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...
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...
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...
Surveying to engage

Surveying to engage

In the thank you economy you can’t thank your donors – or survey them – too frequently. Take a cue from The Other 98%, a nonprofit dedicated to “making our democracy, economy and media work for everyday Americans, not the special interests or the political fringe.” With...
Emily’s List says ‘thank you’

Emily’s List says ‘thank you’

How can you creatively steward your supporters online? Emily’s List, the political action committee devoted to electing pro-choice female candidates, recently used a novel online method to thank their supporters. Donors received this email, which read: Dear firstname, What an amazing EMILY’s...
Live it to write it

Live it to write it

Last week I had the opportunity to meet two sisters, trustees of a regional family foundation.  I had applied for a grant from the foundation on behalf of a local client and a site visit was scheduled.  It was an excellent visit, relaxed, friendly, plenty of great questions, and an unplanned –...
From interest to commitment | 7 key drivers

From interest to commitment | 7 key drivers

You know you need to thank your donors promptly.  You know that it costs more (as much as 10 times) to bring in new donors than to retain your current donors. But beyond thanking ‘em how do you create that special relationship with a donor?  How do you go from interest and mild liking to full-fledged...
Are you looking for a commitment on a first date?

Are you looking for a commitment on a first date?

My first fiance asked me to marry him on our first date. That’s just weird! It’s amazing that I even went out with him again. What’s this got to do with fundraising? A first donation is like a first date. An indication of interest and mutual attraction. It’s in no way, shape or form...
Four ways to ramp up your annual appeal

Four ways to ramp up your annual appeal

Crisis alert. Picture this. You’ve been on your new Development Director job for all of two days when the Executive Director informs you that the organization’s annual appeal should have gone out two weeks ago and urges you to “just doctor up last year’s appeal.” Last year’s appeal sucks. What...
How to build relationships with foundation grant funders

How to build relationships with foundation grant funders

One of the most commonly asked questions I get is “How do I build relationships with foundation grant funders?” It’s a good question because it shows that the asker understands that relationship-building is just as important when it comes to seeking grants as it is in building a sound individual...
When life gives you lemons make lemonade

When life gives you lemons make lemonade

One of the many benefits of the #smNPchat on Twitter is the opportunity to meet fellow fundraising professionals throughout the world.  During a recent chat on annual appeal writing tips I was delighted to meet Amy Stephan, a St. Louis fundraiser with an inspiring annual appeal story of her own.  I’m...
How can you be donor-centric if you don’t know who your donor is?

How can you be donor-centric if you don’t know who your donor is?

As the thousands of gifts poured in following a membership appeal I prepared a few years back for a local nonprofit agency going to approximately 70,000 individuals, one donation in particular stood out. It wasn’t the largest donation our organization received, not by a long-shot.  No, it was the...
5 Tips to Maintain Your Enthusiasm as a Fundraiser

5 Tips to Maintain Your Enthusiasm as a Fundraiser

Several weeks ago I was chatting with a board president of an educational organization over lunch.  I’d been brought in for an hour long fundraising training scheduled during the organization’s retreat. “Well,” he remarked with more than a touch of resignation in his voice, “we really don’t...
10 Blogs I Always Read

10 Blogs I Always Read

If you’re like me, you don’t have a lot of time to spare.  Every day my workload grows.  Finding the time to get to my own projects is presenting more and more of a challenge.  And every day a new blog pops up in the Internet stratosphere – new opinions, new cutsie names and logos and people...
Nonprofits Need to Lose the “Free” Mindset.  Now.  Please.

Nonprofits Need to Lose the “Free” Mindset. Now. Please.

There’s an old adage (cliche’?) that “you get what you pay for.” Try telling that to nonprofit organizations. Several years back I worked with a small nonprofit agency with an annual budget of approximately half a million dollars.  Early on in my role as development director – and throughout...
… And What Does Cesar Millan Have to Do With Online Giving?

… And What Does Cesar Millan Have to Do With Online Giving?

If Paula Dean provides an example of how a larger than life personality and killer branding can overcome mediocre email marketing, Cesar Millan is a classic example of how an equally big personality gets email marketing right. If you’re not familiar with Cesar, star of the National Geographic show,...
To Engage With Younger Donors … Connect With Them Where They Live

To Engage With Younger Donors … Connect With Them Where They Live

A recent joint study by Convio, Edge Research and Sea Change Strategies, “Early Signals on Mobile Philanthropy:  Is Haiti the Tipping Point?”pointed to some striking statistics on text giving.  Prior to January 12, 2010, “little more than $1 million had been raised via mobile text.” ...
Two Simple Ways to Increase Your Online Giving

Two Simple Ways to Increase Your Online Giving

Several weeks ago I decided to feature a local nonprofit organization I worked with years ago for Twitter’s #CharityTuesday, thinking that I might be able to drive a few extra dollars their way. So I paid a visit to their website to make a donation and copy the url. I searched and searched for...