If you want to be a poet, write poetry. Every day. Show us your work.
If you want to do improv, start a troupe. Don’t wait to get picked.
If you want to help animals, don’t wait for vet school. Volunteer at an animal shelter right now.
If you want to write a screenplay, write a screenplay.
If you want to do marketing, find a good cause and spread the idea. Don’t ask first.
If you’d like to be more strategic or human or caring at your job, don’t wait for the boss to ask.
Once we leave out the “and” (as in, I want to do this and be well paid, invited, approved of and always successful) then it’s way easier to do what we said we wanted to do.
— Seth Godin
Do you want to raise a bunch of money before the end of the year? More than last year? Then, as the folks at Nike say, “Just Do It.”
No ifs, ands or buts. Stop making excuses. You can do this! Give folks opportunities – more than a few – to make a demonstrable impact. Give them meaning and purpose. Make yourself, your donors, your community and the world feel just a little bit better. Move the needle, every day.
And use some of the wisdom gleaned in this week’s issue of the Clairity Click-it to help you. 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 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.
It is my sincere pleasure and honor to help you find the ideas, strategies, templates and tools you need to succeed.
Thank you for doing your vital work, and making our world a better place,
P.S. Please scroll down to see all my Clairification School sponsors who enable me to offer enrollment in ‘Clairification School at an affordable price [If the enrollment fee is a hardship, please email me and we’ll work it out.]
Clairity Click-it, Your Nonprofit Ticket to…
Annual (Year-Round) Fundraising
Click-it: Personalization gone wrong. I share this from the Marketoonist not just because it’s funny, but also because it issues a warning. The point of personalizing your communications is to make readers feel known, not manipulated. So take care with your personalization fields when you enter data into your database or email provider. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Click-it: CVV Numbers…When Do Nonprofits Need to Ask for Them? I’m always intrigued when I come across something I’d never even thought about – and this article from Charity Engine qualifies. Did you know anti-fraud measures can hurt donations? Learn when it makes sense to request these codes, and also address verification, so you can make informed decisions that don’t decrease donations.
Click-it: 5 Steps to Create a Purpose-Driven Content Marketing Strategy. Perhaps it’s time to align with a business that shares your values in order to drive awareness for them and funding for you? Take a look at this article from DivvyHQ, written from the perspective of what brands may be looking for, and including examples of purpose-driven companies.
Click-it: Donor Impact Report: The Ultimate Guide. Learn from the experts at Yearly how to create a personalized, comprehensive review of a donor’s impact on your mission. Unlike an annual report, these are sent more frequently. They serve to build connections, give thanks, and much more.
Click-it: The Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics. Whether you’re reporting to your boss, a client, or just working for yourself, understanding how your website or app is performing and reporting on those is an important part of showing the value of your work. Google Analytics is a free measurement tool, and it’s recently changed. Learned how to put it to work for yourself in this piece from Moz.
Click-it: Not Sure What Donor Data to Collect? Think About Why People Care About Your Nonprofit. Per Emily Haynes and Rasheeda Childress in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, fundraisers should get in the habit of analyzing data first, rather than back-burnering it to get around to it later. They go even further, suggesting you can help write a donor’s “origin story,” if you know the right data to capture in your donor database and where to enter it. Important stuff!
Click-it: How to Write Texts: Start with Pre-Written Templates. The Rally Corp experts break down texts into four different types, depending on your goals and target markets. They also offer plenty of examples!
Click-it: Take The Phone Call Challenge! Ephraim Gopin, 1832 Communications, discusses the donor retention and upgrading value of a thank you call. Plus he challenges you to take the phone call challenge by picking up the phone, once a day, for 5-10 minutes.
Click-it: The Not-So-Secret Way to Power Your Nonprofit’s Future Growth. Nonprofit Tech for Good brings our attention to Eventgroove’s integrated tools for using registration and participation data for a range of purposes. Read Jessica Fox’s suggestions about how to use event data to drive growth. Examples are included.
Click-it: 10 Top Strategies to Grab Your Nonprofit’s Mid-level Fundraising Opportunity. See my new article on the NonProfitPRO blog to stop making the mistake of focusing all of your energy on donor acquisition and major gift fundraising, largely ignoring the fertile middle of your database. This is a big missed opportunity! There’s gold in the mid-level hills, but you won’t find it unless you go digging.
Click-it: Email Marketing Campaigns for Nonprofits: Dos and Don’ts. The auction experts at Auctria know at this time of year you’re likely thinking more about mailing campaigns than special event fundraising – and they want to help! Hence, this article by Carl Diesel, founder of DNL OmniMedia, with time-tested dos and don’ts of nonprofit email marketing.
Click-it: The Storytelling Test: How To Quickly Test How Your Audience Will React To Your Story. Sean D’Souza of Psychotactics explains how to cut to the meat of a story that will be remembered. This is something you can practice.
Strategy and Management
Click-it: The Donor Pyramid May Be Bad for Fundraising. Can We Do Better? I think we can, and I’m quoted in this article saying as much! Others weigh in as well, and if you’re still doing two-dimensional fundraising, you’ll want to take a look. [Note: you can register for a free subscription to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.]
Click-it: The Two Easy Ways to Disconnect and Delete a LinkedIn Connection. Neal Schaffer knows all the best ways to navigate and used LI, and here’s something sensitive you may need to do.
Click-it: How to make websites for humans. When is the last time you did any user testing on your website. Mark Rovner of Sea Change Strategies suggests it may be time to take a good hard look, with the goal of simplification in mind.
Click-it: Just for you: quick tips to boost your fundraising writing. Mary Cahalane, Hands-On Fundraising, always has great appeal writing tips. In this article, she pulls together the best wisdom passed down from some of our sector’s best direct mail artists. There’s a lot of sage advice here!
Click-it: AI Prompts to Jumpstart Your End-of-Year Fundraising. If found this article from Blackbaud on the Engage Blog amazingly helpful. If you haven’t yet given ChapGPT or another generative AI tool a try, this may persuade you to do so. What a timesaver – and the results are pretty terrific!
Click-it: 10 Fundraising Tactics You Should Use This Fall. Steven Screen always shares great tips. This article on the Better Fundraising Co. blog is no exception. Especially check out #s 9 and 10.
Click-it: Three New Ideas About Happiness and Well-Being. Psychologists are questioning whether our current understanding of well-being is too limiting and what else is important for a good life. I find it useful to think about the information shared by the Greater Good Science Center, both for my own life and the lives of others with whom I am in relationship. See what you think.
Click-it: Are You A Fraud? Are you living your values, or simply mouthing them? Hugh MacLeod of Gaping Void Culture Design Group always has a succinct way of asking, and depicting, the important questions.
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!
Click-it: Jump-start Your 4th Quarter with Year-End Appeals that Work! [Register for free webinar, 9-26-2023]. Upgrade your year-end giving (including Giving Tuesday) and learn how to optimize all your short-term campaigns. .Kiersten Hill of Firespring will cover the important role your website plays; essentials for an integrated communications plan, and all sorts of powerful fundraising tactics you can implement right now.
Click-it: The Keys to Record-Breaking Year-End Fundraising Success [Register for free webinar, 9-28-23]. In this Bloomerang-sponsored webinar with Jesse Lane, you’ll learn a step-by-step process to a successful end-of-year fundraising campaign. Craft your story, engage your audience, fire up your board, level up email marketing and social media strategies, and possibly double or triple your year-end giving results this year.
Click-it: The “Coats Of Paint” System To Break Out Of The Curse Of Perfection [Click to listen, or read podcast transcript]. Sean D’Souza, Psychotactics, tackles the biggest problem with perfectionism, offering a quicker, less painful road to success.
DOWNLOADABLE GUIDES, PAPERS, TEMPLATES & OTHER RESOURCES
Annual (Year-Round) Fundraising
Click-it: Why Should I Give to You? [Download free e-book]. Do you know the four components of an effective value proposition? Learn what they are in this guide from NextAfter so you can effectively craft and communicate yours and acquire more donors and dollars than ever before.
Click-it: The Nonprofit Email Report: Data-Backed Insights for Giving Tuesday and Year-End [Download free resource]. NeonOne has pulled together email and social media templates, timelines and worksheets, guides and webinars—everything you need to plan your year-end campaign. For example, did you know the most successful Giving Tuesday campaigns included no more than two fundraising emails?
Major and Legacy Giving
Click-it: Three Operating Principles of Major Gift Fundraising [Download free paper]. To create meaningful and authentic relationships with your donors, you must stay true to these core principles in your donor interactions. This takes commitment across your organization. Learn from the Veritus Group experts how to transform your fundraising efforts.
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.
- Stop Using Canned Nonprofit Elevator Pitches to Raise Money
- Effective Philanthropy Facilitation RECIPE: Love +Meaning + Empathy + Cooperation +Attention + Interaction
- Plan ‘Random(ish) Acts’ of Nonprofit Donor Kindness, Especially Now
- How to Use the Multiplier Effect to Inspire Annual Giving
- You’re Thinking About Planning a Fundraising Auction – Now What?
- Progress is transformational. When you arrive, you feel good.
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 Most Important Elements For A Year-End Appeal?
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. SEPTEMBER tip is live! If you’re not yet an enrolled student, and don’t have direct, immediate access to ALL my blog articles, monthly tips, webinars, podcasts and much more, you can get in on the fun here — and grab your 10th ANNIVERSARY BONUS! There’s never been a better time to enroll.
And now, some interesting license plates I found on my walks this week.
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