FREE Greeting Card Store for Charities

Monday, March 12th, 2012

CharityGreetings.com is kindly giving away their premium white label greeting card store to charities in the UK up until Mother’s Day.

This will allow charities to capitalise on the growing greeting card industry without any financial commitment.

Greeting cards can be sold all year round celebrating birthdays, festive seasons including Christmas and Easter, Valentine’s Day and of course, Mother’s Day.

A report from Charity Greeting states that in 2011 over £57 million was spent on Mother’s Day cards alone. And according to the 2010 Mintel report, 1 in 5 of us would prefer to send charity cards when possible.

With Charity Greetings special offer, it is now possible for your loyal supporters to buy greeting cards from you and raise money for your charity.

Your free online greeting card store will include the premium Facebook plugin. This will allow your Facebook followers to buy greeting cards directly from your Facebook page.

You do not need to purchase stock or print the cards yourself. This is a risk free opportunity that requires minimum effort in raising extra revenue for your charity.

To take advantage of this special offer visit: www.joincharitygreetings.com

Text Message Marketing for Charities

Monday, February 6th, 2012

SMS/Text Message MarketingThe number of mobile handsets sold each year is increasing. And the growth has no intension on stopping any time soon. Now there are more mobile handsets in the UK than there are people.

Smart Phones” have been the most popular handsets sold for some years now. Many would struggle to go about their daily lives without this mini computerized device for a phone. Over 45% of internet users use their phone to access the web. The “Smart Phone” is becoming the main gateway for internet usage.

Text Messages vs. Email

Email marketing can be a complex exercise. There are a lot of factors to consider to ensure the email doesn’t go direct into the spam box, gets opened and is read.

While mobile text messages also known as SMS (Short Message Service) are opened and read instantly without going through any filters. Your message has a 90% chance of being read compared to the open rate of an email, which is about 10-20%.

Some of the rules applied to email marketing still apply to SMS marketing. One being: DO NOT SPAM!

SMS is a personal communication tool, unlike emails. Over the years we have become accustom to receiving marketing messages via emails. Mainly from organizations we have never heard of before.

Unsolicited text messages can damage your image and alienate potential support and donations for your Charity.

If your charity doesn’t already have a SMS mailing list, ask your members to update their contact information and provide a mobile number to receive your text offers.

Test Message to Charity Website

Before Smart Phones became the standard mobile device, SMS marketing wasn’t very exciting.

  1. How would you make your messages interactive?
  2. How could you brand your message?
  3. What types of call to action could you provide?

Now all the above is possible with today’s Smart Phones.

The key to a successful SMS campaign is to build a separate mobile landing page to go with each message.  Include a link to this page using a shortened URL in the test message. Keep your message short but get straight to the point as your landing page will explain the rest in detail.

As tempting as it may seem, it isn’t advisable to send text messages via your mobile phone using your unlimited text allowance. Most unlimited text allowance plans have a fair use policy and your operator can suspend your account.

Mobile solution companies like Vir2 can help manage and send all your text messages on your behalf. Your messages will also be branded with your Charity’s name. This is something you are not able to do if you use your mobile to send messages.

SMS marketing has been overlooked over the years. Not many Charities have taken advantage of this brilliant medium. Combining your email communications with SMS marketing will defiantly strengthen any campaign.

If you would like to discuss how your charity can benefit from SMS marketing, feel free to contact us for a free consultation.

3 Ways to Optimize Landing Pages

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Optimizing Landing Pages For Charities

A charity website’s design will determine whether it will be successful in making visitors stay. The information super highway doesn’t take any prisoners.

A visitor will more than likely exit a website if it doesn’t look interesting enough at the very first glance. It won’t take your visitors more than thirty seconds to click on another link.

As an owner/manager of a charity site, your aim should be to make your web pages interesting enough to be picked up by both potential customers as well as search engines.

This will also contribute towards your conversion rate. A conversion rate is a percentage of how many people actually convert on your site. This could be a volunteer sign up or someone making a donation. One of the most important aspects of increasing your conversion rate would be optimizing your landing page.

How to Effectively Optimize your Landing Page

Your landing pages should be attractive enough to keep visitors hooked and encourage them to trigger a conversion. This may seem like a tall order. But you might as well not have a website at all if you don’t.

1. Decrease Site Load Time

Nothing makes a visitor make a hasty exit more than a website that takes ages to open. In order to make sure yours doesn’t, incorporate smaller images in it. Small pictures will mean that your site will load faster.

Another way you can do is to increase the content and remove the images you think are unnecessary. An image might make the website look more appealing but it won’t help if it takes too long to load.

2. Focus on Content

Another way you can optimize your website is to include eye catching content. For example, keep your headlines clear, catchy and precise. This will make a visitor know exactly what he/she will be in for as soon as they access the website. Another thing to keep in mind while designing your landing page is to keep the content short. No one is going to take the time to read a long article on a landing page.

Your visitors won’t think twice about bailing out if they can’t find what they are looking for.
You can also reduce content by keeping your online forms short. Visitors get spooked by lengthy forms, so be sure to cut them down to size.

3. Keep the Navigation Simple

Ease up on the navigation. Visual effects and a smorgasbord of web pages might look attractive but visitors like it simple. For example, if you own an ecommerce website, you would want to make sure that visitors actually end up making a purchase.

If your navigation system is too complicated for them to handle, they will leave after a few minutes in search for another website. And you could have lost a potential volunteer or donation.

PPC Advertising for Charities

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

PPC (Pay Per Click) is a term used for particular forms of advertising that have been quite popular in the online marketing world for the past 10 years now.

PPC is a form of advertising where advertisers are charged only on a “per click” basis. However, the prices charged on every click are either on sliding scales that have been agreed on or are predetermined.

This is also referred to as an auction style of pricing online. The amount you pay for every click is what determines your position on online pages. That is to say that your position on the page is directly affected by the amount you pay. So, the more you pay the better or higher your position.

How PPC Works?

PPC is the most accepted and widely used technique of online advertising, which is particularly more ideal for charities seeking brand awareness and online donations.

Using PPC allows charities to pay only for the leads they target and get. Though some people don’t realize this but PPC brings a more speedy accomplishment and success to charities as compared to other marketing and advertising techniques in the aggressive online market.

PPC advertising protects you and your charity by setting-up the amount you pay for every click. In other words, it places a lid on the amount you will be paying.

Paying only for the real clicks can help you get to your target audience and save a lot of cash. This means that you will not have to pay for the numerous unsuccessful clicks. For charities to determine the responses to their campaigns and manage their advertising funds successfully, this approach of online advertising proves to be a great solution.

Companies Offering PPC Advertising

When talking about companies that offer PPC advertising, the only major two names that come up are Google and Bing. Currently, there have been debates going on about both these search engines with regards to which one of them is a better option to advertise for – i.e. the Google Adwords or Bing and Yahoo Adcenter.

If you are you would like to advertise your charity’s website using  PPC, you can apply for a Google Grant that will allow your charity up to $10,000 worth of advertising each month!  

Contact us today for a free consultation

Social Media For Fundraising

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

Social media is seen by many as the communication tool of the future. For a wide variety of businesses and charities social media is a fantastic way to help raise money and awareness of your goals and activities.

However, before you put too much trust in Twitter and Facebook, it’s pretty important that you take a look at the best way to utilise these tools to help you reach your goals.

Social media networks are not just a message board where people come to get information. Social media is a conversation tool that allows you to communicate with your public. This is an easy way to listen and interact with your audience and fundraisers.

Fundraising for Charities

Fundraising is an important activity for all charities. People who donate to charity like to be informed how their money is spent. Of course, it would be impossible to account for every penny raised, but keeping your followers up to date on how you spend donations will encourage them to donate in the future.

A really successful use of social media for charities is to ask for feedback about any fundraising campaigns you are planning. Your audience can provide you with valuable feedback that will allow you to alter your campaign before launch if necessary.

Social media is built around conversations, and if you don’t keep the conversation going it can fizzle out very quickly. Giving people an opportunity to find another charity that is more engaging. This applies to any organisation. The loss of interest leads very quickly to a loss of support.

Once you understand these basic principles of social networking there’s one other thing that you absolutely have to do in order to make sure that these tools provide you with the biggest possible payoff; give them your all.

Facebook or Twitter

Whether it’s your Facebook page or you’ve decided to adopt Twitter as a way to give out quick blurbs about your upcoming events. Keep social media a primary part of all your campaigns.

Social media is a way to let everyone know what’s going on quickly and efficiently. So don’t leave your media on the back burner. Make sure that you use it often, constantly adding friends, maintaining updates, reading mail and acting on feedback.

If you can manage to keep yourself connected to a large number of followers, keep them interested. It will be hard to do this if your page isn’t one of your top priorities.

Charity Fundraising Ideas for Children

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

One of the most important things you can teach a child is the value of money. Fundraising for a charity is a brilliant way you can teach them this vital lesson.

Fundraising will help show children that money does not grow on trees or come out of a magical machine in the wall.

Fundraising is fun and can help children acquire skills and experience what hard working adults have to go through every day to earn money.

This will help children learn to save and plan their own finances for the future. Fundraising not only helps a child understand where the money comes from, but it also serves as a platform to let children recognise that there are less fortunate people in the world that need help.

Here are a few fundraising ideas you can use with your children to help teach them the value of money while raising money for charity.

1. Garage Sale

Having a garage sale will show children how to separate wants and needs and while teaching them the benefits of de-cluttering.

This also serves as a reminder for those adults who hog broken items or unused gifts in the closet for ‘later use’, is not a good idea.

So having a good clean out sale could show the kids how you can still make money from unwanted items while making space for new things to come in.

Remind the children that all money raised is for a selected charity, but offer to buy them something as a reward of a job well done (the money for the reward should not come out of the money raised for the charity).

2. House Work

While some experts frown on paying kids to do the housework, getting the kids paid to do other people’s housework is another matter.

Do you have a neighbourhood elderly person whose home sometimes needs a good vacuum? Get your children round there today and start raising money.

Another effective fundraising idea is offering services. Your child could offer to do chores for friends and family for a small fee which will be donated to a charity.

Have a chat with your neighbours to see if they are willing to help you out by allowing your children clean, weed or walk the dog for a day, under supervision. 

3. Selling door to door & at events

Children who love to bake or cook can sell their products at events or door to door.

If they are artistic, they could even sell handmade greeting cards or posters. Any talent can be made into a fundraising product or event.

Busking is not only a great fundraising practice but it helps the child gain self-confidence to perform in the crowd. Just ask Justin Bieber. He was busking at 10 years old: http://goo.gl/yG05Y

It is important for the children to explain which charity they are collecting for to customers. This allows the customers to understand the nature of the sale and most people are willing to help for a good cause. 

If you belong to a group of parents with children who are learning extra skills such as dancing, singing or playing an instrument, you can talk to the school to set up a fundraising concert.

These simple fundraising activities will help children understand that there are unfortunate people in the world who need their help.

By offering their skills/talent in exchange for a small donation can help develop their confidence while doing the right thing for a good cause. 

Download this presentation & get your FREE Charity Marketing Guide

Sweet Success for Fundraisers

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Like a lot of us, Pete and Diane Wheatley has been touched by cancer. They have lost loved ones to the disease and they know first-hand the difference that charities like Macmillan Cancer Care can make both to the patient and to the patient’s family.

Their experiences with cancer care led them to start raising funds to support that cause.

In the past, the couple hosted regular coffee mornings at the community centre in Market Deeping to support Macmillan Cancer Care. Several years ago they discontinued the events to investigate other fundraising ideas.
Now they have decided to return to the coffee morning. Apparently, it has been missed. 

The fundraiser was re-launched Saturday, November 26 at the Red Lion in West Deeping. The Wheatley’s could not be more pleased with the success of the day. About 30 people came along for the event and they raised £277. “We’re over the moon with the amount of money raised”, said Pete.

Items for sale at the coffee morning included bread and cakes that were made by Di and Pete. The baked goods looked like they had come fresh from the bake shop. The Whitley’s’ talents were further seen in the cards, gifts and jewellery that they made for the sale. The Red Lion’s staff generously provided tea, coffee, and the use of the room at no charge. 

There will not be any more coffee mornings until after the New Year as Pete and Di take time out to celebrate Christmas.

However, in 2012 they will be back to their fundraising with another coffee morning, quiz and car treasure hunt. The patients and families helped by Macmillan Cancer Care can continue to count on the support of Di and Pete Wheatley. They will keep on raising funds for cancer care throughout the next year.

Charity Donations Are Disappearing

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

In recent years, charitable organizations have been seeking traditional forms of funding to stay afloat in the absence of traditional funds raised from donors.

The current debt figure is about £500m and is expected to double in the next three years. According to Young Foundation (a think tank), fundraisers are seeking bank financing at rates of 10% interest or higher to keep operations going.

This is simply because less donations are being made to these firms. Interestingly, the government is starting to back these loans by infusing a total of £600m. The fund is known as Big Society Capital.

The founders of this new fund have stated that this infusion of cash will spur new social entrepreneurship ventures just as venture capital did for private industry 30 years ago.

If managed properly, the loans could be beneficial to charities, helping them launch new fundraising programs, however some have warned of the risks associated with such loans.

If charities cannot pay back these high interest loans on time, it could cause them to close down. The danger here is that charities are used to dealing with grants and fundraising dollars which do not need to be paid back whereas loans have to not only be paid back, but with interest and on time.

On the bright side, charities might be able to innovate and use this financing to create new streams of much needed revenue. Leaders of these loan accepting charities have assured that they have the skills to effectively manage and process these investments. The founders of charitable organizations see this form of financing as a new opportunity to tap into diverse sources of support and leverage new networks that will further promote the missions of the organizations.

Loans are not going to be the new way of fundraising for charities, they will simply complement the already existing donation based and government grant money that is traditionally pursued.

Richard Branson Charity Work

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Katherine and Greg attended a gala dinner in New York in November 2010 hosted by the Ubuntu Education Fund.

The event was aimed at raising money for charity. The guests and a handful of celebrities managed to rise over $2 million. That inspired the pair to make a difference in the world through charity and set up the Knowledge to Action Foundation later on while on holiday in South Africa.

Having been a board member at Ubuntu London for a couple of years, they had some experience with charities. Greg on the other hand wanted to leave a legacy that would have a positive impact on the world.

The foundation’s main fundraising vehicle is the Flying Trader Project. The first Flying Trader project was held in June 2011 where Greg traded and sent live trades and tips to over 500 traders. The uniqueness of the project is that Greg carried out his trades while flying high above the city in a helicopter.

Four flights generated over £161,000. Funds generated through this project are channelled towards sponsoring Barnardo’s in the UK and The Ubuntu Education Fund in South Africa.

Another project the foundation sponsors is the Knowledge to Action Youth Leadership Summit which was launched October 2011. The leadership summit is led by Harry Singha, the youth leadership guru and runs for 5 days.

Earlier this year the Knowledge to Action Foundation came 49th in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 awards. This enabled Katherine and Greg to attend the awards where Sir Richard Branson addressed 250 people about his UNITE charity based in South Africa.

They will have the opportunity to accompany Sir Richard on a safari at his luxury game reserve where they will learn more about his UNITE charity. This will be a good time for the pair to discuss their ideas with him.

Gangs Steel £50k From Charities

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Britain is reporting that one of the top thefts is of charity clothing, a theft that not only affects shops, but people in need as well.

A gang of crime lords worked to hold fake charity donations, as well as stealing directly from the charities who help the needy around the UK. 

Crime gangs targeted charity shops around the country, stealing up to 50 thousand pounds worth of clothing this year alone. It appears that the clothes are stolen in the UK and shipped to Eastern Europe where they are sold in high street shops for higher profits. 

"It is an emerging threat and there is a huge international market for these clothes," Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Head told The London Times.

The gangs work in teams that steal bags off doorsteps, or put bags on doorsteps for individuals and families to fill with goods. In November 2011, police discovered a bin of clothing weighting 20 tons leaving Essex, heading towards Eastern Europe. The bin contained 3,000 bags for charities from across the country such as Clothes Aid and The British Heart Foundation.

One head gang member was caught after stealing 40,000 pounds worth of clothes. Arnas Gasiunas was found guilty on five charges of theft. Detectives were tipped off in 2010 from a worker at Clothes Aid who saw a decline in donations. The charity works to collect clothing for the needy and to sell in charity shops to support the foundation. 

Charities find the most success collecting items from door-to-door, so people hesitating to leave clothes on their doorstep greatly affects the incoming items for donation.

Ultimately it leaves charities in a lurk. Detectives feel that Gasiunas was a driving force in the crime ring, and now that he’s caught and facing harsh punishment it will deter others from copycatting the crime.