Author Archives: Lindsey Talerico-Hedren

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Souls Harbour Rescue Mission – 2,668 nights of shelter

Souls Harbour Rescue Mission 6th annual Homelessness Awareness Week raises awareness and 2,668 nights of shelter ($66,877) for Regina’s homeless

SHRM - case study 1The challenge

Create and execute a social awareness and fundraising component for Souls Harbour Rescue Mission’s (SHRM) unique 6th annual Homelessness Awareness Week campaign in conjunction with their 25th Anniversary.

As SHRM’s first large-scale social media effort, prove that social media coupled with email marketing can successfully create added awareness for the Mission and contribute toward the campaign goal of raising 2,500 nights of shelter ($62,200) in celebration of 25 years of providing hope to the homeless, hungry and hurting in Regina.

Russ Reid solution

Integrated social media strategy aimed to spread mass local awareness of the campaign and call-to-action by:

  • Deploying Facebook, Twitter and email to drive reach of the campaign message and fundraising response to the campaign site nightsofshelter.com
  • The creation and use of integrated ‘Nights of Shelter’ creative to support campaign recognition across digital channels
  • Sharing the personal experience of “homeless Joe” from the rooftop of the Mission through real-time updates in his own voice
  • Proposing and leveraging a social action partnership to inspire viral word-of-mouth for greater awareness and response. SHRM acquired this partnership with the local Saskatoon office of the global engineering company Stantec.

Russ Reid delivered:

  • Full social media strategy, content plan, and management during the campaign
  • Real-time co-developed content in collaboration with Joe and SHRM
  • Social advertising strategy and management on Facebook
  • An integrated campaign e-Appeal
  • Integrated digital creative for nightsofshelter.com, shrmsk.com, Facebook ads, and the email appeal

Objectives for this week-long campaign included:

  • 2,500 nights of shelter raised ($62,200)
  • 2,500 hashtag mentions of #Stantec4thehomeless

Outcome

SHRM - case study 2The 6th annual Homelessness Awareness Week campaign exceeded its goal of 2,500 nights of shelter raising 2,688 nights of shelter ($66,877). In addition, the social campaign experienced an all time high in social engagement and reach for SHRM:

  • reaching 116,815 people on Facebook; acquiring 2,662 content consumers; engaging 10,368 users
  • virally gaining 10,070 post likes from people talking about the campaign on Facebook; 257 shares
  • acquiring 90,634 impressions of @Souls_Harbour tweets alone; 2,749 Twitter engagements; 801 retweets

In social partnership with Stantec, the hashtag #Stantec4thehomeless acquired $3 for every Twitter mention received during the 5-day campaign up to $7,500 (or 301 nights of shelter). The goal of 2,500 mentions was reached on day 3; a total of 2,679 Twitter hashtag mentions were achieved from August 24-28; mentions continued weeks following the campaign.

Significantly, major local well-knowns became aware of the hashtag campaign and encouraged their followers to retweet including:

  • SHRM - case study 3Premier of Saskatchewan @PremierBradWall (61k followers)
  • @ReginaPolice (47.5k followers)
  • Social media maven @FeistyFrugal (41k followers)
  • Local entertainment companies, brands and personalities @ReginaDowntown (10k followers), @SaskMusic (6.5k followers), @RustieDean (My921Regina morning host, 4.5k Followers), @BigDog927Regina (7k followers), @SaskRealtors (4.5k followers)
  • @Stantec also mentioned the campaign several times (14.5k followers)

SHRM’s most successful nights of shelter campaign to date and highly successful social media effort raising more awareness than ever before, the 6th annual Homelessness Awareness Week campaign exceeded every goal from nights of shelter/revenue to social media actions set forth in campaign planning. Russ Reid is especially honored to have been so involved in this campaign from strategy to execution and celebration of a major success for Souls Harbour Rescue Mission!


For additional information on this campaign or how Russ Reid can help your nonprofit grow beyond, contact Andrew Olsen (CFRE, Vice President).

Ideas for growing your email list

By Russ Reid Digital. This post is part of Russ Reid’s summer resource series. Thanks to one of our Missions partners for recommending this digital tip topic.

Non-profit email lists churn (or experience list attrition) at a rate of about 13-14% a year (source: 2014 eNonprofits Benchmark Study, M+R). Churn includes unsubscribes, bounces, and people who’ve overall stopped seeing your emails because they no longer check the email account you have on file, or your emails are being delivered to their bulk/span folder. Ensuring list growth outpaces list churn is key to ensuring your email list continues to grow.

Ideas for email list growth

Robust Digital Acquisition program – $$,$$$ (but generates a direct donation, not just an email address). We’ve found that one of the single most important factors in email file growth is the health and scale of the digital acquisition program. Acquisition of new donors via digital and integrated channels (where an email is required as part of the donation process) generates the best possible email file, in that these donors are already predisposed to give online, and provide high-quality email addresses in the course of their first transaction. Nothing can equal this approach in terms of building a valuable donor file that is reachable by email in the context of an integrated strategy.

Incentivized email capture: $$$ – $,$$$. Instead of simply asking for an email address, provide the responder an incentive to provide one. This could be an electronic document about hunger or homelessness in your area, a link to engaging video content, or other such content. The idea is to package content and present it in the form of a gift to a responder when they provide your organization with their email address. Promote this offer using light boxes that appear when it seems a visitor is preparing to leave the site, or in static site-wide sign-up fields that appear as part of the site’s footer. Where you might see incentivized email capture regularly used? When email is a required field before downloading a free white paper.

Lead-generation campaign – $,$$$-$$,$$$. Lead generation focuses on acquiring high quality prospects through the targeting of media and messaging. In a current lead generation campaign Russ Reid has developed from strategy to execution for a national partnership of alumni, we will deploy an expansive media effort (including search, display, social, and radio) driving engagement with key messages to fulfill response on a highly engaging campaign microsite. The single aim is conversion of leads (acquiring new email addresses for donor cultivation).

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 12.26.44 PMFacebook “sign up” call to action button – no cost. All non-profit Facebook Pages have the ability to customize your “call-to action” button (placed in your Cover Image on desktop, and as a bar below the Cover Image on mobile). Several options for the call to action button are available but only a few helpful to nonprofits. One such option is “Sign up” (another option is Donate Now if you’ve already joined Facebook’s Donate tools for non-profits agreement). To edit your call to action button, an administrator of your Page must be logged in to Facebook: 1) Go to your Page, 2) where your CTA button currently is placed in the Cover Image, click the carrot/down arrow to “Edit button”, 3) Select “Sign Up” and include the click destination where users should land on your site to sign up for email, 4) Test and save.

generic_website_card_no_callouts-screenshotUse free Twitter website cards – no cost. Although only available through a Twitter ads account, Twitter website cards are free to create and use. Twitter website cards use utilize an ad-like format to promote a page on your website with the aim to grow site traffic and/or drive specific on-site actions (such as donations or email list subscription). Login or register via ads.twitter.com to create free website cards for your tweets.

Social advertising – $$-$$,$$$. Email list building campaigns can be created with social advertising on all your top used social channels — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. As social advertising has grown in recent years, hyper-targeting abilities have improved including custom audiences and retargeting making social a highly effective and lost cost channel for lead generation of any kind.

Collect email addresses at offline events and activities – no cost. From your annual Gala to Marathon events to welcoming volunteers on a daily basis, collecting the email address of those interested or engaging with you is a free and quality way of growing your email list. Next step: Email strategy to engage these segmented audiences well.

Ensure email capture is a predominate component of the response device. Whether your direct mail response device or your online donation page, ensuring email is a required field for donor response is key to ensuring your email list experiences quality growth of those already giving to you.

E-appends – relatively inexpensive, typically produces a positive ROI. In many cases, a non-profit’s largest list is their direct mail file with a donor’s first name, last name and postal address as the most common known donor information. An e-append involves taking this known donor information and matching it against a third-party vendor’s database to obtain the email address matching the other known donor data. E-appending is then used to reach your current print list through their matched email addresses. What else to know?

  • E-appending grows your email list with a secondary aim to reach donors, who ordinarily receive print communication, through digital means. This may be the right move for your organization if email average gift is higher than that of DM, email conversion rates beat DM, digital long-term donor value is greater, etc.
  • Success is dependent on the quality of both the starting list by the nonprofit and the vendor’s database
  • Guaranteeing data security of your donor’s personal information and their donation information is vital to the e-append process.
  • Russ Reid has conducted a multitude of e-appends with our partners. Average match rate is roughly 30-35% growing email lists by thousands to hundreds of thousands. Key to our strategy is then reaching newly appended recipients with acknowledgement communication, re-engaging lapsed donors, influencing response through trust building and conversion to sustainers.
  • Pricing is based on a match per record.

Network co-registration – $$,$$$ starting; can be costly, but grows lists fast. Co-registration is an upsell to visitors of a site within a publisher’s network who are interested in opting-in to receive additional offers or promotions from advertisers. With one simple step (a checkbox) an advertiser is granted ability to communicate with that user. Because the user is already in a mindset of granting initial permission to the advertiser, they are generally more willing to grant additional permission especially if they feel they will benefit from it. What else to know?

  • Co-registration is an effective tactic to provide steady list growth but requires excellent digital strategy to cultivate and convert these prospects into donors. Prospects acquired through co-registration are likely unfamiliar with your organization and can quickly forget they’ve opted in to hearing from you.
  • Risk: Prospects might provide fictitious email addresses.
  • Russ Reid has leveraged network co-registration to help our partners obtain more than 20,000 email addresses in the span of two months.
  • Cost can range from $0.50 to $1.00 per email with a minimum $10,000 order.

Ideas for diminishing attrition…

Highly engaging and phenomenal email content. It should come as no surprise that creating engaging, thoughtful and useful email content is the #1 way to keep your email recipients interested in receiving your e-communications. Frequency, messaging, and email type are all factors of importance weighing your recipient’s decision to unsubscribe.

Donor impact reporting. Reporting back to your donors with stories and real-life examples of how their donation and actions are making a difference for those you serve is a requirement of good marketing. Building in emails throughout the year that focus specifically on the stewardship and donor impact message must be built in to your email plan. Not sure where to start or want to explore some new, creative ideas for how to execute this message? Talk to us!

Writing for the audience. It’s important to consider segmenting your email list into groups (such as previous donors, new donors, monthly givers, high spenders, etc.) so that each individual’s email content can be personalized to be more effective. The key to good email communication is keeping the messaging short, compelling and relevant to the audience. To be relevant, each email should speak as personally as possible to the recipient so that they feel really known and connected to the organization.

Next, see more Tips in Digital >>


To connect with Russ Reid Digital and learn more about our Digital expertise and services, contact Andrew Olsen (CFRE, Vice President at Russ Reid) or Steve Harrison (Senior Vice President at Russ Reid).

Submit an idea for our next Digital tip or Other tips in fundraising. Tweet us your idea at @RussReidAgency.

Major Donor Messaging

By: Robbin Gehrke, Russ Reid SVP, Creative Insights & Integration

How to acknowledge and treat major donors specially

As a major donor myself, I believe in supporting our clients as well as a few other nonprofits whose work I admire. I’ve also supervised creative for Major Donor campaigns for more than 15 years.

So I know that to maximize your giving opportunities with Major Donors, you need to develop a personal relationship of some kind with them. Some major donors truly appreciate face-to-face interaction. Others will sincerely appreciate the gesture, but won’t take you up on this.

But all Major Donors are happy to get regular thank you notes and personalized updates on how their gifts are making a difference.

High-touch personalization is key to your relationship. Whether your message is a thank you letter, an update, or a campaign, you should leverage any relevant data or information you have about the donor’s giving or interests. Most Major Donors simply want to feel that you appreciate what they’ve done to help. A little affirmation goes a long way.

For example, you might begin a thank you letter with personalized affirmation, such as:

Janet, your gift of love made a lifesaving difference. You may not remember the day  last December when you reached out to help provide food for suffering people/families with your amazing gift of $10,000.

But THEY will never forget your kindness. Nor will we.

On behalf of everyone you’ve helped over your 15 years with us, we also want to thank you again for all the heartfelt gifts you’ve given to save hurting people from etc. You may even be surprised to know that since (date) you’ve donated $00,000 to etc. Your caring heart is an inspiration to all of us here at XXXXX.

Personal touches, like handwriting a thank you card or a short note at the top of a letter, and hand-signing your name, are other simple ways to help build a bond, especially with donors who aren’t interested in a face-to-face relationship.

If you don’t know the donor personally,you may want to ask them whether they prefer to be addressed with the formal “Dear Mr. and Mrs. Last Name” or just their first name(s)—especially with older donors (75+) or corporate donor contacts. Most baby boomers are used to being addressed by their first name, because almost all emails use the first name. And please, make sure you have the spelling correct.

And since many Major Donors tend to give their largest gifts at the end of the year, be careful about asking them for the same level of gift throughout the rest of the year, except at year-end. It’s best to suggest different levels, but leave the personal ask open.  Most major donors are not exceptionally wealthy. They just believe in the power—and joy—of giving to help others less fortunate.

Major donors also appreciate—and respond best—to campaigns that recognize the donor’s desire to make a significant impact. These campaigns typically have:

  • An urgent, compelling need they can help solve
  • An innovative solution. Something you can position as a new way to serve your clients or a cutting-edge program. (I.e., not just a higher ask for the same offers you send to regular or lower-level middle donors.)
  • Creative that leverages highly personalized mail, email, and phone calls, with multiple touch-points.

But somewhere prominent in the campaign—especially in the first mailing and of course on the phone call, you’ll want to acknowledge your appreciation for the specific ways they have helped your cause in the past.


Talk more Major Donors and Major Gifts programs with Russ Reid. Contact Andrew Olsen (CFRE, Vice President at Russ Reid) or Steve Harrison (Senior Vice President at Russ Reid).

More resources like this:

  • Register for the June 30th Webinar – Major gifts: The nuts and bolts of a successful Major Gifts programOrganizing your Major Gift/Major Donor efforts, keeping track of activities, and measuring success are all critical elements of a great Major Gifts program. But how do you start? Join our Director of Client Data Services Elina Gorelik to learn how to build your pipeline, manage your prospect portfolio, track prospects’ progress, and know the key reports to keep you sane, organized and successful. Thursday, June 30 – 10:00 AM PST. Register for this webinar >>
  • Webinar recording “Major donors: Mastering the ask”. They say the fear of asking for money ranks right up there with fear of death and public speaking. Russ Reid’s Karen Erren walks through how to navigate the “ask” with confidence! Come away with clear understanding of why we ask for money, the steps to take prior to the “ask,” and how to ensure the answer is Yes! Access the webinar recording >> 
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Atlanta Community Food Bank – 5 x email revenue

Atlanta Community Food Bank improves fall email revenue by 22% YoY; achieves 5x revenue growth with a replacement three-send series

The challengeACFB giving tuesday 2015

Reassess seasonal and per-send email plans for Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB) to identify strategic, creative, and messaging improvements with an aim to increase campaign revenue YoY.

ACFB’s fall email plans traditionally include a Thanksgiving series, a Gift Catalog series, and Year-End fundraising emails. In reviewing fall 2014 email performance in preparation for fall 2015, Russ Reid partnered with ACFB to improve ACFB’s seasonal email revenue and specifically in early December.

Russ Reid solution

Strategic improvements to ACFB’s fall 2015 email plan included (with individual assessment per email send):

  • Improved creative and copy to highlight the offers with clarity
  • Emphasis placed on localization of stories and photos where appropriate
  • Call-to-action labels updated
  • Emphasis on appeal “urgency” when influential

The most significant of strategic improvements to the fall 2015 email plan was a complete replacement of 2014’s three-send Gift Catalog series to a #GivingTuesday email campaign leveraging the three sends on key dates Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and #GivingTuesday. Based on 2014 Fall Gift Catalog email performance, this recommendation was twofold: 1) An aim for exponentially greater income from this three-send series deployed after Thanksgiving, and 2) the advantage of #GivingTuesday fundraising via email as Russ Reid has experienced with other partners.

Russ Reid delivered:

  • Email strategy from start to execution for this new replacement series
  • #GivingTuesday consultation and encouragement for a matching gift
  • Email assets for ACFB deployment

Objectives for this three-send #GivingTuesday series included:

  • Improve email performance metrics
  • Improve email revenue from 2014’s three-send Gift Catalog series ($7,050)
  • An overall campaign goal of $30,000 (plus a $30,000 matching gift from Medlytix) to provide 120,000 meals for hungry Georgians

Outcome

ACFB raised $137,676 in email revenue in fall 2015 – an increase of $24,918 from fall 2014.

The three-send (five-day) #GivingTuesday campaign raised $35,361 (revenue sourced from email only) – achieving extraordinary growth over 2014’s Gift Catalog email series:

  • Raised 5x the revenue of 2014’s Gift Catalog email series
  • Improved email open rate from 12.83% to 16.45%
  • Improved number of email actions taken from 72 to 227, improving the action rate from 0.05% to 0.18%
  • $126,933 in total #GivingTuesday campaign revenue

Fall 2015’s total email revenue alone provided 550,704 meals to feed hungry Georgians – nearly 100,000 more meals than raised from fall 2014 emails.

Russ Reid continues to evaluate ACFB’s seasonal and per-send email plans and have achieved even greater revenue improvements in spring 2016.

ACFB-email case study


For additional information on this campaign or how Russ Reid can help your nonprofit grow beyond, contact Andrew Olsen (CFRE, Vice President).

3 useful digital tactics to boost Summer fundraising

By: Scott VanderLey, Russ Reid V.P. Digital

Digital growth through the Summer lull

The summer months are a relatively lean fundraising season, and this fact has caused charities to try out a variety of campaigns and strategies over the years to boost Summer giving.

With digital’s growing centrality to nonprofit fundraising efforts, the question also arises: what web-based strategies and tactics should be in the mix to boost support during the Summer? To wit, a few ideas:

Real needs, real footage

Arguably the best approach to Summer fundraising is to focus on real, urgent challenges that the summer months bring.  Is the July heat a growing danger for your clients experiencing homelessness?  This should be your focus.  Are children more vulnerable to chronic hunger in the months they don’t receive school lunches?  That’s a powerful reason to ask donors to get involved. 

What digital adds to this equation is crucial: a timely communication stream with rich content that proves the need beyond any shadow of a doubt.  A video or slideshow, placed prominently on your website and promoted with quick-hitting email, text alerts and social posts, can trigger donor response in a way that words on a page cannot hope to match. 

The three-month commitment… digitized

This short-term pledge approach is a time-honored tactic for “Summer slump” fundraising.  Alerting donors to the fact that giving slows during the Summer, the charity asks them to make an advance three-month commitment near the beginning of the summer to help cover unmet and critical needs.

Making this same appeal via digital is actually more donor-friendly; rather than sending a lump payment up front or remembering to send follow-up checks, donors can fill out a single form and have their credit card charged for the three payments.  This also ensures a greater return for the charity, since fulfillment is assured. Moreover, it allows the use of proven web-based sustainer tactics to cross-promote the special commitment, including mid-conversion lightbox treatments and takeover pages.

No better time for optimization

The Summer months are an important time to emphasize the testing of different page versions to increase website conversion rate, commonly known as conversion optimization.  Gaining learnings from such tests – which can provide site conversion boosts of 25% or more – in the Summer months won’t increase Summer giving substantially.  But what it does is far more valuable: These test results, applied to your Fall and holiday efforts, will exponentially increase revenue gain during the peak giving season. 

Next, read “Why Summer is the season for building trust in social media” >>


We’d love to talk more about conversion optimization, Summer digital fundraising and how to take leaps in social media this Summer. To connect with Russ Reid Digital, contact Andrew Olsen (CFRE, Vice President at Russ Reid) or Steve Harrison (Senior Vice President at Russ Reid).

More resources like this:

Why Summer is the season for building trust in social media

By: Lindsey Talerico-Hedren, Russ Reid Digital Strategist – Content & Social

Summer social media focus: Build trust

A long, long time ago social media existed for the non-profit marketing purpose equivalent to an add-on, or an extra touch to a marketing plan or campaign… a way to reach a “younger” audience and only a younger audience.

Today, social media exists for so much more. In fact, social media (with the right strategy and consistent execution) can play an influential role in your marketing… so influential that it’s key role is to inspire action from your supporters, donors and volunteers. Action that results in donations, upgraded giving preferences, or word of mouth/sharing.

This Summer, your focus in social media is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

First comes trust, then comes action

In the calendar of fundraising seasons, Fall is the peak giving opportunity. In social media, the best way to plan and prepare for Fall (and leverage the giving season) is to focus on the Summer by building trust with your social media audiences. Donor trust has a high and direct impact on donor loyalty, engagement, conversion, and cultivation.

When we implemented a month-long social media campaign with one of our U.S. Food Bank partners in Summer, we tracked a lift in their Fall online fundraising never experienced before. And that lift continues to improve for seasons after!

This Summer, lay the path for your Fall social marketing with a seasonal plan that captures the heart of of your organization and builds trust with your supporters online.

Trust-building social media tactics

  • Content that is educational – Positioning your organization as a key voice (or voice of reason) for the cause you represent builds the trust of your donors by showing you are an “expert” in your field/industry. Do you represent the hunger cause? Plan and publish content that works to educate your audience about the hunger issue nationally and locally. Do you represent wildlife conservation? Plan content that works to reveal endangered species lists and other issues impacting wildlife. Do you represent homelessness and shelter? Work to explain the complexities of the homeless issue in America or Canada. A better educated donor is a more informed donor. Donors who are more informed have greater trust with the organizations they support; and it shows in their donation history.
  • Content that is inspiring – Your organization is making an incredible difference. Talk about this. Promote it. Create blog posts and videos, tweets and Vines that show the extraordinary impact you are making in your community and in the world. When donors are inspired, they are more engaged and the more a donor is engaged the more they pay attention to what you have to say.
  • Content that is evergreen – Statistics, facts and even your Mission statement are some of the most well-“liked” kinds of content by non-profits in social media. Even though you might think your audience understands exactly what you do and what your mission statement or values are, they will surely benefit from hearing it again (or for the first time).
  • Content that emphasizes donor trust already – Do you have donors who love you? Social media followers who tag you in their posts? Volunteers who help share photos of their time at your warehouse or shelter? This kind of donor-generated content can create added impact in your marketing by showing other donors the trust and loyalty others have in you. Regram, retweet, and share those posts. Add your own comment of thanks.

Once you’ve laid this foundation of donor trust in your Summer social media marketing, you’ve opened the door wider to be able to solicit your donors for action-based responses (donations and otherwise) in the Fall. And they are more likely to respond! Because why? Donor trust.


Talk to us about growing your social media efforts and re-imagining your marketing. Contact Andrew Olsen (CFRE, Vice President at Russ Reid) or Steve Harrison (Senior Vice President at Russ Reid).

Next, read “3 useful digital tactics to boost Summer fundraising” >>

GBFB Giving Tuesday 2014 thumb

Greater Boston Food Bank – #GivingTuesday 2015

The Greater Boston Food Bank #GivingTuesday campaign raises $85,750 at a 10:1 ROI

BOSTON-GT2015 case study

The challenge

In 2014, The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) looked to Russ Reid to help them strategize and deploy their first #GivingTuesday campaign resulting in more than $50,750 raised (not including a $20,000 match and starting with a $15,000 goal). Building on the extraordinary success of 2014, GBFB and Russ Reid together again collaborated for a refreshed #GivingTuesday campaign in 2015. Second year campaign goals included:

  • Fundraise the full match amount of $25,000 for a $50,000 total campaign goal
  • Leverage an integrated digital approach to acquire donor interest and revenue
  • Deploy social media as a key channel for campaign engagement ultimately influencing giving

Russ Reid solution

Learning from 2014 #GivingTuesday campaign efforts, a 2015 campaign was deployed on the popular holiday shopping weekend from Black Friday through Cyber Monday and culminating on #GivingTuesday. Russ Reid’s now proven #GivingTuesday multi-channel digital campaign strategy aimed to maximize GBFB’s holiday fundraising, acquiring significant return early and boosting the Food Bank’s ability to fundraise all December long. In 2015, Russ Reid also expanded social advertising to include Facebook custom audience targeting.

Russ Reid delivered:

  • Consultation and strategic guidance including offer development and social media content planning
  • Social advertising for content amplification and Page growth (Facebook placement; Facebook custom audience targeting using GBFB donor lists and lookalike modeling)
  • Custom three e-appeal series including all email components
  • Web images for promotional use in social media, and integration with homepage and giving page to create a complete user experience
  • Unique offer positioning

Outcome

With a matching gift of $25,000, in 2015 the low cost, five-day #GivingTuesday campaign exceeded 2014’s $70,750 extraordinary fundraising total raising $85,770 to provide healthy and nutritious meals for 257,310 hungry people in eastern Massachusetts. The YoY increase was a matching gift $5,000 greater than the previous year + $10,000 more raised. GBFB’s total online revenue in the five-day campaign period was nearly $105,000[1]. Having achieved an ROI of 8.4 in 2014, 2015’s campaign ROI was 10.1.

The $25,000 matching gift was again uniquely positioned to ask donors to match the generous donation of 75,000 meals to provide an additional 75,000 meals for hungry families. Donors directly responded to campaign efforts with more than $60,770 in online donations to provide an additional 182,310 meals above and beyond the match gift.

Social media successfully and effectively achieved goals of growing brand presence and campaign awareness, driving interest in the campaign and traffic to the donation page. Social media achievements include:

  • 1,078 new Facebook page likes
  • 1,782 paid post engagements
  • 5,925 people taking action directly from paid posts
  • More than 34,430 people reached with paid ads
  • 3,181 visits to the donation page driven directly from paid ads
  • Custom audience targeting reached 11,500 users, acquired 55 post engagements, and drove 195 visits to the donation page

Campaign e-appeals raised more than $44,000 of the campaign total with email 3 responsible for 58% of email revenue.

Ahead of the 2015 campaign, Russ Reid recognized GBFB with a 2014 Outstanding Partnership Award for their success in expanding online fundraising—particularly through social media engagement, and continuing to innovate amongst food banks and nonprofits in the digital fundraising space.

[1] #GivingTuesday attributed revenue was sourced from email, social media and the match gift.


For additional information on this campaign or how Russ Reid can help your nonprofit grow beyond, contact Andrew Olsen (CFRE, Vice President).

Russ Reid names Jay Sherer as Account Director

Experienced marketing director brings wealth of business and leadership experience to Russ Reid as new Account Director for U.S. rescue mission partners.

Jay_ShererPASADENA – April 25, 2016 – Russ Reid, the nation’s leading direct response agency for nonprofits announces the appointment of nonprofit leader and veteran marketer, Jay Sherer, as Account Director. In his new senior position, Sherer will lead strategic marketing initiatives for a key group of Rescue Missions across the U.S. and play a vital role in Russ Reid’s new business development efforts.

Sherer, who has a diverse background in nonprofit fundraising, technology startups, marketing leadership, and growth-focused change initiatives, joins Russ Reid from Wayfare Labs (a nonprofit startup incubator) where he served as Director of Marketing.

“Jay has a background in helping organizations adapt and grow, which is critical in our industry. We’re excited to add his skill set to our team at Russ Reid, because it will have a direct and lasting impact on the organizations we serve,” said Andrew Olsen, CFRE and Vice President, Client Services for Russ Reid.

Prior to Wayfare Labs, Sherer held senior positions as Director of Marketing at Evangelical Christian Credit Union (ECCU) in California, VP of Marketing at Hello Agent, and served numerous nonprofits and tech startup clients as their fractional CMO. A native of Southern California, he is a double graduate of Azusa Pacific University with an MBA and a B.S. in Marketing.

“Russ Reid has a heart for serving,” said Sherer. “The marketplace is dynamic and changing rapidly. Russ Reid has the opportunity and talent to make a lasting impact on the world by serving Missions in a way that others can’t replicate. I’m excited to be a part of that.”

Russ Reid names Liju Mathew as Senior Account Executive

Experienced development professional to support strategic marketing initiatives for food bank clients across U.S.

LijuPASADENA – April 11, 2016 — Russ Reid, the nation’s leading direct response agency for nonprofits announced today that experienced fundraiser Liju Mathew has joined the company as Senior Account Executive. In his new position under Director Jason Alloy, Mathew will provide vision and support for the strategic marketing initiatives for a group of food banks across the country. His passion for fundraising and fighting hunger along with his skillset make his position at Russ Reid a natural fit.

Mathew specialized for more than 10 years in creating and growing Annual Giving programs at nonprofit organizations across his home state of Texas.  His experience includes managing a broad variety of fundraising programs including telephone, digital and direct mail campaigns. In one of his previous roles he guided the annual giving program of the Houston Food Bank, the nation’s largest food bank.

A native of Houston, he is a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University with a B.A. in Journalism Communications with an emphasis in PR and Advertising. Mathew has served as a speaker at fundraising classes at The University of Houston and Rice University, and has had articles published on development websites like SupportingAdvancement.com.

“I am honored to be a part of the Russ Reid family,” said Mathew. “I’ve known for years that Russ Reid is truly a trailblazer in this nonprofit marketing world— a uniquely qualified partner to provide clients with innovative strategies and reliable analytics. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to use my knowledge and experience to advance the mission of food banks across the country.”

The Art of the “Implicit Ask”

By: Nathan Looney, Russ Reid Director of Digital Strategy

Creating valuable donor experiences on your website through the implicit ask

Non-profit organizations’ websites are tasked with achieving a variety of objectives.  From relaying information about your organization to offering assistance to those in need, and providing resources to your community, your website is an informational hub.  One of the most important roles the website can play for non-profits is as a donation solicitation engine.  Most all of us rely on our websites to assist us in raising funds.  And, as important of a task as it is, it simply isn’t practical to have every page on the site cluttered with donation buttons and donation “calls to action.”

So how do we make the most of our site’s content without “turning off” potential donors by flooding them with solicitation messaging?  One key way is to master the art of the “implicit ask.”

What is an “implicit ask”?

We are all well aware of explicit asks—these are direct calls to action that request a donation from a site visitor.  And these asks are critical to a website’s success as a fundraising tool.  Russ Reid recommends having these in the form of donation buttons on your navigation, as well as solicitation messaging and donation buttons on static homepage features for the very specific reasons that these areas on your website are key revenue generators.

But there is another way to ask for solicitations that are subtler—a way that implicitly asks for the donor’s support by talking about the good the organization achieves and how the donor (or potential donor) has been and will continue to be critical to that success. As our Digital Strategy team likes to say, “creating moments of valuable experience with your donors is a key requirement in the donor journey today. Organizations who continually and consistently create valuable donor experiences will engage more donors, more loyal donors, and thrive in donor participation and fundraising.”

Creating an implicit ask

It’s surprisingly simple to create an implicit ask, and they can be used in almost any type of content on your site.  The trick is simply to remember to do it when you are crafting your content.  These are the two elements that, if mixed well into your content, create an implicit ask:

  1. Acknowledgement of the impact your organization is having on the lives of those you serve;
  2. Recognition of the critical role the donor plays is providing that impact.

How an implicit ask can be used on your site

Story pages:  One of the best places to work implicit asks into your site’s content is on your various story pages.  Instead of simply relaying a third person account of a story, have the beneficiary communicate directly to the donor/potential donor through quotes that speak to how his/her life has changed, and offer an acknowledgement that it is the support of donors that made his/her transformation possible.

Staff and Board Pages:  Most non-profit sties have pages of this type and even this generic, very “functional” type of content can be enhanced by an implicit ask.  Instead of simply presenting staff bios, have the staff members communicate why they work with the organization, how the community is benefited by the organization, and how much they enjoy partnering with their supporters to bring about life-altering change. Personalization of content not only allows your staff members to express their commitment to your cause, but it also facilitates the implicit ask.

The importance of impact

Since relaying how your organization is impacting your community or your cause is such an important part of creating an implicit ask, it is critical that you make sure that your content goes well beyond simply describing your programs.  It must directly speak to the results that have been achieved, and, most importantly, the lives that have been changed.

Keeping the donor in the front of your mind as you work to create content for your site can help you present messaging that encourages donors to give without the necessity of a call to action button on every page and free area of your site, or in every paragraph of your site’s copy.


For more information on Russ Reid Digital services, to connect with our Digital experts, and to learn how Digital can drive your next decade of growth, contact Andrew Olsen (CFRE, Vice President at Russ Reid) or Steve Harrison (Senior Vice President at Russ Reid).