Extreme paddle board

Risk vs. Reward: Rethink Nonprofit Marketing & Fundraising Best Practices

As you plan for the year ahead, it’s smart to think about risk vs. reward.

Sometimes you feel like a risk; sometimes you don’t.

If everything is going along swimmingly, and you want to take things to the next level, then taking a calculated risk may be just the thing.

If you’re not yet maximizing return using tried-and-true best practices, then going the risky route may make less sense.

If you’re wondering when to take risks with your nonprofit’s marketing and fundraising, here’s my answer: When you’re ready.

Begin by determining which current strategies are your most rewarding. Do you have good basics in place?

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3 Nonprofit Secrets to Rock Major Gift Fundraising

There’s a treasure trove of knowledge and research around major gift fundraising. What works well.  What doesn’t work at all.  What’s, at best, half-baked.

It’s not rocket science.  But there’s definitely art, and some science, involved.

The gestalt way of thinking about the three secrets boils down to simply being:

(1) smart,

(2) systematic and

(3) passionate.

But, I’m pretty pragmatic. So I’d like to give you something more practical.

If I had to pick the top three practical secrets to success, they would be the following:

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Key Issues in Effective Nonprofit Board Decision-Making

Many nonprofits are stuck.

They’re tethered to their early decisions.  Often made by others who came before them.

But times change. Organizations evolve.

Or they don’t.

The organizations that don’t adapt to changing times are often those that fail to make new decisions. They’re the ones who say “that’s not how we do things here.” Or they poo-poo decisions made by new folks who come on the scene, saying “they don’t understand our culture.”

These are the organizations that tend to shrink over time.  They lose their energy. Their once-vital raison d’etre becomes less urgent. And their appeal to donors diminishes.

When organizations fail to make fresh decisions, they become less relevant.

I recently listened to Jerry Panas, one of the most revered fundraisers in our country, talk about what he called the “deficit of mission.” He made it very clear that boards have two critical roles:

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How to Protect Your Nonprofit from Security Breaches

Data breachThe recent Equifax hack has millions of people worrying about the security of their personal data. While this was a particularly egregious and dramatic attack, it’s certainly not the only one. And nonprofits are not immune.  Which is why I asked an expert for advice as to what nonprofits can do to protect themselves and their donors. Ged Mackey is Chief Technology and Security Officer of MobileCause. He told me about a problem I’d never heard of called “Card Testing.” Here’s what he had to say.

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Chalkboard Menu

What to Put on Your Nonprofit Fundraising Plan Menu

A good fundraising strategic plan, like a menu, should be broken into component parts so it’s easy to wrap your brain around.

With a menu, it might be appetizers, meat entrees, seafood entrees, vegetarian entrees, sides and desserts.

With a fundraising plan, it tends to break down into strategies. It might be annual giving, major gifts, legacy gifts, grants, events and so forth.

Before you can get to determining your priority strategies, however, you need to do a mini fundraising audit.

When I begin working with a new nonprofit client, I always ask the same three questions.

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Treasure Map

Introduction to Strategic Nonprofit Major Gifts Moves Management

Do you want more major donors?

You can have them!

Today we’re going to look at a great tool for building those important relationships with top prospects over time.

And we all know that is what will result in the big gift.

You know how important it is to put a plan in place to build relationships, right?

It’s super-de-duper important if you want to secure major gifts.

I’m talking about “Moves Management.”

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