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One Day of Giving Inspires Donors to Keep Support Coming

Nonprofits benefit from everyone’s donations of time and money. Giving Tuesday is only one way to lend support to community groups throughout the year.


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James L Katzaman

a month ago | 10 min read
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Dedicated volunteers work hard to learn and overcome obstacles

Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

Nonprofits benefit from everyone’s donations of time and money. Giving Tuesday is only one way to lend support throughout the year.

For Camber Clemence, social media and community manager at GiveWP, that not only sums up the ideal world of giving, it’s what she and other nonprofit supporters strive for every day. Occasions such as Giving Tuesday are more like reminders rather than destinations.

GiveWP is the online donation and fundraising plugin for WordPress. Its mission is to provide anyone, anywhere with the most secure, optimized and flexible open-source suite of WordPress fundraising plugins.

Nonprofits Benefit From Everyone’s Donations of Time and Money
Giving day is only one way to lend support throughout the yearmedium.datadriveninvestor.com

Clemence joined digital marketing expert Madalyn Sklar to exchange insights on using Twitter for nonprofits.

“While it’s true that — mostly small or unknown — nonprofits struggle with marketing, we believe there is a correlation between nonprofit marketing, lack of resources and public scrutiny of overhead costs and employee salaries,” Clemence said.

“We wrote about this in an article, ‘10 Taboos About Fundraising That Should be Abolished,’” she said. “Just like for-profit businesses, nonprofits have expenses, rent, utilities, licensing and the list goes on.”

She added that because nonprofits serve communities and the greater good, overhead costs end up in the hot seat.

“Overhead costs should never be the sole determining factor when deciding where to give,” Clemence said, offering relevant points from the article:

  • Often, small nonprofits neglect hiring for roles such as marketing to minimize costs and avoid the public perception that donations are only going to fundraising efforts.
  • If these roles do exist, a single nonprofit employee is given responsibilities that would be spread over several employees with specific skill sets in the private sector.
  • Think of one nonprofit employee handling social media channels, email marketing, swag and event coordination.
  • Nonprofit employees are overworked and underpaid. Marketing managers make 18 percent of those employed in the private sector.
  • Overhead, resources and gender bias all play a role.
  • Women dominate the nonprofit sector and face discrimination and disadvantages related to wages.

Good People, Bad Equipment

“As New York University professor Paul Light said of nonprofit employees, ‘They are members of a first-rate workforce, often employed in second-rate organizations, with third-rate equipment,’” Clemence said.

“Not only are nonprofit employees paid less and saddled with more responsibility, they also don’t have access to the support, tools and resources they need to perform their jobs in the way they wish they could,” she said.

Clemence emphasized that for most nonprofit employees, their work is about more than money.

Giving makes a big difference for those who need it the most
Nonprofits and charities alike need support throughout the yearmedium.com

“Yet, as a society, we are content knowing that their tireless efforts to impact the social good are rewarded with lower pay, inadequate tools and resources,” she said. “It’s unfair to turn around and call their efforts horrible.

“There are countless ways in which we could work to improve nonprofit employment,” Clemence said, giving three examples:

  • Have compassion for those working in nonprofit organizations. Understand that they often have insurmountable limitations.
  • Work together to abolish the myths and misconceptions around overhead costs and employee compensation.
  • As individuals and as for-profit businesses, help close the skill gap in areas where organizations need it most by volunteering time and skills.

Knowing this will help pave the way to a successful giving season, the last quarter of the year, which features one very big day of giving: Giving Tuesday.

“More than half of all charitable and nonprofit groups receive over 50 percent of their total annual donations in the fourth quarter,” Clemence said. “To attract donors, it is mission-critical for organizations to deliver a message that engages and inspires them to take action.

“One way of doing this is to leverage available communication channels such as Twitter,” she said.

Holiday Bump

Donating is good any time of year, but holidays are convenient reminders.

“The holidays tend to inspire people who may not normally donate or who do not have the means to give year-round,” Clemence said. “Like for-profit businesses, it’s also when nonprofits tend to meet their fundraising goals.”

The term Black Friday comes from the day businesses go from red to black. In other words, they’re profitable.

“The giving season is a time where others are inspired to give back to their favorite causes and organizations,” Sklar said. “It doesn’t always have to be a monetary donation. We can also offer our time to help others.”

Corporate Volunteers Seal Personal Connections
Companies and communities alike benefit from volunteeringmedium.datadriveninvestor.com

Those new to Twitter and nonprofits should remember key points on both areas.

“Twitter is one of the best platforms to create ongoing and genuine conversations between your organization, your donors, potential donors and your volunteers,” Clemence said. “As with all branded tweets, there are things to consider.”

She suggested these tweet guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Copy: Brand voice and tone, value, relevancy and emotion
  • Audience and demographics
  • Images and GIFs
  • Accessibility: ALT text, wise emoji use and #CamelCase
  • Minimal hashtags

“Brevity is especially important for nonprofits on Twitter,” Clemence said. “Compose every tweet by starting with a great hook, using descriptive words, focusing on conflict and tension, visual elements to support the text and making a direct ask.

“In many ways, when it comes to marketing, nonprofits must consider the same things as for-profits,” she said. “Transparency is absolutely crucial. Tell how donor dollars impact the organization, cause and beneficiaries. Impact reporting is a fundamental part of a nonprofit’s communication strategy.”

External Backing

Getting outsiders to promote their cause is an added blessing.

“It’s important for nonprofits of all sizes to have someone to champion their social channels — or anywhere they communicate,” Clemence said. “Understanding what to tweet, what not to tweet and when can make or break an organization.”

Sklar applied universal digital marketing concepts:

  • When composing a tweet, always consider your target audience.
  • Who are you trying to reach?
  • What kind of content is going to resonate with them?
  • What will inspire them to take a specific action such as making a donation?

Engage Profitably on a Nonprofit Basis
Successful giving campaigns continue throughout the yearmedium.datadriveninvestor.com

“Engagement can be many things on Twitter,” Clemence said. “We encourage nonprofits to focus on sharing content that is likely to be retweeted or quote tweeted, capturing a much wider audience of potential donors.”

She suggested ways nonprofits can encourage engagement:

  • Including links
  • Sharing images that are an appropriate size
  • Using one to two hashtags with #CamelCase
  • Interacting and engaging with your audience’s content as well as participating in relevant Twitter chats and Spaces

“To encourage engagement, the best thing you can do is to get involved in the conversations taking place on Twitter,” Sklar said. ‘Join in on trending topics — when applicable — search for topics relevant to your niche, and join Twitter chats and Spaces to make connections.

“You can also start the conversation yourself by asking questions that will get your followers talking,” she said. “When they reply to your tweet, make sure you take the time to respond. Conversations are a two-way street.”

Sklar encourages engagement by using her own custom GIFs and video replies.

Different Social Tactics

Nonprofits new to Twitter might think they need to make a big splash, using hashtags as if they were on Instagram. Good intentions quickly become spammy.

“Many of the challenges that plague nonprofits are due to a lack of resources,” Clemence said. “Every dollar spent on marketing is a dollar that doesn’t go to their cause. Marketing and community-building tools such as Twitter might take a backseat to other programs or initiatives.

“Skills-based volunteering can help close the gap,” she said. “If you want to volunteer your skills or services with a nonprofit, you can use resources such as Catchafire and Taproot Foundation to connect with organizations and take on projects.”

Giving Back Will Be Your Greatest Reward
Recipients and donors alike benefit from community servicemedium.com

Clemence favors using tools such as TweetDeck or Agorapulse for scheduling. Social listening can help small nonprofits stay on top of their Twitter presence and community engagement.

“Remember, your audience is not everywhere,” Clemence said. “There is no need to be on any channel if that’s not where your people are.

“There’s nothing wrong with having fun while changing the world — just maybe not too much fun,” she said. “A tone of voice like the Wendy’s account would not serve you well.”

That holds true even at the risk of blending into the social noise.

“Twitter is a busy place,” Sklar said. “It can sometimes be difficult to stand out from the crowd. That’s why it’s so important to be consistent by posting valuable content on a regular basis. You also want to prioritize engagement to build new relationships.”

Community Building

Nonprofits should devise strategies to build a community on Twitter.

“Provide compelling, valuable, relevant and timely content that resonates with your audience,” Clemence said. “Don’t forget that community is a two-way street. Nonprofits should also interact and engage with the content being shared by their community.

“Lean into the nonprofit space on Twitter,” she said. “Connect with other organizations, leaders and philanthropic resources to create a community beyond who your donors are. Participate and share resources among one another.”

Step right up to help those in need all around you
Community-service organizations shine in tough timesmedium.com

Clemence recommends handy and free tools:

  • Use lists to curate individual communities built around your donors, resources and other nonprofit organizations.
  • Join Spaces and chats to engage in real-time conversation about relevant topics.

“Responding to negative feedback is a great way to showcase any action you’re taking to solve that particular issue,” Clemence said. “Share information with donors and volunteers that they may not know.”

Another marketing key is to be available.

“If you want to build a community, show up often,” Sklar said. “Join Twitter chats to make new connections. Host and participate in Twitter Spaces to speak about your cause and mission. You can even create a branded hashtag for your account and for others to use.”

When sharing about a cause or mission on Twitter, be careful about wording. Stuff can be accidentally or intentionally taken out of context.

“Twitter’s slogan may be ‘Join the Conversation,’ but there is a time and place for everything,” Clemence said. “It’s critical for nonprofits to consider timeliness, but don’t insert or center your nonprofit in conversations where your input isn’t unnecessary.

“Two goals for nonprofits on Twitter are to acquire new donors and keep past donors engaged,” she said. “It’s crucial that sending your Twitter audience to your website does not dissuade them from giving.”

Inspire Action

At the same time, be sure to promote core messages.

“Your donation site should feature a clear call to action and provide a seamless way to give,” Clemence said. “Our WordPress plugin is a powerful tool that allows nonprofits to integrate donations directly into their WordPress site, allowing organizations to ‘own their land.’

“As we know from internet shutdown or the shuttering of Virgin Mobile Giving, accepting donations on your own site means your organization’s fundraising is never interrupted due to a third party,” she said.

A good perspective comes from putting yourself in the other person’s shoes.

“Consider the best format for talking about your nonprofit’s cause and mission,” Sklar said. “What’s going to get the attention of your audience? Text tweets, audio tweets, videos or Twitter Spaces? Maybe it’s a combination of all of those things. Create what resonates.”

Make yourself socially accessible
U.S. government guidelines help everyone overcome obstaclesmedium.datadriveninvestor.com

Nonprofits can also use Twitter to connect with and grow their volunteer base.

“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of using lists enough to connect with any audience, which includes your volunteer base,” Clemence said. “To keep current volunteers engaged and informed, collect their Twitter handles in your forms. Add them to your volunteers list.

“The power of community serves organizations well when attracting new volunteers,” she said. “Share valuable content related to your mission. Volunteers will find you. Engage in conversation in the regions you serve. Make it easy for volunteers to get information.”

Showcase Volunteers

They also factor in when sharing user-generated or behind-the-scenes content.

“Just as an employee wants to know about workplace culture, so do your volunteers,” Clemence said. “Show them the impact they can have.

“Volunteers may not receive a salary, but they often function as employees,” she said. “Treat them with kindness, respect and show them how much they mean to your organization.”

That helps groups attract the best volunteers who know they will get the best from the organization.

Spaces Makes Engaging Really Easy With Your Friends on Twitter
Bring your voice into conversations with satisfying resultsmedium.datadriveninvestor.com

“My favorite way to build connections is always going to be Twitter chats plus Spaces,” Sklar said. “They’re perfect for generating awareness and meeting new, like-minded people. Find chats that are relevant to your field. Begin participating in them regularly.”

Nonprofits should work to optimize and improve efficiency of their Twitter strategy.

“It’s important to first set goals,” Sklar said. “Know what you want to get out of your Twitter presence. This way, you can focus on tracking the right metrics.

“Then, check in at the end of every month to see how your content is performing and how your account is growing,” she said. “Are you on the right track? Do you need to tweak something about your strategy?”

Clemence agreed that ensuring efficiency across communication channels is key.

“Sharing effective messaging on Twitter is important, but that lack of resources can often stretch organizers pretty thin,” she said.

Factoring Time and Data

She highlighted three big factors:

  • Many nonprofits may not have the time to consistently create original content. Repurpose or reuse your content. Share content from others. Retweet tweets, news articles, data points and so on as long as it is relevant to your cause and community.
  • Dedicate time to scheduling content for Twitter. It becomes easier with time and is ultimately the best way to ensure you’re being consistent on Twitter. You can schedule within Twitter. Use TweetDeck or another service such as Agorapulse.
  • Don’t ignore data. Determine which type of content resonates with your audience. Use that to inform what you post. Use these data points to gain further insight on when to post so that you are getting the most out of your tweets.

Evergreens sprout new life
Take old content and give it a rebirth through digital marketingmedium.datadriveninvestor.com

“As your audience grows and changes, things that didn’t work in the past may work in the future,” Clemence said. “Being flexible is key.

“Repurpose and reuse original content while curating and sharing relevant content from others to create conversation,” she said. “It’s tough because we know many organizations don’t have time to create fresh content consistently.”

About The Author

Jim Katzaman is a manager at Largo Financial Services and worked in public affairs for the Air Force and federal government. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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Jim Katzaman is a manager at Largo Financial Services and worked in public affairs for the Air Force and federal government. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


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