Sometimes the world feels inhospitable.
You feel all the ways that you and it don’t fit.
You see what’s missing, how it all could be different.
You feel as if you weren’t meant for the world, or the world wasn’t meant for you,
as if the world is “the way it is” and your discomfort with it a problem.
So you get timid. You get quiet about what you see.
But what if this?
What if you are meant
to feel the world is inhospitable, unfriendly, off-track
in just the particular ways that you do?
The world has a you-shaped hole in it.
It is missing what you see.
It lacks what you know
and so you were called into being.
To see the gap, to feel the pain of it, and to fill it.
Filling it is speaking what is missing.
Filling it is stepping into the center of the crowd, into a clearing,
and saying, here, my friends, is the future.
You don’t have to do it all, but you do have to speak it.
You have to tell your slice of the truth.
You do have to walk toward it with your choices, with your own being.
Then allies and energies will come to you like fireflies swirling around a light.
The roughness of the world, the off-track-ness, the folly that you see,
these are the most precious gifts you will receive in this lifetime.
They are not here to distance you from the world,
but to guide you to your contribution to it.
The world was made with a you-shaped hole in it.
In that way you are important.
In that way you are here to make the world.
In that way you are called.
– Tara Mohr
I share this with you because I’ve been focused on exploring what our newest digital disruption – artificial intelligence — portends. As automation stares us in the eyes, it forces us to confront that which is authentically human. That for which there can be no substitution, however brilliant the programming.
The world has a you-shaped hole without your special gifts and contributions. And that’s what you can bring to your work of repairing the world.
I hope, in some small measure, the Clairity Click-it can help. 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, arriving at your own conclusions and giving flight to your own voice. 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…
SPECIAL FEATURE: ChatGPT (Generative Pre-training Transformer) is here; More AI is coming!
There’s been such buzz since ChatGPT blasted onto the scene, it’s hard to believe it’s been only since last December 1st! What jobs might be replaced? What efficiencies can be created? What ethical dilemmas may be revealed? Everyone wonders what the new AI developments portend, and what they should do moving forward. Here is a collection of recent articles on the subject to help you appreciate how this may impact your own career and personal life.
Click-it: ChatGPT Passed an MBA Exam. What’s Next? “We’re not going to get the toothpaste back into the tube… It’s only going to grow.” So says professor Christian Terwiesch in Knowledge at Wharton. This article shows how ChatGPT is the tipping point for AI.
Click-it: Why You Should NOT Jump On ChatCPT YET! Heidi Cohen is one of the top names in content marketing. She cautions against using this tool until it comes out of beta. Why? She suggests everyone is starting to sound alike. And you can’t copyright the content. And it relies on internet-sourced information, mostly Wikipedia, which isn’t reliable. But… she also says this will probably change within the next 3 – 6 months.
Click-it: The Promise & Peril of Creator Tools Like ChatGPT for Nonprofits. Beth Kanter, one of the first to write about nonprofits and smart technology, with her colleague, Allison Fine, here weighs in on what the latest developments portend. She notes: “while the outputs may appear to be smarter than humans, they won’t replace humans. (And never should).”
Click-it: Artificial Intelligence Can Help Nonprofits Reach More Donors, but Fundraisers Can’t Ignore Potential Pitfalls, Daniel Hadley wrote this for the Chronicle of Philanthropy, beginning with an example of the limits of ChatGPT. Yet he concludes AI will have many potential uses, “especially for smaller, scrappier organizations that don’t have resources to communicate regularly with donors. It will help with bookkeeping, research, hiring, and even more abstract tasks, such as designing a theory of change and demonstrating a program’s impact. The overall effect could be one of leveling the playing field.”
Click-it: It’s Time For AI To Improve Nonprofit Performance. In this Forbes article, Christopher Washington suggests some potential next steps for nonprofit leaders interested in adopting AI. For you Star Trek fans, there’s an analogy to Captain Jean-Luc Picard and his interaction with android Lieutenant Commander Data.
Click-it: Digital predictions, trends for Jewish nonprofits to watch in 2023. Published in eJewishPhilanthropy, this article applies to all nonprofits seeking to leverage AI and other new technology to ratchet up their success. There’s a lot of food for thought here, plus links to all sorts of seriously useful AI tools, so it’s an excellent primer for this brave new world.
Click-it: Leveraging AI for Nonprofits – Nonprofit Nation [Listen to free podcast on demand]. Joshua Peskay joins Julia Campbell for a discussion of the benefits of AI for nonprofits. If you’re wondering how to use this powerful tech to grow your audience, what pitfalls to avoid, and where to start (especially if you’re a small shop), listen in! [Start around 7:40 in if you want to skip the entertaining intro.]
Click-it: Convince and Convert’s Take on ChatGPT & AI. The wise folk at Convince and Convert conclude: “a human will still be needed to plan, prompt, and at the very least polish the platform output.” This article is a good intro, and a somewhat soothing one for those who fear it will replace their jobs. Instead, use it to enhance your output and give you more time to get to the heart of successful fundraising and marketing – building relationships.
Click-it: 20 Entertaining Uses of ChatGPT You Never Knew Were Possible. Mark Schaefer is a ‘go-to’ marketing and sales guru for me, and here he wades into the AI and ChatGPT fray. Here are some non-obvious ways to apply ChatGPT to your work. This technology was introduced just this past December, and already millions are using it. It’s the fastest technology adoption ever.
NOTE: In an article I recently published, Should Your Nonprofit Jump on the Artificial Intelligence Bandwagon?, I advised small to medium-sized nonprofits to take a ‘wait and see’ approach. Maybe the wait won’t be all that long? ChatGPT is free right now, but all indicators are it will likely soon become a paid platform. Keep an eye out, and maybe start playing around with it! The genie isn’t going back in the bottle.
Annual (Year-Round) Fundraising
Click-it: Ringless Voicemail: A New Way Supporters Can Hear Your Voice. We tend to get stuck in strategies of the past. You should use them, of course, when they work. But sometimes it’s worth testing out something less traditional. The team at Rally Corp has just such a tool, and this article explains how it works.
Click-it: Nonprofit Lessons From The Hospital. This article by Ephraim Gopin, 1832 Communications, is jam-packed with good advice – handily accessible via metaphor. Pick one of these 8 tips, and vow to improve!
Click-it: Words to Avoid—2023 Edition. This comes from the smart communicators at Big Duck. You may disagree with some of these choices, but it’s important to think – and be intentional — about these things.
Digital and Online Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: How Responsive Is Your Mobile Donation Page?. Many people fail to follow through on donations they intended to make, simply because the process is too trying to complete on their mobile device. The folks at NextAfter don’t want this to happen to you, and neither do I. This is a big deal that will have a huge impact on your fundraising success. Don’t just trust your marketing or IT staff to handle this. Read this!
Click-it: How to Promote Your Fundraiser on Social Media – 8 Tips. Through social media, you can reach new audiences and inspire existing supporters to participate and give. But do you know how to use it effectively? The experts at Eventgroove have your back; check out their advice. My favorite is #6.
Click-it: Assessing Silent Auction Software: 6 Things to Look For. Yes, you can do this without software. But using quality auction software will make your job less complicated, and give your guests a better experience. This tip sheet from Top Nonprofits will show you how to eliminate everyone’s headaches.
Click-it: The #1 Grant Writing Lesson I Learned After Securing $2 Million in Grants. There’s a ton of good advice, including a useful way to structure your grant proposal planning and writing, in this article on the Silent Partner Software blog.
Major and Legacy Gifts
Click-it: Why You Need to Build a Partnership Between Direct Response and Major Gifts. The donor only knows one organization. If they’ve talked to a major gift officer, and expressed their preferences and passions, they expect your direct response folks to know this stuff too. In other words, they don’t want to receive an impersonal generic appeal. They also don’t want to be treated so “special” they end up not receiving general communications they’ve come to enjoy. Check out this post on the Veritus Group blog to learn how to create a seamless donor experience.
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.
ONLINE CONFERENCE OR COURSE
Click-it: Fundraiser’s Focus Week [Register for February 13 – 16 with a free webinar/day]. Bloomerang has gathered a group of pros for a week of virtual learning. Topics include:
- Data-Driven Evaluation — Sarah Merion, CEO, Impact Aligned
- Creating Accurate Fundraising Projections — Linda B. Haley, CFRE
CEO, Let’s Build Hope
- Future-Proofing Your Fundraising — Shawn Olds
CEO, Boodle AI
- Data-Driven Goals Roundtable – Sarah, Linda and Shawn, moderated by Rachel Muir
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: Why Your Nonprofit Needs to Invest in Monthly Giving. If you’re not yet rocking a monthly give program, read Ann Green’s article on why you need to, and how to do it effectively.
Digital Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: Tell Your Story: Reach Donors Using Your Free Candid Profile [Enroll for on-demand e-course]. Everybody should take the time to watch this webinar walking you through how to claim one of the most powerful advertising media available to nonprofits – your Candid profile. Note that many Donor Advised Fund managers search Candid profiles to evaluate which nonprofits to recommend to their individual donors. So putting your best foot forward here matters.
Click-it: How to Thank Online Donors (so they give again) [Download free, on-demand webinar]. Ronald Pruitt of 4aGoodCause shares tips on ways to thank donors during and after the online giving experience. He also weaves in some strategic advice from letter writer extraordinaire, Mary Cahalane; and, yours truly.
Click-it: Step-by-Step Guide to Running Successful Events [Register for free webinar, 2-21-2023]. Join the experts at Qgiv to start your journey to becoming an event management master! They’ll cover timeline, sponsorships, promotion, volunteer management, on-site tips and tools you need to succeed.
Click-it: Panic-proof Your Nonprofit: Manage Leadership Succession [Register for free webinar, 2-15-2023]. Join Firespring for this session with Vicki Burkhart. founder and CEO of the More Than Giving Company. Identify challenges and obstacles to leadership transitions; explore the Board Development Committee’s role in succession planning, and define key elements involved in creating a sound succession plan.
Strategy, Management and Planning
Click-it: How to Ensure Donor Engagement Strategies Actually Drive Nonprofit Contributions. In my article for NonProfitPRO I discuss why marketing and fundraising must work hand in hand – complete with examples from my time working in the trenches. If your purpose is to drive contributions, any type of engagement other than donor engagement is meaningless. Why would you even care about clicks, likes and follows if they result in nothing more than said clicks, likes and follows?
Click-it: Easy Fundraising Money: How to Spend More to Make More. Sean Triner of Moceanic makes a strong case for spending more to make more. Even if you have to spend a lot more, if you net more to spend on your mission, it makes good sense. In this case, Sean outlines the various elements of direct mail that may bear greater investment.
Click-it: Using Technology to Help Nonprofits and Donors [Listen to free, on-demand 15-minute “crash course”]. Join Jay Love of Bloomerang and Josh Kligman of Yearly for a free-wheeling discussion of the evolution of technology, and how it can help you in ways you may not have yet considered.
DOWNLOADABLE GUIDES, WHITE PAPERS & OTHER RESOURCES
Click-it: How to Select a Nonprofit CRM [ Download free Toolkit]. The team at Charity Engine walks through the decision-making journey and identifies the critical questions you should be asking along the way. You’ll also get access to a Workbook to compare vendors side-by-side and calculate a vendor fit score to find your perfect match.
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.
- Easiest 7 Strategies to Get Inside Your Donor’s Head and Heart
- Top Secret Strategy to Communicate with Nonprofit Donors
- 10 Strategies to Celebrate Nonprofit Donors on Valentine’s Day
- Should Your Nonprofit Jump on the Artificial Intelligence Bandwagon?
- Transform Annual Reports into Gratitude Reports for the Best ROI
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: Where Do You Find New Donors And What Do You Say To Them?
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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