We’re now transitioning to a novel period of nonprofit transformation, informed by events of the past year and an acceleration of digital disruption. It’s not “back to normal,” but that’s a good thing since normal was probably part of the problem.
I’m calling this issue jejune partly as a play on the name of the month we’re in and partly because jejune means “devoid of significance or interest.” Could that be how you’ve been doing fundraising? Are you relevant, or do you fail to meet folks where they are and fully engage them?
In recognition of the fact we’re moving from pre- to during to post-, I’m retiring one feature and adding a new one with this issue. The “Tips for Not-So-Normal Times” which debuted during the pandemic has now run its 15-month course (that’s long enough!). But the way forward is uncertain, and much is in flux. There’s so much conversation about the role of philanthropy and nonprofits and the best way to do fundraising that I’m debuting a new “Opinions” feature where I’ll showcase more than one side of an issue. Please let me know what you think; I truly value feedback.
Thank you again to my generous 2021 sponsor, Bloomerang, for their continued support of my curation of content for you across the web – all with the goal of helping you in your quest to facilitate passionate philanthropy. If you find one or more articles, webinars or free downloadable guides useful I’ll be happy.
And if you find Clairification useful … please consider enrolling in Clairification School to get 12 months of all the wisdom I have to share!
My motto is: “If I know it, I want you to know it.”
Let’s get to this issue’s “click-it” links!
Thank you for doing the important work you do,
P.S. If you’re on the fence about enrolling in Clairification School, see what others say about why they’ve joined. If you’re not happy, I’ll refund you the $1.92/week. How’s that?
Clairity Click-it, Your Nonprofit Ticket to…
NEW OPINIONS FEATURE
This Issue: Views of Billionaire Philanthropy and Power
Click-it: You Don’t Have to Root for Melinda Gates. This piece by Natalie Shure on The Soapbox asks whether billionaire philanthropy really works: “As much as dire social problems—like famine, disease, a lack of opportunity, and everything else—are spawned by poverty, they are spawned by concentrated wealth. That makes billionaires a less than ideal fit for solving the scourges of unequal resource distribution.” The article is a bit gossipy, but makes some good points.
Click-it: Does MacKenzie Scott’s Giving Approach Signal a New Era? Maria DiMento in the Chronicle of Philanthropy questions whether we may be witnessing “a sea change in how other ultrawealthy donors give or what they support.” While Scott’s approach is less top-down, and allows latitude in how nonprofits choose to spend their grants, DiMento notes there is no open process to apply for the funding.
Click-it: So You Think You’re a Philanthropist, Huh? Or Maybe You’re a Power Hoarder. Let’s Find Out! Interestingly when I read this several months ago, and again today, I noticed I had different feelings. Maybe I’m learning something? The article on the Community-Centric Fundraising blog takes a combination of a loving and blunt approach (I still disagree with some of the latter, especially regarding the definition of “philanthropy”), and generally comes out on the side of being mindful – always a good idea if you want to do greater good than ill.
Annual (Year-Round) Fundraising
Click-it: The Top 5 Fundraising Hacks Your Non-Profit Can Use to Raise More Money. Joe Garecht Fundraising talks fundamentals here – simple things that really work. How many of them are you currently doing? I’ll wager not enough.
Click-it: Strategies to Tell if Your Nonprofit Content Marketing is Hurting or Helping. First understand this: content marketing strategy isn’t a “nice to have”—it’s a fundamental requirement for fundraising success. You may think, as a fundraiser, your nonprofit content marketing strategy is not your job. Alas, you’re wrong. Your fundraising strategy is fueled by content. Glorious, burning content that says here’s a problem and potential solution that cannot be ignored. Read more about what you can do to feed the fire in this article on the Bloomerang blog.
Click-it: Why—and How—to Tell Great Stories in Your Next Annual Report. Whether you’re planning a digital or hard copy Annual Report, this article on the Soapbox Engage blog offers ideas to draw readers into your copy and inspire them to future philanthropy.
Culture of Philanthropy
Click-it: Who’s Responsible for A Nonprofit’s Culture of Philanthropy? Sitting on the sidelines bemoaning the lack of a philanthropic culture at your organization will not get you where you want to go. You must do everything within your power to make philanthropy flow. Here’s my take on how to fulfill this responsibility in the Bloomerang blog.
Click-it: Asking Your Donors to Give Again. Read this piece on why donor retention is a big deal, especially if you ever want to develop transformational major gifts. There are a lot of great tips in this comprehensive article from the Flipcause Modern Nonprofit blog.
Click-it: Four Key Customer Insights For Loyalty and Rewards. I love applying lessons from other disciplines to nonprofit fundraising and marketing, and this article from Merkle is a case in point. The same things that keep “customers” loyal can keep donors loyal too. Specifically, rewards, surprises, appreciation and a chance to build a relationship.
Click-it: After a Year of Zoom Galas, Are Charities and Donors Ready to Party — and Attend Other Events — in Person? This Chronicle of Philanthropy article advises sticking with virtual events for now, and starting small with anything in person. Hybrid events — which people can attend either virtually or in person with a small group — are also an attractive option, but they bring added costs. Expect to pay an additional $5,000 to $8,000 to cover video production costs to bring an in-person event to an at-home audience.
Click-it: Let’s Try to Stop Using Jargon So Much. This article from Ann Green’s Nonprofit Blog is perfect for the times we’re in, because there’s a lot of new jargon out there that could be confusing to your donors.
Major and Legacy Gifts
Click-it: Why It’s So Hard to Get Charitable Bequests for Your Organization. No surprise: If you do nothing you’ll get nothing. So read this article on the Moceanic blog to learn how to get started with actively seeking bequests. They can be transformative for your mission and vision.
Online Fundraising and Marketing (aka Digital Strategy)
Click-it: Convincing senior leaders and trustees to get involved in digital change. We’re entering a digital-first world at an accelerated pace due to Covid. If you’re having trouble getting on board, this article on the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) blog has some useful suggestions.
Click-it: Text to Donate vs. Text to Give: Which is Right for You? The folks at Rally Corp are experts in mobile fundraising. And it’s not your mother’s text fundraising either! Learn everything you need to know to get started – and then some.
Click-it: 8 Tips to Re-Engage Lapsed Donors Through Email. This is a meaty article on Classy describing a range of ways to develop and implement a donor re-engagement plan. They’re all good; I particularly like ##4 and 6. There are also links to numerous downloadable guides and templates!
Click-it: The Case for Marketing Automation: Why Nonprofit Fundraising Operations Should Automate Tasks to Optimize Staff Performance. You should pay some real attention to this article from Greg Warner of MarketSmart. If you’re enrolled in Clairification School, you’ll be noticing I’m talking a lot about a digital-first strategy this year. That doesn’t mean you give up on personal touches. But today’s novel economy requires more. Alas. Things are getting harder, so it’s smart to automate where you can. Learn all the ways fundraising automation can help you here.
Strategy and Management
Click-it: Cultivate Talent with the Same Energy Level You Cultivate Gifts — Especially with BIPOC Support Staff. The nonprofit sector has a longstanding history of undervaluing the rewards of cultivating internal talent. Here Priscilla Lopez, ACLU major gifts officer, makes the case on the Community-Centric Fundraising blog for making intentional power shifts within organizations to promote emerging BIPOC leaders. It’s a thorough and interesting read, replete with links to informative resources.
Click-it: Facilitating Through Hard Moments: Synthesize, Slow Down, and Shift. This is a super useful article from Compass Point on how to facilitate a meeting or retreat. Even if you don’t do this often, the principles can be helpful even in one-to-one meetings with other staff and donors. It’s a lot about listening and being present.
Click-it: Understanding How to Frame Your Creative Expertise. You don’t need to be all-knowing to make a meaningful contribution to your team. This article by Tara Mohr on 99U describes four types of experts. Do you know which one is you, and how to leverage your strengths?
WEBINARS, 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!
Annual (Year-Round) Fundraising
Click-it: Future-Proof Your Fundraising: Timeless Lessons from Unprecedented Times [Register for free webinar, 6-18-2021]. The wonderful presenter Abby Jarvis from Qgiv covers (1) what made donors give above and beyond during a global crisis, and (2) how you can use donors’ response to crisis to inform future fundraising. Knowing Abby, you’ll be sure to get examples and super-practical tips!
Click-it: Lessons From MotivateMonday | Nonprofits and Text Messaging, a Primer [Listen to on-demand podcast]. Pamela Grow hosts Abby Jarvis of Qgiv for this Motivate Monday session focused on a variety of ways to use texting as a tool in your fundraising arsenal. Abby offers a ton of practical tips in just 30 minutes – it’s well worth your time.
Click-it: Updating Your Nonprofit Profile on Guidestar [Register for free webinar, 6-23-2021]. I’m super-excited about this, as I rarely find nonprofits taking full advantage of this unparalleled opportunity to put their best foot forward in making a good first impression with prospective donors. Tens of thousands of would-be supporters, including foundation and donor advised fund managers, read these profiles before making a gift. They’re found not only on GuideStar, but also on AmazonSmile, Facebook, and Network for Good. You’ll also learn how to earn your “Platinum Seal of Transparency,” GuideStar’s highest form of recognition. If you’ve been leaving this up to someone in your finance office to complete, take this free webinar from Candid together!
Culture of Philanthropy and Abundance
Click-it: Kiss Scarcity Goodbye [Register for free training 6-16-2021]. There’s an abundance of supporters, advocates, volunteers, board members, collaborators, partners, experts, influence – even MONEY! Everything you need to achieve your mission is waiting outside your walls. But you must first decide to switch from a scarcity to an abundance worldview. Nell Edgington of Social Velocity will show you the way.
Click-it: ThankView Summer Webinar Series [Sign up for 1 – 6 free sessions, commencing 6-16-2021]. Want to become an expert in video fundraising! Sign up for this 6-week ThankView series to save your seat for the live events and also receive the recordings, slides, and lots of supporting goodies to make personalized video a breeze. What a way to personalize your donor communications and build stronger relationships than ever!
Major and Legacy Giving
Click-it: Stop Losing 50% of Your Donors [Register for free webinar, 6-17-2021]. Knowing how to dig into the data and understand your non-profit’s economy is a critical part of any non-profit leader’s role. As you learn more about how to identify and measure critical metrics, you’ll be better prepared to quickly address potential issues. Join Jeff Schreifels and Diana Frazier from the Veritus Group to learn how to build a balanced, productive donor pipeline.
Click-it: The Elusive, Ever-Changing and Shape-Shifting Planned Giving Donor [Register for free webinar 6-23-2021]. This comes from the planned giving experts at Stelter, with presentations by Katherine Swank, J.D., Strategic Consultant, Principal – Customer Success Services, Blackbaud, and Lawrence Henze, Analytics Architect, Senior Principal at Blackbaud Target Analytics. They’re great presenters, so it should be a good one!
Strategy and Management
Click-it: Disruption & Innovation in Organizational Culture & Change Management in Uncertain Times [Register for free webinar and discussion, 6-15-2021]. Technological innovation, social movements, and evolving public sentiments are outpacing the ability of organizations to absorb and understand the scope and meaning of these developments. How does the modern nonprofit prepare itself for the future while remaining focused on its mission and its vision for change? Join this rare free session from Stanford Social Innovation Review, featuring a strong panel of experts – Joan Garry, Onney Crawley, Scott Sampson, and Chris Thomas – to find out.
Click-it: Delivering Extraordinary Fundraising in Extraordinary Times [Register for free webinar, 6-16-2021]. Daniel Mansoor of GoodWorksGroup joins Candid to entertain, inform and open your mind to new ways of doing business as we transition to a digitally-revolutionized, post-Covid world. Discover how you can bring a new way of thinking about fundraising through technology, the behavioral science of giving, and bold messaging.
DOWNLOADABLE GUIDES, WHITE PAPERS & OTHER RESOURCES
Annual (Year-Round) Fundraising
Click-it: The Fundraiser’s Guide to Sustaining Giving: How to Implement a Recurring Giving Program to Improve Retention [Download free eBook]. This resource from Pursuant will help you create or strengthen a recurring giving program that will inspire more loyalty from your donors. You’ll learn to identify ideal monthly gift candidates, how to develop donor experiences that drive monthly giving and how to upgrade one-time or sporadic givers to sustaining supporters.
Click-it: Nonprofit Events: Raise More, Stress Less with Digital Tools that Work [Download free eGuide]. Get everything you need in this guide from Firespring to plan and promote a successful event that meets your (and your attendees’) expectations. And of course, there are tips for taking your events virtual. While you’re at it, read this companion article.
Did You Miss My Newest Articles?
- 4 Strategies to Listen so Others Will Talk
- 12 Top Tips to Broaden Your Nonprofit Donor Community
- How to Kon Mari Your Nonprofit Work Plan
- These Fundraising Appeal Fallacies Will Cost You Money
- Donors Screening Calls? 12 Strategies to Stop Being Defeatist.
- Digital Fundraising Revolution: Annual Benchmarks Study; Trending Behaviors
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! Check out (1) How to be Appropriately Kind to In-Kind Donors and (2) Should We Host a Major (Virtual) Donor Thank You Party?
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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. JUNE tips are live! [This month: Text Messaging Is Becoming An Increasingly Important Fundraising Tool. Is It Right For You?]. If you’re not yet an enrolled student, you can get in on the fun here!
My motto is: “If I know it, I want you to know it.” Don’t miss out.