Let’s begin with this week’s bit of wisdom…
“I don’t want to send this pitch to a list of every single podcaster in the world, but we have to get the word out.”
“I don’t want to send an email to every one of our previous donors every three days until they unsubscribe, but our work is so important, it has to be done.”
“I don’t want to robocall every person in the district, but if I don’t, our campaign has no chance… the other guy is even more aggressive than we are.”
Except there’s an “except.”
Except that all the organizations before you that have reluctantly raced to the bottom aren’t happy that they did. They’re not thriving and they might not even be around any more.
The reason that our attention has been strip-mined is that the system that evolved seems to reward short-term players that take the direct, easy, and lazy way out. While it seems like we have no choice, in fact, we have a very obvious one.
It turns out that finding, connecting and respecting a small group of supporters and customers always outperforms the hustle for more. And that if you can create a remarkable story that’s worth spreading, it’ll spread. Not because you need it to, but because your customers do.
Reluctant or not, spam is still spam. If you can’t imagine wanting to receive it, don’t send it.
— Seth Godin
Read Godin’s last paragraph and last sentence again. As you enter the year-end scramble for donor dollars, don’t forget to be human. It’s important to connect at this most generous time of year. But the operative word here is “connect.” Think from your message recipient’s perspective. Ask: How will they feel when they see, hear or read this? What will it incline them to do? If your answer is not the result you want, re-think your strategy.
I hope you’ll use some of the wisdom offered in this week’s Clairity Click-it to help you move forward with the best solutions. Start digging through the curated content from across the web and pick one or more doable strategies. Whatever you do, don’t do nothing!
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 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: Giving Tuesday
At this time of year, nonprofits feel compelled to incorporate GivingTuesday into their development strategies. Some of you embrace this; others see it as a burden. But don’t feel you have to keep up with the Jones. There are multiple ways to approach this. Fundraising, thanking, asking for in-kind gifts, volunteer projects, collaborations with other nonprofits and even giving token gifts (see examples here). My own feeling is the more creative and centered on your others you can be, the more you will stand out and build overall goodwill.
Click-it: How to Make Your Giving Tuesday Emails Stand Out. DonorPerfect shares data from their partnership with Constant Contact, to provide best practices for six components of your emails: Subject line; Preheader; Email body; Personalization; Recipient list, and Call to action (CTA).
Click-it: Read This Post If You Want Your Most Successful GivingTuesday. You’ll find eight key factors to success here. I love the example of a SMART-goal-centered appeal around a specific project, with a defined impact, in this article by Laurence Pagnoni on the Bloomerang blog.
Click-it: The Case for Ending Giving Tuesday. Here’s an alternative view from Ray Gary on NonProfitPRO. My own biggest takeaway from this is we should focus more on year-round engagement with supporters, rather than putting all our eggs in one, two or three end-of-year baskets.
Click-it: Do Your Giving Tuesday Messages Look Like Spam?. Here’s a balanced view, with some great advice and food for thought from Ann Green.
Click-it: How should you approach GivingTuesday? [Listen to free, on-demand podcast or read transcript]. You’ll get a history of this “giving holiday,” some creative approaches and a number of concrete tips here. “Don’t use “GivingTuesday” in your email subject lines” is one tactical takeaway from this fascinating podcast featuring Farra Trompeter of Big Duck and Abby Jarvis of NeonOne.
Click-it: Stand Out on #GivingTuesday [Sign up for free, on-demand 5 video series]. Sandy Rees, Get Fully Funded, believes no one should struggle with GivingTuesday. Towards that end, she created this series of videos to help you develop your strategy. The videos are brief enough to watch them all, and helpful handouts are included. One takeaway: Develop an impact goal rather than a monetary one.
Click-it: Last-Minute But Not Too Late: GivingTuesday to Year-End Tips [Register for free webinar, 11-21-2023]. Community Boost hosts Janet Cobb of Bonterra for concrete tips that will help you stand out, leverage your network to improve results, and generate lifelong supporters through your GT and year-end efforts.
Click-it: The Day After Your Giving Day [Register for free webinar, 11-21-2023]. Join Patrick Kirby of DoGoodBetter Consulting to double down on your success, create a follow up plan for individuals who give to your organization, and raise even more money after your event is over!
Click-it: Giving Tuesday Tool Kit [Click to get free templates, guides and more]. NeonOne put together this nifty package of email and social media templates, timelines and worksheets, guides and webinars—everything you need to plan your most successful GivingTuesday campaign yet!
Annual (Year-Round) Fundraising
Click-it: They challenge your fundraising appeal. How should you respond? Ever had a boss tell you the letter should be shorter? Longer? More grammatical? A different font? Have you been directed to include more statistics? Have multiple signatories? You know these are bad ideas that will depress response. Mary Cahalane, Hands-On Fundraising, tells you what to do – with data and expertise to back it up.
Click-it: What Happens When All the Paper Checks Are Gone? The Agitator/DonorVoice suggests ways you may want to tap into how people transact financially today, not yesterday. Paper checks aren’t gone yet, but… “What if “Make your tax-deductible check payable to….” is actually suppressing results?”
Click-it: Easy Fundraising Money: How to Spend More to Make More. Sean Triner lays out on the Moceanic blog how investing more on the front end can yield significantly higher rewards on the back end. Learn how to put the investment mindset to work in direct mail for all your donor segments.
Click-it: Best Annual Report Makers for Nonprofits . If you operate on a calendar year, it’s time to think about whether – and how – to publish an annual report. The experts at Yearly have some great ideas for you, complete with new tools and plenty of examples from which you can borrow.
Click-it: Why Event Fundraising Works, No Matter the Generation. This article from Auctria covers: Knowing your target demographics; Customizing your event to your audience; Customizing your communication to your audience, and how Gen Z is the future of fundraising. A lot of food for thought!
Click-it: How to Use QR Codes to Cook Up a Great Fundraiser. Learn how QR codes can be fundraiser game changers. Here’s a step-by-step example from Eventgroove of a food sales fundraiser, but there are many event other uses as well.
Online and Mobile Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: Generational Changes: Don’t Be Left Behind in the Philanthropic Shift. GenX and Millennials will likely inherit an estimated $59 trillion by 2061 from their aging boomer parents and grandparents. They’re expected to give away almost half that sum! Here Rally Corp outlines what to do to assure you’re the recipient of this philanthropy, which will be delivered largely through online tactics.
Major, Capital and Legacy Giving
Click-it: Estate Planning, Tax Code, and Planned Giving: Are You Prepared for Upcoming Changes That Could Impact Giving? Per the Veritus Group, your donors are already thinking about this change that goes into effect 2026. It’s going to create a great opportunity to talk to your donors about how a bequest to your organization can benefit both your donor and your mission. Check it out!
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: Fundraising is complex. I love this article by Mark Rovner of Sea Change Strategies (be sure to watch the video linked within). It’s always good to understand what you can control and what you cannot, and make sure your leaders are apprised accordingly.
Click-it: Four Insights and Five Key Steps for More Equitable Nonprofit Governance, This is all about leading change. Specifically, Dr. Renee Rubin Ross suggests five steps for more equitable governance. She suggests you stop thinking about “boards” and think, instead, about “governance.”
Click-it: Types of AI in Fundraising. Here’s a real-life example of how AI can transform your outline into reader-friendly lingo. Plus, the narrative shows you how to use both predictive and generative AI to sharpen the focus of outreach initiatives and enhance communication. The team at Momentum explain how to create a dynamic tool that anticipates, acts and evolves, learning continuously from interactions, results, and feedback to become more precise and personalized in its assistance.
Click-it: 25 Best AI Tools for Marketing and Business. Neal Schaffer is one of my “go-to” gurus when it comes to helpful technology. Here is his current take on the proliferating AI tools out there. It’s amazing how fast this has evolved, and continues to develop.
Click-it: Your A/B Test Didn’t Validate … Now What?? If you’re a bit fuzzy on what makes a test statistically valid – something on which you can base future actions – look no further than this post from Nathan Hill at NextAfter. He explains what level of validity brings confidence in rolling out a new treatment, and what to do if you get an invalid/negative, invalid/flat, or an invalid/positive result.
Click-it: Add This to Your Donation Page to Increase Year-End Giving! This article on the Charity Engine blog explains the benefits of adding a matching gift button. Did you ever imagine you could add as much as 50% more revenue? Astoundingly, 78% of the donors who visit your website are eligible for a corporate match and don’t know it. Time to do something about this!
Click-it: Five actions for year-end 2023. This is what one major financial organization, Schwab Charitable, advises its donors when it comes to year-end charitable planning. You should be advising your supporters of these options as well. Opportunity is knocking – it’s up to you to open the door to the conversation!
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: Halt the Decline, Increase Donor Acquisition with AI [Register for free webinar, 11-29-2023]. Join experts from Arreva and DonorSearch as they unveil purposeful AI-powered strategies that will revolutionize your donor acquisition game.
Marketing Communications and Campaigns
Click-it: Stop Thinking Like a Nonprofit! (You’ll Raise More Money) [Register for free webinar, 11-15-2023]. When nonprofits stop thinking like nonprofits and start thinking like marketers, you get highly personalized strategic outreach. This means you raise more money. Learn to shift your thinking in this webinar from Charity Engine.
Online Social Marketing and Fundraising
Click-it: Social Media 102 [Register for free webinar, 11-28-2023]. Maybe you use the “Big 3” (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn), but have yet to really tap into the power of social media to activate your connections so they bring in new supporters, help you sustain your connections and drive greater engagement and philanthropy. Time for a few advanced tips and tricks from expert Kiersten Hill of Firespring. This is invaluable advice!
DOWNLOADABLE GUIDES, PAPERS, TEMPLATES & OTHER RESOURCES
Click-it: The Tactical Guide to Sponsorship Sales [Download free templates, scripts and valuation calculator]. Don’t simply wing it when coming up with values for your sponsorship pitches. Chris Baylis of the Sponsorship Collective has a much better way!
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.
- 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 List
- 8 BOO BOO’s! Are You SCARING Nonprofit Donors Away?
- Stop Leading with “Grab Year-End Tax Deduction.” Do This Instead.
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’s The Best Way To Steward Tribute Donors?
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. NOVEMBEr 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 — and 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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