My son got married this week-end (!), so I got a bit behind in my every-other-Friday publishing schedule for the “Clairity Click-it.” Please enjoy these links and free resources. I hope you’ll find plenty of food for thought, plus some useful practical tools to help you along your journey towards making the world a kinder, gentler and more loving place.
And here’s to all the June brides and grooms — past, present and future!
Culture of Philanthropy
Click-it: How to Grow a Culture of Philanthropy. A great piece from Mary Cahalane summarizing some of the literature on the subject and suggesting steps to take your nonprofit from today to tomorrow.
Click-it: The Donosaur’s Lament, This is a timely (and clever!) piece about the fact that the digital revolution has caused a fundamental change in how fundraising and nonprofit marketing is done — and how hard it can be to fully embrace the change. Like most change, it needs to begin at the top and also bubble up from the bottom. Everyone must be involved. Nurtured. Encouraged. Thanks to Paul Delbar for this understanding perspective on the 101 Fundraising Blog. I’d love to hear your thoughts about what you do to shift your culture to embrace what must (of necessity) be embraced. Please leave feedback in the comments, below. Or share on Twitter.
Click-it: How to Reduce Attrition 50 Percent by Doing (Almost) Nothing. Charlie Hulme had me just with the title of this article on NonProfit Pro! He talks about the benefit of donor feedback to retain donors, citing research that found that for every donor who provides feedback, his or her retention increases 15 points. So… consider a survey – and listen up!
Online Social Fundraising
Click-it: 11 Ways to Grow Your Nonprofit Social Media Followers. Check out this guest post by Julia C. Campbell on the Classy blog (I encourage you to follow both of them). You may have tons of fans and followers, but are they helping you? If not, it’s likely due to the fact that you’re doing little to get them actively engaged. Use these ideas as a template to build your plan for the upcoming year.
Click-it: I still can’t share this story without crying. A “must read” from Jen Love of Agents for Good. She shares an exceptionally engaging appeal. See if you can figure out a way to have a real conversation with your readers in your next appeal. After all, that’s really what a good appeal is – a conversation on paper.
Food for Thought
Click-it: 9 Fundraising Myths Shattered. Adam Weinger, who has guest posted on Clairification in the past, has outdone himself with this provocative article on Nonprofit Pro. If you take the time to read it, and really think about each myth and how you might operate differently in light of the truths he reveals, I have little doubt you’ll raise more money next year. Here are the 9:
- Small Nonprofits Don’t Need a Major Gifts Strategy
- Advocates and Donors Are Two Groups That Don’t Overlap
- You Need an Outside Consultant for Your Capital Campaign
- There’s No Science to Storytelling
- Nonprofits Don’t Need to Worry About Customer Service
- Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Is Only for 5Ks and Fun-Runs
- Direct Mail Is Dead
- You Can Get By Without Donor Feedback
- You Should Focus on Quantity Over Quality
Pretty intriguing, no?
I have so many thoughts/elaborations on what Adam has written here – I don’t know where to begin! So if you have comments/questions, please leave them below and I’d be delighted to respond.
Click-it: How is Nonprofit Overhead Still a Thing? How indeed? Speaking of fundraising myths, plaudits to Nell Edgington of Social Velocity for raising this issue that won’t seem to go away. The Charity Watchdogs have finally admitted that low overhead does not ipso facto mean you’re a well-managed, effective charity. It costs money to run programs! Staff and infrastructure are hardly extravagances. So why do nonprofits persist in advertising their low cost of overhead – using all sorts of smoke and mirrors to hide expenses (the functional equivalent of overhead, no matter where they bury them) – pretending they can get along without that nasty “overhead” stuff because they’re so “lean and mean?” I’ve talked before about how this creates an untenable starvation cycle, and it’s up to those of us who work in the social benefit sector to do all that can be done to aggressively retire this destructive myth. Please, read the article and consider what you can do to tout your nonprofit’s performance in other ways. If you have ideas, please share in the comments below. Or share on Twitter.
FREE RESOURCES + LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
Click-it: UK Donor Opt-In/Opt-Out and how to do it well [Free Whitepaper]. This is fascinating research prepared by Donor Voice that will be useful for charities wherever they are located. If you wonder how to ask supporters if they want to continue to receive your mailings, check it out.
Click-it: Writing Like a Pro: 3 Strategies to Improve Your Stories [Free Webinar] Don’t miss this free storytelling session from Vanessa Chase Lockshin. It’s coming right up! Wednesday, June 29, 10 a.m. PST.
Click-it: 10 Steps To Improve Major Gift Fundraising [Free Study Report]. This new study of 662 small nonprofits, authored by Dr. Adrian Sargeant, Amy Eisenstein, ACFRE and Dr. Rita Kottasz, reveals pathways to raising larger, and more frequent gifts. Sponsors include Bloomerang, Donor Search and Support Center/Partnership in Philanthropy. There are plenty of useful nuggets inside, all showing that you don’t need to be a giant-sized nonprofit to succeed with major donor fundraising. One big take-away is that the big driver of loyalty is how satisfied donors are with the quality of service they are getting from the fundraising team. Check out this report, and start to measure donor satisfaction!
The #ClairityClick-it is a bi-monthly publication linking to useful resources and insights I find across the web. This year I’m showcasing articles that highlight the “Dive the Five” fundraising fundamentals we’re collectively digging into in depth over the course of this year. For more on this, read Want to Guarantee Fundraising Success? Dive These 5 Fundamentals.
For more on these subject areas, check out:
- Major Gifts Playbook (a 4-volume set; get them all at a discount or buy them individually to meet your specific needs)
- Major Gifts Actionable Checklists & Cheat Sheets (If all of these issues resonate with you, then you’ll want to get them all. If you’re struggling with a particular area, then you can just get the one or two you need most.)
- Donor Retention and Gratitude Playbook (you’ll learn about both donor retention and developing a culture that channels an attitude of gratitude in this 6-volume set)
- Nonprofit Blogging that Drives Engagement Playbook (you’ll learn about both content marketing and online social fundraising in this 4-volume set)
Thanks for including a link to my upcoming webinar, Claire!
My pleasure. 🙂
I agree about the overhead myth – it’s far more important to be effective than to only spend 5% on ‘overheads’. However, it seems a bit like pushing water uphill trying to get this across to donors sometimes. And I read somewhere that one of the differences with younger donors is that they like to have more control over where their money goes (i.e. they want to see it go directly to the beneficiaries/work on the ground) so it could potentially get harder. I wonder whether charities need to start looking more at options like charity:water, who can genuinely say that all donations go directly to the projects because they get overheads covered by specific donors. With great examples like that, donors are only going to be more interested in making sure their money goes directly to the projects, I think…
And thank you very much for your wonderful emails and posts.
Thanks Sarah. What Charity: Water does is really more smoke and mirrors. Just because they get separate sponsors to underwrite the overhead costs doesn’t mean that overhead does not exist. ALL charities have overhead, and it’s time that donors understand this isn’t “evil.” In fact, it’s downright responsible! It’s also true that newer, younger nonprofits will have more overhead as they’re ramping things up. And well-established charities, as well as those who receive a significant portion of their budget from earned income or donated goods, will have a lower overhead percentage on paper. This doesn’t make them more efficient or effective. It’s a challenge to get this message across, after years of trying to persuade donors that low overhead was the best measure of effectiveness, but it’s a challenge we must accept if we want to get out of the “hair shirt” mentality that results in a revolving door of nonprofit staff and an underdeveloped sector.