High Magnitude Earthquakes Hit Ecuador and Japan

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It’s Monday morning and rescuers are searching for survivors and missing people in Ecuador and Japan. Over the last few days both countries have experienced high magnitude earthquakes resulting destruction, death and injury.

The island of Kyushu, Japan has been experiencing powerful earthquakes and hundreds of aftershocks since April 14, 2016 when a 6.2-magnitude quake struck the island. The worst the island has felt was a 7.0-magnitude quake on April 16th.  Rescuers in Southern Japan are working to help injured and displaced people while hoping the death toll doesn’t rise higher than its current 42.

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The coast of Ecuador was also hit Saturday, April 16, 2016, with a major 7.8-magnitude quake along the coast. With nearly 300 dead in Ecuador and more than 2,500 injured, rescuers are rushing to find survivors.

It is devastating to see these quakes happening at the same time. Rescue forces are in place.  Please make a donation to support the relief efforts for Ecuador and Japan:

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-Julia Hughes
Product Manager

10 Ways to Prevent Crime in Your Community

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We used to keep our porch lights on and open the door when the doorbell rang, even if we didn’t know who was there. We don’t do that in the world we live in now. But there are many ways to take back control and prevent crime in your community. It just takes communication, commitment and time.nno

In honor of National Night Out—an annual community-building campaign held the first Tuesday every August—here are 10 ways to make your neighborhood a safer, better place to live today.

  1. Work with your local public agencies and other organizations (neighborhood-based or community-wide) on solving common problems.
  2. Set up a Neighborhood Watch or a community patrol, working with police. Make sure your streets and homes are well lit.
  3. Report any crime or suspicious activity immediately to the police. There’s even a free app for that: McGruff Mobile, available on iTunes or on the Google Play store. The app is powered by AlertID, a national online and mobile service, and includes a virtual neighborhood watch where you can share photos and info about activity with neighbors, police, and even Homeland Security. (It also shows you an interactive map of crimes and sex offenders in your neighborhood, and you can receive alerts and information via email or mobile device.)
  4. If you own a dog, be a part of your local Dog Walker Watch crime awareness program (sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch), and serve as “extra eyes and ears” for local law enforcement agencies in ongoing crime prevention efforts.nno_FB
  5. Volunteer to help clean up your community. Call your city offices or local waste management company and schedule a dumpster for the event. Then pick up litter together. Show you care about where you live and each other.
  6. Organize to help clean and improve parks in your area. Well-kept play equipment and a clean park can attract enough people to discourage illegal activities. Insist that your local government maintain the parks, immediately repairing vandalism or other damage.
  7. Adopt a school. Help students, faculty, and staff promote a sense of community through your involvement in a wide range of programs and activities. Work with the school to establish drug-free, gun-free zones if they don’t already exist.
  8. Mentor young people who need positive support from adults—through programs like Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
  9. Create a community anti-violence competition. Include speech, dance, painting, drawing, singing, musical instrument acting, and other creative arts. Get young people involved to plan it and suggest prizes. Make it a fun, local celebration. You can hold it in a local park, and even include an old-fashioned potluck.
  10. Support organizations that help make communities safer, like the National Crime Prevention Council.

– Candy Culver
Marketing Consultant

Can Donors Make Recurring Donations?

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Featured Nonprofit FAQ:
Can a donor make a recurring donation to our organization through JustGive?

When it comes to processing donations for nonprofit organizations, one question we’re often asked is if it’s possible for donors to set up a recurring donation using JustGive’s services.

Question
Can a donor make a recurring/ongoing monthly donation to our organization through JustGive?

Answerrecurring screenshot
Yes! When you use JustGive to process your online donations, donors have the option to check a box to make their donation recurring. When they complete the transaction, they are charged for the initial donation and then again each month for the same amount. Donors can modify this recurring donation at any time through their JustGive account.

TIP: Encourage recurring donations and ongoing support from your donors by pre-checking the box on your Donation Page. To do that, just add some text (“&isRecurring=true”) onto your custom JustGive Donation Page website link, like this:

https://npo.justgive.org/nonprofits/donate.jsp?ein=94-3331010&isRecurring=true

When donors click your donation button or link from your website—with that additional text included—they land on your Donation Page with the “Make this a monthly recurring donation” box already checked. (Donors can easily uncheck this box if they do not want to make their donation recurring.)

For more helpful question and answers, visit the JustGive Nonprofit Support Center.

And don’t miss more fundraising tips & tools: Subscribe to our blog today.

– Sarah Bacon
Director of Product

Email Best Practices & Tips

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You need your nonprofit’s emails to break through inbox clutter so your supporters will open them and take action. Especially since the 2015 M+R Benchmarks Study shows 22% of all online donations are from emails (and it’s growing).

The best way to do that is to make the emails relevant. Include information your readers care about. Keep them opening your emails by timing them well and sharing information they didn’t have before—so they’re inspired to pay attention whenever your name shows up.

Let’s take a look at three key steps for creating effective emails.

1. Planning

Set a schedule that taps your supporters with the frequency and for the reasons and occasions that strategically match your fundraising approach.

For best supporter retention, pay attention to your ask to thank ratio for emails. Lynne Wester, The Donor Relations Guru, recently wrote a good blog post about this.

Select a dependable, responsive email provider, and take advantage of all its services. JustGive uses the VerticalResponse (VR) platform. VR has a full suite of online tools to manage and track marketing programs, including email. In a special offer for nonprofits, Vertical Response includes 10,000 emails per month for free, and a 15% discount on monthly plans for high-volume senders. It also offers a wealth of email tutorials, webinars and articles to help you.planning_ux-787980_1280

Use a mobile design for your emails to make them a quick read and skimmable. Latest stats show that up to 66% of emails are now opened on a smartphone or tablet.

Build and maintain your email list using your donor database. Ask them to opt in and give permission for emails (either through sign ups on your website or in a direct mail appeal), and include the unsubscribe choice in every email. Lists could be a blog topic by itself . . . but here are a few free guides and more information from Vertical Response. Don’t forget to get donor information from your JustGive Donation Report to keep growing your email list!

2. Writing & Sending

Write content that’s clear, compelling and action-oriented. Short and sweet, with words that speak directly to your reader (use “you” and write as if you’re talking to a real person). A simple rule of thumb for content: around 20% images and no less than 80% text.

Take time to develop attention-getting subject lines and headlines. If you keep the subject line to around 45-50 characters, readers will see all of it on mobile devices. For subject lines, check out this list of 21 words that came from analyzing billions of emails—to get you rolling or help if you’re stuck.  For headlines, you may be surprised to know that Upworthy’s editorial process is to write 25 headlines for each article before selecting one . Twenty five seems extreme to me, but you get the idea.fonts and colors

In your content and design:

  • Limit your overall color scheme to 2-3 colors and use basic fonts to keep the email professional-looking. Colors from your logo work well. For high readability, consider 12 point type, and check out this study about fonts.
  • Use prominent call-to-action buttons. Try different colors, shapes and words in your buttons to see what works best. And hyperlink phrases or sentences for easy clicking from mobile devices.
  • Integrate social media icons to connect with supporters through your other channels.
  • Add Google Analytics links to buttons, images and key phrases to see what gets readers’ attention and most drives action. If you don’t know how, here are get-started instructions. Test and double check those links!

When to send your email? Studies suggest 10 am in a reader’s time zone, Tuesday through Thursday. But the real answer is it all depends. Your best bet: Experiment with different times of the day, chart the performance you get, and see what your audience prefers.

If you’re converting direct mail fundraising appeals to email—Check out these 8 Commandments from Kivi’s Leroux Miller’s Nonprofit Blog.

3.  Measuring Results

analyticsAnalyze your Google Analytics stats and Reports from your email provider to monitor results. Review open rates, click through rates, unsubscribes, and most importantly, conversion.  Nonprofit benchmarks give you a good idea if you’re moving in the right direction.

Drilling down to what links, buttons and visuals draw clicks can also help you create more effective emails.

  • Do some testing (A/B). Split your mailing list randomly to test one change at a time—the subject line, time sent, message or image (positive image vs. “needy”)—and see what generates the best response.
  • Identify what’s working, what’s not, and adjust. On a regular basis. Bottom line: How much did the email generate in donations or bring in new donors?

For more info, check out the Nonprofit Tech for Good’s 10 best practices and the Top Takeaways and Strategies article from the 2015 Marketing Sherpa Email Summit.

Don’t miss out on more fundraising tips and tools: Subscribe to our Nonprofit Blog today.

– Candy Culver
Marketing Consultant

A fond adieu to Alex after almost 5 years at JustGive

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We have a great team here at JustGive. Today Alex, who has worked at JustGive for almost 5 years, is moving to a new opportunity in a different field. So we say a bittersweet farewell. In her time here, Alex has worked in many areas of the company, whether it be customer service, marketing, or product, with style, class and diplomacy.

Image Source: icanhas.cheezeburger.com

Like most JustGive team members, Alex is dedicated to improving the world through any action, on a large or small scale, in times of harmony or chaos. She volunteers and participates in activism for causes such as the arts, human and animal rights and social justice. She has also fundraised for her favorite causes through the use of various JustGive charity registries to support SF SPCA, Make-A-Wish Bay Area, Pets Unlimited, Animal Legal Defense Fund and The Transgender Law Center.

One of the things she enjoyed most about working at JustGive was being surrounded by people working to make a difference every day, especially in the wake of disasters near and far. We’ll not only miss her extensive experience and knowledge about the ins and outs at JustGive, but her beautiful singing in the office and most importantly her hilariously dry wordplay.

In honor of her social activism and the affinity for the arts, please enjoy this video by Playing for Change, an organization working for unity through music.

We will miss you and wish you all the best in your endeavors.

The JustGive team

Community Giving = Good Business

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If you’re hesitating to make community service part of business, a few minutes with Alison Roessler will change your mind. She’ll inspire you to make it your culture and get you fired up about the benefits of giving back in a heartbeat.

I talked with Roessler the other day about what making an impact means to her and why it’s important. As CEO and Founder of the Oakland, California fitness and wellness center Truve, established in 2014, she can’t imagine doing business any other way.

How did you start giving back?
I got started at a young age by my Mom. She was in charge of a holiday gift drive for an Oregon-wide credit union, and I went with her to deliver gifts to families. In high school I chaired a canned food drive, and helped with a pageant to raise money for the ICU at a local hospital. In college, through my sorority, I worked with the blind. Then I went to Costa Rica on a fluke trip, saw the poverty there and wanted to see how I could help. (The nonprofit she started in 2008, The Stars of Tomorrow/Las Estrellas de Manana, is working to break the cycle of poverty one child at a time.)

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Did you build community service into the business when you created Truve?
Yes. It was a driving factor for me in creating the business. I was doing some pro bono work – helping people with diabetes and more – at other fitness places and they were charging me to use the facility. I thought that was crazy! I wanted to make fitness accessible to everyone.

How are you making volunteering and giving back part of the business?
11036916_1635034656718468_2763814053344646237_nWe have a big event every month to give back. Anyone who is part of the Truve family – practitioners, members, and anyone who drops in to attend free classes – can suggest something that’s important to them and we’ll organize a class, run, fundraising drive or event to raise money.  Last month, we taught classes at the Lion’s Center for the Blind, just 2 blocks up the street. This month, we’re giving a drop-in class discount for anyone who brings in a non-perishable food item or arts and crafts supplies for the Lafayette Elementary School.

I made it a requirement for practitioners who are part of the Truve family to do 30 minutes to an hour every week, or 2 to 4 hours of pro bono service a month. Many of us teach free classes (we have 8 to 10 a week), including acupuncture and Reiki. Our Esthetician helps cancer patients and is involved in feral cat rescue. A Spin teacher reads to kids.

What would you say to business owners who think it costs too much to make volunteering a part of their work?
The benefits so outweigh the costs. It’s totally worth it; it comes back to you tenfold. The return my practitioners get from it and the change they’re making in the world. . . they’re happier afterwards, so glad they did it and ready to do it again!

Vitruvian ManGiving back to the community brings the whole culture of the business together. It should be a part of every business model.

What’s the best way to get over any hesitations about it being too hard to get started?
Dive in – head first – for something you’re passionate about. Once you do, it grows from there. You don’t have to be a Microsoft of the world to do this. (Truve is a small business.)

Truve’s name is inspired by Leonardo DaVinci’s Vitruvian Man, an illustration that shows a person’s wingspan is the same as his height,  with the human body in perfect balance. The fitness classes and services Truve provides, and its community service, actually puts all of life in perfect balance.

np_btn_donate_nowIf you’d like to help the Costa Rica nonprofit, The Stars of Tomorrow, donations are happily accepted.

Ready to incorporate giving back into your business? Just contact us.

– Candy Culver
Marketing Consultant

Your Donation Button Options

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

To answer your frequently asked questions, we’re including them in our nonprofit blog. Subscribe to the blog and use it as a place to check for answers. Each month, we’ll feature a question we get asked on a regular basis.

Featured Nonprofit FAQ
Your Donation Button Options

When you’re researching online donation options, of course you want to know what the JustGive Donate Now buttons look like, and how they can be used. We offer you choices:

  • You can add our buttons to your site, emails and more. We have easy-to-copy-and-drop-in-place Donate Now and Donate Monthly buttons. No programming skills required! (With the Donate Monthly button, you can inspire supporters to conveniently and automatically make monthly gifts, giving you a steady stream of money to count on.)
  • You can use your own button design and add a customized JustGive link.

Question
Can I see some examples of organizations using JustGive’s Donate Now buttons?

Answer
Here are several examples of what the buttons look like on our partner nonprofits’ websites:

JustGive’s Donate Now and Monthly Donate buttons:

Visit this nonprofit's website and c lick through for the full experience.

Visit this nonprofit’s website and click through for the full experience.

A nonprofit’s own button with a JustGive link (General Operating Fund) and our Monthly button:

Visit this nonprofit's website and click through for the full experience.

Visit this nonprofit’s website and click through for the full experience.

A nonprofit’s own button with a JustGive link:

Visit this nonprofit's website and click through for the full experience.

Visit this nonprofit’s website and click through for the full experience.

Just log in or sign up today to start using the buttons or links and raise more money for your work.

For more nonprofit FAQs, visit our Help Center

– Alex Mechanic
Service Team Manager

Time to Act: Prevent Sexual Assaults

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Image Source: Flickr

When we hear the term sexual assault, most of us think of rape by a stranger. The reality is that about 2/3 of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim. Sexual assault isn’t just limited to rape, either—it includes child abuse, sexual harassment, teen relationship violence, date rape and domestic violence. Every 107 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and this year, the campaign focuses on preventing sexual violence on campus.

Some starling statistics

Recent news stories of the alleged fraternity gang rape at the University of Virginia (Rolling Stone reporting snafu aside) and the Stanford University athlete caught mid rape have certainly fueled the conversation about sexual assault on college campuses.

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

The campus sexual assault study revealed:

  • 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted while in college
  • 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college

The majority of these college victims never report the assault. In the big picture, sexual assault is one of the most under reported crimes: 68% of assaults in the last five years were not reported to the police. And only about 2% of rapists will ever serve a day in prison.

What can we do about it?

Educating our children about this is imperative. While it’s a tough and awkward topic to tackle, we need to talk about it. That’s one of the best ways to truly protect them.

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

RAINN, the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network, suggests ways to get the conversations started: teaching your child to say no, and to come to you with questions and concerns.

The King County Sexual Assault Resource Center booklet, He Told Me Not To Tell, is another good parent’s guide. It includes specific ideas about storytelling and playing the What If game.

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s What is Healthy Sexuality and Consent fact sheet contains great information for teenagers.

What else?

Help charities who are addressing the issue of sexual assault do more outreach, create educational materials, and provide the services for victims that make a difference. Give today so they can speak with a louder voice and help prevent sexual assaults.

National Sexual Violence Resource Center is the organization behind Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and offers a wealth ofbutton_give_now_small information for preventing sexual violence. It is operated by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.

Rape Abuse & Incest National Network is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and operatesbutton_give_now_small the National Sexual Assault Hotline in partnership with 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country.

Love is Respect is a great resource to for engaging, educating and empowering young adults about how to prevent and endbutton_give_now_small abusive relationships. Brought to you by Break the Cycle.

– Candy Culver

Marketing Consultant

Nonprofit Spotlight: Bubble Foundation

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

At first blush, the Bubble Foundation seems like an unusual name for an organization that helps kids live healthy and happy lives, but then again…. Not wanting to pigeonhole their holisticbubble_logo efforts or be heavy handed about wellness, the name was chosen to keep it fun and focused on kids.

Funders ask about our name, says Executive Director Lizzie Redman, but never the kids. In fact, it’s a contagious echo in school halls where kids are heard chattering about “Bubble, Bubble.”

Bubble’s mission

Bubble believes every child in the United States, regardless of socioeconomic status, should have access to activities, food and information that helps them live healthy and happy lives. To accomplish this in New York City, they partner with schools in underserved communities, supplying core curriculum and program activities to fill a gap. They provide – free of charge – information, food and activities for schools, students and families who would otherwise get little or no health and wellness education.

School programs that deliver

The power of going directly into schools is how Bubble succeeds. Not just with kids, but their parents and school leaders too. Redman explains, “We reach kids while they’re young and expose them early on. We also bring in parents for family meals and workshops where we work with them about how to make healthy changes at home. We plant the seeds for healthy habits and empower school leaders to carry it forward.”

Bubble’s programs make “food, fun and fitness float”:

 

Bubble EATS is nutrition education delivered through weekly classes, cooking demonstrations and more from volunteer teachers. For instance, “kids may never have seen broccoli before, but they learn about it, cook it and find it enjoyable to eat,” describes Redman.

Bubble GROWS teaches the science of how food grows and basic farming and irrigation principles, and includes visits from farmers and to community gardens. Bubble brings portable grow boxes into classrooms and starts outside or rooftop gardens where there’s space available.

Bubble MOVES connects the school to other organizations and experts for fitness classes, recess programs, sports clinics, and special programs like yoga and African dance.

Results

Started in 2010 as a small organization to help one school – the Mott Haven Academy in the Bronx – Bubble will partner with eight schools during the 2015-2016 academic year. A few stats:

  • Bubble programs teach 1,200bubble2 students each week
  • Around 50 volunteers work for Bubble each semester – 30 teach weekly and 20 others support special programs
  • School partnerships last for 2 years (with support afterward)
  • Impact: 5 schools are successful program graduates, 6 schools are currently partners, and 4 more are being added next year

Giving practices

JustGive is proud to help the Bubble Foundation raise money online. “The ability to have a platform we can easily use is huge,” comments Redman. “And from a data perspective, to know where the money is coming from is valuable.”

Following best practices, Bubble has its Donate button built into every page of its website, and has customized its Donation Page, telling donors exactly what different size gift can do.

Check out how you can help the Bubble Foundation do even more.

– Candy Culver

Marketing Consultant

P.S. If you’d like to be featured in the JustGive Blog, submit your nonprofit!

2015 Nonprofit Technology Conference Highlights

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Image Source: Flickr

I remember attending an annual NTEN conference for the first time, in San Francisco. The sharing between very large companies like Blackbaud through individual IT consultants working for a cause demonstrated the tremendous resources offered—not just for nonprofit organizations (NPOs), but to the broad community serving them.

Launched in 2000, NTEN, The Nonprofit Technology Network, aspires to a world where all nonprofit organizations use technology skillfully and confidently to meet community needs and fulfill their missions. The organization serves scores of volunteers, tech workers, IT managers, “progressive geeks” – all resourceful individuals striving to keep philanthropic operations viable.

It’s fair to say that in 2015, we are reliant on IT resources for operations and outreach more than ever. NTEN’s impact in galvanizing our essential, cause-based community as we seek ways to integrate the best technology for our organizations is immeasurable.

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Image Source: NTEN

NTEN held its 15th annual conference in Austin recently. Featuring a roster of collaborative workshops and information, session tracks included Communications, Fundraising, Leadership, IT, Product Demos, and more.

If you weren’t able to make it to the conference this year, or would like a recap from a few valuable sessions, here are three highlights.

Leadership. The Challenge of Making your CEO’s Visions an IT Reality – Read thoughts from the CEO and IT decision makers and get an Executive Director’s perspective.  (More about the session and panel of presenters here.)

Communications. Is it Worth it for Nonprofits to Build Branded Apps? Notes from this session detail what it takes to build and promote a successful app from scratch.  (More about the session and panel of presenters here.)

Fundraising. 50 Fascinating Nonprofit Statistics – See all the stats, covering everything from a global nonprofit perspective to giving trends, including a wide variety of stats about mobile giving, retention rates and more. (More about the session and Blackbaud Director of Analytics presenter here.)

To read more about the wide variety of topics covered in discussions, take a look at the entire 15NTC Community library here.

NTEN, like JustGive, is celebrating 15 years of dedication to its mission this year. Congratulations NTEN! If you’re not a member yet and would like to join visit their site to sign up.

– Roxanne Gentile

Director of Technology