Category Archives: Marketing

Make Your Voice Heard This #GivingTuesday

Much has been written about developing strategies for effective #GivingTuesday fundraising. As roughly a third of donations occur during the last 3 months of the year, the stakes are high.

Kivi Leroux Miller’s blog post highlights catchy email subject line ideas including:

   – It’s #GivingTuesday. Be a Hero.

   – Our #GivingTuesday Challenge for You

   – Stand Up to Trump on #GivingTuesday

And in today’s political environment with more and more people feeling their voice no longer counts, letting them know that they can vote with their philanthropic dollars may restore their faith in doing good. The right story can make donors feel they can still make an impact – right in their own community.

To help engage both existing and new donors:

 * Find the story that inspires donors to give in challenging times.

 * Make your pitch relevant to them by focusing on local benefits.

 * Keep the dialog going beyond the initial thank you.

 * Share data throughout the coming year to show their contribution is working.

One of the best resources I’ve found is a short free e-book entitled, How to Kick Butt & Take Names on #GivingTuesday, published by  For tips on building your campaign page to the use of color and the emotions they invoke, visit their website – e-book download button can be found at the bottom of their homepage.

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Filed under Donor Stewardship, Marketing, Non-Profit

Lions and Tigers and Added Revenue Streams – Oh My!

Following the opening of the Greater Cleveland Aquarium with its second floor event venue and the Cleveland Museum of Art’s renovation, complete with an open floor atrium also available for event rental, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo will join a growing number of area attractions that are finding innovative ways to draw visitors, while increasing revenue streams.


In Spring 2014, the zoo will unveil its recently commissioned carousel.  Located in Mansfield, OH, Carousel Works will create a swirling vision of 64 hand-carved animals mounted on a 54-foot (in diameter) platform. Arranged on the carousel by habitat, the animals will cover a range from the African grasslands to the tropical forests.


In keeping with the zoo’s mission, the endangered species themed carousel and surrounding area will promote education and conservation. With lion populations in Africa dropping to record lows, educating the next generation about the need for conservation of exotic animals worldwide couldn’t be more timely.


According to a Cleveland Metroparks Zoo press release, the Cleveland Zoological Society is committed to raising $2 million in private funds to cover the carousel’s construction and installation, as well as site preparation, slated to include a children’s play area. The zoo also hopes to build an event venue near the pavilion that will house the carousel.

To make a donation…

All images photographed by Pamela J. Willits at the Carousel Works. The carousel figures seen here were part of the Smithsonian National Zoo’s carousel, which opened in Washington, D.C. this past November.


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Filed under All Things Cleveland, Marketing, Non-Profit

E-Mail Blasts: Get Opened – Get Read

Pushing Content

I recently sat in on a Fundraising Success webinar presented by Michael Snusz, Internet Marketing Consultant for Blackbaud Engaging E-Mails: How to Get Past Filters, Get Opened and Get Read provides sound advice on turning your next e-mail blast into a successful fundraising campaign.

Get Your Subject Lines Noticed:                                                                                         

* Pique curiosity with interesting copy

* Convey urgency by including a deadline

* Avoid using special characters (#, &, etc) as these can trigger SPAM filters

* Make subject line mobile friendly – the first 30 characters are key to mobile technology

Generate Concise Content:

* Write short paragraphs

* Use bullet points

* Use bold and colored fonts for important phrases

* Use video screen shot image to increase click through rate – video can increase these rates 2 to 3 times

Personalize Your Content:

* Directly address the percentage of your constituency who attended your previous year’s event to increase click through rates to this year’s event info.

* Create separate paragraphs or sections within your e-mail to address specific audiences or interests of a particular group, be it volunteers or donors.

* As a university making an appeal to parents of students as well as alumni, call out individual benefits for each group.

* As a non-profit handling animal welfare issues, address “cat and dog people” as separate audiences.

Make Your Call To Action Compelling:

* Spell it out for your reader by using the words Take Action

* Create a link that tells them what, why, when or where – not just a generic Click Here link for more info

* Include your Call to Action Link early on and again at the bottom

Test Your E-mail’s Effectiveness:

* Send two different e-mails to 10-20% of your mail list, wait 2-3 days and then review metrics.

* Experiment with subject lines, call to action verbiage and landing pages, to see which yields a higher open and click through rate. Then send the highest response to your remaining list.

* Note which e-mail garners the greatest subscribe or unsubscribe rates.

Lastly, boost your SEO by adding a web-based version of all your e-mail blasts to your website. Search engines favor websites that continuously generate new content.

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Filed under Marketing