A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas | Book Review

A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas | Book Review

“How do we grow our individual giving? “How can we get our alumni to give back annually?” “How can we raise enough money to continue with the work that we’re doing?” “How do we create a first time donor plan — one that keeps them giving?” “Why won’t our board members ask their...
Making Money with Donor Newsletters: The How-To Guide to Extraordinary Results

Making Money with Donor Newsletters: The How-To Guide to Extraordinary Results

Can you imagine raising millions of dollars a year for your nonprofit…through your print newsletter alone?  That’s the kind of money Michelle Brinson generated in 2013 with Nashville Rescue Mission’s newsletter by following the simple techniques championed by master copywriter Tom Ahern. ...
Nonprofit email fundraising:  Are you overlooking the role consistency plays?

Nonprofit email fundraising: Are you overlooking the role consistency plays?

As a die-hard fan of SOFII, the International Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration, I eagerly read every new article and exhibit.  However, as a student of email marketing, the article Nine tips for effective emails  made me pause. Oh, yes, I agreed with the author, Nick Allen, on most...
The Mercifully Brief, Real World Guide to Raising Thousands of Dollars With Email [Review]

The Mercifully Brief, Real World Guide to Raising Thousands of Dollars With Email [Review]

Is your organization using email to raise money? I’ve made no secret of the fact that I believe email marketing can level the playing field for small nonprofit organizations. All of the major studies point to a continued rise in online giving. Convio’s Online Marketing Nonprofit Benchmark report...
Five donor-centered fundraising lessons from Obama’s campaign

Five donor-centered fundraising lessons from Obama’s campaign

A fascinating new article, Inside the Secret World of the Data Crunchers Who Helped Obama Win, clearly reveals that this election was won because Obama’s team understood the make up, motivation and support of their base. What take-aways can nonprofits learn? 1.  Lose the silos.  Your databases need...
“I’ve written the perfect appeal. But my boss won’t let me use it.”

“I’ve written the perfect appeal. But my boss won’t let me use it.”

In yesterday’s Grow Report I asked my readers to share their greatest challenges in creating their organization’s annual appeal. Whoa…did I hit a nerve! One CEO wrote: “I write an appeal which is then taken to 2 committees and then the board.  Each group edits the letter, adding things...
When it comes to your organization’s year-end appeal, who’s your *tarquet?*

When it comes to your organization’s year-end appeal, who’s your *tarquet?*

You’ve spent weeks finding that perfect story to share in your latest appeal, interviewed five different mail houses, worked hard to arrive at  the *perfect* ask amounts and created your response device… What are you missing? Have you given any thought to the person who will be reading that...
Secure Your Database – Secure Your Future: Some Simple Guidelines

Secure Your Database – Secure Your Future: Some Simple Guidelines

Nonprofit organizations most often start from the vision of the founder.   Whether that vision is a neighborhood without violence, the elimination of hunger, or an appropriate education for one’s special needs child, the founder drives the train and others are inspired to jump on board because they...
Three Ways to Improve Your Foundation Grant Proposal

Three Ways to Improve Your Foundation Grant Proposal

Stop!  Before you send that grant proposal out the door, is there any way you can improve your chances of getting funded? Yes.  If you follow these three tips, you’ll improve your proposal exponentially: 1.  Eliminate jargon.  I worked with a foundation vice president who quite literally took a...
Do you say thank you when you don’t get the grant?

Do you say thank you when you don’t get the grant?

Before I became a fundraiser in 2000, I spent nearly seven years working for a regional grantmaking foundation. When I came on board, the foundation had only recently transitioned from a casual, privately run organization with the founder and his wife sending out checks to their beloved charities to...
Where’s My Million Dollar Grant?

Where’s My Million Dollar Grant?

Today’s guest post comes from the Wildwoman of Fundraising, Mazarine Treyz, who relates a situation that many of us can relate to. So, you just came into a new nonprofit. In your interview, your potential boss said, “We’re making $500,000 a year now, and I want to ramp up to $1 Million...
Every Board member should have a copy

Every Board member should have a copy

How appropriate that the dedication in Gayle Gifford’s newest Emerson & Church book, Make Your Board Dramatically More Effective, Starting Today: A Board Member’s Guide to Asking the Right Questions leads off with this quote from Gandhi:  “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”  For...
What if one simple strategy could increase donations by 35%?

What if one simple strategy could increase donations by 35%?

You’ll love this recent video, courtesy of Movie Mondays for Nonprofits.  Fundraising author and researcher Penelope Burk shared one simple strategy that your organization’s board members can use to increase donations by as much as 35%.  How could you take this further?  Do what many of...
At Last, 100% Board Giving!

At Last, 100% Board Giving!

Does 100% of your organization’s board contribute financially? They should. In my 2012 Small Shop Fundraising Survey, an astonishing 55% of organizations are reporting that they do not have 100% board giving. How can you reasonably expect others to contribute financially to your organization if members...
FREE. Nine of the top fundraising gurus sharing their secrets with you!

FREE. Nine of the top fundraising gurus sharing their secrets with you!

Beginning on March 7th, join us as nine nonprofit experts, including yours truly, share how to build a stronger nonprofit organization by: 
sharing your message, growing your funding and engaging your board! This is your chance to learn: How to get your board members over their fear of fundraising. 4...
International Women’s Day—Being the Change we Want to See

International Women’s Day—Being the Change we Want to See

When I was growing up, it was rare that any of my friends’ moms worked outside the home.  My elementary school, situated in the middle of “Wonder Years” style suburbia, didn’t even have a school cafeteria at the time. You walked home for lunch. But I was one of those rare kids who did have a...
Is your organization living hand-to-mouth?

Is your organization living hand-to-mouth?

Ladies and gentlemen: the story you are about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.
 Many years ago, I met with with a senior citizen organization.  Early on in our meeting, I asked the executive director, Adele Wilkins, a delightful sexagenarian, how much money...
Generosity Day:  Did you take the pledge?

Generosity Day: Did you take the pledge?

Surprise a stressed-out waitress with a humongous tip…cook a meal for your neighbor who’s just home from the hospital…send a “care” package to your best friend, who’s dealing with a homebound parent with dementia. Valentine’s Day has been officially rebooted as Generosity Day: ...
101 Social Media Tactics for Nonprofits: A Field Guide

101 Social Media Tactics for Nonprofits: A Field Guide

It goes without saying that before dipping a toe into the social media waters, nonprofit organizations need to come up with some sort of strategy. Where are your donors? How much time do you have to devote to social media? What will you be sharing on social media – and listening to? How will you...
The 10 essentials of an ideal thank you letter

The 10 essentials of an ideal thank you letter

Are you creating partnerships with your donors?  A sense of loyalty and commitment? Blackbaud’s recent Growing Philanthropy in the United States report revealed that nonprofits have made little headway into reducing donor attrition rates.  According to recent data collected by the Association of...

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