Our Charity Dynamics retained strategic services clients receive weekly status updates that allow us to plan and track initiatives that help our clients reach their digital communication and fundraising goals.

Each week, we share the most innovative ideas we see in the industry and look for ways to keep our clients on the cutting edge. Here are three of our favorite ideas from the last month:

1. Get Visual: Translate Impact in Winter Cultivation Efforts

Most nonprofit organizations are kicking off 2017 on the heels of an intense and lengthy end-of-year (EOY) campaign. Since you’ve just spent a little over a month sending email after email asking people for money, you’ll want to make sure you’re taking a moment to fit in a different kind of update to your constituents. And you’ll want this communication to stand out.

If you don’t have it on your radar yet, consider a pure cultivation touch in your communications slated for January/February. This is the time to say thank you, translate impact from your massive EOY series, remind everyone why they should be passionate about your cause and share goals for the new year. Since you’re likely slammed catching up from the holidays and getting other 2017 initiatives off the ground, remember that you can easily build this cultivation message off of existing content like an annual report, printed newsletter or donor update.

Once you find the content you want to share, take those EOY stats or annual report paragraphs and turn them into compelling visuals. The Charity Dynamics design team can help! An info-graphic is a great way to translate campaign performance, re-educate constituents or get them to visualize your goals for 2017. Did you know that…The brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text. Visual content is 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.

To get a sense of how you might be able to bring your data and content to life to present a compelling Winter Cultivation Info-graphic, check out a few examples HubSpot recently gathered that include topics like Music and Productivity, 15 Terrifying Statistics on Your Cellphone Addiction, How to Leave Your Worries Behind and a 2016 #GivingTuesday info-graphic.

2. The Art of The Email “Cold Call”

Don’t believe the naysayers. Email prospecting is alive and well in the NFP sector. But it’s a challenge when inboxes are being filled to the brim. How do you get people to open your emails and keep them from hitting “unsubscribe?”

Relevance is the most critical factor. First, you have to know if the person you are sending to is even slightly interested in your offer. Frequency is also important — are you mailing them every day? And do they know who you are? In this age of malware, I’m afraid to open almost anything unless I have at least some idea of who sent it.

Accessibility is the next criteria. Responsive is no longer a nice to have, it’s a must have. More than 70% of Americans access email on the go! We all love images and videos but research is showing us that, in this case, more is not better. This is especially critical for your mobile email users. The more visuals, the slower the emails load (if they load at all). Keep it simple.

Avoid “cutesy”, long-winded or “click-baity” subject lines and stick to ONE Call-To-Action for each email. You can include social links and email opt-ins as “side asks” without endangering your results, but offering multiple choices within the body of the email results in confusion and a lack of response.

3. Brand Videos That Are Driving Change

In 2016 we posted a number of new ideas and resources talking about the importance of video. Below is a quick summary of best practices and a link to some great examples of how 3 brands used video to drive change.

  • Unlike static images or text, video gives cause marketers the sensory tools to tell the type of rich, moving story that delivers important information while conjuring necessary emotion.
  • To be successful, cause-related content needs to be sufficiently informative so viewers understand the cause, as well as appropriately digestible so they find it easy and enjoyable to share with others.
  • It also has to be timely so it can be part of a larger conversation happening around the cause.
  • Like any video, it needs to grab the viewers’ attention in 3 to 10 seconds to stop them from scrolling past (despite what you might be reading about Facebook’s attempt to resurrect the “long video format”).
  • And it needs to resonate and be relevant to your audience.

How do you bring all of these points to live in 30 seconds or less? Check out these three recent campaigns!

About Charity Dynamics Strategic Services Retainers:

Charity Dynamics Strategic Services Retainers are planned, hours based, ongoing engagements where project teams collaborate on the short and long term needs of the client. A strategic retainer allows for flexibility and access to the full diversity of expertise on the Charity Dynamics team including consultants, web developers, analytics, designers and UX experts. Raise more money, reach more donors and make a bigger impact by leveraging our team to meet your digital fundraising and communication goals.