Hope you enjoyed/are enjoying the week-end! Please also enjoy these links. There’s all sorts of interesting stuff for you on boards and fundraising, storytelling, newsletters that make money, how to get better results from snail mail and more. You’ll find some great training opportunities and five (count ’em!) free resources.
Culture of Philanthropy
Click-it: Turning Board Members into Fundraisers: Q&A with Claire Axelrad. Emily Wang of Network for Good recently interviewed me on this subject. If you missed it, here’s your chance to check it out.
Click-it: The #1 Mistake Fundraisers Make When Collecting Stories. One of the best “gifts” of content you can offer folks is the gift of your nonprofit’s stories. Learn from Vanessa Chase exactly how to collect the good ones. One big takeaway: Don’t assume folks won’t want to share their stories (just like you should never say “no” on behalf of a donor). Always ask!
Click-it: 10 reasons your newsletter could raise more money. Newsletters aren’t magic for every organization. But they can raise good money for most. Hands On Fundraising here offers a number of things that may be dampening the potential of your newsletter. I’ve picked my favorites and, of course, included my two cents – just can’t help myself! Feel free to let me know if you disagree.
- Put your newsletter in an envelope. They tend to work much better that way than as a self-mailer. Folks tend to notice them more, and to spend more time taking a look before they decide to toss them – which of course you want to avoid! If it doesn’t get read, then all your hard work is for naught.
- Include a request for support. It really drives me insane when organizations don’t do this because they’re afraid of offending their readers. Really? If folks are offended by this, you really don’t need them on your mailing list. Most folks want to help, but they won’t do so unless they know what could be accomplished with their philanthropy. Tell them!
- Include a remit envelope. The easier you make it for folks to give to you, the better. It’s a favor to them as well as a favor to you. This is an opportunity to more than cover your mailing costs. If you don’t believe this will work for you, test it. Randomly divide your mailing list (every other one is a good tactic) and mail to half without an envelope and half with. Also include a call to action in the body of your newsletter. Give folks a URL as well as a mailing address. See what your results are from each group. Do folks respond to the call to action alone? Or does adding the envelope boost response?
- Include helpful content. I often tell folks that if you want gifts you must give them.
- Is the newsletter all about your organization? Try to do more helping; less selling. And make it about what the donor has accomplished.
More Food for Thought
Click-it: Why Snail Mail Works Best. The Washington Intelligence Bureau here provides a number of reasons why direct mail still gets better results from email. Here’s my favorite, and one that I’ve seen born out time and again: “Including a personalized post-it note and hand signing the note will appeal to the reader and could lead to an increased response rate.” If you’re not yet personalizing your appeals this way, this is the year to start!
FREE RESOURCES + EXAMPLES TO LEARN FROM
Click-it: Free White Paper: Raise More Money with Your Next Event. Thanks to canadahelps.org for this free resource.
Click-it: Julia’s Nonprofit Social Media Checklist. Get this free checklist from Julia C. Campbell. She’s my go-to guru for all things nonprofit social media!
Click-it: 6 Great Nonprofit Website Examples To Learn From [Includes Free Downloadable Guide to Redesign Your Website]. The folks at CauseVox have culled six examples of killer nonprofit websites to offer you plenty of great ideas. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel!
Click-it: Free Downloadable Self-Awareness Tests. Thanks to Sandy Rees for sharing a link this week to the LonerWolf website. They believe in the power of self-knowledge through the exploration of personality. So do I! Take these tests to see where you fall on the introvert/extrovert scale; your personality type; your 5 top personality traits, your temperament and more. It’s super helpful for teams to do this together. And it may help you better understand the area of nonprofit work in which you’ll most shine.
Click-it: Major Gifts Academy [4 free videos]. Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels of the Veritus Group are giving away a four-part video trainings series that will give you an indispensable tool designed specifically for creating those special relationships that lead to a successful major gift program. They have a more in-depth offering too, but this part is absolutely free. These guys are the real deal!