Live Q&A – October 2023


Sami Bedell-Mulhern 0:04
Good morning. Happy Thursday. Um hopefully you guys can hear me. Okay, let me know in the chat if you can hear me. Okay, we’ve I’ve had some issues with my microphone connecting and being kind of wonky, but um, welcome to our live q&a Today inside of nonprofit boot camp. I am so cold on moving things around. I am Sandy Vidal Mulhern, one of your co founders here for nonprofit boot camp. Okay, great. Thanks. Definitely glad you can. Glad you can hear. So we are going to, I’m going to do just a little quick mini conversation regarding smear and giving stuff. But then typically, we just open it up for questions. There might be a couple more people popping in here, we shall see. But otherwise, Emily and Stephanie, if you have any questions on fundraising, or marketing, or your urine campaign, or any and all of the things, I am here for it, and excited to have a conversation with you about anything and everything that you need. So if you want to turn on your cameras, that’d be awesome. If not totally get it, no worries. So I am going to just kind of jump in and chat really quick about urine giving campaigns because it seems to be oh here beautiful faces. Good to see you all. But you’re giving is a hot topic right now we’re getting ready for giving Tuesday getting ready for your urine campaigns. Hopefully you’re not pulling your hair out yet. But I really wanted to talk about messaging and the importance of messaging and being clear, especially right now. Because a lot of our clients that we work with want to give us the whole rundown of everything that they’ve done last year, everything we’ve done, that’s been amazing, and everything that we’re going to be doing next year. And so instead, I really want you to think about one very specific impact piece that you want to talk about what is the thing that is going to connect the most with your, with your donors that you’re going to be targeting here at year end? How can we really bring light to that thing, and bring it to light with stories. So I don’t know what your organization’s, who you serve and how you serve them. But some of the examples are, you know, like you’ll hear big national organizations say we’re gonna serve a million kids meals this year, something you know, that’s big and feels, sometimes it feels exciting to say things like that. But instead, if we can share a story of one child who has been impacted by your organization through the services that you provide, now the donor is like, oh, man, like I can I could impact. You know, John, in that way, like, that’s really cool. And they feel more connected to what it is that you’re doing. And it doesn’t feel so overwhelming, it doesn’t feel like well, if my $200 gift that you’re in, isn’t going to really make an impact that’s only going to serve like you know, they have this huge goal, I’m not going to be able to make a dent in that. So do you kind of see the difference there and how we can personally connect with our stories and messaging, we also want to avoid a lot of stats. So people, it’s good to maybe have one or two in there if they’re really impactful. But people don’t remember the stats and the numbers, they remember the connection, the emotion and the story behind what it is that you’re sharing. So I think that’s also really important to keep in mind. It people also gloss over numbers. So when you go to write, maybe you have a big direct mail piece, maybe you have one big email or you’re going to have a landing page on your website that talks about that, you know focuses on your year end giving, really write that big long piece first, whether it’s you know, a couple of pages, whatnot. And then you’ll have the tool to break it down for the rest of your entire campaign. Now you can pull up social media posts, you can pull out shorter emails, you can write talking points for your one on one conversations, all of the good things that are that you’re going to need. The other thing that I really like when you write one big long piece for your campaigns is you can take that and put it into something like Chet GPT or Canva magic, right? If you have Canva Canva pro account, which most of you probably do because it’s free for nonprofits. Then you can ask AI to write Hey, write subject lines based off of this copy or write me social media posts based off this copy. So taking stuff you’ve already written and using AI to repurpose it for you is a great Great way to kind of streamline some of those communication pieces, because it’s already taking something that’s written in your voice and in your branding, and has your information as opposed to doing it the other way around, where you might go and say, Hey, right. I mean, you could write me a fundraising appeal letter for this cause blah, blah, blah, you can use that to get started. But it’s not going to connect as well. They’re not going to know your stories, or anything, anything like that. So I don’t know if if you’ve played with AI at all, it can be super helpful, especially with repurposing, we just want to be careful and make sure that we’re still being genuine with who we are and our brand. So I just kind of wanted to touch on the importance of storytelling, because it weaves through your marketing, which is where I mostly focus, but it also just weave through into your one on one conversations you’re having with donors, the phone calls, you might be having online offline, it’s going to be the connector. And during this time, when there’s a lot of noise out there, a lot of nonprofits are trying to raise a lot of money, right? Now, the more consistent we can be across the board. So you have a conversation with the donor. And then when they go to the website, they see the exact same messaging reinforced, and then they see a social media post that has the exact same impact, you know, reinforced, it’s just going to make everything easier for you overall, as an organization to get more conversions from those folks. Because we know they need to see it multiple times on multiple channels to make that decision. And so we don’t want to be confusing them, or every time they see it somewhere else. It’s a little bit of a different story. They’re like, but wait, I thought you were helping, you know, kids like John, but now you’re talking about, you know, wasted food, like food waste stuff from restaurants. And now you’re talking about this week, right? We want to keep it concise and clear. Any questions, thoughts or feedback about that? Are you all feeling good about your year end giving campaign so far? Have you started working on your year end giving campaign? I guess that’s the question.

Speaker 2 7:11
We have not started working on hers yet. But and we don’t really have a big one at this point. So I guess we’re kind of, you know, just starting to dabble. Great.

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 7:27
Um, I would say to if you’re just starting to dabble be really, really intentional with. These are the activities that we did this year. And this is how much money was raised, doesn’t matter if it’s big or not. But be like, make sure you’re documenting all of that really, really clearly. Because when it comes to next year, you’re going to be like, what did we do? I have no idea. I don’t remember what we did, how many emails did we send out how you know, so I would make sure you even if it’s just a simple spreadsheet, these are the activities we did, this is how much money was raised. And then one of my most favorite things to do is to really break down annual gifts, or not annual gifts, average gift size. So if we had 15 donors that came in this year, our average gift size was $250. From those folks, then when you come back to your messaging next year, one of the best ways to kind of up that a little bit immediately from those people is, you know, now your impact statement starts at $300. So for $300, this is what kind of work we’re able to do. Because you know, it’s close to what your average gift was last year. So just tracking all of that, so that you can just kind of step it up again the next year. Or even if you do a spring appeal, you’ve learned something and then you can just tack on to the next thing and then just tack on the next thing. Yeah, they don’t have to be they don’t have to be big. But we want to make sure that’s what I find with most organizations in their marketing is that they’re stressed out and overwhelmed with all the things to do because they’re not tying it back to what your goals are. So if you have a small campaign, then you don’t need to be doing all the things. And you could, but that would just be you know, that would just cause extra stress versus being hyper. diligent in this action is going to actually hit this audience who we’re trying to hit and then get us to our goal. We hit our goal. That’s awesome. Now we’ll layer on something else next year. Where are you going to say something Emily?

Speaker 3 9:40
Oh, I was just going to ask about the timeline that you recommend as far as the emails versus the you know, the mailings? This is my first year in this field with you know, the year end and I have you know, the the last years Physical mailer to you know, update and edit as needed, which will be helpful. But I was curious as to the timeline.

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 10:10
Yeah, I love to send a mailer out like early November, you know, that can kind of be one of the first pieces, I mean, direct mail is still helpful, it’s still, you know, mailings work really well. And if you can get it out ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, it’s also going to kind of, you know, people are not getting all like all the Christmas cards and all the other stuff that showing up in the mail, you know, if you can send it out in early November, then you’re kind of getting ahead of some of all of that. And encouraging people to open and then if they don’t give right away, that’s fine. Because you know, they’re gonna get hit multiple times. So then they’re getting the emails that are happening. And, you know, that’s just going to reinforce Oh, yeah, I got that mailer, I read that that was kind of that was something I wanted to participate in. So then with emails, like we definitely recommend, and again, it depends on the size of your list, it depends on how much money you’re trying to raise, but typically like seven to 10 emails from like giving Tuesday through the end of the year, that are going out, you know, maybe two or three times a week, or once or twice a week, that allow you to, again, share different parts of the campaign, because you’re also going to have different people that have different motivations for why they give. So there’s the pieces that are more targeted towards like your early adopters, like the people that want to be like, We’re the first ones here. We’re the ones that are helping kickoff this campaign. And so they get excited by the messaging, that’s, you know, like, championing that, and then you’ve got the people at the end of the year that are that are going to be excited about closing that gap for you. Oh, okay. Well, we’re only $500 away, like, will you help us get there? And they’re the ones that are gonna be the last minute ones like, Yeah, I’ll help you close that gap. That’s the that’s the messaging that’s going to motivate them. So there’s the financial motivation, but then there’s also the story. So what does your organization do?

Speaker 3 12:10
So I met friends of Lakeside labs, so we support like, say, labs, it’s another challenge we have is that they, you know, if there’s the education piece, the K through 12, and then the college level, and the interns and there’s, you know, the research and the water quality, and there’s arts and sciences programs. So, especially with a year end, it’s, it’s challenging, because we do so many different things, which is wonderful and appeals to a lot of different people in some way. But really what choosing what to highlight, because we don’t want to inundate people with too much information, but get, you know, we want everybody to feel a connection, because there’s something here for everyone in the community. And, you know, beyond we have a lot of kids that come through for field trips, and there’s just such a variety of things that are so um

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 13:12
yeah, I mean, that’s definitely tricky. I think it’s a maybe then drawing light to something that is, because we have to kind of like, okay, so big picture, at the end of the day, and I know, you don’t have staff big enough to do this. But like, at the end of the day, what the larger organizations are doing is they’re having their segmented lists, right? So you would have your people that would fall into those buckets and your urine campaign would be hyper personalized to where you would be sending out your mass appeal to everybody. But then you would have emails that are targeted specifically to those different buckets. I mean, the other thing is I like you guys have a newer executive director as well, right?

Speaker 3 14:03
Yes, that’s me. And I’m so yeah, yeah, it’s just me. So yeah,

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 14:11
I mean, it Yeah. Also be like being aspirational. And like talking about like, Okay. I’m new. Here’s what I’m most excited about. Here’s some of the things that I have really seen us make impact and kind of, don’t make it all about you, but maybe like the story, maybe you’re highlighting, like little vignettes and stories of the people that you’ve gotten to interact with throughout your, as you’ve kind of jumped into this campaign, because then that is going to kind of do two things, right? Like you’re, whenever there’s a new executive director. Like, I want to make sure we build trust, like is this person going to come in and like, change everything that we’ve been doing and get rid of certain progress? I mean, you know, there’s some of that is natural, but like, how can you use it as an upward tunity to build trust with the donors share stories and make you can make it personal by saying like, this is something really cool that I got to witness and experience and, and sharing then like little stories of of some of those mini programs in that long piece, and then in some of your emails like you could call out specific programs, so like one email might be specific about the K 12 program, one email might be specific about the water quality programs that you did that you’re doing, my daughter went out and tested water. This summer, she loved it. She’s like, I’m going sciencing I’m like, Okay, go you go test water samples. But I mean, like there’s some and then you just share, like quick little stories of other people in those, but the whole big picture is reinforcing that trust that Lakeside lab is still Lakeside lab, and we’re still going to be moving forward in the same direction. And you can still have trust and faith in your dollars being used. And we need them more than ever. The other thing is, aren’t you guys? Are you guys building new housing? Or did I hear not?

Speaker 3 16:21
We’re we’re hopeful to Yeah, so I came in and there’s Yeah. Big capital campaign going on. And but it hasn’t been rolled out to the public. Yeah. In

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 16:34
the other story that you share.

Speaker 3 16:38
Yeah, in the springs. So yeah, that’ll be a whole other adventure for us. So I’m coming in an exciting time. But yeah, definitely some some unique challenges ahead. But yeah, yeah. Thank you. That’s very helpful. Yeah.

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 16:55
And, you know, you might be similar to Stephanie. And that you, I don’t know, if you have a big year and fundraising goal, but like, it might even just be a time to just share good stuff and see what happens. And just use it as an opportunity to communicate, I don’t know. Yeah, I will say email dunwell alone can make a huge impact. We have a client we worked on worked with. Two years ago, they did, they sent out like three emails, and they were awful. And they raised $20,000, which is not bad in the month. Last year, we did, we did some really great storytelling did 10 emails and had much clearer messaging, same list, and they did 50,000, almost 60,000. And so this year, now we’re layering in, like a direct mail piece, I think they have a goal like 100,000 for this for this month, or Yeah, for November and December. And so, like I said, we’re laying layering in that direct mail piece for them. And then you know, doing targeted email marketing. So, you know, it’s a combination of what you’re doing this year, but it’s also then making sure that you’re touching them throughout the year so that your urine campaign is easier. So that would also be the advice definitely, that I would give you, if you don’t have a huge campaign right now is, um, you know, that you might get some new donors. And with giving Tuesday, you might get some new donors in for your urine giving, because a lot of times people will give, you know, I’ll get 250 to this organization, I’ll give 250 to this organization, right, like the people they don’t really have strong relationships with. But then you lose them the next year, because they’ve never heard from you again, until it comes back to the year end giving campaign. So I think it’s equally important to communicate your story right now. But then to also make sure you’re at least hitting them monthly with general information not asks but just updates on here’s who we are, here’s what we’re doing. Here’s some cool things that we’ve accomplished. And they’re hearing all of that throughout the whole year. So when it comes to your and giving a large handful of those people are just shoo ins because they already know what you’ve been doing. Now, they just need to be asked. So I would keep that in mind as a critical piece to your urine campaign. And any other questions about marketing in general, and I apologize that Patrick’s not here. He’s off on vacation. But otherwise, I can let you get on with your busy days.

Speaker 2 19:47
So Sammy, I have a question about you know, so we’re a nonprofit. We’re mental health behavioral health agency and What is the feeling? Or what are your thoughts on nonprofits sponsoring other nonprofit events? So like a golf tournament set, because it’s like, okay, we’re, we’re spending nonprofit dollars to do you know, but then we also see the benefit of, you know, participating in a golf tournament and meeting other community members and getting our name out there. And, you know, talking with other people who may become potential donors, you know, that sort of thing. But, but our CEO and I have been kind of going back and forth on Yeah, that topic, I guess.

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 20:44
Yeah, I mean, that’s, I mean, it’s a marketing expense. So I would look at it as a marketing expense and not as a donation to another organization. I mean, when you’re working with corporations on sponsorship dollars, I mean, that’s all coming out of their marketing budget, it’s not coming out of their, you know, giving programs most likely. So I would view it as that I would make sure it’s just something that’s in alignment. So if you’re, you’re making sure the audience is the is the right audience, if you’re trying to network and things like that, but I don’t see a problem with that at all. Because that’s, it would, it would be the same as you know, paying for an ad to target specific people on Facebook or Google, right, like, so. It’s just a, it’s just a different way to spend your money.

Speaker 2 21:37
Okay, I guess we hadn’t really thought about it that way. We were just we were more concerned, I guess, or what our thought process was, was more on the lines of like, what are people? What are people going to think, when they see seasons, you know, sponsoring some event, and then they’re saying, hey, well, wait a second, you know, I’m contribute, I’ve been, I’ve been donating to your organization and how you’re doing that. That’s where we’ve had, I guess, kind of the conundrum.

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 22:14
So that’s where I think the alignment comes into play. Like, if the organization is adjacent to you, then the messaging is, you know, collaboration, and like, you know, they provide a critical resource that we can’t, or that we don’t, and you know, us in connection with each other, help make this community stronger, and in the services and support that we can provide. So we are here supporting each other. And the other thing would be just making clear, or making sure that that other organization doesn’t care, or, you know, some people get nervous about you coming to a fundraising event, and then stealing all their donors. Most likely, they’re not gonna be upset about it. But I don’t I mean, just depending on who it is, you might just want to have a conversation. And just say, we’d love to be a part of this event, this is our intention. What would that look like? But I think we worry a lot about in general, use of funds like how, how does this look? How is this perceived, and I think at the end of the day, it’s a conversation that needs to be had all the time with donors, but you’re running a business. And it’s just a little bit different in the way that the financials are reported and recorded and in the style of work that you do, but at the end of the day, your donors are your customers. And you’re running a business, and you need to try to retain as many of those customers as possible. So I think there’s just some conversation and education that needs to be had there. And also, at the end of the day, if somebody comes up to you and says, you know, I understand why you’re doing this, this seems like a weird use of funds. Now, it’s opened the door for you to have a conversation with someone that maybe wouldn’t have reached out, which isn’t a bad thing. Even if some if a donor comes to you with concern, it’s at least an opportunity for you to have a conversation and flip that around. Right? Yep. Yeah. But I think you’re also in a different space in that. Oh, I don’t know people may not even assume that you’re a nonprofit right away just because of the services that you provide.

Speaker 2 24:28
Right. Yeah.

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 24:36
Any other questions? Awesome. Well, thank you both for joining. This will be up in the dashboard here in a couple are well, by tomorrow for you to watch and we’ll push out the links in the emails that go out as well. And if you have any other question, Just feel free to email myself or Patrick we are always available to answer any other questions but thank you guys for coming and hopefully we’ll see you at another upcoming training

Unknown Speaker 25:11
thank you

Unknown Speaker 25:12
bye Thanks appreciate it Have a good day

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