Monthly Archives: June 2016

5 Ways to Step-Up Email Open Rates

Step-up-email-open-rateYou’ve spent hours, maybe even days, planning and writing an email. Don’t let that hard work go to waste. Optimize your email strategy to increase the open rate of your messages. After all, if no one is opening your emails, you have a 0% chance of conversion.

Prepare a direct subject line. While it is the shortest part of your email, it is among the most important. Cute and clever subject lines are just that — cute and clever. While they may increase your open rate, it is likely they won’t help your conversion or even your click-thru rate.

Instead, be direct in your subject line. Let readers know exactly what you are after. Offering a discount? Let them know! Most importantly, create a sense of urgency by including a deadline.

Stumped on what to write? Check out our previous post on writing Stand Up Subject Lines –

Emoji fun! Intrigue your recipient by including a relevant emoji as part of your subject line. Be cognizant and don’t go overboard!  

Alternate the positioning of the emoji’s, too. You can put it as the first character of your subject line, at the end or somewhere in between. Avoid getting in a rut — your readers will appreciate the variety!  

Avoid Spam Filters. With so many marketers out there, many email services offer spam filters. A subject line containing all caps is a red flag and will likely get your email tossed into spam. Multiple exclamation marks should also be avoided.

Spam filters look for keywords and phrases within the body of the email and not just the subject line. Steer clear of using words such as free, cheap and opportunity to minimize your chance of being marked as spam.

Humanize your return address and name. You are sending your email to a person so it makes sense to send it from a person rather than an organization or brand. Recipients are much more inclined to open an email from a personal email address rather than a no-reply address.

Timing. It’s true, timing is everything. Unfortunately, there really isn’t a perfect time to send out an email. Many studies have been done and while most find that a mid-week, later morning send works best, it may not be right for you.

If your mail service allows, try A/B testing – sending part of your list the message at one time and the rest of it at another. Then, look at the analytics to help you determine the best time to send out your next campaign.

****BONUS TIP: Check your analytics 3-4 days after sending out your campaign and resend the message to those that didn’t open it. You just never know — the recipient may have been out sick, on vacation or just plain busy when you sent the original. Everyone deserves a second chance — even your email!****

What other strategies have you implemented to increase the open rate of your email campaigns? We’d love to hear!


7 Apps to Boost Productivity

apps-to-boost-productivity2Thanks to advances in technology there are a plethora of apps available to help increase productivity. From managing your calendar to organizing your to-do list, these apps are indispensable for any busy person. Marketing professionals rely on apps to help them manage and enhance their social media presence. Here are few of the top tools to help improve your productivity as you grow your digital footprint.


BoardDirector – – This service caters to the busy board director. Using this tool allows board members (or team members) to communicate effectively, store and organize documents in a single location as well as take advantage of a robust scheduling tool.


Brainy Quote – – This collection of inspirational and famous quotes are a great addition to any social channel including websites, emails and newsletters. Whether you are looking for something funny, inspirational or timely, you are likely to find it on this curated content site.



Buffer – – Scheduling content to post on multiple social networks in advance is easy with this tool. A social listening feature allows users to find new content to share and see what topics in the space are trending. Built in analytics can be used to evaluate post performance and determine the best times to share your content.



Canva – – No graphic designer? No problem! This intuitive program offers a drag/drop feature and plenty of professional layouts to allow users to easily design stunning graphics. Posting visual content draws the eye of readers and leads to a larger following.



Periscope – https://www.periscope.tvThis mobile app allows you to easily broadcast live from events. The ability to share real time what is happening will pique the interest of your audience and ultimately increase your brand awareness.


PicMonkey – – Enhance the photos you have taken with this easy to master tool. Edit photos, embed text, insert watermarks and add overlays to add new dimension to your visual content. Have multiple photos you want to use? No problem! Create a collage and share away.


Pixabay – – Sometimes, you just don’t have the photo you need to match your content. You’re not alone! Find high quality, royalty free visual content on this app. Search and download the image you need and use it across your social media platforms.

Taking advantage of these tools will keep even the busiest of professionals on track. What productivity programs do you use and recommend to others?

Top Tools to Master Online Fundraising


You’ve invested hours into planning your organization’s next campaign. Now it is time to launch it! Using online donation tools will not only ease the collection of donations, but also boost your exposure to potential donors. There are many of these tools available at little to no cost. Here are a few of the top tools to check out as you launch your online fundraising campaign!



This site allows you to merge and manage multiple campaigns simultaneously. Touting themselves as the “largest online campaigning platform”, Causes doubles as a social platform allowing organizations to connect with donors they would not otherwise reach.  There is a 4.75% per transaction fee assessed to use their platform.


Google Wallet

Connect your campaign to this reliable online payment processing service and collect donations effortlessly. Organizations, as well as donors, report this platform is among the easiest to navigate. The ability to check donation histories is a much appreciated bonus. Google Wallet assesses a 2.9% transaction fee.



Donors are able to search for and learn about new charities using this platform. This feature gives organizations an opportunity to reach new donors and increase their reach. Other features include matching grant support and a donation widget for Facebook. A 4.9% platform is charged.



Created by Network for Good, this platform allows organizations to create a customized fundraising campaign complete with emails, customer service and branded donation pages. Mobile checkout is a bonus that allows donors to donate from anywhere, at any time. In addition to the 3% transaction fee, there is a subscription cost.



This platform was created specifically for non-profit organizations. It not offers a secure portal to collect online donations, but allows organizations to connect and communicate with their donors. FirstGiving integrates well with many CRM, Social Media channels, email platforms and analytic tools. A 5% transaction fee is charged.

These are just a few of the more well-known platforms. There are plenty of other reputable tools available. Do your research and select the one that works best to meet the needs of your organization.

Have you used one of these or another fundraising campaign tool? Tell us about your experience in the comments.

Using Video to Boost Donations

video-to-boost-$Looking for an innovative way to increase the donations your non-profit organization receives? Video is the perfect way to connect with and educate potential donors and volunteers and share your organization’s mission. Google reports that 75% of donors use video as their top source when researching charitable organizations. Video also serves as the perfect opportunity to show previous donors the impact their contribution has made and encourage them to donate again.

Ready to include video in your organization’s fundraising plan? Here are 5 keys to creating a successful fundraising campaign video.

  • Match your audience to your content. Understanding your demographic is key in any fundraising campaign, but especially when creating video. The content you create can be amazing, but if it isn’t relatable to your target audience, it is useless. Your goal is get potential donor excited about the work you are doing so that they will donate.
  • Attention Grabbing! Did you know that 20% of viewers click away from a video within 10 seconds? It’s TRUE! Don’t be a statistic – put the time in to ensure your first frame grabs the attention of the viewer. Convey your passion with energy and your viewers are more likely to stay engaged.
  • Shareability. The ultimate goal of using video is to drive donations to your organization. The more people that are exposed to your content, the greater the likelihood this will happen. Viewers are more inclined to share videos that are funny, thought provoking and offer valuable content to their own networks.

 TIP: Embed code to encourage social sharing! The easier it is for your viewers to share, the more apt they are to do it!

  •  Tell a story. There is no denying that seeing is believing. Depict the work your organization is doing with visual imagery. This is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the impact previous donations have made. Don’t be shy. Include testimonials and behind the scenes footage. The more real you make the video, the more return you will receive.
  • Convey a clear call-to-action. You’ve captivated the attention of your audience, not take advantage of that. Clearly let them know what the next step is. Is it to follow you on Facebook, join your subscription list or make contribution. Whatever it is, provide them direction. Too often, good videos are produced without a call-to-action and viewers are left wondering, “now what?” Don’t let that happen to you!

Now that you have produced your blog, share it. Post it on your social media channels, send it to your mail list and embed it in your blog.

Your non-profit organization has a compelling story – share it via video and watch your donations increase.