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Is Transformational Philanthropy in Your Future?
September 22, 2017 at 12:07 pm

If you ever played baseball, you can relate to my experience. At first, I was thrilled to put on a uniform and play for a team. Then, I was excited to get a single, which is a one-base hit. As time passed, I was even more thrilled to get a double (two-base hit) and eventually a triple (three-base hit)...

Practice Saying ‘I’m Sorry’
September 21, 2017 at 12:06 pm

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

Understand What Your Volunteers Need From Your Nonprofit
September 20, 2017 at 12:26 pm

Remember Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? Just about everybody got a dose of Maslow somewhere along the line, either in high school social studies class, or college psychology or sociology courses. And if it somehow slipped by you in school, you may have read about it in management or productivity books. Even books on project management talk about it...

5 Metrics to Measure Your Nonprofit's Success
September 19, 2017 at 11:00 am

When gauging your nonprofit’s success, relying on gut instinct is foolish. It’s necessary to study metrics and see how they change over time. There are several especially worthy measurements that can tell you how your nonprofit stacks up...

4 Reminders to Prevent Donors From Getting Compassion Fatigue
September 19, 2017 at 10:57 am

Given the recent string of catastrophic events, amplified by nonstop media coverage, you certainly can’t fault people for beginning to feel compassion fatigue. After making personal or workplace donations to charities helping out in Texas, the Caribbean, Florida and elsewhere, it’s understandable that donors might begin to feel worn out...

What Really Motivates Donors to Give Monthly?
September 18, 2017 at 10:50 am

I’m so excited! I just received “The 2017 Burk Donor Survey Report,” and this year’s study has a huge section on sustainers—comparing this year’s donors’ answers to ones from 2012, when they last had this major focus on monthly gifts...

What Rights Do Your Donors Have?
September 18, 2017 at 10:38 am

You know how it feels to be treated shabbily. You buy something, there’s a problem and you might as well be a pile of sawdust when you try to get someone to help you solve the problem. It feels terrible. And you would never treat anyone that way yourself...

What Can Fundraisers Learn From the Taxi Industry?
September 15, 2017 at 12:36 pm

It’s no secret that the taxi industry has been disrupted by Uber and a growing range of other services. The taxi companies remained largely unchanged for decades, mistakenly assuming that the status quo met their customers’ needs. The same can be said for the movie rental business disrupted by Netflix. In both cases, customers’ expectations became more sophisticated over time, leaving the traditional business operators vulnerable...

Giving for Disaster Relief
September 15, 2017 at 12:21 pm

Because I work for a disaster relief agency that also provides a variety of other important daily services, I am always interested in studying why certain donors only give for disaster relief. On a small sample, I noticed that more than 4,000 of our donors gave for the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts in 2005, but did not give in subsequent years...

How to Re-Engage Lapsed Donors in Your Organization
September 14, 2017 at 10:03 am

A lapsed donor is one who has lapsed from giving for at least a calendar year. They are the most significant donors to focus your efforts on re-engaging, because they have already demonstrated an interest in your organization...

Creatively Tell Your Story at Nonprofit Events
September 14, 2017 at 10:01 am

People listen differently when stories are told. Just watch a toddler listen to their favorite book over and over again to know this is true. At the end of your workday, you likely share short glimpses into your day with the stories you tell your family or friends. A well-constructed story is one of the most effective fundraising tools simply because our brains love and need stories to process what we are thinking...

Be Prepared for the Inevitable Storms
September 13, 2017 at 11:49 am

This week, I was without power for a while and carefully eyeing some tall pine trees that were swaying way too much for my comfort. Being without power and having meetings cancelled was a minor inconvenience, especially with the widespread loss of property and even life because of storms during this hurricane season...

Tell Your Nonprofit’s Story Like Apple
September 13, 2017 at 11:45 am

Recently, we spent a day and a half with a couple of dozen chief marketing officers from nonprofits around the U.S. Unlike chief development officers, who stay awake at night thinking about generating revenue, CMOs are charged with the care and feeding of their nonprofit’s brand—the way that their mission is presented to the public...

Mid-Year Charitable Giving Report: A Positive Response
September 12, 2017 at 11:29 am

Earlier this year, the Indiana School of Philanthropy predicted charitable giving would rise 3.6 percent in 2017. Based on the volume of individual contributions received during the first half of the year, it appears as if the industry is on pace to meet those projections...

Understanding Technology Risks
September 12, 2017 at 11:26 am

How can you avoid all the risks associated technology and software in your nonprofit without bankrupting the organization? With cyber security a huge issue, it almost seems like you are fighting a losing battle, doesn’t it? The first step in addressing technology risks is to understand the problems and identify the risks. Then, you will be better able to develop solutions...

How to Prevent Donors From Sugarcoating Their Comments
September 11, 2017 at 9:25 am

Most people hesitate to give criticism or honest feedback. I’ve done it myself—sugarcoating my comments rather than telling someone what I really think. Unless someone asks me specifically what I really think, probing in various specific areas, I’m more inclined to give positive feedback...

Using Other Sustainers to Invite New Monthly Donors
September 11, 2017 at 9:18 am

We know that video gives a major boost to open and click-through rates online. So, why not use it to your advantage and invite other donors to join your monthly donor program? Look at your current monthly donors—even if you have just five of them...

Don’t Expect a Gift From Your Board Member
September 11, 2017 at 9:15 am

You have most certainly experienced the fear of a board member whose term is coming up, and they are one of your best donors. You’re thinking, “How do I get them to continue their giving?” Richard and I would say that is the wrong way to think about this...

Every Nonprofit Pro Needs a Dashboard
September 8, 2017 at 9:06 am

I was not into cars growing up, except for one beautiful late 1950’s Dodge that had the greatest speedometer ever. That speedometer showed green, yellow or red colors as perfect indicators of the speed of the car as it went faster. I have always remembered that color indicator tool that I use for dashboards today. Besides cars, should dashboards be used in business to denote performance?...

10 Awesome Marketing Ideas for Nonprofits
September 7, 2017 at 1:07 pm

Finding new ways to reach volunteer and donor prospects can be challenging in the nonprofit marketplace. There are many nonprofits competing to catch the attention of your organization's prospects. In the U.S. alone, there are over 1.5 million nonprofits trying to gain exposure and live out their mission...