I thought of you right away when I read this comment we received on our recent donor survey:
“I got a handwritten card from the President after making my first donation. I donate to many nonprofits, and that has never happened before. I still have it hanging on my fridge because it meant so much to me. Thank you for all of the care and hope that you provide to so many!”
She was a first time donor and made a $35 gift on our website.
— Josh Taylor, President, HopeKids
Josh shared this with me, no doubt, because I’m constantly reminding folks of the power of gratitude and humanity when it comes to connecting with donors.
We sometimes forget that behind every single gift is a human being, each with their own hopes, wants and needs.
Part of the job of a true philanthropy facilitator is to meet those needs and resonate with the donor’s values, thereby bringing some measure of meaning to someone who might not have been able to find that purpose any other way.
We all need love, and that’s the essence of “philanthropy’ (by definition of the word).
Please have a happy, healthy and safe holiday and year-end fundraising season.
With gratitude for all you do to make our world a better, more just, more caring place,
P.S. I was on a holiday party zoom for my local AFP chapter last week and I learned a new self-care tip. It requires a Snow Globe (great excuse to buy or make one if you don’t have one; could make great holiday gifts too!). Keep the globe close to you. Your work desk. Kitchen. Next to your couch. Wherever you could stand to remind yourself to pick up the globe… shake it… take a deep breath; then another and another… watch the snowflakes swirl until they all land. Do you feel a bit more relaxed and ready to focus anew?
P.P.S. The 3rd Annual Nonprofit Board Engagement Survey needs you! This year’s survey explores how the pandemic has affected your board members’ experience. You can complete it anonymously; then enter your email separately to receive bonus gifts from all the sponsors (I’m one). There’s even an iPad drawing. Plus, of course, you’ll receive the survey results.
Clairity Click-it, Your Nonprofit Ticket to…
SPECIAL CATEGORY: Tips for Not-So-Normal Times
Click-it: Don’t Stop Fundraising Because You Worry Donors are Tapped Out. See why fears donors won’t give due to ‘fatigue’ or lack of resources are unfounded in my recent article for the Bloomerang blog. Asking, especially now, is a very good thing.
Click-it: 8 Holiday Fundraising Ideas for Socially Distanced Times. Use these ideas on the Bloomerang blog yourself. Better yet, share them with your board members, volunteers and donors.
Click-it: Going Postal: December Update. Here’s what you need to know about getting your fundraising appeals delivered, this year and next. From the Agitator-DonorVoice blog.
Click-it: Recruiting for Board Diversity — Without Disrespecting People of Color. This article from the BoardSource blog was shared during my AFP local chapter holiday Zoom party, and I thought it was important to pass on. Do you have a “check the box” mentality rather than a thoughtful, strategic, respectful approach to becoming more diverse?
Online Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: How to Use Your Nonprofit’s Existence to Move Prospects to Donors. Lining up. To get a vaccine. A coronavirus test. Toilet paper. Food. Lots of lines are forming these days. This made me wonder: What might make people line up to give to your charity? I respond to that question with this article on the Bloomerang blog.
Strategy and Management
Click-it: A Letter to Your Boss: 7 Ways to Thank Your Development Director. This has been a demanding year. If you oversee development staff, read and heed. If you’re a development staffer, consider this letter a pat on the back from both Amy Eisenstein, the author, and me! And maybe you can surreptitiously forward this article, or the entire ‘Clairity Click-it,’ to your boss.
Click-it: Freeze, Flee or Fight: Nonprofits’ Reactions to COVID-19. How did you react, and how might you want to change moving forward? Check out this article by Rick Gentry, director of customer strategy at Merkle, on the NonprofitPro blog. It includes five principles to keep in mind as you plan for the year ahead.
To Your Health!
Click-it: Winter Resiliency: Fostering Mental Health in Times of Crisis. We’re seeing plenty of articles about self-care, understandably. Do what works for you. I find it sometimes helps to grab ideas from others. These are courtesy of the Nonprofit Quarterly.
WEBINARS & ON-DEMAND AUDIO RESOURCES
Major, Legacy and Capital Campaign Gifts
Click-it: Planned Gift Marketing During & After COVID-19: A Chance to Pivot or Truly Change? [Listen to free on-demand webinar] Join Nathan Stelter for this deep dive into how what’s happening in the world drives donor decision making and behavior. Learn to consider your donor’s mindset to help them navigate the unknown and bring them needed hope and connection.
Click-it: Converse with Your Donors through the Amazing Power of Improvisation. Andrea Kihlstedt of the Capital Campaign Toolkit offers 7 tips, reminding you why and how to use improv rather than monologue. The latter works for Zoom theater productions, but not so well for major donor conversations. I like them all, but my favorite is Tip #3.
Click-it: How to Get Meetings with Donors [Download free White Paper]. How do you stay connected with donors when face-to-face won’t work? The experts at the Veritus Group have the answers to convincing supporters to spend time with you – in any setting. Guess what the donor wants to know before agreeing to meet? This paper provides the answer to that question, and many more.
Click-it: Maximize Your Online Fundraising Revenue During the Last Week of the Year [Download free e-Guide]. Did you know the final week of the year can bring in upwards of 37% of your total online year-end fundraising revenue? You’ve still got time to learn some nifty strategies from the experts at NextAfter. Grab 5 specific tactics and an email timeline.
Other Articles: The Beat Goes On
Culture of Philanthropy
Click-it: An Abundance Mindset: Your Secret to Success in Fundraising. This is a spot-on article from Jeff Brooks for the Moceanic blog. It’s got everything you need to put abundance to work to create a philanthropy culture that will help your organization, and also you personally.
Click-it: How to Move Your Nonprofit From Scarcity to Abundance. Here’s another great article about how you can move from a scarcity to an abundance mindset. It’s from the very wise Nell Edgington, on her Social Velocity blog.
Click-it: 3 Leadership Principles to Help Advance Your Employee and Customer Experience. I often borrow from other disciplines when the advice given applies in spades to nonprofits. Here’s one example from Jeanne Bliss, known as the “Godmother” of customer experience, with three concrete tips – complete with video examples you can watch – to help you communicate and connect more effectively, internally and externally.
Click-it: 5 Ways to Retain Your #GivingTuesday Donors. It’s been 2 ½ weeks since #GivingTuesday. What are you doing to assure these folks stick with you? Here are five strategies from the good folks at Flipcause. Give some consideration to #2.
Click-it: Serving Your Donors Means Asking. Read this important article from Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels of the Veritus Group if you ever feel resistant to asking for a big gift. You have to understand what’s holding you (or your E.D. or board members) back before you can overcome your hesitation.
Psychology of Giving
Click-it: How Aging Changes The Way We Read Mail. There’s lots of research on how donor psychology and neuroscience impact the choices people make. This one was new to me. If you’re still putting statistics in your appeal letters, you need to read this piece on the Good Works blog.. Especially if you’re not the same age as the majority of your donors.
Click-it: The Top 3 Benefits of AI for Fundraisers. This is an exciting article from Beth Kanter! The “next new thing” is AI. It can help fundraisers with all sorts of things, like major gifts cultivation, increasing online donor conversion and retention, and more. You’ll now be able to personalize and tailor communications for donors of every size. Even small development offices now have an array of programs from which to choose. Check it out.
Click-it: How to write a great donation page headline. Fundraisers often leave the copy for the donation landing pages to the marketing staff. Not always a great idea, especially when it comes to the headline on your home page during the end of the year and also the headline on your donation landing page. Check out this great example from 4aGoodCause.
Click-it: Identifiable Victim: Better Than Stats; Except When It Isn’t… The Agitator-DonorVoice blog often has interesting articles about the psychology and neuroscience of giving. This is another!
Year End Giving
Click-it: 12 Days of Holiday Fundraising (Gifts for You). Check out this super fun post from Qgiv, with the “12 days of Year-End Giving” song. Includes lots of links to useful templates, articles and toolkits. It’s so clever, I wish I’d written it!
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!
Click-it: The Donor-Facing Back Office [Listen to free podcast]. Are all your systems “go,” or is only the tip of your iceberg truly donor-centered? Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels of the Veritus Group discuss why the “back office” of a major gift program is so crucial for success, and why a major gift program can’t succeed just on the backs of front-line fundraisers. It’s quick, and it’s worth your time.
Online Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: It’s a New World: How to Cultivate Your Online Community [Register for free webinar, 12-30-20]. Often you get so caught up in ‘the ask’ you forget what motivates people to support you in the first place: relationships. Join Kelly Medwick at Firespring to discover the secret sauce of cultivating a community of online donors primed and ready to support you.
DOWNLOADABLE GUIDES, WHITE PAPERS & BOOKS
Click-it: Starting a Successful Major Gift Program [Download free White Paper]. Need to start (or revive) a major gifts program? Follow the steps in this guide from the Veritus Group, and you will be on your way to more engaged donors and greater revenue! Plus you’ll learn what expectations are reasonable and how to balance major gifts with other fundraising strategies.
Click-it: Engagement Fundraising [Download free Book]. Greg Warner of MarketSmart is offering this entire book as a holiday season gift in three digital formats and/or as an audiobook. Why not add it to your fundraising bookshelf?
Strategy and Management
Click-it: Employee Giving: Does Charity Begin in the Office? [Download free e-Book]. Should employees donate to the organization they work for? Should they never be asked, or should they be allowed to join in philanthropic giving? Here you’ll find all sides of a very contentious and complicated topic from a survey conducted by Ephraim Gopin of nonprofit employees and consultants.
Click-it: Maximize Your Online Fundraising Revenue During the Last Week of the Year [Download free e-Guide]. The NextAfter team has put together this useful resource with specific tactics, an email timeline and tested, proven ways to increase your year-end revenue.
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!
- Last Minute Strategic Year-End Email Appeal Tips
- Secrets to Nonprofit Leadership – Pandemic Phase 3
- 12 Quick Strategies to Boost Year-End Fundraising
- Use Behavioral Science to Positively Frame Year-End Philanthropy
- #GivingTuesday in Reverse: Do’s and Don’ts
- Happy Days of Thanks(for)Giving
Finally… if you have a question, any question…
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