You’re put in charge. Now what? Group leader transitions are not without their complications, but that doesn’t mean they have to be difficult. By following a few key steps, you can ensure a smooth transition (think smoothie, not boba) that is beneficial for the entire organization.
The transition period is the time for new admins to prepare for their position while outgoing officers gain a sense of closure as they move on from a job well done. The goal is to maintain a sense of seamlessness and continue the great work that’s already been completed. Remember, you’re not starting from scratch. When done right, you avoid setbacks (which might feel like a chunk of fruit stuck in your straw).We’ve put together three pro tips for pulling off the ol’ switcheroo with minimal disruption to your organization.
1. Maximize your training
Access to information is critical for the continued success of the organization and the potential achievements of the incoming officer. They say teamwork makes the dream work, so make sure new and old leaders come together as a unit to make the transition easier and more effective.
Maximize the opportunity to learn from the outgoing officer by asking the right questions during the training period. Author and business mentor Michael Hyatt identified 20 key questions to ask other leaders to bolster your own skill set. Here are some key topics to inquire about during the transition process:
Additionally, reviewing goals and objectives from previous terms allows transitioning admins or group leaders to update themselves on the progress of those goals, so they have a reference point for the upcoming term. The former officer should provide a status report on ongoing projects as well as current budget and financial records.
To help you build upon the work that’s already done, check out the reports section on the platform, which provides a history of your group’s transactions. You can also see tracking for emails, event sites, and donation campaigns.
2. Make a great first impression
We all know that first impressions matter, so this transition period is the time to showcase yourself to the group. Membership management software is a helpful tool because it lets you access current membership information and reach out to the entire organization simply and efficiently. Use it to send a group email to introduce yourself and let members know about the transition process, upcoming meetings, and any changes the new administration will be making to its agenda.
You can target your email to specific member levels for a more personalized message, as well as use the Smart Lists feature to segment your distribution lists by variable data.
3. Be prepared to prioritize
An incoming leader can get overwhelmed with information overload, so being organized is essential. Updating lists and prioritizing tasks can make the early days of transition less stressful.
Your organization probably already has a list of essential documents you’ll need to get started (University of Texas Leadership and Ethics Institute provides their members resources), but here are some of the basics you don’t want to overlook during the process.
Online document storage is available on the platform to upload documents that can be shared with all your admins. If you’re a new admin user, simply check document storage in your admin portal to see what’s already been uploaded.
Once you have obtained and sorted through these documents, you'll be able to focus your efforts on the most pressing issues as a new leader for your organization. Uncle Ben (of Spider-Man fame, not the rice) said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” You don’t need to be a superhero to learn the value of this lesson.
“With great power comes great responsibility.”
As a group leader, you set the tone for the entire organization. It’s important that you stay up to the task by being prepared and making the most of the officer transition process. Maximize the resources that are available to you and build upon the wisdom of past leaders and current colleagues. Orchestrating a successful transition is your first task as a leader, so make it count!
By keeping important documents, reports, contacts, and everything else in one spot, memberplanet simplifies leadership and officer transition. Log in to check it out.
Updated & refreshed since original publication on 12/11/17
During the holiday season, everyone is bombarded with fundraising campaigns. You’ve likely taken advantage of giving season yourself, and that’s not a bad thing. To switch things up, consider also offering your members a way to give their time, and not just their money. In November, you’ve got Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday – one right after the other. To help you out during this especially busy time for your members, we have some tips to encourage volunteering. Yes, really!
Set up an incentive
Members are lot more likely to volunteer their precious time if there is a return on investment for them. Try offering an incentive that will help give members that little extra push to sign up. The incentive can be simple; for example, first dibs on fundraising booth shifts, one extra vote in a t-shirt design survey, or even a gift card. The point is, no matter the occasion these small enticements can lead to a big turnout on participation.
Plan and communicate early
Procrastination is the enemy. If you’re collaborating with a local nonprofit, have a plan in place as early as possible. Communicate clear expectations to everyone involved, including your members. Create a frictionless experience to volunteer by sending out a form with easy-to-select sign-up dates and times, so it is effortless for members to contribute their time. Once someone signs up, have an automatic confirmation email set up to include all the information they’ll need for the event. Sometimes, plans don’t pan out – and we recommend having a back-up plan if a couple volunteers need to back out. By putting in a little effort ahead of time to connect with all parties involved, you will likely see more willing, and might we add happy, volunteers.
Make your cause hit home
In addition to competing with busy schedules, there are countless wonderful causes and charities your group is up against. The more that you can personalize your cause to your potential volunteers’ interests, the more successful you’ll be in getting them to commit. Try to volunteer for causes that are local, or causes that directly affect your group – and communicate the benefits of their time. Members are more likely to be encouraged to help a cause they are passionate about, and one they know makes a difference.
Updated & refreshed from its original publication on 11/17/17
When you’re planning an event, are you the kind who likes to roll up your sleeves, set wheels in motion, and plunge headlong into details (logistics)? Or are you more of a visionary, a big-picture thinker who likes to paint with broad strokes (strategic)?
Whether you prefer event planning logistics or strategies, or dabbling in a bit of both, these nine milestones and list of pro tips that go along with them are not to be overlooked. We’ve categorized the to do’s as logistic and strategic items, so you can delegate them out to your team members according to their strengths. Note that the milestones may vary for the type of event you’re hosting, but the general rule of thumb is, the earlier you can do them, the better.
12 months out
Some organizations create separate event pages dedicated to planning for their upcoming fundraisers.
For Delta Gamma Phoenix Alumnae Chapter, this lets administers get a head start for their “Tables that Bloom” annual fundraiser that benefits the Delta Gamma Foundation and its philanthropic endeavors.
Tony Marmo, president of the Ulster County Italian-American Foundation, dedicated to advancing and preserving Italian heritage in the Kingston, NY, area, hosts 130-plate dinners each month to raise money for scholarships, cancer treatments, and charities. Each dinner raises as much as $5,000.
“You have to create buzz,” Marmo said. “You need an interesting topic or speaker – something to draw a crowd.”
Six months out from your event date might seem like a long time, but remember, you can’t move forward in other areas until after you’ve made many of your creative decisions.
2) Invitation (include a calendar attachment and set a reminder/alert).
3) Reminder message.
On your calendar invitation, don’t forget to set an event reminder. Include directions and link to a map if that’s not already on your dedicated event site.
On memberplanet, you have a ton of email features at your fingertips, from templates, to targeted distribution lists, to tracking reports. Use them to optimize every email send.
In publicity, reminders are essential. Digital Marketing Ramblings reports the average office worker receives 121 emails every day. Because emails are so disposable and we’re all easily distracted due to multitasking, everyone needs multiple reminders.
Marmo agreed: “One email sent one time just isn’t going to do it. You’ve got to promote the event and sometimes do it in more than one way.”
The logistics of strategy
We’ve just taken a look at strategy and logistics tasks in planning your event. By understanding which types of planners you and your team members are, you can up your game in any of the areas that need work.
Log in and get started with your next event.
Updated and Refreshed since original publication on 12/1/2017
As a group leader, one of the highest mountains you’ll need to climb is reaching your fundraising goal. Whether you’re planning for a big Greek Week event or something small for a local nonprofit, running a successful campaign requires organization, dedication and clear definitions of your goal. Combining our fundraising features with these simple tips will help optimize your donations and reach that mountain’s peak.
1. Take advantage of online convenience
The whole point of fundraising online is to make it as easy as possible to meet your goal, so we’ve cut out a few steps to not only give you a head start, but also rid you of paper work.
Search for a charity using our platform.
When you create a donation campaign through our platform, you have the option to search more than 1.7 million 501(c)(3) charities and raise funds on their behalf. Any individual or group can raise funds to benefit the charity selected through this feature, and the funds will go directly to them – no accounting or transfers required. Donors will automatically receive email receipts, and donations made directly to qualifying 501(c)(3) charities may be tax deductible (check with your accountant).
1. Hover over Donation Sites on the left navigation sidebar
2. Click Create Donation Site from the submenu
3. Select the Find a Cause module
4. Follow the rest of the prompts to create a donation campaign
Offer electronic payment methods.
Making the most of digital fundraising techniques can help you reach a larger pool of donors, not just the ones who are willing to pay by check or cash. Offering electronic payment methods gives members the option to donate by their preferred payment method, use their phone, and sign up for automatic, recurring donations.
Optimize your page for viewing on any device.
Online fundraising also allows you to share information quickly to a large audience, so make sure your fundraising page is design responsive for optimal viewing on any device. (If you’re using memberplanet, we’ve got you covered).
2. Use visuals to appeal to your audience
Incorporating visual elements, such as video and photos, is an effective way to create a voice. It’s important to not just think about your plan for obtaining your goal, but to also focus on why it’s important. Conveying the “why” to potential donors deepens their connection with the cause and appeals to their emotions, which translates into more money for your organization.
To add photos and video to your Donation Site, select a template to edit, or select the existing campaign you want to edit.
Click the photo icon to upload photos, or copy and paste a video URL in the Add Videos field.
3. Reach out to your inner circle
4. Adopt a social media strategy
We see social media as part of a larger multi-channel communication strategy, which is to communicate with members using the channels (email, phone, social media, etc.) they prefer. One third of online donations come from peer-to-peer fundraising, making it a vital market to access. In 2018, 69% of the public uses at least one social media platform. If you’re still not using social media to fundraise, you’re missing out on a great tool for spreading the word about your campaign in a fast, cost-effective way. Figure out which social media platforms your target demographics are using, and start by engaging them on those platforms.
memberplanet users: As soon as you publish your donation campaign, you can share your site to social media directly from the platform, mobile app, or the page itself.
Use our built-in URL shortener if you’re on a character limit, or customize the full URL.
To customize the URL or get the short URL, click on the campaign you want to manage.
6. Follow up
Set up an automated thank-you email to your donors to go out immediately after receiving funds. In it, you can encourage them to spread the word about your campaign. Go the extra mile and share the impact of your campaign with donors, staff, and volunteers. Leave them feeling a genuine sense of gratitude from you. This encourages them to participate in upcoming events and fundraisers from your organization. You can easily send an email to all your members and participants, but it’s better to tailor messages to target specific recipients, such as generous donors and key players of your team.
Our platform features were created to help you build a great campaign and maximize donations. Now that you know some excellent ways to reach your fundraising goal, you can focus on getting to the top of that mountain.
Updated and Refreshed since original publication on 3/8/18
It’s hard to believe that the holiday season is quickly approaching, isn’t it? The first sighting of snow-covered décor or lit up trees means that giving season is upon us! There is one major event that kicks off the holiday giving – Giving Tuesday. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday 2018 takes place on November 27th. In 2016, more than 85 community coalitions across the U.S. and people in 98 countries/territories participated in the charitable event. Participation further bloomed in 2017 as people from over 100 U.S. community coalitions and people in 150 countries participated in 2017.
According to the Giving Tuesday organization, in 2016 Giving Tuesday raised more than $177 million online. 2017 was even more successful, it raised over $300 million online. Last year’s results prove that donors are extremely with charitable donations during both Giving Tuesday and end-of-year giving in general. As awareness of the day continues to grow each year, so do its benefits for charitable organizations. Giving Tuesday has become a global event, but you don’t need to be a national or multi-tiered organization to participate. Here are three steps even a local nonprofit can take to prepare for the main event.
Step 1: Set your Giving Tuesday fundraising goals
An important part of preparing for Giving Tuesday is setting your fundraising goals. When setting your goals, you can consider the following:
Remember, the more prepared you are in determining your goals, the easier it will be for you to nail down your message when you’re ready to share your goals and grow community involvement!
Step 2: Fire up your fundraising campaign
You have a million ways these days to approach promoting your donation campaign. You can go the chestnuts-roasting-on-an-open-fire approach, which is kind of a slow burn at first, and then switch to fireworks finale mode, an all-at-once effort, toward the end.
Whatever approach you decide on, take advantage of email and social media – two powerful marketing platforms.
Mobilizing volunteer efforts is another strategy that spreads awareness throughout your local community and celebrate giving. The holiday giving season can mean giving one’s time or donating goods – not just funds. By inviting donors, employees, and members of the local community to your event, you can attract attention to your cause.
Step 3: Make donating easy
In business, a best practice is to make it easy for customers to give you their money. The same applies to your donors. Always give them the options to donate when they want and how they want. By offering the option to donate electronically, your supporters can make secured donations conveniently from a website or mobile device, whenever they want, even if they’re thousands of miles away. You can still accept cash or check, but you’re not limiting your fundraising by only accepting those forms of donations.
Nonprofits that offer online giving also widen the donor net and grow overall fundraising revenue. By setting up a way to process funds electronically, you can also offer donors the option to pay by recurring or installment payments. Recurring payment options are a great fit for those who want to contribute weekly, monthly, or quarterly throughout the year. Installment payments give donors the convenience of breaking up a large sum of money (which they may not have considered giving all at once) into multiple payments of their choosing.
By using these key steps to prep for Giving Tuesday, your organization will not only be a part of a growing movement, it will also give you the chance to celebrate the success that your charitable efforts deliver to your local community.
Ready to get started? Log in, create a donation campaign, and choose from multiple templates, including Giving Tuesday and other seasonal occasions.
Updated from original posting 10/23/17
There's no bad time for an organization to start preparing for a successful #GivingTuesday fundraiser. Take advantage of our four step guide to maximize your preparation efforts, and ensure, whether it's your first or an annual event for your organization, that this #GivingTuesday exceeds your goals. Click on the infographic below for a high-res view.
So you didn't quite hit the mark on your donation site...
First of all, chin up! Take a breath and refocus on your next donation goal. Whether you are fundraising, selling property, or negotiating a salary, you will get the best results by asking for a little more than you’d like to realistically get.
"But I really need to hit my mark!"
Ok! Don't sweat. You’ve got this! Unlike salaries and home-prices, donation campaigns have no finite ceiling. You've only "failed" to hit your mark when you give up trying new strategies. You can always change course and re-launch at any time.
Here are 6 ways to revitalize your campaign for a re-launch
1. Try hosting an event or selling merchandise
Hosting an event is a great way to boost revenue for your donation but also to spread the message of your campaign by engaging the community. When people feel connected and involved they are more likely to donate since the cause now has a relevance to their lives. Also, sell merchandise both at the event and throughout the campaign. T-shirts, car-washes, and dinners are simple things that will have a big appeal with donors. With memberplanet customers can use our mobile app to purchase tickets and merchandise on the go! Worried about the payment logistics? We have templates that are already set up for this! Check out our template gallery here.
2. Evaluate your campaign goal
You want your goal to be realistic enough that your donors can already see the victory in sight. Set it too high and they will often get discouraged and put forth a lackluster effort. Also, when donors see you getting close to your goal they want to jump in and give more, don't miss out on that momentum! Stick with a reasonable (yet still ambitious!) goal.
3. Assess giving levels
How much have donors been giving? You want to set giving levels that are both realistic and ambitious. If most of your donors are giving less than the lowest level, you should set your middle level a few dollars above that point. If most of your donors are giving more, set your levels higher. You want people to dig deep to give a few dollars more than their intended donation in order to hit the next level.
*Also note, how do you create incentive for donors to reach levels? Promising shout-outs or recognition will make some donors excited to stand out!
4. Spruce up your page!
You know that your cause is important, if your donors only knew how much their contribution would help they would be excited to give more! Including photo albums, videos and engaging and informative text that will give your donors the evidence they need to appreciate your cause. Leverage your donation site to sell your donors and appeal to their emotional side and establish a personal investment. Include photos of the people or animals being helped, tell donors exactly what their funds will be used for and how much each aspect will cost. Paint them a vivid picture of how their contribution will change someone's life.
5. Brand your payment form
Keep your site branded, professional, and inspiring from beginning to end. When your donors choose to donate, they are directed to a payment form. If the form is bleak, they may lose their emotional momentum, resulting in a lower contribution or none at all. Include an inspiring and emotionally moving banner image on your form, as well as a gracious and personal thank-you message.
6. Share. Share. Share
The most important thing you can do to ensure a successful donation site is share your page link. Email your site, post it to your social networks like Facebook & Twitter, add your cause information to your email signature - the opportunities for spreading news online are endless! Once you get your page out there, your friends, family, and supporters will help you spread the word. Already done this? Try incentivizing donors to share the page on their Facebook! (ex: for every share, you will recognize or reward them in some cost-effective way)
Bonus tip: Ask for help!
The support team at memberplanet is always here for you. We have seen many campaigns, and we can give you ideas that will work for you. Visit our Support Site to browse our support library or to chat with us directly.
Ready to give it another shot?
Updated from original posting on 6/6/16
For nonprofits, getting donations shouldn’t be about asking for cash
Asking people for money, whether they’re friends or strangers, can be incredibly daunting. It’s intimidating to ask people to hand over their hard earned dough for your cause. The less painful, more effective way to collect donations is by indirectly asking for contributions. The heart of fundraising is to help others connect a passion or memory with a cause. It’s about making your cause theirs. Here’s how you can lead them there:
Tell your story
Ask for advice
Engage on social media
Make it easy and personal
Asking for donations can seem a lot less overwhelming when you view contributing as more of a privilege. You’re not asking – you’re inviting people to take action and participate. You’re selling significance and purpose. Lead them through constant communications to tell your story. Lead them with memberplanet!
We have all the tools your nonprofit needs to expand reach and manage your donations in one spot. See what our other nonprofit customers are saying about how memberplanet aids and improves their communications.
Originally published: 10/16/2016
Traditional fundraising methods still have their place. However, as the world shifts towards an increasingly digital landscape, it may be time to re-evaluate your old techniques. Online fundraising offers a myriad of benefits and can help you surpass your fundraising goals. Don’t be put off by the fees — here are five reasons why you should fundraise online.
A Bigger Payoff
You might be concerned about the fees associated with online fundraising and whether they will cut into your net goal. It is important to do the research and see how various sites structure their cost.
Electronic payment methods make raising money faster and easier than ever, because, let’s face it – not everyone carries lots of cash or a checkbook these days. With memberplanet’s mobile app, users can donate directly from their phone at any time and easily set up automatic, recurring payments. By offering the option to collect all payment types both onsite and online, you can access a larger network of donors. This will allow you to raise more money for your cause.
Security and Credibility
One of the main benefits of launching an online fundraising campaign is its potential to go viral. This takes you out of the typical sphere of donors and opens you up to supporters you wouldn’t reach with traditional methods. This can help you reach your monetary goals faster and even surpass them. Look for sites that offer a direct link for social sharing from your donation page to maximize exposure.
Note to memberplanet users: Make use of our built-in URL shortener or share on social media directly from our platform to save time and (when you need it) character space. Online campaigns give you the freedom to create a donation page that reflects your cause. Customizable templates and forms let you streamline the look of your fundraising page. You can add photos, videos and other interactive features to increase interest and support, which translates into larger dollar amounts.
Crowdfunding is on Trend
Crowdfunding has gained momentum over the past few years and is only becoming more popular. It offers easy payment methods for donors, makes tracking donations easier for admins and is easily shareable across social media. It’s an effective and efficient way of framing a fundraising campaign.
memberplanet users: It’s never been easier to set up a donation page. Customizable templates and forms let you streamline the look of your fundraising page or marketing campaign. You can add a live donor ticker to monitor the campaign’s progress, as well as photos, videos and other interactive features to increase interest and support, which translates into larger dollar amounts.
Originally published: 5/15/2017
Our new donation site builder makes it easy to raise funds on behalf of any of the over 1.7 million charities in the United States.
Now, when you create a new donation site, you will have the opportunity to select your favorite charity from our built-in database. When you use this feature donations will deposit directly to your chosen charity without the need for a secondary transfer on your part. Additionally, donors will automatically receive tax-deduction email receipts for these types of donations.
This update comes right in time for #GivingTuesday which is scheduled for Tuesday, November 27th, 2018.
#GivingTuesday is a social media led initiative that promotes a collective global push for charitable donations on the Tuesday following U.S. Thanksgiving each year.
#GivingTuesday marks just the beginning of the giving season. In fact, 50% of all charitable donations are made in December – so if you’re starting now you’re right on schedule! Setting up a site for tax deductible donations in the fall is a great way to capitalize on the biggest giving days of the year, including end-of-tax-year giving, which peaks the last week of December.
Have any questions? We’re happy to help. Click here to contact us.
Originally published: 11/25/2015