Resourcefulness, Not Resources. Start Fundraising Now.

If you’re running an association or non-profit, chances are raising money is already a big part of your yearly routine. Membership dues and donations are the lifeblood of your organization, and a crucial funding pipeline for day-to-day operations.

However, sometimes an opportunity to create lasting impact for your members arises, and you find yourself without the spare funds to make it happen. Running an effective grassroots or marketing campaign can incur a lot of unplanned expenses, but the good news is that this doesn’t have to be prohibitive. If you can develop a message that sells the benefit for your members, you can raise the money faster than you ever expected.

As I wrote in this blog post back in January, lacking financial resources is not your problem, resourcefulness is.  I interviewed expert fundraiser Clarenda Stanley-Anderson in this same blog post, and it’s a great place to start for anyone interested in raising money for their organization or special projects. Read it here now!

You have several options to raise the money you need. If your team is stretched thin, you could hire an outside fundraiser. There are many individuals out there that work for non-profits and associations that are willing to offer freelance consulting services.  Many firms, like Targeted Persuasion, also offer fundraising services for clients who need to raise money for other communications work.

Remember that not all fundraisers are alike and that you need a fundraiser with applicable experience. How they raised the money is just as important as how much. If you need cash fast to fund an imminent campaign, an expert grant writer probably isn’t going to do the trick.

The bottom line is this: don’t let current lack of funds dissuade you from investing in your organization’s future. If the campaign you want to fund is valuable to your stakeholders, you can find the funds. All you need is a good message, a strategy, and a little bit of time to make it all happen.

For more resources on fundraising efforts, visit the Association of Fundraising Professionals at www.afpnet.org. To find out how Targeted Persuasion can help you fund your next communications campaign, contact me at jeff@targetedpersuasion.com.

5 Email Marketing Services To Consider For Your Business

The market today is flooded with email marketing services. It can be difficult to figure out which would work best for your business, so we have put together an abbreviated list of email marketing services, highlighting what they’re best used for. Hopefully, our list of features will help you to decide which will be most useful for your business’s needs!

 

  1. Drip

Drip is one of the newer contenders in the email marketing space. It is a lighter weight program than the others on this list – you can integrate it with your website with just a few lines of code – and it starts at a low price. If you have under 100 subscribers, it’s free, and it can rise to $99+/month for the full featured version.

Drip’s main advantage is in its “if, then” rules. These offer a customized experience for every one of your subscribers. For example, say you run a business selling shirts. Your email has a section for men’s and women’s shirts. One of your subscribers clicks on the women’s shirts link. Now, Drip’s software can allow a follow-up reaction. If she clicks on women’s shirts, then she’ll get more emails from your women’s clothing department, allowing the marketing she receives to be more targeted.

Drip also allows for event tracking, meaning that it is capable of tracking when one of your subscribers takes a certain action. You can then tag them for later so you can market to them more intelligently. Other features offered are email capture, web analytics, and lead nurturing.

If you’d like a budget-friendly, lightweight email marketing service that has highly targeted marketing tools unlike those offered by any other company, Drip may be for you.

Standout Features:

  • Lightweight
  • “If, then” rules
  • Event tracking
  1. Constant Contact

Constant Contact is one of the industry heavyweights. It is easy to use and beginner friendly, and has easy to manage email lists, contact lists, and email templates available for your use.

Constant Contact also allows for email tracking, and it comes with built in social media tools. For example, if you send out an update about a new product you’re offering, there will be buttons for your subscribers to click so that they can engage and spread your message via a variety of social media platforms. Also built in is an image library populated with fair-use images, and you also get a whole gigabyte to store your files with Constant Contact.

Support options are good, with live chat, email, and community support. With the ease of use and built in storage and social tools, it may be a one-program solution to a small business’s email marketing needs.

Constant Contact offers a 60 day free trial, and it’s $20+/month after.

Standout Features:

  • Beginner friendly
  • Built in social media tools
  • Image library

 

  1. AWeber

AWeber is another heavyweight in the email marketing space. It has all the standard tools- email templates, list management, autoresponders, and email tracking.

Its main advantage, alongside its standard features, is its connective abilities with most other platforms that you may have used to build your website. WordPress is one example. You can create a pop-up for your website visitors allowing them to input their emails so they can get your newsletter. AWeber will use this information to populate a list of new subscribers. This is a great way to grow your subscriber base and get your message out to those who have asked to receive it.

AWeber offers good support, with live chat, phone, and email support, alongside free how-tos and tutorials. AWeber starts with a 30 day free trial, and is $19+/month afterward.

With its integrative capabilities and its standard marketing features, AWeber is best for small and medium businesses who rely on subscriber sign-ups to get business returns.

Standout Features:

  • Integration of other applications
  • Templates
  1. GetResponse

GetResponse is an email marketing service that is best for absolute beginners. It has a drag and drop builder to create campaigns, segment contacts, and to send content to specific groups. It also comes loaded with beautiful easy-to-use forms, landing pages, tracking, and autoresponders.

GetResponse also offers seamless integration with third party lead generation software such as Salesforce and ZenDesk. These tools will help beginners to optimize their sales toolkit, and will provide good initial returns on the small investment of $15+/month after the one month free trial.

Support, needless to say, is geared toward beginners, with phone support, live chat support, email support, and a comprehensive help section. If you’re a new business owner who has never done email marketing before, GetResponse is a great program to use.

Standout Features:

  • Drag and drop builder
  • Integration with lead generation software
  • Comprehensive support
  1. ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign is a robust email marketing service that combines email marketing with automation, CRM, and sales. If your goal is to upgrade to smarter email marketing campaigns, consider using ActiveCampaign.

ActiveCampaign includes an email template editor and mobile friendly sign up forms for your audience. You can segment contacts based on a number of criteria: actions, location, behavior, and social data. In addition, you’ll have unprecedented access to your subscribers’ information– ActiveCampaign allows you to fetch additional data on your contacts using only an email address.

If all this isn’t enough, ActiveCampaign also integrates with over 150 third party applications, including eCommerce tools and lead generation tools.

ActiveCampaign’s services start at $9/month, but can get quite high. If you have the money to spare on an aggressive marketing campaign that does the work for you, ActiveCampaign is perfect for your business.

Standout Features:

  • Combination email marketing, CRM, and sales
  • Mobile friendly
  • Contact segmentation
  • Fetch subscriber data
  • Integration with third party apps

From simple and lightweight to integrated with over 150 apps, the email marketing space is populated with a wide range of services catering to a wide range of needs. Hopefully our list has cleared up any confusion you had on which email marketing service is right for you!

Top 4 Tips to get Media Involved

Do you want to get free coverage for something your business is doing in the community? Have no idea how to approach news outlets? Check out these four easy tips for getting media involved with your event or story.

  1. Do your research.

You need to be informed about your local news outlets and reporters if you want to intelligently pitch stories. If you watch and read local news and keep an eye out for stories pertaining to your industry, you’ll gradually learn which reporters tend to cover stories like yours.

For example, your company repairs computers, and you’re having an event where community members can get their computers repaired cheaply. You watch the local news station three nights in a row and you identify one reporter who tends to have stories about technology. You know that this is the reporter that you should contact about your event, and you discovered that merely by watching and observing your local news station!

Another useful tip: set up Google news alerts for keywords in your industry. This saves you the time of doing research on a given topic and lets you know when issues that impact your industry are in the news. This way you can stay informed with little effort, get to know the reporters on issues you care about, and look for opportunities to engage.

  1. Set up a press contacts list.

You don’t want to be scrambling at the last minute when something newsworthy comes up. You want an index where you can easily find contacts to tell about your event. Creating a spreadsheet with press contacts for both print and TV news will do you a world of good.

You’ll want the newspaper editors’ names, emails, and phone numbers, as well as the name of the newspaper. It will also help to have the contact info for community calendars and general news desk email addresses.

For TV, you’ll need the news director and program director’s names, emails, phone numbers, and station name. It will also be helpful if you include a reporter’s info who is relevant to your industry.

  1. Offer photo opportunities.

For TV news, good visual are essential, and for newspapers, photos can do much to flesh out a story. When contacting reporters about your event, you’ll want to describe in detail what photo opportunities will be present.

In our computer business example, say you’ll have a raffle where you’ll give away a top-notch computer. You might describe what that would look like, so the reporter knows what kind of material they’ll be getting if they cover this event. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

  1. Send out a media advisory.

Media advisories will be easier for you to send out than press releases. These are shorter than press releases and simply give the information about the event to the news outlet. You should include any appearances by VIPs as well as the basic who, what, when, where, and why of the event.

Media advisories should be sent out to your best contacts three to five days before your event takes place to give the news outlet ample time to prepare, and so it will be fresh on their minds. Remember that media advisories are only to be used for newsworthy events!

Now that you know the top four ways to get media involved with events relating to your business, you’ll be able to get the free news coverage that will help to improve your reach in the community. Good luck out there!