This week’s borrowed wisdom:
“The Ukrainian army is a present-day example of the power of adaptability, creativity, and resilience. And the Ukraine war, one of the latest examples of the weaknesses of rigid leadership.
Russian decision-making is highly centralized. Commander’s intent is seldom revealed, and innovation and initiative are severely punished. They are paying the price.
Ukraine on the other hand is more decentralized, agile, and motivated. Zelensky is leading from the front, communicating transparently and frequently, conveying hope, and portraying, through visible and undeniable action, personal bravery.
The Ukrainian army embodies General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s sentiment that “what counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” And part of that fight comes from the ability to pivot creatively and consistently show up in the face of uncertainty.
As Bruce Lee guided, “Be water, my friend. Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless, like water. You put water into a cup, it becomes the cup…You put it into a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
This advice applies not only to martial arts or military maneuvers but to management and leadership too.
Everything is improv. The “what” and “how” are always shifting, hence the importance of conveying the “why.”
If the why is clear, teams of any kind (military or otherwise) can adapt to changing circumstances, achieving the intended outcome in surprising ways.”
–– Hugh MacLeod, Gaping Void
What’s your “why?” It’s super important to distinguish it from your “what” and “how,” as it’s what current and potential supporters most care about.
The Clairity Click-it exists to bring you a range of borrowed wisdom from across the nonprofit world so you can resource, learn and digest at your own pace, and come up with new and better ways to adapt to changing circumstances and do your job of changing the world.
As always, a big thank you to my 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 to you. I’ve got a lot of great stuff for you this week, so let’s get right to it!
Thank you for doing your vital work, and making our world a better place,
P.S. Please consider getting access to all my blog articles, monthly tips, webinars, podcasts, bonuses and other content via enrollment in ‘Clairification School.’ I am deeply appreciative for your support!
Clairity Click-it, Your Nonprofit Ticket to…
Click-it: How to Create a Nonprofit Annual Report in 5 Steps [Ultimate 2023 Guide]. Learn from the experts at Yearly how to create an effective annual report in just 5 steps. Step #2 is crucial, so make sure to click on the attached link for all the details!
Click-it: The 10 Content Marketing Plagues: How To Get On Track To Succeed. This is from Heidi Cohen, in celebration of Passover. It’s fun, plus filled with numerous actionable tips.
Click-it: How we do it – crafting SOFII’s special thank you letters. Read this terrific article on the incomparable SOFII blog and never write boring, useless acknowledgements again. As Joanna Culling writes: “We all know thanking is a big responsibility for fundraisers. It’s one of the most important parts of our role. Yet too often we rush and send something generic. And when we deliver a thank you that we know isn’t great – our donor knows it too.” Don’t cut corners when it comes to donor retention and building lasting relationships.
Click-it: How to Plan a Sustainable Event. Learn what sustainability really means, and how you can use sustainable practices to make your event stand out and attract greater attendance and revenue. The folks at Eventgroove are experts in all things related to events.
Major, Capital and Legacy Gifts
Click-it: No Program Information, No Program Money. Somebody asked me for money today, and they committed this cardinal sin of not telling me specifically what the gift would accomplish. Read this from Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels at Veritus Group.
Click-it: My Fraught Relationship with Direct Mail. In my experience, this is what happens when the right hand doesn’t know what the left one is doing. And it’s more prevalent at large nonprofits, where different fundraising and marketing functions are siloed. You can see the negative impact it has in this post from Lisa Greer, Philanthropy 451.
Mobile Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: Mobile Marketing Strategy for Nonprofits: It’s More than Text Messaging. The key is reaching people where they are. This means you need a comprehensive mobile marketing strategy that takes advantage of multiple channels — all converging on the device people carry in their pocket. Join the Rally Corp experts to explore not just texting, but also emails they read, videos they watch, social media they consume, direct mail they connect with through a QR code on their device, and even ringless voicemail.
Click-it: How you can find a good story. Learn from Mary Cahalane, Hands-On Fundraising, how to ask the best interview questions to develop your most compelling stories. You’ll find this to be a practical template, whether you’re creating an appeal, report or marketing communication.
Click-it: 6 Commitments for More Ethical Storytelling. Earlier this year, Define American released the report, “American Dreaming: The Roadmap to Resilience for Undocumented Storytellers,” culminating two years of research into the experiences of 40 storytellers from the immigrant rights movement. For any organization that collects and shares stories of people it serves, the report offers practical advice for ensuring those stories are told in a fair, respectful, and ethical manner. You can download the full report here.
Strategy and Management
Click-it: Uncertainty: The Changing Value Of New Donors. This article from the Nonprofit Times makes interesting points. Importantly, you should evaluate donors acquired during COVID as a unique cohort, specifically measuring the difference in their retention and long-term value compared to your organization’s typical newly-acquired donor. Assess what you can/cannot control; proceed accordingly.
Click-it: Nonprofit Earned Income: The Tangled Web of its Possibilities and Promise [Register for free webinar, 4-12-2023]. Join the Nonprofit Financial Commons to learn the difference between related and unrelated business income and why it matters beyond tax implications; how to approach risk mitigation; levels of infrastructure need, capitalization and more. It will address common mistakes and complications as well as tools and resources.
Click-it: 6 Nonprofit Website Conversion Rate Killers (and How to Fix Them). You may think your website is fine, but head over to this article on the Wired Impact blog to see how wrong your thinking may be. If not enough website visitors are taking the actions you want them to take, you’ve got a problem.
Click-it: Intelligent Copywriting with AI. New tools bring new learning curves. The folks at NextAfter have you covered with this primer for using AI productively. Learn best practices for ChatGPT and Jasper prompts and what to do for headlines, body copy, and value proposition. Templates, and some bonus tricks, are included!
ONLINE CONFERENCE OR COURSE
Click-it: Data on Purpose 2023: “Making Tech Work for Workers” [Register for free 2-day virtual conference, 5-2/3-2023]. This looks fascinating, so I had to include it. Over two days, Stanford Social Innovation Review, together with the Ford Foundation, will virtually explore the specter of generative AI, how it will affect jobs, work and working conditions, pervasive growth of algorithmic “bossware” and surveillance, how investors can shape digital innovation, and much more. If you’re not the right person to attend this workshop, send this opportunity to someone in your organization who is. The future is beckoning.
WEBINARS, PODCASTS, ROUNDTABLES & 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: Become a Magnetic Fundraiser: How to Turn Donors into Active Ambassadors [Register for free webinar, 4-12-2023]. Give Butter hosts this session with Mallory Erickson and Floyd Jones, filled with practical tips to build strong donor relationships, create compelling fundraising campaigns, and leverage social media and events to increase your reach.
Click-it: How to Defeat Fundraising’s Silent Enemy: Donor Attrition [Register for free webinar, 4-12-2023]. Learn methods for creating repeat donors from one of the great teachers, Jay Wilkinson of Firespring. Among other things, you’ll get 6 key drivers that can double the lifetime value of your donors.
Click-it: From One-Time Donors to Lifelong Supporters – Advanced Strategies for Donor Retention [Register for free webinar, 5-3-2023]. Join Charity How-To for a deep dive into the effective techniques for engaging with your supporters at each stage of the donor journey. You’ll also get a bunch of bonus materials, including 10 Email Templates to Boost Recurring Donations.
Click-it: Creating Quality Donors from Scratch [Register for free webinar, 4-18-2023]. Learn from DonorVoice how to use data to convert first-time donors to sustaining donors. Don’t miss your chance to become a master of donor transformation.
Click-it: How to Use Text Fundraising to Increase Event Registrations and Engage Attendees [Register for free webinar, 4-25-2023]. Join Qgiv for this session dedicated to helping you easily and effectively spread the word about your event to increase registrations and engage event attendees on-site or virtually.
Click-it: How to Go From Zero to Hero with Your Grant Strategy [Register for free webinar, 4-12-23]. Will Yang from Instrumentl joins Community Boost for this hour-long session devoted to finding a good fit between your nonprofit and prospective funders. You’ll come away with five clear steps to follow.
Click-it: Our Mission, Our Message: Marketing Your Nonprofit [Register for Expert Panel, 4-18-2023]. Join NXUnite and four nonprofit marketing experts for this discussion that will help identify the key messages, platform, and content that best resonate with your target audience. They’ll also touch on current trends and tactics.
Click-it: Donor Story Sequence; Ask Thank Report Repeat; Raising More Money Through Better Storytelling [Download free PDF; graphic and video] Here are three different resources for you, all in one fell swoop (swell foop?). They’re from the good folks organizing the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference and, I can tell you, this stuff is gold. It’s also explained simply, so anyone can do it. In addition, I also suggest you watch this brief video from Steven Screen: Use Verb Tenses to Tell Your Donor’s Story Through Time.
Strategy and Management
Click-it: How Nonprofit Leaders Can Help More People by Doing Less [Register for free webinar, 4-20-2023]. What do large nonprofits know about managing their nonprofits that smaller ones don’t? This question is frequently asked by founders struggling to get to the next level, and loosen their hold on the reins. Shanice Miller joins Bloomerang to talk about her specialty: helping nonprofits save hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars by doing less. Sounds good, no?
Click-it: All About Fundraising Automation: How to Leverage Technology to Automate Tedious Tasks—So You Can Spend More Time Raising Major Gifts [Register for free webinar, 4-20-2023]. Join Greg Warner of Market Smart to learn how automation can help you retain and attract the best major gift fundraisers; why you need more than ‘basic’ automation, and how you can optimize operations plus measure success.
DOWNLOADABLE GUIDES, WHITE PAPERS & OTHER RESOURCES
Annual (Year-Round) Fundraising
Click-it: Definitive Guide to Volunteer Grants for Nonprofits [Download free eBook]. Volunteer grants are like matching grants for cash donations, only they’re tied to volunteer hours. Learn how to leverage them, plus the 10 top companies offering these, in this guidebook from Soapbox Engage.
Click-it: Creating a Mission Statement [Download free eGuide]. This step-by-step exercise from Nonprofit Hub will walk you through the process of crafting a mission statement that matters can take as little time as an hour, and is best done as a team project.
Major and Legacy Gifts
Click-it: Three Operating Principles of Major Gift Fundraising [Download free white paper]. The major gift experts at the Veritus Group explore how to make these core to your culture and strategy, so you’ll develop meaningful, authentic donor relationships.
Psychology of Giving
Click-it: Using Influencer Marketing to Stand Out in a Crowded Nonprofit Landscape [Download free white paper]. Learn from the folks at Moore how to reach new and emerging donors using the power of influencers. This paper includes specific examples, plus a template for getting started and tracking key performance metrics for brand and mission awareness, event activation and advocacy.
Click-it: Website Optimization Action Plan [Download free resource]. This worksheet from Neon One, complete with hands-on activities, will help you build an engaging, effective online presence over the course of seven weeks.
Did You Miss My Newest Articles?
Here are links to the most recent articles on the Clairification blog. Remember, your 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 Community Based Fundraising is a Branding Opportunity
Try These Nonprofit Donor Retention Tweaks with BIG, Happy Outcomes
Are You Treating Your Donors Like Gumballs?
4 Legacy Giving Program Building Blocks
It’s Fundraising Malpractice Not to Build Future Reserves
Why Do People Make Philanthropic Legacy Gifts?
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?
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And now, just for fun, my urban tree of the week.
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