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.

Crowdfunding Is a Quick Hitter

Recently we collaborated with one of Turnkey’s clients on the strategy to launch a crowdfunding campaign to run concurrently with its peer-to-peer events. Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer are different animals. The former is a direct-response outreach; the appeal is made directly by the nonprofit to potential donors...

Doing More With Less Often Gets You Less

In previous blogs, we have been critical of the way in which nonprofits are often evaluated—their so-called “overhead ratios.” An overhead ratio compares the operating costs of the nonprofit with its income. A low-overhead ratio implies that the organization is minimizing its expenses (e.g. salaries, office rent) and, therefore, has more resources available to dedicate to its mission...

Opinion: The NCAA Should Have Its Nonprofit Status Revoked

One of the great pleasures in working with nonprofits is getting up every day and knowing that you are helping them do good on behalf of their constituencies. There are nonprofits out there that advocate on behalf of people living with autism, cancer, ALS and cystic fibrosis...

Predicting the Future—It’s in Your Future

Benchmarking, while less expensive to produce, simply does not answer our questions sufficiently. Peer-to-peer fundraising must begin using predictive analytics to plan, design and change. If not, we’ll be moving a lot of couches...

A Penny Is Worth Its Weight in Persuasive Gold

What if, instead of asking your peer-to-peer fundraisers to set a revenue goal, you asked them to set a goal around the number of donations they gathered? Instead of asking, for example, “Would you raise $250 to fight childhood cancer?” you asked, “Would you recruit 10 friends to make a donation to fight childhood cancer?”...

Why It’s Great to Have Friends With Benefits

The most productive peer-to-peer fundraising events do not spend big money on events. Spending big money on events is actually counterproductive, because this conveys the message that the organization is in a transactional relationship with its volunteer fundraisers...

#MeToo: Coming to a Nonprofit Near You

Most of the readers of our blog not only work in the nonprofit sector, but are also personal supporters of various charitable missions. Speaking for myself (Otis), I consider myself to be an “animal rights advocate” and make monthly donations to a variety of animal welfare organizations...

Facebook Fundraising: Making Lemonade Out of Lemons

According to Facebook, over 750,000 nonprofits have used Facebook’s fundraising tools since the platform rolled out the feature in 2015. It began as a way for individuals to donate and, in 2016, expanded to allow individuals to allow people to ask their Facebook friends to donate to personal causes...

Facebook Fundraisers: The Best and Worst First Date You Ever Had

Turnkey’s peer-to-peer clients describe Facebook fundraisers as a blessing and a curse. The money is great. It just shows up, which is both amazing and, well, great. Last year, Facebook fundraisers put over $300 million into the pockets of 750,000 nonprofit organizations...

Great Stories Are Hard to Come By—The Power of Peer-to-Peer

Hear amazing peer-to-peer stories from P2P 201! You’ll hear more in direct interface with other attendees. The structure of the conference is built on storytelling, and not just from the stage. You’ll be in facilitated conversations with your peers, which you’ll tell your own stories and hear about experiences others have had that can help you...

What Brett Kavanaugh Can Teach Nonprofits

Social norms provide the context for situations that typically account for 70 percent or more of the behaviors we see from constituents. In order to move our supporters, it’s important to understand them...

Matching Donations—The Real Story

Matching donations is a tool that is regularly employed in nonprofit fundraising campaigns. Most of us believe that this appeal works, but without much empirical evidence. It’s mostly a gut feeling. Perhaps not surprisingly, research on matching donations is equivocal...

Charity Shaming—Maybe Not So Bad After All

Most of us are familiar with “charity shaming” at the checkout. It’s where you’re asked if you’d like to donate to XYZ Charity, as you’re standing there paying for your merchandise with a bunch of other people around. Being put on the spot to make a donation in this way—even a small one—can feel disconcerting...

The Key to Motivating Volunteers—A Gold Star

Many of our conversations with clients revolve around motivating volunteers. Getting them to donate, fundraise and perform the multitude of tasks that allow the nonprofit to fulfill its mission. The psychology of motivation is well-documented, but some of the findings can seem counterintuitive...