A Look Into the 2019 Nonprofit Innovation & Optimization Summit
The Nonprofit Innovation & Optimization Summit hosted by NextAfter on September 24-25 is a premier conference for nonprofit marketers and fundraisers looking to grow their online fundraising. NextAfter has hand-selected the leading experts in marketing and fundraising innovation from around the world to share proven and research-driven strategies to help nonprofits grow their fundraising.
We are partnering with NextAfter to bring you a free live stream of the summit. Catch every session of the 2019 Nonprofit Innovation & Optimization Summit during the free live stream. The live stream will help you discover proven ideas and tactics that you can use to grow your nonprofit marketing and online fundraising. Learn more and register for the live stream here.
We are proud to announce that Network for Good’s very own, Kimberly O’Donnell, MS, CFRE, will be presenting at the NIO summit. Kimberly is the Lead Fundraising Coach for Network for Good and leads a team of 25 fundraising experts providing professional fundraising coaching to 650+ charitable organizations. We sat down with Kimberly to learn more about her background with nonprofits as well as her take on digital marketing for nonprofits.
Tell us about your background and how you got involved with nonprofits?
I’ve been a life long volunteer, starting with candy striping at a nursing home in middle school. My first nonprofit job was in my 20’s as the Executive Director of a local volunteer center where I worked with hundreds of nonprofits. Boy, was that an experience—I was hooked and completely in love with the nonprofit sector! It From there, I worked with Gifts In Kind International (now Good 360) when it was ranked the 3rd largest charity in the U.S. There, I oversaw the recruitment and membership of thousands of nonprofits to receive in-kind donations. One of my favorite experiences was when I had to find a home in less than a week for large pallet of hearing aid batteries worth $250K. Can you imagine how many (20K+) hearing aids batteries were on that pallet? Their packages are so tiny! Both a challenge and a thrill, it was exciting to find a national charity who could distribute the pricey batteries at no cost to low-income seniors in need across the country.
Can you share your work experience and your role at Network for Good?
I spent 12 years working with nonprofits at WealthEngine and 11 years as an adjunct teaching nonprofit leadership at Georgetown and George Mason Universities. Most recently, I wanted to “walk the fundraising walk” again as Chief Philanthropy Officer at a national medical association. From there, I was recruited to Network for Good where I have the incredible job of managing our Personal Fundraising Coach program. It is SO rewarding—I coach clients across the country on how to scale their individual gifts and oversee our 25 coaches working with 650+ clients. Our coaching program is a sandbox of new ideas, best practices, and collaboration. We are an innovation hub for small to mid-sized fundraising.
What do you enjoy most about your work with nonprofits?
I love helping nonprofits look at and think differently about fundraising. Nonprofit professionals are stretched thin and there are best practices that can be leveraged to transform their dollars raised. Most importantly, I’ve seen incredible examples of nonprofits who work hard to strengthen donor engagement and retention. Creating a sustaining base of donors can help an organization grow in so many ways—program growth, staff development, better infrastructure, etc. Through strategic fundraising, our sector can make a bigger investment in our missions and a better impact on society,
NextAfter’s Annual Summit is focused around Online Fundraising and Digital Marketing for nonprofits. What are your thoughts on this topic?
I often ask fundraisers how many unread text messages they have. Often, it’s zero. Then I ask them how many unread emails they have. Most are too embarrassed to answer. Check your phone—how many do you have? If texting is a communications tool that everyone reads, why is it not being used much by the nonprofit sector? Online fundraising is more than a donation page, a post on Facebook, or an email solicitation. The best approach for fundraising today is to use integrated fundraising which applies multiple touches across multiple digital channels. Research shows that that charities who used two communication channels at year-end in 2018 doubled what they raised in 2016, and their average gift was higher than those who used only one form of communication. Data and logic on fundraising and consumer behavior show us that donors like to be engaged, prefer multiple channels of communication and want to see the impact of their gift. The great news is that even small nonprofits can affordably access the tools and technology to effectively meet these donor preferences.