One takes a little more effort than the other.
While throwing shade might be more fun, it eventually runs out of energy. It’s designed to end conversations, not start them, to intimidate, not encourage.
Turning on lights helps everyone.
— Seth Godin
You are on a meaning-seeking journey. Through your work, you create positive change and make lives easier and better. One person, family, community, region at a time. Your donors seek the same.
Part of your job is to bring meaning, not just to the beneficiaries of your organization’s mission but also to the people who contribute towards your meaningful outcomes.
It turns out when you consider what brings meaning and value to philanthropists – donors and volunteers – you do a more effective job creating abundance all around.
Use some of the resources in this week’s issue of the Clairity Click-it to help you on your journey. And to help your supporters on theirs. Whatever your role, you’ll find something in this issue to nourish you. So, start digging through the curated content from across the web. I hope it will make your job easier, and more fulfilling. Get curious!
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 [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: A/B Testing Guide for Non-Profits. Here’s something you can be doing to potentially improve all your communications. This is A/B testing from soup to nuts – everything you’ve ever wondered about – from the testing experts at NextAfter. There’s no excuse for wasting your time and resources doing this the wrong way.
Click-it: Why Monthly Giving Matters: The Impact and Sustainability it Brings. If you’re not yet making monthly giving one of your core fundraising strategies, read this thorough article from 4aGoodCause to understand why you must. Also learn what you need to do to be successful.
Click-it: The Regular Kind, or ‘How to Break Through the Noise’. Steven Screen, the Better Fundraising Co., explains in a nut shell how to make people sit up and pay attention to your messaging. Read and heed.
Click-it: Why You Need to Segment Your Donors. If you’re doing “one size fits all” fundraising you’re leaving lots of money on the table. If you don’t acknowledge people’s differences when you talk to them, they’re unlikely to feel you know them. This makes them feel unimportant. So why wouldn’t they pack up their marbles and go someplace where it seems people care about them? Instead, do what Ann Green suggests in this article.
Click-it: Overcoming Matching Gift Roadblocks [Helpful Solutions]. Sadly, oodles of nonprofits leave free money on the table. Adam Wenger of Double the Donation explains how you can double the gifts of many of your donors by simply being proactive and avoiding six common roadblocks.
Culture of Philanthropy
Click-it: The Joy of Collaborating. Never forget what it’s all about: love of humankind. This means love your neighbors, even those you deem competitors, as yourself. You’re all doing good, necessary work. Don’t forget the lesson you learned as a kid: It’s good to share. When you do, everyone benefits. Read this piece from Lisa Greer, Philanthropy 451.
Click-it: Doing Things for More Than One Reason. Sometimes doing your organizational work means also doing the work on the larger community in which you operate. You, and those you benefit, don’t live in a vacuum. When you can stand up on behalf of an important lawsuit, piece of legislation or social movement impacting your work, you should The National Council of Nonprofits suggests you must.
Click-it: Moving Beyond Performance: Making DEI Actionable by Dr. Jessica Shore on the Blue Avocado blog is a cry to do real work. Produce real results, not just performative ones. Systemic trauma exists, and it’s easy to unwittingly perpetuate it. To change things requires more than DEI trainings. Get some suggestions here.
Click-it: The three-class airplane fallacy. As a long-time proponent of retiring the donor pyramid, I could not agree more with this position from Marc Rovner at Sea Change Strategies. Simply put: stop withholding the good stuff from any of your donors.
Click-it: Recording Nonprofit Auction Funds: 3 Best Practices. If you’re unsure whether you’re recoding and tracking in-kind gifts, ticket purchase, auction purchases and additional contributions accurately, this article from Auctria is for you.
Click-it: Kick Off Event Season with Purpose. Want to make this year’s events impactful, relationship-moving opportunities we can leverage all year. Here’s a checklist from KDD Philanthropy you can use to get started.
Click-it: 7 Tips to Create a Wildly Successful Donor Cultivation Event. The Gail Perry Group shares this tried-and-true blueprint for a mix-and-mingle event that will truly fire participants up!
Click-it: How to Create a Great Crowdfunding Page for GivingTuesday. The folks at Eventgroove provide a blueprint for a stellar campaign, using various tools to spur activity and create momentum.
Online and Mobile Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: 10 Ways Mobile Fundraising Can Change the Game for Your Nonprofit. If this strategy is just the tip of your strategies iceberg, this article from Rally Corp explains why now is the time to go deeper. Plus you’ll find ten different implementation ideas. Pick one or two, and get started!
Click-it: Roger Craver, the Agitator/DonorVoice, warns donors need a break from constant emails. It’s an interesting read. If you don’t employ strategies like “pulsing,” you may wake up to the fact your donors no longer have a pulse for giving.
Major, Capital and Legacy Giving
Click-it: A Board Member Lowballs a Capital Campaign Gift: What Do You Do? Ever had this happen to you? I have! Here Andrea Kihlstedt of Capital Campaign Pro offers several suggestions of how to handle this to keep the dialogue open.
Click-it: Recognizing Capital Campaign Donors: A Crash Course. This thorough piece from Yearly walks you through all the different ways, and occasions, to recognize campaign donors. There’s a lot here, including a free, downloadable checklistfrom Capital Campaign Pro.
Click-it: What Communication Professionals Can Learn From The Eras Tour. Check out this thought-provoking piece on the M+R blog. You might want to use it as a basis for a brainstorming session for your own communications strategy. What new ideas can you come up with to leverage greater engagement?
Strategy and Management
Click-it: Sustainable Nonprofit Fundraising: Creating a Greener World. Tim Forbes writes on the Soapbox Engage blog about numerous ways to incorporate environmental sustainability into all that you do. If you find just one thing to do that contributes to a healthier planet, that will be a good thing.
Click-it: Reframe the donor pyramid. Don’t rebuild it.. There has been disagreement about the usefulness of the donor pyramid in a multi-channel, rapidly-changing world. Here, Alia McKee of Sea Change Strategies suggests the problem may be us and not the pyramid. She recommends reframing fundraising as being about relationship building, not money. I’m one of the non-fans of the way the pyramid is used, and I completely agree with this reframing. Though I still prefer a vortex or something a bit more circular than a pyramid. 😉
Click-it: Beware the Danger of Status Quo Fundraising. “Fear is a terribly tough incumbent to beat.” The time to eschew “conventional wisdom” is now, during a time of rapid technological change. It may not be broken, but it’s probably old uncle Joe’s slow, rusty jalopy. Sentiment won’t raise you the money you need to thrive. See what Roger Craver of the Agitator/DonorVoice has to say on the matter.
Click-it: Are Your Donor Strategy Meetings a Waste of Time? Karen Kendrick of the Veritus Group suggests they may be if all you do is report or share successes. Because this may mean you don’t have a culture that welcomes failure – and that’s one of the best ways to learn and improve. You can be a role model by bringing your own challenges with a donor or board member to the table for discussion.
WEBINARS, PODCASTS, ROUNDTABLES & 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: Activate Your Board Members This Giving Tuesday [Register for free webinar, 10-24-2023]. Learn from Nonprofit Tech for Good how to leverage technology to empower your board members to become active fundraisers and stewards of your Giving Tuesday campaign (and beyond). Your goal? Meaningful engagement strategies for each unique Board member that make them feel successful.
Click-it: Be Found: The Secrets of SEO for Nonprofits [Register for free webinar, 10-24-2023]. Jay Wilkinson of Firespring is one of my favorite presenters because he jam-packs his sessions with clear, useful takeaways you can implement right away. You’ll learn the six steps to mastering SEO: (1) Keyword research; (2) Website optimization; (3) Link building; (4) Fresh content; (5) Landing pages, and (6) Analytics.
Strategy and Management
Click-it: Is a 5-Star Development Director a Needle in a Haystack? [Listen to free podcast]. The always enlightening Joan Garry debunks the myth of development staff scarcity. And there’s also a “Before you Fire Your Development Director” checklist.
Click-it: The AI Advantage: How Nonprofits Can Rise to the Top Using AI [Register for free webinar, 10-26-2023]. Join Charity Village and presenter Nejeed Kassam to explore the ways AI is transforming nonprofit operations, covering everything from fundraising to donor engagement, program optimization to impact measurement. Dive into ChatGPT, how it can benefit your fundraising teams, automation that can free up time in your day, AI-driven analytics can provide valuable insights into your database, and more.
DOWNLOADABLE GUIDES, PAPERS, TEMPLATES & OTHER RESOURCES
Click-it: New Research: The State of Capital Campaigns 2023 [Download free e-report]. If you’re at all contemplating a campaign, or are currently in a campaign, you’ll want to read this new benchmark report from Steven Shattuck at Capital Campaign Pro. You’ll find hard data plus campaign examples. And some potentially game-changing findings.
Online Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: Optimize Your Online Fundraising By Following This Step-by-Step Guide to A/B Testing [Download free workbook]. Learn how to set up, run, and document a/b tests in this free 8-step workbook from NextAfter. You’ll learn how to set up, run and document tests to help you optimize your online fundraising.
Click-it: Nonprofit Storytelling for Board Members [Download free e-book]. This comes straight from the Storytelling Conference, with all sorts of tips to help you help your board. You’ll get the three types of stories you need to tell; four building blocks of a powerful story; seven story triggers, and three phrases to engage anybody.
Strategy and Management
Click-it: Benchmarks 2023. This is the benchmark report to end all benchmark reports! From the good folks at M+R, it has everything you need to know to move forward strategically. Plus, there are recipes!
Click-it: 13 Lucky Year-End Fundraising Tips [Download free e-book]. Now is the time people do most of their giving for the year. And 13 is my lucky number. So I combined the two in the checklist I authored for Bloomerang. Use it, and you’ll have good luck too!
If you feel shock, grief, fear, anger, despair, confusion and anxiety over recent and ongoing events, you are not alone. So many have spoken up, as the barbarism and inhumanity we’ve been witnessing defies even imagination. It touches the darkest spaces of our psyches, and we’re left not knowing what to do or how to feel. It’s tempting to want to place blame somewhere, because then it’s easier to move on and devise a coping strategy. But, this isn’t an easy situation. There isn’t an easy fix. Blame leads only to more blame, assuring the cycle of violence continues. No one has the one right answer. But these articles provide a lot of background, and are among those that have been speaking to me.
Grantmakers commit funds for relief efforts in Israel and Gaza, Candid, Philanthropy News Digest
Israel’s One-State Reality: It’s Time to Give Up on the Two-State Solution, Michael Barnett, Nathan Brown, Marc Lynch, and Shibley Telhami, Foreign Affairs (written before the Hamas October 7 attack).
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.
- Top 10 Fundraising Appeal Writing Tips
- Top Strategies to Use Donor Data to Appeal to Donor Identity
- Top Strategies to Leverage Your Nonprofit’s Secret Advantage -2
- Top Strategies to Leverage Your Nonprofit’s Secret Advantage -1
- Stop Using Canned Nonprofit Elevator Pitches to Raise Money
- Effective Philanthropy Facilitation RECIPE: Love +Meaning + Empathy + Cooperation +Attention + Interaction
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: What Are The Most Important Elements For A Year-End Appeal?
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. OCTOBER tip is live! 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 — and grab your 10th ANNIVERSARY BONUS! There’s never been a better time to enroll.
And now, some BOO-t-ful scenes I found on my walks this week.
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