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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...