Learn three things you need to know about nonprofit name changes.

Considering a Nonprofit Name Change? 3 Things to Know

Is it time for a name change? There are many reasons why a nonprofit might change its name. Sometimes organizations undergo rebrands to improve their nonprofit marketing strategy. For others, they may have outgrown the previous name and need to update it to fit with a changing mission statement. 

Whatever the reason, name changes can be a benefit to nonprofits dealing with issues like stagnant marketing, confusion from supporters, or generic names.

While a rename is certainly a big change, it follows a logical structure. There are about six steps in the name-changing process, and it’s easy to break each one into bite-sized pieces. This guide will review the three top things to know about a name change:

Whether you want a full rebrand or just a simple name change, the impact of updating your nonprofit’s name could be huge. Ready to learn more? Let’s get started.

Learn how the Google Ad Grant can help you promote your nonprofit's new name. Get a free consultation with Getting Attention's marketing experts.

1. Can a nonprofit change its name?

Yes, nonprofits can change their names. There are no formal requirements needed to start the name change process, but there are set procedures to follow.

First, check your internal requirements. Most nonprofits have a standard procedure for name changes laid out in their bylaws. 

Beyond that, every U.S.-based nonprofit must report the name change to both the state in which the nonprofit operates and the IRS. Reporting procedures are different depending on what type of organization your nonprofit is. Incorporated organizations, trusts, and unincorporated associations all have different requirements. 

While most nonprofits are incorporated, we’ll cover the requirements for each organization type later in this guide just in case you fall under a different classification.

2. Why would a nonprofit change its name?

Changing your nonprofit’s name requires time and energy, so think through your reasoning carefully before starting the process. 

Here are a few instances where a name change may be right for your nonprofit:

Your nonprofit may need to change its name for the following reasons listed below.

Total Rebranding

Rebrands are often used to revamp an organization’s personality or voice. These typically involve changing the overall branding by introducing a new color scheme, logo, slogan, brand voice, and of course, name. 

Rebrands happen for several reasons. Your current branding may appear clumsy or outdated, and a rebrand can bring its branding strategy up-to-date. Rebranding can be an opportunity to make your public image more cohesive and strengthen marketing efforts.

Disconnect Between Name and Mission

Your nonprofit’s name should convey your mission in a short, memorable way. Names that are disconnected from your mission can make marketing more challenging as you need to educate new supporters to associate your name with your mission rather than having the connection be automatic.

Let’s say your nonprofit’s mission focuses on reducing car accidents caused by cell phone use. While this goal may be inspired by a specific person impacted by distracted driving, naming the organization something like “The Hannah Foundation” doesn’t make the connection to the mission clear. Instead, choose a name that ties into the mission such as “Drive Safe for Hannah.”

The Name Was Generic or Vague

Sometimes nonprofits use names that apply to their mission but are too broad. The name you choose should connect to your mission and be specific enough to set your nonprofit apart. 

When you think about great names, a few nonprofits probably come to mind. Organizations like the World Wildlife Fund state exactly what their mission is while staying short and memorable. On the other hand, something like “Nature Fund” doesn’t stand out in the same way. 

The Name Is Difficult to Remember

Your nonprofit’s name should be easy for people to remember after hearing or reading it just once or twice.

Long or complicated names are less memorable. If your nonprofit’s name looks more like a phrase than a name, supporters may have trouble remembering it. 

Organizations may also have names that are confusing or difficult to spell either on paper or aloud. Names that use overly complex words or long acronyms often result in misspellings.

3. How do you change your nonprofit’s name?

There are six steps involved in changing your nonprofit’s name. 

Keep in mind that some aspects of this process will differ depending on what state your organization is located in. Check your state’s guidelines before beginning the process on your own.

The nonprofit name change process involves six steps, listed below.

Step 1: Select a new name.

Often it is easy to know when you need a new name. However, it can be much more difficult to actually pick one out.

The best way to get started is to agree on what you want the new name to accomplish. Select a goal that stems from issues with prior names or future marketing goals or aspirations for your nonprofit.

The new name should be descriptive and connect to your mission. Your nonprofit’s name greatly impacts supporters’ first impressions of an organization. Your name should be true to your mission, memorable, and easy to say or spell.

There are many ways to craft the perfect name. For example, consider:

  • Highlighting your nonprofit’s location in its name to appeal to local donors. 
  • Using a relevant last name, like your founder’s or someone impacted by your target issue, in your name to add specificity and a personal touch. 
  • Brainstorming a clever turn-of-phrase that supporters will remember. 

Try creating a word cloud to help with brainstorming and narrowing down words and phrases you’d like to include. For example, an environment-focused nonprofit might have a word cloud that looks something like this:

The following word cloud lists words and phrases, including: blossom, change, protect, save our world, seeds, stand together, and other words that an environmental-based nonprofit may use in its name.

Meet with members of your staff to get name suggestions and gather feedback about your top choices. A variety of perspectives can help you better understand how different audiences are likely to react to your name.

Step 2: Confirm the name is available and permitted to be used.

Before moving forward with any other steps in this process, make sure the name you want is available in your state. Guidestar’s Directory of Charities and Nonprofit Organizations is a good place to start. Avoid any names that are too similar or the same as names that are already in use. 

Consider your state’s requirements for nonprofit names. These requirements exist to prevent any confusion about what your organization is. The rules are different for each state, but here are the most common ones:

  • The name cannot be the same as another in that division. Check for any organizations that have the name you are considering. If there are any names that are too similar, you should choose a different name to avoid confusion.
  • The name must end with a corporate designator. Corporate designators include terms like “Inc.” or “Corp.” that follow the name of your organization. These designators serve to indicate that your nonprofit is incorporated.
  • The name is not allowed to include certain words. Certain words are banned from use in a nonprofit’s name. This includes words like “bank,” “reserve,” “United States,” and “federal.” Words like this are usually banned to avoid any confusion with government agencies.

The image provides an example of the nonprofit name "Happy Holidays Giving Bank Inc." The parts of the name "Happy Holidays Giving" and "Inc" are approved while "Bank" is not approved.

This step is important, and skipping it can halt your progress down the road.

Step 3: Consult your organization’s bylaws.

Most incorporated nonprofits have articles or bylaws that outline the renaming process. In many cases, these articles officially reference the name change.

Typical rules and procedures vary across organizations, but in most situations, you will need to hold a vote. Votes may involve all members of the nonprofit or just board members, but in either case, a majority vote is required. After a successful vote, amend your organization’s bylaws as needed to reflect the name change with the official support of your organization’s members.

So, what is the best way to get started? Inform your board about the potential name change and put it on the agenda for your next meeting. Letting members know about the name change ahead of time ensures it isn’t a surprise and gives them time to weigh the pros and cons of a new name. If the meeting is too far away, holding a meeting specifically about the name change is an acceptable way to take a vote.

Step 4: Notify your state.

After securing a majority vote and amending your nonprofit’s bylaws, the next step is to report the name change to your state. This must be the same state that your organization is incorporated in.

Each state has different notification procedures. Some require that any changes in your nonprofit’s articles of incorporation or bylaws mean these documents must be resubmitted. You can find more specific directions and resources on your state’s Secretary of State website.

You must have proof that the state accepted your name change before you can report the name change to the IRS.

Step 5: Report name change to the IRS.

The IRS website features detailed guidelines on how to report name changes, but we’ll provide a quick overview here. For most nonprofits, the steps for reporting your name change to the IRS are:

  • File a tax return. Nonprofits are required to file an annual tax return. On that return, there is a space to indicate a name change. However, nonprofits that do not wish to wait until tax season may report the change by letter or fax.
  • Include amended articles of incorporation and/or bylaws. Submit any amendments made to your organization’s articles of incorporation or bylaws. You should include proof that your state accepted these amendments, so notify your state before the IRS.
  • Request an affirmation letter that indicates the new name. After reporting your name change to the IRS, request an affirmation letter. This letter confirms the name change and shows the new name in place of the old one.

These steps apply to most nonprofit organizations, but not all. Certain types of nonprofits, including incorporated organizations, trusts, and unincorporated associations, may have different renaming processes depending on their state.

Here’s an overview of the requirements for these types of nonprofits:

The following infographic shows the steps incorporated organizations, trusts, and unincorporated associations must take to change their names. The steps are detailed below.

Incorporated Organization

Incorporated organizations are legal business structures that are separate from the individuals that founded them. This is the most common type of nonprofit.

If your nonprofit is an incorporated organization, the IRS requires two submissions to report a name change. First, you must report a copy of any amendments made to the articles of incorporation. These articles are essentially your organization’s rules. Next, you need proof that your state approved your organization’s name change.

A Trust

Trusts operate slightly differently than standard nonprofits. Trusts involve trustees as administrators of the trust and are not necessarily separate from the owners of the trust.

The IRS requires trusts to report a copy of the amendment or a resolution to amend the trust instrument. The trust instrument is similar to an incorporated organization’s articles of incorporation. The amendments must show an effective date of the name change and be signed by one or more trustees.

Unincorporated Association

Unincorporated associations are partnerships of at least two people who are working to better the public but have not established a formal legal structure. These groups are common, and many people form them without realizing it. They can include groups as simple as a few friends joining together to raise money for a school event.

The requirements for unincorporated associations are similar to incorporated organizations and trusts. The IRS requires a copy of amendments made to your organizing document. This document should show the date the name change goes into effect and must be signed by at least two members.

Step 6: Inform the public.

While not required by law, letting your donors know about your name change is essential for maintaining their support. 

Start by letting supporters know about the name change and when it will be implemented in advance. Send out an email to supporters on your emailing lists. For those not subscribed, make a blog post or post on social media, depending on which is likely to get more traffic. 

Then, update any place your new name will show. This includes websites, social media accounts, email lists, and bank accounts. 

Your nonprofit should update and inform the nonprofit sphere about its name change, too. Perform a quick Google search using your organization’s old name, noting any groups that may use that name to advertise or increase awareness about your nonprofit. Contact these groups to update them about your new name. Additionally, update any nonprofit databases your old name may be listed in, such as a matching gift database

Last, the Google Ad Grant tool can be a useful tool for spreading the word about your name change. Update all of your ad campaigns to reflect your new name. Then, whenever someone searches for keywords relevant to your nonprofit, they’ll learn to associate those ideas and topics with your new name.

 


If your nonprofit is looking to elevate its branding strategy, consider partnering with Getting Attention’s team of nonprofit marketing experts. At Getting Attention, we specialize in enhancing digital marketing for nonprofits with Google Grants. To learn more about our nonprofit marketing services, explore how the Google Ad Grant can be the first step to getting your new name in front of supporters.

Want to learn more about nonprofit marketing and branding strategy? Check out these resources:

Get help promoting your rebrand with the Google Ad Grant. Meet with Getting Attention's professional marketing team. Get a free consultation today.

Get inspired by 10 examples of the top nonprofit videos.

Nonprofit Videos We Love: 10 Inspirational Examples

Currently, video is the marketing tool for grabbing supporters’ attention. Video marketing surveys report that 92% of businesses said they see a positive return on investment from video, 87% say it has positively impacted sales, and 96% say it has increased understanding of their products.

These numbers are hard to beat, and nonprofits can take a page from businesses finding success with video by incorporating it into their own strategy. 

To help you get started, we’ll explore a few video fundamentals for nonprofits before sharing 10 videos to inspire your video-making efforts.

As you envision your own videos, stay focused on how they’ll fit into your marketing plan and what you can do to get as many eyes on them as possible.

Want to know how you can promote your nonprofit videos? Learn how the Google Ad Grant can boost traffic to your videos. Get a free consultation.

Why do nonprofits need video?

The statistics about the power of video don’t lie, but why is video such a strong medium for nonprofits? With its ability to share immersive visuals, audio, and stories, video can help your nonprofit demonstrate its:

This graphic highlights the three main benefits demonstrated when using videos for nonprofit marketing, authenticity, personability, and demonstration of impact.

  • Authenticity. Live-action visuals give audiences a look at what your nonprofit does on a day-to-day basis, making your mission feel more real than just text alone can convey.
  • Personability. Putting a face to your cause allows supporters to form a deeper connection with those affected by your target issues.
  • Demonstration of impact. It can be challenging to conceptualize just what your nonprofit does from stats and written descriptions. Video shows exactly what your initiatives accomplish and how supporters can help.

Need more evidence? Fortunately, marketers have already done the research to back up their confidence in using video.

The following infographic demonstrates four statistics relevant to nonprofit videos, detailed below.

  • Video content is easier to process. The human brain understands videos far more efficiently than it does text, processing visuals 60,000 times faster and retaining 95% of a video’s message as compared to just 10% when reading. 
  • Videos provoke emotion more easily. While written stories can be moving, video ultimately has a leg up on other mediums by invoking visual and audio cues to stir emotion. In turn, these emotions can help your nonprofit push viewers to take action.
  • Videos are more shareable. Video gets shared 52% more than any other type of online content, including social media posts, blog articles, and product pages.

With these benefits, video can be a transformative new tool for grabbing supporters’ attention. 

How to make a nonprofit video

Just like developing a general marketing strategy, your nonprofit videos must have a clear goal, a specific audience, and the right tools to see it through to completion. Let’s break down what these factors mean for video. 

Establish Your Video’s Purpose

Nonprofit video is a broad term that can include short animated videos about a specific issue as well as over 30-minute videos announcing a new program initiative. When planning your video, decide what actions you want viewers to take afterward, whether it’s donating, volunteering, or just being more informed. 

To give you an idea about what kind of video to produce, here is an overview of the main six types of nonprofit videos:

This graphic outlines the types of nonprofit video marketing, listed below in more detail.

  • Explainer videos. If your nonprofit wants to spread awareness or educate the public, explainer videos are the way to go. These educational videos focus on a specific topic, process, or idea, and break it down in an easy-to-understand manner. 
  • “Meet The Team” videos. Introduce the people behind your nonprofit with a “Meet the Team” video. These types of videos are most effective when shared with supporters who are interested in your cause and want to learn more about your organization specifically, so try adding it to your website’s about page or sharing it with your emailing list.
  • “Behind The Scenes” videos. Let supporters know exactly how your nonprofit fulfills its mission by filming volunteers at work or giving a tour of one of your program’s on-site locations. 
  • Testimonial videos. Seeing the individuals helped by your nonprofit can help supporters feel a stronger emotional connection to your cause. Sit down with your constituents and let them tell their own stories about how your nonprofit has impacted them. 
  • Interview videos. If your nonprofit has connections to experts in your field, bring them in to help with an interview video. For many viewers, seeing a trusted authority advocate for your mission and explain what a donor’s support can do to help your cause is a compelling reason to take action.
  • Personalized video emails. In contrast to the other types of videos, personalized videos are made specifically for just one person. Write a short script thanking donors, sponsors, or volunteers for their contributions, and get a member of your team to film multiple video thank yous back to back. 

Your videos can be emailed to supporters, posted on social media, or featured on your nonprofit’s YouTube channel. You can also embed videos directly into key landing pages on your website to engage visitors and teach them about your nonprofit in a quick, dynamic way. 

If your nonprofit is interested in the Google Ad Grant, embedding videos into your target landing pages is a way to strengthen your website as a whole, increase time on page from new leads, and start your relationship with new visitors off on the right note.

Get more out of your Google Ad Grant traffic with video. Discover how to improve your website for the Google Ad Grant.

Determine Your Audience

When choosing your video type, consider who the video is for. Think about what actions you want supporters to take and what types of storytelling and visuals are likely to resonate with that audience. 

While your nonprofit will be able to go into more granular detail about audience demographics when planning your videos, there are essentially three different types of audiences a video can be aimed at: 

  • Your current supporters. Video is an effective medium for driving calls to action, and you can create video content for specific fundraisers, advocacy campaigns, events, and other activities to share with your current supporter base. 
  • Potential supporters. Videos you post on social media and your website should aim to bring in new audiences. In these videos, the first few seconds are essential for grabbing viewers’ attention and sharing something memorable that will make them watch to the end and want to learn more. 
  • An individual supporter. Occasionally, you may want to record a video for an audience of exactly one supporter. Individual thank-you videos are an effective tool for retaining mid-tier donors who warrant more appreciation than a single thank-you email but not the individual in-person meetings of major donors. 

When you know your audience, you’ll be able to choose the content, visual style, and calls to action that will inspire them specifically. 

Gather Equipment or Work with a Nonprofit Video Production Company

Once you know what you want your video to accomplish and who your video is targeted at, you’ll need to consider what goes into making a video. 

For nonprofits trying to stay on a budget, they can produce videos in-house. At a minimum, the equipment you’ll need includes:

The graphic depicts a potential video filming setup with a camera, lighting equipment, microphones, soundproofing, and blackout curtains.

  • Camera and tripod 
  • Microphones
  • Lighting equipment 
  • Soundproofing 
  • Editing software

Additionally, consider your video style and what you’ll need to create the type of visuals you want. If you need footage of your volunteers in action, plan a day to go out and film. If you want animated footage, look up freelance animators. 

For nonprofits with the resources to spend on professionally designed videos, partnering with a nonprofit video production company can be well worth the costs. Browse the video libraries of top production companies you’re considering to find one with the filmmaking style that best suits your nonprofit. Then, reach out to get more information about their process and rates. 

10 Inspirational Videos and What Makes Them Great

The most surefire way to learn what makes a strong nonprofit video is to watch the inspiring videos other nonprofits are producing. To help your nonprofit start brainstorming video content, here are 10 nonprofit videos and why we think they’re great:

1. United Way of Metro Chicago 

United Way of Metro Chicago’s video promoting their program to make Chicago a more equitable place for residents of all backgrounds demonstrates how nonprofits can strategically use music to evoke specific emotions in their videos. 

Opening with a roaring guitar riff grabs viewers’ attention immediately before the abrupt cut to silence to highlight the impact of the interview the video is framed around, then finally transitioning to melancholy music that reflects the serious tone of the issues being addressed.

2. Love146

In their video, Family Changes the Situation, Love146 shows how nonprofits can get creative and make engaging videos even when they have little footage. With dynamic editing, the video heightens the intensity of an otherwise straightforward interview from its founder with typography, a bold visual style, and careful integration of stock footage. 

3. The Colorado Trust

One effective storytelling technique is to use a specific individual’s story as a focus point for a larger issue. The Colorado Trust showcases the effects of depression in ranchers by opening with a highly personal story from one of their constituents before incorporating interviews from trained mental health professionals to put this story in a wider context. 

4. American Cancer Society

Interested in creating an animated video? The American Cancer Society demonstrates how nonprofits can keep serious topics lighthearted by using a bright, cartoony style in their animated video series about how to prevent skin cancer. 

5. Mutual Rescue 

While many nonprofit videos are short, often under two minutes in length, Mutual Rescue’s video, Keema and Her Pack, is a useful example for organizations interested in creating long-form video content. In its nearly 10-minute run-time, the video holds viewers’ attention with multiple angles, animated visuals, and by incorporating footage and audio filmed on location and interviews shot in a studio.

6. Operation North Pole

Video can be used to promote all sorts of activities at your nonprofit as this video from Operation North Pole demonstrates. To help market a major fundraising event, Operation North Pole went all out putting together a short, snappy promotional video with fast cuts and artistically framed visuals that get event participants excited to sign up. 

7. Transportation Alternatives 

For some videos, just visuals and music are enough. Transportation Alternatives helps viewers visualize the importance of spatial equity through just the use of animations, typography, and music, creating a compelling video without the use of a voiceover. 

8. World Vision International 

 

World Vision International is dedicated to protecting children all over the world, and their Hidden Heroes campaign video works to show their impact over time. Nonprofits interested in creating impact videos can take cues from their use of mixed media, combining footage of volunteers at work with still photographs and historical footage. 

9. Flatwater Foundation

If your nonprofit just has interviews and stock footage, you can still make a compelling video like the Flatwater Foundation. By combining multiple interviews and footage of their constituents walking through nature, their video creates a cinematic experience, pulled together by recurring images of water between cuts. 

10. The Tech Interactive 

With testimonial videos, many nonprofits default to filming static interviews that feature a constituent doing little besides speaking directly to the camera. The Tech Intractive aims to tell the story of one of their constituents in Scientist Stories, Robin D. López through the use of action shots that convey their organization’s impact and keep viewers engaged.


Once you make your videos, it’s time to start driving traffic to them. Discover how you can use marketing tools like the Google Ad Grant to get your video in front of supporters with these resources:

Drive traffic to your videos with the Google Ad Grant. Learn how Google Ads can complement your video strategy. Get a free consultation today.

Leveraging Direct Mail for Your Annual Fund Campaign: 5 Tips

Launching your annual fund campaign is a critical task for nonprofits, and it is important to get the most out of your efforts to best pursue your mission. In order to fulfill your needs, it’s a good idea to leverage effective planning and promotion strategies to get the word out far and wide.

And how can you do that? We suggest direct mail.

Adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for all sorts of organizations, yet we know that your mission needs support now more than ever.

At GivingMail, we work to provide a simple and affordable way for nonprofits to build relationships with supporters and fund their causes. We’ve seen the power of direct mail firsthand, and we believe that it has the potential to make a difference in your annual campaign. 

Specifically, these five tips can help maximize the impact of your fundraising dollars and bring in more revenue for your annual fund:

  1. Launch a marketing campaign ahead of time
  2. Seek out a fundraising consultant
  3. Target existing and repeat donors
  4. Incorporate data-driven strategies
  5. Work with a direct mail partner

Ready to dive into each of these nonprofit fundraising tips and discover the power of direct mail for an annual campaign? Let’s get started.

1. Launch a marketing campaign ahead of time

Your nonprofit marketing strategies can make or break your annual campaign’s potential net donations. Marketing to get the word out prior to your annual campaign is a valuable strategy that can serve both immediate and long-term needs well. 

Ensuring that people know about your organization and its mission prior to receiving your largest asks will help people recognize you by name and make it more that they’ll contribute. However, the message should be clear, explaining the reason behind your cause and that a more significant appeal is coming.

This way, you can give supporters a taste of what they are going to support and hopefully excite them to donate when the time comes for your large-scale annual mailing.

2. Seek out a fundraising consultant

If you’re looking to maximize the ROI (or return on investment) of your annual fund campaign, we recommend seeking a nonprofit consultant. After all, fundraising consultants provide unique expertise and can help guide your campaign in the right direction—especially if you’re not sure where to start. 

The right fundraising consultants are not only good at helping you accomplish what you need, but they can also help you discover what exactly it is that you do need. These professionals are well-versed in giving tendencies and understanding which recipients are most likely to donate to your cause. 

Each segment of your audience has different things that are important to them, and your donors will respond better to your mailing if your messaging specifically appeals to their wants and needs. However, it can be difficult to make sure your appeals are carefully crafted with the intended recipient in mind—which is where your consultant comes in.

Decisions like these can grow the potential your mailing has of bringing in the most amount of donations possible. Not to mention, it certainly won’t be their first experience with an annual fund campaign.

3. Target existing and repeat donors

One-off donations can be great for certain causes. However, for long-term success, repeat donors provide more sustainability and reliability. For a successful annual fund campaign, we recommend largely targeting existing supporters.

It’s also cheaper to retain an existing donor than it is to constantly seek one-time donations. That means that existing supporters often make the best contributors for annual campaigns because of their tendency to show continued support. After all, repeat donors have shown their desire to be a part of your organization and its mission. 

To keep repeat donors on board, however, it’s critical that you provide a streamlined giving process and effectively communicate a donor’s impact. When contributing is simple and they understand how their gifts are being used, they’re more likely to give time and time again.

4. Incorporate data-driven strategies

Your fundraising data is a vital resource in determining the best ways to maximize your ROI. It also allows you to track the performance of your direct mail appeals and other fundraising asks, and to think of new ways to produce the best possible results.

Even better, data-driven strategies are great for segmenting your audience and making the most of each piece of mail you send. A great way to do this is to use a donor management software or CRM

These process your donors’ information and help you manage their preferences, contact information, and engagement history to personalize your outreach and make donors feel like valued members of your organization. This way, you can determine what works best for you and your particular audience, and in what areas there is room for improvement. 

5. Work with a direct mail partner

While direct mail is one of the most profitable fundraising channels available, it’s also one that can take a great deal of time and effort to pull off successfully. Working with a direct mail partner is a huge asset in terms of maximizing donations and reallocating resources. 

These companies can help you design, produce, and manufacture your direct mail appeals to send for your annual campaign. They have tested their products time and time again and are your best bet for maximizing your ROI.

Effective mailing partners can teach you some very important strategies to boost your donations and provide an easy-to-use platform to streamline the entire process. For example, grabbing your supporters’ attention through the expertise of your partner is a huge step in the right direction in terms of getting a contribution.


All in all, effective direct mail strategies have the potential to bring your annual fund campaign to the next level. By increasing your marketing efforts, targeting dedicated supporters, and leveraging previously collected fundraising data to improve your fundraising, you’ll be well on your way to a successful campaign. 

Plus, don’t forget to reach out to the experts for assistance if you’re not sure where to start—whether that’s a nonprofit fundraising consultant or a direct mail partner. Good luck and happy fundraising!

6 Tips to Adjust Your Year-End Fundraising Strategy for 2021

At the start of a new year, it’s a great time for your organization to take an “out with the old, in with the new” mindset when it comes to your fundraising efforts. 

In this period of self-reflection, you might be looking to transform your fundraising plans to start seeing improved results. Start by analyzing your previous year-end fundraising strategy to discover opportunities to adjust and improve.

Your year-end giving plan is one of the most important aspects of your overall fundraising strategy for each year. DNL OmniMedia’s guide to year-end giving explains why this time period is so crucial for fundraising—not only does the holiday season put people in a charitable mindset, but the end of the year also represents the final opportunity for supporters to make tax-deductible donations before the new year. 

The stats reflect the importance of this period. According to Nonprofits Source, around 30% of annual giving happens in December, with about 10% of all annual donations coming in the last three days of the year. 

To adjust and improve your year-end fundraising strategy and maximize your fundraising gains in the new year, there are a few key tips to implement:

  1. Analyze your data from 2020.
  2. Consider virtual fundraising strategies
  3. Build relationships all year round
  4. Make a plan to start early
  5. Look for new revenue sources
  6. Partner with a tech consultant

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at each of these tips and offer solutions along the way to get your year-end strategy in top shape with plenty of time for planning and organizing. As they say, the early bird gets the worm (or rather, the increased fundraising boost!), so let’s dive in. 

1. Analyze your data from 2020. 

Before you start looking ahead and constructing your year-end fundraising strategy for 2021, look back to your data from 2020 to get an idea of how successful your fundraising efforts were last year. 

Dig into your organization’s database to analyze past fundraising data. Use this information to find what your organization does well and where you have opportunities for improvement. 

For example, if your organization discovers that a lot of your supporters RSVP’d for year-end virtual events and gave a donation on top of their registration fee, you should maintain this as a primary part of your year-end campaign. However, you may also find that your email open rate is lower than expected, meaning there’s an opportunity to better optimize your email marketing strategies.

Keep these discoveries in mind as you construct your year-end plan for 2021.

2. Consider virtual fundraising opportunities. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the importance of virtual fundraising and amplified its use in the nonprofit sector. This trend for virtual fundraising opportunities is unlikely to go away, so learning how to incorporate it into your strategy now will help you in the future.

If you’re looking for virtual fundraising ideas, there’s no shortage of unique, fun opportunities to get people excited and inspired to contribute to your cause, especially around the year-end holiday season. A few options include:

  • Hosting a virtual cooking class that guides participants through a holiday recipe
  • Putting on a “most festive pet” photo contest where people “vote” on their favorite by contributing a donation in the name of their favorite photo
  • Selling tickets to a Netflix Party fundraiser featuring a film that relates to your mission or the holiday season 

These ideas and many more can be found on Fundly’s list of virtual fundraiser options, which includes specific ideas for nonprofits, schools, teams, and clubs, and more groups. These types of fundraisers serve a dual purpose of giving your supporters a fun activity to look forward to while also raising contributions to your organization.

3. Build relationships all year round. 

While the end of the year provides a great opportunity for raising funds, you don’t want to only reach out to your supporters at the end of the year. By building relationships throughout the year, you can increase your year-over-year retention rate and even increase your year-end donations. 

Focus on building relationships through stewardship activities and personalized outreach. For example, you can:

  • Host events and activities to show that you care about your supporters without asking them to open their wallets each time. In these appreciation events, show your supporters how much they are valued and the impact of their contributions to your organization. 
  • Personalize outreach to your supporters by using their names in all communications and taking their interests into consideration. Consider segmenting your donors or volunteers by common interests to simplify this process, ensuring you’re only giving people information that’s relevant to them. 
  • Keep people engaged all year online by maintaining your social media and website presence. This provides easy access points for volunteers and donors to get updates on your organization and donate when they’re inspired to do so.

Strong relationships are not only the foundation of your fundraising strategy, but your organization as a whole. Fostering the ongoing support of your volunteers and donors is crucial to maintain your supporter base year after year. 

4. Make a plan to start early. 

Year-end fundraising isn’t just about the month of December. In fact, many nonprofits really get things up-and-running in late summer (such as in August) or even earlier, when you can start marketing your upcoming events and lay the groundwork for the busy final months of the year. 

Therefore, it’s important to start planning for your year-end fundraising campaign early, so you don’t have to scramble as December approaches. This plan should include:

  • Your Giving Tuesday Campaign. Giving Tuesday is the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving and will probably be one of your busiest donation days of the year. Make sure you’re prepared for the day by rolling out a marketing plan a few weeks ahead of time on all your social media pages, your website, and your email newsletter. 
  • Holiday considerations for your supporters. Lean into the holiday good cheer by emphasizing the idea of the “season of giving” and focus your messaging and communication materials on this idea.
  • Emphasis on the last few days of the year when fundraising is most lucrative. Plan your biggest communications push for these last few days of 2021, where donors have their last chance to make a tax-deductible gift for the year. 

Careful planning guarantees that when the end of the year rolls around, you can be confident that you’ve increased awareness of your year-end events. This allows you to focus on executing your fundraising campaigns effectively and efficiently. 

5. Look for new revenue sources. 

For the new year, consider diversifying your revenue sources to widen the pool of donation options for supporters. For instance, in addition to your current year-end fundraising plans, you might try:

  • Incorporating matching gifts and volunteer grants. Corporate matching gifts are opportunities for companies to match contributions that their employees make to charities and nonprofits. Volunteer grants work in a similar way—companies reward a nonprofit with a donation once an employee volunteers a specified number of hours with that nonprofit. Encourage your supporters to investigate if their companies already have these programs or are interested in starting them.
  • Launching a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. While most in-person peer-to-peer fundraisers are still not possible, you can still host a successful fundraising campaign by incorporating the P2P framework into a virtual or socially-distanced event. This guide to virtual peer-to-peer fundraising includes several ideas for events that encourage participants to raise money before participating, such as virtual 5Ks or trivia competitions. 
  • Seek grants for specific projects. Take this opportunity to revamp your grant-writing strategy by identifying certain projects that would most benefit from grant funding. Be sure to implement the features of effective fundraising grant-writing—creating a unique proposal for each application, describing the similarities in the mission of your organization and the funder, and making your request captivating and unforgettable. 

Instead of relying on the same type of revenue year after year, expanding your funding sources can help you discover areas of untapped fundraising potential. 

6. Partner with a tech consultant. 

A nonprofit tech consultant can help your nonprofit get organized and strategize for online fundraising opportunities. 

When searching for a nonprofit strategy consulting firm, you’ll want to connect with a firm that understands your nonprofit’s fundraising goals and has the experience necessary to offer recommendations for future actions. 

Nonprofit tech consultants can help with tasks such as:

  • Implementing new technology. This may be helpful if you’ve decided that new tech will help you solve some of the challenges you encountered in 2020. For example, if it’s been awhile since your last website update and users have noted that it’s slow or difficult to navigate, a tech consultant can help figure out the best strategy for a redesign.
  • Analyzing your online fundraising efforts from 2020. Sometimes, having a third-party analyze your fundraising efforts helps ensure that you didn’t miss anything when analyzing yourself. For example, a consultant may notice an opportunity for your organization to take a stronger multi-channel approach to fundraising rather than relying on just one or two fundraising platforms. These experts can bring fresh eyes and insights to enhance your plan moving forward.
  • Developing analytics and data maintenance strategies. Nonprofit tech consultants offer backgrounds in data analytics that can set up your team to manage data more effectively. They can dive into your Google Analytics, for instance, to assess current website performance and implement new integrations to make the most of your online presence.

If you feel that your team could use a little extra push this year, a tech consultant might be the last piece of the puzzle your organization needs to confidently carry out your year-end fundraising strategy for 2021.


By following these recommendations, you can start your nonprofit off on the right foot this year and get a jumpstart on your year-end fundraising plans. Although the end of 2021 might seem far off, it’s never too early to line up your game plan for your year-end strategy to make sure you’re maximizing fundraising opportunities this year. Happy planning!

Relevancy After Elections: 5 Tips to Stay Connected

Nonprofits, social good, and politically affiliated organizations attract support in cycles. Charities earn most of their donations at the end of the end of the year, while political organizations attract the bulk of their support during election years. However, operations continue year-round and require year-round support. 

To fundraise smarter, create a sustainable base of supporters by staying in touch all year. Research shows that attracting new donors costs approximately ten times more than maintaining current ones. This means starting from scratch at the beginning of each election cycle hurts your organization’s fundraising efforts. It’s more cost-effective than letting supporter relationships slip.

This doesn’t just apply to donors. Whether they’re answering phones, researching potential donors, or canvasing the streets, volunteers help your organization function. Recruiting and training a new group every election cycle is a waste of time and resources. Manage and re-recruit past volunteers to build a knowledgeable base of advocates who can work on behalf of your organization during both on and off seasons. 

At Grassroots Unwired, we’re experts in helping grassroots nonprofit and political organizations make the most of their relationships with supporters. Our canvassing and event software solutions are all built around our belief that strong relationships are what drive powerful change.

To help you create and maintain these relationships year-round, we’ve compiled five tips for cultivating consistent support from both donors and volunteers:

  1. Keep Your Organization’s Website Up to Date
  2. Stay Active on Multiple Online Channels
  3. Empower Your Volunteers Through Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
  4. Create High Quality Branded Merchandise
  5. Offer Volunteers Resources and Opportunities all Year

Human resources are some of your organization’s greatest assets, and they often require the simplest maintenance. As we move forward in 2021, you can still make the most of our recent election year momentum. Build relationships with supporters and stay vigilant for opportunities to show your base that your mission never takes a break. 

1. Keep Your Organization’s Website Up to Date

Your website is the face of your organization. If your organization has a news page or blog, update it regularly, and if you don’t have a news page or blog, consider getting one. After elections, supporters’ attention can drift, but a steady posting schedule signals that your organization is active while also providing quality content to your supporters about your work. 

Even if news is slow, don’t neglect basic website maintenance. Here are a few ways to improve your visitors’ experience when they visit your homepage:

  1. Clear Navigation. Almost every nonprofit website has a few keypages: mission statement, contact information, and a donation form. Create obvious and easy-to-use menus so your supporters can find what they’re looking for in as few clicks as possible. 
  1. Fast Loading Times. Speed matters more than you think. 47% of people expect web pages to load in under two seconds. Ensure there is nothing slowing down your website. Uncompressed images and unnecessary link redirects are a few obvious suspects, and researching a caching method that works for your website can also reduce waiting times. 
  1. Mobile Adaptability. Make sure that your website will be viewable for your supporters to stay updated even when they’re away from their desktops. Minimize scrolling and design elements that may clutter the screen so key elements will be visible and easy to navigate to. 

If your website needs an update or more sophisticated features, consider hiring a consultant. Web design specialists will know how to create visuals for the web, and some even specialize in specific website types. Do your research ahead of time to figure out what your organization needs and what service makes the most sense for your website. 

2. Stay Active on Multiple Online Channels

Technology is your best friend for keeping in touch with your supporters. Regular updates will keep your organization in the back of your supporters’ minds even when election season finishes and they aren’t actively participating in events, pitching in for your canvassing efforts, or otherwise engaging in person. Online communication is also a low-cost investment, meaning you can hit post or send to remind your supporters about your organization without breaking the bank. 

However, different supporters watch different platforms for activity, making it necessary to diversify your organization’s outreach approach. 

Social Media

While social media has a low bar to entry, don’t start posting without a strategy. Create a formal social media plan with a timeline of posts, an index of appropriate post types, and knowledge about what strategies work best on what websites. 

Not all social media is created equal. Many nonprofits use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay in touch with current supporters and attract new ones. Consider these suggestions for tailoring your content to the context of each platform:

  • Facebook. Almost all social media platforms prefer short form content, but if you do have a long story or report to share with your supporters, Facebook is the place to do it. You’ll still have limited time to convince someone scrolling through their feed to read your post, so consider starting off with an eye-catching header image. 
  • Twitter. With its strict word limit, Twitter is all about quick, snappy updates. Twitter also rewards interactive content that attracts responses, making it a good place to post supporter shoutouts or polls.
  • Instagram. If you have high-quality pictures of your work, put them on your Instagram. Take lots of pictures during busy times so you’ll have a pool to pull from during lulls in activity. Attractive graphic designs can also serve in a pinch. 

Invest in the platforms your supporters are already on. Volunteers advocating on behalf of your organization will likely use their social media as their main platforms. Even if you don’t have the time to devote to a comprehensive strategy, creating a semi-active account your volunteers can link to will make marketing outreach smoother on both your and their ends.  

Email

No matter what other approaches your organization is using, you’ll need email. Regular emails will keep you in contact with your supporters by delivering thank you messages, newsletters, and fundraising letters. 

You can improve your email strategies to build relationships with volunteers both when they are and aren’t actively working for your organization. Personalize emails to reference past and current projects your volunteers have worked on and never forget to address them by name. Small touches like these will let your volunteers know that your organization recognizes and appreciates their contributions, which might convince them to lend a hand the next time things get busy. 

3. Empower Your Volunteers Through Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

During election cycles, your organization and volunteers coordinate schedules to meet campaign targets. After election season, your volunteers might keep different hours than your organization. Encouraging your volunteers to advocate for your organization individually can lead to connections and marketing strategies unobtainable if you’re directing their every move. 

Establish guidelines for branding and appropriate messages, then let your volunteers speak directly with their friends, family, and social media followers about your organization. 

While face-to-face marketing currently isn’t practical, your volunteers can still make personal connections online. For example, Grassroots Unwired has virtual canvassing software for political campaigns. This lends itself to giving more independence to your volunteers by letting them log-in from anywhere and engage supporters in video chats at any time. If your organization specialized in canvassing, check out this guide for strategies to employ when election season starts up again. 

Keep track of your volunteer’s efforts through regular check-ins and software with real time reporting. This way your volunteers will customize their approach to advocating for your organization while also providing feedback around what is and isn’t working. 

Also, never forget to thank your volunteers for all their work!

4. Create High-Quality Branded Merchandise

Branded merchandise benefits both your organization and your supporters all year round. Your supporters get t-shirts and sweaters as additions to their wardrobes, and your organization gets free advertising whenever they wear your merchandise in public. 

Designing high-quality merchandise will also be worth it in the long run for everyone. Your supporters will use and wear products that last longer, giving them more opportunities to show them off. Creative designs attract more attention, and out of the box merchandise ideas can spark conversations that lead back to your organization and the work you do. 

Shop around before investing in a store or supplier. Some online stores offer more opportunities for different organizations. For example, some suppliers give discounts to nonprofits while others like Bonfire let political campaigns collect donor information during checkout. 

5. Offer Volunteers Resources and Opportunities all Year

While it’s unlikely you’ll always have active projects for volunteers, create online resources for volunteers to engage with to keep them interested in your organization during down periods. Find opportunities to create evergreen materials, content your volunteers can interact with at any time without ever being irrelevant. 

A few examples of evergreen content are:

  1. E-learning courses. Your volunteers are interested in your field, so give them opportunities to learn more. Some courses on how to be a better volunteer are always appropriate, but additional knowledge will give your volunteers a better understanding about the implications of their efforts, leading to more investment in your organization’s mission.
  2. Entertaining videos. If your organization has or plans to launch events that will result in funny or interesting videos, be sure to save the produced content and urge your supporters to share their creations with you. Compilations of past events are fun to rewatch and highly shareable.

Inspire loyalty in your volunteers by making them feel like they’re part of your organization no matter what time of year it is. Pointing them towards activities to keep them interested can inspire volunteer retention and allow your organization to build long-lasting relationships with a strong core of reliable supporters. 


While your organization has busy seasons, it should never have an off season. Retaining your volunteers and donors will always be easier than attracting entirely new ones. Keep the lines of communication open all year long, let your volunteers advocate on behalf of your organization, and always say thank you to all your supporters for sticking around. 

Is Direct Mail Dead? Here’s Why Fundraising Experts Say No

In today’s society, digital communications have become the norm. This doesn’t mean that direct mail is dead! Nonprofits looking to stand out from their competition incorporate both virtual and direct mail marketing into their strategies. 

When you implement direct mail marketing, your team is sending a fundraising appeal to a potential or existing supporter’s mailbox. These are effective for asking for a donation, announcing an event, or reporting on progress toward your goal.

Our GivingMail nonprofit fundraising overview confirms that physical mail should be a main component of your multi-channel marketing strategy. The biggest benefit of sending a letter is the chance to motivate donors with a story about your cause. If your team is still on the fence about sending direct mail, consider the following facts:

  • Direct mail can have a median ROI of 29%. 
  • People remember print better than digital communications. 
  • Direct mail can be combined with digital strategies. 
  • 70% of donors feel more valued with direct mail. 

With this compelling information, your team has all of the right reasons to implement direct mail into your next fundraising strategy. Let’s dive in!

Direct mail can have a median ROI of 29%. (source)

Direct mail is absolutely worth it when you use it as a working part of a well-defined marketing strategy—especially when you consider it has one of the highest ROI of any fundraising channel..

Your ROI relies on the effectiveness of your messaging, so write your mailers with specific goals in mind. Think of how your wording can raise brand and campaign awareness. Try incorporating these tips into your writing:

Send it to the right people. 

Foremost, your letters should be going to the donor segments that are inclined to respond well to your letter. To start this process, you should segment your audience using your donor’s data, paying attention to those who want to receive direct mail vs. those who don’t. You don’t want to waste time and money sending materials to people who are not likely to engage with your appeal.

Hook your reader from the start. 

The opening lines of your fundraising letter will make the difference in whether it’s read or not. In choosing a hook, try catering to your reader’s interests and concerns. Use compelling language and create interest surrounding your topic. Depending on your mission, you’ll be able to open with a line such as:

  • A moving statistic
  • A call to action
  • A question
  • An anecdote

With these, you’ll grab your audience from the start, and increase the chances they’ll want to find out more about your cause and even contribute their own hard-earned dollars.

Speak directly to your reader. 

Focusing on your reader can help increase their likelihood to participate in your cause. Write directly to the recipient and explain why you’re choosing them to be your audience and how their participation can benefit them. Include details about volunteering and giving opportunities and how they can be the hero of your campaign. 

Effectively writing to your reader will involve including inclusive language such as “you”, or “our”. For example, write: “Your support has helped feed X families in need,” rather than “The organization has fed X families in need.” The personal approach is always the more effective option when calling readers to action.

End with a clear call to action. 

Make the point of your letter obvious to readers. Don’t be afraid of conversational calls to action, such as, “What does this mean for you?” or “Here’s how you can get involved.” They’ll feel inclined to help out, and it’ll feel natural and conversational rather than formal. Be sure to include resources for how to give and get involved, and offer a method of contact for questions and concerns they may have after reading your letter.

Speaking to your reader as though they’re the hero of your mission will go a long way in increasing your mail’s ROI. Be sure to make your hook and purpose clear to increased readership and success. For more information on writing for specific campaigns, check out this in-depth fundraising letters template library for your needs. 

People remember print better than digital communications. 

If you need another compelling reason to incorporate mailers into your communication strategy, consider that a study found recall for print advertisements is 70% higher than digital

This recall can benefit your organization by leveraging brand awareness in your community. When your readers recall your organization’s name or logo after seeing it in their mail, this creates an association in their mind. Then, when they see your logo or name as a sponsor of an event or on their social media feed, they’ll recognize you!

For example, if someone reads about your upcoming event in a mailer, then sees an advertisement for it on Facebook, they’ll be more likely to remember the event as they run across it later. This simple association can turn a reader into an active participant in your organization.

GivingMail’s guide to direct mail for nonprofit organizations further explains how to create a physical mailer that will efficiently stick in the minds of your readers. Remember, creating a lasting impression with your letter involves tactful visual components as well as effective wording. However, this doesn’t mean you should rely only on direct mail but rather that you should use it in support of your marketing strategy overall. 

Direct mail can be combined with digital strategies. 

As mentioned before, you can absolutely ask for donations with direct mail fundraising appeals. However, you should also combine your approach and support digital appeals with your direct mail for a well-rounded communication strategy.

In asking for donations in your campaign overall, have one streamlined call to action across every platform so as to not muddle your ask, as well as create a repetitive recall in your reader’s minds when they see your deliverables. This guide suggests  that you use a combination of platforms such as:

  • Email
  • Telemarketing
  • Social media platforms 
  • Websites

All in all, it’s a fantastic idea to support your digital fundraisers with direct mail marketing. And, in turn, to support your donation request letter with digital marketing strategies. This multi-channel approach will ensure more people read your message, increasing your impact. 

70% of donors feel more valued with direct mail. (source

Finally, when direct mail is done well with personalized introductions, well-constructed appeals, and information leveraged from your CRM, you have the potential to show that you care about your supporters for more than their wallets. This helps build your donor relationships and can result in higher donor retention rates. Here’s how:

  • People experience tons of digital marketing. However, the mail someone receives will be paid attention to, as they go through it on a daily basis. 
  • It’s more personalized. Sure, digital marketing costs money to run, but a physical mailer provides value as well. It communicates that the recipient is valued enough to be sent a physical item that costs your organization ink, paper, and postage.

You care about your supporters, and they’ll feel this sentiment when you go the extra mile to mail a letter to their home!


Direct mail surely isn’t dead. Your organization should take advantage of the benefits of sending a mailer. You’ll be sure to stand out from the clutter of digital promotions, effectively communicate your message in a personal way, and help supplement your overall marketing efforts. Get to writing, so that your mission can gain support in a whole new way!

Nonprofit Virtual Event Tips

Nonprofit Virtual Events: 5 Tips You Haven’t Thought of

If you’re like other nonprofits, you’ve probably incorporated virtual events into your organization’s strategy this year. Due to the wide-spread social distancing guidelines, virtual aspects of nonprofits’ strategies have become more prominent and popular throughout the year. While organizations may have been shifting towards more virtual activities anyway, the pandemic guidelines dramatically accelerated the popularity. 

However, because the shift was accelerated so suddenly, many organizations didn’t execute the move to an entirely digitally-focused strategic plan as smoothly as they could’ve done. There were plenty of missed opportunities to get supporters more involved and plenty of room for improvement in future virtual events. 

Whether your nonprofit is planning your first virtual event or you’re just trying to make your next one better than your last, this guide is written for you. 

The way you plan and organize your virtual event is key to gaining traction, getting supporters more involved, raising more funds, and ultimately reaching your goals for the event. In this guide, we’ll cover some tried-and-true tips that you may not have considered when planning your virtual event. Specifically, we’ll cover the following suggestions: 

  1. Decide what you want to accomplish.
  2. Plan ahead and choose a virtual platform. 
  3. Test all of your software. 
  4. Encourage attendees to engage with one another. 
  5. Follow up in a timely manner. 

Ready to get started planning your next event? Let’s dive in. 

1. Decide what you want to accomplish.

When you plan your in-person fundraising events, you expect to accomplish certain goals. Before you start planning, you’d likely decide which of the goals is most important to your organization and make it your main focus for the event. 

Virtual events are the same way! You shouldn’t just throw together a virtual event because it’s what everyone else is doing or because you’ve always had an annual event in the past. Instead, make sure your event has a targeted purpose and that you have effectively planned to see that purpose fulfilled. 

For example, let’s consider a local dog shelter. In the past, they may have hosted an annual adoption event where their main goal is to encourage families to adopt pets. However, secondary goals for the event may have been to raise funds, and increase community awareness. When pivoting to a virtual event, this animal shelter should be sure to keep those same goals in mind and incorporate elements that will accomplish the same purpose. They may: 

  • Include an online adoption board so that virtual attendees can read profiles on the dogs that need to find new homes. They may also host live feeds of puppies playing with one another or push notifications that highlight individual dogs to draw the attention of the audience. This helps fulfill their goal of adoption at the event. 
  • Provide virtual fundraising opportunities. Simply by incorporating a text-to-give platform or an easily accessible online donation page, the dog shelter can easily make fundraising available online. Be sure to set a specific fundraising goal and incorporate a fundraising thermometer to encourage people to give. This helps fulfill the fundraising goal. 
  • Spread the word about the event on various platforms. By marketing the virtual event on social media, on your website, by phone, by word of mouth, and using other communication platforms, the organization can easily tell the community about the event. Without flyers and in-person communication, they should be sure to amp up the virtual marketing to spread awareness. This helps fulfill the goal of increasing community awareness. 

In this example, the dog shelter should ensure they prioritize their goals before diving into how they’ll incorporate them into the virtual event. For your own virtual event, be sure to determine your own goals beforehand, and then prioritize them accordingly. 

Key Takeaway: List out all of the goals and objectives that you want to see from your virtual event, then order them by importance. Your top one will be your main goal for the event, keep this in mind when planning the rest of the event. 

2. Plan ahead and choose a virtual platform.

Now that you’ve identified your primary and secondary goals for your virtual event, it’s time that you brainstorm how you’ll meet those goals. While you should make sure you accomplish the same goals that you would meet at an in-person event, you won’t necessarily accomplish them in the same way. 

Rather, you need to adapt to the virtual environment. Bloomerang’s list of virtual fundraising ideas represents some of the diversity you’ll find in the types of events available to your organization. The type of event you choose to host should reflect your goals for the event and guide the virtual platforms you’ll need. Consider, for instance, the following two organizations: 

A small food bank wants to spread awareness about food insecurity in the community. In order to raise awareness and educate the community about the issues, the food bank decides to host an educational event. They need to invest in registration software so that people can register for the event online. However, they’ll also need video conferencing software for live speeches from experts in the community and forum software to create discussions between attendees. This event will become slightly more complicated and require a number of solutions to accomplish the goals of the food bank. 

A homeless shelter wants to raise funds to purchase clothing for men and women in the community. For this type of virtual event, the goal is a bit easier to achieve with fewer solutions. The shelter might pre-record videos and write social media posts that will display the need in the community. Then, for the duration of the event, they’ll send and post these resources to their supporters. They may also decide to incorporate a product fundraiser where supporters can purchase t-shirts for themselves while simultaneously purchasing one for a homeless man or woman in the community. 

As you’re considering the plans for your event and purchasing the appropriate software to make it happen, be sure to carefully research each solution. The last thing you want is a data breach at your nonprofit

Start your research to choose the best software solutions with resources like software referral lists and reviews to help indicate the top solutions. Be sure to also consider the platform’s other clientele (are there other nonprofits of a similar size and mission?) and what aspects of your goals will be achieved with the investment. 

Key Takeaway: Create plans for your virtual event and identify the software solutions you’ll need to achieve those plans. When you go to invest in new software, look for solutions that combine some of the tools that you (or integrate with one another) need so that you can streamline event activities and collection of event data. 

3. Test all of your software. 

Before the event begins, your nonprofit should make sure that everything works seamlessly for your attendees. Once you’ve found the best solutions, you should test them multiple times to ensure they’ll work the day of the event. 

Run through the event activities yourself and make sure everything is functional. Look specifically to make sure that: 

  • Payment processing is functional for ticketing, donating, and purchasing merchandise items. 
  • All transitions from one event activity to another are intuitive and easily recognizable by event attendees. 
  • Forum discussions and questions are available to attendees and notifications are functional. 
  • Live streaming visuals are high quality and the sound is functional. 

After you’ve tested your software yourself, ask a third-party (volunteer or co-worker) to also run through and test it. They’ll be able to identify comprehension issues that you might overlook and identify opportunities to make the event more intuitive. 

Key Takeaway: Act like an event participant and walk through each step of the event. Purchase a ticket, donate a dollar, post to discussion boards, and watch the various video collateral. Then, ask someone else to do the same thing before the event starts. Be sure to also create a contingency plan for if something becomes dysfunctional during the event itself.

4. Encourage attendees to engage with one another. 

During in-person events, supporters and attendees are able to mingle amongst themselves. They may discuss the event, your organization, or otherwise develop connections that help create an aspect of community within your organization’s support base. 

To encourage this networking and mingling at your virtual event, you need to create and encourage opportunities where attendees can communicate and engage with one another. For example, you might decide to: 

  • Enable chat functionality. Ask questions that will lead to effective discussion between attendees. For instance, you might make a statement then ask if they agree or disagree and why. Try gamifying these opportunities to encourage more people to participate. You might offer bronze, silver, and gold virtual badges depending on the number of times an attendee posts to discussion forums. 
  • Encourage breakout sessions. After informational sessions or educational videos, encourage attendees to join breakout groups where they have a list of set discussion questions that they can use to guide conversation. This encourages interaction between supporters and continuous engagement throughout the event itself.
  • Create social media groups. Social media is a resource that almost everyone can use to network because almost everyone has an account! Encourage attendees to join a Facebook group where they’re allowed to ask questions, share insights, and otherwise connect with one another. 

Consider a virtual gala as an example. In an in-person gala event, the mingling tends to happen at different tables while there might be an ongoing auction in the background. Similarly, you can host a virtual silent auction in the background of an online gala, but you’ll need some specialized tools to do so. 

According to Snowball’s virtual auction guide, it’s challenging to keep supporters engaged if they’re simultaneously checking their item bids and listening to your keynote speaker. To combat this, consider enabling bidding notifications so that supporters always know when they’re outbid. This allows them to pay attention to speakers and other event activities. 

Key Takeaway: Consider your own virtual event plans. Is there a natural place to incorporate community interaction? Ask yourself, “as an attendee, how would I want to get in touch with others?” Then, incorporate those opportunities in your own virtual event plans. 

5. Follow up in a timely manner. 

This tip is probably one that you’ve heard before. It’s a vital step when it comes to any nonprofit event plans, especially when you plan or pivot for the virtual sphere. A timely follow-up is key if you want to express appreciation for the attendee’s participation and invite them to continue engaging with your mission.

When you follow up after a virtual event, get the most out of it! Your supporters are probably expecting a thank-you, but they may also be open to other ways to get involved after having a wonderful time at your event. Try incorporating strategies like: 

  • Specifically explaining the impact they had at the event. You might say, “The For-the-Kids virtual event raised over $100,000 this year! Your donation of $100 was key to help us achieve this goal, which will provide medical resources for over 500 kids in the community.” Impact statements like this will help your organization put the thank-you in terms of what has been accomplished. 
  • Provide social media calls-to-action or email subscription options. After sharing their impact, simply ask your event attendees to continue following the story of your organization by keeping in contact with you. This allows them to see any upcoming opportunities you provide and allows them to continue direct interaction with your organization after they receive the email follow-up. 
  • Ask for feedback on the virtual event itself. You will probably need to plan another virtual event in the near future. Therefore, make sure your event planning process is as effective as possible by optimizing it based on the feedback provided by supporters. Send out a short survey to the attendees at your event asking them how they enjoyed the opportunity and if they have any recommendations to make it better in the future. This can also help you determine if the tools and virtual solutions you invested in are doing their job. It also allows your most engaged supporters to make themselves apparent.

By providing an immediate action that your supporters can take after the event, it ensures their engagement with your organization doesn’t end with the event itself. Use your follow-up message as an opportunity to say “thank you” and to further engagement with your supporters. 

Key Takeaway: Draft your follow-up message for your attendees and be sure to encourage them to continue engaging with your mission after the event ends. 


Virtual events are the new norm in the nonprofit world of today. By planning effectively and providing plenty of opportunity for engagement, your organization will be able to reach all of your goals effectively. 

Incorporate these tips into your event planning now. In the future, virtual events won’t go away. Be sure you have the best steps to plan and execute these events so that you can use them both during the pandemic and beyond.

This article was contributed by our friends at Bloomerang.

Author: Steven Shattuck
Chief Engagement Officer at Bloomerang

This article was contributed by Steven Shattuck, chief engagement officer at Bloomerang.

Steven Shattuck is Chief Engagement Officer at Bloomerang and Executive Director of Launch Cause. A prolific writer and speaker, Steven is a contributor to “Fundraising Principles and Practice: Second Edition” and volunteers his time on the Project Work Group of the Fundraising Effectiveness Project and is an AFP Center for Fundraising Innovation (CFI) committee member.

Faster UX on Your Website: A Crash Course for Nonprofits

User experience, or UX, involves the quality of the experience that users have when navigating and interacting with your nonprofit’s website. It’s a fairly broad but extremely important element to keep in mind whenever you’re updating your site. In today’s digital-first environment, UX can make or break your ability to convert new visitors into donors, and it plays a critical role in encouraging long-term engagement from existing supporters.

If you’re new to web design or the concept of UX, the easiest way to think about it is to simply consider your website from a new user’s perspective:

  • Is your organization’s mission easily identifiable on your homepage?
  • How easy is it to find your organization’s contact information, donation form, blog, or another main page that a visitor might be looking for?
  • How long does it take to complete an action, like making a donation?
  • Is your website easy to use and navigate, or do issues like broken links and poor mobile responsiveness make it a frustrating experience?

Questions like these are a great starting point as you begin reviewing your own website for potential improvements. However, there’s one element of UX that stands above all others in terms of importance: speed. 

How fast your website loads is the very first UX indicator that could cause users to abandon your site before they even fully land on it. As internet users, we’re more impatient than ever, and we’ve come to expect a lot from the sites we engage with. Studies have found that 40% of users abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load, and even a delay of one second can drop conversions by 7%. 

Simply put, if it takes visitors a long time to 1) access your website and 2) complete the action that they came to complete, you’ll see higher abandonment rates across your site. 
At Cornershop Creative, we specialize in web design for the nonprofit sector, so we understand what the top nonprofit sites need to accomplish and what donors are expecting when they visit. We’ve seen firsthand the difference that even small UX improvements can make on a site’s ability to engage and convert donors, so we wanted to share a quick crash course on how to speed up the UX of your own site. Let’s dive in.

Basic Components of Fast UX

All sorts of factors, from design elements to page load time to SEO (search engine optimization), can have huge impacts on your website’s ability to attract and engage visitors. The statistics mentioned earlier illustrate the importance of fast load speed, which is where we’ll start first.

Page Load Speed

Your website must load quickly on any browser, desktop or mobile. 

The generally accepted ideal load speed sits around two to three seconds or less — anything longer and you’ll likely see larger and larger numbers of visitors bounce away. It’s essential to be familiar with the two most common contributors to slow load speeds:

  • Large files. Large, high-resolution images, headers, animations, and other embedded visual files that need to load at the top of a page can seriously slow down your website. Website plugins can help you automatically cut back on duplicate files that might be clogging up your image library, as well. 
  • Redirect chains. Chains of redirects between outdated URLs increases load time by bouncing the visitor from page to page, and it can even make them (and their browser) feel that your site can’t be trusted.

Page load speed is one of the biggest components of strong user experience, especially as more web traffic moves onto mobile browsers. Think about it: how long are you typically willing to wait for a page to load on your smartphone when you’re trying to look something up or casually browsing? With the current necessity of digital-only engagement, load speed should be the first place you look when improving your website’s UX.

Barriers to Engagement

This component of fast UX involves the actual barriers to entry that you may place on your site. Whenever you add new elements to your website that users will directly engage with, think carefully about how exactly they’ll impact UX. 

For example, requiring users to log in with a username or password is one barrier to engagement that sites will deliberately include for important security reasons. Users’ security should always be a top priority, but make sure that your own site’s login process is streamlined. The best way to ensure that visitors will have a positive experience and find what they need is by making it easy to enter your site and quickly engage with your content. 

Consider Amazon and Google, two web giants that prioritize making it easy for users to get started with their services. Amazon’s one-click purchase buttons and Google’s SSO authentication tools are both great examples of how removing unnecessary steps like an extra login or data input can streamline user experience.

Design Elements

Design can also contribute to a faster, high-quality user experience on your website. Of course, “web design” encompasses a number of different topics and specific elements. As they relate to fast user experience, there are three main contributing factors to think about:

  • Navigation. Sites that offer strong user experience anticipate their visitors’ needs. Clearly-labeled navigation bars across your site and intuitive landing pages that don’t distract or bombard users with irrelevant elements are good starting points.
  • Simple visuals. Minimalist design tends to perform well online because it’s less likely to distract or confuse visitors looking to quickly find information or complete a task on your site. Plus, using simpler layouts and fewer (but high-quality) images will improve load speed.
  • Information placement. Websites should anticipate what their visitors are looking for, like contact information, and feature it in an intuitive spot. For instance, nonprofits can provide embedded donation forms to make the giving process easy and fast for visitors who will be more likely to donate while they still feel emotionally motivated.

These elements of web design can all contribute to a faster, more positive user experience, and they’re some of the first places that webmasters can begin to easily make improvements themselves.

Building a Faster User Experience on Your Site

As mentioned above, there are plenty of ways to speed up your site’s UX without the help of a professional web designer. Consider these additional tips:

Pagespeed Insights and Google Analytics

Google’s readily available tools are a perfect resource for staying on top of the quality of your website’s user experience. 

Google’s Pagespeed Insights tool is invaluable for a number of reasons, namely because it determines the time it takes for your site to load on both desktop and mobile browsers. It even indicates specific problem areas and offers optimization tips. Remember that load speed is central to user experience and increasingly important for Google rankings, too.

Google Analytics provides insights that can be crucial for your website’s overall health and performance. Most importantly, the platform makes it easy to track your abandonment or bounce rates, the first indicators of slow load times and poor user experience. Then you can look deeper to find specific pages that perform poorly and target your improvements in smarter ways.

Templates and Caching

Both of these techniques involve saving time and streamlining processes as you build your site and as your users engage with it:

  • Create custom templates to use whenever creating new content on your website. By creating a template for a generic campaign web page, you’ll save time and ensure a more cohesive experience for users across your site. A template built with a streamlined layout and fast-loading elements will take the guesswork out of the process as you launch and promote new campaigns.
  • Caching involves directing a user’s browser to save parts of your website that it already downloaded from a previous visit. This means your website will load much faster when the user returns to that page, which can result in a substantial improvement in user experience. Caching is more complicated to implement than other UX solutions, though, so do your research on the exact settings you can configure in your own content management system.

Streamlining aspects of your website on both the backend and user-facing side whenever possible can help to generally improve its user experience value.

Image Compression

We’ve touched on the importance of avoiding huge image files above. However, websites still need to include high-quality, attractive images to create engaging content. A full wall of text is unlikely to interest a casual browser, for instance.

Compressing the image files on your site will help you strike the right balance between offering attractive visuals and keeping file sizes low to prevent slow load speeds. 

Keep image file size in mind when creating new content, and use tools that help you automatically compress images as you upload them. Platforms like WordPress often come with this feature built-in. New image formats like Google’s webp image format can also help ensure that you’re offering high-quality visuals without sacrificing valuable storage space or the user experience.


With the current importance of digital engagement, it’s more important than ever that websites prioritize creating fast user experience. Pages need to load quickly, offer immediate ways to engage with content, and tell your nonprofit’s story swiftly and compellingly.

By using a few important resources, exploring additional tools to adopt, and building better habits, it’s easy to start enhancing your nonprofit’s site to improve its UX value! For a thorough audit or professional-grade improvements, working with a nonprofit consultant specialized in web design will often be your best bet for long-term value.

4 Ways to Listen In to Boost Action

There’s a proven way for your organization to start and strengthen vital relationships with the people whose support, loyalty, and actions you want—donors, volunteers, and even staff (too often overlooked here).

This approach is easy to learn and execute. And it’s something you do on a personal level all the time: Getting to know and understand others with whom you want to build a friendship—learning what’s important to them and how their days go. These insights enable you to focus in on what’s important or interesting to both of you, and how best to keep in touch via a commonly-used channel (social, mobile, text, mail) at the time that your folks will be most receptive.

Here are four proven methods of harvesting these priceless insights:

1. Launch a marketing advisory group

Begin by identifying your target audiences and prioritize segments of each that share wants, needs, and preferences. Then put together a marketing advisory group incorporating as many of these perspectives as possible—that way you’ll have the right person to turn to when you need her. In addition, this group will provide a solid diversity of opinion when you solicit input on a specific campaign or message.

Next, invite prospective team members to participate. If you don’t have people in mind that represent all the perspectives you need, ask program or other colleagues for recommendations.

Make sure to specify your expectations and to keep them modest. I recommend that you ask team members to help at most once or twice a month, asking for no more than 5 to 10 minutes of their time for each ask.

Put your marketing advisors to work in the way it’s most beneficial—that may vary depending on the task at hand. Ask a few of them for input on draft messages for the new advocacy campaign  and a few others for a critique of the draft mini-site for the campaign. Or ask all of them to complete a brief online survey to share their perception of the new program and the gap it will fill. Whatever your decision, make sure you ask with thought and don’t overburden your advisors. Most importantly, thank them frequently and often.

Try it for six months, refining the program over time to be of greatest value for you and least burden for your marketing advisory team. When you do, I promise you’ll know, and connect with, your audiences better than ever before.

2. Listen to social conversations

There’s so much being said online—about your organization, causes or issues, campaigns, and organizations you compete with for donations and attention—that you’ll learn a lot by just listening. By monitoring social channels for conversation on relevant topics, you’ll see what resonates and why, enabling you to better engage your people.

Keep in mind that with this kind of social listening, you won’t necessarily know who’s talking and how that person maps (if at all) to your targets. Nonetheless, if there’s a groundswell of conversation on a topic important to your organization, you want to hear it.

Social monitoring options range from free tools like Google Alerts to paid social listening services such as Attentive.ly that illuminate what people in your email file (donors, volunteers, email subscribers and others) are saying on social media and help identify who is influential to improve targeting and increase engagement. This early case study from Attentive.ly really caught my attention:

A few days after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in 2014, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), noticed a significant shift in focus on social media to the hashtag #Ferguson. They could quickly see that terms such as “police” started trending, nationally and among supporters in AFSC’s database (CRM).

AFSC created a saved search to see exactly who in its CRM was talking about Ferguson on Facebook and Twitter. Next, they invited those supporters to a Google Hangout that resulted in record-high participation and 74 donations. That’s incredible targeting!

3. Engage your social communities

If your organization has an active community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other interactive platforms, you have a focus group ready to roll. Before you just ask, and ask, and ask again, prioritize what you want to know. Also, decide how to filter and weigh what you hear since your social communities may not map exactly to your donors and prospects.

Here are a few ways to use Facebook to get to know more about your people:

  • Since you can easily run your organization’s donor or email list against Facebook subscribers who have liked your page, it’s easier to map responses to your prioritized audiences.
  • Facebook’s Live Video tool is an excellent way to gather quick feedback on a draft logo, design, message, or email format (anything, in fact, easy to view via an online video) IF you have a huge and active following on Facebook.
  • Polling is super easy to set up and respond to.

4. Ask for program or event feedback

This technique is ages old but works well, as long as you ask just one or two quick questions. If your question is brief, ask verbally. If you want to gather names or have a couple of questions, then have pens and printed mini-surveys or tablets on hand for responses. If the event is online, pop up a quick survey before the finish.

BUT these insights boost actions ONLY when you…
Capture, Analyze, and Share What You Learn, then ACT on it

Keep in mind that what you learn about your audiences is valuable only when you log, share, and analyze it across your organization.

This process will position you to put your findings to work most effectively right now. Then go one step further to extend their value by adding these insights to supporter data. That’s your path to getting closer than ever with your people, and activating them to move your mission forward. Go to it, friends.

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Nonprofit Facebook: Worth It or Waste of Time?

Facebook—so adored, so dear to so many of us at a personal level—has dramatically changed its spots. And I think your organization’s Facebook free ride is over!

I bet you’ve noticed the change—that is, if your organization is striving to use Facebook to strengthen connections with supporters and prospects and spur them to give. And by now you’ve probably heard the raging discussion about Facebook’s value—or lack thereof—for nonprofits and for-profits alike.

Now, when checking Facebook page activity stats (aka Insights) for our client organizations, I make sure to dive in with a sweet treat in hand. That’s because I need to balance the bad news—which tends to decrease followers and reach—with something good.

If you’re not up on these changes or are unclear on the facts, let me fill you in. You need to know what’s going on so you can make the right decisions for your fundraising and marketing agendas.

Facebook for nonprofits: the situation

Those of us who have been in the Facebook weeds for a while, trying to figure out how best to use it to drive causes and donations forward, know how tough it’s always been—and now it’s even tougher.

This graph, from a recent study by EdgeRank Checker, says it all:

 

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John Haydon’s insight into Facebook for nonprofits

Now here’s a roaring point vs. counterpoint, thanks to Facebook for Nonprofits expert John Haydon, who shares his Yay below.

Reasons to say nay to Facebook

There are two main reasons Facebook use is in question:

  1. Long-time ugh: Facebook constantly changes its algorithm (a.k.a. formula) for what’s fed to your org page “likers” on their own pages and its page design, without advance notice or how-tos. That means for those of us with limited resources, it’s an enormous expenditure of time (and the related ) to learn how to adapt, and to do it.
  2. Most recent ugh: Pay to play with a huge decline in organic reach of your content. Now the frequency with which your posts are placed on “likers'” own pages relates to the level of Facebook ad buy by your organization.

What’s clear is that Facebook isn’t free— plan to pay to have your messages delivered. Now it’s just another paid advertising channel, albeit one with targeted reach if your organization thinks the expense is worth it. 

The criteria for using Facebook for nonprofits

My recommendation: Use Facebook ONLY if you fulfill most or all of these criteria:

  1. You’ve selected Facebook as your social media channel of choice because your priority people ARE on Facebook, and you have a good way to drive them to your page and keep them there. Few organizations can effectively utilize more than one social media channel, at least to start.
  2. You use Facebook as a complementary channel to direct marketing (online and offline), your website and the other places where you have a track record of motivating the actions you want (giving, registering, etc.). Content and look and feel are consistent, tone varies depending on channel and the segment of folks you’re reaching out to in each channel and/or each campaign.
  3. You set concrete goals for whatever is measurable on your page (much isn’t) and try to link actions taken on other channels back to Facebook (and other influences)
  4. You are willing to invest a lot of time, expertise in your Facebook presence, AND a lot of cash for ad buys (your nonprofit will be competing against Zappos and Proctor & Gamble—what are your chances?).

Most organizations I know DON’T FIT THIS PROFILE. So for most of your organizations, Facebook is NOT worth the investment, even if your CEO or board chair is pushing it hard.

Exceptions to the critera

1) If your organization works with cats, puppies, or other adorable animals, that’s another reason to pursue Facebook reach. Take at look at RedRover’s Facebook page. Cute animal photos pull big-time on Facebook!

2) If you’ve successfully built a loyal, active group on Facebook, keep up the good work. Two examples, from small to mammoth, are the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation and Planned Parenthood of America, which has nurtured a dedicated, at-the-ready group of activists via Facebook.

Now over to John

Reasons to say yay to Facebook

Nancy: What is the value in nurturing a brand page/community for orgs on Facebook?

John: Every marketing plan—whether it’s for a brand or a nonprofit—should include word of mouth elements. You want to create opportunities for your community to tell their friends about you.

The fact is, people talk with their friends on Facebook about what’s important to themmovies, weekend activities, family milestones, and causes.

Nurturing your community on Facebook increases the likelihood that they’ll talk about your nonprofit with their friends. In fact, according to one study, Facebook is the most powerful word-of-mouth social media channel.

Nancy: Are there a few criteria a nonprofit can assess to clarify if and/or they should invest (or continue to invest) in its Facebook brand page?

John: It isn’t reason enough for you to simply have a Facebook Page. If your nonprofit depends on fundraisers and volunteers to exist, Facebook should be an important communications channel. Most of the people in your database probably use Facebook already.

If you want to see how many people in your community use Facebook, you can upload your email list as a custom audience and see how many Facebook users are in your email list. Just follow the instructions in this video.

Nancy: What should orgs change strategy wise, with this new algorithm?

John: The purpose of the News Feed algorithm is to display the most interesting content to each Facebook. This way, they will continue to to use Facebook as an important way to connect with friends.

Because Facebook is a friend network, using your nonprofit’s “brand voice” will not work. For example, if all you talk about is your 50th anniversary fundraiser gala, you will bore people and therefore get zero visibility in the News Feed.

The solution is igniting your nonprofit’s “friend” voice (your community sharing your content with their friends).

Nonprofits can start with these questions:

  • What does out community get passionate about?
  • What’s truly useful and interesting to them?
  • What needs are not being met by competing organizations?
  • What are specific ways you can become indispensable in their lives?

Again, getting your current true fans talking about you with their friends on Facebook.

Nancy: How should nonprofit communicators start advertising on Facebook, if they fit the criteria I shared?

John: There are four things to keep in mind when using Facebook ads:

1. Have a plan. As with any type of ad investment, be really clear about why you are using ads in the first place. Do you want more website traffic? Do you want more engaged fans? Do you want more likes?

2. Target wisely. If a breast Cancer foundation targets all women in north America, they will be wasting money on Facebook ads.

For example, it’s better to target only women who have expressed an interest in breast cancer (liking breast cancer related Facebook pages). Additionally, use your Facebook page Insights to determine what demographic is most likely to like your page, and engage with your posts. Targeting Facebook adds wisely will not only save you money, it will increase conversion rates for those ads.

3. Only promote awesome. If you are using Facebook ads to promote page posts, make sure you’re only selecting posts that have performed well. This way when people do see the post as a result of an ad, they will be more likely to engage with it as others have done before.

4. Avoid smelly fish. Facebook ads are like relatives and fish – they go bad after about 5 days. Always make an effort to push fresh posts with ads, instead of letting an ad run for 30 days.

Nancy: What can we expect next from Facebook?

John: You can expect more competition in the newsfeed from brands, friends, and competing nonprofits. Your only solution is to become likable in the real world, not just on Facebook.

Please share your Facebook plan (or plan not to use) and why here, and/or tell us what it does (or doesn’t do) for your organization.