Claire Axelrad

Claire Axelrad

Claire Axelrad , J.D., CFRE was named Outstanding Fundraising Professional of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and brings 30 years frontline development and marketing experience to her work as principal of Clairification. A sought-after coach and consultant, Claire is a frequent contributor to leading nonprofit resources including 4GOOD, Nonprofit Hub, Nonprofit.about.com, npENGAGE Experts, 3rd Sector, the Foundation Center and Guidestar. Claire writes a bi-monthly column, “Charity Clairity” for Nonprofit Pro and a monthly nonprofit social media feature for Maximize Social Business and is a “Top 100 Content Marketing Influencer” on Twitter. Clairification was named “Best Fundraising Blog of 2013” by FundRaising Success Magazine. A member of the California State Bar and a graduate of Princeton University, Claire currently resides in San Francisco California. Connect with Claire on Twitter, Pinterest or LinkedIn.

How to Find the True Meaning of Fundraising? Keep a Donor-Gratitude Journal

It may sound hokey, but try to keep a gratitude journal. Not just any gratitude journal, but a donor-gratitude journal. Write down five things each week about why you’re grateful to your donors. You can be grateful to specific donors or to donors as a group. Just get in the habit of thinking about what you’re specifically grateful for...

7 Strategies to Create Happier, More Generous Donors

Nonprofits need to tell a compelling story the donor wants to enter into. Make what you say relevant to people’s experiences. I may not have a daughter with a disability, but as a parent, I can relate to wanting my daughter to have all the best life has to offer...

7 Strategies Every Nonprofit Should Master in 2017

Last year, I gave you five priorities for success in 2016. I called them “Dive the Five.” This year, I’ve expanded my thinking a bit. I give you “Seven is Heaven.” I promise if you focus on these fundamental areas, you will hear the angels begin to sing and your mission will take wing. Some of these areas will seem familiar, but the way you employ them may need to be tweaked in order for you to survive and thrive...

12 Friends You Absolutely Need to Boost Online Fundraising

Being online is a critical part of your donor’s life. It’s also a critical part of their experience with your organization. So your year-end campaign must be online, too. In fact, to succeed in today’s environment, year-end campaigns must be multichannel — not just direct mail, but also email and social media.

3 Secrets to Inspire Board Members to Be Successful Fundraisers

It’s your job as a staff member to help your board members connect with your mission in a manner that connects with their own values. To inspire them to connect with and lead from their personal passion. Doing your job is easy if you remember these three simple things...

Motivate Nonprofit Board Members to Play 'Follow the Leader'

Human beings are, first and foremost, social creatures. We use the brains of others to think for us, and as storage space for our knowledge about the world. For folks considering whether and how to get involved with any nonprofit, what leadership is saying and doing will have a big impact. That's why you need to motivate nonprofit board members to be influencers...

5 Ways to Use Social Media to Build Donor Relationships

Whatever nonprofits are doing right now to sustain and grow donor relationships, it’s not working especially well. So, adding an additional relatively inexpensive donor retention strategy into your existing donor development plan makes sense. Here are five strategies you can use to build donor relationships online...

Is Fundraising Cinderella to Your Nonprofit Marketing?

Too often, fundraising is made to sit in the corner while her stepsisters, content marketing and online communications, get busy dressing up for the marketing ball. Her stepmother and stepsisters think raising awareness is more important than raising money. They think all they have to do is look pretty, and they’ll get chosen. Nobody can be bothered to include Cinderella (aka fundraising) in the planning. If this strikes a chord with you, you’re probably working at one of the far too many nonprofits where marketing communications are considered the stepchild of fundraising...

6 Ways to Improve Your Annual Fundraising Appeal

The end of the year will be here before you know it! Are you working on your year-end appeal? Crafting fundraising appeals and end-of-year campaigns is not rocket science, but you do have to adhere to certain guidelines if you want to achieve blastoff. So, here come some guidelines!...

8 Secrets to Building Online Relationships With People Who Matter

Collecting—whether business cards, followers on Twitter, "likes" on Facebook or first-time donors—is meaningless without a strategy to turn those relatively blank connections into meaningful, lasting relationships. If your marketing and/or fundraising strategy is based on collecting and counting, it’s time to rethink this strategy...

Just Do It: Your Secret to Mastering Major Gift Fundraising

I remember working for a social services agency where the social workers would often say to me, "I could never do what you do." I’d reply, "Back at you!" Each of us thought the other person’s talent was a mystery because we’d never learned it. And we’d never wanted to learn it. I also remember board members, sitting in a fundraising training I was facilitating and saying, "I could never ask for a major gift as well as you do."...

Major Gift Lessons From TV’s ‘Shark Tank’

In “How to Present the Perfect Pitch: From the Shark Tank to the Boardroom,” O’Leary offers 10 tips on how to ace a fundraising pitch. Whether you’re seeking venture capital or a philanthropic gift, many of the principles are the same. I’ve selected six of O’Leary’s tips I find perfectly aligned with what it takes to make a successful nonprofit ask...

Nonprofit Overhead Worth: When Is More Not Less?

In his blog post, "A Dollar More (vs. a Dollar Less)," Seth Godin provocatively suggests you consider a race to the top. This made me immediately think of the nonprofit overhead conundrum. Too many nonprofits feel stuck with trying to justify the amount of money they spend on staff and infrastructure in a race to lure more donors to their causes...