“Decode what works in fundraising and make it accessible to as many nonprofits as possible.“
That’s the mission here at NextAfter, and over the past few years, as we’ve been working on that, we’ve seen a gap between what seems to be working for online fundraising with our clients and what most nonprofits are doing.
Our hypothesis is that many nonprofits are just kind of shooting from the hip with what they think, copying what other organizations are doing, or lacking the skills to implement what they really want to do.
That was very much my experience as a Director of Development, a National Marketing Director, and even while I was a consultant.
But we also think there is a better way, which is why I’m thrilled to officially announce the creation of the NextAfter Institute for Online Fundraising.
The NextAfter Institute exists to equip you – nonprofit fundraisers and digital marketers – with original research, evidence-backed resources, and data-driven training to better understand your donors and why they give so you can raise more money online to fund your life-changing work.
Here’s a short video of Tim Kachuriak, NextAfter’s founder, and I sharing a bit more on the Institute, what’s not changing, what is, and where we are headed.
NextAfter Institute Launch at the 2019 Nonprofit Innovation & Optimization Summit
Here’s what is not changing…
We will continue to produce original online fundraising research for you like The State of Nonprofit Donation Pages, The Nonprofit Recurring Giving Benchmark, and The State of Nonprofit Email Cultivation and others.
We will also continue to review, analyze, and share experiments from our clients and any other organizations that are testing and willing to share them with us and others. This allows us all to get a better picture of what is working and why donors do what they do.
From all this research, you’ll keep getting free monthly webinars, blog posts, podcast episodes, online tools and templates, and more. You can use these free online fundraising resources to help find new ways to grow your fundraising and marketing.
In-Person Workshops and Online Training
The biggest change is that we will have a larger focus on in-person and online training. Since the start of 2019, we’ve done full-day or half-day in-person workshops in 5 countries to groups as small as 6 and as large as 250.
We want to continue to offer a great in-person experience to really get into the topic and leave attendees with practical, evidence-based tactics and strategies they can use.
The in-person experience is great, but it is very difficult to reach everyone who may be wanting more in-depth training.
So we have put all our in-person workshops online and made them available as on-demand courses. While many of these courses are completely original to NextAfter, we’ve also partnered with Amy Harrison, an expert copywriter and NIO Summit favorite, to create a course with/for us on, well, Copywriting for Online Fundraising.
We are committed to creating and updating our online content so ALL fundraisers and digital marketers can get quality training whenever they want and wherever they are.
Certified Fundraising Optimization Professional
Tied to our training experiences — in-person or online — we are offering certification, in each area, and the ability to achieve a newly created industry certification: Certified Fundraising Optimization Professional or CFOP.
In the video above, I walk through the basics of what it means to be a CFOP. But, essentially, if you take one course and pass the exam — in-person or online — you are certified in that particular area.
To become a CFOP, you need to take four courses — our core curriculum — and pass all the exams. This core curriculum includes:
- Email Fundraising Optimization
- Donation & Landing Page Optimization
- Online Donor Acquisition Using Content Marketing (it’s called Turning Facebook Likes Into Donors online)
- and A/B Testing & Optimization
There is also a certification level above the CFOP where you’ll need to demonstrate your knowledge through casework and/or running and logging real experiments.
Our hope for this certification is that it provides something for you, and I, and our industry to work towards and help us aim higher. It’s also something for the market to look for when hiring or determining who to trust for ideas and information.
Membership to the NextAfter Institute for Online Fundraising
To access these in-person workshops or online courses, there is a cost. I think it’s important that they not be offered for free for 3 main reasons:
- Whoever takes the course or workshop has some skin in the game.
- It’s important that we invest in training for fundraisers and online fundraisers if we really want to move the needle and improve in this area.
- It allows us to maintain current courses, create more training opportunities for you, and expand to more people and nonprofits.
Membership starts at just $49/month and includes all our online courses. There are additional levels to include in-person workshops and a ticket to the Nonprofit Innovation & Optimization Summit as well. You can learn more here: https://www.nextafter.com/membership/
The Generosity Freakshow Podcast on Cultivation, Donation Pages, and Training
In this recent episode from The Generosity Freakshow podcast, Nathan and I chat about some of the latest research from NextAfter Institute, as well the larger mission.
Check it out while you’re working on a project today, on your commute home, or whenever it is that you listen to podcasts. I think you’ ll find it interesting.
If you are a fundraiser or digital marketer looking to improve and grow your online revenue, this Institute is for you. I hope you find something to help you along the way and if you ever have any questions, comments, or suggestions (good or bad) please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.