Human beings are often more effective when we’re a bit self-effacing. “I think,” “Perhaps,” or “I might be missing something, but…” are fine ways to give our assertions a chance to be considered.
The solar-powered LED calculator we used in school did no such thing. 6 x 7 is 42, no ifs, ands or buts.
Part of the magic of Google search was that it was not only cocky, it was often correct. The combination of its confidence and its utility made it feel like a miracle.
Of course, Google was never completely correct. It rarely found exactly the right page every time. That was left to us. But the aura of omnipotence persisted–in fact, when Google failed, we were supposed to blame evil black-hat SEO hackers, not an imperfect algorithm and a greedy monopolist.
And now, ChatGPT shows up with fully articulated assertions about anything we ask it.
I’m not surprised that one of the biggest criticisms we’re hearing, even from insightful pundits, is that it is too confident. That it announces without qualification that biryani is part of a traditional South Indian tiffin, but it’s not.
Would it make a difference if every single response began, “I’m just a beta of a program that doesn’t actually understand anything, but human brains jump to the conclusion that I do, so take this with a grain of salt…”
In fact, that’s our job.
When a simple, convenient bit of data shows up on your computer screen, take it with a grain of salt.
Not all email is spam.
Not all offers are scams.
And not all GPT3 responses are incorrect.
But it can’t hurt to insert your own preface before you accept it as true.
Overconfidence isn’t the AI’s problem. There are lots of cultural and economic shifts that it will cause. Our gullibility is one of the things we ought to keep in mind.
— Seth Godin
I share this with you because we’re in an era of digital disruption. And I’m sure you’ve been hearing a lot about AI, ChatGPT, and what this all means for you and your nonprofit moving forward. I published an article on this topic earlier this week, and I love what Seth Godin has to say here.
Whenever anyone says anything with utmost confidence, asserting to be truth that which may be decidedly the opposite, it is our job as discerning human beings to sort the wheat from the chaff. If you, like me, are tired of people parroting what they heard on their news media bubble, or their social media feed, or their next-door-neighbor, without even attempting to independently verify the information, you owe it to yourself to take it with at least a grain of salt. Until you can learn more, and confirm. [This is why my articles are generally undergirded by research, data, opinions for other experts and the like; it’s not just me pontificating.]
The Clairity Click-it exists to bring you a range of voices from across the nonprofit world so you can resource, learn and digest at your own pace, coming to your own decisions. My hope is some of the free resources I’ve collected and curated for you will energize and enthuse you as you work towards guiding others on the pathway to passionate philanthropy. As always, a big thank you to my Clairity Click-it sponsor, Bloomerang, for making it possible for me to spend the hours of time hunting, gathering and choosing the resources I believe will be most useful as you.
Thank you for doing your vital work, and making our world a better place,
P.S. Your support via enrollment in ‘Clairification School’ means a lot, and I am deeply appreciative. It is my honor 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) Fundraising
Click-it: How to convince your nonprofit to start a monthly giving program. Stop delaying. I’ve been telling you for years this should be one of your top priorities if you want to retain and upgrade more donors. The average monthly donor gives 5 – 7 years. In 2022, the recurring gift average for 4aGoodCause clients was $63 per month. $63 per month x 12 months per year x 7 years equals $5,292 per donor. Grab some guidance on monthly giving by reading this article and clicking on the additional resources offered (including a free webinar with monthly giving guru, Erica Waasdorp).
Click-it: The Big Shift. Steven Screen, the Better Fundraising Co., explains how a simple shift in thinking and approach can make all the difference in direct response fundraising. You’ll raise more money this way, and you’ll also make your life easier. Win/win.
Click-it: The 5 Step Strategy for Getting Your Board Members Engaged in Fundraising. Want to get your board members more engaged in the fundraising process? Joe Garecht suggests five tried-and-true strategies.
Click-it: How to Prep Your Church for Sunday. This article for the Rally Corp blog, was written to help churches with ongoing constituent engagement. The engagement mechanism in this case? Texting. Because it’s so human. Whether or not you’re a faith-based organization, I’m sure you can find a way to adapt these ideas to meet your relationship-building needs.
Click-it: The secret to retaining digital donors after year-end season. Building on a recent study around what donors want, Evan Arcoria on the RKD Group Thinkers blog dives into what you can do to keep donors involved. There are also some good links here to other resources.
Digital and Online Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: Remember When? Roger Craver, the Agitator-DonorVoice, suggests simple steps to make your email programs more effective, and donors more loyal and generous. Read the examples and you’ll understand the value of testing. Because what was true yesterday isn’t necessarily true today. Big takeaway: “Keep your fundraising emails simple, uncluttered, and personal. Make them feel like they’re from a person, not an organization.”
Click-it: When is the Best Time to Post on LinkedIn in 2023? Not using LinkedIn? Did you know LI has one of the highest-earning and most educated bases on social media? 51% are college-educated, with half earning more than $75,000 annually. Neal Schaffer, one of my digital marketing “go-to’s,” has written a complete primer on how to make LinkedIn one of your most effective communication channels. This article covers much more than just timing.
Click-it: Why You Should Never Pay a Fundraiser a Commission, Just in case you’ve never signed off on the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Code of Ethics, here’s an explanation from Kevin Fitzpatrick on the Market Smart blog of why commissions and bonuses tied to amount of money raised are a very bad idea.
Click-it: 6 Creative Winter Peer-To-Peer Fundraising Ideas. The experts at Eventgroove have come up with a list of ideas for you to borrow and/or piggyback on to pique your constituents’ interest and engagement. All are peer-to-peer, and conducive to all kinds of weather.
Click-it: Prepare For Tax-Season As A Nonprofit: A Quick Guide. Here, from Bloomerang, is everything you need to know, including (1) getting exemption status; (2) filing a 990, and (3) preparing your 990 so it’s complete and beneficial to your organization.
Major, Capital and Legacy Gifts
Click-it: What to Do About Ignorance in Major Gifts. If people at your nonprofit are expecting you to raise major gifts overnight, or while doing a lot of other things simultaneously, read this article in NonProfitPRO from major gifts expert, Richard Perry, at the Veritus Group. Then, if you want to learn more, head on over to their amazing major gifts certification course.
Click-it: How Your Back Office Can Destroy Your Fundraising, Despite doing everything else right, you’re not practicing donor-centered fundraising if you don’t have your back office in order. And this includes user-friendly software to facilitate fundraisers doing their jobs. Check out what the experts at the Veritus Group have to say.
Click-it: Pledges: The Secret Sauce for Capital Campaign Success. Amy Eisenstein, the Capital Campaign Toolkit, explains why pledges matter and, most important, how to collect them!
Strategy and Management
Click-it: Click-it: 10 Commandments of Engagement Fundraising. Greg Warner of Market Smart and I very much approach fundraising in the same way. These commandments are evergreen, and you’ll do well to benchmark your planning against them. It’s important to focus where you’ll get the best bang for your buck!
Click-it: Work reset: 13 tips to make your job less stressful this year. I happened on this in the Washington Post and thought it was worth sharing. Remember, you don’t have to stress to do all of them. Just pick one or two and see what evolves (I’ve been cleaning out my garage for a month now, and I’m making progress. Even though slow, it feels good). Oh, and stop thinking you can’t multitask effectively. No one can.
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: Cut Costs and Get Creative with Nonprofit Appeals [Register for free webinar, 1-1-2023]. Need to cut mailing costs and find creative ways to capture attention? Firespring’s Kiersten Hill will elaborate on: (1) 10 secrets to create economies with printing and mailing; (2) 5 surefire ways to invigorate your direct mail, and (4) 4 strategies to maximize your impact.
Click-it: Raise More in 2023 and Beyond WITHOUT All the Cringey Fundraising Strategies [Register for free webinar, 2-7-2023]. Want to turn fundraising from hate to love? From yuck to yum? Join Mallory Erickson and Bloomerang as she shares her unique win-win framework, which combines best practices from executive coaching, science-backed behavior design, and fundraising strategy.
Digital Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: The Nonprofit Mobile Donation Experience [Listen to on-demand webinar]. The team at NextAfter made 135 donations on a mobile device to analyze the whole mobile donation experience. The results might surprise you.
Click-it: How to Create a Signature Fundraising Event that Raises More from the Right Funders [Register for free webinar, 1-31-2023]. Whether your organization’s annual calendar of events need a boost of new energy or a total overhaul, this Qgiv webinar featuring Mallory Erickson will meet your needs.
Click-it: High Tech, High Impact: Event Technology for the Modern Nonprofit [Register for free panel discussion, 2-1-2023]. The list of benefits presented by integrating a tech stack in event planning keeps growing. This panel will discuss current and emerging technologies in the events industry, and how nonprofits can take advantage. NXUnite hosts a team of events experts versed in both on-site and virtual gatherings.
Strategy, Management and Planning
Click-it: Smart, Forward-Thinking Nonprofit Budget Planning [Watch free, on-demand webinar]. Ever write grant proposals? Have to explain a budget to a donor? Have to create a budget on your own? Make it easier on yourself by checking out this tutorial from MIP Fund Accounting.
DOWNLOADABLE GUIDES, WHITE PAPERS & OTHER RESOURCES
Annual (Year-Round) Fundraising
Click-it: Matching Gift Research Report [Download free 2023 white paper]. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of funding made available through corporate matching gift programs is actually given away. Why? TopNonprofits-NXUnite found the largest obstacle to success is a widespread lack of awareness on the part of nonprofits and their donors. Want to remedy this? This report explores the digital matching gift strategies employed by 30 of the largest peer-to-peer fundraising organizations in the sector.
Click-it: The Must-Have Nonprofit Annual Report Manual [Download free manual]. Funraise has created this pocket-sized manual with everything you need to see the past year through a different lens. You’ll learn annual report essentials and tools, and get examples to get your creative juices flowing.
Click-it: Ultimate Guide to Nonprofit Donor Data Management [Download free e-guide]. Your database is an essential tool to help your nonprofit thrive, but you only get out of it what you put in. Use this resource from Bloomerang to set clear data management goals, clean up your donor database, deliver clearer reports, and execute great strategies.
Donor Engagement and Retention
Strategy and Management
Click-it: Fundraising Automation: The Nonprofit Leader’s Guide for Optimizing Fundraising Operations with Technology [Download free white paper]. Greg Warner from Market Smart suggests bringing in a “virtual gift officer” to support your current fundraising efforts. He notes your automated efforts need to be well thought out and sequential. Otherwise, they’ll just seem transactional, robotic and unsentimental.
Did You Miss My Newest Articles?
Here are links to the most recent articles on the Clairification blog. You can see I really don’t want you to squander the good feelings you’re triggering during this season of giving! The goal is not simply to squeeze money out of people. It’s to give donors a squeeze and a hug for being caring and generous. This will make them feel good, which will move them to continue sticking with you.
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: What’s The Best Way To Frame Monthly Gift Asks To Minimize Accounting Complications Between Restricted And Unrestricted Gifts?
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. FEBRUARY tips are live! If you’re not yet an enrolled student, you can get in on the fun here! There are even downloadable BONUSES this month!
Claire, you consistently remind me of the proven basic facts of fundraising!! Thank you!! I consistently share them with our team and with the newbie fundraisers I am mentoring.
— Margie McCurry, Fund Builders Alliance
You are a forever flowing fountain of enormous information and a wealth of ideas. Thanks for being there for all of us small non-profits.
— Sharon Coleman, St. Francis House
Always cogent, practical and easy to digest. I’ve followed and enjoyed your posts and comments for years.
— Jennifer Miller, Creative Director, True Sense Marketing
My motto is: “If I know it, I want you to know it.” Don’t miss out.
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