It’s mid-September and we’re well on the way towards the year-end rush of “giving season!” Now it’s time to get serious about end-of-calendar-year fundraising. It’s when folks are most generous, and you don’t want to miss out. So while I’ll continue to offer links to articles and resources aligned with my top “Dive the Five” fundraising fundamentals for 2016, and beyond, I’ll also include some practical, basic stuff that falls a bit outside these categories.
It’s all good stuff and, as usual, plenty of free resources too. I count seven freebies, and 17 great articles! I dare you not to find something you can use right now.
Annual Fundraising Appeal
Click-it: How to craft your year-end fundraising appeal – Q & A with Claire Axelrad. Hmmn… wonder who the heck she is? The folks at 4aGoodCause recently asked me my thoughts on this very timely topic – just in case you’re interested. It’s all about creating a fundraising offer that matches the values your organization enacts with your donor’s passions. Win/win!
Click-it: 3 Innovative Envelope Ideas to Shake Up Your Direct Mail. An interesting piece on Nonprofit Pro by direct mail expert Paul Bobnak. I like the last one.
Scroll to the very bottom for more help with you annual appeal.
Click-it: The Top 12 Questions to Ask When Purchasing Fundraising Software. The folks at NeonCRM have put together this handy compendium of issues you should consider when you’re in the market for a fundraising database and other software.
Click-it: Use the 5/5/3 Rule to Guarantee Great Donor Relationships at Your Non-Profit. Check out this nifty relationship-building formula from Joe Garecht of The Fundraising Authority. It’s simple – if you’ll just do it.
Click-it: Map The Donor’s Giving Journey. This article by Andy Segedin in The Nonprofit Times offers a cool idea for creating donor personas for your mid-level donors; then participating as a team to really walk inside these donors’ shoes and see how their experience with your cause may be from their perspective. Try it out!
Major Gifts Fundraising
Click-it: Major Gift Lessons From TV’s ‘Shark Tank’. I wrote this article as a guest on Nonprofit Pro. In case you missed it, check it out. The tips are simple, yet specific.
Click-it: Just Do It: Your Secret to Mastering Major Gift Fundraising. Mix one cup of passion, add a cup of perseverance, mix together with a dollop of practice, and… voila! Check out my guest post on Nonprofit Pro.
Click-it: Are Dogs Better Listeners Than Fundraisers? Being good at securing major gifts means being good at listening. People won’t give to you, at least not a lot, if you make it all about yourself. So brush up on your skills with this article by Pamela Grow.
Click-it: Preparing Our Solicitation Calls. Listen in as Marvin Leifeld, Vice Chancellor for Advancement at University of Missouri, explains a simple step-by-step process to write down, and then practice out loud, your key solicitation message. Also prepare others, so everyone is clear as to their role.
Click-it: Major Gift Fundraising: 13 Expert Tips (Nonprofit Tech Carnival). Here you’ll find a collection of 13 different articles (one from me too!) to help you with:
- General Major Gift Fundraising Best Practices and Strategies
- Launching and Managing a Major Gift Program
- Major Giving Metrics and Measurements
- Retaining and Stewarding Major Donors
Integrated Donor-Centered Content Marketing
Click-it: How I Saw the Light – Change Your Fundraising Communications Now! As a boomer, I truly appreciate this post from Gail Perry. As times change, it’s imperative to “get with the times” and change up your content. And the current trend is visual, visual, visual. Gail offers up a great tip about trying out GIFs. For lots more articles on this trend, please check out my Pinterest board “Trends, Visual.”
Online Social Fundraising
Click-it: The Future of Nonprofit Email: Trends for 2016 to 2026. Andrew Dain of NeonCRM attended the Nonprofit Technology Conference in San Jose and felt compelled to share the take-aways about nonprofit email trends. Most of the advice is super useful (though I would be careful about trading email lists; you could run afoul of CANSPAM).
Click-it: Social fundraising is alive and well in 2016. And growing. If you need to persuade your leaders of social’s growing importance in fundraising, here’s some data from Donor Drive. This caught my attention: “It’s not that email’s not working for donations anymore, it’s that supporters continue to be introduced to new digital communications options they find more practical.”
Click-it: The 80-20 rule applied to social selling. Social selling expert, Mic Adam, reminds us that, as important as social selling is, you still must spend 80% of your time actually engaging folks – which means relevant content, calls to action and personalized responses. Don’t get so enamored of the medium (form) that you ignore the message (function). It’s less about looking good; more about being good.
Click-it: 6 Ways Nonprofits Are Using Instagram To Grow Their Community. Whether or not you’re using, or planning to use, Instagram to communicate with supporters, this post on the Cause Vox blog will give you some great ideas about showcasing impact, engaging with supporters and humanizing your cause!
Food for Thought
Click-it: Nonprofit Overhead Myth: Are You Colluding in its Persistence? This is a ‘soap box’ issue for me, and the folks at Nonprofit Pro were kind enough to lend me a platform to speak my mind. See what you think.
Click-it: Watch Your Language! Fundraising Terms that Don’t Say What We Mean. This article by Leslie Allen on the Front Range Source blog is a reminder that words matter. If you want to be donor-centered, consider beginning with how you speak about donors – human beings – to each other. Walking the talk begins with talking the talk.
Click-it: Habits of Successful Fundraisers [Video Conversation]. This is a useful, fun conversation between Amy Eisenstein and Shanon Doolittle about how to form the habits that will assure your success, as well as unlearn the habits that may be getting in your way.
FREE RESOURCES + LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
Click-it: The 2016 Nonprofit Fundraising Strategic Plan Guide [Download]. This comprehensive guide from the folks at EveryAction is perfect if you’re starting from scratch, and it’s a good review if you’re not. It includes links to lots of useful resources and templates. Planning is vastly underrated. Don’t make that mistake this year!
ONLINE SOCIAL FUNDRAISING & INTEGRATED CONTENT MARKETING
Click-it to Register: 10 Online Fundraising Best Practices for NGO [Free Webinar October 10]. Heather Mansfield of Nonprofit Tech for Good will go over the basics of a successful online fundraising campaign and discusses emerging online fundraising trends so you can prepare for the future. Topics included are monthly giving, crowdfunding, mobile fundraising apps and digital wallets.
Click-it: Crowdfunding: The Secret Sauce for Your Next Fundraiser [Free Webinar October 18]. If you’ve been paying attention to Clairification this year, you know that mastering online social fundraising is one of my top “Dive the Five” strategies. So I’m delighted to host Dana Ostomel of Firespring for this free webinar that will explore what crowdfunding is and its critical role in your organization’s integrated fundraising approach. Why not get your free 10-step road map to cultivate a network that will drive positive results? Register here!
Click-it: How to Turn Donors Into Fundraisers [Free Guide to Peer-to-Peer]. This guide from Network for Good shows you how to inspire donors to create personalized fundraising campaigns and raise money on your behalf.
Click-it: Nonprofit Content Marketing 2016: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends [Free Data Report]. This free download from the Content Marketing Institute has lots of useful info for you. See how you compare to your peers, and assess your organization’s level of content marketing maturity.
Click-it: The Social Media Toolkit for Nonprofits [Free Download]. Created by the Skills Platform and Zoe Amar, this guide to digital and social media offers up useful cases studies to demonstrate how to effectively use social media to pull your marketing/fundraising initiatives together. Areas covered include:
- YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
- PUTTING SOCIAL INTO ACTION
- HOW TO GROW YOUR SOCIAL NETWORK
- THE FUTURE OF SOCIAL MEDIA FOR NON PROFITS
- HOW TO CAMPAIGN & FUNDRAISE WITH SOCIAL
- SOCIAL MEDIA STYLE & CONSISTENCY
- SOCIAL ANALYTICS & ADVERTISING
- EMPLOYEE SOCIAL MEDIA ADVOCACY
- THE FUTURE OF NONPROFIT SOCIAL MEDIA
Click-it: Ultimate Guide to Fundraiser Sponsorship [Free Guide]. Get your free downloadable Guide from Accelevents, with information on identifying sponsor opportunities, creating a sponsorship package, solicitation, acknowledgement and follow-up.
Anatomy of a Fundraising Appeal Letter plus Sample Template
If you need some help crafting this year’s appeal, I encourage you to get this 62-page eGuide. It takes you step-by-step through making a fundraising offer your prospective donor won’t want to refuse. There’s both art and science involved – and this stuff really works! It’s just not something most of us are taught. If you want to learn to raise more money than ever, grab this here. Not satisfied? All Clairification products come with a 30-day, no-questions-asked money-back guarantee. You can’t lose!
Please let me know which resources you find most helpful. That way I can look for more like them. Thanks!
Photo of grand stairwell in San Francisco with me on it.