“Raise Even More Together” conference recap | Professional Development for nonprofit professionals

I recently attended the “Raise Even More Together” virtual summit and it was an awesome conference for nonprofit professionals! I learned a lot and got some tangible tips I’ll be putting into practice for marketing, events, and stewardship! Here are my notes from the conference, in case they can help YOU as much as they helped me! I also recommend following the folks who put those sessions together. Sign up for newsletters and get all the goodness to your inboxes.

Top 10 tips for Fundraising with Facebook & Instagram advertising

Caroline Fothergill: https://www.carolinefothergill.com/ 

  1. Conversions should always be the campaign objective if you’re fundraising (specifically, donations)
  2. Get your tracking set up right BEFORE spending money on your campaign
    1. Facebook pixel, offline event tracking, E-Commerce tracking (in your google analytics, shows you how much money is coming from each campaign you have running)– helps assess ROI in real time
  3. Target lookalike audiences:
    1. I.e. your current donors >>>> target “more people like them”
    2. You can import your current donors email lists/contacts, etc. (ideal for around 1,000 + contacts for facebook to test from)
  4. Always layer in retargeting
    1. People NEED multiple asks
    2. 50% acquiring new people, 50% retargeting people
  5. Use Dynamic creative “on” feature
    1. This will automatically let you set up A/B testing, multiple campaign creative options without you having to specifically set that up. THen you can review the data directly from the dashboard.

–NOTE: has to be generic enough to mix and match with creative

  1. Use a mix of creative assets in EVERY campaign
    1. Different photos/videos.
    2. Always test at least two different assets (videos, carousels, headlines, etc. to see what drives more donations)
  2. Embrace automatic placements by Facebook (let them do the work!)
  3. Turn on campaign budget optimization
    1. Turn on lifetime budget, and let facebook decide the best way to get your conversions
  4. Add UTM tracking on every single ad
    1. This will let you see information in google analytics more easily (what info do you want to see in Google Analytics later?)
  5. If your Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) is lower than 3:1 PAUSE and PIVOT
    1. Give your campaigns 1 week – 1 month to learn better and provide best ROI.
    2. For every $1 you’re spending, you’re earning $3 back
    3. This is the most important metric to track when fundraising

You will learn by DOING campaigns — go get ‘em!

How to Pitch Your Nonprofit to a Podcast

“We Are for Good” podcast:  https://www.weareforgood.com/ 

Why podcast? 

  • Booming industry, FREE, lasting shareable content that is accessible to EVERYONE on multiple platforms.
  • Format allows for diverse content (talk about fundraising, your mission, specific stories/programs, partner features, etc.)
  • Start with your GOALS to inform your strategy
    • quantify them: grow your social media audience, bring in donors, increase # of guests at an upcoming event, etc.

How to pitch to a podcast?

For your pitch get your marketing lined out:

Who is the audience?

What is your goal for them?

What value are you bringing to those people (CTA must be powerful)

Search for Audience: find podcasts that match your demographic

Search on Google, search in podcast apps, search in ListenNotes

Search terms such as: Podcasts for women in their 30’s, Podcasts for early childhood education, etc.

Podcasts in Austin, Texas


Ask your audience/consumers: who are the thought leaders? Where do they get their news? ASk your board, your team, etc.!

Craft you pitch

  • Be sure to check out show notes and make sure you’re a good fit
  • Reach out to the right person (who is the gatekeeper?)
    • Look for direction on their website, find an email (hunter.io can be helpful for that!), search on LinkedIn (i.e. search for nonprofit podcast host, etc.), DM on social media (but don’t pitch there!)
  • If podcasting is a big part of your strategy/you are cultivating someone on your team as a thought leader/influencer:
  • Build your pitch:
  • How can we create a shared experience for their audience? WHat is the value add?
  • FREE WORKSHEET TO CRAFT YOUR PITCH: Weareforgood.com/pitch

ALSO — make your own podcast!

Starting your own podcast: Feature YOUR audience, stories of your donors + mission + Programs + impact: people will tune in!

The Content hack all ED’s need to raise more in 2021

Rachel Bearbower, small shop strategies: https://www.smallshopstrategies.com/ 

Activity: How are the ways you communicate with donors/general in your audience?


Social media


Personal emails

Phone calls


Ask yourself: What does a gift do for your org?

Makes our work possible

Connects us as a stronger community

Is your answer different than the answer your donor would say the gift is doing? YES.

How can you message them to what they think their money is good for?


  • Are you sharing the right message?
  • Are you getting the intended response?
  • Are you repeating the SAME message over and over again (or only once)

REMEMBER THE RULE OF 7: (new studies say 5 – 12 times)

-Someone needs to hear something 7 times before they take an action (don’t worry about donor fatigue!)

– Your donors/audience NEED that repetition (they don’t think about the work as much as you/they don’t “care” as much as you. They need to understand and think MORE about it to care.


  • Be repetitive in your core messaging, don’t share EVERYTHING (it’s too much, you will get no actions)
  • Only ask your audience to do one important thing at a time
  • What are your major goals over the next three months that you need action on from your audience (fundraising, building your email list, consistency on social media, etc.)
  • Each quarter you can identify 5 core messages to blast repetitively:
    • Examples:
    • (keep that digestible: Fighting Poverty = big; Helping families like Christina & Antonio have housing, etc. = relatable) — one family at a time, making Austin better for all families.
    • Use Clear actionable asks (make it urgent, actionable, and digestible/relatable)
    • Have EVERYONE and every platform reiterating these 5 identified core messages (podcast, social media, interviews, etc.)
  • The Other Golden Rule:
    • If you’re sick of hearing it, it might finally be sinking in for your audience!

How Video Emails Increase Donor Engagement and Contributions

Mark Miller, Historic Agency: https://historicagency.com/ 

Why video?

It will help you raise more money

It increases engagement and improves relationships

It increases open and click rates, increases conversion follow ups, increases probability of a second-time-gift

People like seeing your face, getting to know you better, and connecting with you and your mission

It works well during the pandemic & for long-distance relationships

Can be easily personalized

Creates a differentiated experience from YOUR org to OTHER orgs folks are engaged with

You can share MORE impact through video: here;s an impact video, meet this program director, etc. (better than just a link in an email)

What do you need to be more successful?

Note: Videoask is a messaging and survey tool

What to use video emails for?

Make video email’s subjects stand out:

Example subjects: Did you see this video?/ Have a minute to check out this video?/ [DONOR NAME] xxxxxx

Format the email like this:

Include in your video:

  • Video thumbnails can be personalized GIF’s that you make (holding a sticky note with a donor name, or something cute like that)

VIDEOASK is a good website integration for most platforms.

Next steps

1/28 sessions

Delight your donors with social, emails and ads they’ll love

Cameron Bartlett | https://www.cambartlett.com/ 

You’re relying way more on digital this year — are you doing it right though?

On his website cambartlett.com: “How to make your fundraising way easier!”, + templates and ideas,etc.

Don’t worry about posting everyday and setting rhythms (with posting timelines, newsletters, etc.)

Just focus on posting THE BEST stuff, not everything

Best posts for engagement are often CELEBRATION POSTS (celebrate with your donors)


What you always have to reach your audience is STORIES. USE your stories. Don’t just celebrate end goals (i.e. an education graduation) — talk about the journey along the way, and what happens “beyond” graduation. The journey is long, and there’s worthy stories all along the way.

You don’t need super high quality photos and videos to celebrate — any content is good.

Make sure you are celebrating “WITH” them; put the focus on them, because of them this is possible.

How to get your audience to respond to the stories in your social posts?

 Idea: Add a word over the photo so folks know to stop the scroll and read the relevant story (for example for their breaking news posts they used “BREAKING”, or “100 arrests”, “5 girls rescued” overlaid); additionally teein up the post story with a 1-sentence synopsis of what to expect: “We reached a major milestone this week!”

What works:

  1. Always test and learn from your social posts/content
    1. Look through your feed, what got the most engagement? What connected them? Style of post, tagging, style, etc.
    2. DO the same thing for posts that aren’t working to rule those out
    3. Repeat this with your newsletters — what worked over the last year, what didn’t?
  2. Thank your donors/call them out specifically: YOU did this.
    1. Celebrate your donors, it makes them stop and read change the “we” to “YOU”
    2. Celebrating donors leads to more engagement

How to create an engaging virtual event

Positive Equation consulting (based in ATL) | https://positiveequation.com/ 

  1. Impact goals = the $$ you need to fund X program/Need
    1. I.e. We want to raise $100,000 to support our 3 main programs (and then you can have smaller goals/designations within that)
    2. Sharing these goals makes the impact tangible for donors/messaging around the event
  2. Then you can think through format that matches that goal
    1. Have you asked your supporters what kind of event they’d like to participate in? (go outside of your team and board of directors — they don’t necessarily know)
      1. Social Media poll
      2. Email survey
      3. Livestream
    2. Types of event formats might be:
  1. Remember there are different platforms that allow for creative events (like Remo: allows for networking, entertainment, live streaming, and then donations at the end)
  2. Will donations be a key part, or is the event simply celebratory and engaging with your audience/followers?
  3. Example of a ticketed, live stream, series event: “Serving up Smiles at home” (allows sponsors, folks buy a ticket and receive an email with the activity they will be participating in: mixology, dinner making, featuring a local expert). Brings a small group of people together for an activity, raises a little bit of money, and cultivates relationships/donors/future donors. (can include short presentations by members of your org to tie it in)
  4.  Example of great peer-to-peer fundraising is Movember campaigns
  5. How to select the right platform?
    1. Make sure to involve your sponsors in the creative process
      1. Sponsoring events is super valuable for companies; it helps them demonstrate their corporate values/responsibilities, and entices other followers to buy/use their products AND to want to work for that company as well. (explain your impact goal to sponsors!)
      2. Creative ways to engage them:
        1. IMPORTANT to base your sponsorship levels on your impact goals:
          1. Consider revising the “old” sponsorship packages to make them more actionable. Then it makes the ask more tangible for companies. “Hey will you cover 10 trial fees for children? It costs 10,000”
      3. RUN OF SHOW:
          1. Try NOT to do a fully pre-taped event. Have at least some of the event be live. It lets you engage in real time with the attendees.
          2. Ensure you have clear roles and responsibilities

Here is a Run of Show template (google sheet) available for $5: https://positiveequation.com/virtual-event-run-of-show-template-for-nonprofits 

Fix your posture: how to cultivate true community partnerships

Connecting the cause (ATL) | https://www.connectingthecause.com/ 

Storytelling: your subjects need to know that them sharing their story will actually impact and effect the work of the nonprofit. Their story will make change and inspire.

Stories come from relationship building, developing trust, and INVOLVING your subjects in the work.

Shift from positioning yourself as a data gatherer (I just collect the stories) to ALSO being a member of the community. “We’re in this together. It’s OUR community.”

Truly mean what you say, and speak with truth. Have you sought input from your community on your solutions? Are your solutions informed by actual NEEDS? Are you accountable for how well the programs are doing? Do you evaluate and shift if things aren’t effective for your community. Tell transparent stories about these journeys.

Think of yourself as being in community, instead of simply reporting about the community. Be connected through your community. (the idea of observer vs. doer). It’s important to steward the community relationships, so that you can also build trust with donors and so community members can support donor communities that impact them. 

Can you keep your annual reports and grant reports OPEN and transparent, use them as “receipts” to the community: here’s what we learned, here’s what we’re doing.

Virtual event tips from a virtual event planner

REVENT |  https://revent.consulting/ 

  1. Find the right virtual home for your event (there are so many platforms)
    1. What is the format? Lecture style or interactive? Age of audience: younger or older? Public or private event?
      1. Some options are: Whova, CVENT, CTC, event.gives, Remo, IBM Watson Media, Zoom, VIMEO live, You Tube live, Social 27, PGi, Blue Jeans, etc.
    2. What is your purpose? Fundraising, education, networking, highly interactive, or 1-way speaking format → Let this goal dictate your platform
    3. What is your budget? Let that inform your choice too, of course
  2. Burn-out remedy. Too much screen time is causing burn-out.
    1. We’re all sick of virtual meetings and events. How can we minimize it so our attendees stay focused on the event?
    2. Studies show that after 47 minutes, you lose people. Make your appeal/CTA happen in the first 20 minutes of your event. 
    3. If it’s over 1-hour, you NEED to build in a break. They’ll be more likely to stay with you for the whole time.
    4. Give them an activity every 10-15 minutes (something to click on, type in, something to do so they can stay engaged)
      1. Polling questions are a low lift for this
      2. Chat box → encourage them to interact there
      3. Get your attendees up and moving (have them stand, do the wave, etc.)
  3. Step up your technology
    1. Connection: Ensure you have a strong WiFI connection. Ensure that your speakers have GOOD lighting. AND have a good microphone.
    2. Production: Utilize tech to add lower thirds, have a more “produced” event
      1. Wirecast (makes a webcam connection feel more polished)
      2. Restream (local! I know them!)
    3. Upgrade: upgrade your speakers webcam. Don’t use the built in one.
      1. Hd1080p webcam (like $50 and a HUGE jump in quality)
      2. Upgrade your platform from zoom to make it different!
    4. SimLive:
      1. Pre-record, but push it out as live
      2. THEN you can switch to the speaker for live Q&A, but keeps the speaking portion high-quality
    5. Multi-cast solution
      1. For public events, don’t limit yourself to one platform → make it broadly accessible
      2. So you can stream on Facebook, youtube, linkedin, instagram, etc ALL AT ONCE!
      3. You can use ReStream (other options too)

How to kick off your monthly giving program

Jess Campbell | Out in the Boons (organizer of this virtual summit!)  https://www.outintheboons.me/ 

  1. Monthly giving allows you to do low-lift ongoing donations!
  2. Lifetime value of a monthly donor is 9x a one-time gift
  3. 52% of millennials prefer monthly giving
  4. It’s easy for people, and more money for you!

How to get started NOW?

  1. NAME YOUR MONTHLY GIVING PROGRAM (do not call it “monthly giving”
    1. examples:
    2. Make it a COMMUNITY that folks can be a part of
    3. Build community around the name
  2. Create exclusive benefits for your monthly giving program
      1. Example: Charity Water invites monthly visitors to a quarterly zoom call with the Leadership Team sort of a “state of the union” connection call
      2. What are 2-3 things that ONLY monthly givers could have access to that NO ONE else can?
    1. Create an invitation to join — what does the entry point look like?
      1. The most effective time to ask is immediately following a 1-time gift
      2. What does the first welcome email/sequence/thank you look like for first time givers?
      3. Revise what you currently have in place to steward these 1st time donors to be recurring givers — wow them with an invitation for the monthly giving (NAMED!) program

Learn from an expert: “The Sustainer Society” By Jess Campbell is an 8-week program you can join to set up your monthly giving program for success!


The Biggest Mistakes in Nonprofit Marketing + the Fix

Racheli Edelkopf, Pedal Coaching | https://www.thepedal.co/ 

  1. You’re self-centered (you’re marketing is!)
  2. Why do you follow accounts on social media?
    1. It adds value to your life
    2. Why should folks follow your nonprofit account? They maybe already value your work, but they don’t want to see “your journey” unless it adds value to their life
  3. How can we build a larger community to spread our message and bring real value to their feeds
    1. Identify your ideal audience (your most viable people).
      1. Folks who share your values, location, etc.
      2. To identify them, look at your most loyal supporters, donors, volunteers, etc. What do they have in common? What shared values and interests do they have? Cater your content to THESE kinds of people, to attract more of them. Target look-a-like audiences like THOSE people!
    2. What unique value can you provide to those people?
    3. Who else is an org like you? Look at your value vs. their’s. See what sets you apart from them.
    4. You’ll know your content works when:
      1. It furthers your cause (fundraising, drawing dollars down, recognized at thought leader, getting families connected to services like high-quality pre-K), etc.
    5. How can you bring value to your audience?
      1. Be sure to audit your account to see what kinds of content seem to bring value based on metrics/analytics (what performed well in the past?)
        1. People love to learn something new quickly, easily. Makes them feel smarter and more plugged in.
          1. Ex: 3 ways to support friends with mental health
        1. Success stories, quotes, heartfelt stories
        1. Relatable meme’s, GIF’s that are relevant to your organization
          1. Depends if it’s on-brand for you
        1. They care about your mission, so promote things at your org that will bring value. (volunteer events, updates on successes we did together, etc.)
  4. Fun stat: People instantly forget over 90% of the ads they see (posts, emails, etc.)
    1. Wear your consumer hat as a creator: what would make you stop the scroll? You have a millisecond to attract their attention when they are scrolling.
    2. What would make you engage?
      1. Immediate value, curiosity, or both!
      2. Example: 3 ways to help a friend struggling with mental health (if your ideal audience is passionate about mental health care, this is something they would want to be informed about — they’ll stop scrolling!)
    3. SHOW UP AUTHENTICALLY ALL OF THE TIME, not just at your fundraising events.
      1. Show your face 
        1. — humanize your organization
      2. Show your impact 
        1. — After raising money, come back and show what you’re doing with that money. What are their donations being used for? IT will encourage them to donate more later. “My $20 donation at Christmas is helping buy books for pre-K kids” (or whatever!)
      3. Share highs and lows
        1. Share about struggles your org is having as well. Tell them how you’re navigating. It builds trust and empathy. Then they will trust and care about your HIGHS and wins as well.
      4. Show social proof
        1. We’ll trust folks in our network, or other “real” people more over organizations. 
          1. Can you screenshot and share donations that are rolling in, comments you receive, feedback, testimonials, etc. SHARE THIS WITH YOUR AUDIENCE! It will make them care about your work more.

Creative outreach marketing tactics

Alnierys Venegas, i work nonprofit | http://iworknonprofit.com/ 

Outreach marketing:

Reaching out to people to tell your story (across the spectrum of audiences)

The 3G’s strategies:

  1. Geofencing Advertising
    1. Target ads by areas related to your content
    2. How to set it up for your google Ads
  2. Grassroots Marketing
    1. Targetting super niche group of folks for message targeting (social media is a big proponent, and storytelling is very effective)
  3. Garnering Corporate Partnerships
    1. Cause marketing that targets corporations with social responsibility

Why apply these ideas to your work?

Acquiring donors online in 2021

Michelle Williams, With Purpose Consulting | https://www.withpurposeconsulting.com/ 

  1. Be direct: tell donors what you need money for — what program, how much does it cost, what will it do for the community, how much do you have left to reach your goal?, etc.
  2. Host hybrid events (in the future) — not just in person!
    1. Livestream your events
    2. Make recordings available for folks who can’t make it
  3. Make  giving as easy as you possibly can
    1. Keep donation links accessible and obvious on social and in emails
    2. Bit.ly is great for branding, shortening, and making links more obvious 
  4. Get current donors involved
    1. Ask them to spread the word about their experiences with your org — they can share their “why”
    2. Ask them if YOU can share their “why” for storytelling purposes
    3. Give them a specific ask “we’re raising$10K for xxxxxx, will you help us in these specific ways?”
  5. Show impact as often as you can
    1. If your audience sees the impact that OTHERS are helping make, it will make them want to help too
    2. Share photos, celebrate support from those who made it possible, etc.
    3. Be specific: Because you helped us raise $10K, we accomplished xxxxxxx

7 Must-Haves for Your Website

Lauren Atherton, HeartSpark Design | https://heartsparkdesign.com/ 

Let your website do the work for you! It works while you rest.

The pattern of folks looking at your homepage is “Z” shaped

The opening section of your site is the most important

Here are the 7 most important things:

  1. Cohesive style
    1. This will capture and keep your visitors attention
    2. Let’s people know your nonprofit is professional and trustworthy
    3. Design should look great on all devices and browsers (responsive design)
  2. A compelling header
    1. Prime real estate, the most important part of your site (what is “above the fold”)
  3. A clear call to action
    1. Be pushy, tell people what to do next: it needs to be in the main navigation and repeated on your homepage
    2. It needs to give your visitor a “next step”
    3. Make it easy for people to support you
  4. A power paragraph
    1. Tells website visitors why your work matters and is worth supporting
    2. Lives right below the headers section
    3. Keep it simple and use hard facts
  5. Add transformational stories
    1. Demonstrate how your organization changes lives
    2. Should include short story, photos, and videos (these stories should be repurposed all over and all around)
    3. Keep your stories SIMPLE! It doesn’t have to be someone’s life story.
      1. What was life life before your org’s help, how did you help, and now what is life like?
  6. Add newsletter sign up
    1. People will opt in!
    2. It’s a direct line to supporters and folks who are interested even if they haven’t participated yet
    3. Makes people feel like an insider
    4. Keeps your nonprofit top of mind
  7. Search Engine Optimization
    1. Sets your website up to be discovered by keywords
    2. Directs folks to your site without you having to do anything

https://heartsparkdesign.com/webchecklist/ ^^^^ Free checklist here

I hope some of this information is as helpful for you, as it is for me!

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