It’s Blog Action Day: Raise Your Voice Against Injustice!

Did you know today is Blog Action Day? I apologize for two posts in one day. I usually send my curated links on Friday (and I did, because I missed last week), but I just had to let you know about this special day when bloggers all over the world unite, raise our voices and shine a light on one single thing that’s not going right in our world. And we talk about how to make it right.

There are, alas, always wrongs that need righting.

And, gosh, there are so many things. They seem to multiply like rabbits. It can seem hopeless.

But it’s not. We’ve proven that we can pull rabbits out of hats and make magic happen. Life has always been unfair, yet civilization has prevailed.

And lives have been made better. In large part, because of the compassionate work done through  civil society — the social benefit sector and citizens working together to right the ship.

Allow me to share a little story learned in my many years working for Jewish social service organizations:

There’s an old Jewish parable that begins with the notion that at one time everything in the world was perfectly balanced. It was “tzedek” – which happens to not only mean “balanced” but is also the root of  the word “tzedekah” ( justice) and the term for the money that is collected weekly by every Jewish community to take care of its poor. The goal of tzedek/tzedekah, throughout our lives, is to do what we can to get back to that equilibrium. That time when there was no injustice. No unfairness. No fighting. No wars.

In fact, the Torah insists, “Justice, justice shall you pursue.

Here’s to those who speak out against injustice!

This year’s Blog Action Day theme is the mother of all issues:

The right, and the moral imperative, to RAISE YOUR VOICE to speak out about any of the many injustices we see all around us. To shine a light on wrongs that must be righted — without fear of retribution. To look evil in the eye, rather than look away. To bring hope in the darkness, so that there will be light.

 

The case of Malala Yousafzai, the 11-year-old blogger who was shot in the head for chronicling the fears of schoolgirls under the shadow of the Taliban, has become a well-known cause célèbre. She prevailed. But there are thousands like her who are silenced.

This is a fight that must be won battle by battle. And the war is still raging.

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Clairity Click-it: Nonprofit Communication, Tools, Branding, Design, Metrics + Free Resources

Catch this Special Nonprofit Communications (includes year-end fundraising messaging) Edition!
Catch this Special Nonprofit Communications Edition (includes year-end fundraising messaging)!

This week’s Click-it is dedicated to the best ways to communicate your message as well as best ways to measure your success.

All of this is super important as we approach the year-end fundraising season.

  • Make sure your message is clear, catchy and relevant.
  • Use tools that make your life easier and assure that you get the biggest bang from your efforts.
  • And measure what works/what doesn’t; you’ll never improve if you don’t know to what to attribute your success or failure. That’s just sad.

If you’re not the person who might benefit most from some of these articles, please pass them along to those who might find them useful. Be good to your team!

Clairity Click-it: Major Gifts Edition

Catch this Special Edition!
Catch this Special Edition!

It’s October! We’re entering prime fundraising season, and there’s no better time to sharpen your major gift skills. So this week’s edition is dedicated to exactly that. From prospect identification to cultivation to asking to follow-up. At the bottom you’ll find some new free resources, a chance to participate in a crowd-sourced major gifts blog and a last chance to actively prepare for your major gifts solicitations with some dynamic webinars and a practice clinic. Ready?

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October Nonprofit Blog Carnival Call for Submissions: Tricks or Treats – How Do You Get and Sustain Major Gifts?

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H E L P! I need major donors!

I’m majorly S C R E A M I N G with delight to be hosting this month’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival!

So majorly, in fact, that the subject this month is TRICKS or TREATS How Do You Get and Sustain Major Gifts?

Tell us your tricks – the ones that work! Do you HAUNT prospects through a series of managed ‘moves’?  Do you fly in on a BROOMSTICK and just drop in spontaneously? How do you put them under your SPELL?

Tell us some treats – ways you wow your donors! Smile like a JACK-O-LANTERN every time you think of them; then figure out a way to let them know? Give them lots of virtual CANDY (seriously, do you use social media for any part of your major gifts strategy)?

Clairity Click-it: Year-End Fundraising Planning Edition

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Click it!

The Click-it is early this week since year-end is fast approaching, and I couldn’t wait to share these awesome tips to help you plan your year-end campaign! I’ve got a bit of everything here –  from finding email addresses to build your online mailing list… to tips on getting appeals read… to making sure you’re not missing any tricks… to social sharing strategies… to best email subject lines… to Giving Tuesday — and more! I’ll no doubt have even more for you before the end of the year, but now is really the time to get started. Don’t delay. [If you really want to assure you don’t miss a trick, scroll down to the bottom and check out the webinar I’m offering with the Foundation Center on the 17th]

Clairity Click-it: Effective Altruism; Team Building; Year-End Giving; Free Resources

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Click it!

On the anniversary of 9-11, I’ve put together a group of posts that show that more people than not want to do good in this world. There’s a lot of inspiring food for thought here. Plus, since the critical end-of-year fundraising window is fast approaching, I’ve got a few things to help you with your planning – not only to acquire donors, but to sustain their giving over time. Plus one thing I thought was pretty cool, and that just brought a smile to my face! Spend a few minutes today to reflect on how we can come together to heal the world.

Clairity Click-it: List Building, Calls to Action, Nonprofit Management, Silos, Change

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Click it!

This week I’ve a potpourri of links on a variety of fundraising, nonprofit management and nonprofit marketing topics. It’s still summer, so I figure it’s a good time for a varied reading list. Some practical stuff, and a little food for thought. Why not?

List Building

Click-It: How to Build Your Email List from LinkedIn and Twitter. This post by Amy Hall on the Maximize Social Business blog offers some great practical tips for converting your social media contacts into supporters. After all, isn’t that one of the major reasons you’re trying to generate more connections and followers?

Calls to Action

Click-It: 12 Nonprofit Call-to-Action Twitter Images to Study and Learn From. This is a great collection of examples from Nonprofit Tech for Good.

Clairity Click-it: The Millenial Issue – to Ignore at Your Nonprofit’s Peril

Click it!
Click it!

The 2015 Millennial Impact Report was released last week, and lots of folks are weighing in on what this means for nonprofits. Why is everyone all agog? These folks, born between 1980 and 2000, represent huge buying (aka donating) power and influence. As the lead researcher and president of Achieve, a lead researcher in the study, notes:

“The Millennial generation is influential. From their buying power to their handle on the limitless potential of social media, Millennials can address issues and be a voice for a cause like no other generation before them.”

I was particularly interested in how they gave:

  • 30% online
  • 28% check or cash
  • 22% solicited through their company
  • 11% payroll deduction

In other words, they’re just as multi-channel as the Boomers and Gen X, with a skewing toward more online activity. There’s plenty of food for thought in the articles that follow, with some great suggestions for how you might consider reworking your fundraising and marketing strategies to engage greater numbers of this emerging generation.

BTW: I’ve thrown in a couple of articles that apply to all generations. The plain and simple fact is that marketing is changing for everyone.

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7 Storytelling Tips to Inspire Nonprofit Donors to Act

Listen up: Have I got a story for you!
Listen up: Have I got a story for you!

As a fundraising professional, relationship building with donors is an ongoing process and communication is an important part of that process. Stories are a great communications tool that you can use to tell donors about their impact in a tangible and easy to understand manner.

Storytelling seems to be everywhere these days. Non-profits are actively trying to use stories to engage their current and new donors. Is your non-profit trying to tap into the power of stories? Perhaps it’s been a positive experience for your organization. But maybe you have faced some challenges.

One of the biggest challenges with storytelling is being able to tell a great story. A story that really stands out from the pack and resonates with your donor audience. A story that, ultimately, compels action.

Today I want to share with you 7 rules for telling a better non-profit story.

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3 Ways to Integrate Your Nonprofit’s Marketing and Fundraising

You can't deliver your message today the way you did 10 years ago
You can’t deliver your message today the way you did 10 years ago

Avoid becoming irrelevant in the digital age. It’s revolutionized fundraising and nonprofit marketing.

There are so many different ways to communicate today that it 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.  We long for connection and meaning. We want to find where we “fit.”

Philanthropy provides that “fit opportunity” in spades (or, more aptly, in hearts). You’ve got the goods; you just need to tinker with your delivery system.

Here’s how to embrace the change.

1. Let’s begin with your gift of content marketing.

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What is content marketing and what can it do for you?

Content marketing” is buzz-worthy because without it, you’ve got nothing. You’re just a box with nothing inside. Kids like to play with boxes; most folks — when they grow up — are looking for something of value inside the box.

That’s your content.  What you’re all about. The gift you offer the world and your donors.

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6 Secrets to Rock Multi-Channel Integrated Nonprofit Fundraising Campaigns

This post includes 6 expert tips and best practices for any business, including a non-profit, wanting to run an integrated marketing campaign that generates more potential donors and raises more dollars.

Wait! What is an integrated marketing campaign?

An integrated marketing campaign is a marketing effort that uses a consistent message across traditional and non-traditional marketing channels. Ultimately all the messages should reinforce each other. Integrated marketing campaigns enable brands (yes, your nonprofit is a brand) to reach new audiences and gain mass exposure for their marketing promotions. Plus, in the information overload world in which we live, folks need to see your message multiple times before their brain will process it (Did you know that, on average, only 16% of Facebook fans will see what you share)?

There used to be a marketing ‘Rule of 7’ stating that a prospect needs to hear the advertiser’s message at least 7 times before they’ll take action to buy that product or service.  Guess what? That rule was invented by the movie industry in the 1930’s! It takes a lot more impressions today (I’ve heard as many as 21).

So a multi-channel campaign is the way to go. Whether you reach folks 7 or 21 times, or somewhere in between, your messages should range over different sorts of media. Consider emails and newsletters, social media posts, website and blog, direct mail, advertising and even in person presentations. But it can’t be a big mish-mash.  You’ve got to integrate everything to ensure all your media channels are working together. That’s how you’ll ultimately get noticed.

To illustrate how this might work for you, here is an example

Clairity Click-it: Keep Donors; Make a Case; Neuromarketing; Appeal Frequency + News to Use

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Click it!

Want to keep more donors? This week’s Click-It will show you how in a number of different ways. Create magical experiences for supporters by taking a page from Disney. Craft a persuasive case for support by stepping into your donor’s shoes and asking yourself, and your team, some critical questions. Learn more about the importance of personalization by watching a video from Starbucks. Understand the psychology of the three different types of buyers (aka donors). And think critically about the number of appeals you send, and how this may help or hurt your donor acquisition, renewal and upgrade efforts. Plus you’ll find some “News You Can Use” (tons of really useful data and reports) at the bottom of this post.  To your success!

Clairity Click-it: Ice Bucket Aftermath, Integrated Fundraising/Marketing, Prospecting, Change + Learning Opps

There’s a whole bucket full of interesting, practical and inspiring stuff in this week’s Click-It (and I don’t mean an ice bucket)! I’ve got stuff about what you must do to compete in a digital marketplace… articles about integrating fundraising and marketing (which I’m passionate about)…  stuff about types of skills to look for in today’s communications staff and some ideas as to which marketing channels give you the biggest bank for your buck.  And speaking of bang for the buck, there’s info on how to research donor prospects. Plus I’ve got a thought-provoking cartoon for you at the end.  And, as always, some great learning opportunities (scroll to the bottom) you won’t want to miss!

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9 Amazing Secrets You Need to Get a Major Donor Meeting

Did you know you’re 85 percent on your way to securing a gift if you can get your prospect to agree to a visit? So says veteran major gifts fundraiser Jerold Panas in his iconic book, Asking. He also says, “If you want to milk a cow, sit by its side.”

But … how do you get the cow to cooperate? Ay, there’s the rub.

Why is it so hard to get a visit with a prospect?

It just is. People screen phone calls. They don’t answer emails. They’re busy. And, let’s face it, they know what this is about. Once you get in the room with them, you have your chance to win them over. But how to get there?

Clairity Click-it: Philanthropists; Creative Stuff: YouTube, Twitter, Visuals; Thanking

Happy Friday the 13th! It’s my lucky day – both I and my son were born on Friday the 13th – so I feel only good things can happen today. Speaking of which, I’ve got some lovely “feel good” goodies for you today. Since “Heart Day” is tomorrow, let’s start with philanthropy – meaning “love of humankind.” Then I’ve got some fun social media and creative stuff to help you really stick out in the minds of your constituents.

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8 Top Ways to Send Nonprofit Donors Love on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day offers the perfect opportunity for donor stewardship!

I hope that by now you know donor retention is the name of the game. It costs so much more to acquire a new donor than to keep an existing one. Yet too few nonprofits have serious, intentional donor stewardship programs in place. Because of that, on average, nonprofits lose 7 out of 10 first-time donors and 6 out of 10 ongoing ones.

Don’t be one of those organizations whose donors only hear from you when you want something from them. Be generous, and show them how much their support means to you. You’ll be amazed at how a little love can go a long way.

There are 364 other days each year on which you can fundraise.

This year why not dedicate Valentine’s Day to giving, not asking? Think about those donors for whom you’d like to show some special love. It could be your major donors. Or your monthly donors. Or your donors who’ve given faithfully for five years or more. Or your donors who also volunteer. Or your board and committee members.

Clairity Click-it: Give to Donors with Thank You’s and Stories

It’s the last Friday in January, which means Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. That’s a great day to send your donors some love – and that’s what Monday’s post will be all about. So… keep your eyes peeled!

Meanwhile, today I’ve got stuff to get you in a giving and sharing mood. Today it’s all about telling stories and saying thank you. Both are ways of offering your donors gifts. And I hope by now you know that if you want to get gifts, you must first give them.

Clairity Click-it: Get Outside the Mailbox

Today I’ve got stuff to help you get outside the traditional mail box. It’s a great way to communicate with folks – tried and true – but you have many more options in 2015. If you get stuck in the past you’re going to miss out on a lot of potential donors.

Did you know that when the telephone was invented people thought it would be disruptive and distracting? This is the year to seamlessly integrate strategic social media into all your fundraising and marketing campaigns.

Clairity Click-it: What You Missed/Second Chance Edition – Annual; Events; Donor Retention; Nonprofit Communication

Today I’ve got my personal round-up edition with the TOP 10 POSTS on the Clairification blog as selected by you – my wonderful Clairification readers. I’ll no doubt be writing more about these topics in the coming year, but if there’s something you’d particularly like me to address please send me a direct email at Claire@clairification.com. I always love to hear from you!

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7 Proven Keys to Inspire Nonprofit Boards to Lead and Give

My first year as a nonprofit fundraiser was before social media, cell phones, email, computers and even FAX machines. I had never heard the term “information overload” and I wasn’t distracted by interruptions every five minutes.  Why do I mention this?

Because in today’s fast-paced world we are often so bombarded with bells, whistles and flashing lights that we lose sight of the basics. We lose focus.

Back in the day, I focused.

My number one focus was our board of directors. I knew that before we could get others to give, the board needed to give. Passionately.

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Whither the Nonprofit Sector in 2015? 6 Ways to Assure Yours Doesn’t Wither

I chose the word “w(h)ither” in my title very deliberately. It can mean “Where are you going?” It can also mean “Dying on the vine.” Which does it mean for you and your nonprofit?

If the former, where are you going? You’ll find some “To Do’s” in this article to help you on your way towards a sustainable future. If the latter, how can your prevent this from happening? You’ll find some “don’ts” to help you breathe life into your organization.

Clairity Click-it: Year End Edition w/Tips, Resolutions, Predictions + More Gifts!

Today I’ve got my year-end edition with some final tips for the end of the year, some ideas as you’re making your new year’s resolutions and a list of predictions to get you off on the right foot in 2015.

Don’t miss the practical, last-minute stuff, and tape these resolutions and predictions next to your computer so you can give them some serious thought when you return from you holiday break. Oh, and did I mention there are a few more gifts at the end?

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Here's How Often You Should Mail to Your 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:

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October Halloween Nonprofit Blog Carnival – Major Gifts Tricks and Treats

 

Fear not! The Halloween Nonprofit Blog Carnival is back, offering tricks and treats galore from nonprofit experts all around the web – a full Baker’s Dozen (or shall I say a Witches Coven)! — to help you find, cultivate, solicit and steward your major donors. When you trick and treat, you always like to go to the houses that give out the most candy, natch?  Well… let’s find the donors giving out the most goodies so your mission is assured of success. But you’ve got to be prepared! No just showing up without a costume, a plan of attack or a strategy for success. You’ll get some lollipops and stuff, sure. But I know that’s not what you really want. Go for what you need.  Go for what will make your time spent on this effort feel worth your while.  And we’ve got 13 experts telling you exactly what to do.

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October Nonprofit Blog Carnival Call for Submissions: Tricks or Treats – How Do You Get and Sustain Major Gifts?

I’m majorly S C R E A M I N G with delight to be hosting this month’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival!

So majorly, in fact, that the subject this month is TRICKS or TREATS – How Do You Get and Sustain Major Gifts?

Tell us your tricks – the ones that work! Do you HAUNT prospects through a series of managed ‘moves’?  Do you fly in on a BROOMSTICK and just drop in spontaneously? How do you put them under your SPELL?

Tell us some treats – ways you wow your donors! Smile like a JACK-O-LANTERN every time you think of them; then figure out a way to let them know? Give them lots of virtual CANDY (seriously, do you use social media for any part of your major gifts strategy)?

Clairity Click-it: How Philanthropy is Changing; Giving Tuesday; Content Marketing; Retention; Color Psychology; Thank You

Changes in Philanthropy Click-It: On Nonprofit Fundraising, Physics and Utopia. Heidi Hancock of Mosaic muses on the nature of nonprofit growth, and why it’s probably not realistic to think you can raise an endowment that will set your nonprofit up for life. Giving Tuesday Click-It: Expert Advice on Taking Advantage of #GivingTuesday comes from the…

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6 Best Ways to Make Storytelling Part of Your Nonprofit Culture

How do you fill the brains of your staff, volunteers and donors with stories about your organization?
What better way to talk about accomplishments your donors make possible than through stories that portray them as heroes?

Everyone loves a good story. Everyone.

Which is why storytelling should be at the heart of your nonprofit’s strategic communications. I know ‘storytelling’ is a meme du jour. But that’s no reason to ignore it. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t! There’s a reason these phrases become buzzworthy. In this case, because you want to serve up content that’s relevant, attractive and accessible to your constituencies. Storytelling fits the bill better than anything else.

In fact, of all the content you can create, storytelling is your ultimate weapon and the most powerful means of communicating your message.

Let’s look at this a different way.

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What do Lukewarm Tapioca and Molten Chocolate Cake have to do with Fundraising?

Or… What Your Donors Won’t Tell You about Your Nonprofit Messaging.

At first blush, tepid tapioca and gooey hot chocolate might appear to have nothing whatsoever to do with securing vital resources to further your mission. Blush again.

Blush hard. Think of all the good things you could accomplish were you to more effectively master the art and science of fundraising. Feel the warm pink tinge beginning to creep up your neck as you embrace the errors of your ways over the past year. Or two. Or 10. Or even more.

Are you still doing things like it was 1985? 2000? 2008? If so, you should probably be embarrassed. Because I know very few organizations who are succeeding today using yesterday’s strategies.

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To Blog, or Not to Blog? Only if You Do it Right. Do You?

Do you have a mature social media operation, or are you just a baby? Or a teen? Babies babble. Teens make it all about themselves. Are you simply using Twitter to babble? Facebook to say “look at me?”  Or have you embraced a more full-grown strategy?  The best place to start, and the fastest way to get there, is with a blog.

Next to email, blogs are the most mature form of social media.

 

They’ve been around the longest, and they’re pretty tried-and-true.

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Yes, The Donor Pyramid is Really Dead

An Open Letter to Andrea Kihlstedt — Part 1

[I am responding to Andrea Kihlstedt’s Open Letter to me, Is The Donor Pyramid Really Dead, in the Guidestar blog. She was responding to my recent posts on the death of the Donor Pyramid in Fundraising Success Magazine: R.I.P. Donor Pyramid? and Maximize Social Business Blog How Social Media Toppled the Donor Pyramid – What that Means for Nonprofits.]

First, let me say this is a great dialogue to be having. The donor pyramid is a sacred dinosaur, and it’s good to challenge old assumptions from time to time. After all, the dinosaurs had a very good run, but even they became extinct.

Andrea says “no, the pyramid is alive and well,” making the case that (especially in capital campaigns) not all donors are equal. She also finds use for the pyramid in other campaigns, noting a Kickstarter campaign she recently worked on in which the biggest gifts came from donors who were approached face-to-face rather than via online strategies.

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If it's Broke, Better Fix it: Two Disarming Truths

Truths: Today, there are two things broken from my perspective: (1) my arm, and (2) the donor pyramid.

Yup! I’m really not much of a camper, but had a momentary lapse in judgement over the week-end. Kaboom!

Luckily, I managed to type up an article about the sad state of the donor pyramid prior to being reduced to a one-handed hunter/pecker (because this method is SLOW, baby)! That article, “R.I.P.Donor Pyramid,  is gracing the cover of the May/June Fundraising Success Magazine, so I hope you’ll check it out over there and let me know what you think. Here’s my bottom line:

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Why Your Nonprofit Fundraising and Marketing is Outdated

 

Philanthropy, Not Fundraising

For too many nonprofits something isn’t working. Change is happening at a rapid pace while people try to employ yesterday’s ‘best practices,’ seeming to work harder and harder to make do with less — while needing to serve more.

Before the digital revolution, an information imbalance existed.  This facilitated a one-way ‘push’ model of marketing/fundraising. We could define our own brand and sell it.  Guess what? 

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What Nonprofits Can Learn About Donor Retention from David Letterman

If you’re not using social media to get and retain more donors, be afraid. Be very afraid.

Social media has ceased to be a nice little “toy.”  An “add on thing.”  It’s the thing. If you’re not hanging out where the majority of your constituents are getting their information, you may as well fold up your tent and go home.  David Letterman didn’t “do social media.”    ( See “Do you use the Twitter device?” ).  He’s going home.

Letterman  may be ready to go off into the sunset. But you shouldn’t be. You can learn new tricks!

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9 Key Nonprofit Communications Tools to Woo Donors: Part 2

In Part 1 we covered 5 steps to woo your donors with a communications strategy. Today we’ll look more closely at 9 key communications tools you can use effectively to build closer relationships with your supporters. Some are extraordinarily simple. It’s just that many nonprofits fail to use these tools consistently, or well. If you make a practice of doing so, you’ll be well ahead of the game.

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Creating a Donor Communications Plan to Woo Your Supporters: Part 1

You want to be the favorite child, don’t you?

Did you know that half of donors give 2/3rds of their annual giving to a single charity. That’s why you want to become the “favorite.” Wouldn’t it be terrific if your donors adopted you and thought of you as a member of their family?

Truly, that’s how important you want to become to your supporters. But it won’t happen just because you’re a “good cause.” There are oodles of great causes out there.  Oodles.  It will happen only when

Clairity Click-it: Finding Donors, Power of Parody, Gratitude, Leadership, Content Marketing

Mixed bag today. From funny and unusual to serious and thought-proving. You’ll definitely find something of interest here. Take a lo! Finding Donors Click-It: Low Hanging Fruit. This cartoon from Hugh MacLeod at Gaping Void made me wonder. How might this apply to your donor cultivation strategy? Maybe the reason you’re not finding donors…