Category Archives: For Your Consideration

Are you ready for year-end fundraising?

An important part of launching your year-end fundraising campaign is data. It’s not sexy, but it’s true. No matter how exciting your campaign may be, the question is this: who are you talking to? We believe a nonprofit’s year-end fundraising should engage current and past supporters as well as new ones. We understand the excitement of designing a new campaign, using new technology, to engage new donors. Go for it! But don’t forget those who already know and support your organization. Here are four things that can help you engage those you already know. “That was a great cultivation activity.” This is a phrase that makes the rounds within nonprofit circles. It’s repeated after a special event, or when a print or online article draws attention to the work of […]

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Ten solutions to a board who won’t fundraise

Fundraising in an Imperfect World– Part One What do you do if your board doesn’t have the connections, experience or willingness to be involved in fundraising? How will your nonprofit secure the money and resources it needs to deliver on its mission? We encourage board-led fundraising. We believe that when board members are actively involved in fundraising the nonprofit organization or institution will be more successful. Board-led fundraising includes active involvement in determining fundraising goals; identifying, cultivating, soliciting and stewarding donors; making a gift of their own; and engaging others in giving and fundraising. But what if your board is reluctant to fundraise or simply refuses to “give and get?’ There are many reasons for this response. Members may not have been recruited to fundraise. They may be engaged in […]

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12 things to consider before you start a nonprofit

The nonprofit sector is diverse and innovative. People are always creating solutions to the many challenges that arise. We see a problem and seek to fix it. We experience something wonderful and we want others to share in our joy. There are two ways that nonprofits are different from for profit organizations: most nonprofits seek contributions from others as a form of revenue, and board members or trustees do not benefit financially. Nonprofits are often referred to as 501(c)(3) organizations. This is in reference to the IRS tax code that defines an organization as tax-exempt. Here’s what the IRS says: “The exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3) are charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty to children […]

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Nonprofit solicitation cycle

When is the right time to solicit a gift from a current donor? Do you send a letter once a year and hope for a gift? That’s one strategy. Some nonprofits believe it is a good one. Their logic: “we don’t want our donors to feel we’re always asking for a gift” Here’s our guidance: begin the solicitation process when you say “thank you.” You want to create awareness, provide opportunities for engagement, report on your progress, and encourage donors to make additional gifts. Touch your donors with three solicitations throughout the year: two should occur before your year-end solicitation. Each donor should hear from you throughout the year, regardless of the size of their gift. Tailor your communication to meet their method of giving. Here are 11 suggestions for […]

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What is a worthy cause?

WorthyCauseWe noticed that people – including ourselves – talk about “worthy” causes. In many ways the phrase is a “seal of approval.” Yet what’s “worthy” to one person or group, isn’t necessarily “worthy” to another. The phrase assumes shared values, but doesn’t always make clear what those values are, or why the cause is worthy.

Does helping one person make a cause a worthy? We’ve heard people say, “if we help just one person, it’s worth it.” We tend to question that logic: is it really “worth it” – for example – to have an organization with a $300,000 annual operating budget that “helps just one person?” We know that’s an exaggeration, but on a feeling level, many people feel that way about organizations they are passionate about. They are saying “our work is priceless.” That may be true, and there is a price attached to the work of nonprofits. In most communities – and in most households – there are limited funds and resources to be allocated.  The issue of worthiness arises in the creation of criteria by which we make decisions. Some of these are spoken, and some of these are unspoken and often unconscious. (more…)

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