It’s been pretty cold in my neck of the woods, so let’s warm up with a cup of cocoa, coffee or tea and some good reads. I’ve got a lot of great stuff for you this week, so let’s get right to it!
The Clairity Click-it exists to bring you a range of voices from across the nonprofit world so you can resource, learn and digest at your own pace, coming to your own decisions. My hope is some of the free resources I’ve collected and curated for you will energize and enthuse you as you work towards guiding others on the pathway to passionate philanthropy.
As always, I’ve also got a little piece of wisdom to share with you from the inimitable Seth Godin:
“If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”
That’s problematic advice.
Taken to an extreme, it turns us into hustlers.
The alternative is to realize that the best asks are actually offers.
When we offer to help someone get to where they were going, we’re approaching the relationship with generosity, not selfishness.
What work would we need to do to have sufficient skill, insight and reputation to be able to offer someone else a chance to reach their goals? That’s how we get. Not by asking, but by offering.
Always remember to make your ask an offer. Show your supporters the opportunity involved – for them – in becoming more engaged and invested in your mission. Bring them joy, purpose and meaning, and they’ll do the same for you.
As always, a big thank you to my sponsor, Bloomerang, for making it possible for me to spend the hours of time hunting, gathering and choosing the resources I believe will be most useful to you.
It is my sincere pleasure and honor to help you find the ideas, strategies, templates and tools you need to succeed.
Thank you for doing your vital work, and making our world a better place,
P.S. Please scroll down to see all my Clairification School sponsors who enable me to offer enrollment in ‘Clairification School at an affordable price [NOTE: If the enrollment fee is a hardship, please email me and we’ll work it out.]
Clairity Click-it, Your Nonprofit Ticket to…
Annual (Year-Round) Fundraising
Click-it: The Easy Way to Raise More Money by Being Relevant to Each Donor. Much of what’s practical in this article by Jeff Brooks on the Moceanic blog is the info about how much to ask for. Learn how to create gift tables based on most recent gifts, and how to calculate appropriate ask strings. Also learn tools for asking for first-time gifts and lapsed donor renewals.
Click-it: Why are you writing about the organization?. Steven Screen shares a life lesson. Most supporters aren’t reading your messaging to learn about your organization. They’re reading to see if their donation made, or will make, and impact. This article is part of a series from the Better Fundraising Co.
Click-it: 5 Strategies to Combat Donor Fatigue and Attract New Donors. Are your donors tired, or are you? This question is one of several posed by this article on the Eventgroove blog. Once you’ve defined your real problem, you’re ready to get started with one or more of these five suggested strategies.
Click-it: For resilient leadership right now, ask these three important questions. Check out this thoughtful article from Dr. Renee Rubin Ross, the Ross Collective. She explores: (1) How do I pace myself and take rest? (2) What brings me to life?, and (3) Who do I want joining me on the path?
Major, Capital and Legacy Cultivating and Asking
Click-it: 7 Ways Nonprofit Storytelling Will Boost Major Gifts. This article from Momentum shows how embracing storytelling as a central strategy will not only elevate your major gift efforts but also deepen your connection with your supporters – something that’s essential if you want to see increasing levels of commitment over time. It’s not all about numbers just because the philanthropists with whom you’re dealing have money. People are always people first. So… collect diverse stories showcasing impact and share them in a meaningful way with your supporters.
Click-it: A Cautionary Tale: The Stalled Capital Campaign. Here’s some straight advice from Andrea Kihlstedt, Capital Campaign Pro, about what it takes to move seamlessly from the private to the public phase of a capital campaign.
Click-it: Planned Giving Trends in 2024 and Their Impact on Our Work. Nathan Stelter writes about the impact of the digital and AI revolutions on how potential legacy givers move from interest to investment.
Online and Mobile Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: How moving the problem to the front of the email affects donation rate. Here’s a real-life A/B test conducted by NextAfter with one of their clients. Would you believe simply highlighting the problem earlier in the email achieved a 449% increase in conversions because more readers quickly understood the problem to which they could be the solution? Something for you to try?
Click-it: Nonprofit SEM: Leveraging search to expand your community. This article on Feathr speaks to why it’s important to optimize for search, not to mention the importance of claiming your free Google Ad Grant. If you’re not in charge of marketing or tech, send this along to the person in your organization who is. Why? It will help you find your audience and make fundraising so much easier.
Click-it: Dazzle Your Donor Prospects with an Updated LinkedIn Headline. I love this practical tip from Greg Warner at Market Smart. For many development directors, annual and major gift officers, and many other staff as well, their LinkedIn headlines, as well as the rest of their profiles, are a missed opportunity to intrigue new donor prospects. Learn what else you can, and should, do.
Psychology of Giving
Click-it: Empathy: The Key to Better Fundraising. Mary Cahalane, Hands-On Fundraising, writes about how empathy (vs. sympathy) can be the key to better fundraising. Citing research, she notes empathy isn’t a fixed personality trait. It’s something that can be learned. Learn what the barriers are to feeling empathy, and how to get past them.
Click-it: Using Psychology in Nonprofit Marketing. Check out this piece in the Nonprofit Marketing Guide for more tips on how human minds influence human behaviors. These principles of influence are strong marketing tools.
Strategy and Management
Click-it: Nonprofit Mission Statements: How to Write One (with Examples!). A mission statement is much more than a marketing document. It serves to guide all your activities, strategically shaping your identity. Learn what makes a good one, and how to create it, in this article from the experts at Storyraise.
Click-it: Building Relationships. Seem like an odd title for an article about your website? Not if you understand part of the job of your website is to set the foundation for relationship building. Ephraim Gopin, 1832 Communications, suggests most nonprofits are missing a real opportunity in the way they list their staff on their websites. Remember, as he suggests: Your website is your window to the world.
Click-it: 13 Things To Remove From Your Website Immediately. Based on their experience planning 1000+ website projects, and reviewing just as many Google Analytics accounts, Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media Studios offers some very practical advice. One big takeaway: be specific, not generic.
WEBINARS, PODCASTS, CONFERENCES & ON-DEMAND AUDIO RESOURCES
If you can’t attend live, or are interested in sessions happening at overlapping times, note many are available via recording – but ONLY if you REGISTER!
Click-it: Make Your Event Stand Out from the Crowd [Download on-demand webinar + slide deck]. Fundraising events provide opportunities to engage with new donors, reconnect with current supporters, and share your mission with a broader audience. The experts at Auctria have seen it all, and offer tried-and-true tips to help your mission shine.
Major, Capital and Legacy Giving
Click-it: Planned Giving 101 [Register for free webinar, 2-6-2024]. Join expert Tony Martignetti for this Asking Masters session. Using plain language, and weaving in his stand-up comedy, Tony will demystify Planned Giving and leave you understanding how to launch your Planned Giving program.
Click-it: Why Fundraising Goals Are Costing You Money [Listen to on-demand podcast]. Maryanne Dersch, Courageous Communications, talks about what happens when you slavishly adhere to monetary goals and metrics when in the process of building a major donor relationship.
Online Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: Are Your Subscribers Content With Your Email Content? [Register for free webinar, 1-31-2024]. Join Ephraim Gopin, 1832 Communications, and Mandy Pearce, Funding for Good, to learn the ideal variety of email content to keep readers opening, reading, engaging, clicking and converting. When fundraising and marketing work in tandem it’s a beautiful thing!
Click-it: Storytelling for Impact [Register for free webinar, 1-30-24]. Join the fabulous Kiersten Hill of Firespring and learn (1) tried-and-true storytelling frameworks; (2) story compilation and refinement tools; (3) how to use story tools to build community and motivate action, and (4) exercises your team can use in order to enhance and refine your storytelling process.
Strategy, Management and Planning
Click-it: Demystifying the Charity Navigator rating system: How to demonstrate trust to potential donors [Register for free webinar, 1-30-2024]. How you present yourself to the world makes a huge difference in your ability to fundraise successfully. Here the folk at FreeWill present Laura Andes, Charity Navigator, in a session that promises to share best practices to earn a more holistic score.
Click-it: How do you get messaging to take hold within your organization? [Listen to free podcast]. Join Farra Trompeter and Jennifer Hudson for this Big Duck conversation about important frameworks to develop messages that bring in perspectives of all stakeholders and offer tips about training others and operationalizing core values. If you can do this, you can create messaging that gets people to engage with your organization’s mission.
DOWNLOADABLE GUIDES, PAPERS, TEMPLATES & OTHER RESOURCES
Annual (Year-Round) Fundraising
Click-it: Matching Gift Email Templates [Click to download for free]. The experts at Double the Donation are generously offering these free of charge. Grab them, and don’t forget to use them religiously. They offer an opportunity to double giving from more of your supporters than you may imagine.
Click-it: Thank You Time Machine [Download free guide, templates and video]. James Martin of Rally Corp describes how to trigger memories that stimulate warm feelings – like the warm glow donors get after making a gift – to encourage repeat behavior. They offer helpful tools worth exploring, but you can do this on your own too.
Click-it: You and Artificial Intelligence (AI): A Nonprofit’s Guide to Understanding and Getting Started with AI [Download free resource]. This guide from Bloomerang delves into the fascinating evolution and rich history of artificial intelligence (AI), and provides an in-depth exploration of the four essential aspects of AI applications tailored specifically for nonprofits.
Did You Miss My Newest Articles?
Here are links to the most recent articles on the Clairification blog. Remember, your goal is not simply to squeeze money out of people. It’s to give donors a squeeze and a hug for being caring and generous. This will make them feel good, which will move them to continue sticking with you.
- Are the Rich Motivated to Give Differently?
- How NOT to Ask for a Major Gift
- Philanthropy, Not Fundraising: I Have a Dream for the Social Benefit Sector 2024
- 10 Strategies to Actively Build Nonprofit Donors Trust
- 13 Top Secrets of Donor Thank You Letters Revealed
- Leading Your Nonprofit with Hope, Not Optimism
Finally… if you have a question, any question…
Check out my free fundraising advice column on the Bloomerang blog! Ask your question here. And bookmark the Ask an Expert page for any time you have a question! Here’s one: If Donors Giving From Donor-Advised Funds Want Anonymity, How Do You Cultivate Them?
REMINDER for Clairification School students: Don’t forget to log in to your “My Clairification/Subscriber Dashboard/Monthly Tips” to grab your exclusive, timely tips for each month. JANUARY TIPS are live; FEBRUARY TIPS are coming soon. If you’re not yet an enrolled student, and don’t have direct, immediate access to ALL my blog articles, monthly tips, webinars, podcasts and much more, you can get in on the fun here! Your support helps me to support you.
And now, some more art (at the San Francisco Museum of Art ) that brought me joy. Color makes me happy!
Go forth and fill the world with the love and joy needed now more than ever. And please support my extraordinary sponsors (see below). The Clairity Click-it content is free, and Clairification School is affordable, because of their generosity.