Stay On Your Donors’ Radar

5 Ways to Stay On Your Donors’ Radar

If you want to achieve your charity goals, then you know you need the funds to make your vision a reality. Sure, in the beginning it can be easy to grab the interest of the tire kickers who care about your cause. But how do you turn those one time donors into consistent support? Step one is to keep your name and your brand in the minds and hearts of the people willing to pay. How do you do this?

Ronn Torossian has the answer in five easy steps:

#1 – Appreciate them: Torossian says gratitude is the simplest way to hold onto donors, and it should be the primary attitude your donors receive from you. Without it, you can pretty much forget any chance of receiving follow-up donations.

#2 – Be relatable: People will donate to a cause, but they will KEEP supporting an organization they like and trust. To motivate this, you must establish a relationship and remain relatable. This is best accomplished through give-and-take communication.

#3 – Promote causes they care about: Early on, support a variety of specific causes. Then watch which events and causes receive the most unique support. Your donors are voting with their wallets. Pay attention. That’s not to say you should give up on sparsely attended or supported events and causes. Simply adjust your effort level according to those things your donors are most willing to support.

#4 – Stay relevant: Look at the best methods available to connect with your core audience. This doesn’t mean always immediately abandoning old methods when new ones are introduced. Instead, look for solutions that best fit the challenge. This means being able to connect with traditional as well as new technology or methodology. In this way, you stay relevant to both traditional and more modern donor bases.

#5 – Be willing to adapt: Change will happen. If you are successful in your campaigns, you will create change. Further, the world around you is never static. The real needs of your target group or cause will change.

You must be ready, willing and prepared to adapt with them. By following these steps you put yourself in a much better position to achieve and maintain a connection with your valued donors. Of course, these steps are only the beginning. You must cultivate and nurture what you develop, so apply this information on a consistent basis. You will see growth and success.


Consistency is Key to Keeping Volunteers

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5W PR, a leading media relations PR firm in NYC

Volunteers are the lifeblood of most local non-profit groups. You may have a terrific staff, but if you are like most groups, you will need more help than you can typically afford to pay in order to reach your potential and get everything done you want to accomplish.

Some organizations and causes never seem to run out of volunteer know-how and want-to. Others struggle to keep their volunteer force motivated and connected. Most groups fall somewhere in the middle. They may not be entirely certain what they are doing that their volunteers appreciate, but they certainly don’t know how to keep them motivated over the long term. Is there some sort of magic, or trick, or incentive?

Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR and President of the Ronn Torossian Foundation, said the not-so-secret “secret” is in the communication. “What you say, when you say it and how you say it matter more than all the incentives in the world,” Torossian said.

But communication is not the ONLY answer, Torossian warns. The key to the triangle of what, when and how is the “when.” You MUST be consistent if you want your volunteers to stay connected.

Sure, a flashy and eye catching communication will GET their attention, but if you want to KEEP their attention, you have to hold their interest. And that means creating an expectation and then meeting that understanding.

This requires a set schedule and consistent follow through. Now, we’re not saying that if you are consistent your volunteers will “wait” for your work and hang on your every word. Simply that, in most cases online, there are three types of communication that can affect your volunteers: unwanted, expected, and anticipated.

Unwanted communication is the stuff that immediately gets spam foldered. Expected communication may not get read right this minute, but it WILL be read eventually. You want to be in the third category, anticipated communication. That will get read immediately, be appreciated, and be acted upon.

To reach that anticipated level, your content must be expected, but it must also be good enough to be worth sharing.

Using Crowd Funding for Big Ticket Projects

Conventional wisdom tells us that the best (in fact, only) way for a charity to get the bulk of its funding is from large ticket, often corporate, donations. While those Big Check donations are certainly welcome, it is possible to generate equivalent funds with much less work, and often at a much lower investment. How?

Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR and Founder of the Ronn Torossian Foundation, says there is an answer to be found in the relatively recent internet phenomenon known as crowd funding.

Simply put, crowd funding uses the internet to “make the ask” to a much larger pool of potential donors. Because of the scope involved, more people can get involved for smaller sums, making them part of a much larger picture like never before.

Plus, when you set up a crowd funded opportunity for a local non profit, it’s not like sending a set amount of money to some anonymous international cause, however worthy. Donors can see the impact their donations are making in real time. They can actually VISIT their money at work. This is a huge benefit of locally-based crowd funding.

To be effective, though, crowd funding must be SPECIFIC. People want to know what they are donating to. Moreover, most crowd funding applications demand very specific causes, and very pointed marketing and promotional campaigns.

Meet this standard and you have an almost limitless, relatively inexpensive advertising and marketing opportunity like no other before.

And that’s not hyperbole. Crowd funding has always existed in one form or another, but there has always been substantial up front cost involved in both the development of the campaign and the distribution of campaign materials. The internet practically eliminates this second cost. This benefit is one no non-profit should ignore.

charity messaging ronn torossian

3 Vital PR Tips to Help your Charity Get its Message Out

For any non profit organization, getting the word out about its good works is vital for the continued growth of the movement. However, many charities do not understand what the media is looking for when preparing their press releases. Public relations is not just about telling the public about who you are, and what you are doing. PR is more about knowing what to say, and when to say it, in order to connect in the most impactful, and profitable way.

“When writing any sort of PR, the news media, those gatekeepers, they are your initial market.” Ronn Torossian says.

To capture that market’s attention, and win its affection, Torossian offers 3 criteria for what your charity PR must be.

Charity PR must be active

The tone of the PR must never be a laundry list of things the group has done. It must be, “this is what we are doing RIGHT NOW.” The tone of the message must be as active, and energetic, and timely as possible. The story must portray the group as out and about, attacking an issue and working toward change.

Charity PR must be dynamic

Dynamic in the sense of making something happen, making something move. There must be a sense that the group’s efforts are taking hold and making a difference. Something must be moving, changing, and getting demonstrably better. If the PR can offer up-to-date stats that show exactly who, what, and how the charity is making a difference, that’s when a gatekeeper is apt to take notice.

Charity PR must be insightful

One of the most overlooked ways to get your PR to grab hold is to offer something previously unknown, or less known. Facts, or news, or information that the general public may not be aware of. Something the media can use as a hook to generate interest in the story.

No matter what you say, or when you say it, all of your charity PR should have, at minimum, all of these aspects.

Coming Out on Top & How to Get There

Have you ever noticed how, so many times, the “Top” or “Best” or “Greatest” lists contain the same names? Why do you suppose that is? Well, for one thing, the definition of greatness doesn’t really change all that drastically, year to year. Plus, once you’ve made it, you’re on everyone’s mind the next time a list comes around. But, then how do you make it?

Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR and President of the Ronn Torossian Foundation believes this question should be a primary concern for any organization trying to increase its donor, or volunteer base. But, that coveted seat at the table, so to speak, isn’t exactly easy to stumble into. You have to craft, and execute the right PR plan.

Torossian explains that there are 3 initial steps all charity organizations must take with their PR to be eligible to make a legitimate attempt at top billing.

#1 – Define your brand

Understand that when you are first getting started – and for many years to come – there will be companies out there with more fame, more money, and more attention. The only – and best – way to stand out is to make certain your brand is very specific. Too many charities try to be all things to all problems in order to get attention. The problem there, of course, is that there are already a bunch of other organization already out there doing all that stuff. And they can do it better because they are well staffed, and well funded. But, defining your brand is not about what you do. It’s about what people believe, or understand that you do. There is a difference.

#2 – Be specific in what you do

Your cause needs to attack a specific societal ill, or support a specific group. Do that, and people can understand exactly how they are giving, and what they are supporting. Whatever it is, the more specific you get, the more passionate both your volunteers and your supporters will be. Plus, you will have more opportunities to make a more dramatic impact.

#3 – Do before you ask

Even if you have to go out, and help another organization while you are building support for your own, do it. Once you have established that you are doing good in the community, people will be more apt to support you. In fact, once you have shown that you are making a difference in something very specific for very specific reasons, that is exactly how people will label your organization. BOOM. You are branded.

Now go out, and do some good.

3 Charity PR Tips on Capturing Donation Funds in the New Year

The New Year is upon us, and organizations from coast to coast are planning their 2014 budgets, and putting their charity PR plans into action. Everything feels fresh, and new, and exciting. If only you could capture that energy and transform it into additional donation funds for your non profit enterprise.

According to Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR, and president of the Ronn Torossian Foundation, you can. More importantly, you definitely should. Here are 3 tips Torossian offers to charities interested in increasing their donation commitments in the New Year.

#1 – Focus on new donors

New Year means New Year’s resolutions. Millions of Americans decide to give more in the new year. But how? And to whom? This is your chance to connect with that sentiment by clearly articulating how supporting your cause will benefit your donors, make a difference in their community, and in the lives of people, or things they care about. The message here is all about the message. Don’t just talk about what you do. You need to get specific about how what you do matters, who it impacts, and how their donation can make a difference. Tell a story. Don’t just throw words out there.

#2 – Reward previous donors for continued support

When focusing on new donors, don’t forget to show appreciation for your previous supporters. You need to do so in a tangible way. Offer a prize, a reward, or a tangible “thank you” at the beginning of the year. Remind them what you accomplished with their help in the previous year, and explain your plans to do even more in the year to come, again, with their support. Remember, never stop saying “thank you.”

#3 – Make it as simple as possible to give

In the time of New Years resolutions, people may be more apt to give, but they are not any more motivated to work hard to discover a way to do it. People often won’t give if they are not asked, but they definitely won’t give if you make it difficult, or frustrating.

Bottom line, it is your job to keep the line of communication healthy, and flowing. Not theirs. Keep up the good work.

Charity PR Messages

Charity PR Messages That Work

As every charity knows, the need is massive, and the available market to help meet that need can seem exceptionally small. No non-profit can exist without acknowledging those limits and devising a plan to help surmount them. In all of these successful cases, a well presented and expertly communicated public relations campaign is an integral element of success.

Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR and President of the Torossian Foundation, details 5 ways to turn your public relations efforts into successful donation campaigns.

Effective Communication in Charity PR

#1 – It must have meaning

Substantive message work much better than general ideas. Donors or potential donors are much less likely to give if they are giving to a general idea rather than a specific need. People connect better with causes that resonate with them. So don’t be afraid to be specific.

#2 – Be fresh

Current, topical content will help create the right sort of connection without potential donors. Ads and content that is both fresh and timely will touch on points that are already “front of mind” for the intended audience. Failing to do this only creates a wasted opportunity.

#3 – Be interactive

The term “sticky” may conjure negative notions of glue, foam tape or adhesive, but the idea here is “honey over vinegar.” The stickiness here is all about winning people before you try to influence them. You also want sticky content to encourage repeated interaction.

#4 – Build your online reputation

Far too many people still think just having a website and, maybe, a social media presence is the solution to all their online reputation issues. Not so. Content – consistent, new and fresh content – is vital to building and, more specifically, maintaining your reputation online. Why is this important? Because, even online, perception is reality.

#5 – Be opportunistic

This is a nicer way of saying don’t miss your chance to effectively connect with your donors or prospect audience. Having an idea is not enough. You need to have the mechanisms in place to act on those ideas quickly and in ways that offer the most impact for your investment.

Bottom line, don’t just toss ideas against the wall. Follow these tips and take the time to craft campaigns. 

3 tips on Transitioning to a Nonprofit

3 tips on Transitioning to a Nonprofit

For many business people, giving back is a lifetime goal, and one of the biggest motivators to go into business in the first place. This is certainly the case for me. I have always wanted to invest in those aspects of the community that mean a lot to me intrinsically and formatively. The Ronn Torossian Foundation allows me to invest in a meaningful way. But it also allows me the opportunity to increase those investments by recruiting others for whom these causes matter.

On the surface these recruitment tools and the language used to communicate them may seem the same. After all, at its base, communication is communication. But charity PR – and the approach to it – is very different than commercial PR.

#1 – The end beneficiary is different

The obvious difference between a nonprofit and a for-profit PR campaign is the one who benefits most at the end of the transaction. A consumer is looking for some direct and tangible benefit at the end of a transaction. A volunteer is looking to offer that tangible benefit to someone else. Now, you may be thinking: “of course.” But I can tell you from experience that, for many, the change in thinking from for-profit to nonprofit PR can be tough.

#2 – The end beneficiary is also the same

Your nonprofit PR language should convey an understanding that, in giving, there is profit. Yes, the tangible direct benefit will be going to the ones who directly benefit from the charity activities. But this does not mean your volunteers will not benefit. Beyond the peace of mind and sense of accomplishment that comes with giving, charity work offers a change of mood and, often, character, that can happen no other way.

#3 – Nonprofit PR is about sharing

When communicating for a nonprofit organization, you must recognize the paradigm shift in the direction and nature of PR. With commercial PR, a provider is speaking to a consumer. With nonprofit PR, a partner is speaking with a current or potential partner. This is a kinship, a shared social, emotional and spiritual experience. While, there may be a designated hierarchy in place, each volunteer is on the same level. To wit, you are not speaking to a stranger using your product or service. You are communicating with a friend you just haven’t met yet.

Each of these points requires a definite shift in thinking and style. Again, the methods may be the same, but charity PR should look and feel much different than for-profit public relations.