As we enter the season of light, and you move into full-steam-ahead year-end fundraising mode, there’s something I want to remind you about your messaging.
“Oh, by the way, it’s not about you.
The biggest mistake you can make is thinking your organization is the story. People aren’t buying your organization. When someone asks: “What do you do?” they’re not interested in your organization so much as what your organization accomplishes.
Imagine you’re at a dinner party and someone asks “What do you do?” Are you going to tell them your entire life story? Every aspect, from job to education to family to hobbies? No, of course not! You’ll tell them one thing about yourself. Why? Because they don’t know you. They’re not yet that interested in you. First, you have to intrigue them.
The same holds true with your nonprofit. Whenever someone asks the “What do you do?” question, whether explicitly or implicitly, your job is simply this: tell them about ONE thing you accomplish.
“If you write what you yourself sincerely think and feel and are interested in,” Rachel Carson wrote as she contemplated the loneliness of creative work after her unexampled books about the sea made her one of the most beloved writers of her time, “you will interest other people.”
– Maria Popova, The Marginalian
Now is a good time to personally re-connect with your organization’s mission. What really jazzes you about the work your efforts make possible? If you’re not excited, don’t expect others to get excited. Philanthropy is a passion business!
Okay! It’s biweekly newsletter time again, and my hope is some of the free resources I’ve collected and curated for you will help you share your passions and guide 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 time hunting and gathering.
Thank you for doing your vital work, and helping make 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…
SPECIAL FEATURE: Wither Twitter?
Click-it: Should I Stay or Should I Go? Initial Guidance on Post-Musk Twitter. The folks at M+R always have their finger on the pulse of digital fundraising and marketing. See what they have to say on this topic.
Click-it: Nonprofits Consider Leaving Twitter Over Platform’s Uncertain Future. Check out the Chronicle of Philanthropy to learn what other nonprofits are doing.
Click-it: How to Quit Twitter—Safely. Consumer Reports offers a step-by-step guide to leaving, should that be your decision. You don’t have to go cold turkey.
Click-it: The Case for Sticking it Out on Twitter. Here’s another approach, on Time’s Charter blog, with suggestions of how to protect your brand and data, and ensure your news and information diet is diversified and not subject to the whims of a feed
Annual (Year-Round) Fundraising
Click-it: 5 secrets old-pro fundraisers rely on to craft their best work. Nonprofit copywriting guru Jeff Brooks, Future Fundraising Now, shares five concrete tips you can put to work right away.
Click-it: 6 Actionable Steps Your Nonprofit Can Take To Engage Gen Z. If you’re getting pressed to bring in younger donors, this article from Eventgroove is for you. Reaching them doesn’t necessarily mean a huge investment or 180-degree pivot. But it does involve shifting your approach.
Click-it: Year-end fundraising strategy starts with stewardship (and a little wisdom from Ben Franklin). Learn about the “Ben Franklin effect” (very, very useful for fundraising!), and get ready to build lasting relationships with all your year-end donors. Thanks to Donor Perfect for this article.
Click-it: 10 Tips For Thanking Your Donors With Video. Sandy Rees, Get Fully Funded, provides super-useful tips for creating simple thank you videos that will make you stand out in a really good way. Want to retain more donors? Try this!
Click-it: Is Giving Tuesday Actually Worth It? Barbara O’Reilly writes it’s not for everyone, and I couldn’t agree more. If you’ve been feeling guilty you’re not doing enough… if you want to regroup for next year… or just want to stand out more from the crowd, check out this article; then read my own here and here.
Major and Legacy Gifts
Click-it: Restricted Giving: Why Your Organization Should Offer More Options. Greg Warner, Market Smart, explains why giving major donors the opportunity to earmark their gift for a specific purpose, rather than for use “where most needed,” can be better for both the donor and your nonprofit.
Click-it: HOW TO: Easily Accept Stock Donations on Your Nonprofit’s Website – and Why You Should. This is important, and this post on Nonprofit Tech for Good by Kyle Brown, COO at DonateStock, makes it easy for you to get this done.
Click-it: “We aren’t renewing donors we acquired online last year as we have in the past…”. This article from the folks at NextAfter has so much insight and actionable advice I absolutely had to share. PLUS, it includes links to a free research paper, a free eGuide to cut through the year-end clutter, and a dynamo free webinar from the recent NIO Summit.
Click-it: 7 simple things you can do now to energize your year-end appeal. Truly, these tips from Mary Cahalane, Hands-On Fundraising, work any time of year. But since now through the end of the calendar year is when most nonprofits raise the bulk of their money, it pays to spend some extra time now assuring you’re making the most of limited resources. My favorites? Probably ##2, 3 and 7.
Click-it: 4 Fallacies of Year-End Giving. Veteran fundraiser Paul D’Alessandro offers an interesting perspective on why year-end giving pushes may not be all they’re cracked up to be. Check out this post on the NonProfitPRO blog, and see what you think.
Click-it: Two Counterintuitive Ways to Stop Procrastinating. This comes from one of my favorite resources, the Greater Good Science Center at U.C. Berkeley. Learn how to constructively use self-compassion and self-forgiveness as alternatives to self-criticism.
Click-it: Pour Yourself a Cup of Gratitude. I love this article by Gracie Herbert, Assistant Director of Donor Engagement at Miami University, posted on the ADRP (Ass’n of Donor Relations Professionals) blog, because it’s a reminder to gratefully accept compliments when they are due. You may have considered keeping a Gratitude Journal filled with what you’re grateful for, but not one filled with expressions of gratitude towards you from others. Sounds like a good idea to me, especially for those times you need a pick-me-up.
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: Why Your Annual Report Should Be a Marketing Tool and Not a Snooze Fest [Register for free webinar, 12-15-2023]. A good annual report goes beyond pages of financial data and compels your audience to take action. Learn from Kiersten Hill of Firespring the best ways to write an engaging report, and what mistakes to avoid
Digital Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: Social Media Strategies for 2023 [Register for free webinar, 12-7-2022]. Join Tech Soup and learn how to make use of a variety of strategies to implement organic social media campaigns. Discover third-party tools and strategies to expand your reach and build your community.
Click-it: You Can’t Thank Your Donors Too Much! [Listen to free podcast]. Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels, the Veritus Group, talk about why showing gratitude is so important in building meaningful donor relationships and in your own mental well-being. They also discuss ways to bring thankfulness into your work to keep you rooted in why you do what you do.
Click-it: Grant-Seeking with Confidence: How Nonprofits Can Work to Secure Grant Funding [Register for free webinar, 12-7-2022]. Join NXUnite/TopNonprofits for this informative panel of grant experts. Learn what to consider when searching for grant opportunities; how to create an actionable grant-seeking plan; where to identify possible funders that align with your cause, and what makes a good grant application.
Strategy and Management
Click-it: What Funders Are Looking For Now: A Conversation with Trent Stamp, CEO of The Eisner Foundation [Register for free webinar, 12-6-2022]. Trent Stamp, CEO of The Eisner Foundation, joins Jay Frost, Donor Search, for a discussion about: how the pandemic changed philanthropy; what funders are looking for now; and how ideas like intergenerational programs can open new doors for funding. Plus, drawing on his experience as founding President of Charity Navigator, Trent shares how discussions of evaluation and overhead have impacted the nonprofit sector.
Year End Fundraising
Click-it: 5 Texts You Can Use to Ask for Year-End Donations [Register for free, on-demand webinar]. It’s a busy season, so James Martin of Rally Corp is offering a quick, 25-minute webinar to share five text messages you can use to ask for donations. How cool is that if you’re strapped for time?
DOWNLOADABLE GUIDES, WHITE PAPERS & OTHER RESOURCES
Click-it: How to Use Digital Marketing to Find New Donors [Download free eBook]. Want a step-by-step process for consistently attracting new donors? Grab these practical tools and resources from Beeline to build your email list and create a donor attraction campaign. It includes an interactive handout you can use with your board, plus plenty of examples from which you can borrow.
Click-it: Year-End Workbook [Download free resource]. The folks at Qgiv have put together checklists and templates to help you review last year’s strategies and plan ahead for next year. There’s lots of stuff in here to get your brainstorming juices flowing and help you improve.
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.
- How to Help Donors Give Astutely Before Year-End
- Don’t Blow Your Post-Holiday Opportunity to Thank Your Nonprofit Supporters
- Happy Days of Thanks(for)Giving
- 13 Top Secrets of Donor Thank You Letters Revealed
- Giving Tuesday: Don’t Take the Money and Run
- Why Prompt, Personal Thank You’s are Nonprofit Donors’ Inalienable Right
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 Are The Best Ways To Identify Trends In My Data To Improve Annual Giving Planning?
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. DECEMBER tips are live! If you’re not yet an enrolled student, you can get in on the fun here!
You are having a ripple effect in the many nonprofits you inspire through folks like me – and I hope you experience the joy in that every day. Thank you for sending out such great resources. I look forward to your regular emails and the helpful content you deliver.
– Jennifer M. Standen, Development Manager, Bethany Christian Services
Claire’s approach is a rare blend of experience-based common sense gleaned from 30 years of senior management in the trenches.
– Chris Baylis, The Sponsorship Collective
Claire is a superb professional, deep thinker and creative spirit in the service of philanthropy. I have worked with her in a variety of roles for nearly two decades, and have admired and supported her work. She is a person of utmost integrity, and a brilliant mind.
– Kay Grace, Principal, Transforming Philanthropy
My motto is: “If I know it, I want you to know it.” Don’t miss out.
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