If you’re in the southern hemisphere, of course, it’s end of winter. Wherever you are, it’s a good time to kick back and refresh yourself with some free nonprofit tips and tools to shake up your thinking. Just a little bit.
I’ve got a bunch of wonderful information to share here. Just find one or two articles, webinars or free downloadable guides useful, and I’ll be happy. I love to share!
Again I thank my generous sponsor, Bloomerang, for their continued support of my curation of useful content for you – all so you can facilitate passionate philanthropy to make our world a better place.
Thank you for doing the important work you do. Now… let’s get right to this issue’s links!
P.S. If you find Clairification helpful, I hope you’ll consider enrolling in Clairification School to get a full year’s worth of all the wisdom I have to share! If you’re on the fence about enrolling, see what others say about why they’ve joined. And if you’re not happy, I’ll refund you. How’s that?
Clairity Click-it, Your Nonprofit Ticket to…
Click-it: What could Living Yoga have done better with their appeal letter? Mazarine Treyz of Wildwoman Fundraising is a copywriter par excellence. Take her advice!
Click-it: Upgrade Nonprofit Donors Using DIY Peer-to-Peer Fundraising. I’ve written a 3-part series on ways to retain and upgrade donors on the Bloomerang blog. This is Part 2.
Click-it: Upgrade Nonprofit Donors Using Suggested Donations. See above. This is Part 3.
Click-it: Fundraising in an Election Year: Much ado about (almost) nothing. Tina Cincotti of Funding Change offers five actionable tips designed to keep you on track…and to quell your nerves during midterm election season. You’ll even find some helpful statistics for talking your board or your boss off the ledge.
Click-it: Nurturing Your Potential as a Fundraiser. Jerold Panas, who recently passed away, was one of the shining lights of the fundraising profession. He left us with this amazing wisdom, published on Guidestar, which says it all. This is what your job is all about. Savor every morsel.
Boards and Leadership
Click-it: 12 Reasons Why You Should Gracefully Resign from a Nonprofit Board. Sometimes the board isn’t functional. Sometimes the organization isn’t functional. Sometimes the board member can’t fulfill their responsibilities. In all cases, these are red flags. Read this excellent piece by attorney Gene Takagi in Nonprofit Quarterly.
Click-it: “Annual Report”…or “Gratitude Report?” If you’re putting together your annual report, consider doing something a bit different this year. Make it about your donors, not you. Pamela Grow shares this example in What’s in My Mailbox?
Click-it: 3 Simple Data Practices to Cleaner Data and More Effective Fundraising. I always tell folks 40% of the success of your annual appeal can be attributed to your mailing list. This article from Amy Bobrick of Merkle RMG describes why, and how, to clean up your database so you avoid the huge problem and expense of undeliverable, inaccurate and/or duplicate mail and email.
Major and Legacy Gifts
Click-it: 9 Tips to Help You Start and Maintain a Major or Legacy Giving Conversation. Grab some practical ideas from Greg Warner of Market Smart. I like #1, 2 and 7. You?
Management and Strategy
Click-it: What the Best Nonprofits Know about Strategy. An interesting read from Keven Barenblat in Harvard Business Review about how too few organizations use the advantage of their nonprofit status. It goes way beyond tax-exemption. Here’s my favorite take-away: the most successful nonprofits think of fundraising like sales: They’re as thoughtful about the benefits to the funder as about those to the beneficiaries they serve
Online Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: Crafting an effective elevator pitch to online donors. Much of today’s communication occurs online. This guest article from Ronald Pruitt of 4aGoodCause shows you how to expertly craft a bite-sized portion of content that packs a punch and convinces your target audiences to donate before they get off that proverbial elevator that is the American attention span.
Click-it: Online giving insights and statistics – Q2 2018. It’s always good to know where, when and how folks are engaging with you online. So it’s good to look to those with lots of data, like the good folks at 4agoodcause.
Click-it: Donors Care About Their Impact, Not Your Overhead. The Agitator offers this article, the beginning of a series on how to present things to donors most effectively. The articles draw on test results put together through a collaboration of Donor Voice and the DMA Nonprofit Federation.
Click-it: How Tech Billionaires Hack Their Taxes With a Philanthropic Loophole. This is a cautionary article from the New York Times about misuses of Donor Advised Funds (DAFs). The author shares a concern that the w tax law may generate a rash of super wealthy, who are not philanthropically motivated, to use this vehicle as a “fraud” or “loophole.” I understand the concern. There is no doubt a TON of money sitting in DAFs, for which charitable deductions were claimed, that is not being put to any pro-social use. I particularly abhor the notion of holding on to contributed stock (as SVCF did with the GoPro stock which decreased significantly in value). That’s truly a fraud on the community and the government. DAFS should have a policy of liquidating all assets upon contribution (IMHO). And, of course, it would be good for the government to impose a required minimum distribution — as is the case for private foundations. On the positive side, DAFs have been used for years as a force for good; many who set them up make recommendations for distributions annually. In fact, probably more money goes out of them, net/net, than happens with private foundations. [Full disclosure: I started a DAF program when working at Jewish Family and Children’s Services, and people enthusiastically recommended distributions. I actively encouraged them to do so (see the quote from Dolly Levi about money being like manure here). The DAFS were mostly a paperwork convenience for these donors. Rather than having to cut multiple checks to multiple beneficiaries, they simply let me know where they wanted their philanthropy to be directed that year. At their death, any balance remaining went to our direct service programs]. For another comprehensive take on this topic, see Michael Rosen of ML Innovations It’s Time to Stop Whining about Donor-Advised Funds! A story, no doubt, to be continued.
Click-it: 12 Donation Pages that Rock. Does your Donation Landing Page look like any of these examples collected by the EveryAction team? Maybe it should…
FREE AUDIO-VISUAL LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
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Finding webinars you’d like to attend that overlap? Note that for many of these webinars you can obtain a copy of the recording if you’re unable to join live – as long as you register!
Click-it: The State of Recurring Giving [Register for free webinar, 9-6-18]. Join Brady Josephson of NextAfter as part of the Bloomerang webinar series for this deep dive into research showing, among other findings, that recurring donors are consistently worth 4 times more than one time donors (over a 5-year period). If that doesn’t make you stop and consider ramping up your monthly giving program, I don’t know what will!
Click-it: 10 Tips and Tricks for a Successful Grant Seeking Strategy [Register for free webinar, 9-5-18]. Diane Leonard, GPC, is one of only 15 people in the entire world who is a Grants Professional Association approved trainer. You can learn from her via Charity How To!
Major and Legacy Gifts
Click-it: Why Cash is Not King in Fundraising [Listen to free, on-demand webinar]. Nathan Stelter interviews Dr. Russell James sharing new research and practical insights as well as the psychology and economics of noncash gifts. If you’re not actively promoting acceptance on non-cash gifts, this will make you seriously reconsider!
Click-it: To Fundraise is Human [Listen to on-demand podcast]. Greg and Tim at MarketSmart talk about how fundraising is sales, and selling doesn’t have to mean sleazy. Good selling builds trust. Good selling is human. So is good fundraising. Engagement fundraising. If you doubt this at all, check out my past article on this topic after you listen in to this podcast [To Sell is Human; To Give, Divine – Why We’re All in Fundraising Now.]
Online Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: Cracking the Code of Facebook Fundraising [Register for free webinar, 8-29-18]. How do you use Facebook (and other social media platforms) to find likely donors and convert them into loyal supporters? Tim Kachuriak and Jon Powell of NextAfter are here to tell you how to target, capture, convert and cultivate likely online donors!
Click-it: Online Fundraising Best Practices for Nonprofits [Register for free webinar, 9-19-18]. Jay Wilkinson of Firespring will share 7 steps to online fundraising success, 5 metrics to measure performance and the attributes of a killer email marketing piece.
Click-it: How to Get The Most Out Of Google Adwords Grants For Your Nonprofit [Listen to on-demand podcast]. Nonprofit Source interviews Grant Hensel of Nonprofit Megaphone, an organization specializing in management of Google Adwords Grants and campaigns for nonprofits.
Click-it: Your Voice Podcast: The Storytelling Nonprofit [Listen to on-demand podcast]. Kay Helm of the Your Voice Podcast interviews Vanessa Chase Lockshin about finding and telling stories that resonate, connect folks to your mission and help build a collaborative culture.
Click-it: This is how to talk to yourself [Listen to quick podcast]. One of my favorite thinkers is Daniel Pink. In roughly two minutes, he offers an excellent tip you can use to motivate yourself to accomplish just about anything. How about trying it when you’re afraid to make a donor ask?
FREE DOWNLOADABLE MATERIALS
Click-it: Opt-In Guide [Register for free download]. You need to show folks the content you offer has value for them if you want them to opt in to join your email list. The folks at Donor Voice show you how it’s done, using behavioral science.
Data and Metrics
Click-it: What You Should Include in a Board Presentation (with Examples & A Free Template). Grab this useful article and template from Zach Shefska at the Fundraising Report Card.
Major and Legacy Gifts
Click-it: A Beginner’s Guide to Finding the Best Donor Prospects Hidden In Your Database [Download free eBook]. Whether you’re a small nonprofit who feels that prospect research is out of reach, or you’re looking to hire a professional prospect researcher and want to set them up for success, this eBook from Bloomerang is for you.
Click-it: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Major Donor Letters [Download free e-Guide]. Learn four types of letters you should be sending your major donors, what you need to know before you begin writing, and more from the good folks at Market Smart.
Management and Strategy
Click-it: How to Measure and Communicate Fundraising Effectiveness [Listen to Interview Podcast]. Amy Eisenstein interviews Andy Davis of BoardSource about how to discuss the cost to raise a dollar with your board members and how to steer the conversation with your donors from costs to impact.
Online Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: 6 Ways to Grow Your Email File [Download free eBook]. Get six strategies from NextAfter to grow your email file and online fundraising.
Click-it: The Digital Donation Revolution: 5 Online Fundraising Tactics that Actually Work [Download free white paper]. Pursuant has authored a terrific report to help you create the type of experience your donors expect in today’s online, instant gratification world. Great data + useful tips.
Click-it: 2018 Email Deliverability [Download free Study]. EveryAction just published their 2018 Email Deliverability Study, filled with useful info on the impact of spam rates on nonprofit fundraising. Did you know that nonprofits lost almost $30,000 in donations on average due to email spam? Or that the average rate of emails sent to junk folders QUADRUPLED on #GivingTuesday? Check out their findings to help increase email deliverability.
Did You Miss My Recent Articles?
Here are links to my most recent articles. Enroll in ‘Clairification School’ to get access to every single article I’ve ever written – with new ones delivered weekly straight to your in-box! You’ll also get free monthly tips from your own “My Clairification” dashboard.
- Want to Recharge Your Personal and Nonprofit’s Life? Borrow Wisdom.
- Are You Really Rocking Major Gift Fundraising as You Should?
- If You Get Nonprofit Donors to Ask this Question, You’re Home Free
- Read This if You Know People who Hate Fundraising
- Introduction to Strategic Nonprofit Major Gifts Moves Management
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