Everyone who wants to be busy is busy.
But not everyone is productive.
Busy is simply a series of choices about how to spend the next minute.
Productive requires skill, persistence and good judgment. Productive means that you have created something of value.
Perhaps your self-created busy-ness is causing you to be less productive.
— Seth Godin
This week I want you to consider whether what you’re busying yourself with is the most productive use of your time. Are you prioritizing the work that will yield you the results you most seek? Or are you back-burnering your most important tasks simply because it’s easier that way?
While it may seem less stressful that way in the short-term, it’s almost never easier over the long haul. You must plant fruit trees today if you hope to harvest a crop tomorrow.
Do you often fall into the pattern of “just doing my job,” without considering what might happen if you replaced “doing” with “improving,” “reinventing,” or “transforming?”
Hopefully some of this week’s resources will help you turn the mission-critical tasks that seem daunting into tasks that seem approachable. What might you do in the months ahead to positively transform your culture, work output and revenue-generation?
It’s time for a little spring cleaning.
Throw out the old; the strategies no longer bringing you joy. Add some new stuff that brings you energy. Your resources await!
Thank you for doing what you do to make our world a more caring, more just place,
P.S. If you want to learn from 30 Nonprofit Experts over 3 full days — March 23–25** — — simply CLICK HERE. The Top Nonprofits Changemakers “Being the Change” Virtual Summit will address critical issues facing nonprofits TODAY in fundraising, marketing and operations, management and strategy. Since I’m speaking, I get to offer members of the Clairification Community – YOU — $50 off the already ridiculously affordable price (works out to about $7/session and you get access to all recordings for a full year)! Be sure to use CODE Claire50. Oh, and did I mention there will be CFRE credits, prize give-aways and live comedy?
Clairity Click-it, Your Nonprofit Ticket to…
SPECIAL CATEGORY: Tips for Not-So-Normal Times
Annual (and all year round) Fundraising
Click-it: Keep Up the Urgency. From Steven Screen, the Better Fundraising Co., comes this reminder we’re still living in challenging times. Many of your constituents may be in trouble. Their situation, or yours, may still be urgent. Tell the truth. Don’t worry it’s been too long. It is what it is.
Click-it: Fostering an inclusive culture. You’re probably talking about how to do this in your nonprofit. It’s not easy. But Amanda Cole offers some useful concrete suggestions on the Candid blog. Plus you’ll be able to sign up for an upcoming webinar if you have an interest.
Click-it: Why Values Matter Now More than Ever. Even when everything seems to change, your values survive. As Renee Rubin Ross writes: values are “a compass to guide us toward what to do next.” On the Ross Collective blog she describes different types of values: core; aspirational; permission-to-play, and accidental. It’s an interesting read.
Management and Strategy
Click-it: What Will a Post-COVID Nonprofit Economy Reveal? Are you iterating or innovating? What’s the difference, and why does it matter if you want to thrive post pandemic? How do you inoculate yourself from the fall-out of multiple, unprecedented disruptions? I address this, and more, in this article for the Bloomerang blog. Hint: the way forward will be more experiential.
Click-it: Responding to Emerging Philanthropic Priorities. Here’s a reminder from Contributed Line that you should always endeavor to connect your mission to what’s top of mind for your constituents. What ‘hot topics’ relate to your work?
Click-it: Best Virtual Fundraising Tools for Nonprofits. Getting anything done efficiently and effectively requires the right tools. The folks at re: charity have done some homework for you, and you’ll find a slew of good choices for events, mobile giving, live streaming, merchandise, appeal templates, social media, crowdfunding, websites, SEO and email. Plus you’ll find links to additional links with fundraising software options [Also check out my Clairification School sponsors at the page footer – they’re all excellent options too!]
Online Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: Keeping Nonprofit Messaging Relevant with Dynamic Creative Optimization and Personalized Video. The folks at Merkle are marketing experts in every realm – online, offline, for profit and nonprofit. When the pandemic reared its ugly head, they were right on top of it with tactical advice. Learn how Dynamic Creative Optimization and Personalized Video both offer the opportunity to define the right message for each individual and help you quickly understand what’s working/not working.
Click-it: The American Rescue Plan Act: Analysis of Key Provisions Affecting Nonprofits. Here’s a chart from the National Council of Nonprofits outlining the key provisions of this new legislation signed into law March 11, 2021. It’s up to you to use the provisions that may help your nonprofit and your constituents.
Click-it: Sunlight in One Very Dark Year. The partners of the Veritus Group reflect on the past year, noting rays of hope through examples of strategies implemented by some of their clients. We’re not out of the woods yet; these are still good ideas. As they say, “You have the power and resources to change your patterns, approaches, strategies, and systems and adapt to this new reality. Do not wait one more minute to do so.”
Click-it: 12 Ideas for Virtual Fundraiser and Online Events. With only 10% of the population vaccinated, folks are not ready for in-person events. What can you do? A lot! Plus virtual fundraisers are here to stay. People like them, and they have a wider reach than on-site events. Here are some concrete ideas from Sandy Rees, Get Fully Funded.
Click-it: This is how to carve out an hour a week to think big [Listen to this 163 second podcast]. I love this idea from Daniel Pink. Try it? Why not calendar your hour right now! Make it a recurring meeting.
WEBINARS, ROUNDTABLES & ON-DEMAND AUDIO RESOURCES
If you can’t attend live, note many are available via recording – but only if you register!
Online Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: It’s a New World: How to Cultivate Your Online Community [Register for free webinar, 3-30-2021]. Join Kelly Medwick of Firespring, to discover the secret sauce of cultivating a community of online donors primed and ready to support you. Get ready to learn 10 vital networking steps so you’re ready to take action!
Click-it: Take Your Virtual Event to the Next Level [Register for free webinar, 3-24-2021]. Rather than holding a virtual event that’s a stripped-down version of your in-person event, get inspired by the Donor Perfect panel of industry experts as they discuss how to take your virtual event to the next level.
Other Articles: The Beat Goes On
Annual (all the time) Fundraising
Click-it: You’ve Likely Got a Problem with Your Nonprofit Mailing List. You can have the best fundraising appeal in the world, but it’s all for naught if you don’t have the right mailing list. Avoid the fatal trap of making list building and maintenance an ‘administrative’ function that never rises to the top of your priority list. How? Read my article on the Bloomerang blog.
Click-it: How to Make Sure a Low-Priced Offer Does NOT Produce Small Gifts. Most organizations, alas, do not do an effective job crafting offers (the cost of a desired outcome) and ask amounts (increments of that offer tailored to individual donors). This is costing you. Learn all about it in this article from Steven Screen on the Better Fundraising Co blog.
Click-it: Top 7 Reasons to Invest in Monthly Recurring Donations. I’m always searching for resources to persuade you to start or enhance your monthly giving program. I honestly believe it’s one of the most important, and most neglected, fundraising strategies you could pursue. This thorough article from Classy explains all about the why, and includes links to downloadable guides to help with who, what, where, when and how.
Click-it: Clean Up Your Act: Donor Data Management for Nonprofits. It’s a good time to ‘spring clean’ your database so it works more efficiently and helps you develop effective messaging. Learn how in this article from the Flipcause blog.
Click-it: Are You Annoying Your Donors without Even Knowing It? According to Michael Rosen, ML Innovations, you may be if you’re not acknowledging their identity. A big part of this is how they’re affiliated with you. Do you call out board members for their service? Thank direct service volunteers for their active participation, in addition to their money? Let former staff know you are aware of their past service? Recognize ongoing supporters for their continued loyalty? Or do you treat every donor more or less the same? Learn what motivates people to give, and why identity can be particularly powerful.
Click-it: “Zero Party” Data is the Best Party Data. This article from the behavioral scientists at Donor Voice blew my mind. It’s part of an entire series of revelatory articles on the importance of donor identity in sustaining and building long-term donor relationships. It’s not easy work, yet it’s something towards which we should aspire. Has your organization considered hiring a scientist? It could be well worth the investment, because how you shape your message significantly affects your conversions.
Click-it: 3 Steps to Mastering Your Donor Journey. There are multiple pathways where donors are encountered. Do you know where to find yours when they’ll be most receptive? Are you clear on the best way to inspire folks to move to the next step? James Martin at Rally Corp is here to help.
Click-it: Corporate Sponsors – how much to ask and ROI. It’s my experience much of the success of your event, in terms of dollars netted, hinges on your ability to recruit sponsors to underwrite your expenses. Kronstadt Consulting lays out some of the basics you need to consider.
Click-it: How to reduce your grant dependence. Andy Robinson, Train Your Board, describes everything that’s good and bad about grant funding for nonprofits. Also check out this related post, Not all money is created equal. Every type of revenue has risks and rewards. Learn to weigh them.
Click-it: 4 Strategies to Tweak Major Donor Approaches to Raise More Money. A recent report unearthed key areas where SMALL CHANGES by fundraisers to tweak major donor approaches could reap LARGE BENEFITS for their nonprofits. I discuss these in this article for the Bloomerang blog. Find what you could be doing more effectively.
Online Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: How to find new e-mail subscribers for your organisation – the right way. Also, did you know e-mail is a fantastic platform for helping with retention? Here are some practical tips for growing your list and converting leads to donors from international fundraising expert Ephraim Gopin on the SOFII blog.
Click-it: The Top 38 Compelling Email Marketing Statistics for 2021. I used to work with Neal Schaffer, and can personally attest to his smarts. And he is thorough! This is the most up-to-date and complete assessment of the benefits of email marketing I’ve seen, and it has plenty of applicability for your nonprofit communication strategies.
Other Learning Opportunities
WEBINARS & ON-DEMAND AUDIO RESOURCES
If you can’t attend live, note that many are available via recording – but only if you register!
Major and Legacy Gifts
Click-it: Ten Best Practices That Will Energize and Transform Your Gift Planning Program [Register for free webinar, 3-31-2021]. Whether you’re building a new program or growing an existing one, these principals from the folks at Stelter will help you hone your strategies, evaluate your program, transform your culture and increase your success in building relationships resulting in major and legacy gifts.
Click-it: How to Ask for a $1 Million Gift [Register for free webinar 4-8-2021]. This session with Jeff Schreifels and Richard Perry at Veritus Group will help you in numerous ways: (1) discover major gift prospects you didn’t know you had; (2) learn an asking technique that will assure you never fear rejection, and (3) prioritize what will yield the biggest bang for your buck. It’s not to be missed!
Online Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: 5 Emails You Should Never Send to Your Donors [Download free on-demand webinar]. Email is the primary means of engaging donors digitally and asking them to give online. The folks at NextAfter have conducted 2500+ fundraising experiments proving there is one fundamental rule of email fundraising that can lead to better engagement, more donors, and more revenue. Yet many fundraisers routinely break this rule. See if this is you, and how you can improve your results. They share 7 real examples.
Psychology of Giving
Click-it: Get Inside Your Donor’s Mind! Science-Based Strategies for Better Fundraising [Download free on-demand webinar]. Ever hear of Mind Genomics? Qgiv graciously brings us the only person certified in this discipline in nonprofit work (as far as I know) to help you understand how people’s brains work when it comes to decision-making. Great examples show you don’t need a huge budget to use these strategies!
DOWNLOADABLE GUIDES, WHITE PAPERS & OTHER RESOURCES
Click-it: The Five Steps of Proposal Writing for Major Gifts [Download free White Paper]. Ever wonder what makes a proposal one the donor can’t refuse? Learn from the major gifts experts at Veritus Group. This is easy to follow and absolutely actionable. Get started!
Online Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: The State of Nonprofit Email Cultivation [Download free report] Want to learn how to use email cultivation to significantly boost donations? You’ll find this compendium of real-life A/B tests and commentary from NextAfter and Kindful super useful. The emphasis is on how nonprofits are communicating with their donors and subscribers in their first 45 days. First impressions are everything.
Did You Miss My Newest Articles?
Here are links to the most recent articles on the Clairification blog. I think you’ll find these either thought-provoking, practical or both. Hope so!
- Nonprofit Marketing & Fundraising Are Like Peanut Butter & Jelly
- Why Donor Wooing Requires WOWing
- Nonprofit Content Marketing Should Help, Not Sell
- Treat Nonprofit Board and Donors Like Family. Or Else
- Improve Major Donor Fundraising to Grab a Larger Piece of Philanthropy Pie
- How to Overcome the Money Taboo and Succeed with Fundraising
Please support my extraordinary sponsors (see below). The Clairity Click-it content is free, and Clairification School is affordable because of their generosity.
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My motto is: “If I know it, I want you to know it.” Don’t miss out.