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How to Modernize Your Nonprofit Marketing and Fundraising

In Part 1 of this two-part series I reviewed the ways nonprofit marketing and fundraising have significantly changed in recent years, and what this means for your ability to succeed in raising awareness and money.

I talked about how easy it is for leaders to blame staff, and vice-versa. It’s also easy to get sidetracked, because we’re operating in something of a Wild West frontier.  And no one really is clear on the rules of the game.

Within the current zeitgeist, the job of the development professional becomes critical.  Your organization needs you to lead.  They need you to be an expert strategist, even if they don’t always know this.

If you’re just put into a corner and told to “go forth and raise money” or “go forth and make our name known,” you’re in for a bumpy ride. But you have the power to smooth the way!

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What’s Ruining Your Nonprofit Marketing and Fundraising?

There’s something killing your nonprofit’s marketing and fundraising.

Corrupting. Sullying. Debasing. Adulterating.

Yup, yup, yup, yup.

A silent killer. Insidious.

Know what it is?

I’ve crafted a two-part series of articles to tell you not just what it is, but also how to stop it from happening.

Before I tell you, think about this for a moment.

What’s holding you back?

Why aren’t you able to be more effective when it comes to raising both awareness and money?

I know you try. A lot.

But the progress just seems so incremental. Or, even worse, non-existent.

What’s the deal?

I’m going to give you both an answer, and a solution.  But first…

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12 Top Tips to Build Community and Broaden Your Nonprofit Donor Base

Philanthropy should not just be about big checks.

Last week I shared some reasons not to eschew small gift fundraising. Today I’m following up with some tips for building and mobilizing your community to find, sustain and grow these gifts.

This is important, because a donor’s first gift is seldom their largest.  It’s a starting point.

The majority of your gifts will be small, but the majority of your income will come from a small group of major donors.

You have to grow this cadre of loyal, passionate philanthropists by building relationships with supporters over time.

The lion’s share of major gifts come from previously small gift donors.

A client I’m working with told me 50% of their major donors began with very small gifts.  How about tracking this for your organization? Sure, some major donors come in at the top. But I’ll bet you a majority start by dipping their toe in the water. How can you get folks more fully immersed?

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Risk vs. Reward: Rethink Nonprofit Marketing & Fundraising Best Practices

As you plan for the year ahead, it’s smart to think about risk vs. reward.

Sometimes you feel like a risk; sometimes you don’t.

If everything is going along swimmingly, and you want to take things to the next level, then taking a calculated risk may be just the thing.

If you’re not yet maximizing return using tried-and-true best practices, then going the risky route may make less sense.

If you’re wondering when to take risks with your nonprofit’s marketing and fundraising, here’s my answer: When you’re ready.

Begin by determining which current strategies are your most rewarding. Do you have good basics in place?

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Key Issues in Effective Nonprofit Board Decision-Making

Many nonprofits are stuck.

They’re tethered to their early decisions.  Often made by others who came before them.

But times change. Organizations evolve.

Or they don’t.

The organizations that don’t adapt to changing times are often those that fail to make new decisions. They’re the ones who say “that’s not how we do things here.” Or they poo-poo decisions made by new folks who come on the scene, saying “they don’t understand our culture.”

These are the organizations that tend to shrink over time.  They lose their energy. Their once-vital raison d’etre becomes less urgent. And their appeal to donors diminishes.

When organizations fail to make fresh decisions, they become less relevant.

I recently listened to Jerry Panas, one of the most revered fundraisers in our country, talk about what he called the “deficit of mission.” He made it very clear that boards have two critical roles:

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How to Protect Your Nonprofit from Security Breaches

Data breachThe recent Equifax hack has millions of people worrying about the security of their personal data. While this was a particularly egregious and dramatic attack, it’s certainly not the only one. And nonprofits are not immune.  Which is why I asked an expert for advice as to what nonprofits can do to protect themselves and their donors. Ged Mackey is Chief Technology and Security Officer of MobileCause. He told me about a problem I’d never heard of called “Card Testing.” Here’s what he had to say.

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PB&J

Nonprofit Marketing & Fundraising Are Like Peanut Butter & Jelly

They’re meant for each other. Yet it may take a while to bring them together.

Here’s what I mean:

Peanut butter was first introduced at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. It didn’t get mixed with jelly until 1901, when the first PB&J sandwich recipe appeared in the Boston Cooking School Magazine of Culinary Science and Domestic Economics. It was served in upscale tea rooms, and was exclusive food. Until the world changed.

The 1930 Depression made peanut butter, a low-cost, high-protein source of energy, a star. But not the combo sandwich. Not yet.

Then…WWII.

Peanut butter and jelly were on U.S. Military ration menus. Soldiers added jelly to the peanut spread to sweeten the sandwich and make it more palatable. When soldiers came home from the war, peanut butter and jelly sales soared.

Suddenly this marriage became the norm. Why separate them?  After all, they went together like… PB&J!

We never looked back.

How is Nonprofit Marketing and Fundraising Integration like the Marriage of PB&J?

They didn’t start out married, but they belong together.

Here’s what I mean:

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