Book Preview: “Forces for Good”
January 8, 2008

The U.S. has 1.5 million nonprofits that account for more than $1 trillion of the country’s economy. Over the last 15 years, nonprofits actually have grown faster than the rest of the economy and currently are the third largest industry in the U.S., behind retail and wholesale trade but ahead of banking and telecommunications.   So with the playing field getting larger and larger, something begs to be asked. What makes a great nonprofit? Which are the crème de la crème, and how did they attain such a level of success? This is the question that Leslie Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant meticulously answer

A Great Resource for Special Events
November 27, 2007

One of our favorite resources about special-events fundraising is “Black Tie Optional: A Complete Special Events Resource for Nonprofit Organizations” by Harry Freedman and Karen Feldman. If your organization does special events or, more importantly, is thinking about doing special events, you really should own a copy. Among the really tasty bits in the book is a whole chapter dedicated to choosing the right kind of event for your organization, which includes page after page of sample events complete with descriptions, planning time, people needs and costs. It includes everything from pancake breakfasts to telethons to food festivals to cruises, and it is not

Tips to Retaining Different Kinds of Donors
July 31, 2007

Donor retention is a huge issue for every nonprofit organization. Given the cost of acquisition of individual donors — not to mention major donors — it’s important that organizations properly steward current donors so that they’ll feel compelled to continue giving. This is the focus of the book “Building Donor Loyalty: The Fundraiser’s Guide to Increasing Lifetime Value,” by Adrian Sargeant and Elaine Jay. In order to succeed in retaining donors, Sargeant and Jay advise that organizations proactively plan their retention strategies, which “involves far more than simply devising the communications that donors will receive” (Page 171). What kind of relationship will your organization

Things to Know Before Going Door to Door
April 24, 2007

Whether going door-to-door or standing on the street, canvassing is a one-on-one, face-to-face interaction with potential donors/constituents that’s unattainable through direct mail, e-mail and the Internet. In her book “Fundraising for Social Change,” author Kim Klein devotes a whole chapter to door-to-door and canvassing strategies. She says canvassing in general is used by local groups and works best for campaigns or programs that directly affect the people being approached. And while fundraising should not be its sole purpose — she recommends using it, first, as an organizing strategy — door-to-door canvassing especially can be very effective for acquiring new donors who later can

Facing Up to Face-to-face
April 24, 2007

Stopping passers-by in the street and asking them to sign up, there and then, to a monthly electronic payment to your nonprofit may, on the face of it, seem the quickest possible way to lose friends and irritate people. And so it is. Fundraisers worldwide may have found face-to-face fundraising stunningly lucrative — in the short term, at least — but they’ve also contributed to general resentment and dislike of the way charity fundraisers do business, and probably to quite a few future bequests being scrubbed from wills. In many main streets and shopping malls of the United Kingdom, Europe and elsewhere, potential donors are

Strategies for Cultivating Affluent Donors
March 19, 2007

One of the first steps to securing major gifts is honing in on affluent individuals capable of giving large gifts. But once that’s done, cultivating major gifts from these potential givers requires careful, personal touches. And it’s important to remember that not all of these potential major donors give for the same reason and respond to the same solicitation approaches. The book “The Seven Faces of Philanthropy: A New Approach to Cultivating Major Donors” by Russ Alan Prince and Karen Maru File, presents a donor-centered approach to understanding affluent donors, categorizing them into seven different motivational types. The beginning chapters of the

Premiums as Strategic Donor Benefits
November 21, 2006

The book “Fundraising for Social Change, Fifth Edition” by Kim Klein — author, lecturer, and the founder and former publisher of the “Grassroots Fundraising Journal” — is a hands-on, practical strategies guide that touches on fundraising topics ranging from basics such as asking for money and using the Internet, to carrying out major-gifts campaigns, and the relationship between the development director and executive director. The book also discusses using direct mail effectively and suggests using premiums strategically, as donor benefits. Klein recommends that direct-mail premiums be used: 1. As thank-you gifts for prompt donations. 2. To encourage donors to upgrade their gifts.

Endowments and Planned Gifts: What and Why?
October 10, 2006

Endowments and planned gifts are separate concepts that work hand in hand for donors and nonprofit organizations. Planned gifts are contributions made as a result of a process to choose the most appropriate gift for the most important purpose in the most advantageous time frame for the donor, the charity and the donor’s heirs. Gift planning, as this process often is called, is the preparation and design of charitable gifts to maximize benefits for both the donor and the organization. An endowment is what you do with the gift, rather than the planning for the gift or the gift itself. A true

Stealing Savvy (Green Tights Optional)
September 1, 2006

You might not be a swashbuckling outlaw with green tights and a band of merry men, but read the book “Robin Hood Marketing: Stealing Corporate Savvy to Sell Just Causes,” and you’ll feel like the lord of Loxley pilfering precious gold from Prince John and the sheriff of Nottingham.

In order to help organizational leaders who might be unfamiliar with marketing principles, author Katya Andresen, vice president of marketing at charitable-giving site Network for Good, shares her own successes with stealing corporate know-how and applying it to good causes in the nonprofit world.

The Business of Volunteers
September 1, 2005

With corporations, community and private foundations, and individuals focusing donations to more specific areas, and the push for increased accountability and measurement systems, nonprofits are strapped with strategic and financial challenges that require skills more often exercised in for-profit businesses. That according to Alice Korngold, national consultant to businesses, foundations and nonprofits, and founding president and CEO of Business Volunteers Unlimited, which places business executives on nonprofit boards. While nonprofits take on more business-like practices requiring expertise in strategic and financial planning, market research and human-resource management, businesses are encouraging employees to volunteer.