Oprah Winfrey, speaking to the Class of 2020, told them they were “the chosen class for such a time as this… the pandemic class, that has the entire world striving to graduate with you.”
Indeed, we’re all graduating. We’re striving to move forward and become who we need to be in this time period.
You, as a nonprofit leader, are also chosen for this role. You are a philanthropy facilitator, whose job is to create a bridge between people who want to help and vital work that needs to be done.
Perhaps you need to ramp up services. Perhaps you must find a way to pivot to sustain your relevance. Perhaps your path involves collaboration or consolidation. Oprah spoke to the Class of 2020, saying “never has a graduating class been called to step into the future with more purpose, vision, passion, and energy and hope.” She could just as easily have substituted the words ‘a graduating class’ for ‘the nonprofit sector.’
“I wish I could tell you I know the path forward, I don’t. There is so much uncertainty. In truth, there always has been. What I do know is that the same guts and imagination that got you to this moment, all those things are the very things that are going to sustain you through whatever is coming. It’s vital that you learn, and we all learn, to be at peace with the discomfort of stepping into the unknown.”
— Oprah Winfrey, Address to Class of 2020
Some of these awesome resources I’ve collected for you will help with your learning. There’s plenty more on my Clairification School blog, and we’ve also been holding periodic live Q&A sessions. So if you’re not yet enrolled as a Clairification School student, now’s a great time to join in and connect with your peers.
You are making the world a better, more caring, more just, more hopeful, more inspiring place. You are on the front lines of enacting values other people care about. Keep faith in your vision that got you to this moment.
Yours very sincerely,
P.S. Many thanks to Bloomerang for sponsoring the Clairity Click-it. Please remember to bookmark the Ask an Expert page — my fundraising advice column on their website! Ask your question here and see this month’s “What to do with a controlling board president?”
Clairity Click-it, Your Nonprofit Ticket to…
SPECIAL CATEGORY: Tips for Not-So-Normal Times
Click-it: 5 Action Strategies to Supercharge Crisis Fundraising Success. Grab my simple 5-part strategic action plan on the Bloomerang blog. It will help you (1) stay in touch, (2) convey what’s important right now, and (3) give your supporters an opportunity to help you survive and thrive. Every step in this plan is a step toward sustainability.
Click-it: Two reasons fundraising is working so well right now. If for any reason you’re not asking right now because you think it isn’t seemly, you need to read this from Jeff Brooks, Future Fundraising Now.
Click-it: Nonprofit Fundraising in the Age of Coronavirus. This article by Alan Cantor in the Harvard Business Review discusses ways to overcome the fear of fundraising too much because your gut tells you this will make you look selfish. He reminds you your survival depends on fundraising, and offers advice for what you should do.
Click-it: The Easy Way to Raise More Money and Keep Your Donors. Jim Shapiro and Steven Screen, The Better Fundraising Co., write one of my favorite blogs and this brief article hits the nail on the head: Mail more. Learn more. Raise more.
Communications and Marketing
Click-it: Best and Worst Nonprofit Coronavirus Crisis Communication Strategies. Planning and leadership around communications will be key to your survival. Because communication is how you build authentic relationships. People want to help. People need to help. If you’ve got a way for people to help, it’s your obligation to communicate this fact. Learn what to do, and not do, in my article for the Bloomerang blog.
Click-it: Lessons from the flu pandemic of 1918/19 that fundraisers can learn from today. Giles Pegram, seasoned U.K. fundraiser, offers a history-based fundraising lesson that’s well worth a read. On the QueerIdeas blog.
Strategy and Management
Click-it: COVID-19: Recommendations for Fundraisers. Top 10 takeaways, and sound advice, from the experts at Merkle. I like #5 and #9 in particular.
Click-it: Tips To Make Online Meetings Less Exhausting. Beth Kanter continues to come through for our sector, offering amazing new tips for making your meetings more productive – and fun!
NOTE: You’ll find more of my own ‘what to do in this crisis’ articles on Clairification (just scroll to the bottom of the Click-it).
Click-it: Inspiration Station: Creative Virtual Fundraising Ideas from Real Nonprofits [Register for free webinar, 5-28-20]. COVID-19 has forced nonprofits to rethink their 2020 fundraising. Qgiv asked nonprofits how they’re adapting to the current situation, and Abby Jarvis will present some of the most creative ideas and examples for your inspiration!
Click-it: How to Launch an Emergency Crowdfunding Campaign for Your Nonprofit [Download free, on-demand webinar]. Julia Campbell offers a step-by-step framework to planning and launching an emergency crowdfunding campaign. Learning objectives: How to identify a goal; How to figure out what to fund; How to raise funds for employee relief; How to choose a platform for your campaign; How to promote the campaign; Case studies of successful emergency crowdfunding campaigns running right now.
Click-it: The Accidental Fundraiser: Tips for People Who Never Wanted to Fundraise in the First Place- COVID-19 Edition [Register for free webinar, 5-26-20]. Donor Search presents Alice Ferris, James Anderson and Jay Frost with tips for reluctant fundraisers, and how you and your board can make the best use of this time.
Strategy and Management
Click-it: Responsive Nonprofit Summit 2020 [Download free, on-demand 3-hour presentation]. Get ready for the next phase of pandemic fundraising. Virtuous hosted this virtual ‘Town Hall’ with experts across the sector discussing how nonprofits have been weathering the storm thus far – and what comes next. You’ll hear from 13 nonprofit and fundraising thinkers and practitioners in interactive discussions and fireside chats.
Click-it: Coronavirus Research Findings: What do donors think now? [Listen to on-demand webcast]. Mark Phillips, Blue Frog Fundraising, presents their latest research on the QueerIdeas blog. They focus on what donors have told them about how their approach to giving has changed. Plus they offer examples using their findings so you can create more effective appeals.
DOWNLOADABLE GUIDES & ON-DEMAND AUDIO RESOURCES
Major and Legacy Gifts
Click-it: A Short-Term Guide for Marketing Planned Giving [Download free e-guide]. Experts agree nonprofits need to continue their planned giving efforts, staying top of mind with donors—albeit with some thoughtful adjustments. Learn exactly how to do this from the experts at Stelter.
Virtual Donor Meetings
Click-it: Virtual Donor Meetings Can Be Wondrous… When Done Well [Watch on-demand video + read post]. Andrea Kihlstedt, Capital Campaign Masters, offers wondrous advice on asking for a major gift at any time. Plus she includes great tips for doing so online (set up; tech check; planning the conversation; closing, and follow up).
Other Articles: The Beat Goes On
Click-it: Beware… the Curse of KNOWLEDGE!. Always remember you are not your donors. They don’t know what you know. They don’t necessarily want to know. Here Steven Screen, The Better Fundraising Co., offers his take on how you should talk to your supporters.
Click-it: The Problem with Know-it-All Nonprofit Leadership. Everybody knows them: People who know everything. At least, that’s what they believe. In this article for the Bloomerang blog I discuss why this happens and what you can do to deal productively with the problems that inevitably ensue.
Click-it: The Roles and Responsibilities of the Board Chair and Executive Director. Nonprofits have many different power centers. In this article, Joan Garry, Nonprofits are Messy, breaks it all down. You can also download a free overview if these key roles.
Major and Legacy Giving
Click-it: Top 10 Free Resources Thanks to Dr. Russell James. Greg Warner of Market Smart shares 10 awesome free resources – including an entire online charitable gift planning course that offers 13 CFRE credits!
Online Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: Why a valid email address is crucial for donor communication. This useful article from 4aGoodCause explains why you should stop using ‘no-reply’ email addresses, and what you can use instead. Also be sure to check out the link at the bottom to the “8 elements every online donation email receipt needs.”
Click-it: What is the Secret Sauce of Fundraising Success? If you’ve spent any time with me, or have read my articles, you know I advocate reframing ‘fundraising’ as ‘storytelling.’ Here Michael Rosen, ML Innovations, reviews a book by Lynn Malzone Ierardi, JD, Director of Gift Planning at The University of Pennsylvania, eloquently making this point and basing it not only on art but also science. If you or your volunteers shy away from asking, this will help you feel exceedingly more comfortable.
Other Learning Opportunities
WEBINARS & ON-DEMAND AUDIO RESOURCES
Click-it: How to Avoid Fundraising’s Quiet Killer: Donor Attrition [Register for free webinar, 5-26-2020]. Join Firespring CEO and Founder Jay Wilkinson and learn how to double the lifetime value of your donors. This is no joke! You need to know this stuff, and Jay is an excellent teacher.
Trends and Benchmarks
Click-it: The 2020 Small Nonprofit Benchmark [Register for free webinar, 5-26-2020]. Join NextAfter’s Brady Josephson, in partnership with Network for Good, for a dive into the first of its kind study analyzing the fundraising trends, behaviors, and strategies of small nonprofits. This should be super useful for benchmarking your own results, and learning about tools, strategies and platforms used by your peer nonprofits.
Foundations and Public Charities
Click-it: Key Facts on U.S. Nonprofits and Foundations [Download free fact sheet]. Did you know at least 1 out of every 5 grant dollars are awarded for general support? Learn much more in this infographic prepared by Candid.
Online Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: 6 Simple Ways to Turn Your “Likes” into Donations [Download free e-book]. Use these tips from Network for Good to help you grow your social media presence and convert those loyal followers into loyal donors.
Did You Miss My Recent Articles?
Here are links to the most recent articles on the Clairification blog. I think you’ll find these fairly practical. Hope so!
- Philanthropy Trends Your Nonprofit Needs to Know Mid-Pandemic
- Who Ya Gonna Call? Philanthropy Facilitators!
- Secret Strategy to Communicate with Nonprofit Donors – In ANY Times
- 10 Top Nonprofit Strategies to Get Through this Crisis
- Nonprofit’s ‘Unfair Advantage?’ You Deliver Meaning
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