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...
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...
Are your grantwriting ducks in a row?

Are your grantwriting ducks in a row?

It’s Monday morning when, in the course of your foundation prospect research, you discover a regional foundation that: accepts grant proposals, and whose mission aligns ideally with yours The problem?  Their deadline for accepting proposals is Wednesday. No problem, you’re “grant ready” with...
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...
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....
These 7 Copywriting Secrets Can Make You a Fundraising Hero

These 7 Copywriting Secrets Can Make You a Fundraising Hero

Regular readers know that I’ve made no secret of the fact that I believe, of all of the skills a good nonprofit marketing and development person needs, copy-writing tops the list. Why? Start collecting the nonprofit annual appeal letters that arrive in your mailbox.  Read through a few nonprofit websites. ...
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,...
What to do When Your Proposal is Declined.  (Hint:  It’s the Beginning, Not the End!)

What to do When Your Proposal is Declined. (Hint: It’s the Beginning, Not the End!)

It’s always frustrating to have your grant proposal rejected, but it’s absolutely essential to stay optimistic and to persevere. The fact is that most grant proposals do get rejected, but learning from the experience—examining why your proposal was turned down—will benefit you by making future...
Pamela’s List – The Best in Nonprofit Books

Pamela’s List – The Best in Nonprofit Books

We all learn differently. My daughter, Samantha, is a visual learner and an avid reader.  She has always learned best by reading.  My other daughter, Abigail, on the other hand, has never cared for reading.  She learns best in the classroom or a one on one setting and has always appreciated audiobooks. I...
How to Be a Nonprofit Development Director – Charting Your First 100 Days

How to Be a Nonprofit Development Director – Charting Your First 100 Days

President Roosevelt, coming into office in the midst of the desperate years of the Great Depression, set the standard for new presidents to make their marks within their first 100 days in office. And, like FDR, incoming President Barack Obama enters the White House at a time of great crisis with his...

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