Let’s begin with this week’s bit of wisdom…
“Let us conceive of gratitude in its largest, most beautiful sense, that if we receive any kindness we are debtor, not merely to one man, but to the whole world. As we are each day indebted to thousands for the comforts, joys, consolations, and blessings of life, let us realize that it is only by kindness to all that we can begin to repay the debt to one, begin to make gratitude the atmosphere of all our living and a constant expression in outward acts, rather than in mere thoughts.
Let us see the awful cowardice and the injustice of ingratitude, not to take it too seriously in others, not to condemn it too severely, but merely to banish it forever from our own lives, and to make every hour of our living the radiation of the sweetness of gratitude.”
— William George Jordan, The Courage to Face Ingratitude
As you’re planning ahead, and readying your year-end fundraising initiatives, take a little time to think about what, and who, you are grateful for. Approaching this time of year from a place of abundance rather than scarcity will not only reduce your stress but will also inspire people to want to join your mission. We all prefer to join a rising tide rather than a sinking boat. Optimism is contagious, and will motivate people to connect with you. And stick with you. Because… it feels good.
The magic of gratitude is it improves everything it touches, you included. As Seth Godin notes: “Generosity and gratitude often go together. They light a path on the way to better.”
So, as you enter the year-end scramble for donor dollars, don’t forget to express gratitude. Donor generosity will follow. In this regard, I commend this article from Steven Screen of The Better Fundraising Co.: The Antidote to Fundraising Fear Is…
This week’s Clairity Click-it will give you help to move forward with the best approaches. As always, I encourage you to dig through this curated content from across the web and pick one or more doable strategies. Approach this with a learning mindset, vowing to find at least one thing you’ll do a bit differently (if not today, then tomorrow; save the idea and put it on your calendar so you’re sure to revisit it at the appropriate time). 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…
SPECIAL FEATURE: Donor Advised Funds (DAFs]
I’ve long been advocating for a special fundraising strategy targeting new and ongoing gifts from philanthropists who’ve establish a philanthropic piggy bank in the form of a donor advised fund (DAF). [See here and here; if you’re an enrolled Clairification School member, listen to this webinar Strategies to Leverage Donor Advised Fund Philanthropy.]
TIP: Some of your donors may have money parked in their philanthropic piggy bank (aka DAF), and they’ve simply forgotten it’s there. They can’t give it to you simply by clicking the “donate” link in your Giving Tuesday or year-end appeal. They have to make a request from the administrator of their DAF. It’s not hard, but a well-placed reminder from you can make a huge difference: “Do you have a Donor Advised Fund or private foundation? Thank you for being a proactive “philanthropist” (“lover of humanity”), and making it a priority to help solve the world’s most pressing problems. If you have undistributed funds just waiting to be put to work, please reach out to your DAF or foundation administrator now to recommend a grant to [your charity] or to the charities of your choice. You will be making a real difference in the lives of those who could use a helping hand (or whatever reason makes sense for your charity).”
TIP: If you have donors who’ve given via a DAF in the past, but have not done so yet this calendar year, reach out to them individually. The most efficient way is to make a phone call, followed by an email (or a text if this is something they’ve opted into). Do this NOW; don’t wait for the last two weeks of the year when many folks are travelling or otherwise busy with holidays.
Here are some compelling arguments.
Click-it: Donor Advised Funds Are a Potential Fundraising Goldmine – If You Do the Right Things. Jeff Brooks argues on the Moceanic blog: “None of us can afford to ignore DAFs any more.” They are skyrocketing in number and in the amount of money in them. And they’re giving out more money. Ignore this at your peril. Per Jeff: According to a recent survey, organizations that actively seek DAF grants raise a lot more money than those who don’t: 2.2 times more revenue. The survey also found 54% of US nonprofits never solicit DAF donations at all. That used to be no real problem. But now, if you ignore DAFs, you could be leaving donations on the table!”
Click-it: Tom Petty wants you to know about Donor Advised Funds. According to the National Philanthropic Trust 2022 DAF report, grants from DAFs to charities increased more than 60% in the past two years, accelerating an upward ten-year trajectory. That means, per Alia McKee of Sea Change Strategies, your DAF strategy is an important pillar of your midlevel and major gifts programs.
Annual (Year-Round) Fundraising
Click-it: 10 ways to give your fundraising appeal superpowers. Check out this succinct synopsis (honored Jeff Brooks at Future Fundraising Now has excerpted from my article) of ways to easily improve your fundraising messages.
Click-it: St. Patrick’s Home of Ottawa Foundation: ‘One Song’ direct mail. Read this case study of a recent direct mail appeal by Agents of Good, shared on the SOFII blog. It’s got all the elements of a compelling fundraising package – and it was a huge success!
Click-it: Answer the Damn Phone, Here’s a “must do” for this last month of the calendar year. The editors at the Agitator-DonorVoice offered it up as a last piece of advice before GivingTuesday, but it’s even more critical the last few weeks of the year when folks are calling you at the last minute to make their gift before December 31st.
Click-it: Quick Guide to Effective Donor Segmentation for Nonprofits. Here’s a quintessential post on the Qgiv blog about the myriad ways you can segment your donor communications to increase the chances your messages will get your desired action response. If you want to get, and keep, more donors, segmentation is crucial.
Click-it: How People with Color Blindness See Your Holiday Email Campaigns. More folks than you might imagine have red/green color blindness. This can negatively affect how they respond to your messaging, especially at this time of year. See some examples, and ways around this dilemma, in this post from Email on Acid.
Click-it: Donor Impact Report: The Ultimate Guide. As the year winds up, it’s the perfect time to let donors know the impact they made possible. Nothing keeps donors continually connected as much as ongoing gratitude and demonstrations their giving was truly meaningful. Learn best impact report practices from the experts at Yearly.
Click-it: Winter Solstice Fundraiser: A Creative Approach for Nonprofits. The folks at Eventgroove have all sorts of ideas for fun events, and this article is just one example. If you can’t pull this together this winter, the spring equinox and summer solstice are just around the corner.
Giving Tuesday Aftermath
Click-it: Donor Retention After Giving Tuesday: 6 Practical Strategies. If you haven’t done these things already, there is still time. Heed these timely suggestions from Soapbox Engage. I really like #4, and it’s too-little utilized.
Online and Mobile Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: What’s a Workflow?: How to Use Text Messaging to Prompt Action. Think in terms of “trigger events.” Then consider what you’ll do next to continue to build a relationship with the person who pulled that trigger. Write this “work flow” down so it becomes automatic. Learn how in this article from Rally Corp.
Click-it: 4 Nonprofit Marketing Tactics to Inspire Gen Z Supporters. Born between 1997 and 2012, these potential donors are digital natives. Your strategies must reflect this if you want to reach them where they are. Some of the oldest have potential to be major donors, so don’t neglect them. Even the youngest have potential to be advocates and volunteers. They may even recruit their parents to your side! Learn what type of content this generation finds most engaging in this post from Auctria.
Major, Legacy and Capital Fundraising
Click-it: Staffing for a Capital Campaign: How to Prepare This guest post by Andrea Kihlstedt on The Fundraising Coach blog outlines six key considerations to assure you’ve set yourself up for success. Want to reach your goal? Prepare, prepare, prepare!
Click-it: Your integrated fundraising campaign puzzle and the big picture. The key to success is understanding how your constituents see your campaign. You want to create a ‘big picture’ through multiple strands (e.g., mail, email, search, social, website, video, phone, and any other channels), but you also must consider the big picture to understand your results. Results in one channel may be connected to outreach through another channel. Read about it on the Good Works blog.
Strategy and Management
Click-it: Mastering The Art Of Idea Generation And Sharing. To stay healthy, nonprofits must continually generate and share new ideas. This might sound easy, but sharing an idea with your board, boss, or team can be tricky, even nerve-wracking. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are my tips for you, in an article for the Bloomerang blog.
Click-it: A Tale Of Two Fundraising Words. Ephraim Gopin, 1832 Communications, introduces us to a new word. I’d never heard it, but I looked it up and it’s real. And a great way for you to consider looking at the world if you want to bend the arc toward justice.
Click-it: AI in Nonprofit Fundraising. Check out this very thoughtful piece from the team at Momentum, a group working to use AI in nonprofit fundraising while safeguarding the right to humanity. They suggest some guidelines for striking the right balance between AI capabilities and ethical considerations. As the boundaries between humans and AI are blurred, this is something we all need to consider.
Click-it: How to Nail Your Year-End Fundraising Emails. Check out this article I wrote for the NonProfitPRO blog. It’s pretty self-explanatory. Fundamentally, you want to minimize your risk of going unnoticed at this most generous giving time of the year.
Click-it: Your last-minute year-end appeal checklist. Here are some great last-minute tips. Use them now if your appeal isn’t yet finalized. Otherwise, use them year-round. From Mary Cahalane of Hands On Fundraising.
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!
Annual (Year-Round) Fundraising
Click-it: Crafting a best-in-class Direct Mail plan for 2024 [Register for free webinar, 12-5-2023]. Get a head start on next year by joining Patrick Schmitt, Co-CEO of FreeWill, and special guest Josh Alcorn, Co-Producer of the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference, for a free webinar on what makes a direct mail program truly outstanding in 2024, and the steps for implementing these tips within your organization.
Click-it: You Can’t Thank Your Donors Too Much! [Listen to free podcast]. This post-Thanksgiving and Giving Tuesday is a time for full-on gratitude. To get inspired, listen to this powerful podcast with Jeff Schreifels and Richard Perry of the Veritus Group. You’ll learn to build authentic relationships with donors, while simultaneously boosting your own well-being. Plus, you’ll hear what real donors considered the best thank you they ever received!
Click-it: Three ways to get your donors to fall in love with you [Watch free video]. If you’ve never listened in on Chris Davenport’s Movie Mondays, you’re in for a treat. Here Farra Trompeter of Big Duck shares three ways to retain your donors longer. It’s a quick listen.
Major, Capital and Legacy Campaigns
Click-it: Set Your Campaign Up for Success: 3 All-Important Pre-Campaign Strategies [Register for free webinar, 12-14-2023]. Join capital campaign experts Amy Eisenstein and Andrea Kihlstedt to learn how to: (1) Identify the handful of people who’ll assure your success; (2) Engage prospective donors before the campaign is launched, and (3) Create the elements of a pre-campaign plan.
An Inside Look at Firespring’s Nonprofit Websites [Register for free webinar, 12-19-2023]. Thinking about redoing your website? This webinar from Firespring is the perfect primer on what to look for. You’ll get an inside look at how content management systems and tools work, plus there will be time to get your questions answered live.
DOWNLOADABLE GUIDES, PAPERS, TEMPLATES & OTHER RESOURCES
Click-it: Ultimate Guide to Year-End Giving Campaigns 2023. This comprehensive resource from NextAfter is filled with all sorts of strategies and useful tips. It’s literally a Master Class in year-end messaging. What sets it apart is the concrete examples of real A/B tests showing what worked best for other charities. You’ll be surprised by some of the results.
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.
- What’s Going On? What Can We Do?
- Happy Days of Thanks(for)Giving
- How to Use Psychology to Pre-Suade Donors to Give
- A Revolutionary Way to Influence Year-End Philanthropy
- The True Meaning of Giving Tuesday
- How to Get Mobile Opt-ins: 5 Ways to Grow Your Text Messaging ListWhat’s Going On? What Can We Do?
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 you can’t call and thank every donor, who should be priorities?
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. DECEMBER tips are 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 — it’s the last month to grab your 10th ANNIVERSARY BONUS! There’s never been a better time to enroll.
And now, some art speaking to me this week.
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