Archive for category: development

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What You Need To Know About Developing Your Story

 

The creation of a story is one of the most powerful tools a nonprofit organization can utilize, and that story must be exceptional. A story is an integral part of a nonprofit’s branding, providing an opportunity to not only arouse emotion, but to motivate others to act upon those emotions.

In fact, stories influence decisions much more effectively than facts or statistics, which are typically difficult to retain. Think of the story as a way that fundraisers can assist donors to visualize expressing their own values through the work that the organization does. Then, consider these areas in order to tell the most powerful story.

What Your Story Should Include

  • Mission – A mission statement should ideally state an organization’s purpose, goals, and who it serves, in a brief, but informative declaration. This statement should be reviewed periodically to ensure that the statement stays properly aligned at all times with its current vision.
  • Testimonials – There may be nothing more valuable than hearing from others about their experiences with your organization, its services or programs. These positive testimonials function as trustworthy referrals, inspiring confidence, in addition to building credibility and interest. Endorsements should express the benefit your organization has provided, along with the recipient’s name, title and photograph whenever possible. Consider asking volunteers, donors, and recipients for these recommendations, and make certain they’re refreshed on a regular basis.
  • Video – A video can bring a story to life in an entirely unique way, and should encapsulate the spirit of the organization. Videos can eloquently vocalize and simultaneously present imagery that expresses the organization’s mission, demonstrates its impact upon individuals, and then includes a call to action. It’s important to thoroughly understand and effectively communicate the organization’s message, remembering that a video is all about emotional responses. A highly compelling video can be used and reused in many ways such as for website content or social media posts, or for showing at recruitment events, among many other applications.
  • Goals – Goals are essential for motivating both donors and volunteers. Although long-term goals emphasize a program’s performance in fulfilling its mission, its short-term goals consist of the time specific tasks that must be completed in order to experience success in its long-term goals. Both long and short-term goals should always be realistic and quantifiable.

At WEDO Charity Auctions, we help organizations exceed their fundraising goals. Our team is made up of passionate, dedicated and experienced fundraising professionals, who specialize in simple, insightful and creative fundraising event solutions. WEDO Charity Auctions utilizes technology and expertise to grow your mission.

If you would like more information on how WEDO Charity Auctions can help you raise money, build relationships or celebrate your successes, please call 844-315-1060 or visit us today at www.wedocharityauctions.com.

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Are Your Messages Reaching Your Audience?

It’s no secret that marketing emails are hard to perfect. Maybe they seem too spammy, maybe they’re not interesting enough, or maybe they just don’t stand out enough to catch the eye of your audience. Either way, email marketing is the only form of marketing that can return $44.25 for each $1 spent when executed properly.

 

There are a few things to take into consideration here, aren’t there? What device is your audience primarily viewing your emails from? What does your subject line usually read? Who are your emails coming from? All of these are important elements for your marketing campaigns and if you haven’t taken a look at the statistics of your audience – it’s time to start.

Let’s Talk Devices

What percentage of your audience is viewing your emails from a desktop? Mobile? Tablet? We’re willing to bet you will be surprised when you look into this. According to Gartner, 74% of smartphone owners use their devices to check their email. Why is this important? Not all emails are created equal. Emails can be optimized for viewing on certain devices.  If your audience views your emails and newsletters primarily via their smartphone, you’re going to want to make sure to optimize your emails for mobile in order to get the most opens and views!

Subject Lines

Alright, this is important! Subject lines could be one of the reasons that your email goes from an inbox to a trash or spam folder without even being opened. This is the first thing, other than the person sending the message (we’ll get to that later), that your recipients will see. Think of it as a first impression. Test a few different things out. Personal, casual, in the form of a question, whatever you want to try! The most important part is to TEST, TEST, TEST.

Sent from Who?

The author of the email is one of the most overlooked pieces of an email campaign. It’s the name that shows up in the recipient’s inbox. Is it a person? A company name? It’s important to consider who your emails are coming from. Emails coming from a company name get noticed as marketing emails almost immediately, which can easily send your email straight to the spam or trash folder. Emails coming from an individual look more personal and are more likely to be opened.

 

Do some testing, try some different things out, and get a feel for what works best for your audience. An effective email marketing campaign can be one of the most vital tools for your organization, so be sure to get the most out of it!

Turn Your Volunteers into Fundraisers

It’s no secret that in the world of fundraising, your network is arguably the most important asset you can have. Who you know and how you know them makes a huge difference in your ability to secure a donation, whether it be one time or recurring. Just as your network in fundraising important, many organizations overlook a very important aspect of fundraising – your volunteers and their respective networks.

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Volunteers can be easily overlooked, but it’s time to discuss the advantages of incorporating your volunteers and the networks they come with.

Your volunteers already know your organization inside and out and they care about the cause.

Your volunteers have already given their time and effort to your organization, so you know they are passionate about your organization’s mission and what it works to accomplish.  In addition, they have an experience with your organization that others may not. Your volunteers can turn into your best story tellers.  They see your mission in the works and they see the difference it makes in the lives of others.

They have experience with the programs your fundraising events are benefitting.

Odds are, your volunteers already have experience with the programs your events benefit and can tell the story of how your events and organizations have transpired. They’ve seen how the program operates when funds are limited and they’ve (hopefully) seen how it thrives and money isn’t an issue. Your volunteers can tell the story for both sides and stress the importance of funds and how it impacts your organization when those funds are limited.

Making it Happen

1. Solid Technology

Technology can make or break your campaign’s success. Donor experience is a crucial piece of the puzzle when considering your technology.  If they’re going to give money, donating should be as simple as possible. Also, ensure your donation platform is mobile user-friendly. Mobile giving has increased 205% in the last year according to atpay.com

2. Great Instruction

Give your fundraisers a plethora of tools they can use to assist them in their efforts.  More often than not, a new fundraiser may not know where to start and can quickly get overwhelmed. Email templates, pre-made posts for social media, and testimonials are a great place to start!

3. Consistent Recognition

Many volunteers and fundraisers may feel as though their hard work goes unnoticed. Make sure you’re celebrating the milestones with regular updates, social media posts, and stories about how their work is helping.

Let us help you with your fundraising goals.

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The 4 Benefits of Updating Learning Technology for Nonprofits

Imagine how much more effective an updated learning management technology system would be for your nonprofit business training.

How many times have you trained your employees only to see the dullness overtake their faces as they fight to stay awake during the outdated training sessions?

It is shocking to realize that Clear Company reports “40% of employees who receive poor job training leave their positions within the first year.” That is a huge loss of time, money, and resources for you. Just think of what you could do if the 40% who left because of improper training would stay because of updated learning technology. You would reverse this statistic in your favor and capitalize on the investment of your resources into the people in your company.

So, why should a training manager look for a new online training system? There are 4 reasons why a nonprofit should consider this result-producing option. Let’s explore the 4 reasons together.

Keep Up with Changes in the Industry

Education is essential. But just because we teach doesn’t mean people learn. And if they do learn what we teach, but we teach the wrong thing, then the learning isn’t effective anyway. Think of school, for example. Why did you read 17th-century British literature and solve problems with the Pythagorean theorem? It is because teachers taught us that years ago to prepare us for the industrial age. That time, however, has passed. We now live in the age of information and technology. But have the schools changed what they teach? No. Why? Because that is what they’ve always taught.

If we aren’t careful, we can fall into the same trap in our nonprofit organizations. What workers needed to learn at the start of the organization years ago is not what they need to learn today. We most upgrade our training to match the times in which we live. If we train the way we always have because that’s the way we’ve always done it and don’t look for ways to innovate our training, we will fall behind our industry.

Updating learning management technology is a sure way to stay ahead of the game. The goal is to teach what the workers need to know for what is now and for what is next. Otherwise, they will only be prepared to handle what used to be. By upgrading our training management, we will position our workers, and thus, our organization, in a place to tackle on the industry and pioneer through it will massive results.

 

Identify Weaknesses in Essential Skills

As we described above, outdated training prepares workers for the past. The problem with this is that the skills our teams used to need differ from the wants they need now. With outdated training methods, it is difficult to identify and build the essential skills that workers need to take the organization to the next level.

When you revamp your training with modernized technology, you will be able to train for the specific skills that are necessary for success today. The update will help you to see how each employee measures to what is essential in the current job market and will help you know what you must teach and to whom you must teach it.

This way, the overall skill set of your team will not lag behind. It will increase with every training session and will result in more overall productivity for your organization.

Increase Worker Satisfaction (and Results)

It is difficult to enjoy serving in a nonprofit that you do not fully understand. Additionally, with inadequate or outdated training, workers are ill-prepared to fulfill their responsibilities. This results in frustration, tension, and ultimately, high turn-over. But for every negative, there is a positive. Workers who train with updated methods and technologies have more confidence in themselves to accomplish their responsibilities and thus report having more overall satisfaction with their roles in nonprofit organizations.

This, in turn, produces results. The people who are confident in what they do, the ones who train with adequate systems, are inevitably more productive in their areas of responsibility. And this can have a domino effect. Every worker trained on a new, updated system will be one additional worker with greater satisfaction, and thus, greater results in their area of responsibility.

Produce Cultural Alignment

Misalignment is bad for cars. It is bad for spines. And it is bad for organizations. When workers train with outdated systems that do not properly convey the organization’s current culture and values, they can end up forming silos out of their own departments. Cultural alignment is essential to success in the nonprofit sector. And one great way to produce alignment is to train every worker on a solid, updated system that communicates what your organization is and what is values.

By updating your training management, you will see an alignment within your organization in a short period of time that will reduce the tension, problems, and miscommunication that reduce your results. Training is the key to producing united teams that consistently move forward towards the same goal with the same purpose at all times.

Therefore, updated training technology helps nonprofit organizations to keep up with their industries. It assists in identifying the areas of strength and the areas of weakness in workers so that they can develop the necessary skills their teams need to thrive. It increases satisfaction and, therefore, increases long-term results. And finally, it brings fresh alignment to teams and rallies them around the cultural values of the nonprofit organizations they are a part of.

Nonprofits And Technology: Is It Time For You To Rethink Your Technology Strategy?

Converting operations probably seems like a huge leap for nonprofit organizations to make. If you consider the amount of time it could take and the amount of money that will be involved in purchasing new software or changing the entire infrastructure of your operations, it is easy to understand why some nonprofit organizations are hesitant to make changes when it comes to technology.

However, there have been some major advancements in technology that are offering a variety of benefits for nonprofit organizations without causing them any setbacks. With the right technology, nonprofit organizations can look forward to improving the productivity levels of their staff and they can also look forward to streamlining all of their business operations. The right technology will also allow a nonprofit organization to address major issues and give their communities the peace of mind they have been looking for.

We want to provide you with some signs that it is time for your nonprofit organization to rethink its stance on updating its technology.

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Collaboration

Collaboration is essential for any type of nonprofit organization, especially once that has operations across the globe. When your nonprofit needs to host meetings, conferences, create fundraisers and campaigns, and create new strategies, it can be difficult to do this when all of your staff members are in different locations.

You need everyone to be on the same page because you need everyone to be able to collaborate and share ideas. When you invest in the right resources and tools, you will be able to find the right software and platforms that will allow everyone to share information and have discussions that include everyone.

Can You Work Remotely?

Is your nonprofit organization filled with workers who are always on the go? There can be various reasons why your workforce is highly mobile. While having meetings and being mobile is necessary for the nonprofit sector, it can certainly cause production levels to slip sometimes, especially when it comes to helping volunteers get acclimated to your organization, creating reports, responding to emails, etc.

When your nonprofit organization uses cloud-based tools, your nonprofit workers will be able to work from any location that has access to a reliable internet connection. When everyone can work remotely, your nonprofit organization will see an immediate boost in productivity which will result in a positive impact on everyone’s work.

Signs Your Nonprofit Needs To Integrate Technology

  • You find yourself spending more time entering data than you do helping the people who need you the most
  • Your staff members have talked to you about upgrading the organization’s technology on more than one occasion
  • You have not been able to keep track of all the donations you receive from people because you use too many spreadsheets
  • You do not have access to all the organization’s data because one of your staff members has the majority of the information on a separate computer
  • Your nonprofit organization is using the cheapest software because you thought it would get the job done for a short period of time
  • It takes a significant amount of time for your new staff members to figure out how to use the technology because no one is properly being trained

If you are worried that your nonprofit organization will suffer this year because it does not have the proper technology and resources, you should not wait any longer to make some changes.

Many nonprofits have trouble making the right investments when it comes to technology. When you are ready to make a change, you should start looking for the best solutions that will help you make positive changes in your nonprofit organization.

Let us help you with your fundraising goals.

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3 Simple Rules to Make the Most of Your Non-Profit’s Budget

One of the hardest tasks as a non-profit organization can be fitting everything you want and need for your events over the course of the year into a budget. What some may refer to as a “no-budget budget” can be a very daunting to abide by.

Silent auctions, live auctions, in-event games, and fundraisers, as well as in event drinks and food all can add up to be quite a costly bill to fit. While being involved in the non-profit space for 20+ years, we’ve seen many organizations overcome various hurdles. Because of this, we have a few tips and tricks to help with making the most out of your organization’s budget.

Use Your Resources

Many board and committee members have other jobs. Leverage individuals within your organization that may work for other large corporations and would be willing to donate – whether it be monetary or tangible. Items for auctions are just as great as a monetary donation! You can also utilize silent auction item procurement tools, consignment companies, and mobile bidding software solutions to help ease your mind when planning your event.

Negotiating sponsorships can be key to covering some of your large costs for your organization’s events. Many corporations are more willing to give a monetary amount toward a cause if they can identify exactly how this is helping your organization accomplish its goals.

PRO TIP: Think long term. When working with sponsors or corporations – consider proposing a long-term “contract.” While the present is important, make sure you’re covering your organization in the long run as well. This makes for less stress and less work in the years to come and gives your organization a great foundation for next year’s events.

Make the Most of Social Media

Odds are, your organization already has social media channels in use. Non-profits can benefit greatly from creating and growing a social media presence. It’s free publicity, allows you to reach a wider audience, and can greatly improve your organization’s brand awareness. You can reach individuals not currently associated with your event to draw donations you may not have otherwise seen come in.

Do some research. Know which social media platforms to spend your time and resources on and when for your organization. Ensure you’re not wasting time and resources on platforms or channels that won’t benefit you!

Stay Organized

Build a budget template, know where you will be spending, and identify where you could be saving. It’s important that you recognize which areas your particular organization can spend and save in. Each organization is different, so find what works for yours!

If this isn’t your first event, look back on prior events and see what you can duplicate this year. What guests donated the most money? Which items sold well? What part of the events, if any, should be cut out of the plan? Grow your event and allow your organization to thrive. Learn from past events and make your next event your best yet!

Why Auctions Work

From fine art auctioned at Christie’s to a pair of second-hand slippers auctioned on Ebay, the truth is that people love the thrill of bidding. Even though in the end, they have to hand over cold, hard cash for a purchase, their psyche is still celebrating because they “won”. Everyone likes to be a winner and that is why auctions are so successful.

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Auctions Today

Today, registered auctioneers report that one-third of the events they host are for charity. That translates to charitable auctions ranking number four in the auction industry today.

Two-thirds of registered auctioneers report that they conduct at least one charity auction on an annual basis.

Bidding Psychology

Interesting things happen when an item is auctioned. More often than not a product sells for a grossly inflated price compared to its actual value. What causes this phenomenon to happen? Economists suggest it is because of the element of competition.

Humans loathe taking risks when it comes to spending their money. However, once another human indicates through a competitive bid that they believe the item has greater value, the other human feels compelled to match and raise the bid. As this matching and raising continues, those survival skills etched into human DNA kick in, motivating a person to stay in the bidding until they win. Winning an event is a proxy to surviving a threat. Auctions are brain-games.

Recipe For Great Auctions

Hallmarks of successful charitable auctions are:

  • Items: Have what donors want as well as interesting, curious and intriguing items that are irresistible.
  • Anticipation: Pre-event marketing should be titillating, with the event promoted far enough in advance to allow interested bidders the opportunity to plan to attend, gather their resources and invite their friends.
  • Sneak Peeks: Without giving too much away, a preview of a few tasty items will seal the deal for those who might have had second thoughts about attending.

Venue With Most Potential

To maximize audience potential, there is no better opportunity than online auctions. With the obvious success of online auction venues like Ebay, there can be no doubt for success for online charity auctions. Creating a stellar event is as easy as six simple steps:

  1. Go live.
  2. Research your audience and deliver the items they want.
  3. Expand your reach with novelty items.
  4. Inspire interest with intriguing introductions about each item.
  5. Price point range should offer items affordable for every donor budget.
  6. Quality images make a difference.

Building An Audience

Without an audience, however, even the most exceptionally prepared online auction will be a flop. Marketing and promotion are a must. Promoting successfully means developing and performing the following:

  • Clear Message: What is the purpose of the fundraiser? How will the donations be used?
  • Organization Introduction: Introduce the non-profit organization behind the fundraiser.
  • Kick-Off: Launch promotion campaign in advance of an auction. 30 days is a typical promotion period.
  • Graduate Intensity: Promotional messages should increase with frequency as the auction date approaches.
  • Versatility: Create several promotional strategies that will appeal to the unique differences of benefactors. Social media promotion, traditional outlets like press releases or radio spots, and formal promotion through local Chamber of Commerce.

Making Auctions Easy

All the necessary details of promoting and hosting a charity auction may seem overwhelming. Some non-profits may lack the right tools to make the auction process go as smoothly as possible.  Mobile bidding software has revolutionized the non-profit sector and made auction events for non-profits a breeze.

Taking your event to the next level and maximizing donations as simple as contacting the correct people and utilizing the right tools. 2017 may be THE year that online charity auctions claim their spot on the non-profit map. This form of fund-raising will grow in popularity not just because it is convenient for everyone involved, but because it retains that competitive element that bidders crave.

Let us help you with your fundraising goals.

Indy WNBA Gets Involved With Nonprofit

Indianapolis WNBA Gets Involved With Nonprofit

Tamika Catchings, the star of the WNBA’s Indiana Fever, created the Catch the Stars Foundation in 2004. This foundation empowers the youth to achieve their dreams by incorporating goal-setting programs which promote literacy, fitness, and youth development. Tamika & the Catch the Stars Foundation just recently had their 10th Annual Back to School Celebration this past July and it was a huge success.

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During the Back to School Celebration event, over 500 local youth in Indiana are able to receive backpacks, school supplies, and a fun community fair to participate in. Since most of the children at the event are unfortunately not able to afford the items, such an event is invaluable. Without the help of Tamkia and the Catch the Stars Foundation as well as all the donations, these 500+ kids coming to the event would have much less in their hands today.