Pursuant to yesterday’s post about the dire state of the fundraising field, I want to offer some tips that I posted on LinkedIn yesterday..Before you take a job in nonprofit fundraising (and there are lots of vacant jobs out there!) or hire a fundraiser, do the following.1. Confirm the nonprofit organization warmly embraces the need to fundraise. For an organization to succeed in fundraising, it has to view asking for money as a beautiful partnership between people who work to make the world a better place – and those who join in helping them.2. Ensure the organization sees fundraising as everyone’s job – as reflected in the way the leadership, board and staff collaboratively support and coordinate with the development director. Together, they set and hold themselves collectively accountable for goals.3. Make sure the fundraiser is well trained – or can get trained. A huge problem is that many fundraisers aren’t qualified for the job. One in four executive directors (24%) in the CompassPoint report said their development directors have no experience or are novice at “current and prospective donor research.” Among the smallest nonprofits, the number was 32%. If you’re a fundraiser, get well trained. And if you’re a nonprofit, hire qualified people or invest in turning your fundraisers into qualified people by paying for them to get the help they need to do their job.One last, critical thought: All nonprofits and fundraisers must invest in treating donors like partners, thanking them regularly and conscientiously reporting on the impact they had. That’s the way to fix the grim donor attrition problem we have.We have a lot of work to do in our field. We’d better start now – the good of the world is truly at stake.
Many blog readers write me with questions about their work. I try to answer what I can, and sometimes I get permission from the inquirer to share my answers here. As an experiment in making this exercise useful to more people, I am inviting you to ask me a question. I’ll answer it here on the blog. There are just a few guidelines:1. Make it sufficiently general that the answer will be of use to other people.2. Only share things that you’re willing to have published on the blog. If you want to be anonymous, for example, don’t share your name!3. Post your question in the comments section of this post. (If you subscribe via email, you’ll need to click on the title of this post, which will take you to the blog. You can then enter a question under comments. You can list an alias under the name if you prefer to remain unknown.)Thanks!
The whip-smart Kristen Grimm of Spitfire Strategies has a great piece in the Stanford Social Innovation Review about how we can more effectively influence others – and what blind spots get in the way of those efforts.Read the whole piece here. I share here the highlights.The first point Grimm makes is that we fail to influence others because we have blind spots. She identifies the common mistakes we make that lead to ineffective efforts to persuade others: –moving forward without thinking through who needs to be influenced and how–forming coalitions without a strategy that would inform who should be partners–focusing only on allies rather than opponents in thinking through strategy–assuming decision makers will be willing to step out on a difficult issue–filtering out facts and evidence that suggest not everyone is on board or shares a sense of urgency–assuming what motivates you about an issue motivates others – and misinterpreting what is in their perceived self interest–refusing to recognize efforts aren’t working for one of the above reasons – and the need to act accordinglyInstead, organizations should focus on the following four factors, says Grimm.–A clear sense of the decision(s) that need to get made;–An understanding of who makes these decision(s);–An informed hypothesis about how the decision(s) will get made; and–An understanding of how the organization can influence the decision-making process and a game plan for making that happen.For more on how to work through those steps, read the article here. If you’re in the business of persuasion (and aren’t we all!), take the time to check it out.
Image via Fanpop.For the month of April, I’m hosting the nonprofit blog carnival. What that means is not cotton candy (sorry) but rather a mix of contributions from bloggers and readers on a shared theme, highlighted right here on my blog, at the end of the month. (You can view last month’s carnival hosted by Allyson Kapin here.)The theme is “best advice” – what was the one, best piece of professional advice you ever got and why? How has it transformed your work? You can also share your own best single piece of advice for people who work at nonprofits. How to enter? Submit your posts by emailing the URL to email@example.com. All bloggers are welcome to submit their work! The deadline is Friday, April 26. The carnival will be posted here on the last day of the month.
In The Generosity Network, authors Jennifer McCrea and Jeffrey C. Walker stress that “[t]rue generosity is rooted in relatedness.” To be a better fundraiser, you have to connect with people and build authentic relationships. Build your Generosity Network by taking action in these 5 areas: 1. Know YourselfYour personal attitude toward money and giving can impact your fundraising appeal and how you relate to donors. 2. Know OthersThink about your donor-organization-fundraiser dynamic. (Donors are not walking checkbooks!) 3. Know How to AskAn ask is just an invitation to invest resources in a cause that matters. 4. Create your powerful storyStories have unique powers that forge connections between people and bring ideas to life.5. Cultivate your relationshipsMake the leap from an exchange of words to an authentic relationship. Need more inspiration? Get advice directly from Jennifer and Jeffrey in our free webinar on Tuesday. This is an amazing opportunity to learn how to build your own Generosity Network, plus you’ll have a chance to win a free copy of the book! Register now.1Save
Editor’s note: I’m pleased to introduce Network for Good’s Chief Giving Officer, Jamie McDonald, as a contributor to The Nonprofit Marketing Blog. Jamie will be sharing her insight on philanthropy and trends in giving, as well as updates from the field.During this year’s Millennial Impact Forum (also known as MCON), thousands of leaders in philanthropy, social enterprise, and technology joined together for two days of inspiration from our next generation of leaders. MCON takes place on the heels of the release of the Millennial Impact Report, an annual look at the Millennial generation and the ground they are staking out as they mature into adulthood.Derrick Feldmann, President of Achieve, the researchers behind the Millennial Impact Project, said in his opening remarks, “We don’t study Millennials because they’re a part of the culture. We study them because they’re defining the culture.” Here are a few juicy facts from the report:By the year 2020, Millennials will make up 50% of the workforce91% of the female Millennials surveyed donated money to charities, and 84% of the male Millennials had donatedNearly half (47%) of the Millennials surveyed had volunteered for a cause or nonprofit in the past month.22% of Millennials surveyed gave more than $500 to nonprofits in 2013 and 12% gave more than $1,000.Transforming the Nonprofit CultureDuring MCON, transformational young leaders shared their perspectives on giving—and living meaningfully—in a connected world. The conference centered on the key lessons learned since launching the research in 2010:1. Millennials engage with causes to help other people, not institutions. And, they prefer to perform smaller actions before fully committing to a cause.2. Millennials are influenced by the decisions and behaviors of their peers. Peer influence plays an important role in motivating Millennials to volunteer, attend events, participate in programs, and give.3. Millennials treat their time, money, and assets as having equal value. Millennials view both their network and their voice as two additional types of assets they can offer a cause. Aided by technology, an individual who donates his or her voice may still give skills, time, and money.4. Millennials need to experience a cause’s work without having to be on site. In 2013, more than 60% of respondents said they felt most invested in a cause when the nonprofit shared a compelling story about successful projects or the people it helps.Throughout the conference, I noted three other key themes that should get you thinking: Millennials are seeking authenticity, and they are skeptical of ‘press-release’ good news, without human stories and data to back it up. They believe in the power of technology to drive real community change.Millennials do not see boundaries between work/play/family. As Jean Case related from a recent conversation with a Millennial, “I want to bring my full self to everything I’m about.” So employers, nonprofits, brands and Millennials are joined together in a cycle of engagement that unifies them in a way that did not exist in prior generations. The Future of the Social SectorAs a nonprofit leader, why should you focus on Millennials, whose resources are small relative to their older counterparts? It’s simple. They have the power to generate passion, engagement and donations for your cause. (And, in less than 5 years, the oldest among them will be moving into major donor income levels.) The strategies for engaging Millennials are no longer just preferences. They have become the norm for effective communication with all ages. As Derrick Feldmann puts it, “It is not overstating to say that a big part of the nonprofit sector’s future relies on its ability to respond to these young people’s charitable inclinations.” Ready to recruit and engage Millennial talent for your organization? Download our free guide.
In 2014, Network for Good saw nonprofits raise $4.5 million on #GivingTuesday, kicking off December giving with gusto. #GivingTuesday 2015 is December 1 and many organizations are already putting their plans in place. Now in its third year, this annual fundraising event is expected to be even bigger.When done well, giving days like #GivingTuesday can generate excitement in your community, attracting new donors and additional donations for your cause. Creating your own #GivingTuesday campaign does require the right people, a good plan, and a lot of energy. How do you capitalize on the giving day trend while managing your other campaigns and fundraising efforts?Never fear, help is on the way!Free archived #nonprofit911 webinars can help you get your plan in place for #GivingTuesday 2015Download:Get Ready for #GivingTuesdayRock Your #GivingTuesday with Facebook AdsThe Secret to a Record-Breaking #GivingTuesday CampaignMake this #GivingTuesday your best yet! Kick off your year-end fundraising with our tools, training and matching funds. It doesn’t matter if your organization has 2 staff members or 200, you can raise money on #GivingTuesday and we can help.Free #GivingTuesday resources are available to all nonprofits through Network for Good’s All TUEgether campaign. Network for Good customers can leverage matching funds for all donations made on December 1, 2015. Plus, customers have access to expert coaching, new donors, and exclusive resources to help plan a stellar #GivingTuesday campaign.Not a Network for Good customer yet? No problem. Sign up for a demo and find out how easy it is to raise money online. Get ready to have your best giving season ever.
“Over the past decade colleges and universities of all stripes have struggled with a truly stunning national decline in alumni participation rates: More than a third fewer alumni make a gift of any size to their alma mater today compared with alumni 10+ years ago.”—Cara Quackenbush of EduventuresThe cost of college, the rise in student loan debt, a weak economy, and uncertain job prospects have all contributed to the rapid decline in alumni giving.These are issues that advancement offices can’t control. But there are many factors that drive participation and giving that ARE in the hands of Higher Ed advancement pros and marketers. The fix for declining Higher Ed participation rates is a reinvention of the Annual Fund.Think (and act) like a Crowdfunder The most exciting evolution of the giving economy in the past ten years is Crowdfunding. And Higher Ed is just arriving at the party.Crowdfunding sits at the intersection between communities, online, social, and giving. It is more than just a strategy for one-off projects; it should be a core strategy for annual giving. According to Andrew Gossen, Senior Director for Social Media Strategy at Cornell, “Crowdfunding is far more than just a tool for raising money online. It’s also a means of driving participation, teaching a culture of philanthropy, communicating effectively, mobilizing constituents’ networks on behalf of the institution, building and cultivating a donor pipeline, and a fantastic mode of stewardship.”So, how can you take advantage of this new way of looking at your annual annual fund? I recently presented some ideas with Dayna Carpenter of University of Maryland Baltimore County during this year’s eduWeb conference. Download the presentation for more inspiration for transforming your alumni giving program.
Resources, Training, and $100,000 in matching funds for the Network for Good community.Proud partners in the #GivingTuesday MovementIn 2012, a group of visionary nonprofit leaders at 92Y and the UN Foundation had an idea: to take back the giving season after the shopping binge of Black Friday and CyberMonday. With little flourish, they announced the first #GivingTuesday, to take place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.And from day one, the extraordinary goodness of the idea caught fire. Turns out, lots of people were clamoring for a December that meant something more than a new TV, toy, or necktie.Today #GivingTuesday is an authentic international movement, with generous citizens and nonprofit organizations of all sizes – all around the world – joining in.At Network for Good, we’re passionate about #GivingTuesday, as a celebration of generosity, and as a movement to make the holidays a true season of giving. Announcing N4G Gives: Network for Good’s campaign for #GivingTuesdayWith the growing importance of #GivingTuesday, we’re excited to announce N4G Gives, a special campaign to unleash generosity on #GivingTuesday 2014. We’re offering a combination of free and ‘for-clients-only’ resources to arm small and medium nonprofits with the best guidance and tools available to get ready for #GivingTuesday. True to our mission, we’re providing ALL nonprofits with free tools, tactics, training and motivation to make this the best December ever.And for Network for Good clients, we’re also offering:$100,000 in Matching funds from the Network for Good Generosity Fund, to make #GivingTuesday donations go further.Visibility with Network for Good donors for featured nonprofitsExclusive toolkits, expert webinars, specialized coaching and communications resources.Two great platforms: DonateNow – smart and proven effective donation pages, with built-in coaching and expertise, that compel donors to give – all while eliminating the work of managing online payments.GiveCorps – a crowdfunding and project-based fundraising platform that attracts more donors and empowers your supporters to raise money and share your mission through their own stories.Equipping the small guys for successWe’re making this exceptional commitment this year because we’ve closely followed the #GivingTuesday movement and watched how large nonprofits have fully incorporated it into their marketing and year-end fundraising calendars.With N4G Gives, we want to level the playing field by equipping small and medium nonprofits around the country with the best guidance possible to make #GivingTuesday the beginning of a great giving season. The N4G Gives campaign is part of our overall commitment to help nonprofits advance their work, not only through milestone events like #GivingTuesday, but all year round through our work to help them build capacity, sustainable funding, and donor retention.Experience to drive resultsThe expertise Network for Good brings to the #GivingTuesday campaign for small and medium nonprofits is unparalleled. It comes from being the largest online giving platform in the country, with more than 10,000 nonprofits using our services today. We’ve raised more than $1 Billion for nonprofits, and have participated in #GivingTuesday since it launched. And, we were the leaders of the BMoreGivesMore campaign that raised $5.7 million on #GivingTuesday 2013. The BMoreGivesMore campaign was the second largest #GivingTuesday initiative ever, and earned Baltimore the title of the #mostgenerouscity in America.It’s all about youWhile the big numbers validate our experience, this campaign is all about you—the nonprofits that are caring for the needy, curing the sick, advocating for the voiceless, and championing a healthy environment. You’re the reason we do what we do. You’re the real warriors in the battle for a more compassionate and generous community. We hope that N4G Gives makes your work a little easier and makes your impact even greater. Ready to get started on your #GivingTuesday campaign?To get updates on N4G Gives, and to get involved with the campaign, sign up today. We’ll send you the latest announcements, training opportunities, and resources to help you succeed this December—and beyond!
Are you trying to breathe some life into an annual fundraiser that has lost donor enthusiasm over the years? Or maybe you need project funding to replace a roof or purchase a neighboring lot that suddenly came on the market — without making your supporters feel overburdened by requests. An innovative and fun activity may be just the solution!More than likely, all your donors are asked for money by many worthy causes, and they have to “draw the line somewhere,” as the saying goes, but if you can invite them to participate in something new that provides entertainment, and maybe even a chance to win something of value to them, you can step outside the box of “planned giving” and offer a fundraising event they look forward to.Have a PartyIf you don’t already host an annual gala, consider it. Society is becoming more casual, and there are fewer reasons to get dressed up when going out. An example of a successful gala might be hosting an outdoor formal dance at a zoo. This offers a lot of opportunity for fun themes, and the contrast between “formal” and “zoo” puts you well outside of the standard-event box.Share Some WineWine tasting is very popular, so why not hold a wine tasting event to raise money for your venue? Depending on your building space, you may need to ask a restaurant or wine bar to sponsor you by hosting at their location. If you have gallery space, you may be able to set up tables and chairs and serve on your own premises. Of course, you’ll have to make sure to comply with the laws regarding alcohol in your county and state, but a caterer can fill you in if you aren’t up to speed on them.Keep the KidsMany organizations that have special behind-the-scenes tours have added sleep-over events which allow a small number of children to stay at their facility overnight under the supervision of staff. This can be a nice, ongoing source of extra income, but whether you participate in this kind of event or not, you might also be able to hold an occasional “parents night out” where you set up a few activities for kids and keep them for a few hours to give parents a break. This is especially needed around the holidays, and if you are in a community that is excited about professional sports, you could also plan kid nights to coincide with game nights.This kind of nonprofit fundraising could be done by your organization’s official fundraising committee, or it could be done on a task-force level or by a supporting partner. For example, a university might have a group do a “Kids at College” afternoon that could be managed as a service project by a student group.If none of these fundraising ideas feels quite right for your organization, use them as a starting point for brainstorming. Start listing all the fun activities you can think of, and you will probably find you come up with something that will work as a nonprofit fundraiser.Network for Good’s Nonprofit Marketing Blog provides more free information on how to be successful at nonprofit fundraising. We also have specialists available to discuss how we can help you get the most out of your fundraising efforts, so contact us today or call 1-888-284-7978 x1.