Autumn is in the air (at least in the northern hemisphere), and there’s a lot happening in the world of philanthropy and the social benefit sector. Some is politically motivated; some is pandemic-related. For all sorts of reasons, people are thinking more carefully about their values and what matters to them – personally, for their children and grandchildren, and for people and the planet as a whole.
This means whatever you previously thought you knew about your supporters may no longer be the case. And whatever you previously thought you knew about fundraising and marketing “best practices” may also no longer be the case.
Here’s one piece of really good news: A recent Fidelity Charitable survey found a significant percentage of donors gave more to charity in 2020 than they did the previous year, and virtually all of them (93%) plan to give the same (67%) or even more (26%) this year. Plus donors will continue to embrace new channels and methods for donating both money and time. Did you know this year (2021):
- 29% say they will purchase more products from socially responsible businesses.
- 28% percent say they will make more donations online.
- 28% say they’ll give more money directly to individuals, family or friends.
- 35% say they’ll spend more time volunteering in the future; many will continue to do so virtually (pre-pandemic only 17% volunteered virtually; that increased to 30% in 2020).
Please peruse this curated collection of free resources to help you figure out the best strategies to prioritize in the months ahead – plus how to execute them with pride, prudence, proficiency, passion and panache. Find a few things that speak to you, and… get clicking! I want to give a shout out to my Clairity Click-it sponsor, Bloomerang. I hope you enjoy these resources as much as I enjoy finding them for you.
Thank you SO MUCH for doing the important work you do,
P.S. Please enroll in Clairification School as an official student if you’ve not done so already. I don’t want you to miss a thing during this important last quarter of the calendar year. October’s exclusive tips for students just posted today!
Clairity Click-it, Your Nonprofit Ticket to…
Looking at the World through a Broader Lens
Click-it: So You Want to Be a More Anti-Racist Organization. Now What? This article by Nicola Carpenter on the Fractured Atlas website discusses how nonprofits of all shapes and sizes can begin to address racism in the workplace and constituent communications by making an enduring commitment to this work. And not just by assigning this work to POC, but making it part of the organization-wide culture. As you know, last year a lot of nonprofits held “trainings” for staff and board and also posted BLM or DEI statements on their websites. These were useful measure, but many were somewhat “one and done.” Now what?
Click-it: Stop saying that 80% of nonprofit funding comes from individual donors. It’s misleading. Vu Le, Nonprofit AF, says “We need to stop thinking of individual donations as the silver bullet to philanthropy, and fundraising gurus need to stop pushing it as the panacea for all the challenges brought up by frustrated people, especially marginalized people, when it comes to foundation support.” He makes a valid point. Not all organizations are created equal; a cookie cutter approach is naïve and potentially hurtful.
Annual (Year-Round) Fundraising
Click-it: Of Course You Can Ask Too Much (but you almost certainly aren’t). I wish I wrote this! It’s from Steven Screen, the Better Fundraising Co., and filled with so much great advice you won’t be able to help finding at least one thing you can do right now to raise more money before the end of this year. Read and heed.
Click-it: Vest Size Fundraising. I love this article from the Agitator-DonorVoice blog primarily for what it says about the importance of tweaking your messaging for different market segments. You may not have the data to segment by personality if you’re a small to medium-size nonprofit, but you can certainly segment by something. Your donors identify themselves differently. Learn what you can by observation and research; then lead with it in your communications. Your ROI will be vastly improved.
Digital Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: 3 Charts That Confirm What Your Already Know: Your Donors are Online. If you have any doubt that now is the time to prioritize developing a serious digital strategy, read this post from the folks at Stelter; then share it with your E.D., board, executive management and marketing team. Not maximizing this strategy in today’s digitally-revolutionized world is, IMHO, fundraising malpractice. And please note that Stelter specializes in major and legacy gift fundraising – perhaps not the first area in which ou would think digital matters so much. It does.
Click-it: AnalyzingTweets of Nonprofit Tweeters. I share this article from the Agitator-DonorVoice blog because of the way it forces you to think about the content, emotion and framing of your digital strategy. In other words, all tweets aren’t created alike. Think about what you want folks to think, feel and do!
Click-it: When you’re too big to succeed. No nonprofit should be too big for their britches. In other words, there’s no excuse for failure to send heartfelt thanks to any donor, large or small. Mary Cahalane, Hands-on Fundraising, writes about the large nonprofit that failed to notice when a donor significantly increased their already major gift. It’s spot on, and will probably tick you off. Because large nonprofits often get away with this bad behavior.
Click-it: Fundraising Ideas for Your Next Virtual Event. Even if you’re not quite comfortable scheduling a big in-person to-do (one you might have to cancel given the up-and-down nature of the times we’re in), there are still all sorts of fun, bonding event-like experiences you can develop and share with your supporters. Here are a slew of ideas from the folks at Rally Corp.
Click-it: Try These 6 Giving Tuesday Email Subject Lines to Drive Donations. For a variety of reasons, it’s not my favorite “holiday” for fundraising purposes. But if you’re going to do it, you may as well do it right. Classy has some specific suggestions so you don’t miss a beat.
Major and Legacy Giving
Click-it: Do You Know Me? I’m constantly quoting Penelope Burk, author of Donor-Centered Fundraising, who after years of interviewing donors across the U.S. and Canada boiled down what donors want into just six words: “Show me that you know me.” Based on their own experience working with hundreds of nonprofits, Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels of the Veritus Group agree. Here they share examples – eminently borrowable – of personalized donor touches that accomplish this very objective. Read, and be inspired!
Strategy and Management
Click-it: Your Strategic Plans Probably Aren’t Strategic, or Even Plans. Are you approaching strategic planning from an organization-wide system perspective, or only thinking about your own objectives and actions? Read this Harvard Business Review article by Graham Kenny to see how and where you might improve.
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: Your Appeals and Newsletters Reviewed [View free on-demand video]. Check out this awesome lesson where Steven Screen reviews a slew of fundraising appeals and shows you what works/what doesn’t. You’ll learn a lot!
Click-it: 6 Weeks to a Successful #GivingTuesday Campaign [Register for free webinar 10-19-2021]. Join Nonprofit Tech for Good with Christy Noel, MobileCause, for a simple, easy-to-implement plan to set up, maximize and run your #GivingTuesday campaign in only 6 weeks. Sounds good, right?
Major Gifts Attrition
Click-it: Finding the Hidden Problem in Your Major Gift Program [Download free on-demand webinar]. Here the Veritus Group experts discuss the reasons why donor attrition (and donor value attrition) can hide in a major donor file without being noticed for years. They also include a FREE offer to assess your organization’s data to see how much of a problem this may be for you. It’s simple, fast and your donor data is protected. You can learn how to do it yourself in this webinar if you prefer – but who doesn’t like free help?
Online Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: Mobile Marketing Tips for Every Generation [Register for free webinar, 10-5-2021]. Mobile marketing is a key component of any comprehensive marketing strategy. And optimizing your website for all devices and screens is crucial for staying relevant. It’s no secret people are attached to their phones—checking email, social media, even shopping, purchasing and making donations. If you haven’t figured it out, your nonprofit needs an engaging mobile presence. This used to be a nice-to-have; now it’s a must-have. Learn what you need to know in this jam-packed webinar from the experts at Firespring.
Click-it: Executive Directors Chat: Fundraising & Visual Storytelling [Register for free event, 10-20-2021]. Visual storytelling is more than photos and video. Your communication and fundraising strategy should consider everything that goes into social media, newsletters, website design, and more. This TechSoup chat will share tools and tips to help.
Strategy and Management
Click-it: This is how big time performers get the feedback they need.. I actually wasn’t sure which category to put this podcast from Daniel Pink (I love him!) in, because it applies to just about every aspect of life. You’ll probably recognize the wisdom he shares as something you’ve heard about major giving. It takes under two minutes, and is well worth your time.
Year-End Fundraising (yes, it’s that time!)
Click-it: How Nonprofits Use Multichannel Fundraising During Year-End Season [Listen to free on-demand webinar, or read the transcript]. Did you know research shows multichannel donors are worth nearly 3 times as much as someone who only gives online or only through the mail? Most nonprofits have lots of room to improve their multichannel communication throughout the year. If you really want to get the details on what to do, enroll in this absolutely free online course from the generous folks at NextAfter. You may think you don’t have time, but I guarantee it will take a lot less time than trying to figure everything out on your own. And you’ll learn the right stuff too. Why work hard without working smart?
Click-it: Closing Gifts in the New Fundraising Landscape: How to Ace your Year-end Goal [Register for free webinar, 10-5-2021] If 2020 was the year of the “pivot”, then 2021 is the year of connection and reconnection. That’s why Gail Perry and Beth Ann Locke are teaming up to help you hit your year-end goals. Learn why simple storytelling is not enough; how to get into your “joy presence” with donors to optimally connect, and how to invite major donor prospects to give.
Click-it: End-of-Year Fundraising Made Easy [Register for free webinar, 10-7-2021]. Many organizations raise as much as 50% of their budget in December. Are you ready to be one of them? Join this special Qgiv session for expert advice from Rachel Muir on how to get donors excited about giving, the recipe for money-raising appeals, tips for boosting online gifts, and other time-tested strategies that really work.
DOWNLOADABLE GUIDES, WHITE PAPERS & OTHER RESOURCES
Annual (Year-Round) Fundraising
Click-it: Direct Mail Fundraising-Putting the Mission First: How Nonprofits Can Benefit from Outsourced Donation Processing [Download free white paper]. If your nonprofit regularly processes a high volume of donations, or if you began to during the pandemic, you may want to consider outsourcing this function so you can devote more internal resources to higher ROI strategies. The team at Merkle are experts in this regard, and this paper explains all the ins and outs, with a focus on security, accuracy and speed.
Click-it: How to Create a Monthly Giving Donation Form That Converts [Download free e-guide]. Did you know gifts from just half of your monthly donors can amount to 65% of your overall revenue? In this comprehensive booklet from DonorPerfect learn how to (1) Create a dedicated form just for monthly giving; (2) Build community with the perfect name for your program; (3) Encourage donations with personalized gift amounts; (4) Show donors their impact in email engagements; (5) Thank donors right away with automatic receipting, and (6) Share your program with a promotional campaign.
Major and Legacy Giving
Click-it: Understanding the Economics of the Major Gifts Pipeline [Download free, comprehensive white paper].This may be just what’s been missing from your major gifts “program.” The secrets shared here by the Veritus Group are what will turn your strategy into a well-oiled machine that reliably delivers a high return on investment. It’s an eye-opener.
Click-it: Fundraising Climate Change and What You Can Do About It [Download free eReport] Greg Warner, Market Smart, explores the data indicating traditional methods of fundraising and marketing may no longer be yielding the results they once did. He suggests ways to address the problem so you’re able to weather any storm.
Did You Miss My Newest Articles?
- Fundraising Appeal & Thank You Strategies Your Nonprofit Needs NOW
- Is Your Finger on the Nonprofit Appeal Trigger?
- Top Planned Giving Myths and Truths Revealed
- Proven Strategies to Climb the Year-End Fundraising Mountain
- What Fishing Can Teach Us About Fundraising
- What “Chopped” can Teach Fundraisers about Productivity and Passion
Finally… if you have a question, any question…
Check out my free fundraising advice column on the Bloomerang blog! Ask your question here. Or email me with it directly. New this month, see (1) Is An Investment In Wealth Screening Useful Before A Capital Campaign? (2) How To Document Legacy Gift Intent and (3) When Should You Go Back to In-Person Events?
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