Man jumping over mountain

How to Transform Reluctant Fundraisers into Ready Fundraisers

How do you help those who are afraid of fundraising to become comfortable in what should be a mission-aligned role for everyone associated with your nonprofit organization?

After all, everyone benefits from increased philanthropy.  Not just development staff.

Increasingly, successful nonprofits are adopting cultures of philanthropy where everyone involved – administrative staff, program staff, board members, committee members, direct service volunteers and even beneficiaries – comes together as ambassadors, advocates and askers on behalf of furthering the organization’s mission, enacting its values and fulfilling its vision.

Facilitating philanthropy is not rocket science, yet folks unaccustomed to the relationship cultivation and solicitation required to land major donations are fearful because they don’t know how to do it. It’s the job of a nonprofit’s leadership to work with your insiders (staff and volunteers) to help them feel both passionate about the cause and confident in the fundraising process.

Still, there are barriers to be overcome; first and foremost is fundraising fear.  This fear takes many forms, and is perhaps best expressed in some of the questions I frequently receive.  So I’m endeavoring to answer a few of these questions below.  Hopefully this will help you address these challenges within your own organization so you, too, can transform folks from fearful and reluctant to joyful and ready fundraisers.

boy doing head stand

If You Get Nonprofit Donors to Ask this Question, You’re Home Free

There’s a simple six-step process to assure you secure a philanthropic gift.

The heart of this process — your key to success — is to flip the philanthropic asking equation on its head and get your donor to ask you, not vice-versa. 

That’s right.

Just get your donors to pop this one little question, and you’re home free.

Of course, you have to set them up to pop this question. But it’s easy, once you know the formula.

And I’m going to share that formula with you today.

Guess what else is really great about this?

It’s not scary!

If fear has been holding you back, today is your hallelujah moment.  Because I’m here to tell you exactly how to get your donors to ask you for a gift, rather than the other way around.

Rainbow after a storm

Read This if You Know People who Hate Fundraising

If you’re coming at fundraising from the perspective of “no pain, no gain,” I’d like to suggest you reframe your approach.

Especially when it comes to asking individuals, one-to-one, for passionate gifts.

As long as you hate it, you’re never going to be effective.

In fact, if anyone in your organization feels this way, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

Why?

Because… (I really hate to break this to you)…

Donors can tell.

When donors can sense you’d rather be doing anything else than asking them for a gift, guess what happens?  They follow your lead!  In other words, they feel like they’d rather be doing anything else than making a gift.

Uh, oh.  How can you change this equation?

LIght bulb

Accountability: One Big Secret to Reach Your Fundraising Goals

I’ve long advocated for incorporating accountability into nonprofit job descriptions if you hope to get, and measure, results. Without accountability, tasks have a serious likelihood of slipping to the back burner; then off the stove entirely.

Procrastination is just a human trait. 

We tell ourselves we’ll clean out the garage this weekend.  But no one makes us do it.  So the weekend comes and goes without anything happening.

We make a new year’s resolution to exercise more. We even join a gym. We attend a couple of times, but no one is tracking our progress on the elliptical machine. We fall back into our previous habits and, before we know it, we’ve stopped going.

We plan to get out of the office and visit a donor at least three times a week, but no one really pays attention to our schedule – after all, we’re grown-up professionals! – and it’s easy to get distracted by emails, meetings, and a host of other tasks.

I could go on with a zillion examples. You probably can too. Why?  Because human beings are wired this way. We get distracted. We procrastinate. We give in to habits that may not serve us well. And we’ve been doing it for centuries.  It even has a Greek name: Akrasia.

Transactional Nonprofit Work vs. Transformational Donor-Led Progress

Transactional Nonprofit Work vs. Transformational Donor-Led Progress

Greg Warner of Market Smart writes a lot about the difference between “work” and “progress.” I appreciate the distinction, both professionally and personally. I think you can use this notion, so I’m going to recommend some of his articles to you and also suggest a way to extend this idea to your nonprofit fundraising.

Warner notes in Why You Should Never Get a Job and Go to Work: “work” is tedious and negative; “progress” is inspiring and positive.

This is about being intentional about where you’re going.

It’s somewhat about perception and desitnation, but I’d argue it’s largely about the journey.

Your journey. Your donor’s journey.

I am grateful

How to Cultivate Awe, Gratitude and Altruism to Boost Nonprofit Fundraising

I’m a huge fan of the Greater Good Science Center at U.C. Berkeley, and often apply their research to nonprofit fundraising and marketing.  A recent article really struck me: How to Find Your Purpose in Life.

Over my 30 years of practice as an in-house development professional, the fundamental thing I learned is this:

You serve your donors every bit as much as they serve your organization’s mission.

Please allow that to sink in.

You have a mission. A purpose. Donors can help you get there.

Your donors are looking for purpose. You can help them find it.

It’s a symbiotic relationship.  And you have a role in fostering that relationship.  What is that role?

Your job is to facilitate your donor’s philanthropic journey. Their journey to discover their purpose.

So what’s this really all about?

Light bulb on chalkboard

How to Modernize Your Nonprofit Marketing and Fundraising

In Part 1 of this two-part series I reviewed the ways nonprofit marketing and fundraising have significantly changed in recent years, and what this means for your ability to succeed in raising awareness and money.

I talked about how easy it is for leaders to blame staff, and vice-versa. It’s also easy to get sidetracked, because we’re operating in something of a Wild West frontier.  And no one really is clear on the rules of the game.

Within the current zeitgeist, the job of the development professional becomes critical.  Your organization needs you to lead.  They need you to be an expert strategist, even if they don’t always know this.

If you’re just put into a corner and told to “go forth and raise money” or “go forth and make our name known,” you’re in for a bumpy ride. But you have the power to smooth the way!

a cup of coffee a la heart

Why Would a Donor Give to Your Charity?

People do not give to the most urgent needs, but rather they support causes that mean something to them.”

This is the finding from a report done by the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy at the University of Kent: “How Donor Choose Charities.”  They begin their study from the widely-accepted premise that charities exist primarily to help needy people and the desire to meet needs is a key criterion in the selection of charitable beneficiaries. Interviews with committed donors found this was not the reason they gave. In brief, the study concludes:

Giving and philanthropy have always been supply-led rather than demand-driven: the freedom to distribute as much as one wants, to whom one chooses, is what distinguishes giving from paying tax. Yet the methods used to encourage donations tend to assume that philanthropy depends on objective assessments of need rather than on donors’ enthusiasms. The tendency to overestimate the extent to which people act as rational agents results in fundraising literature that often focuses on the dimensions and urgency of the problem for which funding is sought. The assumption underlying this approach is that donations are distributed in relation to evidence of neediness, when in fact much giving could be described as ‘taste-based’ rather than ‘needs-based’.

If there was ever a time to commit to finding out more about the folks on your mailing list so you know what floats their boats, this report indicates that time is decidedly NOW. Otherwise, you’re just ‘spraying and praying’ as you buy into the conceit that “if only” folks knew about the need we address they would give.  Because they “should.” That’s not why folks give.

In fact, the study cites four criteria that influenced donor decision making, and they are not based on meeting your or your clients’ needs.

How Positive Feedback Boosts Nonprofit Fundraising

Recognition. Appreciation. Acknowledgment. Gratitude.

Psychologists, sociologists, philosophers, economists and historians have often studied and documented this phenomenon. It’s part of our quest for meaning and connection.

  • Darwin talked about “survival of the most loving.” Communities who took care of each other were the “fit” ones.  Similarly, those members most sensitive to group feedback survived. It’s difficult to make it alone.
  • Maslow talked about the need for love, community, esteem and self-actualized identification with a higher purpose.
  • Psychologist Matthew Lieberman, in “Social, Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect,” writes about how MRI scans reflect that our brains are hard-wired to respond to positive recognition from others.

I like the way

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How Often Should You Mail to Your Nonprofit Donors?

I decided to write this post due to the number of times nonprofits ask me “How often should we mail to our donors?” The corollary question is “How often can we ask people to give?”

The answer?

Well… if there was one quick answer I wouldn’t have needed to write a whole article. I’d just have given you a headline with a definitive response!

I know you want a definite answer.

And I could give you one. But it wouldn’t be the truth. Because the truth is different for every nonprofit. And the truth will even be different for your nonprofit at different points in your life cycle.

There are two definitive things I can tell you:

You Got This

How to Inspire Philanthropists to Help Your Nonprofit Cause

How Do Major Donors Think About Philanthropy? 

In my last article we looked at six major donor philanthropic triggers. Today let’s look at a few more; then I’ll suggest some strategies to help you enter into your prospective donor’s world so you can make a win/win match – one that will help your major donors simultaneously help your cause and themselves.

I recently found a back issue of Lifestyles Magazine from 2008 (yes, I’m a bit of a hoarder) and was struck by some of what the publication had to say—a veritable peek inside the minds of major donors. There’s a clue right in the way they describe their mission (highlights are mine):

Are you reading your major donors right?

Are You Reading Your Major Donors Correctly?

A year ago I had the opportunity to present a major gifts master class where Jay Love, Founder and President of Bloomerang (and a board member and major donor himself) offered his thoughts on major gifts development from the donor’s perspective.

SO important!

The more that you know, the less they’ll say “No!”

  • The more you know what floats your donor’s boat,,,
  • The more you know what other things compete for your donor’s attention (not just causes, but also career and family)…
  • The more you know how your donor prefers to communicate…
  • The more you know how your donor prefers to be wooed…
  • The more you know how your donor prefers to be recognized…

If you can’t show your major donor prospect you really know them, how can they trust you’ll be a good steward of their passionate philanthropic investment?

We all want to be known before we enter into a major engagement.

Which brings us to the crux of successful major donor development. Not surprisingly, it begins and ends with the same thing.

Can you guess what that might be?

Email taking flight

How Important is Email to Nonprofit Fundraising? Very!

Here come 15 steps to successful email fundraising.

I’m going to tell you (1) why you should care about this, and (2) what you should do.

Not long ago, I posed the question: Why Aren’t You Doing More Online Fundraising?  I hope it caused you to think and ponder a bit.

Now, as you’re no doubt planning ahead for the most giving time of the year, is a good time to turn those thoughts into action. How big a role is email going to play in your year-end fundraising strategy?

If you’re making your email campaign an afterthought, don’t.

Email is a critically important tool — especially at the end of the year when most of the money is raised,

Don’t worry that your donors will be annoyed. If you do it the right way, they won’t be.  In fact, they’ll thank you for giving them the opportunity to do something that makes them feel good — and for making it easy for them to do so!.

Let’s begin with the “why”.

Skyrocketing

10 Strategies to Skyrocket Major Gift Fundraising

Skyrocketing“Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop.” So wrote Lewis Carroll in Alice in Wonderland.

It’s the same with major donor fundraising, except you don’t ever really stop.  You just start up again. You do follow a prescribed path, however.  And here’s what it looks like:

  1. Before
  2. Ground Floor
  3. Explore
  4. Back Door
  5. Adore
  6. Mentor
  7. Ask For
  8. Implore
  9. Rapport
  10. Report

If you do this correctly, it becomes a transformational process for the donor. They want to stay connected and engaged and invested.  Which is why you don’t stop.  You follow up with “Some More.”

But first…

Is Your Nonprofit Floating or Sailing?

A sailboat without a sail might float.

For a long time, in fact.

But without a sail, it can’t go anywhere, can’t fulfill its function.

Floating is insufficient.

– Seth Godin

For you to ask and answer

  1. Is your nonprofit floating, or sailing?
  2. Are your development efforts floating, or sailing?
  3. Are your marketing communications efforts floating, or sailing?

These are serious questions that deserve your serious consideration.

So… take a moment right now to answer these three questions for yourself.

Go ahead.

Put an “F” or an “S” next to each one of these.

customer experience

6 Ways to Create a Superior Nonprofit Donor Experience

customer experience

Are you aware that one of the hottest things in for-profit management over the past 5 – 10 years or so is “customer experience?” There’s an entire industry that’s grown up around it.

It’s something that goes beyond customer service.

Customer service is to an outbound marketing world what customer experience is to an inbound marketing world. The former you do to your constituents; the latter you do with them.

You may be asking why this is important.

Post digital revolution, nonprofits must adapt to the realities of inbound marketing. The way people find and engage with you in a constantly connected, networked marketplace has changed. Your constituencies crave interaction. And meaning. And, gosh darn it, they want you to make them feel good!

They want a full-bore, positive experience with you.

Fail to deliver?  They’ll go elsewhere. 

woman giving a gift

How to Become a Donor Experience Transformist

If you don’t build donor loyalty over time, you’re really missing out on the long-term value of every donor you bring in. And, guess what else?

You’re working too hard.

Donors come in. Donors go out. Donors come in. Donors go out.

One-time gifts are here today, gone tomorrow.

It’s like being on a non-stop treadmill.  Just exhausting!

But there’s an easy way to catch your breath, and even begin to enjoy breathing again.

Instead of continuing on as a transactional fundraiser, become a donor experience transformist!

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9 Things Your Nonprofit Needs to Know About Monthly Donations

It’s the time of year when nonprofits are evaluating their recent fundraising results and making new year’s resolutions to bring in more contributions in the coming year. But… how?

What will move the needle for you this year?

No doubt there are a number of things you can do more effectively. I’ll be talking about many of them in the weeks and months ahead. Today, however, I want to discuss one thing you may or may not be giving serious thought to.

MONTHLY GIVING.

Chances are you already have some sort of monthly sustainer program.  But… is it the best it can be?  Could it do more heavy lifting for you?

Today I’ve asked an expert, Bill Sayre, President of Merkle RMG, to give me his thoughts on what you can do right now to begin and/or better manage a monthly giving program.

Use the 'Seven is Heaven' priorities on your pathway to passionate philanthropy in 2017 - and beyond!

7 Powerful Nonprofit Opportunities: Your Path to Success in 2017 (Pt.2)

Last week I gave you my top priorities for nonprofit success in 2017: “Seven is Heaven.”  I suggested you focus on each of these with written plans in the year ahead, and that you persist in improving your mastery in each area.

If you embrace these priorities, I’ve little doubt you’ll see greater success in generating the contributions your nonprofit needs to fulfill your mission this year — and in the years to come.

  1. Create Compelling Annual Giving Offers
  2. Master Integrated Online Social Fundraising
  3. Master Major & Legacy Giving
  4. Master Donor Retention
  5. Master Donor-Centered Content Marketing
  6. Embrace Sustainable Business Leadership
  7. Shift to an Organization-wide Culture of Philanthropy

Last week, in Part 1, we covered the first four priority areas.  Today we focus on the final three areas.

Use the 'Seven is Heaven' priorities on your pathway to passionate philanthropy in 2017 - and beyond!

7 Powerful Nonprofit Opportunities: Your Path to Success in 2017 (Pt.1)

Last year if you followed me, I gave you 5 priorities for success in 2016. I called them “Dive the Five.”  This year, I’ve expanded my thinking a bit. ‘SEVEN IS HEAVEN.’ Create Compelling Annual Giving Offers Master Integrated On Social Fundraising Master Major & Legacy Giving Master Donor Retention Master Donor-Centered Content Marketing Embrace…

Are you reading your major donors right?

Are You Reading Your Major Donors Right?

Last year I had the opportunity to present a major gifts master class where Jay Love, Founder and President of Bloomerang (and a board member and major donor himself) offered his thoughts on major gifts development from the donor’s perspective.

Since I’m constantly encouraging you to come at donor development from a donor-centered perspective, I want to share his viewpoint with you.

Not surprisingly, major donor development begins and ends with the same thing.

Can you guess what that might be?

How Important is Email to Nonprofit Fundraising? Very!

Here come 14 steps to successful email fundraising.

You’re no doubt planning your year-end fundraising strategy now. How big a role is email going to play?

If you’re making your email campaign an afterthought, don’t. That holds for this year, and the foreseeable future. It holds before, during and after  your pitch.

If you get good at email marketing and fundraising, you won’t be wasting your efforts.

Not today. Not tomorrow.

Since the end of the year is when most of the money is raised, there’s no time like the present to begin.

25 Secrets to Instantly Improve Your Annual Fundraising Appeal

Are you starting to worry about whether you’ll raise enough money this year to meet your goals?

Are you concerned because last year’s appeal didn’t raise as much as you had hoped?

Are you fresh out of ideas for what to put into an appeal to generate the giving response you need to sustain vital programs?

Fear not!  Help is on the way!  Just use my gift to you — this 25-point checklist — before you send anything to your printer!

5 Winning "Today" Strategies to Raise Money Smarter

If you could only do five things between now and the end of the year to make a noticeable difference in your nonprofit’s fundraising results, what would you do?

I’ve been writing recently about five subject areas – key priorities for success this year, and beyond.  Today I’d like to offer one BIG “to do” in each area to help you hone in on some actionable steps that will move the needle and have a transformative impact on your results.

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What Do You Call a Development Staffer Who Facilitates Philanthropy?

A super star!

Seriously, that’s what you are.  But you may be wondering why I ask.

What’s in a name?

Recently, veteran fundraiser Jerrold Panas weighed in on the subject of development titles. He noted he prefers “Charitable Gift Planner,” “Chariable Gift Counselor,” and “Director of Donor Services” to the most often used “Director of Planned Gifts.” He also champions “Vice President for Philanthropy” over “Vice President for Development (or Advancement).”

This reminded me of a time when my boss and I went round and round on this subject.  It was a good 15 years or so ago.  We knew “director of development” was not exactly a transparent title [try looking up the definition of “development” and you’ll see what I mean].

“Development,” by itself, has little to do with philanthropy.

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Integrate Fundraising and Content Marketing for Nonprofit Survival

Your year-long “Dive the Five” virtual course continues!
Integrate Fundraising and Content Marketing
I’ve selected five major themes – fundamental nonprofit fundraising strategies — to discuss with you this year in depth. Strategies that are so important to your success in 2016 – and beyond – that I want to be certain (1) you’ve got them on your priority list, (2) will begin to dedicate some serious resources towards them, and (3) will commit to practice them regularly, until they become almost second nature.

If you learn to “Dive the Five” you’ll be able to raise money for anyone, any place, any time. And I’ll be your Guide.

Some of these skills will seem familiar, but the way you employ them may need to be tweaked in order for you to survive and thrive in our digitally-revolutionized society. Other skills may be things you’ve thought about, or dabbled in, but haven’t really committed to with serious intent and dedicated resources.

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What Your Donors Won’t Tell You about Your Nonprofit Newsletter

Is this how your newsletter makes your donor feel?
Is this how your newsletter makes your donor feel?

It’s boring them to tears.

Actually, let me rephrase. Not to tears. That would mean they’re feeling an emotional connection. Sadly, they’re not.

Most donor newsletters are boring to the point of numbness.

You’re not making the impact you need to make to keep your donors, let alone get them to give more the next time you ask.

Why?

Let me tell you what I learned from Penelope Burk, Donor-Centered Fundraising author, about 15 years ago. It fundamentally changed the way I communicate with donors.

Clairity Click-it: Free Holiday Gifts + Useful Fundraising & Nonprofit Management Articles

This week's Clairity Click-it Gifts -- wrapped up in my blog. Open them!
This week’s Clairity Click-it Holiday Gifts — wrapped up in my blog. OPEN THEM!

This week’s Click-it is more of a holiday season “Open-it” collection of gifts. For the second year in a row, I’ve gone shopping and will offer you one or more free gifts every week from now until the end of the year.

These are all good. And the first one today is a real doozy — a gift to me that I’m “re-gifting!”

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Quick Guide to Get Your Nonprofit “Crowd On”

quick_guide_to_get_your_nonprofit_crowd_onI’ve been thinking a lot about crowdfunding lately.

Bzz… bzz… buzz… buzz… Do you hear it?

It’s the sound of the times. It’s the bees flying around crowdfunding campaigns like honey. Sweet, golden honey.

Are you getting yours?

With the mainstream shift into digital communication, and the advance of technology through online donation and peer-to-peer fundraising platforms, crowdfunding is something I believe you should seriously consider if you’re not already getting your “crowd” on.

Especially if you have…

  • A big campaign going on.
  • Or a specific project that lends itself well to the telling of a compelling story.
  • Or you need to raise a lot of funds in a relatively short time period.
  • Or there’s a strong tie to some big event – anniversary; holiday; news story.
  • Or your current constituents are more inclined towards being ambassadors than asking or giving.
  • Or you’re having a hard time breaking out of the “box” of folks you think might be interested in your cause, and are looking to build your audience in new ways.

So I’ve put together a few resources, and some of my own thoughts, to help you think things through.

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How to Magically Multiply Your Donors

By now I hope you’ve read the latest Fundraising Effectiveness Survey results and know that, on average, U.S. and UK nonprofits are retaining only 41% of their donors. This is abysmal, and it makes me sad.

When I started out in fundraising, many moons ago, I consistently retained 60 – 70% of my donors. And I thought that was insufficient!

While there are all sorts of reasons this is happening, what matters most is stopping the attrition before your nonprofit withers and dies. Because at these rates, after seven years you’ll only have 10 out of 1,000 new donors you acquire today. You read that correctly! Did I mention that first-time donor retention rates are only 27%?

Time for some magical math.

Clairity Click-it: Social Media + Content; Cause-Related Marketing; Events; Business Cards; Coaching; Free Stuff; Last Day for Year-End Appeals!

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Click it!

I’ve a really eclectic mix of links this week, ranging from marketing to fundraising to management – and then some! Plus you’ll find some free resources and your last chance opportunity to improve your year-end fundraising (scroll to the bottom). Can you believe this will be the last “Click-it” in August? How’d it get to be September so soon? You know what that means – year-end fundraising is right around the corner! Stay tuned to my blog as I’ll be offering lots of tips to help you out. Meanwhile… enjoy the rest of the season.

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Your Essential 16-Point Annual Appeal Checklist

Your 16-Point Fundraising Appeal Checklist
Get Your 16-Point Checklist Here and Take Your Fundraising Appeal to New Heights

Are you starting to worry about whether you’ll raise enough money this year to meet your goals? Are you concerned because last year’s appeal didn’t raise as much as you had hoped? Are you fresh out of ideas for what to put into an appeal to generate the giving response you need to sustain vital programs?  Fear not!  Help is on the way!  Just use this 16-point checklist before you send anything to your printer.

Clairity Click-it: Mobilegeddon; Social Action; Benchmarks; Major Gifts; Leadership + Learning Opptys

Mouse with computer mousee
Click it!

Once again it’s the end of the week. Woo hoo! Time for your weekly serving of interesting links from around the web. This week, they’re mostly nonprofit specific. And they’re useful too! There’s help if you need to get your website mobile ready. Plus social media guidelines to get you a bit more action in return for your labor. Then there’s a great study – with tons of data – so you can benchmark your results against industry averages. And there are tips to help you with major gifts and with staff and organizational leadership. Plus, as always, some great learning opportunities for you (scroll to the bottom).

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Check Your Next Appeal Letter Against This 16-Point List Before Sending

Are you starting to worry about whether you’ll raise enough money this year to meet your goals?

Are you concerned because last year’s appeal didn’t raise as much as you had hoped?

Are you fresh out of ideas for what to put into an appeal to generate the giving response you need to sustain vital programs?

Fear not!  Help is on the way!  Just use this 16-point checklist before you send anything to your printer.

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How to Hire a Fundraiser: Practice and Psychology

I happen to currently be working with a number of nonprofits who are seeking to hire the perfect development officer. It’s got me thinking about what to look for in a candidate, and how to best assess someone’s likely ability to perform the job as you need them to perform it.

Of course, this will vary from organization to organization. But if you’re seeking someone to fill a one-person or two-person development shop, there is remarkable similarity in the performance habits (practice) and innate qualities (psychology) that will spell success.

This Week's Clairity Click-it: Competitive Advantage, Nonprofit Management, Decisionmaking, Online Content, Measuring Performance and The Overhead Myth

Here’s this week’s Clairity Click-it, the most intriguing and thought-provoking of the more than 100 articles I seem to read every week – all in an easy-to-“click-it” format with links to posts in fundraising, marketing, social media, leadership, change and all sorts of good stuff. I aim for an eclectic array, often sourced from more than one discipline, as I believe we can learn a lot from our colleagues in other sectors.  Of course, I add in a few comments of my own.

Let’s begin:

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6 Things Matchmakers Can Teach Fundraisers in an Era of Digital Darwinism

Philanthropy; Not Fundraising

In many ways, what’s new is old and what’s old is new.  I read a lot of Brian Solis who speaks persuasively about The End of Business as Usual in an era where technology is advancing more rapidly than our ability to adapt. Yet we must adapt, or die. How do we do this, and what does this mean for fundraisers? I found food for thought in Solis’ recent article, The 9 Laws of Affinity in an Era of Digital Darwinism.

Rapid change can be dizzying. Ground yourself by remembering that though technology has changed, people have not. We have the same drives… needs… yearnings as prehistoric tribes.  It’s not just about survival. Darwin wrote about survival of the most empathic. We long for connection and meaning. In other words, it’s not just about the “fittest” but about the “fitting.”  Philanthropy provides that “fit opportunity” in spades (or, more aptly, in hearts).

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Stop the Nonprofit Fundraising Treadmill: 3 Reasons I Want to Get Off

The treadmill is out of order. TIme to get off.Philanthropy; Not Fundraising

I’ve often wondered why we’re the only sector that defines ourselves by what we’re NOT. Nonprofit.  Why not what we ARE? Social benefit.  Rather than focusing so much on how to scrimp and save and be as cost-efficient as possible, shouldn’t we be focusing on how to spend and grow and be as big and effective as possible?

Nonprofits are stuck in a vicious cycle that jeopardizes their ability to raise the resources they need to succeed. Three “town criers” have recently shed light on the growing problem. Though they come at the problem from different perspectives, it is arguable that they’re headed in the same direction.  Let’s take a look at the underlying reasons for the sector’s inability to build sustainable capacity.