Lindsay LaShell : How to Get the Most from Your 2020 Giving Tuesday Campaign

No Comments Investor Strategy

How to Get the Most from Your 2020 Giving Tuesday Campaign

Yep, you read that right. If you’re thinking about planning your Giving Tuesday campaign this week (it’s December 1, 2019), you’re about a year too late.

Listen, I know you’re busy and dates have a way of sneaking up on you. By reading this now, you’ll give yourself plenty of time to take my advice, reap the benefits and launch a successful Giving Tuesday campaign. Next year. In 2020.

The most important thing in this article is a single idea: For most nonprofits, especially small ones, a person’s relationship with your organization will determine how much they give when asked.

Fundraising professionals know that everything hinges on relationships. Who introduced you? How much time have you spent with them? What kind of rapport do you have? Do you know their dog’s name? If you get that right, you bring in the big bucks.  

Yet when it comes to digital fundraising, relationships are forgotten and left to fall by the wayside. Instead there’s just a stranger’s hand, outstretched, saying, “We don’t know each other, but click here to donate now!”

To get great outcomes for your Giving Tuesday campaign, you need to spend the entire year building great relationships.

To set you up for success, let’s look at some common qualities in great interpersonal relationships and understand how they manifest in digital communications between an organization and its audience.

Imagine a good friend. Someone that you trust, that you like, and that you would inconvenience yourself for if they asked you to. My bet is that your relationship with them feels:

  1. Relevant
  2. Respectful
  3. Consistent
  4. Meaningful

If you want to nail Giving Tuesday, you have to nail these four qualities with the people you’re talking to. Now, let’s dig in.

Relevance may feel like a weird way to think about a relationship, but hear me out. The people you are close to now had to become relevant in some way in order to allow the relationship to grow. Maybe they are family. Maybe they sat next to you in fourth grade. Maybe they share a hobby, a neighborhood watering hole, or another close friend. It’s not about how you met, it’s about how your life and theirs are connected in some way. In the same way, these people can move out of your life and lose relevance. You lose touch, you move on, you change, and having sat next to them in Mr. Ross’ class isn’t enough to keep them relevant.

When it comes to translating that to an organization, it’s actually pretty easy. Why is your work relevant to your audience? Maybe it’s a cause they care about, or it’s geographically related to where they are, or maybe you were introduced to them by a good friend. It works the same. Your job is to communicate that relevance, over and over again, all year long so that they feel connected to you.

If I accused you of being disrespectful to your online audiences, you’d probably get a bit defensive, but take a second and imagine yourself on a first date. After a few minutes of small talk, your date asks what you’re doing next Saturday because they are moving and could really use an extra set of hands.

How would that feel? There’s nothing really rude about the request, but it still feels disrespectful, right? If it were me, I’d be like, woah, dude, who are you? I’m over here with a whole life full of hobbies and people, and you think buying me a few pieces of raw fish makes you relevant?

I see nonprofits do this ALL THE TIME, especially on Giving Tuesday. If you are asking people for first-time donations in a social media ad, you are guilty. If you are asking people who have never given you money to tell their friends to give you money, you are guilty. If you are expecting people to read many paragraphs to understand your work on their first visit to your website, you are guilty.

Sure your language may always be appropriate, and you’re probably the most polite nonprofit on the block. You answer emails in a timely manner and you’re always the first to say thank you. But let me ask you this: Have you ever asked for a larger commitment from your audience than is appropriate based on your relationship history?

Rule: To be respectful, your ask of time or money should directly correlate to the time or money your audience has ALREADY given you. 

The longer the relationship, and the more they have engaged with you, the more you can ask of them. If you have literally never done anything but interrupt their social media feed, you have not established a strong enough relationship to respectfully ask them for money. You’re being the person who takes them to sushi and then wants hours of their precious weekend for manual labor. What can you give to them before you ask them to give to you?

Nothing builds great relationships like consistency. I hope you’ve had the sweet stability of a good friend. I’m talking about someone who exercises with you twice a week for months or years in a row, or who always picks up when you call. I hope you have friends who are steadfast and reliable, because they can be a tremendous source of strength, comfort, and service when you need it. 

Of course, we all have those friends who disappear for months at a time, then come around and need a favor. Hopefully, we’ve all outgrown those friends who are truly unpredictable and dramatic. Regardless of the source of inconsistency, we should be honest that our connection to those people is weaker and our willingness to make sacrifices for them is less than those we know we can count on.

And yet… our organizations do the same thing all the time. We let months and months pass in between updates. Our poor donors never know if the email they are going to open will have great news, a party invitation, or some tragic and moving tale designed to open their wallets. Inconsistency breeds mistrust. Even if it’s small and subconscious, you can be sure it is enough to impact the success of an annual fundraising campaign.

Only when a relationship is relevant, respectful and consistent can it become meaningful, and meaningful is where it’s at.

To help you understand what I mean, picture your dental hygienist. I’m sure he or she is a lovely person, and if you can picture them, then it’s likely that they are relevant, respectful, and consistent, so good for you! A healthy mouth is a happy mouth!

But, you probably wouldn’t call that relationship meaningful. To be meaningful, there has to be a deeper connection borne out of mutual concern. Wonderfully, this is the easy part! If you’re talking to the right people, then you know that they care about the problem you are trying to solve. The mutual concern that connects you is the one certain thing you have going for you in a fundraising campaign!

It’s so tempting for organizations to focus only on the meaningful part of their communications and relationship building with donors. It’s easy to think that your people care about your cause, so you can leverage that and turn it into dollars. In the end, you may not have overflowing budgets or sold-out events, but your Giving Tuesday campaigns do okay.

If you want to really see your people show up on Giving Tuesday, see what happens when you show up for them all year long. Consistently and respectfully remind them of your relevance so that they are confident in the meaningful work you are doing and the importance of their contribution to support it.

So how do you start building relevant, respectful, consistent, and meaningful relationships with your people?  If you’re already planning to attend Cause Camp, sign up for my strategic marketing workshop on April 22, 2020, and we’ll hatch a plan together. If you’re interested in learning more about my workshops or agency services, connect with me on LinkedIn. I promise to do my best to stay relevant, respectful, consistent and meaningful!

Get your tickets today! Early bird pricing available now, register HERE.

*Early Bird pricing available until January 31, 2020.

The post Lindsay LaShell : How to Get the Most from Your 2020 Giving Tuesday Campaign appeared first on Nonprofit Hub.

Omnichannel Engagement on Your Giving Day

No Comments Investor Strategy

In previous posts we have discussed the importance of giving day, the keys to a great giving day, and what we learned from running our first RNL-sponsored giving day at the RNL National Conference. This last post in our series covers omnichannel engagement on your giving day and the recommended tools that you should be using on your big day.

The Importance of a Great Giving Day Platform

Your giving day platform plays a huge role in the success of
a giving day. It impacts how you amplify your message, how donors react and
give, and how you track your results. However, we find that institutions that
don’t choose a platform that truly embraces the purpose of a giving day inevitably
underperform and don’t live up to their real potential.

There are plenty of platforms out there that really embrace
the importance of giving day and do a great job of showing off their special
day. However, there are just as many that don’t do a great job of highlighting
the importance of the event.

This is why we have designed the RNL Giving Day platform to provide all the tools necessary to promote, amplify, and manage your giving day. Our campus partners experience improvements in their results when they move from a single page or crowdfunding project approach to our sophisticated, donor-friendly solution. You are investing a lot of time and money on your giving day, it’s important that you don’t just choose a solution because they are the most budget friendly because you’ll likely receive results that reflect your investment.

Giving Day Omnichannel Engagement: Key Channels

Texting: Engage and warm your audience

One of the most effective and most popular new additions to
giving day is the texting channel. There are many text use cases on the market
today, but RNL has found that the peer-to-peer mode of communication is much
more effective and efficient than a text to give.

Think about what we spoke about above in regards to the
purpose of giving and how you are going to drive participation. You’re not
going to accomplish that goal by sending a boring text that is 100% focused on
asking for money. Here’s the cadence we have seen work well:

1. Send a warming message that is focused on engagement and
the purpose of your giving day sent a few weeks before the start of your giving

2. The second message should be on the day of giving,
reminding your donor base where they can find the giving day page and why they
should make a gift.

We’ve seen a lot of success with this method from both a response rate perspective (17% response rate at a large public school) and very few unsubscribes. In fact, one school only had 13 people unsubscribe from the texting channel while sending nearly 20,000 messages throughout the two-week process. Your donors want to be texted and want you to communicate with them this way, which is why we would highly recommend you add this channel to your mix this upcoming year.

Digital Engagement: Building awareness and engagement through social media and digital ads

Social media and digital ads should be a huge part of your
giving day plans. Utilizing retargeting ads on your giving day pages, targeted
banner ads for donors who are going to be engaged with your giving day, and geo-fencing
your community during the big day are great ways to ensure you have a great
digital reach.

As we mentioned above, having a strong ambassador program is key to your social outreach and making sure the larger community is aware of what is going on and what they should be getting involved in. Also, feel free to share all of that engaging content that you created across your social channels. Make sure DOD’s and campus leadership are sharing project pages and challenges that are relevant to them and their networks. This will help potential donors find the areas they are interested in and increase the likelihood of making a donation.

Phone & Student Engagement Staff: Making personal connections that lead to gifts

The phone channel is really important during the day of giving. Not only should you be calling from dawn until dusk attempting to raise money but you should also use your student staff for other ways as well. Calling to thank donors, writing thank you cards, creating videos to post on social media, etc. There are so many ways to put this group to work outside of calling for donations, which you should be doing without question. If you have the right platform you should be able to upload all of these donations into your giving day to make sure your donors who make a gift through the phone aren’t missing out on the action.

Email and Mail: Creative uses for traditional channels

Communication through these channels is still vital but
think outside the box. You shouldn’t be providing your donors with the same old
boring content. Think about utilizing postcards, handwritten notes, and really
cool print promotional pieces that explain and promote your giving day.

You can accomplish the same thing by utilizing some of that engaging content via email. We’ve always found that emails that include video increase opens and click through rates so utilize that content that you spent so much time creating to drive donor traffic and engagement.

Talk to RNL About Giving Day Omnichannel Engagement

RNL believes in a true omnichannel effort in your yearly fundraising plan and we believe in doing so on giving day as well. If you’d like to learn more about how RNL can provide a true omnichannel effort on your giving day, talk with our fundraising experts to discuss strategies and solutions.

The post Omnichannel Engagement on Your Giving Day appeared first on Ruffalo Noel Levitz.

Fitness Mobile Apps Enabling Individuals with a Healthy Lifestyle

No Comments Breakthrough Tech

There is a very famous proverb “Health is Wealth.” It is so true. No matter how much money you have, but it cannot cure an untreatable disease.

People maintain their fitness in different ways. The most common preference is to join the Gym. But the working-class cannot spare time for gym workouts. Usually, they take care of their fitness on their own by tracking physical and mental health through fitness mobile apps in a hassle-free manner.

Are you one of them who have tried/are using different fitness mobile apps? I am sure the answer will be yes!

Well, I am definitely one of them. I’m fond of walking so I have used different mobile apps that help me to track how many calories I burnt, how many steps I walked, how many miles/kilometers I walked in how much time, etc. and inspires me to keep following the healthy habits.

Several fitness apps are available on Google Play Store and Apple Store that help people to maintain their health in different ways. In fact, there has been a staggering need for expert mobile app developers, who can craft the most feasible solutions that meet the requirements.

Types of Fitness Apps

Activity Tracking Apps

Activity Tracking App

Activity Tracking Apps track each of the physical activities performed by the users during the day. It collects information about the number of hours slept, steps taken, speed and distance covered running, calories burned, and stairs climbed. Users can view all the data on the app dashboard by user’s progress, building the charts, and saving routes of on the map.

Exercise and Workout Apps

Exercise and Workout Apps

These apps provide a personal fitness trainer to users. Users can connect with the trainers through the app. They can take the trainers anywhere and perform their workouts regularly. Workout and Exercise Apps also allow users to choose the coach on their own and level of physical training.

Nutrition and Diet Apps

Nutrition and Diet Apps

Such apps help users to count the number of calories they consumed during the day. User needs to enter the food items he/she ate in the app, it will count the calories and weight gained by consuming the products. The diet and nutrition apps help the person to maintain weight by losing or gaining some kilos.

Must-have Features of Fitness Mobile Apps

#1. Social Integration

The fitness mobile app should allow users to sign up into the app through the Social media account. It helps users to find friends who are using the same app. Moreover, it enables users to publish the results on Facebook along with pictures of the activities or workout they did.

#2. Device Connectivity

The app has to be compatible with different fitness trackers. Many fitness apps connect the smartphone with wearable products via Bluetooth and provide all data on the fitness tracker. It enables users to track their performance without using the mobile phone.

Also Read: Wearable Apps: Culminating Technology beyond Imagination

#3. User Activity Tracking

With the activity tracking feature, the apps collect walking, sleeping, running, cycling, and swimming-related information for users using smartphone sensors. This data could be a number of steps taken, calories burnt, time taken, and much more. If your app is connected with any fitness tracker, then the information is available on the tracker as well.

#4. Geolocation

A fitness mobile app with Geolocation features allows users to track their current place, create walking/running/cycling routes, and record their workouts.

#5. Notifications

To maintain fitness, consistency in workouts is highly essential. A few missed workouts affect your body shape. Using the notification feature, the app sends reminders to users about the fitness activities they need to perform.

Well, make sure the notification should not be annoying. If the user is very busy and having health issues, the app should allow him/her to adjust the workout time and frequency.

#6. Target Settings

One of the most important features of an activity tracking app is the target setting. It allows users to plan workouts in advance and set achievable goals that encourage them to keep moving ahead and maintain their healthy lifestyle.

#7. Workouts

The fitness apps enable users with two options. Either they can create their workout or they can choose from the available one.

Add-on Features of Fitness Mobile Apps

Without integrating basic features, fitness mobile apps cannot deliver a better experience to users. But, the integration of advanced features brings their experience to a completely different level. Moreover, add-on features help in engaging more users and gaining millions of app downloads.

Virtual Reality (VR)

Considering Virtual Reality for the fitness app, you can enable users with immersive content that helps them to perform their activities and workouts more accurately and effectively.

Well, the development of Virtual Reality feature is not easy. To access the Virtual Reality content users need to use VR headsets and create a completely artificial environment. Thus, before considering the VR feature for your fitness app, you must consult a reliable Android and iPhone app development company that has proven experience in delivering brilliant VR solutions.


To encourage people to perform the workouts regularly, they must stay dedicated to their fitness. Gamification inspires users to achieve their set fitness goals by competing with other users.

Provide rewards and points/scores to the users after the successful completion of different phases of workouts that excite them to explore the next level. The reward should be tangible that motivate users to perform more workouts. Gamification is the best option to make training more entertaining and interesting.

Social Media

One of the most effective features that help businesses spread brand awareness, engage customers, and drive several business opportunities. Add all the popular social media platforms in the fitness app so that users can share their achievements on it, encourage & invite their network to use your application, or set competition using social media services offered by you. Social Media has added new dimensions to business branding and user engagement.

Concluding Notes

Help the fitness conscious people to maintain their health by developing a Fitness app that contains all the above fantastic features. Reach out a large target audience by developing a mobile app for both Android and iOS platforms.

It is suggested that to start such an ambitious project by creating an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) of your Fitness app. This is a very cost-effective approach as it saves your money by allowing to test out your idea without investing vast efforts and resource in developing a full-fledged product.

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What’s the Difference Between Investing and Saving?

No Comments Financial Advisors

In the world of financial planning, the terms “investing” and “saving” are sometimes used interchangeably. The ideas are the same – you’re spending time and energy on setting money aside for your future. 

However, within your financial plan, it’s important to realize that saving and investing serve different purposes. You can and should use both of these strategies to meet your goals, but it’s important to know how and where to leverage them in your own financial life. 

What Does It Mean to Save?

Saving is a strategy that focuses on accumulating cash by making regular deposits into a bank savings account. Saving with a bank helps you secure your money through FDIC insurance, making it a low-risk way to accumulate wealth. The FDIC, or Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, is an organization separate from the government that protects bank patrons against losing their money if the bank should go under. 

FDIC-insured banks are the way to go for cash savings because the FDIC will protect your savings dollar-for-dollar including any insurance earned over the life of your account. The best part is that bank customers don’t have to do anything to apply for FDIC insurance. If the bank is insured, so are all account holders. Typically, traditional accounts are covered up to $250,000.

Growing cash savings in an FDIC-insured bank is a great way to boost your wealth and to meet short term goals. Because your money is insured dollar-for-dollar, and because you have easy access to cash in a savings account, this type of savings is ideal for meeting liquidity needs.

When Should You Save?

Saving plays a big part in your financial plan because most of your short-term goals can (and should) be met by cash savings. In a perfect world, you’ll always be able to save in advance for big, lifestyle-goal purchases. For example, you might start putting cash aside in an earmarked savings account for:

  • A new (or new to you) car
  • Travel
  • Holiday spending
  • New furniture
  • Concert tickets
  • A house down payment

Saving cash in FDIC-insured savings accounts for short-term goals like these helps you to prioritize spending goals and avoid getting into debt to fund your lifestyle. Another way to leverage saving is to build a cash account for emergencies. Typically, financial experts recommend having 3-6 months of living expenses tucked away in an emergency fund that you don’t touch unless you absolutely need to. 

However, this number can change depending on your current life situation. If you’re a freelancer or entrepreneur, for example, giving yourself a little bit more of a runway in your emergency savings can protect you against a lull in business, or losing your biggest client. 

Of course, on the other side of the coin, it’s possible to have too much cash in savings. If the risk that comes with investing makes you uncomfortable, you might be sitting on a surplus of cash – which can prevent you from growing your wealth for important long term goals like retirement. A good rule of thumb to follow is that your savings should be dedicated to an emergency fund and short-term savings goals. Beyond that, your money will earn more for you in the long run if you invest. 

What Does It Mean to Invest?

Investing is another tool in your financial plan that helps you grow your wealth. When you invest, whether it’s in the stock market or property, you’re putting your money in vehicles that earn a higher rate of return than a traditional savings account. High-yield savings accounts, on average, have a return of about 2% APY. Investing in the stock market, on the other hand, has historically earned investors an average return of 10% annually – closer to 7% if you want to be conservative in your projections. 

Keep in mind that investing doesn’t come without its downsides. The tradeoff for a higher annual rate of return is that, when you invest, you’re taking on a lot more risk than you do in an FDIC-insured savings account. There is no insurance or guarantee when it comes to investing. Even if you choose lower-risk investments like bonds or property in an up-and-coming area, you’re still walking into a situation where the money you’ve invested could be worth less over time in a worst-case-scenario.

The stock market crash of 2008 is often something people reference when shying away from investing – and the truth is that there’s no clear guarantee that the market won’t crash again. Markets are meant to fluctuate over time, which is why it’s so important to invest responsibly and to focus on long-term goals instead of “get rich quick” investing strategies that may or may not work.

When Should You Invest?

Even though investing comes with more risk, it plays a big part in your financial plan. Investing is ideal for long-term goals and financial growth. Some long-term goals that might be a good fit for investing might be:

One of the easiest ways to get started with investing is through your company’s retirement plan. In fact, for most people, their 401(k) is their first experience with investing. Within your 401(k) (or other retirement plan offered through your employer), you can adjust your investments based on your risk tolerance and retirement timeline. Beyond your employer’s retirement plan, you might also get some early exposure to investing through employee stock options like RSUs, or other incentive plans. If either or both of those investing vehicles are available to you, make sure you’re maximizing the opportunity. 

Beyond investing for retirement, or having employee stock options, you could opt for another investing tool to help you diversify your portfolio and reach your long-term goals. A few investing accounts, or tools to look at are:

  • Bonds
  • Stocks
  • Mutual funds
  • ETFs (Exchange-traded funds)
  • Property or real estate
  • Hedge funds
  • Private equity funds
  • Commodities

Every investment type comes with its own unique risk. Before you jump into investing in any or all of the above, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate your long-term goals. Knowing the “why” behind a given investment can help you to decide whether a particular investment will work well in your overall portfolio. 

Why Both Are Important

Saving and investing both have a spot in your financial plan. If you’re just getting started with your financial planning journey, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that cash savings should be your primary (and only) priority, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s important to build your cash savings, and continue to put money toward short-term savings goals to keep you out of debt while still checking some big lifestyle to-dos off your bucket list. However, it’s also important to get started investing early. Even a small amount of money in a retirement account can earn you notable compound interest over time. 

When you look at how saving and investing play a role in your financial plan, it can be helpful to remember that growing your wealth is all about balance. You want to be able to reach short-term goals, like taking that family beach vacation next summer, because they make life worth living. You also want to be able to prepare for a successful financial future through retirement and beyond. Finding a way to balance both cash savings and a well-diversified investing strategy can help you further down the path toward your goals. 

Have questions about finding a balance between saving and investing? Not sure where or how to get started with your wealth-building strategy? Let’s chat! Our team would love to talk to you about your goals, and how you can combine saving and investing to reach them.

The post What’s the Difference Between Investing and Saving? appeared first on Workable Wealth.

What is Social Commerce and is it Living Up to the Hype?

No Comments Economy

Imagine: you’re scrolling Instagram when you find a pair of Nike sneakers that you absolutely love. You decide to go look for them on the Nike website, only to be left frustrated and disappointed when you can’t easily track them down.
Now imagine the same scenario, but this time Nike’s Instagram has a ‘BUY’ button directly linked to the shoes that caught your eye. This fantasy is no longer in the realm of your imagination, but rather in the world of social commerce, which is making waves in the eCommerce industry.
What is social commerce?
Social commerce is defined as a subset of eCommerce that allows consumers to make online purchases directly through social media platforms, rather than being redirected to the company’s website. This reduces the number of steps in the conversion funnel, which means that businesses are less likely to lose customers along the way.
Examples of social commerce include the selling of products on Facebook and Instagram. Recommended products will pop up on the consumer’s news feed and allow them to click on a ‘shop now’ link, directing the consumer directly to a page to place their orders. There is, however, resistance from consumers to place orders through platforms like Facebook and Instagram, as they do not trust that the social media platforms will protect their financial information.
Some best practices of social commerce include building a brand community, authenticity, and using videos to heighten consumer engagement. Building a brand community makes consumers feel like the company has a vested interest in their goals and interests, which creates brand loyalty. Authenticity creates trust in the brand, which strengthens brand equity. YouTube is the second most used search engine after Google. Therefore, companies can capitalise on the use of YouTube videos as a way of drawing in consumers.
Why is social commerce a good idea?
The form of trade has become increasingly popular given the rise of social media use in recent years. Over 54% of millennialsuse social channels to research products before purchasing them and the average person spends roughly one and a half hours on social media every day. Given this routine engagement with social media, it makes sense for businesses to try sell their products on a platform where the consumers already are, rather than trying to attract them to their website. This technology allows businesses to make customers’ experience better, which in turn improves brand experience and facilitates the relationship between consumer and business.
Why social commerce growth is slow
People are using social media to research and discover products or services, but aren’t quite making the leap to clicking the ‘buy’ button online. A change in consumer behaviour is required and experts suggest that companies need to build relationships and networks with consumers before trying to sell their products through a medium the customer isn’t used to.
Considering that people don’t trust social media to keep their financial information safe or not misuse it, social media companies are working on establishing trust through building stronger networks. While building stronger networks cannot remove consumer scepticism entirely, it is likely to grow consumer trust over time. It’s therefore still worthwhile for companies to offer social commerce as another channel through which their products can be accessed. They shouldn’t rely on it solely, though.
How can Neuromarketing help strengthen your social commerce?
Building an effective network requires that the customers perceive the company’s efforts to be authentic, in order to signal that the company does value the consumers aspirations and values. Companies would naturally want to have a way of testing whether or not their messages are being received well by the audience, otherwise attempts at building a strong network will go to waste. Neuromarketing provides the ideal solution to this problem, as emotional responses to marketing attempts can be captured with Facing Coding and Galvanic skin response and can be used to create invaluable insights for the company.
User interface is another aspect of social commerce that can be optimized with the help of Neuromarketing, as Eye Tracking and Galvanic skin response technology can measure how easily the customer can navigate the portal for making purchases on the various social media platforms.
These diverse Neuromarketing tools provide a cutting-edge way of helping your company make the most of the social commerce trend!

Antionette Kerr : How I Became a Self-Care Radical

No Comments Investor Strategy

The elders in my family set high standards for what “hard work” felt and looked like. They subscribed to the adage that people of color (especially women of color) had to work “twice as hard” in business to prove themselves. I deeply respect my family’s wisdom. I credit them for my fierce work ethic, which fit right in with the “do more with less” mindset of nonprofit work, but as I rose through the ranks of nonprofit leadership, I wasn’t quite prepared for the toll it took on my mental, physical and spiritual well-being.

At a time when HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) transitions threatened most aspects of our funding, I said “yes” to more than 12 local and state boards while serving as an executive director of an affordable housing nonprofit and vice president of our state coalition. It was well-known in the community, with family, friends and even clients, that I was stressed and overworked. I took observations like “You work too hard” as a compliment rather than a warning.

I burned out by year six with the leadership role, and after a series of life-threatening medical scares, I had to make major lifestyle shift. In 2012, I applied for and was the youngest person to receive an award from the Z. Smith Reynolds Sabbatical Foundation (ZSR). This amazing program has supported more than 140 executive directors who needed time away from their organizations for self-care and self-reflection. It seemed like a bold move to admit I needed time away from work (or to let my ego think of the staff handling things without me), but a doctor warned me that if I continued ignoring my physical and mental health, I might not make it to my next trip to the emergency room. After my sabbatical, I was able to return to my organization with tools and with this radical notion that self-care is critical to an agency’s collective success.

The following year, I joined the ZSR’s foundation selection committee and along the way read more than 300 nonprofit leaders’ stories and interviewed more than 40 applicants. I began noticing patterns in what nonprofit leaders were experiencing, many of which were deeply rooted in the nonprofit industrial complex. I’ve also started to recognize the “myths” that keep people from valuing self-care. Often these things trickle through to staff.

From office sanctuaries, mindfulness rooms, mini-sabbaticals, to redefining what “hard work” looks like, there are soft skills that can help foster a culture of self-care. I am eager to share this at this year’s Cause Camp as part of the theme DISRUPTION. In many ways, I consider self-care as being a radical notion for self-sacrificing nonprofit leaders. It reminds me of the revolutionary writer Audre Lorde’s perspective, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”

 Disclaimer: I don’t consider myself an “expert” in self-care, but as a revolutionary, I am highly motivated to share what I’ve learned along the way.

See you in Lincoln!

Antionette Kerr will speak at Cause Camp 2020.

Get your tickets today! Early bird pricing available now, register HERE.

*Early Bird pricing available until January 31, 2020.

The post Antionette Kerr : How I Became a Self-Care Radical appeared first on Nonprofit Hub.

Node.js vs PHP: Which Technology Is Better for Server-Side Development?

No Comments Breakthrough Tech

Web development is a constantly growing and evolving field. As long as the web exists, there will always be a need for newer, better web applications. Hence, if you want to pursue an option where you learn and create something new every day, web development would be an excellent choice.

When it comes to creating web apps, there are plenty of options to choose from for the development stack, that is, the technologies used in this process. People who wish to start with something reliable often stick to the classics. The leading web development companies have a niche of their own and have a set of rules to follow.

Node.js and PHP are two such reliable options to be used for server-side development. They are both programming languages used to develop web app back-ends. They have been around for so long that they have experienced immense growth and, on the way, garnered the support of developers of both – old and new age. Hence, everyone in the developer community trusts them as a safe and steady choice.

Now, since they are both rivals, it naturally leads to the question, “Which is better?” To answer the question, we will take a look at both Node.js and PHP as separate programming languages with their individual pros and cons. We will also present a brief comparison to aid us in settling this debate.

What is Node.js?

Node.js was introduced in 2009 by Ryan Dahl and has since proved to be a very vital and crucial contribution to the world of JavaScript. While it is commonly called a programming language, Node.js is actually an open-source runtime environment that aids in running JavaScript at the server-side of a web application. The skilled Node.js developers have a knack of opting for this to build a more secure and efficient solution.

Node.js is used in the development of various types of applications such as SPAs (single page applications), I/O intensive apps, and DIRTs (Data Intensive Real-time Applications).

Pros of Node.js

  • It is based on JavaScript, which is one of the easiest programming languages to learn.
  • It is flexible in that it does not cause developers to bother with a lot of dependencies, following a fixed architecture, etc.
  • It allows high scalability and speed of both project development and execution.
  • Its asynchronous processing works well for real-time I/O-sensitive applications, such as instant messengers.
  • React, Angular, and other JS-based frontend development frameworks work well with Node.js at the backend.
  • Having the same language at the front- and backend allows for easier maintenance of the code.
  • There are plenty of useful NPM libraries and packages available for quicker and easier Node.js development.

Cons of Node.js

  • Some users may find the code structure a little too complex.
  • It is not a good enough solution for CPU-intensive applications since it is single-threaded.
  • Node.js carries the risk of type safety issues hence it is unsuitable for number-intensive applications such as financial ones.
  • Some third-party packages and libraries may be unreliable. Hence, extra care needs to be taken when using unofficial add-ons for Node.js.

What is PHP?

Danish-Canadian programmer Rasmus Lerdorf first introduced PHP way back in 1994, which makes PHP as one of the oldest languages in the market. PHP, which is a recursive acronym for Hypertext Preprocessor, is a programming language that was released purely for the purpose of web development. The experienced PHP development companies have PHP as their primary choice when they need to develop robust and scalable web apps.

Pros of PHP

  • Since PHP was launched many, many years ago, it has had a lot of time to develop and mature, resulting in a stable version in the present day.
  • The code written in PHP is highly portable and extremely easy to deploy.
  • PHP code is easy to maintain.
  • PHP is a perfect choice for applications hosted on a centralized server.
  • It works very well with Linux OS, Apache Web server, and MySQL database.
  • PHP offers a huge code-base with many popular standardized web app solutions such as WordPress and Drupal, which are great for simple blogs or websites with high customizability.
  • It is an easy programming language for beginners. Even those with no technical knowledge or experience can work with it.
  • Since PHP was specially developed for web apps, its packages, libraries, and modules are tailored to fit every little need in that regard.
  • It is an efficient server-side solution that helps avoid client-side code overloading.

Cons of PHP

  • Since PHP has an extensive code base, it may, at times, become hard to manage all the code.
  • It might be tricky to resolve scalability issues in PHP applications.
  • Using PHP for backend development means you will have to learn not just PHP but also JavaScript (for the frontend).
  • Many of the newer APIs offer limited or no support for PHP.
  • It is not a good option for developing single-page applications or apps requiring multiple client connections.

A Side-by-Side Comparison of Node.js and PHP

Setup and Installation

For Node.js, there are two options:

  • Direct download from the official Node.js website
  • Command-line installation using NPM (Node Package Manager)

PHP’s official website offers multiple new and old versions of PHP for download. The website also has instructions on how to make PHP work with a web server.


Some well-known frameworks that work with Node.js are

  • Express
  • Meteor
  • Koa
  • Sails

Two of the most popular PHP frameworks are Laravel and Codeigniter. However, there are many lesser-known options such as:

  • Yii
  • Symfony
  • CakePHP
  • Zend


Node.js is based on the powerful Chrome V8 Engine, an open-source JavaScript engine developed by the Chromium Project, while PHP is powered by Zend, which supports versions higher than PHP 5.6.

Web Server

Node.js has its own runtime environment for executing its JavaScript code. Hence, it does not require a separate web server.

PHP, on the other hand, works with multiple very popular open-source web server solutions. As a beginner, you might find it easy to configure a PHP server using XAMPP, which will set up an Apache server for you. According to a report by W3Techs, when it comes to the most commonly used server, Apache takes the lead, being used by 43.9% of all websites. However, it is closely followed by Nginx at 30.6%.

Percentages of websites using various web servers

Ease of Use

Node.js seamlessly integrates with the frontend development technologies since they are both JavaScript-based. Hence, it speeds up the development process for developers already familiar with JavaScript.

PHP, on the other hand, has to be learned from scratch, so it might slow your progress down a little. However, it is an easy language to learn, with comprehensive documentation as well as a lot of community support available online. The simple structure of PHP also encourages most beginners to start with PHP instead of Node.js.


We took a look at how the two languages, PHP, and JS, fared against each other in another W3Techs report and discovered that PHP topped the list of most-used server-side development languages.

Percentages of websites using various server-side programming languages

Wrapping Up

As this is the case with any project, you need to choose the most appropriate technologies for your project’s development while keeping all your requirements in mind.

Choosing Node.js would enable you to build highly scalable and fast I/O sensitive projects. On the other hand, if you are looking to develop a project on a much smaller scale using a piece of dedicated web technology, then PHP would be a great choice.

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Understanding Why And How People Give

No Comments Investor Strategy

This post is sponsored by GoFundMe

If you’re involved in nonprofit work, you’ve probably thought a lot about what motivates people to donate their hard-earned income to a charitable cause. While much has changed in the nonprofit realm over the last 20 years, the underlying reasons for donating to charity are essentially the same. But exactly how people give and the methods they use have shifted and evolved as nonprofits have taken their fundraising online. 

Mobile giving, peer-to-peer fundraising and crowdfunding have redefined the giving landscape in new and exciting ways. In order to tap into donors’ generosity, you first need to understand what motivates them so you can tailor your fundraising methods accordingly. 

The evolution of online giving and new patterns in generosity  

Charitable giving was never the same after nonprofits first took their fundraising efforts online. And online giving has continued to redefine the way people give and the methods nonprofits use to fundraise. Organizations swapped out direct mail requests for email marketing campaigns and fundraising galas for virtual fundraising drives that required almost no overhead. It became effortless to reach thousands of supporters around the globe with just a few clicks of the mouse. 

In 2012, the Giving Tuesday movement ignited a new wave of generosity across the world, raising over $400 million to date and changing end-of-year fundraising strategies for nonprofits everywhere. Now, 54% of donors worldwide actually prefer to give online with a debit or credit card, so it’s no surprise that the crowdfunding market is expected to grow 89.72 billion from 2018 to 2022—and with it, new avenues to encourage generosity.

What motivates donors to give? 

Whether it’s to feel good about oneself or to support a cause that hits close to home, there are many reasons why people support a charity. Below are three major reasons that compel people to open their wallets. 

They can see the impact of their gift

It’s critical to show and tell your donors exactly how their financial support is making an impact. Otherwise, donors may feel like they’re tossing their money into a black hole. This especially matters to millennials, who said the most important factor in their charitable giving was knowing how their gifts would make a difference. It’s likely that this will be just as important to Gen Zers, who will make up 36% of the global workforce by 2020

They are moved by an individual’s story

When pushing out a new marketing campaign, don’t forget about the power of one. In other words, highlight an individual who has benefitted from your mission and tell their story—people are more moved by stories than pie charts, after all.

Studies have shown that people are more likely to donate when they connect with a specific individual’s story instead of being fed data about a large group of people in need. Focusing on a single individual who represents a larger group or issue also helps reduce compassion collapse. This phenomenon is a lack of empathy that can occur when we’re faced with an overwhelming number of people in need and fail to understand the needs on an individual level. 

They’re just waiting to be asked

One study revealed that for more than 85% of charitable donations, people donated simply because they were asked to. This reveals what most of us probably already know: sometimes all we need is a small nudge to move us in the right direction, especially when it comes to parting with our money. Other studies have revealed that the request size can also make a difference. People were much more willing to comply with a donation request when they were asked to give a small amount, such as $5. 

Four ways to harness generosity online

Keeping in mind the points above, let’s dive into three ways your nonprofit can ensure your online presence will encourage generosity among supporters. 

1. Make your mission statement clear

When was the last time you performed a content audit on your website? Have you updated your “about” page within the last year? Research found that when looking to donate, nine out of 10 millennials will first go to the page on a nonprofit’s website that describes the organization’s mission. Studies revealed that a gift impact statement can be a factor that increases donations. Millennials are now the largest demographic in the US, according to CNN, so it makes sense to consider their giving habits.  

2. Tap into mobile giving

40% of nonprofit website traffic comes from mobile users, according to Charity Navigator, and that figure is likely to rise as we come to rely even more on mobile devices in our day-to-day. It makes sense that the latest evolution in online giving focuses on mobile giving. Is your website optimized for mobile? Have you employed a text-to-give option? Making it as seamless as possible for people to donate on mobile will become increasingly important. 

3. Find a solid peer-to-peer platform

Nonprofit software is nothing new, but not all enterprise software offers an intuitive peer-to-peer option. By empowering your supporters to fundraise on your behalf, you’ll be able to reach new networks and new fundraising goals. Make sure you choose nonprofit fundraising software that is contract-free and doesn’t require subscription fees. 

4. Ask them why they give

Take the guesswork out of the equation and go straight to the source by asking your donors exactly why they were motivated to support your organization in the past. What would they like to hear more about? What would encourage them to give again in the future? These are important questions that can only be answered by reaching out. Sending out a survey will allow you to leverage insights from your most devoted supporters while also demonstrating your commitment to them. 

Use donor motivation and giving insights to make a bigger impact

If nonprofits can truly understand how and why individuals give, they’ll be better equipped to navigate and anticipate current and future giving movements. Data gleaned from studies can reveal helpful altruistic trends, but remember to spend time uncovering why your own donors give back. By tailoring your fundraising campaigns to your supporters’ specific interests and needs, you’ll be able to motivate them to keep giving. 

The post Understanding Why And How People Give appeared first on Nonprofit Hub.

4 Key Steps to Hyper-Personalize Your Donor Engagement

No Comments Investor Strategy

You’ve heard us say before that personalizing the donor experience is the #1 key to success with 21st century donor engagement. When I talk with people about making the transition from “send everything to everyone” to a truly donor-driven communication plan, I often get the response that it seems impossible, or “we’re too small to do that.” But new technology at a radically lower price point is now available to gets over these hurdles so you can hyper-personalize donor engagement quickly and precisely. Here are four steps to get you started.

  1. All your content are belong to us.”* Your campus and associated organizations are already producing a ton of content, from web stories, magazine articles, videos, even social media content. You’ll need to find where all of it lives and get each source catalogued. RSS feeds make this easier, and working with your web team to get a handle on everything that’s being produced and where it lives is crucial.

    *(For those of you who don’t know the meme that inspired this, here’s a little internet history lesson.)

  2. Get your tag on. Each piece of content, from all areas of your campus, needs to be categorized. This includes what it talks about, such as “cancer research” or “social justice.” So an article about internships dealing with corporate responsibility for business students at a pharma company might be tagged with all three of these, and also with “internships.” This multi-categorization of content will be crucial when it’s time to vary content by the interests of the donors you’ve been listening to.
  3. Start listening. Implement one of the powerful, AI-powered automation platforms now as your primary way to engage donors, and start sending communications through it. In days, you’ll start identifying your supporters and tracking what they do to get a better idea of what they care about—what they are clicking on and reading right now—rather than what you’ve coded them in your system by major, previous donations, or what you think they care about.
  4. Let the robots help you scale. You now have an idea of what your donors care about, and you have content ready to match that interest. It’s time to start creating your first personalized communications. This can be as simple as designing a newsletter that drives to your core messages, and also includes several variable blocks of stories and content tailored to what each donor wants. I’ve seen these communications created in about five minutes. My mind was blown.

To hyper-personalize donor engagement at scale, you need automation

RNL QuadWrangle Alumni Engagement

Don’t worry if assembling all your content, tagging everything or listening to donors seems like an impossible thing to start. The best solutions, relying on powerful AI, begin to do these things automatically once you get them started and then pointed in the right place to collect and curate relevant content by donor interests that will fuel your personalized communications. No, the robots are not going to take over our fundraising or communications positions—but they are going to allow for powerful personalization at scale, making it easier for you to focus on creating the best content and fine tuning the messages. The steps above can be completed by many, “average” organizations within 30 days with the right technology and a little help.

We’ve finally reached a point where this powerful personalization technology—linking the tagged content to the interests of the donor that you’re watching over time — is usable by any organization. What used to be reserved for big spenders like Amazon or the big media conglomerates is now in the hands of even “average” donor engagement teams. The user-friendly marketing and content automation solutions that are now available do the heavy lifting of personalization, constantly analyzing and updating data to maximize engagement and response. This lets you spend more time listening to donors and creating content to keep them engaged.

Start engaging more donors through hyper-personalization now

Our AI-powered platform RNL Quadwrangle accomplishes this by making donor engagement easier, faster, and smarter, using the the content resources you already have to get hyper-personalized campaigns created and launched in minutes — yes, minutes.

It’s time to join the big companies and big charities with the power of user-friendly and accessible AI and marketing automation technology. In the 21st century, being donor-centric means listening. And when you do, you’ll see better results immediately. Schedule a demo of RNL QuadWrangle now and see how you can elevate donor engagement and your fundraising results.

Hyper-personalize donor engagement with RNL QuadWrangle

The post 4 Key Steps to Hyper-Personalize Your Donor Engagement appeared first on Ruffalo Noel Levitz.

eCommerce in Southern Africa is Just Taking Off and Neuromarketing Can Help

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When prompted to think of hot spots for eCommerce, Sub-Saharan Africa probably isn’t your first thought. However, it is currently the perfect melting pot of conditions for eCommerce to make a huge impact. Here’s why, and how Neuromarketing can help you jump on board.
Current eCommerce Use
Internet user penetration in South Africa is currently predicted to reach 59.5% in 2020. Although smartphone penetration is currently less (approximately 30%) it is predicted to grow to 37.2% in the next few years.
Currently, the leading product category for online shopping in Sub-Saharan Africa is electronics and media, followed by furniture and appliances. 54% of South African shoppers prefer to pay cash on delivery, as many South Africans do not have access to credit. 52% also like to pay with a debit card.
Some of the bigger players across the African continent include eCommerce sites like TakeALot, Jumia and Kilimall, which act as giant virtual department stores with a huge range of products, many of which aren’t commonly sold in the brick and mortar stores that most Africans have access to.
Why is eCommerce an ideal option for African consumers?
Made up of several developing nations, Southern Africa has limited infrastructure, particularly in less urban areas. This means that a large portion of the population has, at best, limited access to conveniences like shopping malls or department stores. Thanks to internet penetration, the demand for more niche or luxury items is higher than what local stores can affordably supply. eCommerce, on the other hand, makes a wider variety of products available to virtually anyone with an internet connection.
eCommerce also requires a smaller initial investment to get started than a brick and mortar store would, while providing wider customer reach. This makes it an appealing option for many South African entrepreneurs, who have a great product or service but not enough resources to open a physical store.
As mobile penetration increases and internet becomes faster, eCommerce is something to which more and more South Africans will have access. This, coupled with the advances in technology that allow for more secure transactions, means that people may be less likely to hesitate in making purchases online.
What to take into account
If you’re thinking of starting an eCommerce venture in Africa, bear in mind that:
Formal addresses are not always the norm. In rural areas or informal settlements, it can be rare for street names and numbers to be demarcated. You need to ensure that your delivery is flexible, and you’re able to contact the buyer directly to arrange delivery. Sasha Poignonnec, co-CEO of Jumia, talks about how they use local liasons in smaller areas to coordinate the final delivery, as they understand how to navigate the area. Alternatively, eCommerce services can have pick-up points set up.
It’s also important to remember that Southern African consumers don’t have access to credit. It is therefore important to offer a wide variety of secure payment methods, such as Snapscan, cash on delivery, EFTs, etc.
How can Neuromarketing help?
A big mistake that people make is thinking that they can treat African markets like Western ones and enter with the same User interface design and UX strategies. African consumers have their own cultural nuances, aesthetic preferences and ways of visually navigating information – you owe it to them to ensure that your platform is optimised for them.
If you’d like to see how neuromarketing can help you first hand, why not join the Neural Sense team at the ECOM2020event at the CTICC in Cape Town on the 8-9 of April 2020. We’ll be demonstrating some of our neuroscience technologies at the exhibition and will also be presenting a keynote address on the role of neuromarketing to optimise user experiences. Here’s a hint: it’s all about emotion…