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...
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...
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...
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...
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”...
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...
5 Down & Dirty Tips to Ramp up Your End-of-Year Appeal

5 Down & Dirty Tips to Ramp up Your End-of-Year Appeal

It’s already November, and, if you’re working for an understaffed agency with too much to do and not enough time or resources, think twice before you regurgitate last year’s annual appeal letter and call it a day. First off, ask yourself a few questions: Will you be mailing out your letters in-house...
Fundraising Fun?  You Betcha!

Fundraising Fun? You Betcha!

Nonprofit blogger and Twitterer, Marc Pitman, recently twitted that “many see fundraising as an evil, a necessary evil but evil nonetheless.” I couldn’t agree more and, frankly, I just don’t get it! Fundraising is challenging, it’s people-centered, it’s constantly...
Nonprofits and Employee Attrition – The Truth Hurts

Nonprofits and Employee Attrition – The Truth Hurts

This unedited ad recently appeared, seeking a “Development Associate” for a local nonprofit organization. DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: 1) Development Office assistance • manage donor/gift records including processing gifts and reconciling with business office, receipting gifts and producing acknowledgments...
It’s just emotion that’s taken me over … Tied up in sorrow, lost in my soul

It’s just emotion that’s taken me over … Tied up in sorrow, lost in my soul

(With apologies to the Bee Gees …) For six years I worked for a regional private family foundation. It was an amazing learning experience on so many levels, including teaching me how donors respond. In a recent post on Kivi’s Nonprofit Marketing Blog, Kivi notes that people’s hearts tend to...
6 Tips for Collecting Great Nonprofit Stories

6 Tips for Collecting Great Nonprofit Stories

If you’ve been in this field for any length of time, you’ve heard all about how important it is to capture your organization’s story. Most nonprofit marketing bloggers, however, tend to focus solely on one aspect of your organization’s story when, in fact, having an entire cache of stories...
Raising Money Online with Social Media

Raising Money Online with Social Media

This is a guest post from nonprofit fundraising coach, author, speaker, and trainer Sandy Rees, CFRE, author of the blog Get Fully Funded. Raising money online isn’t so different from raising money in person.  You have to find potential donors, tell your story, and ask for a gift.  Still, it’s...

Fundraising in a Recession – 7 Tips

Albert Einstein was quoted as saying “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” Unfortunately, the world of nonprofit development can be notoriously fickle and unfocused. Clearly we are in a major recession with no end in sight. The trick is not to...