Heather Mansfield

Heather Mansfield is a regular contributor and trainer in Greater Public's new Social/Mobile GPS initiative

Recent Posts

Your Email and Social Media Action Plan for #GivingTuesday

Membership, Social/Mobile, social media, #GivingTuesday, calendar year-end

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Launched by New York’s 92nd Street Y in 2012, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media. It always falls on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving; this year that's November 27, 2018.

It's essential to prepare in advance in order to execute a successful #GivingTuesday campaign. Start promoting on-air and online at least three weeks before the event. Make sure your landing page, email, and social media tactics are in place. And on November 27, here's what you should have in place in order to harness the growing levels of giving that occur on this day.


Send a minimum of two emails on #GivingTuesday that include a #GivingTuesday header graphic (600 x 200 pixels). The first email should be sent in the morning announcing “It’s #GivingTuesday!” and the second in the afternoon for announcing that your station has reached XX% of its fundraising goal. Also, in the morning, send an email your ambassadors to call them to action and to express gratitude for their participation.

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Why Your Station's LinkedIn Page May Be the Most Powerful Social Media Tool You're Not Using

linkedin, Membership, Social/Mobile, General Management

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Between 2011 and 2017, LinkedIn’s membership grew from 140 million to 500 million. In 2017 alone, LinkedIn grew by 100 million new members, most of whom are college-educated, advanced in their careers, and live in high-income households.

In fact, the demographics of LinkedIn members are nearly identical to the demographics of public media listeners and viewers (National Public Media).

But most of public media has failed to include LinkedIn in their marketing and fundraising strategies. Most stations focus on utilizing Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, all of which having declining organic reach. The opposite is true of LinkedIn.

Encourage your staff to cultivate personal LinkedIn Profiles. It's the first step toward cultivating an active LinkedIn presence that draws in audience members and donors. Consider including staff LinkedIn URLs in station bios and email signatures as well. Another powerful outreach tool is to cultivate your station's LinkedIn Page.

How to Connect With Your Audience and Donors Using a LinkedIn Page

LinkedIn Pages are the best-kept secret in social media marketing and fundraising. Engagement and click-through rates are generally higher than on other social media and LinkedIn members are enthusiastic and participatory followers. If your organization hasn’t yet experimented with LinkedIn Pages, now is the time to get on board. LinkedIn has recently redesigned Pages, improved analytics reporting, and changed the algorithm so that Page updates are prioritized in the home feed. LinkedIn is investing significant resources into the LinkedIn Page tool set and some exciting improvements are likely to be revealed in the coming years.

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Four Easy Ways to Grow Your Email List

Membership, email

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The average churn rate (people who unsubscribe plus email addresses that hard-bounce over a 12-month period) for email lists in public media is currently 14% (MailChimp). For your station to be effective at email marketing and fundraising, you must make a concerted effort to grow your email list year-round. Below are three of the easiest, most effective ways to do that.

1. Prominently feature an email opt-in on your website.

Email marketing services provide email opt-forms that can be copied, pasted, and embedded inside your station’s website. At the most, require an email address and first name to subscribe and position the email opt-in prominently on your website, not just on the homepage but on every page of your website. To clarify, the email opt-in should be located above the fold on your homepage and embedded in the top of the right/left column of your news stories and/or blog pages.

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Six Things to Do to Tap the Growing #GivingTuesday Donor Base

Membership, Social/Mobile, #GivingTuesday

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Launched in 2011, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media; the event always falls on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. In 2016, more than 1.6 million people worldwide donated on #GivingTuesday, the highest number since its inception. In the future, #GivingTuesday is expected to raise more funds for organizations of all types all over the world as its popularity grows with donors.

For public media to be successful on #GivingTuesday, your station’s campaign should be ready for on-air and online promotion at least three weeks before #GivingTuesday.

1. Create a #GivingTuesday landing page.

The first step is to create a visually-compelling #GivingTuesday landing page on your website that you can promote in email and on social media. It should also have a URL that is easy to verbalize in on-air promotions, such as yourwebsite.org/givingtuesday. Be sure to prominently feature the date of #GivingTuesday (November 28 in 2017), the #GivingTuesday hashtag, and a “Donate” button on your landing page and if you’d like to have your #GivingTuesday campaign focus on growing your monthly donor base, then include a “Donate Monthly” button as well.

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What Your Station Needs to Know About the Future Donors of Generation Z

Membership, Social/Mobile, Corporate Support, General Management

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Reposted with permission from Nonprofit Tech for Good.

Youth belonging to Generation Z were born in and after 1998. The oldest of Gen Zs are currently entering college and finishing high school. Raised predominantly byGen Xers who were pummeled by the Great Recession, early research about those belonging to Gen Z indicates that they are cautious about spending money, are bargain shoppers, and more likely to save than to spend.

As future volunteers and donors, more than any generation previous, Gen Zs will want proof that their time and money is well spent.

Also, coming of age during political dysfunction, the rise of global terrorism, climate change, and increasing school violence/shootings, Gen Z is getting exposed to big issues at an early age. That said, here are 21 stats about Gen Z that nonprofits need to know:

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6 Fresh Ideas for Your Station’s “Thank You” Landing Page

Membership, online giving

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Reposted with permission from Nonprofit Tech for Good.

Each time @NonprofitOrgs reaches a 100K-follower benchmark, Nonprofit Tech for Good donates to various nonprofits. It’s a way to give back, but its also a system used to periodically review how nonprofits are innovating their online giving process. In this last round of donations, $25 to 28 nonprofits ($700 for reaching 700K followers), some progress has been made since the last round of donations made at 600K followers. More nonprofits are streamlining their online giving process and using more visuals to communicate their gratitude to donors.

A “thank you” landing page is the page that donors land on after their donation has been made. It’s an important page because it is one of the few times you have the hyperfocused attention of your donors as they wait for their credit card payment to be processed and confirmed. Yet surprisingly it is one of the most overlooked web pages on a nonprofit’s website. Most “Thank You” landing pages appear as though they haven’t been updated since the early 2000’s, but as many nonprofit have launched new responsively designed websites since the last round of donations, “Thank You” landing pages are slowly but surely getting redesigned to accommodate today’s mobile and social donors.

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Five Lessons Learned From Donating to 25 Nonprofits

Membership, Social/Mobile, online giving

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Reprinted with permission from Nonprofit Tech for Good.

This week Nonprofit Tech for Good donated $25 to 25 nonprofits in order to study how nonprofits are progressing in the design of their donation pages and in the efficacy of their online donation process. There was a wide variety in donation page design, layout, and functionality and that made donating to 25 nonprofits all in one sitting a somewhat frustrating, and at times, perplexing experience.

Seven of the 25 nonprofits required a donor to provide their phone number. Two required entering a captcha to give. Two nonprofits did not follow-up with a “thank you” email. One nonprofit that I could not donate to was missing the address field so the donation could not be processed. Another nonprofit timed out twice (on two different days) during the donation processing and the donation was never completed.

Four of the 25 nonprofits were based in countries where online fundraising is a challenge and options are limited, but if your nonprofit is based in North America, Europe, or Australia and New Zealand, you have excellent online fundraising services available, so take this as a reminder to donate to your own nonprofit with a fresh set of eyes and upgrade your fundraising service, if necessary. And mimic the large nonprofits! The Wilderness Society, UNICEF, and Conservation International have well-designed donation pages that were easy-to-use and effective.

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Five Content Themes That Inspire Donor Action

Membership, Social/Mobile, Major Giving

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From print to email communications, but especially on mobile and social media, there are content themes guaranteed to inspire a reaction on the part your donors and supporters. Mastering the art of telling a success story, creating a sense of urgency, tapping into the power of statistics and quotes, and using a sense of humor take time to perfect, but once mastered, have a transformational effect upon your online communications and fundraising campaigns. By consistently applying these themes in your content strategy, little actions (a retweet) become bigger actions (making a donation) and when many little and big actions reach critical mass, you have synergy and fundraising success at your fingertips.

1. Success

Donors and supporters want to read, see, and hear the progress you are making in achieving your mission and programs. Increasingly results-driven, donors want to know that their donations are producing tangible results. Consistently providing donors and supporters progress reports is crucial to maintain their commitment to your organization. 

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How to Use Social Media Engagement During Drives to Earn More Gifts

Membership, Social/Mobile, pledge drive, social media

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Public radio and TV stations have been early adopters of social media since the days of Myspace. The ability to donate online was launched in 1999 and it has taken almost two decades for donors to trust the technology. It took just half that time for your donors to embrace social media. If you have a been a skeptic of the power of social media for online fundraising, that may have been a somewhat wise instinct, but today there is no doubt that the futures of online giving and social media are deeply entwined. In fact, 43% of Millennials, 24% of Gen Xers, and 21% of Baby Boomers cite social media as the communication tool that most often inspires them to give online (Nonprofit Tech for Good, 2016).

What has remained elusive, however, is social media’s power to convert passive online supporters into active online donors. The fact is, your station must be good at using social media in order to convert your social audience into online donors. 

Central to multichannel communications is the concept that well-written, visually compelling, and creative content emailed, posted, and shared at the right time and at the right intervals is the secret to successfully converting a passive supporter into an active donor.

Greater Public members can access our full Social Media Playbook for On-Air Drives, including instructions on how to develop a comprehensive content strategy, refine your landing page, create effective graphics, and map out your before/during/after-pledge action plan.

And read on for the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram best practices that will instantly improve your social media campaigns during pledge drives.

Facebook Best Practices

The truth is, no one knows exactly what the magic number is for how often to post on Facebook based on the size of your following. The News Feed algorithm makes Facebook the most difficult social network for which to define best practices. What works on the 14 national NPR and PBS Facebook Pages most likely will not work for small stations with 25,000 followers or less, but the data reflects that even pages with more than 100,000 followers that post twice daily perform much better in reach and engagement, on average, than those that post multiple times daily.

If your posts receive very little engagement (1 reaction per 1,000 followers), then you are either posting too often and thus very few of your followers are seeing your posts, or you are posting the wrong kind of content.

Post twice daily.

On average, you can expect your first Facebook post within a 24-hour period to reach 3-8% of your followers. After that, reach generally declines with each subsequent post.

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How to Use Email as Your #1 Online Fundraising Tool

Social/Mobile, social media, digital revenue, email

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In the nonprofit sector as a whole, more online donations come from a click in an e-newsletter than from any other source. This is due in part to the fact that nonprofits are getting better at building their lists. But it’s also due to the sustained and growing use of email as an essential medium.

Email is not dead.

Global use of email is growing rapidly. The number of people using the internet worldwide is going to double in the next four years. This means more people getting online, more people signing up for social networks, and more people signing up for email accounts.

There are currently 4.4 billion email accounts worldwide and that number is expected to grow to 6.6 billion by 2019. This will bring the global adoption rate of email to 92%.

We have been eulogizing email for the last decade and let me tell you, this data shows us that email is the most important tool that you can use in online fundraising.

Given these statistics, I’m also perplexed by public media’s relatively low use of email fundraising compared with other organizations in the nonprofit sector. It’s often very difficult to find an e-newsletter subscribe option on public media websites. And the volume of e-newsletters from many stations seems to be low or non-existent, except during a member drive. This suggests an area of great opportunity.

Of course, you do need to know how to use email. 

Email is changing.

55% of email opens are now happening on a mobile device and more than half of traffic to NPR.org is mobile. Your email design simply has to be mobile compatible.

The term “e-newsletter” came from a time when print newsletters were being duplicated to send via email. Email publications are not print publications. Today, it’s better to think of your e-newsletter as an email bulletin.

Send shorter emails, more frequently.

Instead of taking the 20 stories you would have put in a paper publication and sending those out once every three months, you should send fewer stories, and send them more frequently. Send three stories every two weeks, for example. Or create a weekly update of the most important news happening in your station and local community.


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