ACLU: smashing it

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The ACLU is one of my favourites right now and their year-end video made me feel. I felt angry, I felt hopeful, and I felt part of something bigger.

Their whole year-end donation message starts with ‘Thank you’. Shit that’s great. They get their audience, and I’m sure this is going to cap off a fantastic year of work for them that their donors enabled.

Check it all out here.

 

(Thanks to Anne who tipped me off, this is so cool and great way to cap off the week!)

#IFC2017: best conference ever?

Just got back from the effing awesome #IFC2017 fundraising conference. If you get the chance, get that in your professional development plan (or if your org has no budget, you can volunteer too).

Here are some of my key takeaways that are applicable to all of us:

With technology, power dynamics are changing

Jeremy Heimans talked about the old power vs new power dynamic in the opening keynote, and that set the tone for the whole conference. It’s worth a watch.

We’re not structuring our organisations for success

Some of the organisations who have had the biggest impact recently have been structured to:

  • Be flexible
  • Empower BIG change by asking people to do something big in exchange for something big
  • Empower change agents within your organisations (and if you’re a manager, run defence for them!)
  • Be OK with not taking the credit for the victory
  • Offer value beyond data collection and being someone’s direct debit

I feel like people are underestimating digital

Power dynamics are definitely changing, and it’s more clear than ever that flexible organisations with a culture of taking risks are taking advantage of key moments when they matter. Take ACLU – when was the last time someone raised $42 million in a single weekend through DM*?

They had all of their ducks in a row (culturally and technically) to take advantage of some of the world’s biggest fundraising and activism moments. All they needed to do was be prepared.

Any of our organisations can be taking advantage of key moments like the ACLU (or countless other US-orgs have done).

Through the sheer number of people at Paul de Gregorio and Jo Wolfe’s mobile session, there’s also clearly still a mental separation between mobile and digital (and as Paul said, digital = mobile, mobile = digital). We’ve gotta rethink this stuff.

*Just as a total side note, the only people I’ve ever heard saying “direct mail is dead” are consultants complaining that people are saying “direct mail is dead”. Direct mail is very much alive, it just serves a different role.

Good fundraising is good fundraising

The core elements of what makes a great fundraising offer don’t change, no matter what the medium. Whether you’re talking itch & scratch; fluff & bite, or the Four Whys, it all comes down to making a credible offer to the right person at the right time.

I disagree with Tom Ahern

Shit, I’m going to stick my neck out here and say I disagree with something Tom Ahern said. He said there are no best practices in digital – that’s not true. The single best practice in online fundraising: test everything. I’m going to write a post about that soon.

Does your site pass “the restaurant test”?

I eat out all the time, and I see this problem over and over with restaurant websites: so many just don’t have the info I’m looking for on the site.

If you’re Googling a restaurant, you’re generally looking for these four things:

  • Where the restaurant is
  • When the restaurant is open
  • What’s on the menu
  • How to book

Everything else is just nice to have.

So what the shit does this have to do with fundraising?

Lots of nonprofit websites make the same mistake. Your focus needs to be on your donors and prospective donors – figure out why they’re visiting your site and what they’re trying to do.

Here are some hints:

  • What your purpose is
  • Where you’re showing impact
  • Who needs help
  • How to get involved (donate/volunteer etc)

And for everyone’s sake, make sure it looks decent on a phone.

So, does your website pass the restaurant test?