Chalkboard Menu

What to Put on Your Nonprofit Fundraising Plan Menu

A good fundraising strategic plan, like a menu, should be broken into component parts so it’s easy to wrap your brain around.

With a menu, it might be appetizers, meat entrees, seafood entrees, vegetarian entrees, sides and desserts.

With a fundraising plan, it tends to break down into strategies. It might be annual giving, major gifts, legacy gifts, grants, events and so forth.

Before you can get to determining your priority strategies, however, you need to do a mini fundraising audit.

When I begin working with a new nonprofit client, I always ask the same three questions.

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Master Chef vs. Line Cook: How Do You Prepare Your Nonprofit Fundraising Plan?

I learned something over three decades ago that I’ve never forgotten.

When I learned this, it made me very happy.

You see, I was transitioning from an unhappy, short-lived career in law and wasn’t really sure about my next chapter.  Nonprofit work intrigued me, but… was it really a discipline or just something folks “winged?”  How would I know I could be successful?

There weren’t a lot of role models around at the time, and I really didn’t know any other fundraisers.  And there certainly were no articles to “google” online!

So, I enrolled in a week-long course offered by The Fundraising School, then led by founder Hank Rosso (who I call the “Daddy of Fundraising), which is now part of the Lily School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

And my eyes were opened to the very nature of fundraising. And the essential pre-conditions for fundraising success.

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Is Your Nonprofit Floating or Sailing?

A sailboat without a sail might float.

For a long time, in fact.

But without a sail, it can’t go anywhere, can’t fulfill its function.

Floating is insufficient.

– Seth Godin

For you to ask and answer

  1. Is your nonprofit floating, or sailing?
  2. Are your development efforts floating, or sailing?
  3. Are your marketing communications efforts floating, or sailing?

These are serious questions that deserve your serious consideration.

So… take a moment right now to answer these three questions for yourself.

Go ahead.

Put an “F” or an “S” next to each one of these.

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5 Strategies to Improve Nonprofit Use of Donor Data

I cannot tell you how many times I begin a consultation with a small nonprofit, only to discover they have no real donor database.

They’re still using Excel or Filemaker or something that was developed for the program or finance department many moons ago.

I also find many nonprofits that do have a decent fundraising database, but they aren’t really using it to their advantage.

It’s the equivalent of having a 747; then using it to drive down the block to the corner store.

If you’re not exactly maximizing the resources you have, or if you simply don’t have the resources you need, it’s going to adversely affect your fundraising results.

We live in an era of ‘Big Data.’ Which means that understanding why data is important, what data is most meaningful to you, and how to prioritize data collection and evaluation strategies to help you reach your goals has never been more important.

If your fundraising and marketing strategy is not currently undergirded by data, I guarantee you’re missing opportunities, working inefficiently and leaving money on the table.

Could you use a bit of guidance?

Read on…

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10 Email Hacks to Increase Nonprofit Productivity

We live in an age of information overload.

As a result, many of us (me included) have gotten into some really bad habits in an effort just to “keep up.”

These habits are not only killing your productivity, they’re killing you!

So today I thought I’d take a step back from offering fundraising tips and tools, and offer up some brass tacks advice to lighten your load.

And I want to take on the killer of all time sucks.

Email.

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9 Strategies Super Hero Job Interviewers and Major Gift Fundraisers Have in Common

When I started out, I was a terrible interview. My first boss told me she hired me despite the interview!

What I learned over the years was that to interview strong you need to know – going in – what points you want to make.

Then you make them! No matter what questions are asked of you.

This takes preparation and practice. But it’s easy to do once you get the knack of it.

You simply need a game plan.

And this plan begins with crafting your own passionate “Case for Support!”

When interviewing for a job, the essential elements you must include in this “case” are:

  • What is the employer’s need?
  • How will you address this need?
  • Why you?

The secret to getting the job offer is to craft an offer that someone just can’t refuse.

Sound familiar? It’s just like…

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Warning Sign: A Post-Trump Digital Divide Between Nonprofits?

One of my Clairification community subscribers, Matt Patchell, recently began an important discussion in our online Subscriber Forum about what he termed the current “digital divide.”

He was referring to those nonprofits who are facing the digital revolution head-on, and adapting their strategies to embrace its’ opportunities, vs. those who are sticking their heads in the sand and hoping it will go away.

Folks, it’s not going away.

The only thing that will be going bye-bye are your supporters if you continue to ignore the channels they frequent and the ways they prefer to receive their information.

And I don’t mean you can just slap up a Facebook page or adopt a Twitter handle. It’s a sea change

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