As you know, I love to curate the best of what I find across the web and offer it up to you here in bite size pieces. There’s a LOT to chew on in this issue because … I just found that many great resources for you! Find a topic that interests you, and… click away! Whatever type of learner you are, there’s something here for you.
Sometimes you’ll find tactical advice. Sometimes it’s theory and science underlying the tactics. And sometimes it’s about adjusting approaches to the work in ways that can make a significant difference, not just in what you accomplish but in how you feel.
Speaking of feeling, I’m moved to share this musing from a writer and graphic artist I hold in high esteem:
We, as humans, like to categorize. It makes the world easier to digest.
We fit the people around us into labels: users, coworkers, competitors.
Then they’re no longer just people – they’re the boxes we’ve put them into. And we’ve removed the burden of feeling compassion.
Which is total nonsense.
The world runs on compassion. The world celebrates compassion.
We need to find that presence in ourselves.
We are only as much as what we can give to others.
— Hugh MacLeod, Gaping Void
It is my sincere pleasure and honor to help you find the ideas, strategies, templates and tools you need to make our world a better place. Thanks again to my Clairity Click-it sponsor, Bloomerang, who have stood with me and you throughout these rapidly changing times.
Thank you for doing such vital and compassionate work, and giving to others on a regular basis,
P.S. Want to resolve to be an active learner next year? Your support via enrollment in ‘Clairification School’ means a lot, and I am deeply appreciative. This is what enables me to deliver original articles direct to your in-box every week, give you access to all my webinars, and offer up exclusive monthly tips, bonuses and more!
Clairity Click-it, Your Nonprofit Ticket to…
SPECIAL FEATURE: THREATS
So much is troubling in our world right now – it’s harder than ever to keep up. And equally hard to know what to do to be helpful. While we all do our parts in our work – as best we can – I thought I would share some viewpoints that stood out for me over the past couple of weeks. What else can we do? What we’re doing now doesn’t seem to be enough to meet the moment.
Click-it: Noam Chomsky: “We’re approaching the most dangerous point in human history” [Listen/watch or read transcript]. Now age 93, Chomsky has lived a life. Here he talks about the unprecedented climate catastrophe and threat of nuclear war. Chomsky’s perspective is unique. His own father was born in Ukraine, his mother in Belarus, and he lived through the rise of Hitler – writing about the dangers in his elementary school paper. If you’re concerned about threats to democracy and humanity, take a look or listen.
Click-it: Each of Us Must Do Our Part. The sagacious Roger Craver of the Agitator-DonorVoice weighs in on the threat to democracy and resistance to totalitarianism. He finds this threat even more fundamental than climate crisis or war. Interested in his reasons? It’s a quick read.
Click-it: How to Create and Grow Your Donor Base from Scratch. If you’re new, young or just don’t have many individual donors, check out this article on the Qgiv blog. There’s a certain order to growing your donor base, and this will set you on the right path.
Annual (Year-Round) Giving
Click-it: The Distance. From Steven Screen, the Better Fundraising Co., comes this super simple concept that will help you do absolutely everything better. Appeals. Emails. Newsletters. You name it. This may seem like common sense, but… are you doing it? Religiously?
Click-it: Fundraising appeals: think before you act. Mary Cahalane, Hands-On Fundraising has a way of always writing the articles I meant to write. This is a particularly useful one, because you should never do anything without clear intention. And since your fundraising appeal is your bread and butter – it’s seriously what will nourish your organization, or not – it’s particularly critical you follow the advice outline here. I really like the part about not including any hedges – ways out of giving – for donors.
Click-it: Stop Telling Your Board Members How Much to Give. Cindi Phallen, Create Possibility, offers an inclusive perspective on board giving. What type of expectation for board service should you really be setting, and how much should be about contributed money?
Click-it: Four board tricks you haven’t tried … yet. Andy Robinson, Train Your Board, suggests innovative ways to inspire and engage board members. I’ve been around a long time, and there were some new ideas here I found quite compelling (especially the first one).
Click-it: How to Improve Nonprofit Culture Through Mission and Values Realignment. Does your nonprofit culture and mission sometimes seem at odds? Blue Avocado has a terrific article, complete with case example, to help you assure your culture stays healthy and doesn’t diverge from your stated vision and values.
Click-it: What Makes a Good Non-Profit Leader? This is a wonderful checklist from Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels at the Veritus Group. Culture begins at the top, whether that’s the board, E.D., director of development or anyone else in a leadership position. The value of a leader in a non-profit organization is huge, and who that person is and how they perform will either make or break your organization. This article is well worth your attention.
Click-it: Defining a categorization strategy for donors in your database. Tim Sarrantonio of Neon One has put together this absolutely invaluable intro to setting things up logically in your donor database so you can pull meaningful reports. It’s a bit different for different platforms, and he includes links to many of the major ones so you can compare. I am in awe of the amazing service he is providing with this article in his LinkedIn Connected Fundraising Weekly newsletter. It will help you think through organizing your database storage and usage with great clarity.
Click-it: Michael Gorriarán in NonProfitPRO stresses how a depersonalized donor experience damages donor retention. “Direct mail, email, telemarketing and online solicitation channels are often managed by separate internal organizations and entirely different fundraising agencies. As a result, donors are engaged in multiple ways, frequently with different appeals and solicitation amounts. This fragmented donor communications experience is a pernicious problem in the nonprofit industry.” He advises applying integrated behavioral economics modeling. Say what? Read the article – it’s filled with food for thought.
Major, Capital and Legacy Giving
Click-it: How to Write a Successful Capital Campaign Plan for Your Non-Profit. Joe Garecht brings years of fundraising experience to this primer on how to conduct a capital campaign. It also includes links to other useful resources.
Online Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: Video Tools and the Wall of Love. Video has emerged as a great solution to the challenge of getting and keeping people’s attention. But creating good video is still a big challenge for nonprofits with limited budgets and staff. So Rally Corp is rolling out a new free service to help you make and share videos that connect. Create a quick video (they’ll show you how) and they’ll share it with the world on their Wall of Love.
Click-it: The ingredients of a good fundraising email. Ron Pruitt, 4aGoodCause, makes an analogy to prepping a good meal. You need the right tools, good ingredients, your own special signature, and an audience who will resonate with what you’ve crafted.
Click-it: When fundraising story is in the details: Can I see your character? I encourage you to read anything from Dr. Russell James, and this is no exception. He explains how for donors to want to give, they have to identify with the character you’re asking them to support. Identify = Perspective + Empathy. This changes “a” story into “the donor’s” story. I love this article, and wish I’d written it!
Strategy and Management
Click-it: Fitness Training and Strategic Planning Are More Similar than You Think. Trust Me. Grab this Strategic Planning 101 primer from Amy Bobrick of Merkle, and stop just implementing mindlessly. When you begin with a good strategic plan – you ensure your progression towards a singular, forward-focused goal. And it’s an ongoing process, not a one-and-done. Just like exercise.
Click-it: Does High Inflation Make You Fear for Your Fundraising Efforts?. Read this super solid advice from Michael Rosen, M.L. Innovations. Whatever excuses you hear for not asking robustly right now (e.g., inflation, job market, consumer confidence, other causes taking precedence), know that your donors want to help you. Make it compelling and easy for them.
Click-it: Your Anxiety Might Be Coming From Your Body. Stress leads to anxiety, and that can be really disconcerting to downright debilitating. This article in the Greater Good Science Center magazine is essentially a book review, but I found it reassuring. Hopefully you will too.
WEBINARS, PODCASTS, COURSES & 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: How to Decipher Your Web Analytics (and Use Them to Your Advantage) [Register for free webinar, 4-22-2022]. There’s no point collecting data you don’t use. Learn from Molly Coke at Firespring how to put your analytics to work to optimize future messages, fundraisers and campaigns. Discover insights you can glean from email marketing metrics; how to target audience segments from web analytics; how to analyze data to know what’s working (and what’s not), and more.
Click-it: The Future of Fundraising Events [Download free 30-minute on-demand podcast]. Julia Campbell, the Nonprofit Nation podcast, interviews me about how to manage a fundraising program through times of uncertainty, how to use digital fundraising, and how to change the minds of a board that REALLY wants to continue with an in-person 400 guest gala. Please listen, share with friends, and let us know if you agree or disagree.
Click-it: The Future of Virtual Events 2022 Research Insights [register for free webinar, 4-26-2022]. The folks at Everywhere will reveal new research to help you understand where virtual events have their biggest impact, how charities are using virtual events internally and externally, what good looks like, and how to do it for less time and money. You’ll also get a free written report copy.
Major and Legacy Gifts
Click-it: What Behavioral Science Can Tell Us About Donor Relations and Planned Giving [Register for free session, 4-21-2022]. Ever wonder why people behave against their interests when planning for their futures? The folks at Stelter and Giving Doc asked Dan Ariely, James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University to join them in a discussion ranging from how people’s behaviors may have changed due to the pandemic to how messaging can help nudge people towards desired outcomes.
Online Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: Connect with Your Audience in Six Seconds or Less with Video [Register for free webinar, 4-19-2022]. If you’re overwhelmed, under-resourced, and struggling to make a real impact through content, this session from CauseVox is for you. Emmy-nominated filmmaker and storytelling expert, Rain Bennett, will walk you through how to utilize the power of storytelling via video as a key marketing technique to help hook your audience fast, while keeping them engaged for the long haul. Plus you’ll get new techniques for making the video creation process simple.
Strategy and Management
Click-it: Overcoming the Overhead Myth: Budgeting for an Effective Website, Marketing & Growth [Register for free webinar 4-27-2022]. I’m delighted to host Firespring for one of their amazing, action-packed sessions designed to help you raise more money. It might seem spending more isn’t in the cards for you, but… think again. This webinar will persuade you it’s in your best interest, and show you how to make it possible.
Click-it: How to Convert Your Nonprofit Website Visitors into Donors [Register for free webinar, 4-28-2022]. Join 4aGoodCause for an in-depth discussion on turning your nonprofit website traffic into donations. You’ll get simple examples of content and website design that motivates donors to give.
DOWNLOADABLE GUIDES, WHITE PAPERS & OTHER RESOURCES
Annual (Year-Round) Giving
Click-it: Diamonds in the Rough: A Beginner’s Guide to Finding The Best Donor Prospects Hidden In Your Database [Download free e-Book]. When you have clean donor data, it is much easier to find the “hidden gems” who could give more, become a monthly donor, or leave a bequest. So many of your supporters are sending engagement signals that often go unnoticed. An engaged donor is a terrible thing to waste. That’s why Bloomerang wrote this guide!
Click-it: Donor Journey Study [Download free report]. If you think mail is a thing of the past, you’ll want to check out this data showing running effective multichannel fundraising creates donors three times more valuable than online-only donors. Mile 19 analyzed the donor experience of 108 different nonprofits to help you discover things like: Nuances between being a “general donor” and a “mid-level donor;” Standards for receipting, thank you’s, and welcome packages; how often organizations are sending newsletters, and more.
Click-it: Proven Strategies to Raise Funds During Difficult Times: An Introduction to Disaster Fundraising For Nonprofits [Download free e-Book]. A gift to you, from me and Bloomerang, to help you tap into donor generosity – especially during times like these.
Click-it: The Outlook for Fundraisers & Events in 2022 [Read report summary; Download free e-Guide]. Covid has definitely impacted plans for events, yet in-person events are definitely on the rise this year. Want to see what others recommend? The team at Eventgroove surveyed their customers and events and nonprofits industry experts (me included!) to weigh in with valuable insights into what lies ahead for 2022.
Major and Legacy Gifts
Click-it: Roles & Responsibilities Chart for DOD, MGO, and Admin Support [Download free Resource]. Having the proper administrative support is absolutely vital to any major gifts program. Without it, the Major Gifts Officer will struggle to stay focused on the important job of building meaningful relationships with their donors. The experts at Veritus Group show how to organize the roles and responsibilities of a Director of Development, Major Gift Officer, and admin support to create the right division of labor for each position to be successful.
Mission, Vision and Values
Click-it: Why Should I Give to You? [Register for free, on-demand course – limited time only]. For a limited time, NextAfter is offering free access to an amazing six-module course to help you hone a value proposition that answers a donor’s most burning question. Best of all, everything is based on learnings from over 3,300+ online fundraising experiments – not just gut feelings and “best practices.” This is something I find most nonprofits spend far too little time on, yet it’s critical to your fundraising success. I promise: this is a good use of your time!
Did You Miss My Newest Articles?
- Why Smart Nonprofits Focus on Growing Monthly Giving
- How to Craft a Nonprofit Board Orientation Strategy
- 3 Ridiculously Easy Strategies to Boost Fundraising by 27%
- Fundraising Do’s vs. Don’ts: Monthly Donor Appeal Strategy
- How to Keep Nonprofit Employees Longer with Flexibility
- Key Strategies to Praise, Recognize and Give Meaningful Work Feedback
- Don’t Be Tone Deaf on Ukraine
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!
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. Catch your APRIL tips now! If you’re not yet an enrolled student, you can get in on the fun here!
I shared your article this morning with the President/Founder, and she is ON FIRE!!! She emailed all her staff and volunteers and told them this was the new vision.
– Cheryl Cuttineau, Pet Loss Support
This post really DID foment my pursuit to understand the profession and our work. Completely changed the trajectory of my career and I am so grateful. Required reading for all my students.
— T. Clay Buck, CFRE. Nonprofit Management Certificate program, UNLV
Your material is always thoughtful and realistic. Thank you for your candor and good advice, we have no shortage of fundraising experts who publish regularly, but you are one of the few that I read faithfully.
— Richard Ajulani, Senior Director of Individual Giving, LifeMoves