#smNPchat on Twitter

As of 2013, the Twitter #smNPchat is no longer active.

Millions of U.S. nonprofit organizations have annual operating revenue of less than $1 million.  So how does the one-person nonprofit marketing/development shop “do it all?”  Grants, stewardship, individual giving, PR, social media, online giving, etc., etc.  Is it even possible?

Join us on the first and third Friday of every month for the #smNPchat Twitter chat designed especially for you, the smaller nonprofit organization looking to create maximum impact in your marketing and fundraising efforts – in minimum time.  We’ll be talking about the fun and challenges of “doing it all” in a one-person shop, including individual giving, online giving, copywriting, social media, leading your board, grants, time management and more.  And we’ll be featuring special guests answering your questions on targeted topics.  Want to jump in?  All you have to do is use the  hashtag #smNPchat and join us every other Friday afternoon from noon until 1:00 EST on Twitter.

If you’re on Twitter, you definitely won’t want to miss these bi-weekly chats – and if you’re not, well you might want to consider signing up.  If you do join in, I highly recommend signing up with a chat provider as well.  Chat providers will make following the stream of conversation a whole lot easier.  I use TweetChat.  I promise that you’ll get a lot out of it – and so will I.  These chats will enable me to get to know YOU better and, in turn, deliver more free cutting edge easily implementable information to you.  Still confused?  How do you learn from #lrnchat? is a terrific article explaining the whole chat dynamic – it’s a terrific primer if you’re feeling lost.  I also liked this handy video guide on how to participate!  Questions about what’s kosher…and what’s not?  Read the guidelines for the #smNPchat.

The #smNPchat Twitter chats for fundraising and marketing for the small nonprofit take place the second and last Friday of every month from noon to 1:00 pm EST.  Want more?  Many chats feature a freebie – either a recorded call with an expert, a give-away or a downloadable tip sheet!

Friday, November 2nd from noon until 1:00 EST:  Warning: Lost Donors Ahead! | Strategies for year-end appeal follow up
The latest stats are in, and they ain’t pretty.  The 2012 Fundraising Effectiveness Report from the Association of Fundraising Professionals shows that donor attrition rates are still in the toilet.  Read the transcript here.

  • Every $100 gained in 2011 was offset by $100 in losses through attrition
  • Every 100 donors gained in 2011 was offset by 107 in lost donors through attrition

While you’re busy getting out that year-end appeal, what systems have you put into place to make sure your donor’s first gift won’t be their last?  Join us to share your strategies…and get new ideas!

Friday, October 5th from noon until 1:00 EST: Managing Micro-managers – Tips from the Trenches

With so many nonprofits  in the midst of developing and mailing their “year-end” appeals, I thought it was a good time to ask my readers: What are some of the greatest challenges you’re facing with your annual appeal?

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 for the reader to do and, in the end, confusing enough of them that they take no action.  I tell the various members that we can’t ask our donors to choose among 4 different options, but they think that more is better.”

A Development Director wrote:
“Our CEO insists I write my newsletters and direct mail pieces to only highlight our great kids programs. When I try to explain that it’s less about sharing how great we are, but more about connecting to the donors, he cuts me off. I tell a lot of great stories, but he hates it when I put in donor specific requests.”

And in my Direct Mail Fundraising Course, one participant wrote:  
“We write something here and it gets edited and proofed to death.”

And a fundraising manager who had just shared a story that brought me to tears wrote:
“You asked what people struggle with when preparing a direct mail campaign. For me there is a chance I won’t be able to use this story. I tried to use it for our annual appeal and was overruled on its suitability. I am going to have another go because I believe it is absolutely stunning and to also have that photograph – well let’s just say that I believe it is fundraising gold!”

Micromanaging can destroy fundraising results.  Please help spread the word for today’s  #smNPchat where we’ll share tips and strategies for dealing with well-meaning interference.  Noon EST on Twitter, hashtag #smNPchat

Friday, September 21st from noon until 1:00 EST:  What will your organization be doing this year to ensure that your year end appeal totally rocks?
Savvy fundraisers are in the midst of planning their year-end direct mail appeals.  What lessons have you learned from past appeals?
How will you be segmenting your database?  How do you decide what story to share?  What followup do you have in place for your year-end appeal?  How are you tying your DM appeal to your online approach?  Join us to share your strategies – and learn from others!

Friday, September 7th from noon to 1:00 ET – WELCOME BACK!

How did it get to be September already?  Four short months left of 2012:  what are you doing in these final months of the year to rock your fundraising?
Year-end appeal  Are you taking steps to ensure that this year’s appeal is your organization’s best ever?
Online giving  How are you integrating your online giving with your direct mail appeal?
Stewardship   How have you been approaching thanking your donors differently?  Do you buy all the recent hooey about donor gifts?
Meeting with donors  Do you have plans to get out there and ask for gifts?  (I’ve got a special program just for you)
Join us at noon ET on Twitter to share strategies and learn!

Friday, July 20th from noon to 1:00 ET – Your Grantwriting Questions…Answered!

Join us as guest expert Betsy Baker (aka @GrantAuthority) and I answer your most pressing questions about writing funded grant applications.  Join us at noon ET.  And, for extra credit, take 10 minutes to watch this video about what one funder looks for in organizations they fund.

Friday, July 6th from noon to 1:00 ET – “What I did on my summer vacation”

What will you be working on over the summer months?  Developing your communications strategy?  Meeting with donors?  Cleaning up your database?  Refining your case for support or story-gathering?  Join us to share your summer fundraising strategies – and learn from others!

Friday, June 22nd from noon to 1:00 ET – Fundraising is everyone’s responsibility

How many of you can relate to this subscriber, who wrote in:

I am the first Development Director of a new nonprofit.   I am also the only full-time staff member.  The Executive Director is a volunteer and serves in name only.  The board, staff, and executive director refuse to provide names of people to solicit for an appeal as your book suggests.

I realized too late I have gotten myself in a position where the leadership now feels that they can completely wipe their hands of any fundraising responsibility now that I am on staff.  Unfortunately, I’m overwhelmed, discouraged, and have no idea where to start.

Building a culture of philanthropy where everyone contributes (joyfully!) to your fundraising efforts IS possible.  Let’s talk strategy!

Friday, June 1, 2012 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – Who’s telling your nonprofit’s story? 

Storytelling is one of the most important components of your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy.  Who’s telling your story?  From your ED to your board to staff to volunteers, are you all on the same page?  Join guest expert Marc Pitman as we explore best methods of finding and sharing your organization’s stories.

 Friday, May 18, 2012 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – What are some great strategies to use social media to promote attendance at *any* event?

How are you spreading the word online about your next event?  What are ways to promote attendance?  Join us and share your experiences.

 Friday, May 4, 2012 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – Launching and growing your organization’s monthly giving program

What’s the best thing your nonprofit isn’t doing that it should be doing to slow donor attrition and build sustainable funding?

If you said growing your Twitter followers, or redesigning your website you’d be wrong.  One of the surefire ways to build lifetime donors – and build legacy funding -  is with the creation of a monthly sustainer program.  Join us to talk about launching and growing your organization’s sustainer program.

Friday, April 20, 2012 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – Guest Expert Mazarine Treyz of Wild Woman Fundraising joins us for a repeat of her crazy successful corporate sponsorships chat. 

Have you been wondering:

  1. What do #nonprofits often get wrong about #sponsorships?
  2. Where can you go to look for #sponsorship connections?
  3. How do you start to get #sponsors to give you money?
  4. What should you say in your #sponsorship meeting?
  5. What should you be careful about when thanking your sponsor?

Join us!

Friday, April 13, 2012 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – Employee retention strategies: What are organizations doing right?

From slave wages pay to lack of training, we’ve all got our horror stories about working in the nonprofit sector.  And employee retention plays a huge role in nurturing donor relationships.  What are employers doing right?  How does your organization reward employees and volunteers for a job well done?  Share!

Friday, March 23, 2012 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – Guest Expert John Haydon addresses the recent Facebook changes

The latest Facebook changes.  How does this change your content strategy? How can you get fans without a default landing tab? What’s the difference between FB and Twitter?  Join us as John Haydon ‘splains it all, at noon.  Miss the chat?  You can read the transcript here.

Friday, March 16, 2012 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – How to deal with a misinformed boss and board

How to deal with your boss when you know you’re right.  What am I talking about?  I think that you know.   We’ll talk strategies for getting around your misinformed boss and board.

Friday, March 2, 2012 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – What’s your “Asking Style?”
Do you know your “asking style?”  Understanding your personal style will help you become more comfortable asking for gifts.  And knowing your board’s individual styles will enable them to work more effectively.  Join us as Andrea Kihlstedt, co-founder of Asking Matters discusses how you can be more comfortable asking for gifts and have far greater success in raising funds

Friday, February 17, 2012 from noon until 1:00 pm EST - Creating your organization’s communications calendarWhen someone visits your organization’s website and clicks on “Read Our Latest Newsletter!” will they download a pdf from 2010?  Was your email marketing campaign started in 2010 and abandoned in early 2011?  Join #smNPchat and guest expert Kivi Leroux Miller of Nonprofit Marketing Guide to learn the importance of regular donor communication, how to create your organization’s calendar, how to repurpose content across different mediums and more!  Missed the chat?  You can catch up here.

Friday, February 3, 2012 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – Donor Databases: Making the Right Decision for Your Organization.

Is your organization struggling with the decision of which donor database to go with?  Are you getting all out of the database you already have?  Are you still using Excel as a database?  Join us for this informative chat as organizations share their own pros and cons.  We will be joined by Robert Weiner as well as representatives from Blackbaud, Donor Perfect and more.  Missed the chat?  Check out the transcript here.

Friday, January 27, 2012 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – Stewardship Redux

This may well be our third #smNPchat centering around the topic of stewardship!  It’s simply that important.  Why spend all your time and resources on getting new donors – when retaining the donors you have is more efficient?

How is your organization thanking donors?  Do you have a formal stewardship system in place (check out this Movie Monday video on how one organization created theirs)?  What daily habits do you have in place to thank donors – better yet, to WOW them?  And should a thank you letter ever include an ask?  Download the free cheat sheet for this week’s chat and make a point to join us!

 

Friday, January 13, 2012 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – What will your organization be doing differently in 2012?

Happy Belated New Year!  It’s #smNPchat’s first chat of 2012!  What will your organization be doing differently in 2012?  Are there any reports/studies/whitepapers that you read in 2011 that made a difference in your planning going forward?  Will you be thanking your donors differently?  Making more phone calls or paying more personal visits?  Join us to share your strategies to make 2012 your best year yet!

Friday, December 16, 2011 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – Free PR and how it can benefit the small nonprofit

Could your nonprofit benefit from free PR?  What are online tools that you can use to generate free publicity for your organization? What about tools within your own community?  Check out Two easy ways to get free PR in 2012 and join us for today’s #smNPchat at noon ET as guest expert Amy Sept from Nimbyist Communications shares strategies for the small nonprofit.

Friday, December 2, 2011 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – 2011: Major Gifts for the Small Shop?  Yes!

How on earth does the small nonprofit organization get started on major gifts?  Why would a major donor even be interested in your tiny community agency?  For the answers to these pressing questions and more, join us as guest expert Gail Perry guides us through “Major Gifts for the Small Shop.”  Tune in and share your strategies and learn new!  Miss the chat?  Check out the transcript here.

Friday, November 11, 2011 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – 2011: The Future of Fundraising – How Will You Adapt?

Blackbaud’s recently released report, Growing Philanthropy in the United States, arrived at a host of recommendations for growing fundraising in the new economy.  Will you be sharing this report with your board?  How will your organization be adapting?  What changes have you already made?  Tune in and share your strategies and learn new!  Miss the chat?  Check out the transcript here.

Friday, October 28, 2011 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – 2011: It’s annual appeal time – what’s your strategy?

Organizations everywhere are gearing up for end-of-year fundraising.  And that means the “annual appeal.”  How will your organization be blowing last year’s results out of the water?  What will you be doing differently in terms of segmentation?  Mailing (bulk or first class, stamp or indicia)?  Copywriting?  Phone calls?  Tune in and share your strategies and learn new!

Friday, October 14, 2011 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – 2011: Events – It’s all about sponsorships!

How do you approach potential corporate sponsors, anticipate their questions, and make your next event an  irresistible proposition?  Join us as guest expert Mazarine Treyz, Wildwoman Fundraising, answers your corporate sponsorship questions.

Friday, September 30, 2011 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – 2011: Monthly Giving: Getting started!

What’s the best thing your nonprofit isn’t doing that it should be doing to slow donor attrition and build sustainable funding?  Join us for #smNPchat where we’ll be discussing best practices for beginning your organization’s monthly giving appeal, how and where to launch, and more.
Noon ET.

Friday, September 16, 2011 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – 2011: Guest expert John Haydon

Facebook – are you doing it right?  How can you engage your supporters more?  How can you grow your likes?  How can you turn likes into email addresses?  Join us as nonprofit social media marketing expert John Haydon provides answers to your most pressing questions!
Noon ET.

Friday, September 9, 2011 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – 2011: Lessons from 911

Sunday marks the tenth anniversary of one of the most tragic days in American history.   We’re joining forces with Tony Martignetti’s Nonprofit Talk Radio for a special #smNPchat.  How do you tailor your fundraising to respond/acknowledge tragedy while still raising money for your cause?  When your organization is connected with new donors because of a disaster, how do you reach out to create a longer-term connection with those donors? Or do you?
Join us at noon for #smNPchat.  Follow up at one ET with Nonprofit Talk Radio.

Friday, August 26, 2011 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – 2011: What are you doing to gear up for the last four months of the year?

Can you believe it’s nearly September?  What are you doing to gear up for the end of the year?  Have you increased your direct mail?  Revved up your social media?  Join us and share your tips for blowing 2011 out of the water!

Friday, August 12, 2011 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – 2011: Google Grants:  Worth it for the small nonprofit?

Google is awarding up to $10,000 in advertising dollars to selected nonprofits – but how does the small nonprofit organization benefit?  Join us and share your Google Grant success stories!

Friday, August 5, 2011 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – 2011: Finding the perfect volunteer

How do you find the perfect volunteer?  How do you train your volunteers?  Does your organization have a volunteer welcome kit?  How do you figure out what “meaningful” work is to each person?  Do you factor your volunteers into your fundraising efforts?  (Look at how one organization received a major gift from a volunteer!)  Join us and guest expert Shari Ilsen, the Online Communications Manager for VolunteerMatch!

Friday, July 15, 2011 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – 2011: Summertime … and the livin’ is easy.  Or not!

What will you be doing over the summer months to build relationships with your donors and ramp up your fundraising?  Share your best tips – and learn from others.

Friday, July 1, 2011 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – 2011: What have you learned about writing appeals?

Guest blogger Mary Cahalane shared what she’s learned from years in the trenches about writing appeal letters.  What have you learned?  Are there any secrets that you’ve picked up and want to share?  Join us!

Friday, June 17, 2011 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – 2011: Blackbaud’s latest: The 2011 donorCentrics Internet and Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report

Bloggers have been having a field day with Blackbaud’s latest: The 2011 donorCentrics Internet and Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report.

Key findings of the 2011 report include:

  • It has become increasingly common for new donors to give their first gift online.
  • In aggregate, online-acquired donors have much higher cumulative value over the long term than traditional mail-acquired donors.
  • Every year, large proportions of online-acquired donors switch from online giving to offline sources – primarily to direct mail.
  • Without the ability to become multichannel givers by renewing support via direct mail, online donors would be worth far less.

Yes, direct mail does still rule but does the Blackbaud report also yet another example of how nonprofits are dropping the ball when it comes to stewardship? The report can be downloaded here.  Join us to discuss what multichannel integration means to you, how to improve stewardship for both online and offline gifts and more!

Friday, June 3, 2011 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – 2011: Annual Reports:  Go from flat to fabulous!

Are you struggling with your organization’s annual report and don’t know where to turn?  Download our free tip sheet and join us at noon EST to share your success stories. Miss the chat? Check out the transcript here.

Friday, May 20, 2011 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – 2011: Beware of surveys that can lead fundraisers to trouble!

The Cygnus 2011 North American Donor Survey has been generating a lot of talk amongst fundraisers.  But how relevant is it to YOU?  Take a minute to read two posts from Jeff Brooks on Penelope Burk’s latest, Survey research can lead fundraisers to trouble and How to make survey research work for you.
Then plan to join us on Friday, May 20th at noon EST to discuss!

Friday, May 6, 2011 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – 2011: Donor Accountability – whatcha gonna share and how?

Studies are showing that donors want to know what their dollars are accomplishing.  But that doesn’t mean that they want to be bored by statistics!  What should you be sharing in your annual reports, your thank you’s and your follow-ups with donors?

Friday, April 8, 2011 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – 2011:  What does successful board fundraising look like?

Have you struggled to get your board members actively involved in raising money for your cause?  Is it even a board member’s job to raise money?  Join us for this discussion as we share our strategies for success!

Friday, March 18, 2011 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – 2011: Grants:  Worthwhile for the small nonprofit?

You’re the Development Director/Marketing Director/Database Administrator/Individual Giving Manager/Website Coordinator and more — all rolled into one!  Does it really make sense to spend a portion of that time (what time?!) on seeking foundation funding? The grant process can be a PITA … should you even be trying?

Friday, March 4, 2011 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – 2011: Great development: Are you leading or following?

What kind of freedom do you have to lead your organization’s fundraising efforts?  Check out one of my favorite Ahern newsletters, Why, oh why, don’t they trust you?  “Because I don’t pee like Jesus.” Let’s talk about stepping up to leadership in your organization’s development office.

Friday, February 4, 2011 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – 2011: Corporate sponsorships & partners – When is it a good match & when to say no.

Should you ever say “no” to the almighty dollar?  When does an organization decline a sponsorship opportunity from a corporate partner?  Join us to discuss!

Is social media a waste of time for  the small nonprofit organization — or one of the best methods of growing your email list?  Let’s talk about how to draw new subscribers to your email list and turn them into donors.  Pick up the free tip sheet here!

Friday, January 21, 2011 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – 2011:  Growing your organization’s email list

Is social media a waste of time for  the small nonprofit organization — or one of the best methods of growing your email list?  Let’s talk about how to draw new subscribers to your email list and turn them into donors.  Pick up the free tip sheet here!

Friday, January 7, 2011 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – 2011:  What will your organization be doing differently?

Tony Robbins said “How am I going to live today in order to create the tomorrow I’m committed to?” It’s the start of the new year and you’re filled with ideas for your organization for 2011 — from social media to revamping your website to spending more time engaging your donors — but how will you create the systems and habits to make change possible?

Friday, December 17, 2000 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – Up to the Very Last Minute – Last Minute Fundraising Tips!

More than 20% of all giving for the entire year occurs in the last two days of the year.  Is your organization ready?  Find out how to maximize the final days of December!  Download the free Last Minute Holiday Fundraising Cheat Sheet here.

Friday, December 3, 2000 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – Excel is NOT a Database!

Is your organization still using Excel as a database?  Your database needs to be your top priority – and with the plethora of inexpensive donor databases out there, there’s no excuse.  Join me and representatives from a variety of software solution companies as we explore database options.

Friday, November 19, 2000 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – Penning the Perfect Thank You Letter

In keeping with the theme of gratitude and donor-centered fundraising, today’s chat will center on how to pen the perfect thank you letter.  Download the free Thank You Letter cheatsheet,  join us, and enter to win a thank you letter re-write from noted donor retention expert Lisa Sargent!

Friday, November 12, 2010 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – Donor-Centered Fundraising:  What is it, Really?

We all talk the “donor-centered” fundraising talk – but do we practice it?  Do we really understand the meaning of being donor-centric?  Kimberly MacKenzie asked her readers “What does ‘donor centred’ really mean?” – read the answers here.

And then join us for the #smNPchat on donor-centered fundraising to share your opinion and discuss ways to incorporate donor-centric fundraising into every facet of your organization’s communications.  Did you get your free Donor-Centered Fundraising Quick Tip Sheet?

Friday, November 5, 2010 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – Email Marketing

From the recent Blackbaud blog article on 5 troubling nonprofit statistics:  According to the 2010 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study fundraising email response rate is 0.13%. That means more than 99% of fundraising emails don’t result in a donation. This is despite countless books, webinars, presentations, and many years of email being used by nonprofits.

Is it possible that we’re thinking email all wrong??  Is it possible using email as a stewardship and cultivation tool can result in better, more long-term donor relationships?

Check out the transcript here and don’t forget to download my free Simple Email Marketing for Nonprofits Cheat Sheet.

Friday, October 29, 2010 from noon until 1:00 pm EST – Newsletters

Oh the dreaded nonprofit newsletter!  You hate writing them.  Donors rarely read them.  They’re sporadic and boring. Should your organization’s newsletter be print or electronic?  How can you use your newsletter to engage donors?  How about actually making some $$$ with your newsletter?

Join us for this asked-for discussion where we’ll be talking establishing a system of communicating regularly with your donors, whether you should publish a print or electronic newsletter (and how often), and how to find stories.  Read Tom Ahern’s take on raising money with donor newsletters and register to win a copy of Tom’s book, The Mercifully Brief, Real World Guide to … Raising More Money With Newsletters Than You Ever Thought Possible by by dropping me an email at pamelagrow@simpledevelopmentsystems.com.

Friday, October 22, 2010 from noon until 1:00 EST – Monthly Giving

Has your organization started a monthly giving program?  Why not?

Here’s a hypothetical situation you may be able to relate to:
Imagine a small nonprofit with a database of 483 individuals.  Of those names, 268 are current donors, making gifts ranging from $10 to $500.  Of those names 127 individuals have given regular gifts averaging $75 for the past three years.  And of those 127 individuals, 89 have made a regular gift averaging $50 every year for the past five years.

Now imagine converting just 13 of these individual to your organization’s monthly giving program, with an average gift of $20 a month.  Those 13 donors would now be giving a yearly gift of $240.  Say Jennifer G, a loyal donor who had dutifully sent off her check for $50 every September converted to monthly giving with a smaller gift of $10 a month?  Her gift to your organization would have more than doubled to $120 a year!

Join us for the monthly giving chat on Twitter, using the hashtag #smNPchat to learn how your organization can implement monthly giving.  Be sure to listen in on my call with Harvey McKinnon who literally wrote the book on monthly giving with his primer, Hidden Gold.

Friday, October 15, 2010 from noon until 1:00 EST – Time Management
In Network for Good’s recent Nonprofit 911 webinar “How to Become a Linchpin” Seth Godin said that resource-strapped nonprofits simply can’t “do it all.”  “Doing a mediocre job on nine things is going to guarantee that you’re mediocre,” noted Seth, “it’s better, I think, to not do six of them – and acknowledge upfront that you’re not going to do six of them.”

Is Seth right?  Is it even possible for the one-person development shop to “do it all?”  How do you handle prioritizing and time management?  What are the most important aspects for the one-person shop to focus on?

Download this chat’s free handout here and join us to learn and share!  Missed the chat?  Read the transcript!