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How to Promote Legacy Gifts
February 22, 2018 at 10:56 am

You’re focused on inspiring donors to give today, right?  It’s not surprising. It’s how we’re wired as fundraisers. Our organizations are tackling urgent needs, and we’re held accountable to make those budget numbers!...

6 Ways to Pay Your Volunteers (Even When You Can't Pay Them)
February 22, 2018 at 10:50 am

Like many others in the charitable sector, your nonprofit organization is probably heavily dependent on volunteers. Those people freely give their time, and some of them may be so talented and dedicated that you wish there were money in the budget to make them full-time, paid members of the team. Fortunately, there are numerous ways you can show gratitude for your volunteers, even without giving them money...

Nudging: Little Change, Big Changes
February 21, 2018 at 12:39 pm

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...

4 Volunteer Management Best Practices of 2018
February 20, 2018 at 11:19 am

Volunteer management best practices have changed as volunteer expectations and the reach of nonprofit organizations evolve. That said, the ultimate goal has always been, and will always be, to provide great experiences to volunteers and impact the community in an organized and efficient way...

How to Recruit the Right Volunteers For Your Capital Campaign
February 19, 2018 at 12:07 pm

Because the goals are high, capital campaigns feel risky. And few people want to be associated with something they fear might not be successful. So you have to take great care in building confidence right from the start. And that starts with getting the right people on board...

Monthly Giving: Making a Mountain Out of a Molehill
February 19, 2018 at 11:56 am

For the past few years, my husband and I have been escaping the cold and snow in Massachusetts for a week by visiting Arizona. We absolutely love it. Dry heat, desert, space and so many things to do! Time flies. One of our favorite activities is hiking the mountains all around Phoenix. (If you’re familiar with the area, this time we saw White Tank Mountain and Lake Pleasant)...

6 Reasons Why Most Major Gift Job Descriptions Don’t Work
February 19, 2018 at 11:53 am

Most major gift officer job descriptions have everything in them, but the kitchen sink. And besides being really irritating, it actually hurts the MGO and what the organization is trying to do in major gifts...

How to Not Be the Best Kept Secret in Your Community
February 15, 2018 at 1:17 pm

Raising awareness is in the top five things every nonprofit organization wants. Or so they tell me. What they don’t know is how to not be the best kept secret in your community...

9 Best Practices for Successful Fundraising Communications
February 15, 2018 at 1:15 pm

I don’t write copy for clients. It’s just not the most strategic use of my time. If you’re the CEO or chief development officer at a nonprofit, chances are this is true for you, too. I have yet to work with a CEO or chief development officer who is fulfilling his or her potential or responsibility in fundraising by re-writing (vs. brief edits) a document...

Why You Should Stop Being a Hero
February 14, 2018 at 12:40 pm

As we scroll through headlines and highlights triumphantly displayed on our social media feeds, it’s hard to feel that we who answer phones, enter gift records, clean office dishes and chip away at “To-Do” lists will ever arrive at greatness. Can you recall the feeling that, although your nonprofit has a meaningful mission, your workweek just feels like uneventful routines and ordinary tasks?...

Year-End Messaging to Offset Loss of Deductions
February 14, 2018 at 12:35 pm

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...

Just One More Thing: The Essential Role of Curiosity in Fundraising
February 13, 2018 at 12:20 pm

Cultivating curiosity is essential in fundraising, yet it is an underutilized approach and hardly ever discussed within our profession. Some people think it’s rude to ask too many questions—I get that; but surely we fundraisers should be asking more questions than we do...

Think Hiring Experts Is Expensive? Try Amateurs
February 13, 2018 at 12:16 pm

A job listing recently came across my desk for the chief marketing officer at a major nonprofit who will remain nameless. My eye dropped to the requirements for the position: a bachelor’s degree—not even specifically in marketing or communications...

Major Gift Officers: Just Do It!
February 12, 2018 at 11:53 am

At Veritus, we have worked with many major gift officers who, when we ask how it’s going with meeting and deepening their relationships with donors, we get a response like this: “Well, I haven’t been having much donor contact. I’m just not finished with all my planning for my caseload, and I have to get my goals done. And I really need to get more understanding of our programs... then I’ll be able to visit and get to know my donors.”...

Don’t Keep Your Monthly Donors Waiting
February 12, 2018 at 11:48 am

Earlier this week, I was talking with a client about their newsletter. It’s mailed to their monthly donors as a cultivation piece, with wonderful stories about how their gift has made a difference. It also goes to their active and major donors...

Circling the Drain: The Issue of Failing Nonprofits
February 9, 2018 at 1:30 pm

Several years ago, I left a hospital position in another state to come back “home” to Indiana. I decided, at the encouragement of a colleague, to create my own consulting firm, which I still have today. My first assignment with this firm was to take on a six-month assignment as an interim executive director of a dying nonprofit...

Donor Management: 5 Ways to Organize Your Supporter Data
February 8, 2018 at 11:53 am

Donors are a major part of any nonprofit’s efforts—they are the ones funding your mission after all! It only makes sense, then, that smart nonprofits would have a strategy in place for managing all of the data that comes along with donor relationships. Luckily, donor database software (also known as nonprofit constituent relationship management or…

Practice Saying ‘I’m Sorry’
February 8, 2018 at 10:56 am

For nonprofits, apologizing is effective when it addresses two quite different situations. First, admit the mistakes you make in your programs; the social service program that delivered mediocre outcomes; the performing arts performance that bombed...