Coronavirus + Nonprofits

Coronavirus + Nonprofits

coronavirus + nonprofits

This is a strange and confusing time in the world right now. The Coronavirus pandemic is influencing so many areas of our lives – including the nonprofit organizations we support. Fundraising galas are being canceled. Volunteers are being asked to stay home. Desperately needed supplies are back-ordered. In a time when we all need to unite, we’re being asked to stay away from one another.

Well, let’s find the silver lining in all of this. Here are a few ideas on how to make this crisis a time of opportunity for your nonprofit.

 

1. be straight up about fundraising events

If you are a nonprofit that has to postpone or even cancel a gala, let your donors know how much this is affecting you. Galas can bring in a huge amount of nonprofit’s funding for the year. Tell donors how much you typically raise from your fundraiser. And then ask for their help. Here are a few ways:

    • Donate – Ask them to donate the cost of their ticket or make the donation they would have made at the event.
    • Online auction – Host an online auction with the materials or products donated to your event. Send an announcement out a few days prior and host a livestream on Facebook or Instagram.
    • Virtual event – Were you supposed to have keynote speakers at your event? This can still happen – virtually. Have them record themselves giving their speech and post it on social media, or in an e-blast. See how a charity in Seattle launched a four-day virtual party and surpassed its fundraising goals.
    • Reach out – Have your gifts officer reach out to people who were supposed to attend your event. A simple phone call can go a long way. Be honest about how you are dealing with this situation, but stay positive.

2. other ways to give

The reality is, nonprofits are losing money because of this virus. The other reality is, nonprofits serve people who will struggle most from social distancing. Service industries are shutting down, schools are closing, and stress is high. Give your supporters as many opportunities to give as you can so you can continue to help those who need it most.

    • Digital giving campaign – Come up with a simple campaign idea and launch it on any and all platforms. Email, social media, website, etc. Here is a resource on how to effectively create a digital campaign.
    • Rewrite your appeal – Has your spring appeal gone out yet? If it hasn’t, consider rewriting parts of it to incorporate how your nonprofit is fairing this storm. Be very clear, concise, and honest about the impact this is having on the people you serve. If you have already sent your appeal out, follow up with an email on how much much the Coronavirus is affecting your organization. Remember, keep your messaging optimistic.
3. get creative

Right now, we are playing the waiting game. Everyone has been sequestered to their homes and cabin fever is real. Take this opportunity to be innovative and encourage people to take action!

  • Live tours – Do you have a new project or space you have been working on? People love seeing life on the inside of a business. Give them a virtual tour of your space. Let them see how this mayhem has brought innovation and creativity to your mission.
  • Instagram takeovers – This is a great way to let your supporters experience different points of view throughout your nonprofit. Give your login information to one of your clients, staff members, etc. and let them show what a day-in-the-life looks like. People love getting the inside scoop on exactly who they are supporting. Reminding the community who you are serving can drive donors to give to make an even greater impact.
  • Highlight the good – In the midst of the chaos that this virus is bringing to our communities, people need to hear the good stories that can come out of this. There is a positive side to everything. Call out someone you recognize as doing some good. Share a story of someone being a good neighbor. People need to see how in times of struggle, there is always hope.
  • Other than money – What about the people who aren’t able to give financially? Can they give in another way? Be inventive by offering other opportunities for individuals or families to give. Can they write cards for homebound residents? Can supporters send food? Homemade meals? Sack lunches? Give the people at home something to do!
  • Start conversations – Communication is key right now. Ask your supporters questions. Give them a phone call. Send out a questionnaire. Ask your followers on social media. What are they doing to push through this pandemic? Are they doing anything remotely to help support the community? Share those ideas. Give more ideas. Make this experience a conversation.

To sum things up – be honest, ask for help, and get creative. But don’t forget to thank. Show your supporters how appreciative you are of their assistance. Send video acknowledgments, handwritten thank you notes, texts, and phone calls. This shows just how much their support means to your organization. Without them, the community wouldn’t be the same. 

When times are tough, the best of humanity needs to come out. We need to relay the importance of helping others along with yourself. We need to be a true community. And together, we can.

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Cut the Crap: What’s the Best Way to do an Appeal?

Cut the Crap: What’s the Best Way to do an Appeal?

cut the crap: what’s the best way to do an appeal? 

Here in the nonprofit world, spring appeals are about to flood our inboxes, our mailboxes, and our wallet-boxes. Over the years, we have been privy to many strategies on how to get the most impact with your appeal, and it seems everyone has different theories on what strategy works the best. We cut the crap, rolled up our sleeves, and got real. What exactly is the best way to appeal?

1. Method

As your donor base ages, so will the method of receiving donations via direct mail. A study done in 2018 found that 18% of baby boomers, 9% of Gen Xers, and 6% of millenials are most inspired to give by direct mail. Meanwhile, social media giving is quickly rising in popularity. 39% of millennials, 33% of Gen Xers, and 19% of baby boomers are most inspired to give by social media. (Source) Consider running social media ad campaigns around your appeal and invest heavily in a Giving Tuesday campaign after Thanksgiving. 

All generations across the board prefer giving online as opposed to cash, transfers, or check in the mail. (Source)

2. Hero’s Journey – wait, who is the hero again?

We are all familiar with the idea that an appeal should be written like a story. Most of us have been taught to make the donor the hero. But what if this is backwards? Some nonprofits struggle with an “us vs. them” mentality that results in issues with donor retention. The true heroes of the story should be the people (or animals) who are overcoming their adversity with the help of their guide (the nonprofit and donor). Here, we have re-organized the typical hero’s journey for you.

3. Segment


Have slightly different appeals for different levels of donors. If you have one donor that is stuck giving $50/month, push them an appeal asking for $75/month. Lapsed donors? They need their own special appeal. The limits are endless, but we caution to only embark down this road if your CRM is organized enough to handle this list separation.

Mailchimp allows you to segment your emails based on sign-up date. When used, companies reported open rates 29.56% higher than non-segmented campaigns. Mailchimp also has a feature to allow new sign-ups to indicate what their interests are. If you’re a multi-faceted nonprofit, consider creating interest groups based on different areas of your nonprofit. Organizations that utilize this reported click-rates 74.53% higher than non-segmented campaigns. (Source)

4. Have Impactful Design

Photography
Never underestimate the power of a good photo. There is a reason photography outperforms graphics by miles on social media: people love to connect with other people. When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later. (Source)

Invest time into a quality photoshoot with the subject of your appeal. Get good lighting. Get good angles. Get candid shots. You know, everything those 22-year-old Instagram influencers manage to do so well. It will pay off with increased donations, trust us. 

Colors
Keep the colors consistent with your brand. That’s all we have to say about that. 

Type size and style
Keep it simple and easy. Stay away from handwritten fonts, no matter how tempting it seems to make it look like it was written by an actual person. We all know it wasn’t written by an actual person.

Okay, now you are ready to spring into your spring appeals. Sorry everyone, that was our last joke. May your appeals be appealing!

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Unify Your Nonprofit Brand with Spanish-Speaking Marketing

unify your nonprofit brand with spanish-speaking marketing

There is nothing more meaningful than speaking in one’s own heart language.

Our heart language is the initial words we hear our parents speak. It’s how we first hear, “I love you.” It’s the language we dream in. We best express our deepest feelings and emotions in our heart language.

Scott Allen Creative can now deliver the heart of your mission to those whose heart language is Spanish. Our services go beyond translating English to Spanish. We can also strategize how to market your services and engage potential new clients and donors.

Speaking your nonprofit voice in both Spanish and English shows respect to an individual’s culture and heritage. You can create positive social change that unifies a community. You also connect more people to your organization in an authentic way. You will expand your brand awareness and support as you reach new clients, community partners, and donors.

Let us know if you need help reaching your Hispanic community, heart to heart. And inspire others to join your cause!

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New Custom Sites for Nonprofits

new custom sites for nonprofits

Most graduation parties are over for the season, but we have one last hoorah left. We are thrilled to announce that our Digital and Web Director, Marion, has recently graduated from the intensive Front-End Coding Bootcamp at Grand Circus.

Marion has worked her tail off the last six months going back to school in the evenings to learn the skills of web development. We saw the growing need for nonprofits to have high-quality websites that sometimes cannot be achieved through basic templates. Functions like seamless donation platforms, mobile customization, and responsive design will be included in the conversation, and strategy of the websites we design for our nonprofit clients.

The Front-End Coding Bootcamp teaches a small group of talented students a whole host of programming languages and skills, including:

  • HTML5
  • CSS3
  • JavaScript
  • jQuery
  • AngularJS
  • Node.js & Express
  • PostgreSQL
  • And more

If you’re not sure what some of these are, that’s okay! Technology is ever-changing and we are proud of Marion for taking the initiative to be at the front-end (pun intended) of the innovation. All of these development languages mean that Scott Allen Creative will be able to offer custom digital solutions to engage more donors and mobilize the missions we are so passionate about.

Nonprofits are our jam, our bread and butter, and our passion. We strive to level the digital playing field between our for-profit friends and nonprofit clients with integrated digital solutions.

Congrats on all of your hard work, Marion! We cannot wait to see what impact these websites will have in our community!

font-family: Scott Allen Creative;

 

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How to Launch Your New Brand

how to launch your new brand

Why is a brand launch important?

A wise man once said that “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” There are many small, moving parts that must be accounted for in planning your brand launch. A well-planned brand launch enables you to re-engage with existing donors, attract new ones, and significantly boost your mission. A poorly planned launch creates confusion and stakeholder backlash.

1. Finalize All Touch Points Before Your Brand Launch

Depending on the scope of your rebrand, make sure all required elements included in the launch are finalized. This can include:

  • Logo
  • Website
  • Business Card
  • Letterhead and Envelope
  • Brand Standards Guide 

Keep in mind, this does not mean these elements are launched. It’s just a checklist to make sure all elements are ready at the same time.

2. Identify Key Stakeholders to Preview the Brand

For large organizations, this list will likely include the executive leadership, the board, and major donors. Plan a pre-launch for this list of stakeholders. This can be a mailed letter announcing the new brand, a brand-launch event, or any other means to make sure these stakeholders are personally informed of the new brand. Sell your new brand instead of just presenting it. Stakeholders will like to be clued in on the reasoning behind colors, typefaces, and other decisions. Make it part of your brand narrative and advancing your mission.

3. Launch the Brand Internally

Once the brand has been announced to your key stakeholders, launch the brand internally to your entire staff. This can be done in the same means as above, with a letter or even a brand-launch event. Whatever the method, make sure it is also a personal introduction to the brand (and try to avoid mass emails). The purpose is to make sure all of your staff become brand ambassadors. Explain the reasoning for colors, type, and other decisions and how it fits into the brand narrative and your mission. Do not allow staff to use this new brand prematurely on email signatures or social media posts yet. You should have a set date to switch everything over at once. 

4. Unveil the Brand Publicly

Your launch date has arrived and it’s time to make the brand public! This can be done in multiple ways:

  • Social Media Blasts
  • Press Release
  • Email Blasts and Email Signatures
  • A Public Event
  • Billboards 

Simultaneously, your team should be working to remove all outdated branding. Reaching out to vendors to give them updated logos, replacing all flyers, posters, templates, etc. with the new brand. This process may take time, but the quicker it is done, the less confusion there will be for donors and clients.

5. Stay the Course

Make sure every staff member has access to the new brand standards guide. When new material is made by a staff member, it must not stray from the new brand’s colors, typefaces, and tone. Consistency is key! Have a strategy to address client and donor feedback on the brand and answer any questions they may have. Don’t take your foot off the gas. This new brand will carry excitement for your mission for years to come. Capitalize on this with marketing campaigns, social media blasts, appeals, and other material. 

Conclusion

Too often, companies are in a rush to unveil their new incarnation to the world—or are simply out of energy to do it right. By making your launch part of a larger story, planning your launch well in advance, and making sure that your brand is aligned internally and externally, you’ll be certain to get the maximum impact out of the all of the rebranding efforts!

 

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Building a Story Brand – What is that?

Building a Story Brand – What is that?

building a story brand

For anyone who has gone through the rebranding process, they know that it can be an overwhelming and cumbersome experience. Where do we start? What do we want to say? We do so much… how do we explain all that we are?

The Story Brand is an excellent resource for any nonprofit who is going through this process. We highly recommend reading the book, Building A Story Brand by Donald Miller, before you start. In fact, our agency used the book during a retreat last year, specifically a tool they offer called a Brand Script. It helped us tighten up our messaging and narrow down who we really are (hint: we’re a group of creative people that are passionate about nonprofits).

Let’s start by looking at a snapshot of the overall framework used. The example below is one we have previously filled out.

  1. A Character
  2. Has a Problem
  3. And Meets a Guide
  4. Who Gives Them a Plan
  5. And Calls Them to Action
  6. That Helps Them Avoid Failure
  7. And Ends in Success

Now we can start building a Storybrand by creating a BrandScript as they call it. Go to mystorybrand.com to create one for free. You will go through each section (shown above). The best part is that the Brandscript includes questions to help you better fill out each section. Here is an example:

As a company that helps nonprofits go through the branding process, we highly suggest this exercise. It is a tool that we have used ourselves. We have also gotten many compliments of our how clear and concise our messaging is.

Good luck!

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