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8 Tips to Help You Plan Your Holiday Campaign

There‘s been a lot of talk about the holidays at the hjc office in Toronto and it’s not because we’re all planning vacations! It’s quite the contrary, actually. It’s already holiday campaign planning time for a lot of our clients so we’ve put on our Santa hats and are working like elves to get prepared.

Aren’t you?

Maybe you’re overwhelmed and don’t know where to start? Or maybe you’re in the IT’S-STILL-SUMMER-I-REFUSE-TO-THINK-ABOUT-THE-SNOW kind of mindset? Either way, this might interest you. Read More →

posted on Aug 22 No comments yet

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President’s Message

Fundraising is culture. And that’s why so much fundraising happens in the last few months of the year. The religious-cultural construct concentrates our minds, empathy and activities to helping others and we naturally give a lot to the charities we care about. If fact, we give up to 60% of our charitable dollars for the year in the last 3 months. It’s important and that’s why Emma Cosgrove from hjc has a few important things to say to you about how hjc can help you with your year-end, holiday giving. Read More →

posted on Aug 22 No comments yet

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President’s Message

I am all for new methods of helping organizations better focus their marketing and fundraising efforts and the rise of the ‘user persona’ is getting a lot of attention.

The user persona is a creative director’s dream come true. The process to come up with a series of fictionalized ‘characters’ takes imagination and therein lies the possible weakness of using user personas.

Here are my 3 key ways to avoid the most common pitfalls when crafting and using personas:

1. ROOT a persona in both qualitative and quantitative data. The behaviours and characteristics of any personae groups MUST use data sets, analysis and survey answers to craft their behaviours. If you aren’t doing this, you are using personas that are relying more on the narrative imagination of Stephen King versus the empiricism of a Sir Francis Bacon.

2. TEST the personas through data and results. You can’t use personas and not track whether they actually improve results. There is a strong academic/research body of work that strongly criticizes the user persona model because it is not often rooted in empirical testing. It may be that personas perform poorly in comparison to classic RFM test groups. You need to test to find out.

3. PRACTICAL implementation plans to test user personas can be difficult. You need to think very carefully through how a persona can be properly tested. It’s not easy working with ‘fictional characters’ in the real world but you have to figure it out.

My gut tells me that user personas are helpful in testing for marketing campaigns BUT if they are being driven by clever, creative people and not driven by data, analytical staff then you are going to be let down by this technique. Drop me a line at mjohnston@hjcnewmedia.com if you want to talk more about this.

posted on Jul 30 No comments yet

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Tips on How to Rebuild Your List After CASL

Just imagine…it’s October. Over the past few months, you’ve invested in a brilliant holiday campaign. You’re ready to launch. You pull your email lists. And they’re small. Way smaller than last year’s. You’re never going to raise the money you need to.

Thanks CASL.

Even the most robust email file could be negatively affected by CASL. End of year and holiday campaigns (which are the most lucrative for most organizations) are at risk.

But not all hope is not lost.

Follow these 6 effective tips to rebuild your list and warm up your supporters.

1) Blog, and Blog Often – Did you know that consistent blogging can increase your traffic? A blog is one of the single best ways to attract new visitors to your nonprofit’s website.

2) Create Relevant Content – In order to get your blog found by prospective donors, you must create educational content that speaks to them and answers their questions about your cause. You should be creating shareable, relevant, value-driven content. Instead of pitching your work and services, you are delivering information that makes your ideal donor more intelligent, more engaged.

The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as charities, deliver consistent and ongoing valuable information to donors, they ultimately reward us with their donation and loyalty.

3) Make Content Social – You can’t just repurpose old material created for one platform, throw it up on another one, and hope that it engages your audience. As Gary Vaynerchuk eloquently puts it, “if Facebook’s main currency is friendship, Twitter’s is news and information.” Know what platforms your donors are using, and manipulate the content to your organizations advantage (i.e. be artful on Instagram, witty on Twitter, and promote great content on Facebook).

4) Optimize Search Keywords – Create content around targeted keywords. You need to carefully pick keywords, optimize your pages, create content, and build links around the terms your ideal donor is searching for. This will ensure that your content and nonprofit are appearing prominently.

4) Incentivize Opting-In – As you know, CASL is a permission-based legislation, which requires anyone who is interested in receiving email communication to physically opt-in. You can promote an online contest, a giveaway, or have a premium that requires people to sign-up by submitting their email address. By incentivizing your subscriptions and opt-ins, you not only give your audience an engaging take away from your nonprofit, but also increase engagement.

6) Don’t Forget Offline – You should always be integrating both offline and online channels to grow your fundraising programs. Think about where you collect email addresses, and ensure you have protocols and data collection processes and systems in place to collect all the offline leads you’re already generating!

Whether it’s for the holidays or any time of the year, these tips can help you acquire and warm prospects in the shadow of CASL.

Need help with list building before the holidays or have questions about CASL? Send Jill Oba an email at jill.oba@hjcnewmedia.com.

You might also be interested in these posts:

Three Must Haves for Your Best Holiday Campaign Ever
Build Your Email List Now
Plan Now for Your End of Year Campaign

posted on Jul 30 No comments yet

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President’s Message

The Age of the Smart Phone

Mobile phones are quickly becoming the main interaction point between donors and nonprofit organizations. Who knew so many people would use smartphones? Certainly not the founders of Blackberry. They discounted the rise of the smartphone in the general population 5 years ago. It’s now estimated that their global market share will soon approach a new low of .03%.

That’s enough to focus every nonprofit in Canada and elsewhere on smart phones and engagement. In our groundbreaking study of Next Gen donors in Canada last year, it was found that already, 24% of Gen Y donors make smart phones the main way they interact with charities and 19% of Gen X donors make smart phones the main way they interact with charities.

Take a look at the case study of the Ontario Lung Association  and see how responsive design helped get the word out – and make engagement more successful.

It’s time for all charities to invest in, and properly leverage, smartphones. This isn’t a bandwagon. If you’re not convinced, just look at Blackberry.

posted on Jun 02 No comments yet

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