As you’re planning ahead, and readying your year-end fundraising initiatives, take a little time to think about your communication delivery mediums. Not to mention your message content. Are you reaching the right audiences, and making it easy for them? Are you sharing messaging that’s relevant, and authentically you?
Take some inspiration from the inimitable Seth Godin:
On the West Side Highway in Manhattan, there’s currently a billboard for some sort of placebo supplement. In the corner is a QR code for more information.
Unless the person in the passenger seat has a telephoto lens on their phone, there’s no way in the world that this is going to work.
My late friend Jay Levinson said that the most effective billboard would say, “FREE COFFEE, NEXT EXIT.” A call to action, relevant to the viewer, easy to see and understand.
Actual billboards are a whole category of media, but now we’re surrounded by a new kind, a smaller, more evanescent and common one: Social media posts. You might see a thousand of these a day.
Social media began as text updates from one human to another, but thanks to photo sharing, some of the posts have become something else entirely. A chance to create consistent, actionable and clear reminders of what you are and what you stand for.
But keeping Jay’s edict in mind, they work best when they’re about the viewer as much as they are about you. They work better when they can be seen and understood from a distance. And they work better when they “sound like you.”
I publish the Clairity Click-it to offer all kinds of resources for all kinds of nonprofit consumers. Whatever your role, you’ll find something in this issue to nourish you. So, start digging through the curated content from across the web. I hope it will make your job easier, and more fulfilling. There’s lots to get curious about!
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.
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 your vital work, and helping make our world a better place,
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: YEAR-END PLANNING
Click-it: Roundup: The Best Year-End Fundraising Advice From Nonprofit Consultants. Don’t wait! The time for getting your ducks lined up in a row is now. Here, for the Bloomerang blog, Rachel Muir curates a list of great advice and tips from fundraising consultants.
Click-it: 13 Lucky Year End Fundraising Tips. 50% of nonprofits receive a majority of their annual contributions from October to December. Grab this free eGuide, co-authored by me and Bloomerang, to make sure you put your best foot forward during this most giving season.
Click-it: Plan Your Year-End Communications. Donor Perfect has put together a timeline to help you work through the upcoming four months until year’s end. There are also plenty of tips for scheduling direct mail, email, social media and event text.
Click-it: NO ASK Fundraising Strategies for Board Members. Gail Perry offers up four specific ways to help each board member find a comfortable role where they can personally support fundraising, without having to solicit. As they get more comfortable with these no-ask tasks, ultimately they’ll warm more to the solicitation role as well.
Click-it: All about transparency: Nonprofit annual report tips. Wondering if you should create a printed piece this year and, if so, what’s most effective? Wondering about the alternatives? Look no further than this article from 4aGoodCause for answers.
Click-it: Fundraiser turnover solutions: Transforming the story character. I put this under this category because it’s about how you view the role of the fundraiser. Plus, it ties in nicely to my philosophy: Philanthropy, not fundraising. It may be the best article I’ve ever read on the subject, and I’ve written countless posts exploring the role of the fundraiser as donor guide. No surprise this comes from one of our sector’s treasures, Dr. Russell James. This is seriously good stuff!
Click-it: Are Your Organization’s DEI Efforts Superficial or Structural? This provocative article notes how DEI ends up a mere scaffold, doing little to bring about substantive change. And scaffolds are additive, instead of becoming integral parts of the existing organizational structure. This article in the Harvard Business Review asks what you can do to move DEI to something deeply woven into an organization’s mission, culture, and values. And how you can measure progress.
Digital Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: What REALLY are the Best Times to Post on Social Media in 2023?. If you’re a one-person shop, I wouldn’t worry about this too much. But… sometimes you have a boss, or board, that wants to know you know this stuff. Plus, if you have the bandwidth, putting your best foot forward can definitely increase engagement. To get up to speed, you can’t do better than read anything by digital first guru Neal Schaffer.
Click-it: 6 ways to put more heart into your fundraising today. Another excellent piece by Mary Cahalane, Hands On Fundraising. I like them all, yet # 3 and #5 are where I see many organizations go astray. As Mary says: “Feel the feels.”
Click-it: How To Get the Most Out of Your Donor Thank You Calls. Stop thinking you don’t have time to make these calls. They may be the best strategy you have to establish trust, not to mention a tremendous opportunity to get to know your donors better. Read all about it on the Better Fundraising Co. blog.
Click-it: 5 Hybrid Fundraiser Ideas for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. These ideas from Eventgroove can be used for many types of causes, not just breast cancer awareness. Run, walk, meditate, cook or raffle your way to success!
Click-it: Oh No, the Funder Said No! No doesn’t necessarily mean forever. At least it needn’t mean this, provided you persevere and steward the funder relationship. This article from Kat & Mouse delves into when and how to do this, with foresight, grace and aplomb.
Major and Legacy Giving
Click-it: Majority of Nonprofit Funding Comes from Major Donors: So How are You Reaching Them? Check out this article for Rally Corp. Would you believe nonprofits are unearthing major donors through text-to-give campaigns at events? And nurturing mid-level donors, through text messaging, so they’ll continue and increase their giving. The time for “digital first” has come to major gift fundraising.
Strategy, Management and Planning
Click-it: The Sky Is Not Falling: A Look at the So-Called “Giving Crisis” in Philanthropy. Need an optimism pill? Read this from Jeff Schreifels and Richard Perry of the Veritus Group! They suggest you take all your worry about the economy and the “crisis in giving” and do two things. And do them keeping in mind that, mostly, giving is not about money. It’s about heart. There’s no “Heart Crisis.”
Click-it: Eight tips for building a great donor survey. Laurel McCombs of The Osborne Group shares a slew of useful tips on the Train Your Board blog. From the article, you can also download a free Donor Survey Guide.
Click-it: Choosing a CMS: 3 Tips for Your Nonprofit. Need to build or revamp your website? Unsure where to start? Grab these useful tips from TopNonproifts.
Click-it: Fundraising half-empty or half-full? (Depends on the donor!) This is a thoroughly enjoyable read from Bret Cooper of the Fundraising Writing Newsletter. It’s about reframing your appeal, depending on whether you’re talking to new or ongoing donors. What you’ll learn may surprise you! Hint: It’s related to two different psychological triggers: social proof vs. fear of loss.
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: Amp Up Your Appeal’s Persuasive Power with Research from Psychology and Neuroscience [Register for free webinar, 9-1-2022]. To be a donor-centric fundraiser requires an understanding of how donors make decisions. If you know what encourages/discourages giving, you can hugely influence donor choices. Learn about the emerging field of fundraising psychology in my live session for Bloomerang. I’ll share some of my favorite “tricks” to help you connect with triggers most likely to influence would-be donors to say “yes” to your fundraising offers.
Click-it: Get Your Board to Help You Fundraise—Even if They Don’t Wanna! [Register for free webinar, 9-6-2022]. Firespring webinars always deliver, and in this one you’ll learn how to: (1) Assess your board’s fundraising personality;(2) Motivate your board members to fundraise; (3) Set goals and kick off campaigns; (4) Make individual plans and assignments; (5) track without nagging, and much more! Sounds useful, right?
Click-it: Online Donor Acquisition [Register to activate free course]. This awesome 6-Session Course is available from NextAfter for free, up through September 9th. It will only take you 4.5 hours to complete, and you needn’t do so in one sitting. Take advantage, and learn oodles of stuff you can use for fundraising Sept—Dec. It’s a 4-step online donor acquisition model that can be used over a wide variety including web traffic, email, Facebook advertising, Google Ad grants, and more.
Strategy, Management and Planning
Click-it: Charting Your First 100 Days for the New Development Director [Register for free webinar, 8-25-2022]. In a new position, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. It helps to have clear expectations. In this Bloomerang webinar with Pamela Grow, learn: (1) How to quickly evaluate your fundraising program; (2) How to create easy wins to impress your board and boss; (3) Who to meet with first; (4) How to identify what makes your nonprofit stand out; (5) How to identify red flags; (6) How to generate introductions to prospective donors, and more!
Click-it: Fundraising in the Face of Inflation, Recession and Other Storms [Register for free sessions, 9-14 & 15, 2022]. Join the folks from Moceanic and learn how to weather any storm. Stay through to the end and you’ll get a free “Crisis Appeal Starter Template.”
DOWNLOADABLE GUIDES, WHITE PAPERS & OTHER RESOURCES
Digital Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: The Ultimate Text Messaging Checklist for Nonprofits [Download free resource]. Grab this from Rally Corp, the experts at text messaging to drive engagement and investment.
Click-it: Why Is Your Social Media Content NOT Working. Understand your social media audience better, get a content cheat sheet, learn which channels you can eliminate, and get tips to proactively engage. Dana Snyder of Equa+ion breaks it all down.
Click-it: The Big Social Media Guide for Nonprofits [Download free resource]. The experts at Classy have pulled together key stats and trends about every network, fun and creative campaign ideas, actionable tips to improve donor engagement on each social channel, and concrete examples of visual storytelling to enable you to demonstrate impact.
Click-it: Peer to Peer Event Success Toolkit [Download free e-Guide]. This toolkit from Qgiv includes a hybrid event planner, an eBook full of hybrid & virtual event ideas, email and social media templates for peer-to-peer participants, and more!
Click-it: Donors in the Post-COVID Era. Grab the data from two significant research projects conducted by TrueSense Marketing. Then get actionable ways to apply these findings to your fundraising efforts this year.
Did You Miss My Newest Articles?
Why are You Cutting Down Trees and Asking Me to Pay For It? 5 Cardinal Sins for Fundraising Renewal Appeals (aka, making a poor 2nd impression)
5 More Top Strategies to Prepare for Fall Fundraising
Top 5 Strategies to Prepare for Fall Fundraising NOW
What Monkeys Can Teach Your Nonprofit
How to Persuade New Donors to Join Your Nonprofit Mission
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 a new one: Who Are The Best Endowment Campaign Prospects For A Local Historic Charity?
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. AUGUST tips are now live! If you’re not yet an enrolled student, you can get in on the fun here!
If there were a Mount Rushmore for Philanthropy, Claire Axelrad would certainly be on it. Every nonprofit would benefit by ditching forgettable fundraising in favor of passionate philanthropy with Claire.”
– Jay Wilkinson, Founder & CEO of Firespring
I just think Claire Axelrad is the most thought provoking and on point fundraiser I’ve ever heard. She has the answers I need to hear.
— Katora Cole, Chief Development Officer, Orchards Children’s Services
Her blog is just a wealth of wisdom. What’s particularly notable about Clairification is that although the work is based on decades of past experience, Claire is always looking forward as well. She’s a great resource!
–Keith Heller, CEO, Heller Consulting
My motto is: “If I know it, I want you to know it.” Don’t miss out.
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