Blogs

How to Make a Prize Promotion a 'Win Win' for Membership Enrollment and Donor Engagement

Running a true raffle though is legally quite complicated. Registrations for charitable gaming licenses are cumbersome, time consuming and potentially more costly than the money you could raise. Instead, we operate these types of promotions under sweepstakes laws. But what are the keys to success? How can you use sweepstakes to attract new members and engage your donor base? Here’s what we’ve discovered...

An Ask in a Thank You? It Depends

An email recently landed in my inbox, and it was all about the ask. As I’m sure you can imagine, it wasn’t the first email I’ve ever received about it, and it surely won’t be the last. The ask is such a nuanced thing, and it lives in a gray area, which is often the case when there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for doing something the right way...

The 'AAA' Approach to Board Members and Your Capital Campaign

Whatever you do, don’t assume that your board members know what they are doing. Chance are high that they don’t. Your capital campaign gives you a wonderful opportunity to train them. The stakes are high, and you can develop a small training program just for them. Consider this three-part approach...

Other Staff Bloggers
Development

Running a true raffle though is legally quite complicated. Registrations for charitable gaming licenses are cumbersome, time consuming and potentially more costly than the money you could raise. Instead, we operate these types of promotions under sweepstakes laws. But what are the keys to success? How can you use sweepstakes to attract new members and engage your donor base? Here’s what we’ve discovered...

An email recently landed in my inbox, and it was all about the ask. As I’m sure you can imagine, it wasn’t the first email I’ve ever received about it, and it surely won’t be the last. The ask is such a nuanced thing, and it lives in a gray area, which is often the case when there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for doing something the right way...

More donors than you know are feeling that they have become strangers, only valued for what they can give. When my business partner Jeff sent me this letter, I took a little trip in my mind. I went to this lady’s home and sat beside her as she was writing. It was a very sad experience. Take a moment to read what she wrote. I have faithfully reproduced it here with slight edits for clarity...

Leadership Management

Whatever you do, don’t assume that your board members know what they are doing. Chance are high that they don’t. Your capital campaign gives you a wonderful opportunity to train them. The stakes are high, and you can develop a small training program just for them. Consider this three-part approach...

As an industry, I think we have trouble innovating. Let’s be clear, I’m not talking about our desire and ability to test. We love testing. We love setting up objectives, stating hypotheses and looking at things from a statistically valid perspective. Most of those tests are tactical, and when it comes to really moving the marble, those won’t work. What I’m talking about is strategy innovation, audience innovation or even brand-wide offer innovation...

I was recently talking to Susan, a development director for a regional nonprofit, and she was lamenting that she had another gala to put together. Even though this gala takes an enormous amount of time and effort from the staff, the executive director and the board want to keep it going because it brings in almost half of their revenue each year. Susan wasn’t upset about all the time and effort it took to pull it off each year, but the fact that the revenue generated by the event was really in transactional gifts, not mission-oriented gifts...

E-Philanthropy

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...

The problem with gamification is that often it turns into a pay for play system, rewarding fundraisers for behaviors, instead of reinforcing in fundraisers the idea that they love fundraising for their nonprofit. How can we avoid this?...

If you knew that 80 percent of your unsatisfied constituents would unsubscribe from your email, would that make you more concerned about satisfaction? What if unsatisfied constituents translated to your email list or Facebook community shrinking?...

Direct Marketing

The first time I understood that I did not sell stuff was when a client said, “I need to buy some X,” and I asked “why?” She stopped with her hand in the air. She stayed there a bit. Finally, she said, “I can’t answer that.” For any decision you make, ask yourself why you made that decision, and whether anybody needed to make that decision. Rinse and repeat until you get to your true purpose...

Persuasive copywriting is just one skill in the fundraiser’s toolbox, but I’d argue that it’s critically important. After all, everything from your newsletters, to your fundraising appeals, to your grant proposals, to your online campaign, to your website, stems from the written word. It’s a skill-set that you should be honing on a regular basis. How? Here are a handful of my most-relied upon resources...

Impact is not achieved by one person, one Millennial or one donation alone. Impact happens when you tap into the collective power of your donors. When we stop treating Millennials as an isolated entity and unite them with givers of all levels and sizes, we, in turn, empower them to actualize that long sought-after impact—even on a $50 donation. Because with the strength in numbers of tens of thousands of Millennials giving just $50, the impact is both unparallelled and accessible...

Data Management

It is hard to believe that 2017 is almost here. Where did the time go? Many of us had a fiscal year that started in July 2016, so we are at halftime in this fundraising year. Others are just beginning a new calendar year filled with hope and possibilities. Wherever you are in the fundraising calendar continuum, you should take a moment to stop, look and evaluate before you jump without a parachute into 2017...

The word “attribution” is feared by many in the marketing arena because it is so hard to tackle. But, at least look at Assisted Conversions in Google Analytics.

Professional fundraisers usually don’t list “behavioral economics specialist” in our skill-sets. Now is the time to change that. To help understand why, we turn to author Michael Lewis. His work is worth a long weekend on the back porch with a cup of joe or two. His work will help you raise money...

Sectors

I will do damn near anything to avoid hurtful political conversations with my family. This year, with so much potential for such conversations, I volunteered to help house homeless women in our church from Dec. 23 to Dec. 31. That pretty much cleared the social calendar of any kind of gathering that could cause ill…

Give Kids the World Village, (GKWV) is a nonprofit situated on a "79-acre, nonprofit resort in Central Florida that provides weeklong, cost-free vacations to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families." Since 1986, more than 146,000 children and their families have come to the resort to visit Central Florida and its collection of theme parks and other attractions. But until a couple of months ago, I had never heard of it...

Last week, I went home to West Virginia, but I did not expect to drive right into a 1,000-year flood. Disaster hit my home state in a big way. That said, what impressed me the most when seeing the flooded areas was how West Virginians are working very hard to survive in any way possible...