Tag Archives: public relations

Bootstrap All The Livelong Day: Fundraising for Tiny Teams, Part 1 (The Basics)

bootstrap nonprofit fundraising

Just like within organizational leadership:

You will have the most success by focusing your efforts on making it easier for your community to support your organization or cause.

There is no silver bullet:

“There is no single development, in either technology or management technique, which by itself promises even one order of magnitude [tenfold] improvement within a decade in productivity, in reliability, in simplicity.”

So, forget about tackling one or two monumental projects to raise funds on your own and focus on the many ways your constituents can come together and help keep your programs funded. Grants, large events and major projects do have a lot of value. But, when you have a small team, empowering your external tribe will help build a scalable and sustainable foundation of support. Be a change agent and implement these quick and simple tools to fast track your growth.

The Basics

If you do nothing else, do these things and you’re solid:

(1) Have a clear (and positive) message (example)

What is your mission (one sentence)? How will you achieve that (one sentence)? We often struggle with clarity when we’re passionate about something. Get outside help, even if it’s just from a smart friend who will listen and then parrot back your message.

(2) Have a clean website (example)

Think about your FAQs. Consider what people need from you. Leave the rest at home.

(3) Get good photos (example)

Content is important. Photos are part of your content. They grab attention, provoke emotional responses and enable you to capitalize on opportunities with media.

(4) Make sure you’re setup on PayPal and FirstGiving

Even if you do not choose to use these platforms for fundraising, other people will. If someone would like to run a road race on your behalf, make it easy for them to raise funds through their own FirstGiving page.

(5) Keep your constituents in the loop regarding updates

People will eventually tune out too much negativity. You don’t need to hide the problems that you a struggling with, but you should focus on the solutions you are offering (which inherently acknowledge the challenges). If your challenge is complicated, definitely give people the opportunity to learn more. Forget content for the sake of content, transparency IS king. Creating content without transparency and clarity is just going to make your job much harder.

Negative vs. positive messaging is definitely something that is up for debate. Negative messaging will often get some immediate and viral responses, but examples tend to show that positive messaging is more sustainable.

Upcoming Posts

  • The Tools
  • The Strategies

Image from Beat Kung.

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Concerns about Social Media for Social Change

As a marketer with a distinct interest in progressive movements, I commend ( and sometimes envy) the work of Social Media for Social Change. However, as a budding non-profit professional, I’m still skeptical about the power of the peer-to-peer trust networks developing throughout the internet. When considering the real-time ( and potential knee jerk) interactions these networks often cultivate, this skeptisim feels ominous.

There’s a lot of positive energy around social media, as there should be. It’s an engaging concept that empowers every person and organization to grow through relationship building and authentic content generation. But, the only skepticism I’ve heard sounds something like “does it really work?” (concerns about word of mouth ROI) and “what are the risks for me?” (concerns about personal and brand reputation) rather than general concern for the greater good.

While recently attending Boston’s Social Media Breakfast (#SMB11) in Cambridge, I was transfixed on this notion of trust that supports the concept of social media for social change. One attendee had broached the subject of fraud with presenters, but I wasn’t satisfied with the consecutive discussion. Nobody seemed interested in exploring this issue. Perhaps because we’re affraid to encourage “bad” behavior. Or, maybe nobody wants to kill the buzz. We are all social media evangelists, after all.

But what if social media and transparency are actually sometimes juxtaposed, not by definition, but by implementation and purpose? One of the biggest concerns I have within the non-profit world is informing a donor, not about a cause, but about the use of funds.

Several #SMB11 attendees were soliciting support (financial and WOM) for non-profits they believed in, but I knew nothing about the actual causes and administrations. This may lead hesitation when I barely know a person, but not if I trust that person. Not if I follow that person on Twitter or friend that person on Facebook. Recently, we’ve seen some serious twitter hacking to top things off.

Some examples are not as prone to the twitter-like fraud as others, but this all seems worth a little more discussion and concern.

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