June is about to bust out all over. Please, take a deep breath and some time to smell the flowers. Re-energize a bit, so you’ve got fuel to get back to your important role in making our world — even if just a small corner of it — a better place. What you do means a lot.
“Life is not primarily a quest for pleasure, as Freud believed, or a quest for power, as Alfred Adler taught, but a quest for meaning. The greatest task for any person is to find meaning in his or her life.
— Viktor Frankl
Your job as a philanthropy facilitator is to create meaning for supporters. It’s the gift you give, in exchange for the gift they offer. And it’s a noble pursuit.
I follow the musings of Hugh MacLeod, a highly-regarded author and artist who writes on the themes of innovation, creativity, and motivation. I love this:
“Culture is at its core, about creating meaning. Designing purpose. it is about finding that which unites us all. In such work, eventually, your travels will lead you to the great Viktor’s work.
An Austrian Jew, when he was interred in Auschwitz, he noticed that the people who lost all sense of hope were the first to die, and the people who survived were the ones who could still find meaning in their lives, could still find hope, despite their grim circumstances.
This informed his famous idea that the search for “meaning” is the great driver of human experience, which he wrote about in his classic book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”.
We are here to find meaning. That is as true in your business office as it is behind the counter at a convenience store, or working for NASA or Apple, or serving in the US Marine Corps. That is our central driver.
And a good leader never forgets it.
— Hugh MacLeod, The Gaping Void
A good philanthropy facilitator never forgets this either.
I’m here again with my curated list of good stuff across the web designed to make your job of delivering happiness and bringing meaning easier. Thanks again to my Clairity Click-it sponsor, Bloomerang, for making it possible for me to spend the time hunting and gathering.
Find a topic that interests you, and… click away! Whatever type of learner you are, there’s something here for you. Tactical advice. Theory and science. New approaches. Stuff to read. Stuff to listen to. Stuff to watch.
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.
Thank you for doing such vital 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…
Annual (Year-Round) Giving
Click-it: The 12 Donor Archetypes – How to Tap into Donor Identities and Generate Bigger Gifts. People identify differently. Accordingly, they give for different reasons. Want to take a deep dive with Greg Warner of Market Smart into 12 different types of donors so you can better tailor your fundraising offers to mesh with their life outlooks? It’s fascinating stuff.
Click-it: 10 Ways to Find Monthly Donors for Your Small Nonprofit, This is a great article from Sandy Rees, Get Fully Funded, explaining several ways monthly giving can be a game changer for your organization. Plus it’s filled with action tips, including how much to ask for, who to ask, and how to retain and upgrade these donors.
Click-it: Peer-To-Peer Fundraising and Your Nonprofit: Why It’s Amazing and How To Use It. Learn from the experts at Eventgroove what P2P fundraising is and is not, and how it can dramatically boost your fundraising results. It’s filled with ideas to get your juices flowing!
Click-it: How to Fire Utterly Toxic Nonprofit Board Members. What do you do if board members are more harmful than helpful? Amy Eisenstein weighs in with a 5-step plan.
Click-it: Should Board Members Be Required to Donate? Joan Garry, Nonprofits are Messy, makes a persuasive case. I happen to agree. It’s because of the two words she says are the most powerful words in what she calls the “ask choreography.”
Culture and Values
Click-it: It Takes 2 Cultures to Make a Great Nonprofit — and That Can Be Hard!. Read this piece from Jeff Brooks on the Moceanic blog for a blueprint to developing an embracing culture of philanthropy – everyone rowing in the same direction. You need this to succeed with both fundraising and programs.
Click-it: Why Organizational Values Matter to Fundraising and Strategy. A recent survey of high-net-worth individuals found the greatest criteria determining their selection of organizations for investment was their values. Values are the basis for what you stand for and stand behind. When is the last time your team revisited yours? Renee Rubin Ross has some suggestions for how to do this on the NonprofitPRO blog.
Digital Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: Social Marketing and Google Ads That Get a Response. Your goal should not be “use social marketing.” That’s a tool, not a goal. This article from Beeline aims to refocus your efforts so you use you marketing to build active relationships, not simply passive opens, likes or follows. Quality of interaction trumps quantity.
Click-it: Nonprofit Fundraisers Are In The Happiness Delivery Business. I firmly believe if you reframe your work from “fundraising” to “happiness delivery,” you’ll retain more donors and feel a whole lot better about what you do. Check out my 9 strategies to create happier, more generous donors in this article for the Bloomerang blog.
Major and Legacy Gifts
Click-it: Inflation and a Troubled Economy Should Not Affect Giving. Hand wringing is not an effective fundraising strategy. Jeff Schreifels and Richard Perry of the Veritus Group describe why you should not succumb to it, and what to do instead. This approach turned out to be important during the pandemic; it’s equally important now.
Click-it: Creatively Connecting With Donors When They Are Busy. I have to share this article from Patrick Kirby, Do Good Better, because it echoes a lot of advice I often give. Here are some great ways to connect with donors, even when they’re otherwise occupied. Take a look!
Strategy and Management
Click-it: Do The Opposite? I love what Kevin Schulman has to say in this post on the Agitator-DonorVoice blog. It reminds me we often act with a lot of common sense in our personal lives. Our board members act with common sense in their professional lives. We know about debt, and taking considered risks in our portfolios in order not to stagnate, and investing in education, and saving for a rainy day or future big purchase… and so on. Yet, somehow, when we cross the thresholds of our nonprofits we tend to immediately take off our common-sense hats. Not too smart.
Click-it: Update Your LinkedIn Profile… Now. This piece by Josh Steimle in Entrepreneur will help you keep your profile relevant, showcasing all your skills and experience. Learn how the LinkedIn algorithm functions, how to build authority in your niche, and generally how to put your best foot forward.
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!
Annual (Year-Round) Fundraising
Click-it: Monthly Giving Made Easy 101 [Register for free webinar, 6-8-2022]. Monthly donors give higher than average gifts and renew at a much higher rate than one-time donors. If you don’t have a robust program to generate these gifts, what are you waiting for? Top Nonprofits is hosting one of the world’s experts on monthly giving, Erica Waasdorp, to teach you all the steps involved to start and organize a monthly donor program — using tools you already have in place.
Click-it: Essentials Only—Basic Segmenting of Donor Communications [Register for free webinar, 6-14-2022]. Too often nonprofits never get around to donor segmentation. It seems like too much work, or maybe just not necessary. Wrong! It may be one of the best ways to generate a higher return on your investment. Join Qgiv and Kennari Consulting as they dive into the basics of this essential marketing and fundraising strategy.
Click-it: Fundraising Refreshments: Do you have good age data on your donors? [Register for free 20-minute webinar, 6-2-2022]. Different generations respond in different ways, so understanding the age of your donors is key to connecting with them. If you don’t have age information for your donors, and wish to learn how to get it, sign up for this practical session from the RKD Group.
Digital Marketing and Fundraising
Click-it: 10 Proven SMS Templates to Improve Donor Retention [Grab free samples and/or attend a free workshop]. Do you know what SMS is, and do you use it? James Martin of Rally Corp is an expert (and fanatic) on “Short Messaging Service,” a way to send short text-only messages between phones. If you want to stand out, grab attention, convey urgency or say thank you in a timely manner – this is a tool you should be using. Learn the 4 types of text messages to use, depending on your goals.
Click-it: Donor Segmentation Template [Download free resources]. The more personal and targeted your donor communications, the more donors you’ll retain and the more revenue you’ll raise. The folks at Fundraising KIT have developed this template precisely to help you sort the wheat from the chaff.
Click-it: Authors Beth Kanter and Allison Fine think about humanizing AI in fundraising [Listen to on-demand podcast]. Wonder what role AI should play in your organization? Think it’s scary? “Smart tech” is the next chapter in the evolution of strategic fundraising. Tune into this RKD Group Thinkers podcast with the experts who wrote “The Smart Nonprofit: Staying Human-Centered in An Automated World,” to learn how nonprofits can humanize digital fundraising.
Click-it: Tom Ahern on Digital Fundraising [Listen to 5-minute video]. Listen to Tom Ahern expound on why, despite the fact most donors’ prime giving years are age 55+, you should be active on social media. Don’t assume these mature folks don’t use it. And don’t ignore this very powerful messaging and engagement channel. The kicker? You have to do it the right way, using fundamental development (aka marketing and sales) principles. Thanks to Julie Cooper for sharing this in the Fundraising Writing Newsletter.
Click-it: Many Ways To Test Your Digital Fundraising [Listen to on-demand podcast]. You owe it to yourself to listen, and use, this awesome template of self-audit approaches for all your online strategies. Jeremy Haselwood, Fundraisers Unite, joins Tony Martignetti for Nonprofit Radio.
Major, Capital and Legacy Giving
Click-it: Setting Yourself Up for a Successful First Meeting [Register for free webinar, 6-2-2022]. Learn to collect the information you need to assure you’re targeting the right prospects for cultivation and solicitation. Given limited staff and resources, you’ll want to equip yourself with research tools and strategies to assure successful connections. Experts from Firespring and The Fundraising Academy have your back.
Click-it: DonorPerfect Community Conference 2022 [Register for free 6-7 and 6-8 event]. How about a whole free conference, where you can pick and choose from a whole line-up of experts? In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to enroll in four follow-up workshops – also free. You can’t pass this up, right?
DOWNLOADABLE GUIDES, WHITE PAPERS & OTHER RESOURCES
Click-it: We Don’t Write So Good [Download free copywriting research study]. NextAfter used Donor Voice’s Copy Optimizer to analyze 2,000 emails from 80 organizations across 8 verticals and uncovered that all organizations have room to improve their copywriting skills. Particularly in the areas of readability and storytelling. Use this to benchmark your own efforts. How well do you think you’re doing? Get practical tips to improve and lots of samples of A/B tests. This is useful stuff!
Digital Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: Writing for SEO [Download free e-Book]. You want eyes on your website, yet competition is fierce. That’s why you need this free Guide from Firespring! Their SEO experts and copywriters take you behind the scenes of creating website content and teach you how to write for SEO in a way that will not only resonate with your online audience, but get you in good with Google and other search engines as well.
Click-it: Nonprofit Marketing + Fundraising Trends for 2022 [Download free resource]. Sometimes, for context, it’s helpful to benchmark your work against other similar organizations. Plus, often your boss or board will ask you what’s trending. It’s nice to have answers, and there are plenty in this recently released report from Hubspot: statistics, trends, insights, real-life examples to learn from; a sample marketing plan and more.
Did You Miss My Newest Articles?
- Proven Strategies to Take Charge of Major Donor Asks
- 3 Nonprofit Secrets to Rock Major Gift Fundraising
- 6 Steps to Fuel Your Major Gift Journey
- How to Raise Money with Nonprofit Newsletters
- What to Say When Your Donor Asks: How Much do you Spend on Overhead?
- So, Your Nonprofit Donor Wants to Give Cryptocurrency?
- Deep Dive into Cryptocurrency for Nonprofits
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 you may find helpful: Priorities: Major vs. Mid-Level Giving?
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. MAY tips are now live! If you’re not yet an enrolled student, you can get in on the fun here!
I read your article on ‘how not to ask for a major gift’ yesterday. It totally changed my approach to donor communications, and has already made a difference – thank you!
–Mike Craig, Director of Development, Study Liberty
Your writings are so helpful! I’ve been in nonprofits for many years and recently took on a crazy challenge to build a culture of philanthropy and successful funding plan for a 70 year-old NP that has never raised money. I look forward to learning more!
— Paige McFarling, Ten Thousand Villages
I came across your website and I hit the goldmine! Thank you for sharing so much valuable information!!
– Erica Martinez