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Ring ring! Facebook is calling… you to action: 5 great posts by nonprofits

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Donate. Volunteer. Sign up. Get involved. Sign our petition.

It doesn’t matter what specific cause your nonprofit supports; you have bottom line objectives you are working to achieve. Whether you are fundraising or promoting a petition, social media is a useful tool to reach your audience. While the mechanics of Facebook seem simple enough, being strategic about how you develop and post content  will help you effectively communicate with your audience and reach your goals as a nonprofit.

We pulled some of our favorite nonprofit Facebook posts that do an awesome job at promoting calls to action. These are excellent examples of how to engage your audience by including that little something extra.

1)  Feature personal stories

People love stories; especially ones that have those happy, feel-good endings. Psychology Today notes that the strength of stories lies in the fact that they include both emotion and fact. When you combine these two, you can engage the audience’s imagination to put them in someone else’s shoes; like in this story posted by Special Olympics of how an NFL player came to create an anti-bullying squad.

Putting a face to your organization’s efforts is a great way to show your audience how your non-profitis helping real people.  Plus if your story makes your audience feel good hearing about other’s involvement, they just might get involved too. Featuring stories of people that your nonprofit has helped really is the best of both worlds for your audience.

 

2)  Create quality graphics.

It’s easy to type up a status with all the information you want your audience to know. But is that the most effective way to get your message across? Almost half of your brain is responsible for the processing of information visually, so why not try to communicate your message in an informational graphic like this one posted by UNICEF?

These can be easy to make, and can stand out in the sea of text and articles flooding your followers’  news feeds. These types of images are different. They draw the eye to the text on the picture first, then to the photo itself, instead of relying on the caption to communicate the message to the audience. Just remember, captions are still a great tool to link to where your audience can find more information.

3)  Ask nicely… and bring back up

This post by the American Red Cross is a great example of presenting your audience with a clear call to action and a little bit of persuasion. If your call to action is something that your audience may have reservations about, like donating, personal stories come in handy again.  Posting a link where your audience can read stories from people they can relate to can squash any fears they may have and bring them onboard.  The American Red Cross did a great job of this by giving their audience a chance to hear about their work from someone outside of the organization with their stories from past blood donors.

4)  Annnnnnd ACTION!

An entertaining video with a philanthropic back story? What could be better? Studies have shown that posts that either amuse or make audiences laugh are more likely to be shared, so if you can tack your nonprofit’s message on to a video that has gone viral, then you’re golden! This post from The Humane Society about Keyboard Cat, is a great example of using entertainment to garner attention from your audience.

5)  Take advantage of trends

Stay up to date with what is currently trending and find a way to relate it to your nonprofit.  This post about Coretta Scott King from the Girl Scouts of America, celebrates both the achievement of an inspiring woman as well as Black History Month.  Something that would have taken this post one step further would have been to jump in on a relevant hashtag or tagging someone influential and relevant to the cause.  The more eyes that see your post, the better chance of increasing involvement.

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Six non-profit websites with effective calls to donate

On Giving Tuesday a few months back I got seventeen emails from eleven different organizations asking me to donate to their cause online.  These are great organizations I believe in and have relationships with.  I would have liked to give to each and every one.  But, like most Americans not named Mark Zuckerberg, I have a finite amount I can afford to donate to charity each year.  Deciding who to give money to is sort of like asking a parent to choose which child they love the most.

My glut of emails on Giving Tuesday is a great indication of how competitive online fundraising has gotten for charities.  Donors have tons of great choices.  Charities have to fight for each and every dollar they raise online.  To succeed in this sort of ulta competitive landscape, non-profits must have the small details right.

One detail that can make a giant difference is are the calls to donate on non-profit websites. Tyically very little thought is given as to how to get visitors into the donation funnel as quickly as possible once they are on a non-profit website.  Amazon has spent countless hours making their online purchasing process as simple as possible.  The Obama campaign was famous for using data to optimize its donation form.  This kind of optimization is foreign to most charities.  Most throw a big red donate button into their site header and expect the money to flow in.

Here are six non-profits that have clearly spent time optimizing their websites in an effort to maximize online donations.

(1) More than a Costume

More than a Costume is a micro-site produced by Doctors of the World during last year’s Ebola outbreak in Africa.  The site asks for visitors to donate money to help equip volunteer doctors with a real Ebola suite.  Very good example of how to show how money will be spent to personalize the donation.

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(2) charity:water

charity: water’s online fundraising efforts are consistently innovative and effective.  During the 2015 giving season, their homepage asks donors to make a donation in honor of the people you care about.  The ask was compelling and the donation process was dead simple.

charity-water

 

(3) Greenpeace

In addition to the ubiquitous big Donate button, Greenpeace includes a quick donate tool in its template that allows visitor to enter an amount and frequency.  This tool, shown in the upper left of the screenshot below, is accessible on every page of its website.

greenpeace

(4) American Cancer Society

If you visited the American Cancer Society website in December, you would see the pop up below urging you to give before the end of the year.  The counter is clever and the photo of Frankie is adorable.  It is also a nice touch to allow use to click a button to not see the pop up on future visits.

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(5) Food for the Poor

The Food for the Poor homepage includes a really compelling call to give $3.65 per month to feed Maria, a seven year old from El Salvador.  If you refresh the page you will see photos of different children in the space.  The site also include a quick donate feature in its site template.

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(6) Invisible Children

The Invisible Children website features a well designed donation button that is fixed to the right side of the page.  This means the call to donate is a constant presence as  you navigate the website.

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Your Awful Fonts, Ranked

With so many articles griping about the bad font choices that new web designers use, it seemed appropriate to write one that didn’t end with an ode to your top seed, Comic Sans. Instead, I’ve completely disrupted that trend by placing it at number 3. Here are 10 fonts that hurt my feelings.

10. Myriad Pro

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It’s that Adobe system font that shows up unannounced and unwelcome in the resume you’re secretly typing out between soul-eating budget meetings. Described by the people who designed it as having a warmth and readability, the truth is not so generous with the flowery jibber-jabber. The font looks every bit like a system font that you’d quickly replace with…

 

9. Calibri

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The king of the system fonts for Mac and Microsoft designed by Dutch font hero Lucas de Groot! I’m typing in it (with it?) using Word currently and I’m struggling to feel the “warm and soft character” it is said to be graced with. If this font and Myriad Pro were in a police line-up, I couldn’t tell them apart. I might just point to one and say he did it though because these fonts are guilty of something.

 

8. Papyrus

Too soon.

 

8. Edwardian Script

edwardian

I understand that you have an invitation to baby Colton’s 2nd birthday to design and he’s a unique personality and therefore the invitation needs to be unique as well, but no one can read this font at any size and that kid of yours just threw up and yes, looks like he’s eating it.

 

7. Optima

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How a German named Hermann Zapf designed a font that was used in every shampoo label in the 1970s remains a great mystery to me. Of note…the font was inspired by a gravestone.

 

6. Impact

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As a younger, naive designer I may have used Impact more than I should have. I also used bath salts more than I should have. That’s a joke, we didn’t know about bath salts back then. The point is both should be avoided unless used properly. Impact only for your bowling league flyer and bath salts for … baths.

 

5. Trajan

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Trajan looks great on a coliseum but less grandiose on your wedding site. Reading through how you two met is fascinating enough without fighting through a font that doesn’t include lower case characters. Cruelly, Trajan comes with all Adobe products so get used to reading yourself into a migraine for years to come.

 

4. Any hand-written font

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Do you really think in 2016 you’re fooling anyone with that phony signature? The hand-written font is also the go to for political direct mail pieces. Someone in a lazy design agency thinks a scrawled “we need your help now more than ever, TOM MCCORMICK!” is going to be the little personal push needed to get that five bucks out of me. Nice try, Huckabee.

 

3. Comic Sans

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Like a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon in a roomful of thin, bearded millennials, Comic Sans has now reached cult status and is somehow now acceptable to some. Please join me in continuing to reject Comic Sans, Pabst and 19th century beards.

 

2. Webdings, Dingbats or whatever the hell

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Consider that even your mother stopped using this weird icon font strategy before you ever scroll down the font menu this deep. Emojis make you mad, don’t they? Well, they should. These are less cute emojis for old people. On a side note, don’t use emojis.

 

1. Well, it’s Papyrus of course

papyrus

The hated and overused font choice of overblown Hollywood darling, James Cameron, as well as the go-getter sitting in the cube next to you working on logo ideas for the local artisan fish co-op. The font was created in 1982 and sure looks every bit like it belongs on a Reagan era album cover. The bad news is that there are between 3 and 5 more Avatar movies in the pipeline and that weird branding is already in place.

Attack of the Clones: 2016 Candidates “Borrow” Obama’s Donation Page Design

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the digital team that worked on the 2012 Obama campaign must be feeling downright exalted. 

After a bunch of experimentation and testing, the 2012 Obama campaign ended up with a donation page layout that included a large, inspiring quote of the candidate and a stepped donation process that made it dead simple to give (you can see an updated version here).  Clearly the design worked, as the campaign raised more money than any other campaign in history.

I think it is safe to say that most of the 2016 candidates had a look at the Obama campaign’s donate page and decided to follow a similar template.  Check out the graphic below.

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