This is an absolutely terrible acronym for a really important idea.
Use Your Best Judgment.
Don’t wait for someone else to take responsibility. Don’t wait for perfect. Don’t wait to find this exact situation in the manual or in history.
Use your best judgment.
My preferred abbreviation is: Go go go.
Not with a guarantee.
Not with someone to blame.
Simply because we need you to lead us.
— Seth Godin
To use your best judgement you need resources to help you form that judgement. I’m here to help. That’s why I offer this collection of curated resources every other week. It’s all about helping you find the ideas, strategies, tactics, templates and tools you need to go, go, go. Find a few things that speak to you, and… get clicking! I’d like to again thank my Clairity Click-it sponsor, Bloomerang, without whom I wouldn’t be able to set aside the time to find all these goodies. I hope you enjoy these resources as much as I enjoy finding them for you.
Thank you for doing the world’s important work during this incredibly busy and challenging time.
You are important, and I am grateful for you,
P.S. I hope your end-of-year is amazing! If you find value in Clairification, your support via enrollment in ‘Clairification School’ is a blessing. You’ll be able to read every single article I’ve ever written, plus you’ll get access to all my webinars, monthly tips, bonuses and more.
Clairity Click-it, Your Nonprofit Ticket to…
OPINION FEATURE: Nonprofit Starvation Cycle and Overhead Myth
A problem persists in the social benefit sector where donors hold businesses to an unreasonable expectation of what constitutes indirect costs. This acts to the detriment of nonprofit financial health and mission fulfillment. But it’s not just funders who are locked into hopeless assumptions about what’s enough and what’s too much; organizations are equally to blame. These articles outline different aspects of the problem and address the range of possibilities between “less is more,” “less is less,” “more is more” and “more is less.”
Click-it: Nonprofit Overhead Myth: Are You Colluding in its Persistence? This is an article I wrote five years ago for Nonprofit Pro about how insidious this myth of overhead as a measure of nonprofit effectiveness can be. In it I note: “It’s going to take a concerted effort on the part of nonprofits to overcome years and years of pounding the overhead myth into people’s heads.” I don’t think it’s quite happening yet, but see the articles below.
Click-it: A step toward supporting the true cost of nonprofits’ work. The William + Flora Hewlett Foundation begins by asking “what does it cost to make the world a better place?” It turns out conventional wisdom is not always so wise. So what can be done to assure nonprofits at least recover their costs when receiving grants?
Click-it: Five Foundations Address the “Starvation Cycle”. The Bridgespan Group convened a group to look at chronic grant underfunding due to routine discounting of core administrative and operational costs of delivering programs and services. This article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy outlines the history of how we’ve gravitated to flat overhead ratios bearing little relationship to true costs, and suggests some solutions.
Click-it: Is “Overhead” a Dirty Word in Nonprofit Marketing? This article on the Welter Consulting blog suggests ways to combat the overhead myth by simply ceasing to use the term. What if you were to simply call the costs by what they are (e.g., salaries, rent, insurance, etc.) rather than lumping them under this “tainted” category?
Annual (Year-Round) Fundraising
Click-it: Nonprofit Monthly Giving Programs Don’t Market Themselves. If your monthly giving program languishing, pick up some tips on how to reverse the trend in this article I wrote for the Bloomerang blog.
Click-it: What it costs to feel all the feels – and why you should pay. A beautifully expressed and written piece from Mary Cahalane, Hands-On Fundraising. A lovely reminder about the joy, sorrow and connection good fundraising can bring.
Click-it: Helping the Cobbler’s Kids Get Shoes. The best copy-writing advice ever – from the Agitator-DonorVoice blog.
Click-it: Help! My Board Won’t Listen To Me! Many fundraisers say their greatest challenge lies in working productively with their board. If that’s you, check out this sound advice from the late, great Simone Joyaux on the Moceanic blog.
Click-it: The default nonprofit board model is archaic and toxic; let’s try some new models. Vu Le, Nonprofit AF, excels at challenging the status quo. In this thought-provoking article he suggests new ways of thinking about the role of the board.
Click-it: Pick Up the Phone & Call a Donor Today. Lori Jacobwith, Ignited Fundraising, describes something simple you should do every day. Especially between now and the end of the year. It’s that powerful.
Click-it: 8 Easy Ideas for Safe & Healthy In-Person Events. Torn between whether to go in-person, virtual or hybrid? This article on the Greater Giving blog has helpful tips. Use it as a planning checklist.
Major and Legacy Giving
Click-it: Your Nonprofit Needs to Establish a Rainy Day Fund. Here’s Why That is and How You Can Convince Others to Get on Board. As we all learned during the pandemic, you never know when you’ll find yourself dealing with an unexpected financial hardship. So, before the next crisis hits, you’d be wise to focus on building your plan to accrue passive income that will come streaming into your bank accounts in the future. For tips on how to do this, see my article for Bloomerang.
Click-it: If You Think Small, You Get Small: Four Secrets to Getting Large Gifts. Do you feel you don’t have enough true major donor prospects? Then you need to read this article on the Veritus Group blog. What you believe is often not true, yet it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Here are four practical tips to help you think bigger, and reap your rewards.
Click-it: 10 Strategies to Skyrocket Major Gift Fundraising. Check out my article on the Center for Major Gifts blog. They offer a great new resource for you to check out!
Online Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: Who Gives a Crap: supporter experience and email journey. Best branding ever! Just had to share this amazing messaging and consistent, attention-grabbing, feel-good experience I happened upon on SOFII. Enjoy. [BTW: If you’re short on gift ideas for yourself or friends , don’t hesitate. I think this link might give you $10 off. They also have eco-friendly tissues (I just bought some and learned why sharks prefer salt water… funny!) and great reviews.]
Click-it: Why You Should Send More End-Of-Year Fundraising Emails Than You Usually Do. It’s the time of year folks feel the most generous, and you don’t want to miss out. Grab some tips and examples in my article for the Bloomerang blog.
Click-it: Achieve year-end giving goals with online donations. 11% of giving happens online, the last three days of the year! Be sure you’re putting your best foot forward so you don’t miss out. Get year-end tips and ideas from the good folks at 4aGoodCause.
Click-it: The 2 things to avoid in year end fundraising. This can be the most wonderful time of the year. And it can set you up for a successful 2022. But not if you engage in these “no-no’s” Marc Pitman, The Fundraising Coach, highlights.
Click-it: 6 Tips to Raise Last Minute Money Before the Year-End. These are excellent tips from Amy Eisenstein. Dedicate between now and the end of the calendar year to do as many as humanly possible.
WEBINARS, PODCASTS, COURSES & ON-DEMAND AUDIO RESOURCES
If you can’t attend live, or are interested in sessions happening at overlapping times (I’m looking at you October 20th!), note many are available via recording – but ONLY if you REGISTER!
Major and Legacy Gifts
Click-it: Learn How to Use Questions to Advance the Donor’s Journey [Register for free webinar, 12-15-2021]. This will be good! Greg Warner, Market Smart, and Dr. Russell James, researcher and legacy fundraising guru extraordinaire, will help you identify folks positioned to give transformative gifts. You’ll learn how to get the donor meeting, how to keep the conversation flowing, how to ask follow-up questions the right way, and much more.
Click-it: From Sales to Fundraising: Lessons Learned After Knocking on Nearly 100,000 Doors [Listen to free, on-demand podcast]. Jake Savage joins the We are for Good podcast to tell a compelling story of how, during the pandemic, he learned how to leverage corporate sales techniques for good. Listen, then lean in to translate your passion to successful fundraising (aka sales). “Every single door is an entirely different human being.” Go knock on some opportunity!
Click-it: How Marketing Automation Can Work for You [Register for free webinar, 12-17-2021]. One of the biggest trends in 2022 will continue to be automated multi-channel marketing. Learn the art of taking creative marketing ideas, building them into data-driven, multi-channel (online + offline) marketing campaigns and launching them in one integrated platform. From the good folks at Firespring.
Strategy, Leadership and Management
Click-it: Powerful Leadership Strategies for Changing Times [Listen to free on-demand podcast]. Julia Campbell, Nonprofit Nation Podcast, interviews Kishshana Palmer about what it means to lead in a time when the only constant is change. You’ll learn characteristics of resilient leaders, work/life balance, how to retain talented people, why social justice is integral to everyone’s work, and more.
Click-it: Convert Supporters with Powerful Landing Pages [Register for free webinar, 12-14-2021]. Did you know with great landing pages, your donors, volunteers and supporters are 10 times more likely to donate, sign up, register or engage with your nonprofit? If you’re the fundraiser, this is why you need to know what you’ll learn in this webinar from Jay Wilkinson of Firespring. I always learn a lot from him, and you will too!
DOWNLOADABLE GUIDES, WHITE PAPERS & OTHER RESOURCES
Click-it: New Donor Welcome and Conversion [Download free white paper]. This resource from Merkle is the one you’re going to need to assure you keep all the new donors you acquired at the end of the calendar year. Because with new donors, success is all about long-term value. This resource will also help you assess both initial appeal performance and subsequent gift giving so you can determine net value for new donors and improve performance moving forward.
Major and Legacy Giving
Click-it: How to Let Your Donors Know about Expiring Tax Benefits [Download free email template]. There are two tax benefits ending 12-31-21. You can be of service to your donors if you alert them. It’s a generous way to facilitate philanthropy and, just maybe, receive a larger gift than would otherwise have been the case. I always say “If you want gifts, you must give them.” The planned giving experts at Stelter agree.
Click-it: Donor Pipeline Assessment: Understand the Health of Your Donor Pipeline [Download free new tool].One of the most important things for any fundraising leader to know is how to assess the health of their organization’s donor pipeline. But many leaders are never given the tools and training to know how to get this information and what to look for. This Veritus Group Assessment gives you a framework showing how to get started in understanding your pipeline, where you may have an imbalance, and how your pipeline has been trending so you can address problem areas.
Online Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: Write a Better Fundraising Email [Download free fundraising email template]. Trust me, you can’t live without this resource from NextAfter! Use it for your year-end emails. Use it all year long. You’ll find tips for all different email frameworks: Problem/Solution; Story-driven; Testimonial; Humanized Design; Recurring Donation and more.
Strategy and Management
Click-it: The 10X Campaign Planner for Nonprofits [Download free Excel template]. Get ready for the New Year with this campaign planning template from Rally Corp.
Click-it: Nonprofit Website Design: 13 Best Practices for Killer Sites. This is formatted as an article, but it’s really a complete guide to help you create a website that helps you fulfill all your objectives. This is a true gift from the folks at Qgiv! You’ll learn: (1) how good design can help; (2) what website design encompasses and how elements should work together; (3) what you should include (in detail), and (4) 13 best practices. At least take the recommended “5-second test.”
Did You Miss My Newest Articles?
- A Revolutionary Way to Influence Year-End Philanthropy
- Ask Not What Your Donor Can Do For You…
- Never Break These 3 Donor Acknowledgment Rules
- How Often Should You Mail to Your Nonprofit Donors?
- How “Because I Said So” Gets Donors to Give to Your Nonprofit
- Why Do People Make Philanthropic Legacy Gifts?
Finally… if you have a question, any question…
Check out my free fundraising advice column on the Bloomerang blog! Ask your question here. Or email me with it directly. NEW: What to Do When You’re Notified about a Legacy Gift.
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, you can get in on the fun here!
My motto is: “If I know it, I want you to know it.” Don’t miss out.
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