Otis Fulton and Katrina VanHuss

Otis Fulton and Katrina VanHuss

Katrina VanHuss has been instilling passion in volunteer fundraisers since 1989 when she founded Turnkey. Otis joined in the fun in 2013 as Turnkey’s resident human behavior expert. One thing led to another, and now as a married couple, they almost never stop talking about fundraising, volunteerism and human decision-making, much to the chagrin of most dinner companions.

Through their work at Turnkey, the pair works with the likes of the American Lung Association, Best Buddies, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, using human behavioral tendencies and recognition to create attachment and high fundraising in volunteers.

Katrina and Otis present regularly at clients’ national conferences, as well as at BBCon, NonProfit Pro P2P and Peer to Peer Forum, and are the co-authors of the 2017 book, Dollar Dash. They live in Richmond, Va.

Sizing Up Your Nonprofit Competition

Some nonprofit executives fear that the nonprofit pie is a zero-sum game. They fear that there is a limited number of charitable dollars available and that they are in nonprofit competition with other organizations for their share of the pie. We tend not to ascribe to this philosophy; our view is that the dollars in…

A Guilty White Man Speaks Out

One of the great pleasures in working with nonprofit clients is getting up every day and knowing that you are helping them do good on behalf of their constituencies. They advocate on behalf of people living with autism, cancers, ALS and cystic fibrosis. Some support people dealing with the hardships surrounding immigration, homelessness, depression or drug addiction...

Breaking the Nonprofit ‘Middle Child Syndrome’

Does your organization suffer from the “middle child syndrome?” Middle children often feel that they are neglected—that it doesn’t matter what they do, they are never going to be great. They sometimes can’t figure out how to be extraordinary. They can’t break out of the middle child syndrome...

Facebook Pulls Nonprofits Into the Fire

By now, pretty much everyone has heard of the debacle that has befallen Facebook over targeting user profiles in the 2016 presidential election. It comes at a particularly inopportune time for nonprofits, because very recently Facebook had become a major platform for raising money online...

Volunteerism: The Canary in the Coal Mine

As any good businessperson knows it is easier to get a current customer to buy more than it is to acquire a new customer. The analogy in the nonprofit sector is to increase affinity. Affinity can start as volunteerism then culminate as donations, or in peer-to-peer, as fundraising activity...

Recognition: Better for Me When It’s All About You

One of the main tools that we use to motivate people is recognition. Recognition can be delivered in many forms, so deploying recognition for maximum effect takes planning and strategy. One component is almost always the use of email. Recognizing people personally with email is inexpensive, and its effects are measurable...

Peer-to-Peer Data Point War: Participant Versus Fundraiser Average

At Turnkey, we place a premium on analyzing every campaign to provide our clients with the best estimate possible of their ROI. While reviewing the reports, occasionally someone asks why we report average fundraising of all peer-to-peer participants rather than reporting only the average of peer-to-peer fundraisers...

Simple—A Key to Effective Messaging

We recently had the pleasure of having lunch with Alan Siegel, a well-known New York City-based brand expert. We had contacted him after reading an article in The New York Times about nonprofits turning to pros, like Alan, to craft marketing campaigns to sell their causes to donors...

Nudging: Little Change, Big Changes

How do we get donors and volunteers to take the actions we need them to take? It turns out the nudge may be the best way. Last October, University of Chicago economist Richard H. Thaler was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Thaler’s work has persuaded many economists to pay more attention to human behavior and many governments to pay more attention to economics...

Year-End Messaging to Offset Loss of Deductions

In a recent blog, we wrote about the new tax bill that doubles the standard deduction, effectively reducing the number of taxpayers who itemize deductions from 30 percent to 5 percent, according to experts. That’s a decrease in roughly 30 million households...

Why Sad Faces Equal Happier Fundraising

We’ve all heard the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Nonprofits routinely use pictures to communicate their messages to their constituents. Usually, the photos are selected to represent the people who will be helped by supporting the mission of the nonprofit...

Corporate Engagement of Employees: It’s Weird

Recently, we met with a major health care nonprofit that was reviewing its fundraising portfolio. Their peer-to-peer campaign had become an unholy mix of walks and runs, often holding runs and walks on the same day, mixing constituents who showed great affinity to their cause with others who showed great affinity to running 5K races...

Why Nonprofits Should Ban the Word ‘Incentive’

I recently did a webinar for a major nonprofit preparing to roll out next year’s walk campaign to its local chapters. There were about 200 chapter directors on the call. In the last year, the nonprofit has gone away from providing incentives of consumer products and has opted for more modest gifts with its brand to recognize fundraisers and donors, per our recommendation...

Why I Give Away Cash Out of My Car Window

Around the first of each month, I go through my bank’s drive-through and get some cash in $5 and $10 bills. I keep the money in the console of my car to give away to people on street corners asking for assistance when I’m driving around...

Why the Rich are Greedy, Part 2

A recent blog we wrote titled, “Why the Rich are Greedy (and What to Do About It),” garnered some interesting responses from readers. The blog cites research documenting that wealthy people give a smaller percentage of their discretionary income to charity when compared with less well-off individuals. It also mentions the body of psychological research that suggests that affluence tends to make people less sensitive to the needs of others and why…