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Karen Krejcha:
Hello nonprofit friends. I could use some help please! 🙂
I am ED of a small grassroots nonprofit that just reached our 10-year-anniversary. We and we really could use an overhaul for our primary website www.AutismEmpowerment.org. I was hoping for recommendations on WordPress nonprofit templates or other places that you have done a nonprofit website. (We’ve used Avada for years and need a change.)

Requirements:

  1. Web accessibility. (We are an autistic-led and disability-led organization.)
  2. Intuitive and responsive design that can incorporate lots of content creation. (Currently we also have two other websites, one for our nonprofit magazine, SpectrumLife.org and one for our podcast, AutismEmpowermentPodcast.org. These are not on WordPress. I’ll include other sites in comments.)
  3. Fairly easy to learn and update. (Something where once I learn it, I could train a volunteer or contract with someone to manage. We don’t currently have that in our budget but we’re applying for funding.)
  4. We currently have 100s of pages on our website which is why our main site will probably remain on WordPress but we’re open to other options.

Thank you for your suggestions! If you have links to sites that show examples of completed sites with the design, even better. (Hopefully that’s allowed?)

Jeffrey Kelly:
Karen Krejcha my team uses Divi to build nonprofit wordpress websites and I recommend it for you as well. There are countless professionals and freelancers that have experience with the Divi theme if at some point you want to hire help for hosting/health/security/changes, etc. It’s easy as a visual builder and there are a lot of built in templates to start from.
I see you’re in Vancouver, I’m in Seattle, feel free to look me up if you want some additional guidance, we do this sort of work all the time

Karen Krejcha:
Jeffrey Kelly, thank you so much. Divi looks like a fantastic option for what we’re looking to do. At some point, we may be wanting to hire help. (In fact, if a grant proposal that we recently applied for comes through, we’ll also have dedicated money later this year to do so!) I have written down your name and truly appreciate the recommendation and the offer.

How To Get Attendees To Free Events

Deborah Hartwig

Is anyone else having trouble getting attendees to FREE programs? I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions to overcome this. It just boggles my mind. Thx!

Jeffrey Kelly:

I find that it’s about 1) the audience 2) promotion 3) value. FREE is typically not enough to achieve free promotion (#2) or enough value to cause signups (#3) if you don’t have a large and naturally growing audience (#1).

So, what to do? Call some people that are part of the audience and find out what they are seeking in the space the organization is working. If you ask the right questions you’ll get great insight in to what the audience is interested and what sort of events to create (free or otherwise).

How To Get Attendees To Free Events

Kristi Nora

What have you changed (or learned that you want to change) in the past 2 years about how you secure sponsors.

Jeffrey Kelly:

Sponsorships are about relationships. Seek businesses and agencies that want access to the audience of the organization and be deliberate. Make contact and build relationships with the leaders of those businesses. Let the relationship develop in to sponsorship.

Then, be creative with the sponsorship. For example, don’t just include a couple social media shout outs, your audience doesn’t want to see that, instead, create an interesting meaningful video with the sponsor about why they support the organization and their story. Your audience, and your sponsor, will get much more out of it.

Best Lesson In Securing Sponsors?

Kristi Nora

What have you changed (or learned that you want to change) in the past 2 years about how you secure sponsors?

Jeffrey Kelly
Sponsorships are about relationships. Seek businesses and agencies that want access to the audience of the organization and be deliberate. Make contact and build relationships with the leaders of those businesses. Let the relationship develop in to sponsorship.

Then, be creative with the sponsorship. For example, don’t just include a couple social media shout outs, your audience doesn’t want to see that, instead, create an interesting meaningful video with the sponsor about why they support the organization and their story. Your audience, and your sponsor, will get much more out of it.

Bruce Rosenthal

Words of wisdom from Jeffrey Kelly!

How To Recover After A Fire At An Animal Sanctuary

Danielle Davis

Has anyone used a company called Cuddly? They’ve messaged us after we had a fire at our animal sanctuary wanting to help raise funds. I’ve read a lot of bad reviews, but some that were really good. I can’t help but wonder if it were employees that left the good reviews. Our sanctuary’s funds are really low right now and could use the help, but don’t want to be taken advantage of either. If you’ve used Cuddly please let me know any pros or cons of using them.

Jeffrey Kelly

Cuddly, like all fundraising tools, is just one piece of the puzzle for you. You will need to promote what you put on cuddly. There will be some network interest and you may get some unsolicited donations, but it isn’t a solution for fundraising to recover.

After a fire is a great time to call your best past donors to see if they can help get the organization up and running again. Also a great time to reach out to any local news outlets, city, community groups, and such asking if they can help spread the word about what happened and how people can provide support.

Kelly Garrity:
Silent Auction items?
We’re following the usual methods for getting donations (reaching out to local business, friends of friends etc), but has anyone used a service that helps with bigger ticket items like trips? And if so, which one?

Jeffrey Kelly:
Reach out to local nonprofit event auctioneers, they typically can source these sorts of items for you even if they don’t run an auction.

Kelly Garrity:
Jeffrey Kelly that’s a great idea, thanks!

Jim Sheorn:
I am curious what you do with new donors that contribute to Memorials. Anything other than thank you correspondence? We have had a huge amount contributed that way this year. Want to make sure we motivate them for continued gifts.

Jeffrey Kelly:
Hi Jim, there is so much you can do to thank them, and help empower these people to become ongoing givers or to help spread the word. It’s difficult to give specific advise not knowing more so I guess I’ll dump some ideas:

  • – Thank you video with service like Loom / Bonjoro / Network For Good
  • – Newsletter mailing/emailing
  • – Asking them if they want to be involved or receive communications

Jennifer Koo Yin:
How much do you guys pay for your CRM (and are you satisfied with it)? It’s time to renew ours and I’d love to know if we’re getting our money’s worth. I don’t love our CRM but it’s a royal pain switching and relearning a new system.

Jeffrey Kelly:
$50/month for 2500 contacts using a more budget oriented Donor CRM is typical. Remember that the CRM should be empowering the development team (or volunteer) to raise a ton of money. So, it should be about the features that allow you to be successful at that over price.

Event & Virtual Sponsor Goodie Bags

Brian Zinke
Any ideas for things from sponsors that could be included in a virtual goodie bag?

Jeffrey Kelly:
The absolute best way to come up with ideas is to channel the event attendees, and what they want, then give that list or feedback to the sponsors. Think about coming up with a birthday gift list for someone you know well so you can share it with someone who wants to buy a gift, this is the same thing.
You know your event attendees, and you can call some of them to know them better if needed. You know your sponsors. You can add a ton of value to both by championing both sides

ACH Donations

Marge Gasnick

Hello there, I have a question that’s a bit in the weeds about recurring donations. We have donors who choose to give through an ACH tied to their bank account. But on occasion these transactions don’t go through, and we receive an automated message. I have a hard time understanding the ACH process (the message we get says the gift was “returned.”) When I search online to better understand the world of ACHs, I really don’t find much detail. Does anyone have any suggestions on resources for this type of giving, and best practices? Thanks!

Jeffrey Kelly:

Hello Marge Gasnick. In my experience “returned” means that the receiver rejected the ACH. The first place to start on investigating is with the tool/bank/system that is being used to manage or trigger the ACH. This might be the donor CRM, fundraising platform, bank website, etc. Contact that entity and ask them for help investigating.

Now, if this is an ACH scheduled by the donor at their own bank, this will need to be investigated by the donor contacting their bank.

This is one of the reasons most organizations offer an online donation tool where donors can schedule ACH transfers, they become your go-to for support with these issues and provide for central management and bookkeeping/accounting workflows.

What Should We Use To Stream A Small One Time Event?

Macie Thompson

Looking for recommendations for Webinar software or hosting sites (photo for attention)

Our nonprofit is attempting to host a free educational webinar for our followers/supporters. We currently do not have any webinar software but we do have Google for NonProfits. The problem is we expect this webinar to run 1.5-2hrs, maybe 50 attendees tops, we would be displaying slides, and we would like to record it so followers that missed it can watch it later, probably on our YouTube channel. Does anyone know of any affordable solutions capable of this? We can’t validate a year long subscription for something we plan to use maybe once a quarter, but are prepared to pay for something reasonable or I’m just tech savvy enough that if you have a work around to make Facebook live or something else work that would be awesome.

Jeffrey Kelly

Streamlabs is a really good option if you are computer savvy and have a computer powerful enough to run it.

My team uses Streamlabs for live streaming nonprofit events, creating educational videos, marketing videos, thank you videos, etc. To put this together as a live stream you will connect Streamlabs to Facebook, YouTube, or wherever you want to stream, prepare the presentation, record it as you present, etc.

If you need something less intense you can check out StreamYard, use Zoom, or go simpler and use Facebook to go live.

What Should We Use To Stream A Small One Time Event?

Pam Evans

I’d like to hear your thoughts about nonprofits using .org website addresses vs .com addresses – pros and cons of both.

Jeffrey Kelly

This really comes down to the expectations of the people interacting with the organization. If the nonprofit operates a commercial location such as a store, .com may be more appropriate. If not, .org is more appropriate.

If you decide to change the domain name please be aware that this is more complicated than it may sound. When my team changes a domain for a client website we address the following, and you should as well:
  • Making sure all existing URLs redirect properly to preserve Google Rankings (301 redirects to the new domain for all URLs)
  • Testing email delivery as it typically breaks or emails from the website will start going to spam folders (SPF and DKIM records need an update)
  • Updating the email addresses in use to the new .org or .com and routing the existing inbound email to the new domain
  • Updating directory listings such as Facebook, Google My Business, and the 50 or so others your organization is likely listed on
  • Replacement of all existing on-site links and references to the old domain name
If you hire help be sure to ask for their credentials and experience with this list. Simply telling a website to operate on a new domain name is easy, doing the job right is more work and should be done by someone who does this regularly.

Natalie Porter Griffin:
I am looking for ideas on stewardship. How can we let our donors know how grateful we are for their support? Does anyone have any great ideas other than a handwritten thank you note?

Jeffrey Kelly:
Tell them the story of the impact of their donations. Most donors are out to “Change the World” and so showing that they accomplished that is a great way to build the relationship and say thank you.
Notice the phrasing: they changed the world… not we changed the world. Get the context right and this sort of communication will actually help them along their donor journey to being bigger and more involved donors.
And, if you do choose to call a large number of donors (which my team highly recommends) use a Power Dialer like from Toky or any other business virtual phone system to do the dialing for you, it cuts down on the time needed to get through calls by a lot.

Natalie Porter Griffin:
Jeffrey Kelly great advice!

Sterling Corbin:
Can anyone share a donation request template or examples? We have a business requesting some sort of flyer and we do not know where to start. Thank you!

Jeffrey Kelly:
Don’t be afraid to start with a simple Canva creation. Grab a template, put a little info about the org & contact info. Describe the project or donation request and provide instructions for giving.

Jes Zelasko:
How much does people set aside for mailings? Newsletters, gifts, thank yous, etc. How do you break it down?

Jeffrey Kelly:
Think about it less as “how much” and more about “how do we build this relationship so that it reaches the next funding level”
It’s typically directly proportional to the fundraising campaign or donation level. Sponsors at certain levels get a letter, others get a thank you gift, others are asked to interact with the organization or let the organization interact with their clients.

Abby Lehmer
Besides the Google Ad Grant program, are there any other grants NPs should apply for to get help with an ads budget? FB for boosting or ads, other channels that provide assistance, orgs who sponsor ad grants…?
My newest client is nearly budgetless when it comes to marketing and advertising. Planning some fundraising initiatives of course but the $10k GA program has me curious about others to try for 😊

Jeffrey Kelly:
Zooming out a little, some marketing projects are great for asking donors to fund them. And, many grants will incorporate messaging or attracting program participants or improving financial stability, all of which can be used to help grow the inbound marketing assets of an org.
I would love to network with you if you focus on marketing for nonprofits.

DonorBox vs GiveLively

Khristie Massey Staines
What are the pros and cons of DonorBox vs GiveLively?

Jeffrey Kelly:

In my experience consulting on fundraising it comes down to the methods an organization is going to use for fundraising and where the gaps are in the existing tools in use. Give Lively has a very broad set of capability whereas DonorBox is more about payments.

Because of that, DonorBox is excellent at converting visitors to donations on conversion pages. Whereas Give Lively is much more about campaigns and landing pages and broader needs.

My recommendation is to consider the fundraising strategy and how promotion to donors will be conducted, and then choose the tool that fits the time/effort/expense/capability needed to achieve that strategy. Don’t over-buy on features, stick to the fundraising plan.

Private School Fundraising

Jennifer Koo Yin

Hey Butterflyly…love you guys! I’ve just volunteered to be the fundraising coordinator for my son’s small charter school (no tuition public school that receives less govt funding). I fundraise for a nonprofit as my day job, but I’ve never been involved with fundraising for a school—it’s definitely different.

The school is small (around 200 students) and a cross section of social-economic levels but a higher percentage of lower income. Besides constantly asking parents to donate money or sell stuff, any ideas for how to raise funds? There’s no CRM. Any grants geared towards small schools?

Jeffrey Kelly:

Conaiswe setting up a program to attract a donor or sponsor for each day of the 180-day school year. This is a fantastic way to connect a donor to the real impact they are creating. Worth a consideration.

Also worth consideration, sponsorships. There are so many opportunities in a school community to create meaningful sponsorship relationships that are rewarding to both the sponsor and the community.

Private School Fundraising

Jennifer Koo Yin

Hey Butterflyly…love you guys! I’ve just volunteered to be the fundraising coordinator for my son’s small charter school (no tuition public school that receives less govt funding). I fundraise for a nonprofit as my day job, but I’ve never been involved with fundraising for a school—it’s definitely different.

The school is small (around 200 students) and a cross section of social-economic levels but a higher percentage of lower income. Besides constantly asking parents to donate money or sell stuff, any ideas for how to raise funds? There’s no CRM. Any grants geared towards small schools?

Jeffrey Kelly:

Conaiswe setting up a program to attract a donor or sponsor for each day of the 180-day school year. This is a fantastic way to connect a donor to the real impact they are creating. Worth a consideration.

Also worth consideration, sponsorships. There are so many opportunities in a school community to create meaningful sponsorship relationships that are rewarding to both the sponsor and the community.

WordPress Recommendations

Karen Krejcha:

Hello nonprofit friends. I could use some help please! 🙂
I am ED of a small grassroots nonprofit that just reached our 10-year-anniversary. We and we really could use an overhaul for our primary website www.AutismEmpowerment.org. I was hoping for recommendations on WordPress nonprofit templates or other places that you have done a nonprofit website. (We’ve used Avada for years and need a change.)

Requirements:

  1. Web accessibility. (We are an autistic-led and disability-led organization.)
  2. Intuitive and responsive design that can incorporate lots of content creation. (Currently we also have two other websites, one for our nonprofit magazine, SpectrumLife.org and one for our podcast, AutismEmpowermentPodcast.org. These are not on WordPress. I’ll include other sites in comments.)
  3. Fairly easy to learn and update. (Something where once I learn it, I could train a volunteer or contract with someone to manage. We don’t currently have that in our budget but we’re applying for funding.)
  4. We currently have 100s of pages on our website which is why our main site will probably remain on WordPress but we’re open to other options.

Thank you for your suggestions! If you have links to sites that show examples of completed sites with the design, even better. (Hopefully that’s allowed?)

 

Jeffrey Kelly:

Karen Krejcha my team uses Divi to build nonprofit wordpress websites and I recommend it for you as well. There are countless professionals and freelancers that have experience with the Divi theme if at some point you want to hire help for hosting/health/security/changes, etc. It’s easy as a visual builder and there are a lot of built in templates to start from.
I see you’re in Vancouver, I’m in Seattle, feel free to look me up if you want some additional guidance, we do this sort of work all the time

Karen Krejcha:

Jeffrey Kelly, thank you so much. Divi looks like a fantastic option for what we’re looking to do. At some point, we may be wanting to hire help. (In fact, if a grant proposal that we recently applied for comes through, we’ll also have dedicated money later this year to do so!) I have written down your name and truly appreciate the recommendation and the offer.

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