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...
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...
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...
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 –...
5 Simple Solutions to 5 Troubling Nonprofit Statistics

5 Simple Solutions to 5 Troubling Nonprofit Statistics

Blackbaud’s Connections Blog by Steve MacLaughlin recently came out with 5 Troubling Nonprofit Statistics, another “gloom and doom” report on the state of nonprofit fundraising. Fundraising has always been challenging.  After all, you’re not selling a service or a physical product.  But...
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...
Five Ways to Sabotage Your Fundraising

Five Ways to Sabotage Your Fundraising

1.  Practicing lousy follow-up (or none at all) You’ve heard it said before.  Good development is all about building relationships. You “know” that fact.  Yet how many times have you sighed over that grant proposal declination letter and filed it away with the proposal – without taking...
Three Big Ideas to Take Your Relationships with Foundations to the Next Level

Three Big Ideas to Take Your Relationships with Foundations to the Next Level

Foundation folks are constantly being pitched, talked at, “worked.” How easy might it be to stand out from the crowd by taking a completely different approach? Here are three big ideas to get you started. 1. Connect without an agenda. Some years ago, the head of a major foundation spoke at...
The “Un-magical” Guide to Turning Prospects into Donors

The “Un-magical” Guide to Turning Prospects into Donors

Do you ever wish you had a magic wand?  In the development office of a small nonprofit, it sometimes seems magic is the only way you’ll ever get everything done.  You know your success depends on building relationships and touching prospects multiple times in multiple ways–“dripping”...
Ten steps to Facebook success for your nonprofit

Ten steps to Facebook success for your nonprofit

If you’re like most non-profit marketers, you’re trying to use Facebook to raise awareness and donations. You’ve set up an account, tried to grow your number of connections, and have posted some content for people to comment on. In the first month or two, your fan base grew steadily....
For Social Media Success – Be a First Rate Version of Yourself

For Social Media Success – Be a First Rate Version of Yourself

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. ~Judy Garland A little background … For slightly over a year now I’ve been publishing a free weekly e-newsletter geared to providing the one-person nonprofit development shop with the techniques they...
NonProfit Email Marketing: Is Your Organization Ready for an Email Monthly Giving Campaign?

NonProfit Email Marketing: Is Your Organization Ready for an Email Monthly Giving Campaign?

Why Email? According to Convio’s latest Nonprofit Benchmark Study, online giving grew in 2009 by 14 percent – despite the economy.   Even better news?  Small organizations grew the fastest.  Convio reports that smaller organizations “grew their online revenue by 26 percent, and gifts by...
What You Can Expect from Your Board – and What You Can’t 

What You Can Expect from Your Board – and What You Can’t 

Chances are, if you’ve been in nonprofit development for any length of time, you share the feelings of one of the members of Simple Development Systems who wrote that her greatest challenge was:  “motivating the Board to do something instead of always relying on me to do everything.” Today’s...
Six Critical Things to Look For in a Foundation’s 990 For Successful Grant Funding!

Six Critical Things to Look For in a Foundation’s 990 For Successful Grant Funding!

When it comes to foundation grants, researching prospective foundations is crucial for locating the ideal match.  And there is no finer tool for truly observing the inner workings of a grant-making foundation — and whether or not their mission provides a match with your organization — than with...
What’s Paula Deen Got To Do With Your Nonprofit Marketing?

What’s Paula Deen Got To Do With Your Nonprofit Marketing?

I’m a Food Network junkie and one of my favorite Food Network Stars has always been Paula Deen.  Paula’s the Southern charmer who begins every recipe with either stick of butter or a cup of mayonnaise, throwing in plenty of “ya’alls” for good measure. Why am I telling...
Be a Fearless Grantseeker!

Be a Fearless Grantseeker!

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot. Eleanor Roosevelt Awhile back I did a poll on the biggest fears grantwriters face in writing a grant proposal. Not surprisingly approaching...
Prepping For Your First Foundation Site Visit

Prepping For Your First Foundation Site Visit

It’s been six weeks since you spent considerable time and effort researching the regional foundations and sending out eight new proposals in support of a planned educational initiative on behalf of your three-year-old community arts organization. So when the phone rings and it’s program officer Samantha...
Foundation Prospect Research – On a Shoestring

Foundation Prospect Research – On a Shoestring

Back in the day when I was running an entire development department alone on a tight budget, I recognized the importance of regular foundation prospecting research. Once a month or so I would trek into Philadelphia to spend a day at the public library researching funders on using Foundation Center,...

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