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...
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...
November’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival | How are you giving Thanks?

November’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival | How are you giving Thanks?

I’m hosting November’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival and what better topic, as Thanksgiving approaches, than giving thanks? According to the author of Donor-Centered Fundraising, Penelope Burk, “90% of donors who start contributing to a particular cause stop giving by the fifth renewal request.” And...
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...
8 Reasons development directors leave

8 Reasons development directors leave

“It seems that development positions continue to be an 18 month cycle? Is it organizations not giving them enough time to gain traction or development professionals not as strong as their resumes?” I’ve been following this particular AFP “On Fundraising” LinkedIn group topic  for the past...
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...
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...
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...
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. ...
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,...
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...
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.” ...
Let’s Get Engaged, Honey

Let’s Get Engaged, Honey

Let’s just say it: engagement is a buzzword. I spent a few years in the educational publishing business, and it was a word I saw trotted out again and again, to describe every latest and every greatest. Engaging resources. Engage your students with this product. It’s all about engagement. After...
KISS – Keep it Simple Sweetheart … with Swipe Files!

KISS – Keep it Simple Sweetheart … with Swipe Files!

“Imitation is the highest form of flattery.” -Coco Chanel Regular readers of my newsletter, The Grow Report, know that I am a huge fan of the online fundraising resource SOFII. SOFII showcases exhibits from the best fundraisers in the businesses – people like Mal Warwick, Ken Burnett, Tom...
11 Books for the Fundraiser on Your Gift List

11 Books for the Fundraiser on Your Gift List

When it comes to nonprofit development, you’ll find that many authors have a tendency to make simple things enormously complex. Quite the contrary, strong development involves learning basic marketing techniques, the value of truly understanding your donor, and, lastly, how to develop simple, consistent...

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