Social Enterprise — The Road to Sustainability for Your Nonprofit
June 3, 2008

Often, seeking funding from traditional sources is like filling a funnel— you receive money from grants, sponsorships, donations, and pour the money into the funnel, use it up and have to work like crazy to keep the funnel filled. And the money in the funnel usually comes with strings attached defining how you use it, report it, etc. Funnel-filling becomes an endless cycle. Wouldn’t it be great to have a regular source of unrestricted income that you could use for operating expenses or new programs or whatever your agency needs to better fulfill its mission? This concept of unrestricted income isn’t a pipe dream.

David Drinnon on Choosing and Using Fundraising Software
May 27, 2008

Here are some more responses to questions webinar attendees submitted from David Drinnon, pastor and director of information technology and Web sites at the Second Baptist Church in Houston. Q: How many demos should we look at before deciding [what fundraising software to use]? What should we have done before checking out demos? A: First, define your absolute core requirements that you know would be the most difficult to find in a solution. This will narrow the selections quickly. Then eliminate options by: a. talking with other organizations in your industry; b. searching the blog aggregators for insights on features and failures of the

How to Get More Donors, More Messages and More Success
May 20, 2008

Held in Washington, D.C., earlier this month, the 2008 Kintera User Conference provided organizations with a plethora of useful information, including a formula for effective grassroots engagement. In the session “Grassroots Engagement: More Donors, More Messages, More Success,” attendees were given this formula to help create high impact campaigns: Engagement = (microtargeting + mobilization) x viral. High-impact campaigns require compelling content that targets and mobilizes new and existing constituents, and gives them the means to increase the reach and depth of the campaign. Providing viral-marketing tools for the audience will increase overall engagement metrics. Successful and ongoing engagement requires pushing into the supporter’s “Priority

Top 25 E-mail Marketing Terms You Should Know
May 13, 2008

Sure, you might hear some really, really forward-thinking folks saying that e-mail and the Internet are so ’90s when it comes to nonprofit fundraising. But the truth of the matter is that a good deal of small and mid-sized organizations still are feeling their way. That in mind, e-mail marketing firm Constant Contact offers this really basic and incredibly helpful glossary of terms for companies and organizations that are just starting to make e-mail marketing and fundraising a priority. If you have ever felt out of your depth in a discussion about e-mail marketing, rest assured you are not alone. These top 25 common

International Voices on Fundraising: Second Gift Syndrome
May 6, 2008

This insight on securing second gifts comes from British consultant John Grain and was first posted on Grain’s blog on the UK Fundraising Web site. Last week I was lucky enough to spend some time with the Director of Fundraising of a large France-based NGO with many fundraising offices all over the world. He was talking to me about something they call “consolidation,” which is effectively a specific strategy for securing a second gift from a newly acquired donor. I was interested in this as it is not something that I have generally come across in the UK and yet when you think about

Lose the Chlorine, Help the Environment
April 29, 2008

When evaluating greener paper options, take into consideration not just the source of the fiber in the available stocks but also the processes used to create these more environment-friendly sheets. In particular, the bleaching process produces harmful dioxin gases, even when taking post-consumer material and de-inking it for reuse. The following terminology, as reported by San Francisco–based paper manufacturer New Leaf Paper on its Web site, applies to papers that have been created without chlorine for bleaching and, thus, are less harmful to the environment: Unbleached — Unbleached paper is either gray or dyed during papermaking. This process causes the least environmental impact.

Great Resource on Branding
April 22, 2008

At the Getting Attention blog, nonprofit marketing expert Nancy E. Schwartz offers a link to a nine-page primer on nonprofit branding. Some highlights: What is branding? * Branding is the art of creating a consistent, recognizable and clear, unified voice or personality that conveys your organization’s uniqueness, focus and values. * A brand is more than a logo, packaging or design. * A brand constitutes the essence and values of an organization’s work, product or service. The organization’s image and brand equity are developed by how its personality is perceived. * A brand is the sum total of key ideas, emotions, physical attributes and

Are You Wasting Half Your Marketing Dollars?
December 11, 2007

Something to ponder from the whitepaper “7 Secrets to Branding in the Nonprofit Organization,” produced by marketing firm BrandXcellence: “You’re probably familiar with department store magnate John Wanamaker’s legendary saying: ‘Fifty percent of my advertising is wasted; I just don’t know which fifty percent.’ If that statement weren’t so accurate, we might laugh a little harder. The fact is, the Advertising Research Foundation reports that, while the number is actually closer to 20 percent — but with some estimates as high as 80 percent — businesses waste between $30 and $50 billion each year on ineffective marketing. And the primary cause of all those dollars

Marketing Doesn’t Have to Be a Dirty Word
December 11, 2007

In his article “Branding for Nonprofits: Dispelling 4 Myths,” author and consultant Jed Jones talks about the reluctance of many nonprofit organizations to focus on their brands — and why they need to overcome it: “Sometimes marketing gets negative press due to the fact that there are clearly some unsavory marketing practices going on in the world today: deceptive advertising, spam and disruptive telemarketing, just to name a few. However, marketing in its purest form is merely a set of activities designed to get the right kind of attention for a product or service on the part of would-be buyers, subscribers, or supporters. If good

Intercept. Interpret. Invite. Intrigue. Inspire.
December 11, 2007

(Editor’s Note: With great thanks to The Agitator (, here are some eloquent thoughts on branding for nonprofits from veteran nonprofit marketer Tom Belford.) Intercept. Interpret. Invite. Intrigue. Inspire. These are the words that come to mind when I think about how I would establish and grow a nonprofit brand. Intercept: Perhaps nothing requires more marketing creativity today than getting in the face of your target audience with a relevant message at a ripe moment. Fortunately, even as the communications blizzard gets more dense, the methodologies for targeting are getting cheaper, faster, more penetrating and sophisticated, especially in the online universe. The going rate for