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. 

Walkathon participants

8 Secrets to Keeping New ‘Third Party’ Donors

By now you undoubtedly know you’re losing too many first-time donors.

In fact, the Fundraising Effectiveness Project report shows you’re losing an average of 77% of these folks!

Today I want to talk about a subset of new donors who don’t renew.  They’re called “third party donors,” and they come to you through a variety of portals:

  1. Guests of event ticket buyers
  2. Online auction purchasers
  3. Donors who give to friends’ P2P fundraising pages
  4. Donors who give to crowdfunding campaigns sent to them via a friend
  5. Donors who make tribute gifts in honor or memory of a friend or loved one

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!

Charity Auctions: Providing a Better Donor Experience

Event_auction_phone_biddingCharity auctions are an oft-held fundraising event, but even the most seasoned nonprofits often don’t host them well.

Since auctions are multifaceted events that are relatively complicated to organize, many organizations focus too much on getting the logistics in order and not enough on how they can provide an amazing experience for their donors.

Instead of considering how they can leverage their auction to build deeper supporter relationships, they bolt straight to the fundraising finish line: increasing event proceeds. It’s no wonder that event retention is so low!

In this article you’ll receive great advice from Adam Weinger, President of Double the Donation, as to how you can make your auction a more positive experience for your donors, focusing specifically on how auction software can help.

Woman holding film slate

5 Simple Ways to Use Video for Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Video marketing is taking over the world, and for good reason. Compelling videos are the best way to connect with your audience no matter where they are or what device they’re on.

For nonprofit organizations, video provides the opportunity to strengthen donor engagement and outreach across channels, especially through social networks where the medium continues to grow in popularity.

So how does video relate to peer-to-peer fundraising?

It’s all about getting people involved!

In order to get people passionate about raising money from their personal networks on behalf of your cause you have to show them why they should care.

Video is the perfect platform to help you do just that—in fact, 60% of people prefer watching a video to reading text. And it doesn’t have to be complicated.

Here are 5 simple video ideas your organization can use to encourage more participation and donations for your next peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.

Argentinosaurus Juvenile dinosaur

Blogs vs. E-Newsletters: What’s Best for Nonprofit Communication?

E-newsletters are dinosaurs.

There, I’ve said it. There are many reasons I favor blogs over e-newsletters for nonprofits. They simply try to accomplish too much at once. As a result, they tend to accomplish very little.

Blogs are best if:

  • You want more control over what your constituents read.
  • You want to spend less time creating content.
  • You want to increase readership of your content
  • You want to increase sharing of your content.

Today I’m going to tell you about just two of the reasons blogs out-perform e-newsletters, but they’re doozies.

And they accomplish all of the points I’ve just bulleted.

calendar

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.

symbolic rainmaking god

How to Build a Major Donor Program from the Ground Up

If you’ve got donors, then you have the raw material for a major donor program – and it’s easier than you think.

Begin with your own database.

Most organizations have plenty of donor prospects, without having to go outside and look for prospects who aren’t connected to you.

You know who I mean. The people your board members tend to suggest to you. Folks who may be rich, and may even be philanthropic elsewhere, but don’t have any interest in what you do. And no one knows them or can make an introduction to them.

Don’t start with the most out-of-reach prospects. You can be a major donor prospect rainmaker without having to go outside or reach too far.

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…

Lemonade Stand Rockwell

Warning: Have You Caught Deadly Nonprofit Lemonade Standitis?

Lemonade Standitis is a bit like Zika virus.

Silent, but deadly.

It infects you, but you may not realize it.

The symptoms can be easily misdiagnosed, only showing up later down the line in a different form.

By then, it’s too late.

If you’ve got it, you’re no doubt leaving money on the table, working harder than you need to, and putting the long-term sustainability of your nonprofit business at risk.

Want to avoid this dreaded sustainability killer?

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.

How to Use Psychology to Pre-Suade Donors to Give

What can you do now to prime the pump so your donors are pre-disposed to give to you when they receive your year-end appeal?

In Part 1 of this two-part series I described some new research from Robert Cialdini, author of the seminal Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, and the new book, Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade, and discussed how you might apply this research to your fundraising strategies. We learned the importance of leading with a “gift” or “favor” that would incline your donor favorably in your direction.

I promised that today we’d take a look at how to cement the likelihood your favor is returned, as well as explore some types of favors that are likely to be perceived as valuable.

How Leaning Into Fear Can Change the World

A very accomplished friend of mine recently wrote a beautiful and provocative article I want to share. It resonated with me on many levels, not the least of which spoke to me wearing my hat as a philanthropy facilitator and nonprofit coach.

Thank you Tara Mohr for having the courage to share On Political Fear. Tara writes:

 I don’t do othering. I don’t think one party or place on the political spectrum has a monopoly on truth. I think we all need to be speaking up right now.

Tara, in speaking up, describes herself as “proudly afraid.”

Are you “proudly afraid?”

How to Humanize Your Nonprofit Work by Building Empathy

empathy word cloudI am so inspired!

I recently learned about Van Jones’ virtual reality experiment, Day of Empathy via this video (thank you, thank you, thank you to Nancy Schwartz for writing about this on her Getting Attention nonprofit marketing blog: OMG Experiment to Connect & Activate (Dream Corps Case Study). The idea is to use virtual reality to build empathy (i.e., to help people walk in the shoes of others) in order to motivate action.

The idea of using virtual reality to build empathy on a communal scale is brilliant!

And it ties back to Darwin’s theory of survival.

10 Ways to Build Donor Trust and Overcome Negative Views about Charities

trustWhat prompted me to write this article was a recent post by Matthew Sherrington on the 101 Fundraising Blog about the dangers to the public benefit sector posed by erosion of trust.  We’ve known for some time that whenever there’s a charity scandal, the bad behavior of one player can become detrimental to all.  But over the past year in the U.K. the problem has become even more challenging. Could it happen here?  Matthew says “yes.”  And I concur.  Trust is a fragile thing.

In the U.K what happened was a perfect storm of perceived over-solicitation and insufficient outcomes, exacerbated by a barrage of media that sounded an alarm about nefarious practices.  Trust plummeted. A wake-up call, for sure.

But what does it mean?

Important News about Relationship Fundraising: Stop Losing Donors

This is important.

It’s about a new report that may change how you do fundraising.

It should.

Let me explain.

Unless you’ve been asleep at the wheel, by now you should know that most nonprofits have been hemorrhaging donors.

By tending to focus more on expensive, staff-intensive acquisition strategies like direct mail and special events, charities are bringing in one-time donors who never give to them again.

Making the Most of Matching Gifts: 6 Easy Steps

Imagine you’re baking a cake. You put in the flour, eggs, milk, and sugar, whip it all together, and put it in the oven for an hour. But, when the timer dings and you open the oven door, you find that instead of one perfect cake, you have two!

This situation is physically impossible (unless you’re a wizard or a magician), but it’s a good illustration for how matching gift programs can benefit your nonprofit.

When donors take advantage of their employers’ matching gift programs, they essentially double the amount of money that they give to your organization. Two cakes (I mean, donations!) for the price of one!

Clairity Click-it: Culture of Philanthropy; Online Social Fundraising; Food for Thought

Hope you enjoy these links, free resources and training opportunities. Again, I’ve organized according to two of the top 5 areas I’m hoping you’re working on improving this year.  This week it’s:

  1. Online Social Fundraising
  2. Culture of Philanthropy

There are also some “food for thought” articles in other areas, plus links to free resources and upcoming training opportunities. There’s bound to be something here you’ll find useful!

#Clairity-Click it: Donor Retention, Major Gifts, Online Social Fundraising +Training + Free Stuff

Hope you enjoy these links, free resources and training opportunities. Again, I’ve organized according to three of the top 5 areas I’m hoping you’re working on improving this year.  This week it’s

  1. Major Gifts
  2. Donor Retention
  3. Online Social Fundraising

There are also “food for thought” articles in other areas, plus links to free resources and awesome upcoming training opportunities. Use ’em or lose ’em!

blog.data_.visitors.2.png

The Meaning of Philanthropy, Not Fundraising – Part 1

Philanthropy is a mindset. An embracing culture. A noble value.

Fundraising is a means towards that end. Servant to philanthropy.

Philanthropy, not fundraising.

This has been the tagline for my business and blog since I began Clairification in 2011. It grew naturally out of my experiences working as a frontline development director for 30 years. I’ve always insisted that no single person could possibly receive credit for a donation.  “Donors don’t give because of development staff,” I’d tell program staff.  “They give because of the great work you do!

1207943_hand_idea.jpg

10 Ways to Get More Donors for Your Nonprofit – Part 2

10 ways to get more donors for your nonprofit using principles of psychologyIn Part 1 of this article I encouraged you to make this the year you begin to study psychology and apply it more to your integrated development (marketing and fundraising) strategy. I shared with you an infographic developed by marketing strategist Gregory Ciotti that some of the psychology underlying human behavior. Because there’s a lot for nonprofits to learn and apply, I’m taking you through them one by one.  Today let’s complete the Top 10 list.

1207943_hand_idea.jpg

10 Ways to Get More Donors for Your Nonprofit – Part 1

10 ways to get more donors for your nonprofit using principles of psychologyToday’s focus is on donor retention, as our year-long “Dive the Five” virtual course continues!  In fact, you can use the principles you learn here for donor acquisition as well. In for-profit parlance, we’ll be discussing how to “convert customers.”  In non-profit parlance it’s all about turning prospects into donors and donors into repeat donors.

I encourage you to make this the year you begin to study psychology and apply it more to your integrated development (marketing and fundraising) strategy.

10 Secrets to Help any Nonprofit Rock Mobile Fundraising

10 Secrets to Help Any Nonprofit Rock Mobile FundraisingHuman beings have always been social animals. The digital revolution has simply made electronic media (email, the internet and social media) our ‘go-to’ place to socialize and connect with our fellow humans.”

This sentiment that Claire crafted really spoke to me as I was reading her article the other day.

It’s a deep truth. We are social beings. We’re also incredibly mobile now, though.

Ironically, even though we’re constantly on the go, we are the most connected we’ve ever been.

Storytelling-hands.jpg

How to Fundraise like it’s Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

How to Fundraise Like it's Yesterday, Today, and TomorrowTwo good posts recently at re: charity (Brady Josephson) and Future Fundraising Now (Jeff Brooks) about what charities should do today to prepare for tomorrow. Both embrace a quote from Jeff Bezos:

I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’ And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two — because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow are sort of the same.

Sounds good.

But think about this a bit more.

Storytelling-hands.jpg

How to Fundraise like it's Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

How to Fundraise Like it's Yesterday, Today, and TomorrowTwo good posts recently at re: charity (Brady Josephson) and Future Fundraising Now (Jeff Brooks) about what charities should do today to prepare for tomorrow. Both embrace a quote from Jeff Bezos:

I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’ And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two — because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow are sort of the same.

Sounds good.

But think about this a bit more.

man-leaping-199x300.jpg

Leap Day Nonprofit Dilemma: To Board or Not to Board

My board is driving me nuts!

Today is “leap day” — that little something extra we’re given every four years, just to slow things down a bit and make February last a bit longer.

Leap day has something in common with nonprofit boards of directors — that little something extra, volunteers put in charge of the business, that has an unfortunate tendency to slow things down and make decision-making take a lot, lot longer than it usually should.

PeertoPeerFundraising-1-1024x536.jpg

How to Increase Your Fundraiser Proceeds with Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Do you want to increase your fundraising proceeds dramatically, without significantly increasing your resources?

In this post, you’ll learn how to effectively increase your fundraising proceeds through use of online Peer-to-Peer fundraising.

What is Peer-to-Peer Fundraising?

Peer-to-Peer fundraising (P2P fundraising) is the idea of leveraging your cause/organization’s supporters and empowering them to become your best fundraising advocates in order to expand your mission’s reach and grow your donor base and proceeds. It’s a multi-tiered approach, where donors are asked to raise money in addition to donating.

Clairity Click-it: Dive the Five Fundraising Fundamentals

This year I’ll be sharing a lot of resources related to the “Dive the Five” fundamental principles we’ll be discussing in our ongoing virtual fundraising curriculum. You remember them, don’t you?

  1. Major Gifts
  2. Donor Retention
  3. Social Media
  4. Content Marketing
  5. Culture of Philanthropy

I want you to use these “buckets” as an organizing framework for your development efforts this year, so I’m organizing my “Click-its” this way as well.

From time to time I’ll add in other subjects and offer you some food for thought that I just can’t help but share with you. And, as always, if you scroll to the bottom you’ll find some free resources and upcoming learning opportunities.

Clairity Click-it: Events; Social Media; Generational Giving; Culture of Philanthropy + Free Resources

This week’s Click-it is another mélange of fundraising wisdom, ranging from events to social media and taking a look at which generations are good target markets for you. Plus some fun posts.

And, as always, if you scroll to the bottom you’ll find some free resources I’ve selected for you. There’s some really worthwhile stuff here — and I’ve got a lot of it this week.

See you next week where I’ll return to my “Dive the Five” virtual nonprofit curriculum. Want to know the top five priority areas for your focus in the coming year? Make sure you’re subscribed to Clairification so you don’t miss an article!

And now, on to this week’s articles…

Clairity Click-it: Fundraising Wisdom, Mission Statements, Target Markets, Email, Giving Triggers + Free Resources

This week’s Click-it is a mélange of fundraising wisdom, beginning with mission statements, target markets, email tactics, fundraising psychology and some insight from the invariably provocative Seth Godin.

And, as always, if you scroll to the bottom you’ll find some free resources I’ve found just for you.

You may recall that I promised to do new something new this year – “Dive the Five.”

I’ve selected five major themes to discuss with you this year in depth.

Clairity Click-it Special Edition: Major Gift Fundraising

Click it BIG time!
Click it BIG time!

This week’s Click-it is all about major gift fundraising. What better way to begin the new year than by thinking BIG?!

I’ve pulled together an awesome group of posts from some of my favorite major gift fundraising experts.

There’s also an opportunity (at the end) for you to delve deeper into major gifts fundraising this year.

I wish you BIG, considerably sizeable fundraising results this year in order to accomplish your BIG, considerably important and serious mission.

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!”

Team-toasting-300x200.jpg

13 Smart Year-End Fundraising Strategies

Team toasting
Here’s to December 31st!

It’s here, it’s here!

That giving time of year!

My dear, don’t fear!

It’s time to get in gear!

Good cheer, get clear,

As the year-end draws near…

Bad poetry aside, it really is the time to get all your ducks in a row so you don’t miss out on this time of year when many charities will receive as much as 40% of their entire annual campaign goal.

So I’ve got 13 tips to give your year-end fundraising a shot in the arm!

Clairity Click-it Year-End Giving Edition 3: Online Frenzy Time

In my previous Year-End Fundraising Planning Editions One  and Two I promised I would have more for you as year-end – and the biggest fundraising time of the year for most nonprofits – inexorably approaches.  Salsa reports that end-of-year giving can result in 40% or more of total yearly donations.

Online giving gets particularly frenetic at this time of year.

Email_Subject_Lines-298x300.png

Supercharge Your Year-End Nonprofit Emails with Foolproof Subject Lines ♡

4 Killer Techniques
Plus some Secret Little Tips (see below)

Still stuck for subject lines for your year-end emails?

Your subject line is like your outer envelope for direct mail.

A window into your message.

Make sure it’s open enough to give a glimpse of something intriguing… urgent… exciting… emotional… shocking… funny… useful… anything compelling to grabs folks’ attention.

The more specific and to the point, the better.

NOTE: if you’re not planning a series of year-end emails — get on it NOW! If you’re sending less than 7 emails in December, you’re below the nonprofit average.  You don’t want to be below average do you?

As much as a full third (33%) of December gifts occur on the 31st of the month! Last year the percentage increase in overall fundraising was 2.1%, while the increase in online fundraising was 8.9%.

If you’re not online, putting forward your most compelling fundraising offer at a time when folks are primed to give the most, you’re missing your best opportunity.

Here are some subject line techniques I particularly like, with thoughts about how you can use them to boost your year-end fundraising:

Not_Your_Usual_Year-End_Donation_Issues-300x203.png

Not Your Usual Year-End Nonprofit Donation Issues

Not_Your_Usual_Year-End_Donation_IssuesI doubt you’re worrying your pretty little heads about this stuff, but you should be.

Because year-end giving is simply too fraught with angst — and it needn’t be that way!

Giving to your nonprofit should be a joyful experience for your donors – before, during and after the transaction.

Not an anxious period of wondering whether their credit card transaction is secure, whether their gift went into a black hole or whether you’ll use it as they intended.

And guess what else?

Receiving donations should be a joyous occasion for you too.

Not an unmitigated nightmare of receiving credit card numbers that don’t work, worrying about how already busy staff can possibly process all your year-end donations and, for that matter, do so in a timely, professional and personal manner.

So give yourself and your donors a break.

How to do this? 

Clairity Click-it: Large Scale Change; Leadership; Year-End; Social Tools; Gratitude; Team Building; Multi-Channel

Clairity Click-it ThanksgivingThis week’s Click-it is an eclectic mix of goodies. Maybe not as good as Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes or pumpkin pie, but sometimes your mind and soul need feeding too!

To my friends in the U.S. who celebrate Thanksgiving this week, have a good one filled with many blessings. For those of you scattered elsewhere around the globe, make yourself a nice meal anyway and gather together with people you love. Life’s too short not to.

This poem I wrote several years ago seems particularly appropriate this year, so check out “Attitude of Gratitude” if you’ve a mind to.

And if you can, try to find some time this week to dig into some of these resources.

Now… go make our world a more caring place, and hug yourself some hope!

I am thankful for you,

Claire

Clairity Click-it-Year-End Fundraising: Lapsed; Online; Copy; Peer-to-Peer; Website; Landing Page; Saying Thanks

This week’s Click-it is dedicated to your year-end success!

December is the biggest fundraising opportunity of the year. What you do between now and December 31st will impact what you’re able to accomplish through the rest of the year.

  • Close to a full third of giving happens in just this one month.
  • 12% of all giving happens on December 31st (don’t go on vacation that day)!
  • 30% of all online donations are made in December.
  • 10% of all online giving happens in the last three days of the year
  • Average gift size is larger in December than any other month.

It’s now or never.

Please. Seize your opportunity!

But do it right.

It’s no longer just about direct mail or an email or two.

You’ve got to think about your website, thank you pages, social media and peer-to-peer fundraising – just to name a few. Old school is good, and there are some tips in the articles that follow to help you. But they’re no longer enough.

You must use online techniques to leverage offline techniques.

Think of social media and your website home page as advertising for your appeal. So that when folks finally receive your request for a gift, they do so with eyes and ears wide-open. Because they’ve been primed.

Ready? Let’s get started!

Clairity Click-It: Nonprofit Productivity and Self Care

Catch this special edition devoted to making you and your organization more productive, effective and serene.

This week’s Click-it is dedicated to productivity. Yours.

Sometimes I like to find useful information that has nothing to do with nonprofit work, per se, but which has to do with being a human being working to be efficient and effective in our fast-paced world — all while balancing work and personal life. So I’ve collected a bunch of resources to help you work smarter, faster and better while also becoming less stressed, more relaxed, more focused and much more happy. Sounds like a good deal, right?

I know you think you have to run yourself into the ground to take care of the folks who rely on you for help. There’s so much to do and it’s all so important!

But to take care of the world you must take care of yourself first.

Why not send this entire post to everyone on your team; then ask them to come back to your next staff meeting with ONE thing they’re going to do differently as an individual and one OTHER thing they’d like to suggest doing differently as a team?

It could be fun – and a nice break from business as usual.

Ready? Let’s get started!

Small-gifts-210x300.jpg

It’s Not All about Major Gifts: 10 Ways to Succeed with Small Gift Fundraising

Small giftsNot long ago I went to research something online and ended up viewing the first entry Google gave me – which was on Wikipedia. To my delight, I ran into an awesome fundraising campaign (this is an occupational hazard with fundraisers – we actually like and admire things like pledge breaks when they’re done well)!

Here’s what I found superimposed at the top of the screen: