Feeling these days like you’re constantly bracing for something, and the amount of risks on the horizon can feel overwhelming?
In Solving for stress, Seth Godin writes: “The solution to stress isn’t reassurance. It’s accurately understanding the world as it is, and making choices about what we do and how we do it. But far more than that, we relieve stress by making choices about the stories we tell ourselves.”
Donors do the same thing. And the story most people want to tell themselves is they’re a good, kind, caring person. They’re making a difference to someone other than themselves. They’re being part of the solution. Your job, as a philanthropy facilitator, is to help them tell their story so they like who they see when they look in the mirror.
Do you need a little help with this?
Seth Godin also says: “If we’re hungry, the obvious solution is to eat something.”
I publish the Clairity Click-it precisely to give you food for thought. Fuel, if you will, to ignite the creative process that will enable you to go from good to great. To ask yourself, “how could we do this better?”
So, eat up! This issue has plenty to nourish you. Start digging through this issue’s curated content from across the web. I hope it will make your job less stressful, and more fun.
As always, a big thank you 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!
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…
SPECIAL FEATURE: APRES LE DELUGE
Click-it: Fundraising With the “R” Word. If a global recession hits, what will that mean for your fundraising. This article from DoGoodBetter consulting attempts to answer that question, providing three specific strategies and lots of food for thought as you plan to navigate the current and coming zeitgeist.
Click-it: The Only Reason Your Non-Profit Should Be Worried About the Economy. Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels, Veritus Group, argue for the benefits of hedging against down times by planning ahead for a disciplined approach to mid-level, major and legacy giving.
Click-it: Coronavirus & Nonprofits: Resources for Responding to COVID-19. This is an opportune time to revisit some of the wonderful resources developed during the pandemic, and Wired Impact has compiled an amazing compendium. Whether you need help preparing in uncertain times for fundraising, marketing, leadership, volunteers, events, technology – and so much more – it’s all here. No need to reinvent the wheel – or even do your own internet searches!
Annual (Year-Round) Fundraising
Click-it: A Message Built of Concrete. A quick read, and in important one, to remind you when crafting your appeal letter to make sure it’s concrete and not abstract. From the wonderful editors at the Agitator-DonorVoice.
Click-it: How to Build Relationships With Your Monthly Donors. You’ll find lots of actionable tips in this post from Ann Green, both for new and ongoing recurring donors. Most nonprofits do a pretty wimpy job of this, so if you do a good one, you’ll stand out. In a good way.
Click-it: The Donor Funnel Vs. Donor Journey. If you’re still using a one-size-fits-all approach to your marketing and fundraising communications, it’s time to harness the power of digital to help you tailor approaches to donors based on how they’re already engaging with you. Eventgroove offers some important food for thought.
Click-it: Your Board Meeting Agendas Probably Stink. Creating effective board meeting agendas is an art and a science. Please read this piece from Cindi Phallen, Create Possibility. You’ll learn how to organize board meetings so they’re win/win/win, for you, your organization and your board members. Plan ahead so you know what you want to accomplish. Information sharing? Discussion? Action?
Click-it: What your next print newsletter should be like. Steven Screen offers practical tips on The Better Fundraising Co. blog.
Digital Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: How to Use Texting to Drive Year-End Fundraising for Your Nonprofit. When you learn 90% of text messages get opened and read in 5 minutes, vs. email open rates averaging 22%, your ears should perk up. What’s the point of spending all your resources crafting emails folks will never see? With mobile use rising, it’s the perfect time to invest in texting as a strategy. The folks at Rally Corp are the experts; here they offer some practical tips.
Click-it: 10 Years of Decoding What Works in Online Fundraising. The folks at NextAfter work with hundreds of nonprofits to help them optimize their digital fundraising, and this includes lots of A/B tests. They’re so generous to share some of their most useful findings here. The experiment about the “downgraded ask” blew my mind! A lot of these results may surprise you. If you’ve been using intuition, rather than science, maybe you should take a look.
Click-it: Improve your supporters’ online experience to raise your fundraising results. James Herlihy of Dutch agency Mindwize shares his essential steps for avoiding a poor online donor experience on the SOFII blog. This article offers all sorts of examples so you can borrow from the best!
Click-it: How to Create and Grow Your Donor Base from Scratch. How do you attract donors to your nonprofit when you don’t already have a strong base to draw from? The experts at Qgiv suggest six strategies, plus a bonus to sustain you once the attraction job has been a success.
Click-it: The Best (and WORST) Fundraising Events for Your Nonprofit. I love this post from Patrick Kirby, DoGoodBetter, because, reading through it, I kept chuckling aplenty and thinking “I’ve SO been there.” This is excellent advice, all the way through. By the way, the walkathon can also be a bowlathon, or any kind of “thon” you can dream up!
Major and Legacy Giving
Click-it: 7 Warning Signs You’re NOT Ready for a Capital Campaign. If you’re thinking about a capital campaign, you owe it to your organization to read this article from Amy Eisenstein, Capital Campaign Toolkit. From here you can download a free capital campaign assessment tool.
Click-it: The 4 Types of Legacy Gift Asks. According to planned giving expert Dr. Russell James, there are four types of legacy gift asks. Greg Warner of Market Smart explains, noting which one you use depends on the quality and depth of your relationship with the donor. They range from simple, soft, and softer to softest. Which one is right for your donor?
Mission Statement and Value Proposition
Click-it: 50 Example Nonprofit Mission Statements. Top Nonprofits has put together a wide range of examples, and given them each a grade. See how yours compares, and grab some great guidelines for writing or edition your statement!
Strategy, Management and Planning
Click-it: What Makes a Great Fundraiser? The churning and burning of too many fundraisers is discussed here on the Nonprofit Hub blog. What can you do not just to attract the folks likely to stick around, but also to offer them the support and tools that will ensure this outcome?
Click-it: Meetings and Events: 4 Questions to Design and Lead Inclusive, Interactive Meetings—Virtual or In-Person. If you find meetings aren’t really working for you, be sure to read this excellent piece by Renee Rubin Ross, The Ross Collective, in the AFP International magazine. It covers agendas, openings, agreements, equity and more.
Click-it: 8 Must-Have Tools For Your Fundraising Toolkit. I tried to pick my top two or three from this list by Sandy Rees, Get Fully Funded, and I just couldn’t do it. They’re all important! Perhaps the one I find, surprisingly, many nonprofits have trouble with is #3. And, alas, #5 and #6.
Click-it: Myth vs. Fact: Do Crypto Donations Have Real-World Value? Did you know there’s a whole newsletter devoted to nonprofit cryptocurrency donations? It’s from The Giving Block, and this article is a good one to get you started thinking about how accepting crypto may work to your nonprofit’s benefit.
Click-it: How to conduct a nonprofit website content audit. Your website is the hub of your content marketing strategy and has a huge impact on fundraising success. If you’re the fundraiser, you need to have input. Not just into the donation pages, but everything else too. How you present yourself, how easy your site is to navigate… everything impacts the impression folks get when they search for your cause and visit your site. Check out this article on the 4aGoodCause website.
Other Learning Opportunities
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) Giving
Click-it: Cut Costs and Get Creative with Nonprofit Appeals [Register for free webinar, 7-22-2022]. I’m delighted to welcome Firespring director of nonprofit solutions, Kiersten Hill, to join the Clairification community for this special session to help you plan for your fall and year-end campaigns – even if you’re in cost-cutting mode. You’ll get: 10 secrets to cutting costs with printing and mailing; 5 surefire ways to invigorate your direct mail, and 4 strategies to maximize your impact.
Major and Legacy Gift Fundraising
Click-it: What I learned from 100 days of rejection. This quick, and funny, TED talk by Jia Jiang could be entitled “How to Fulfill Your Life Dream by Asking.” It’s perfect for major gift fundraising, because this is where fear of rejection gets in our way big time. Thanks to Marc Pitman for alerting me to this wonderful resource. Don’t let rejection get you down! Embrace it, persevere, and turn rejection into opportunity.
Strategy, Management and Planning
Click-it: The Nonprofit Marketing Summit [Register for free 3-day online conference, 8-16-18, 2022]. This is jam-packed with content, and will help you with just about everything as you plan ahead for year-end fundraising and beyond. It features 60+ high-impact sessions led by nonprofit industry leaders from organizations including TikTok, Meta aka Facebook, Twitter, TechSoup, Charity Water and many more! Brought to us all by Community Boost.
DOWNLOADABLE GUIDES, WHITE PAPERS & OTHER RESOURCES
Case for Support
Click-it: Creating a Case Statement: Step-by-Step Guidebook [Download free resource]. As we head towards prime fundraising season, one of the things you must be really clear about is your case for support. This step-by-step guidebook from Nonprofit Learning Lab will help you describe your purpose and rationale for fundraising. Also included are activities and worksheets to guide executive leadership, board members, and staff on developing your core content. Use these resources during staff meetings, training, and retreats.
Click-it: 13 Year End Fundraising Tips [Download free e-Guide]. Here’s a guide I authored for Bloomerang, specifically designed to help you get all your ducks in a row – now! – so this year’s end-of-calendar-year fundraising is your best ever! Now’s the time to start “pre-suading” donors with non-solicitation communications. You’ll find plenty of practical tips here.
Did You Miss My Newest Articles?
- S’WOT’s Up? The Future, That’s What: Your Crystal Ball for Business Success
- Important News about Relationship Fundraising: Stop Losing Donors
- What’s Going On? What Can We Do?
- Play to Your Strengths: Where Do You Add Most Value?
- Be Your Donor Week
- Proven 1-2-3 to Nonprofit Fundraising Success
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! You’ll find a new one published today!
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. JULY tips are now live! If you’re not yet an enrolled student, you can get in on the fun here!
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As always, your content is superlative, Claire — it’s just loaded with actionable advice. You are at the top of my list of NPO advisors/consultants. The $100 you charge for Clairification is a bargain, so thank you for being so very reasonable in helping NPOs accomplish their missions!
–Craig Cline, NPO Advisor
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!
The best article we have ever read about inspiring individuals to give. It brought such clarity!
— Thelma Rowens, United Community Center
My motto is: “If I know it, I want you to know it.” Don’t miss out.