If your team is up by thirty points at halftime, it’s not optimistic to expect that you’re going to win–it’s a realistic assessment.
Optimism is an attitude and a choice. It involves context and focus. We’re not deluding ourselves with the reassurance that everything is going to be okay (because that’s not productive). Instead, we’re committed to finding things we can contribute to, work on and improve. We’re devoted to seeking out useful lessons and to discovering where the benefit of the doubt might be helpful.
Positive thinking doesn’t solve every problem. But it’s a much better tool than negative thinking.
— Seth Godin, Optimism as a choice
I love these words. Choosing optimism means being positive within the context of planning for future actions that will prove our positive thinking to have been wise and fruitful. Beyond giving a ‘thumbs up’ and reassuring ourselves and others “everything will be all right,” what about taking some proactive steps to assure the dawn of something better?
You can’t control everything, but there’s no reason not to find something you can control, then control the heck out of it!
For those of you who will celebrate the high holiday of Rosh Hashonah beginning next Friday evening, you know this is traditionally a time of hope, optimism and renewal. While much seems up in the air right now, it’s a time to question what really matters – especially what means most to your constituents. It’s a new year, fraught with possibility.
You’re a philanthropy facilitator. Today, you operate in an environment where people are desperate for human connection, community, and a sense of meaning and purpose. You have a positive role in facilitating that which people most want.
I hope you’ll find something in the resources I’ve collected for you to help your constituents fulfill their most cherished values. I want to thank my sponsor Bloomerang for making it possible for me to spend the time to do this for you on a biweekly basis. It is a labor of love for both of us.
From Psalm 30: “One may lie down weeping at nightfall, but at dawn there are shouts of joy.” Thank you for bringing new dawns to so many, making our world a better place.
P.S. I’m participating in Top Nonprofits’ Virtual Summit for Nonprofit Change Makers September 15 and 17. Two full days online with 25 presenters – and you get 18.75 CFRE credits. Since I’m presenting, I get to offer you a 20% discount! This is just a few dollars per presenter — pennies compared with what it would cost you to attend such an event in person. There’s no way you’ll walk away without at minimum a few real gems of advice you can act on. Jump on it here, and your discount will be automatically applied!
Clairity Click-it, Your Nonprofit Ticket to…
SPECIAL CATEGORY: Tips for Not-So-Normal Times
Click-it: How to Get Your Nonprofit’s Story Told During the 2020 Election. Peter Panepento writes on the Nonprofit Marketing Guide blog with suggestions of ways you can leverage the U.S. election to garner some positive coverage related to your key issues.
Click-it: Keeping Nonprofit Messaging Relevant with Dynamic Creative Optimization and Personalized Video on the Merkle Nonprofit blog describes how to stay relevant in a digitally revolutionized world. Learn to use ‘Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) and Personalized Video to offer each constituent the right message for them. Interesting stuff!
Click-it: Invest in major donor fundraising, or at least don’t disinvest. Always a good strategy. Summit Fundraising suggests why it’s an even better strategy right now.
Strategy and Management
Click-it: ‘Fumes’ Strategy Provides Dependable Future Contribution Income. This is part 3 of a 4-part series from me on the Bloomerang blog – all about strategies you need to get off your back burner. Now! This article is about ‘future proofing’ your fundraising so you have something solid to fall back on when times get tough.
YOU in this moment
Click-it: 10 Tips for a Successful Staycation. Bless Joan Garry, Nonprofits are Messy, for this post. I too had a rather unsuccessful ‘staycation.’ This article inspires me to try again. Take care of yourself!
Click-it: Ten Keys to Everyday Anti-Racism. Almost everything on the Greater Good website inspires me; thought I’d share this one with you. It’s from the founders of a new organization, the AntiRacist Table, suggesting tools you can use to work against prejudice and inequality.
WEBINARS & PODCASTS
Click-it: Cut Costs and Get Creative in Crisis Mode with Nonprofit Appeals [Register for free webinar, 9-22-20]. Kelly Medwick of Firespring leads us through a session focused on cutting costs during down times. If you find yourself in that situation, you’ll learn 10 secrets to cutting costs with printing and mailing, 5 surefire ways to invigorate your direct mail, and 4 strategies to maximize your impact.
Click-it: Inclusive event planning after COVID-19 [Download free Guide].Check out every chapter of this 7-part Guide from Function Central in the U.K. for event planning, taking into account accessibility and safety concerns. You’ll find useful tips throughout if you’re transition out of lockdown. This is Part 6, which also discusses accessibility concerns for virtual events.
Click-it: How to Develop and Support Leadership that Contributes to Racial Justice [Free Report].This report from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation offers suggestions for developing and supporting leadership that contributes to racial justice.
Click-it: Race Equity and Inclusion Action Guide [Download free e-Guide].This guide from the Annie E. Casey Foundation covers seven steps “to advance and embed race equity and inclusion within your organization” and helps leaders set goals and assess the impact of policies and other actions on racial equity.
Management and Strategy
Click-it: Integrating Inclusivity into Your Submission and Application Process [Free e-Guide]. This guide from Submittable features seven concrete, actionable strategies for making sure your submission and application processes are inclusive. This applies to grant applications, hiring, conferences and events, awards, scholarships, admissions, auditions, peer reviews and requests for proposals.
Other Articles: The Beat Goes On
Online Social Marketing and Fundraising
Click-it: 5 successful email marketing ideas to retain donors. This article from 4aGoodCause includes a downloadable email marketing template. Time to get ready for end of calendar year!
Psychology of Giving
Click-it: Poor Name, Great Lesson. Another useful article from Steven Screen, The Better Fundraising Co., as to where to focus stories for your fundraising appeals. If you fix yourself on the problem at hand, not the background story, you’ll generate greater success. What you want to avoid is what he calls the “toxic parent” problem.
Click-it: Strategic Planning Sucks the Life Out of Nonprofits. Joan Garry, Nonprofits are Messy, always offers terrific advice. And she pulls no punches. If you’re considering engaging in the planning process in the near future, you owe it to yourself to read this article.
Other Learning Opportunities
WEBINARS & ON-DEMAND AUDIO RESOURCES
Click-it: Peer-to-Peer Crowdfunding Myths and How to Achieve Success [Read article; Download free e-Guide]. The folks at FlipCause have partnered with Steve Vick and Devin Thorpe for this article which was adapted, with permission, from the Nonprofit Ally Podcast #067: The Quest for Fundingto put together this helpful guide explaining what crowdfunding can/cannot accomplish. If it hasn’t worked for you in the past, learn how to get it right in this comprehensive guide with all sorts of engagement strategies – before, during and after. You can also download Crowdfunding A to Z: Your complete guide to nonprofit fundraising– a free ebook and email course from Nonprofit Ally.
Click-it: 4 Things Your Nonprofit CEO Needs Now [Download free on-demand podcast]. Supporting the CEO is a critical responsibility of nonprofit Boards. Cindi Phallen joins Gregory Neilsen for an episode of Nonprofit Vision, where they discuss four things nonprofit CEOs need most from their Boards, particularly right now.
Click-it: Understanding the Personalization Paradox [Register for free webinar, 9-17-2020]. You compete with the entire universe for attention, not just the nonprofit universe. Since I’m a firm believer in the power of thoughtful content marketing to increase awareness, interest, involvement and investment, I want to share this opportunity to hear from the author of the forthcoming book, “The Personalization Paradox: How Standardized Content Leads to Personalized Experiences,” Val Swisher, courtesy of the Content Wrangler.
Click-it: The Importance of Retaining First-Time Donors (and How to Do It!)[Register for free webinar, 10-6-2020]. Steven Shattuck of Bloomerang joins the good folks at Qgiv to make the case for why development professionals should concentrate on acquiring a donor’s second gift in order to achieve sustainable funding, high donor retention rates, and high donor lifetime values. You’ll see examples that can be implemented by any organization, whether you are a one-person shop or a large development department.
Major and Legacy Giving
Click-it: Why Cash Is Not King in Fundraising: Results From 1 Million Nonprofit Tax Returns [Download free on-demand webinar]. Dr, Russell James is a nonprofit sector treasure, especially when it comes to charitable financial planning. He’s offering a webinar on planned giving with the good folks at Stelter, and is sharing his latest research. Super practical stuff! Plus he shares theory about the psychology and economics of non-cash gifts, which really helps ground you in this field. You’ll learn a lot!
Click-it: Gifts in Wills: Phenomenal ROI over the Long Haul [Listen to free podcast]. Ephraim Gopin, 1832 Communications, hosts Ligia Pena, Globetrotting Fundraiser, for a discussion on how to generate more legacy gifts. You’ll learn which donors to target, whether you need to be an attorney or accountant, what your webpages should say, and the difference between various types of major and legacy gifts.
Click-it: Cultivating Mid-Level Donors for Maximum Results [Download free whitepaper]. Many organizations have a strong focus on (1) general donors — typically those who give below annual cumulative amounts of $100, and (2) major donors – Those who provide gifts above a certain level, be it $1,000, $5,000, $10,000 or more. But… what happens when a donor gives $250? $500? Do they get courted and moved up – possibly to a major donor – or do they get largely ignored? Without a healthy mid-level donor program, fundraising suffers. Needlessly. You owe it to yourself to read this paper from the sages at The Veritus Group to discover the right way to unclog your donor pipeline. It’s one of the best ways to improve your end-of-year fundraising, and it’s staring you right in the face!
Click-it: The State of Storytelling in the Nonprofit Sector [Read free report/white paper]. Courtesy of Network for Good and The Storytelling Nonprofit, this report offers conclusions from survey data and follow-up interviews with a broad, diverse group of nonprofits on their use of storytelling for fundraising and marketing. The paper identifies trends in storytelling and makes key recommendations that can help nonprofits get better results. 55% of nonprofits saw an increase in their fundraising results with the use of stories in their communications!
Click-it: Finding new audiences in growing digital channels [Listen to on-demand podcast]. This is super interesting stuff about how to convert leads to donors! If you’ve been focusing on the donor pyramid or marketing funnel as a model for your strategies, it’s time to toss it out the window. Noting the shelter in place mandate virtually doubled the number of online hours folks watch, the presenter suggests today there’s a lot more engagement ‘top of funnel’ – by people of all ages. This is dense material, useful more for medium and large-sized organizations, but definitely worth considering and exploring. From Scott Vanderley at Moore.
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!
- Remember Who We Are: Philanthropy Facilitators Pre 11-2020 USA Election
- At the Intersection of Major and Planned Giving: Moving to Asset-Based Philanthropy
- Hue Are You? What Color Can Mean for Your Nonprofit Marketing Strategy
- Top Nonprofit Marketing Tip: If You Want Gifts, You Must Give Them
- 10 Strategies to Skyrocket Major Gift Fundraising
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My motto is: “If I know it, I want you to know it.” Don’t miss out.