched for terms relating to Bright Beginnings mission are sampled below. Bright Beginnings website, however, is not optimized for any of these terms. Essential Recommendation: Bright Beginnings must review commonly searched for terms that are related to Bright Beginnings mission. This can be done using tools such as Google’s Keyword Tracker. By reviewing commonly searched for terms, Bright Beginnings can take steps to optimize its website for some of these terms that seem to be the best fit with a high number of local searches and relatively little optimized competition. Once keywords are identified steps can be taken to appropriately incorporate these terms into prominent places on content pages.
Inbound Links Inbound links are often referred to as “external links” and can be defined as links posted on other sites linking to your website. Inbound links are extremely important because Google considers sites with more links to be more popular and more relevant and Google rewards these sites with a higher ranking. Bright Beginnings currently has 410 total in links with 105 individual domains linking to the website. By increasing the number of sites linking to its website Bright Beginnings will make great gains in its online visibility. Keywords Local Monthly Search Volume Competition Optimized Competition Help for the homeless 22,200 31,300 11,600 Center for homeless 6,600 32,300 9,810 Homelessness children 1600 15,400 712 Help homeless kids 720 285,000 2,870 Child homelessness 720 54,100 1,090 Content Still Remains King, Even Online We know that in order to have websites link to our content first and foremost Bright Beginnings’ website must have unique and compelling content that other websites would be interested in linking to and visitors would be interested in sharing. Currently there is great opportunity to improve the quality and content of the website. Creating good content and acquiring inbound links help to build trust amongst supporters and potential visitors of your website. If someone sees that a popular, reputable website links to you then they may be more likely to believe that what you have on your site is of value to them and something that they would be interested in Website Total In Links Total Linking Root Domains BrightBeginningsInc.org 410 105 PlaytimeProject.net 266 32 CommunityofHopeDC.org 442 98 HouseofRuth.org 2,288 148
Urgent Recommendation: Create content that other websites want to link to! If you don’t have interesting, compelling content that is organized on the site and easily found, other websites will not want to link to you. This is addressed in the next section. Bright Beginnings undoubtedly has fascinating, heart wrenching stories to share and tales of miracles that came true. Some of these stories are very briefly mentioned on the website. This content should be expounded upon and compose entire pages as opposed to small paragraphs on the website. Urgent Recommendation: Website content must be reviewed and compelling and interesting content must be placed in prominent positions. Suggested content is: • Increased number of specific stories of need or success • Success stories section expounded upon and updated frequently • Children, families, volunteers or staff members featured • Feature pictures, people and stories in prominent places on the website
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