Blogs

Authenticator: Validating Your Passion (to Donors)

Last week, I kicked off this series of unpacking the roles solicitors must assume when they seek a gift. They are: bag carrier, authenticator and rainmaker. The second soliciting role is the authenticator. The name says it. Essential qualities of the authenticator are a passion for the cause being pitched and a thorough, almost innate knowledge of the organization...

Pardon Me, But Your Reputation is Showing (and It May Be Hurting Your Fundraising)

Donor retention is abysmal as they take advantage of the revolving door we unintentionally have built with our poor service—or had built by other nonprofit organizations whose unethical practices have tainted all of us in the minds of some would-be donors. These days, we have to give our donors a reason to talk positively about our organization to others. Here is my six-step plan to help that become a reality...

We Never Really Know

We conduct feasibility studies to provide the research on what we will face in a campaign. It is invaluable. When it comes to someone’s potential, life happens and other commitments and priorities are in play. Someone may have a health or family situation that no one knows about that is impacting their giving. They may be in a very different position in a few months or a few years. Let’s keep honoring our donors and prospective donors, and building long-term relationships that transcend campaign timeframes...

Other Staff Bloggers
Leadership Management

Last week, I kicked off this series of unpacking the roles solicitors must assume when they seek a gift. They are: bag carrier, authenticator and rainmaker. The second soliciting role is the authenticator. The name says it. Essential qualities of the authenticator are a passion for the cause being pitched and a thorough, almost innate knowledge of the organization...

As an industry, nonprofits have spent decades perfecting today's business model. So, change will not happen overnight. Nor will change come easily. But, with a carefully managed approach focusing on the critical levers required for success, change will come and the benefits will assure that we not only survive, but thrive in the fast-changing nonprofit environment...

We were sitting in the main conference room high above the city doing some major gift training with a fantastic group of major gift officers. The training was about asking for the gift—a session we regularly conduct with our clients. The MGOs sitting around the table were a mixture of seasoned professionals and employees newer to major gifts. Part of our session had been the day before, where we were dealing with the reasons MGOs do not ask donors for what they could give.

E-Philanthropy

Donor retention is abysmal as they take advantage of the revolving door we unintentionally have built with our poor service—or had built by other nonprofit organizations whose unethical practices have tainted all of us in the minds of some would-be donors. These days, we have to give our donors a reason to talk positively about our organization to others. Here is my six-step plan to help that become a reality...

In last week’s blog, I discussed the characteristics of movements. One person, a “lone nut,” typically initiates movements. It is the subsequent followers, who are embraced as equals, who really lend power to the movement. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was a movement the likes of which are rarely seen. I had the opportunity to hear about this from the inside over dinner last week with Lance Slaughter, chief chapter relations and development officer of the ALS Association...

Not all social channels have the same purpose in your constituent’s life. That means videos must be tailored to each social media channel for maximum effectiveness. In the past I’ve blogged about the power of video for nonprofits. I still feel very strongly that we, as an industry, can’t just do video. We must do video right. For the last few years, Facebook and YouTube have been the primary places for nonprofits to showcase their messages and missions in video. But, with the growth of other channels, there are multiple opportunities for nonprofits to reach the marketplace...

Development

We conduct feasibility studies to provide the research on what we will face in a campaign. It is invaluable. When it comes to someone’s potential, life happens and other commitments and priorities are in play. Someone may have a health or family situation that no one knows about that is impacting their giving. They may be in a very different position in a few months or a few years. Let’s keep honoring our donors and prospective donors, and building long-term relationships that transcend campaign timeframes...

Direct Marketing

I don’t know much about fishing. And while it’s one of those relaxing things I do sporadically on vacation, I have to admit it’s not something I profess to be very good at. Each year, I stop by the local bait shop to pick up some supplies and get important intel from the locals—what type of fish are people catching, what kind of bait are they using and where should I go?

At last week’s Bridge conference, I was struck (again) by the many choices facing today’s fundraiser. Having a robust direct mail program and major gifts program, with a little planned giving and maybe an event tossed in, is no longer enough. Now, we need a website that is informative and optimized for mobile, and that has a user-friendly donation page. We have to frequently update our Facebook page and post a steady flow of videos on YouTube...

Within the last week, I have received three three calendars in the mail.

Data Management

To segment your constituents you must understand your constituents. Whether you call it profiling or creating personas, there are several key elements we all must understand. As marketers we have to balance the vision of one-to-one marketing and what is financially realistic. Finding the sweet spot of knowing your constituents can make this easier...

The velocity at which data is being created, coupled with the ability to capture, store and utilize that information (more data crosses the Internet every second than was stored on the entire internet 20 years ago), gives fundraisers more access to pertinent information at the individual level than ever before. In the past, it would have been nearly impossible for fundraisers to imagine amassing such information at the donor level, much less at the prospect level...

Our nonprofit staffs struggle with lack of time to cover necessary duties. They all know that they should call every fundraiser and every donor and squeeze the maximum amount of commitment from them. But there is simply no time. They have to focus on the most productive and highest fundraising or donating individuals, leaving the remainder to wither away from lack of attention. They have to resign themselves to the fact that the average fundraiser feels like the organization just doesn’t care that much. Staff can’t win, until now...

Sectors

I’m writing this article earlier in the week than usual because I am heading out of town for a few days. No, it’s not vacation—it’s continuing education. Like you, I don’t have time to attend training. I don’t have money to waste on training that doesn’t teach me anything new. And yes, I admit my main incentive for signing up for this training was the tri-annual renewal of my CFRE credentials...

How often do you try to connect with someone at another organization? Sometimes you need an opportunity to call on others without seeming too aggressive. If you have an opportunity to make a positive impression, do it.

I have been very fortunate to have mentors throughout my life. I have always been drawn to the wisdom of those older than me.