The nonprofit sector is full of industry jargon that today’s fundraising and marketing professionals need to know. This glossary defines common terms that you may have read or heard.
The nonprofit sector is full of industry jargon that today’s fundraising and marketing professionals need to know. This glossary defines common terms that you may have read or heard.
An annual appeal is a message your nonprofit sends to its supporters, often toward the end of the calendar year, updating them on your organization’s accomplishments and asking for their financial support. These messages can be sent via email or direct mail.
Back to school events are social functions usually held at the beginning of a school year to celebrate students’ return from the summer break. These can be tailored to the student population, exclusive to school staff, or even open to the local community. Hosting a back to school event creates an ideal opportunity to gather everyone together and raise school funds to support another productive year.
Also called a cycling fundraiser or cycle event, a bikeathon is a peer-to-peer fundraising event where participants ask friends and family to pledge donations based on how far they can cycle. As a peer-to-peer event, bikeathons involve individuals fundraising on an organization’s behalf. During a bikeathon fundraiser, participants share individual fundraising pages where friends and family can pledge their financial support. For example, supporters might pledge $1 per mile or lap around a track.
Cause marketing, also referred to as cause related marketing, is a business practice in which a company publicly allies themselves with a social cause. Companies often choose a cause related to the product or service they sell, and they may partner with a nonprofit organization to promote their mission.
A foundation is a fairly loose term in the nonprofit sector that can apply to a range of 501(c)(3) organizations. They primarily focus on supporting charitable activities and programming related to areas like education, health, religion, and culture by issuing grants, or packages of funding designated for specific uses by the nonprofits that receive them.
A cookie dough fundraiser is a type of product fundraiser in which an organization sells cookie dough to supporters in exchange for donations. Usually, an organization works with a product fundraising partner, a company that sells products in bulk and provides your organization with a custom web page to sell from. These companies typically offer a variety of cookie dough flavors for your organization to sell.
Corporate philanthropy refers to the activities and investments that a company voluntarily offers to promote the welfare of society. Corporate giving often includes financial donations, employee volunteerism, and in-kind services and products. When developing these programs, companies usually outline participation guidelines to ensure employees and benefiting organizations align with the company’s values and objectives.
Crowdfunding is a fundraising format in which large amounts of people each donate a small amount of money to fund a project or venture. It typically occurs via the internet, and because of this, it allows companies to reach a wider audience that they normally wouldn’t have connected with. Whether you are a family trying to raise money after a hurricane or a nonprofit trying to reach a goal, crowdfunding can be a nifty way to raise the funds you need.
Data appending is the process of adding new data elements to an existing database. Most often used by marketers, data appending allows you to use identifying information to fill in missing constituent data, such as phone numbers, email addresses, and postal addresses. To append data, you’ll take the information your nonprofit’s collected on individual supporters and match it against a more extensive third-party database.
Nonprofit data enrichment is the process of combining first-party information from internal sources (such as donation forms) with disparate data from external, third-party sources. Also known as data enhancement or appending, data enrichment allows you to add supplemental information like contact details, demographics, and financial data to your CRM. The goal of nonprofit data enrichment is to build rich supporter profiles by filling in missing information.
Digital marketing for nonprofits is the use of online channels to spread your nonprofit’s mission and attract supporters to your cause. It allows you to spread the word about your mission past the bounds of your local community. Raising awareness online for your cause allows you to tap into networks of prospects ready to support your cause by volunteering, donating, and advocating for your cause.
A donation request is a letter, email, or other type of message asking for a donation. When you receive a call asking you to donate to help fund animal shelters, or when you receive an email detailing how your money would help build houses for families in need, there is a donation request being made of you.
Donor acquisition is the process of acquiring new donors for your organization using marketing. Through direct mail, social media, and other outreach strategies, your nonprofit can connect with potential donors and earn their support. Expanding your existing donor base increases your organization’s capacity to support its mission.
Donor relations consist of all the efforts that a nonprofit organization puts into building relationships with its donors and making them feel seen and valued as people. Your efforts to cultivate lasting relationships with your donors should begin when you first connect with them, whether through prospecting or the donors’ own moves to get involved with your organization. Then, you can continue to build those relationships so that they last.
Email appending is a marketing process that requires using known constituent data (such as names, phone numbers, and social profiles) to identify individuals’ current email addresses. Using an email append services provider is the most efficient, reliable way for digital marketers to verify and update email addresses for their contacts.
Employee recruitment is the process of connecting with potential new employees to assess whether they would be a good fit for an organization’s open positions.
Employee retention is the ability of an organization, such as a business or nonprofit, to keep its employees year after year. Maintaining high levels of employee retention means that your organization is doing an effective job of appealing to employees’ needs and interests.
Facebook is one of the most active social media platforms that currently exists. It can be a powerful tool for nonprofit organizations when it comes to marketing and fundraising efforts, as it can be used for posting updates, sharing photos, connecting with supporters, and even raising funds directly.
A fundraising campaign website hosts all the information your supporters need to get involved with your nonprofit’s campaigns. This website will help you promote your campaign, spread awareness about your cause, and get your supporters involved, whether they’re donating, volunteering, or sharing your organization’s message. Campaign web pages can be created on your main website, or you can create a separate microsite for each large campaign.
A case for support is your core message and set of reasons why potential supporters should donate to your current fundraising campaign. An effective case for support lays out exactly what donations to your campaign will accomplish so that donors will feel motivated to give. It’s typically distilled into a central document and adapted into various printed and digital supporting documents, mailers, slide decks, and more.
A fundraising flyer is a nonprofit marketing tool used to promote campaigns and events. Flyers share background information about the nonprofit, its cause, and how funds will be used. They also provide important logistical information, like the date, time, and participation details, so readers can get involved.
A fundraising thermometer is a graphic that nonprofits create to visualize fundraising progress and motivate supporters to donate to a campaign. These simple, colorful thermometer graphics show a fundraising campaign’s goal and how close your nonprofit is to reaching it. While some online fundraising platforms are equipped with virtual thermometers that update automatically based on your progress, you can also easily create one on your own using a template.
The Google Ad Grants program provides free advertising credits to participating charitable organizations. Eligible nonprofits receive a monthly allocation of $10,000 to spend on promoting their most important web content through Google Ads. Participants conduct keyword research to determine what their prospects are searching online, craft ads that target these individuals, and use their ad credits to bid on those mission-critical search terms.
A healthcare website is a digital hub that serves your target audience. Whether you’re a doctor’s office, disease prevention organization, or nonprofit advancing women’s health in your local community, you’ll need a way to connect with your patients, clients, or constituents online. A website can help people unfamiliar with your organization learn more, sign up for your services, or otherwise get involved. The exact content and resources your healthcare website will offer the public depends on your function in the community.
Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms, especially among younger generations. As one of the top social media platforms, Instagram is crucial to include in your organization’s social media marketing strategy. Engage with your supporters by responding to comments, posting interactive Stories, and sharing content that your donors create.
A labor union is a nonprofit coalition of workers in the same trade or industry. They are similar to associations, but unions are formed to protect workers’ rights and ensure that favorable conditions are maintained in the workplace. This happens through collective bargaining between the union representative and the employer. Union representatives often negotiate factors such as wages, benefits, schedules, safety, and job security on behalf of the workers.
Matching gifts are a type of corporate giving in which companies financially match the donations their employees give to nonprofits. Companies create guidelines to define which types of employees are eligible, which nonprofits are eligible, and how much someone must donate to qualify. This ensures that the program generates value for the company and participating nonprofits.
Membership benefits are perks, services, and access that people receive when they participate in a membership program. You can easily find examples of these benefits when you look at aquarium or zoo memberships, which commonly offer free tickets in exchange for paying a membership fee.
Known officially as Microsoft Ads for Social Impact, this program provides approved organizations with $3,000 each month to spend on advertising across Microsoft’s digital search and native advertising network. Participating organizations can boost their web content across Bing, Yahoo, AOL, outlook.com, MSN, and Microsoft Edge.
Nonprofit bookkeeping is the process of inputting and organizing your nonprofit’s financial data. When your nonprofit makes money through fundraising, investing, or other strategies, your bookkeeper is the one to input the information about that money into your accounting system and ensure it’s labeled and allocated correctly.
Nonprofit branding includes all of the ways your organization communicates its mission and goals to the public. It’s a message to all your supporters that your nonprofit has a clear mission and will work toward that mission in all of its activities. A cohesive brand coordinates elements like your logo, color scheme, typography, and messaging.
A nonprofit conference is a gathering of nonprofit professionals to discuss topics related to a central theme. Attendees hear speeches from industry experts, attend educational sessions, and network with other professionals. Conference activities are an opportunity for professionals to share their knowledge and gain actionable strategies for nonprofit growth.
Nonprofit data collection is the process of gathering data to use in decision-making and strategic planning. It involves pulling data from various sources, like donation forms, marketing platforms, and fundraising campaign management tools. Tracking and managing various types of data allows nonprofits to quantify the impact of their work. Effective collection strategies allow these organizations to make educated decisions about improving their programs, strengthening their marketing, and amplifying their mission as a whole.
A nonprofit endowment is a pool of donations set aside and invested, allowing it to grow and financially support the work of a philanthropic organization. After the seed money (i.e. the principal) is invested, part of the earnings is paid out as an annual distribution. These funds can be used for a range of purposes, such as supporting your general operational budget, providing scholarships, marketing initiatives, and funding major projects.
Nonprofit event planning is the best way to maximize your event’s success. This process involves laying out clear goals, the specific ways you’ll achieve them, and how you’ll measure progress. It helps organizers track their goals and unites teams to work towards greater supporter engagement, a high return on investment, and an overall memorable event that will retain supporters in the long run.
Nonprofit graphic design refers to the visual aspects of your nonprofit’s brand. It’s a craft that involves creating visual content to communicate messages and tell your organization’s story. Graphic design includes the typography, colors, images, and any other artistic components used in your printed and digital materials. Visuals that require design work range from your logo to the images you use across your website.
Nonprofit human resources (HR) is the part of your organization that manages the employer-employee relationship between your nonprofit and its team. This means your HR professional will be responsible for building out a hiring process, managing payroll, carrying out performance reviews, and more.
A nonprofit investment policy is a document that outlines how an organization can invest the funds it raises responsibly. Think of it as a roadmap for your investment portfolio, guiding you toward smarter and more ethical financial management. It specifies the risks you’re willing to take, delegates responsibilities, and establishes investment objectives and guidelines.
Nonprofit jobs are paid positions for those who work for social-good organizations to further a charitable cause. Just like in other industries, these workers play a role in day-to-day operations, management, finance, communications, and much more. By collaborating across various teams, nonprofit employees can utilize their skills and education to support their organization’s mission.
Nonprofit marketing is using marketing strategies and campaigns to raise awareness, reach existing and prospective donors, and fundraise to help an organization further its mission. Marketing can be carried out through a variety of both online and offline channels. Social media platforms, email, video ads, direct mail, radio ads, and print ads are a few ways messages can be distributed.
A nonprofit marketing plan is a document that outlines the promotional channels, strategies, and metrics your team will use to spread your mission. This document acts as a roadmap for promoting your initiatives. It provides specific branding guidelines to ensure every piece of marketing collateral is consistent and accurately reflects your organization.
A nonprofit strategic plan is a bold plan of action that aligns a nonprofit’s goals with its values to provide a dynamic performance map for future endeavors. With this blueprint, your organization will be able to prioritize its most important projects, navigate through any challenges, and keep all of your staff members on the same page.
Nonprofit video production is the process of creating videos for your nonprofit to use for marketing, often with the help of a video production company. You can create any type of video that aligns with your organization’s goals, from fundraising videos that promote a specific campaign to testimonial videos that feature the voices of your beneficiaries.
Nonprofit web design is the practice of conceptualizing and arranging content on a website to create a positive user experience. While web developers usually focus on coding and coordinating the technical elements on the “back-end” of websites, web designers focus on the visual elements that users see and interact with. Specifically, web design encompasses steps like choosing layouts, images, color schemes, fonts, and other “front-end” elements.
Search engine optimization is the process of fine-tuning your nonprofit website to perform better on search engines like Google so that more people will see your website and be able to engage with it. Search engines like Google use bots to crawl every web page and determine where it will rank on search engine results pages (SERPs) based on a variety of factors. While some factors used to determine rankings are withheld from the public, we do know that quality, keyword usage, page structure, and usefulness to visitors all play a role.
A corporate sponsorship is a type of partnership between a nonprofit and a business, specifically where the nonprofit receives support from the business to continue serving its mission. Sponsorship levels are the different tiers of corporate sponsorship. These tiers have varying levels of benefits and prices for the corporation.
Starting a private foundation provides a lasting opportunity for philanthropists to donate consistently to a nonprofit and make an impact on causes they’re passionate about. Instead of collecting donations from individual donors to launch their own programs and initiatives, private foundations act as the donors by giving grants to other nonprofit organizations to fund their operations. They can also provide scholarships to individuals in certain circumstances. Foundations are private 501(c)(3) organizations, meaning they operate independently from the government but still retain a nonprofit tax-exempt status.
Text-to-give is a quick, simple fundraising method that allows supporters to make donations from their mobile devices. Nonprofits partner with text-to-give software providers to connect with their supporters and send donation appeals via text.
Volunteers for Salesforce is a free open-source app that nonprofits can integrate into their Salesforce CRM. With this app, volunteer managers can manage volunteer programs by designing volunteer opportunity posts, creating schedules, and tracking key data about your volunteers.
Corporate volunteer grant programs are a type of corporate philanthropy in which companies make monetary contributions to nonprofits where their employees regularly volunteer. Some businesses pay per volunteer hour while others require employees to serve a minimum number of hours with an organization. Then, after a volunteer submits a grant request, the company will send a check to the nonprofit.
A walk-a-thon fundraiser is a fundraising event where participants walk a designated route. Participants collect pledges from friends and family, attend the event, then collect donations for their organization based on how far they walked.
Year-end giving is the spike in charitable giving that happens during the last few months of the year. Since people are often more willing to give during this time, in part because of the holidays, it’s a good opportunity for nonprofits to take some extra time to refine their messaging strategy. The Tuesday after Thanksgiving, otherwise known as Giving Tuesday, has proven to be a particularly fruitful donation day and kickstarts the year-end giving season.