Nonstop Nonprofit

Digital Trends in Fundraising

Episode Summary

Cameron Bartlett · Owner, Good Fundraising and Founder, Future Foots | Cameron’s a fast-moving, trend-setting, high-growth fundraising consultant who’s worked with nonprofits like New Story, IJM, Compassion, Cure, and World Vision—and is now Stop Soldier Suicide's Vice President of Performance Marketing—reaching hundreds of millions of people and drive important global initiatives.

Episode Notes

Talk about a jam-packed podcast episode—this conversation with Cameron Bartlett has it all: anecdotes, examples, trends, cautionary tales, solutions, trends, strategies… and did we mention cutting-edge trends from the trenches?

That’s right; as we talked, Cameron had a story and a trend that related to each and every topic we brought up. And it’s no surprise… Cameron’s a fast-moving, trend-setting, high-growth fundraising consultant who’s worked with nonprofits like New Story, IJM, Compassion, Cure, and World Vision—and is now Stop Soldier Suicide's Vice President of Performance Marketing—reaching hundreds of millions of people and drive important global initiatives.

As a veteran fundraising consultant himself, Nonstop Nonprofit podcast host David Schwab was excited to talk with a realistic optimist who sees the same extraordinary potential in nonprofits that he does.

So, if you’re looking for a dense discussion that will stimulate your strategies and transfer trends for fruitful fundraising, or you like alliteration, listen in to this episode of Nonstop Nonprofit!

Episode Transcription

Hello and welcome to this episode of Nonstop Nonprofit!

Wow! Talk about a jam-packed podcast episode—this conversation with Cameron Bartlett has it all: anecdotes, examples, trends, cautionary tales, solutions, trends, strategies… and did we mention cutting-edge trends from the trenches?

That’s right; as we talked, Cameron had a story and a trend that related to each and every topic we brought up. And it’s no surprise… Cameron’s a fast-moving, trend-setting, high-growth fundraising consultant who’s worked with nonprofits like New Story, IJM, Compassion, Cure, and World Vision—and is now Stop Soldier Suicide's Vice President of Performance Marketing—reaching hundreds of millions of people and drive important global initiatives.

As a veteran fundraising consultant myself, it was exciting to talk with a realistic optimist who sees the same extraordinary potential in nonprofits that I do and motivates those same nonprofits every day.

So, if you’re looking for a dense discussion that will stimulate your strategies and transfer trends for fruitful fundraising, or you a-like alliteration, listen in to this episode of Nonstop Nonprofit!



David Schwab Hello, Nonstop Nonprofit audience. Thank you for tuning in with us for season four. I am excited to have a conversation with my friend Cameron Bartlett today. Cameron is a digital marketer for nonprofits like News Story, International Justice, Mission, Compassion and Cure, and now founder of his own nonprofit called Future Food, which helps solve food insecurity through innovation in food technology. Cameron, thanks for joining us today.


Cameron Bartlett Thanks so much, David. It's wonderful to be here.


David Schwab Well, Cameron, I have to say, I've been looking forward to this conversation for a long time now. For those of you in the audience who don't know, Cameron and I have been connected for a while now. We actually found out through different conversations that we not only have a very similar career trajectory coming from the for-profit sector to the nonprofit sector, which we'll talk about in a minute. CAMERON But also coincidentally, our oldest daughters both have the same name. So, yeah, this is going to be a lot of the conversation. I think we're going to end up probably going pretty deep on a couple of topics here. Both have a passion for digital marketing and digital fundraising. So I think we'll get to go deep on a couple topics here and I'm excited to get this episode out.


Cameron Bartlett Yeah, and then we'll just become best friends. That's how it works, right?


David Schwab Yes. I thought we already were?


Cameron Bartlett That sounds good.


David Schwab So, Cameron, a question. I'd like to start all of our podcast with, can you tell us how you got in to the nonprofit sphere? Like what brought you into this space? And then second part of that question, obviously you've been in it for a while now. What's kept you?


Cameron Bartlett Yeah, yeah, absolutely. You know, I started out, you know, when I was a kid, like, I just knew I wanted to help people. That's what I, you know, I thought maybe I'd be a psychologist or, you know, just do something to help people. You know, I had found as a kid, like, I was able to to see the troubles that I had my own life and the traumas and and and so forth, and be able to use those opportunities to help others. People would turn to me and I said, this is what I want to do, you know. And also when I was in school, you know, I'd learn about, you know, injustices throughout history, you know, slavery and oppression and all these different things. I was like, if I lived in a time where that was, you know, where these types of things were happening, I would do something, you know, And like, I grew up and I realized, like, the world is full of injustice. There's still so much going on. And I knew I wanted to, I wanted to help. And so I started my career. I got to do something fun. I worked in the music industry, which was great. You know, I got to come out to Nashville, which is what brought me here originally and work with record labels like Sony and others throughout the years, which is really great. I then started working with marketing agencies and being a consultant as well. But those types of agencies that are just like, you know, you've got like 15, 20 clients at a time, there's like a ping pong table, unlimited snacks. So they just like never want you to leave the office. They just hope you just work there for like into the night. And, and we did. And so what I realized, though, is that there were I kind of wondered, you know, these strategies that are helping these companies make a lot of money. Like what if we could use the same kind of things, bring them to causes and help them raise more and do more for their cause? And so I got that first opportunity when I worked with the world's largest anti-trafficking organization called the International Justice Mission, or I am I was the social media manager there. And I got to kind of test these theories out because we kind of put together the same kind of strategies and help them grow. And it worked really well. You know, I did, you know, some of the most meaningful campaigns of my life, you know, things that were just really impacted me. And like, we saw change around the world. We saw legislative change. We saw change in people's lives like transformation. It was really, really wild. Even some of the campaigns there won awards, which was which was so wonderful. And so the strategies that I tested out, I was able to kind of package those up and say, Hey, let me take these other places, and I got to work for, you know, causes that I'd always loved growing up, you know, like compassion and world vision care and then even cool innovative ones like New Story, like 3D printing homes and so forth. It was just really, really cool over the years to be able to work with some of these causes that have made such an impact in food and water and education and human rights and all these different things. And, and I've really enjoyed being a part of these causes and helping them to grow.


David Schwab That's awesome. That trajectory from for-profit marketing and agency into nonprofit consulting and fundraising, I think is it's a very valuable trajectory. It's something that I looked at early in my career because I actually started my career at a fundraising agency and I looked at like, okay, who are that? Who are the titans in the space? The people who are creating generational change. And it's the people who had started or had significant experience in the for-profit sector and then brought those strategies and tactics back and became thought leaders and innovators in the space. So I want to go a little deeper on that with you, because you have that unique perspective. When you first made the shift from a for-profit marketing agency into nonprofit consulting and fundraising consulting. Saying, What was the most important thing you brought with you from the for-profit space that you got? The organizations you worked with like IJM and New Story and those organizations. What are some of the things you brought with you that you got them to adopt that helped them?


Cameron Bartlett Yeah, absolutely. You know, a couple of things that come to mind for sure are when we were in the for-profit space, we were building out these compelling customer journeys. You know, we weren't just looking at our return on investment as like a direct, say like, return on ad spend. We spent this amount of money and we got this back, but rather the long-term investment into a customer journey that paid off a lot better in the end, right? So that was investing in lead generation strategies and building out the stages of becoming someone, becoming customer, someone, becoming more of like an advocate and evangelist for your brand in a sense, like I think one of the terms that like HubSpot and their marketing flywheel strategies was what we call it. And so bringing that to the nonprofit space and saying, how do we build a compelling customer journey? How do we compare that with like the one like masterful storytelling you can do at a nonprofit and kind of add that into this, as well as with the just the wonderful community of supporters that you have as well. And so it was about finding ways to get people to actually become aware of your organization. For us to be able to get them to opt in for something that was compelling and then create the right kind of automations through email and even ad journeys that followed up with them throughout those series and then got them to actually to that point where they'd make their first donation. But then also, how do we find ways for people to skip steps? How do we find ways for somebody to come in and go right from becoming a lead to a donor? Right. So, for instance, we did this test recently with an organization, and we found that if we made an offer right after the lead generating tool, you know, so someone comes in, they take a quiz or they sign a petition or they opt in for this downloadable thing or a series of videos, any of those things. Right. On that next thank you page or the confirmation page that they did it, we gave an option for a matched gift. So we had a donor that would match a gift and we said, Hey, if you opt-in, if you make a donation right now after they just give us their email address, they're already in the process of doing actions to help become closer with us and engage with us. We gave them that opportunity to give right then and there for a match gift. And we started to see people giving at a much higher rate than if they had just gone through our email series. And so now we have people who are starting to actually recoup the costs of the ads that are generating leads that also are getting people much quicker to the point of conversion, right? It's the same thing when someone gives like using it to fundraise, for instance, like making sure that your fundraising tools are upselling them to recurring donations and things like that too, right? Skipping those steps so that people go right from one step and maybe skip over a few down. The journey is really important as well. One other really important thing to bring over from the agency world and just the for-profit space in general was just constant optimization, finding ways to make each of those things better. So we're talking I remember in agencies like new would create all these going to be tests and split tests about just simply understanding if like a button should be green or blue or red. Right. And you'd have different tests to see which one performs better. But what's interesting is when you look at all those little details and you start testing all your additions, different possibilities for subject lines and captions and social posts and photos that you use in ads and all of these different things, like you start testing all of these things and comparing them up against the other options. You start to get like a really optimized strategy that helps you compete with others in the space or other people who are running ads and creating articles, things like that. But also when you can start looking at some of the details that no one's looking at, then you can actually start to stand out and exceed everyone around you as well. So those are some things that were really key.


David Schwab I can't help myself. I'm going to take us on a little tangent here because you brought up testing. I love testing and optimization. If anyone's following me on LinkedIn, you know, I talk about it maybe every other week at least. The reason I love it so much is you're always surprised by what happens. So just of all the testing and optimization and things you've done, what's been the most surprising thing you've tested and learned?


Cameron Bartlett Yeah, so I used to do. I still do. I had this strategy where I start to look at all of these tiny little components of things, right? So like a really good example is for social media. So I started my career in social, so this is a lot of what I would do. I would take all the different components of a social post and determine what was most compelling. All the creative elements to me were data points. You know, there's a caption, so it's not just like, What does the caption say? It's like, how many characters is it? What keywords are you using throughout it. Are using emojis? How many emojis? Like are you, in your photo, what's in the photo? Are that people or is this like a landscape photo? Is this like, are there buildings in it of the city that we're talking about? Was there text on the screen? So like if we look at like a jam, for instance, or a great example or any of the human trafficking organizations worked with those rescue posts were really important. Like us being able to share what I would call celebration content showing the impact of your work. Right? And so when we would have examples of those posts, I think I had, for instance, a client early on in the music industry that had done we had similar kind of content and I think they were reaching a thousand people a month or something like that and in six months organically, without spending a dollar on ads, we were able to grow them to reach about 2 million people in a month through their content. So inputting something of that nature and we started to figure out things like when we put text on the screen, on the on the photo itself to tell people what happened in this rescue. You know, three girls were freed or something like that, Right? We saw an 80% increase in engagement. When we would thank people in the posts, it would be like a 40% increase in engagement and thanking donors, thanking local law enforcement that we worked with. And so in the first year, we increased our engagement by like five times, and then in two years we would see posts that would start to reach, you know, start to get like, you know, ten, 20, 30 or even 40,000 engagements like, comments like shares in these posts. And then like, you know, we did things like this, a New Story, too, right? And we saw Tiktoks that were with one that reached like 5 million people organically. Like so it just if you can implement some of these strategies, you'll find that like sometimes it's something like yeah thinking people that was really helpful that was but sometimes it was literally like the color orange. When we had photos with those, it stood out over like, can we use these types of words? That's actually those posts normally stood out better because we were saying celebrate with us or something like that, right? The phrases that we'd use. So it was really cool to see that like every component of an email subject line, every the formatting of a landing page, the, you know, the, the components of your ad or social post, like every little piece of those things could be used for you to learn what works better or worse and learn from it and then apply it to this like hybrid that becomes you're like a super-powered version of it, which is cool.


David Schwab That's awesome. There's so much here to unpack. There's so many strategies and things to think about, like from email to social media to ads and then which ad channel works for my organization and organic SEO content and website and web CMS and email service for like all of these things to impact and so many things or for the, you know, everyday nonprofit marketer, the challenges is as much staying on top of everything, but then also being able to figure out what do I actually give my attention to. And so that's kind of where I want to go next with our conversation because in our one of our prep calls, you talked about this concept of the marketing department of one. So I'm going to let you just kind of reintroduce that concept here for us. And then let's talk about how nonprofit marketers, fundraisers, can figure out where to prioritize their efforts.


Cameron Bartlett Yeah, So, you know something I hear a lot from nonprofits, you know, as especially as we're talking about, like, oh, why don't you try this strategy or you'll lean into optimization or build out your donor journey. What I hear often is like, okay, but like I'm already told to do all these different things. I'm a team of one or we're a team of three, but we all wear multiple hats. We're all doing so many things like where should we actually spend our time, right? And so like a few things that come to mind that are really key here, right? As I've been in those roles. And, you know, even when some people think like even at some of the big organizations like, oh, that means you had teams of people. Like sometimes that was totally the case, but sometimes it was like you were doing the job of four or five people. And, you know, especially when I worked with smaller nonprofits, we were like, Hey, look, we we have to do a lot in a little amount of time. The reality is you just need to do what's most effective, right? And of course, that's what you want to do. You want to save time and cut out the stuff. It doesn't work, right? So what I found is, one, what you shouldn't do is like learn a new strategy today from any podcast or any conference or anyone you're listening to.


David Schwab Except for this podcast. This is a good podcast to learn something from.


Cameron Bartlett But you shouldn't say we're going to like wipe the slate clean. We're not doing anything we've done before. We're just focused on this now. You should figure out what is working. You should figure out, okay, well, our emails seem to be what are actually driving our revenue or like I've been with organizations that they're like, all right, well, now that we're gonna do digital ads, should we not do direct mail anymore? And as a digital marketer, I'm like, Oh, that sounds really great. Like, I'd love to have that $23,000 that you're spending there are to $2,000 you're spending on sending out letters each year, and let's put it towards ads. That'd be great. But if you don't understand already that maybe, for instance, a lot of your donations are coming from direct mail or from email or from. So whatever the. That channel is, don't kill it yet. Figure out what is working and keep doing that and add the optimizations on top. What you want to cut out to free up for those optimizations are the things that you're just doing because you think you're supposed to do them. Right. So I've been with a lot of organizations and one of the easy ones to cut out is to look at things that when you ask, why are you doing that? And you ask yourself, Are you asking of your team? They'll often say like, Oh, well, somebody told me that I was supposed to do it, and then maybe it was something they listened to. Maybe it was somebody on their team in the past. A lot of times it's funny. It'll actually be team members that don't even work there anymore. But they said, Hey, you should do this report. And no one's really benefiting from that report that you're spending time on. You just think you're supposed to. Here's another good example. One of the things, especially when I talk about social media with people, is that they have this in their head that like, well, you need to post. There was a time where people thought like two or three times a day on Instagram or even like I need to post every day on social or four or five times a week or something. But like, I love giving people the permission to step back and say, I'm not going to keep up with those regiments or those routines. I'm going to instead create great content. And when we have great content to share, that's when we'll post because it's so much more valuable. If you were to create again like that, the celebration content, it shows your impact and you can frame it in a way that is really engaging for people. You're not just maybe just putting up a photo of it, but you have a really good description. You start to learn again over time how to create that content. Again, a good way to do this if you're not going to be me and be in a lot of spreadsheets and stuff is just simply to scroll through your social channels to go into MailChimp or whatever you're using for your emails and see which ones got the most opens and start to be like, Oh, what things? Like, what can I put together that's working? Look at your different landing pages and see which ones were generating the best results and say like, Okay, you know what? I guess when we keep a button above where people scroll and we have a section of credibility where we maybe have a quote from a donor, an existing donor, and we don't have too much text, like those pages work really well, these Instagram posts that have like really bright fun, exciting photos that show like, people really happy. Those ones do really well. Like, you can start to start kind of anecdotally going through and determining what is working well, which will then allow you to create better content. And then you can give yourself permission to say like, Well, we only got three of those this week, so we're going to post three times. Honestly, like I've had organizations where I've said work on right now you're trying to post every day and you're not reaching anybody because you're just pumping out content and it's so much work for you. Instead, let's focus on putting out one great piece of content a week, one great piece of content a month. If it's if that's what it allows you to create something really compelling. But what that does is it frees you up from having to keep up with these routines that are just like in there. You just like, think you need to do it because other people have done it and been successful because other people have told you, like, I think for you to be able to do the test yourself, determine what's what's actually successful, and then build off of that, and then that gives you the freedom to cut all the things that aren't working. For some people, sending up the right kind of excuse me, like ad campaigns are not going to be as successful as creating an organic search strategy. For some people, search is not even an option now because you don't have any articles right now, you'd have to start from scratch. So really, it should be something that you maybe do as a small test. It takes up 1% of your time, but it's not something that you're going to now drop all of your email marketing campaigns and just go for an SEO strategy. That's those are the types of things that I'm talking about of making sure you're sticking with what's working, leaving space for you to try new things and then leaving time for you to optimize what's already working. So for instance, if you set up the right kind of donor journeys, you know, and lean into and I guess we could talk about this later too, but obviously automation is really key here because the more time you can spend on creating one thing that repeats itself a bunch, the more time you'll save for the future as well.


David Schwab Yeah, I think an undertone to a lot of what you're talking about too, is the less resources you have, the better your technology needs to be able to support the resources you do have. And that's something that, you know, we talked about coming from the for-profit agency into the nonprofit sector. That was the thing that surprised me the most, is not just the lack of resources I expected, right? You expect that nonprofit organizations, fundraisers, marketers, they're not going to have access to the same capital, the same resources, the same headcount that a for-profit company does. But what surprised me the most was how antiquated the infrastructures that marketers were inheriting were. And like, they're trying like, Hey, let's build donor journeys and let's build automations and let's build welcome, let's build drip series and lead gen and lead nurture and all of these things. That are really important. But then, you know, you're looking at like, okay, I got to fly a plane here, but I've got a Cobblestone Street, right? Like, I don't I can't do what I'm supposed to do. And that's that's ultimately what led me into the nonprofit technology space is like I just got I got so tired of hearing organizations want to do the things that they need to do to succeed but be limited by poor technology. So I said, Look, I'm going to go spend all of my time helping organizations understand that there is better technology for them. So that way, when you are that marketing department of one or two or three and you're wearing five different hats, you have the infrastructure to support you, to be able to do the content tests, to run different campaigns, to automate so many so much of your day to day. So you can like you're talking about focus on the focus on those actually high impact functions, gathering stories, telling stories, learning from campaigns that you're running and tests that you're running, learning and optimizing. I feel like those are the things that are going to make the biggest impact that often fall by the wayside because you've got to run that report or you've got to set up that spreadsheet or you've got 15 emails to respond to, right. So it's having, I think, the undertone here, bring it back is the more your technology is set up to to to support you and support what you're doing, the more efficient, productive and effective you're going to be with the limited resources that you have.


Cameron Bartlett Yeah, absolutely. And even the habits you can keep to you know, I was just talking about recently, like giving yourself permission to even like time block and say, I'm only going to work on these things during these certain times. And outside of that, like you won't because it shouldn't take up more than that time. And and when someone asks you to do something in that, you know, as long as they're okay with it, you say, look, I actually have that plan for Thursday at ten and you don't have a million things in your head. You actually are like, Hey, I have a time plan for that. And that gives you the freedom to say no until that time for you to do those things too. Yeah.



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David Schwab So Cameron, I wouldn't be a good digital marketer, wouldn't be a good fundraiser if we didn't take some time to transition here and talk about Giving Tuesday in your end, because, you know, we're right on the cusp of giving season here. Organizations are, you know, people are coming back from summer vacations, everyone's back in school, things are getting back into full swing. People are starting to plan gala galas. People are starting to play fundraising campaigns. And I think the expectation is we should talk about strategies and what to do. But I want to do that. I want to do what's expected of us. I want to do something that's actually helpful. So when you are listening to this podcast, you actually can take something away from this podcast episode. So let's start by looking at Giving Tuesday year and that critical like 6 to 8 week slice of of the the end of the year where we know you're going to make 60, 70, 80% of your annual revenue. Most fundraisers I work with and when I was a fundraiser and we're talking ten, 12, 15 hour days, you wake up and open your laptop and you go to sleep with your laptop on your lap some days. What are ways that this season, this year we can tap into this mindset of, you know, the marketing department of one and being hyper-efficient? What are some ways that you've found to be successful, efficient and also stay sane during this peak, that peak fundraising window?


Cameron Bartlett Yeah, absolutely. So a couple of things that come to mind for sure. One is, is to find ways to start talking about what your campaign is going to be. Before you start, you start fundraising for it. So a great example of this is, you know, a campaign that we did at our gym called Super Marco. You know, we started this one, you know, probably more than a year out. And so you can still take some of these things for if you have a shortened timeframe and you're thinking of doing it either this year still or next year. But, you know, we had kind of taken on this new crime that we were addressing called cybersex trafficking. And this is this horrifying thing that was occurring where, you know, Western men were abusing over the Internet like young children, like mean five years old, like I mean, the stories are just horrifying. And so we had to determine how do we talk about this thing? You know, this is a very difficult thing. How do we stop it, you know? And so we wanted to find ways to create content about what this was. You know, we had a landing page in our website about it. We started creating series of emails, social content about it. We would share rescues, obviously, which became like some of the most engaging content there. But then also we took things a step further and we created a series of videos. So it was a video called What is Cyber Sex Trafficking? That was the first one, right? Just the intro to it. And the next one was about a girl named Cassie and her experience with it. And then the third one was this short film called Super Marco, and it was about a boy, seven-year-old boy named Marco and his two-year-old sister, Gabby. And we knew that if people watch this film, they would give to this. They would help us and really make a dent in this crime. So what we realized is that all the content that we created wasn't just we weren't just kind of clumping things out for no reason. They were steps along a digital journey, right? And so we found that if we could create audiences with people who had engaged with those social posts, watch those videos. The landing page opted in for something related to this. They were people who were familiar with cybersex trafficking. And we wanted them to go through a series. So we would set up ads that would take people who organically engage with things and get them to watch the first video, the summer sex trafficking video, and then the second one and leading into the Super Marco short film. You know, I think when we launched it again, we had to put all the sensitivities around. This is a really difficult thing to talk about with a block In some countries, age restrictions on the video, like it was possible that nobody saw this video like there was there was a chance. We worked on an alternate campaign in case this didn't go. And I remember we get ready to launch this thing and we did a Facebook Live and 50,000 people joined us to get ready to launch this thing on this Facebook Live. And then we launched the video and we had just done what was called this like this thunderclap moment. We asked everyone to kind of watch and share at the same time, and it reached over a million people. And then we just started running those ads that then like ran people through the whole series and watching it and then got people ready to give and run directly to that. So obviously, if we had done this before and told people about this crime, like people would have given for sure. But because we had created this journey that led people through this, we were able to reach like 11 million people and raise $4.8 million to end cybersex trafficking. And I think one thing to learn from the quick wins of how you came this year is if you are specializing your campaign around a specific type of work that you do or a specific community where you're working in, you need to like they have specific of specific needs. That is really a great thing to do for your own campaign. You know, you tell stories about people from that community or you tell people stories of people who had experience that go back through the year and see when you've talked about that. Or do you have pages on your website where people are already visiting that? Do you have videos about it that you've already released? Could you create those in these warmed audiences? Could you use that old video that was about this thing and start maybe running some ads to get people to want to learn more about it? Could you kind of put some of those pieces together to say like, hey, let's let people watch this, Let's see if they can engage with this post and let's see if we can get them to this landing page, kind of start warming them now before fundraising season even starts. Know, I think it's really key to have breaks where you're not asking people to give. You know, for instance, we did this a few different organizations like Exodus Road and About for Girls and so forth. But we created a New Story as well. Like we took breaks normally in October where we didn't ask for much of gifts during those times. We created a series of emails that were around that celebration concept. How do you show your impact? And I think people what was great about that content is there was no ask in it. We just wanted to thank people and show them how great it was that they were a part of this and like, show them what their donation is doing or what it could do if they were just supporters and give it. And so we kind of started warming our audiences and starting to get like 30, 40, 50% open rates, right. And then even higher, 60, 70 at times. And then we started asking as the campaign went on and we did these really cool tests. So if you can warm your audience enough to start opening, you can send a lot more emails during the campaign. So we actually did these tests with several organizations that during, let's say, end-of-year fundraising, we can send something, you know, leading up to Giving Tuesday. You could have it maybe the week beforehand, the day before, and then on the day we found that we could send up to four emails in one day without seeing unsubscribe rates raise and with continually receiving more donations during that time. And so I would find ways to get people to open your emails now without asking them anything so that you can test if during the campaign you could simply write, take a little more time to write a few more emails on that day and you will raise more money on that day. So even if you're like, Hey, look, I only have ten emails in me that I could write for a whole campaign space those out and then clump them right towards the end of the campaign when most people are going to give and you could potentially test out sending two, three or four emails on Giving Tuesday or on the last. Of the year. Or things like that with increased urgency. Tests like that are really helpful again, with giving people breaks. So you're just thanking them and then making a really clear strategic asks when you're ready.


David Schwab That's awesome. So if I heard you, it's, you know distilling down into a sentence would be build momentum, understand when, where and how people engage with you, then use automation and technology and tools readily available to you to get rid of as many manual steps as possible. Like, there's no way, like you told that story of reaching and it was 50 million people and raising almost $5 million. There's no way even a large, well-resourced team could have manually handled each of those steps, each of those triggers, each of those processes. It's building that momentum and understanding which stage is indicative of an activity and then using the tools available to us as fundraisers. Now to automate that process so you can automate that growth and be real-time to as many people as possible at scale. So I think that's a great thing and probably a tip for people to take away now, because we still are months out from Giving Tuesday and year-end. You have time to learn how to use these tools and turn to test where in you can pull those levers at different points in the journey. But then the other thing you talked about is building relational capital. I think that's so critical now because we so often fall into the trap of, okay, it's fall. I got to ask for money because we know where we need We're going to raise so much over the next 12 weeks of this quarter of the 12 weeks of Q4. We raised most of our revenue for the year. We know we're going to. So we fall into the trap of. Okay, well, I just got to ask and ask and ask and ask. And then next year I can think, right? Because if I don't ask, I won't get I think there's that fear. But what you talked about is building that relational capital and building that thanks And that donor joy about being an investor in a cause gives you so much flexibility as a fundraiser to then turn around and ask and make that ask and make that ask when it's most important, when you know, people are primed to give Giving Tuesday the final week of the year, we know people are going to be ready to give. And I know there's tons of debates in this space about you should do Giving Tuesday, you shouldn't do Giving Tuesday. People shouldn't give just because it's a day. Just because it's a day doesn't mean you should. People are ready to give on Giving Tuesday. People are ready to give. You're in. It's like we know that to be true. Every year the numbers increase year over year for the last ten years I think is giving. Tuesday has been around for ten or 11 years now. So that's my tangent soapbox. You need to be participating, but just because you need to do it doesn't mean you need to do it like everyone else is doing it. I love that idea of building relational capital, going in to a season where you're going to ask for a lot.


Cameron Bartlett You know, I think another something that's really key during, as you're getting ready for big campaigns is to think about the other actions you can ask people to take that will actually make your job easier. You know, one of the big questions that people often get in nonprofits, I would get this especially all the time monitoring social media is like, okay, how do I love what you're doing? How do I get how do I help without giving? If you can create other actions people can take that can be really valuable to help propel a campaign forward. You could ask people to start a fundraiser early on. A really great simple thing you can do is ask people who are going to set up fundraisers to do it on November 1st, as opposed to like just before Giving Tuesday or just in December. You know, we did this with the Exodus Road. We put out a campaign called Kids Who Should Never Be Sold. We asked people to set up their campaigns on November 1st, and we did them even like I even like within the team, we created incentives like I bought I went out and bought a bunch of like, like great fairtrade delicious chocolate. And I would like give it to like the team member that had either fundraised the most or posted about it the most or so, so forth. We asked our board members to do it. We asked our donors. We even got together with supporters and like, did this whole just like fun thing. We had like T-shirts and had like, fake tattoos of, like, you know, the slogan of the campaign and everything. But it was fun because then everyone who came to the event, we asked them to just set up their campaign. We could ask them to like post photos. They do all the different things and we did do a photoshoot, so they had some of that content. But what was most important is that we asked them one thing of set up your peer-to-peer fundraiser and set it up early and we increased the peer donations by 79% that year, year over year. You know, it was a big, big deal. And I think the real key to one of these asks is to make a big ask. So like ask a you know, a lot for people to do something that's really easy, that makes a huge difference and propels that campaign for. Another thing I think of is when I was at our gym. Something happened where it was this unprecedented event. Some of our colleagues were kidnapped and later murdered, and we needed to, at the time find them. We didn't know where they were. We didn't know what happened. And so we needed to call upon the president in Kenya to help us find this. We knew it ended up going. It was a layer of corruption that went up to like the senior officials in the police department as well. And so we needed help from the government as well. And so we knew the biggest thing that we could do was to have people tweet at the Kenyan embassy in D.C.. It was a time when tweeting meant they would if they got like ten or 20 tweets about a certain issue, it could make it to the president's docket of what they would review. And so in this Twitter account that I mean, probably never I mean, probably got five tweets a year at it in 24 hours, had 30,000 tweets of supporters all over the world. We worked with people in Kenya as well, as well as here in the U.S. and so forth. And we were able to get so many tweets because, one, we with everything asked, we were asking in emails, we were reaching out to like personal contacts and like celebrity input. We reached out to everybody in every way possible. But then we created like baked in a way for the campaign to grow itself, a little virality into the into it where basically if you were to tweet it, it came with this link in the retweet that then sent you to a landing page where all you can do is do a click to tweet, and it would retweet the whole thing with the link. And again, and it just kind of created this echoing effect that just reverberated and it allowed it to just grow itself. So instead of saying like, everybody post wherever you want to about it or, hey, you know, anyway that you want to get involved, here's how you can get involved. Like, do whatever you want. We were like, very clearly, if you have a Twitter account, please tweet this, click this, share this here. And it it allowed it to grow so much faster because we asked this one thing of everyone and that one thing had this virality baked into it and it allowed it to propel itself forward. So whenever you can do that, so that's so you ask people to do a peer-to-peer fundraiser where a campaign like the supermarket campaign that we asked people to just watch and share the video and that's what propelled it forward organically, right? Things like that. You finding the thing that will make your job easier because now people are going to help you like push this campaign forward that aren't just opportunities to give. Giving those people a place, including if you ask your team and your board and everyone to set up those peer-to-peer campaigns, it's going to now share the load of your campaign goal on everybody and it spreads it across. It makes it easier for you.


David Schwab Fun fact for those who aren't super familiar with peer-to-peer fundraising, the average value of a peer-to-peer fundraiser, which is someone who hosts a peer-to-peer campaign on your behalf, is more than ten times the current average on that gift. So what you're talking about there, one having a very clear ask, like make it unbelievably clear what you want someone to do. Donate more than one ask. Don't have a vague ask. Don't be soft, be direct, be clear with your ask, but then ask for something that's easy. That's high value. So the friction for someone doing it is low. Like, Hey, send a tweet like that. Friction is very low and it's very direct. Or rather than, hey, take pictures, post them on social media, talk about us, tell your friends about us. Send an email about us. It's set up your fundraising campaign right now. And guess what? You've probably could have replaced that with, Hey, everyone here, pull out your checkbook and make a gift. You would have had a successful campaign fundraising there. But if every one of those people who pulled out their checkbook or credit card to make a gift there actually went and logged in and made a campaign say you're just ten. The impact of that moment by having a clear ask and giving someone something that has high impact with low friction. So I really like that too. So, Cameron, I think that kind of really brings us to a good closing point here. But as always, I want to ask closing thoughts from you. If someone wants to take the next big step as a digital fundraiser, a digital marketer this year, what is something they can start trying now that will pay dividends in time for giving season this year?


Cameron Bartlett Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think I'd return to to creating that celebration content and finding how you can collect those stories and establishing that story-gathering process. It is some of the most valuable content you can create. It has the reward of deep levels of engagement from your supporters, attracting new people to actually becoming donors, making people who have been donors for years be like, Yeah, heck yeah, that's why I do this. You know, like it is wonderful content that reaches everybody at every stage of the journey. And it's not just the big wins either, right? Like at the human trafficking organizations, I've worked out, you know, similar like when we would talk about those rescues from trafficking, of course, those were like great stories to share. We could also show change over time. Right. We can see like five, ten years ago, like there were kids being sold in the streets in these places. And now these places are safe and families are living here. And this okay, you know, like it also be things like if you work with an education nonprofit, it's someone who wasn't able to pass before, is now doing really great in school, someone who's now entering your program, someone who now graduated. There are so many points, even like someone who's graduated in the past and is coming back to support kids are just going to really great job like you. You can be a part of each of those points of stories that you can share and think and celebrate your donors. And so being able to collect that content is helpful for deepening your relationships with supporters, attracting new people and helping people to give more in the long run.


David Schwab Awesome. It is such a fundamental value. Gratitude goes so far, particularly in our industry, where people are giving out of compassion rather than out of reciprocation. Having gratitude. You know, one of the age-old adages I picked up early on in my fundraising career is thank seven times for every one ask, right? Or seven ways for everyone way you ask, right? So that is such an important piece. Cameron, thank you so much for your time for sharing your wisdom with our audience, giving us a peek behind the curtain of how you lead marketing teams and your success so far. If anyone listening wants to get to know you better follow up with you or follow you, where's a good place for them to reach out?


Cameron Bartlett Yeah, I mean, I love LinkedIn. I think it's a great place to just build community and meet people. I love hopping on a call or a meeting for coffee and just kind of getting to know people and sharing, sharing one to know. I love being able to share that. Also great resources on my website at is a great thing about all SEO stuff. There's website stuff and email and social and ads and all kinds of stuff there. So great resources for you to learn there or just say hello and we'll be able to connect.


David Schwab That's awesome. Well, Cameron, thank you for your time and I look forward to many more conversations like this.


Cameron Bartlett Thank you David! Yeah, same. Can't wait.



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