Category Archives: FUNdraising Good Times

Don’t be a special event copycat

Don’t be a special event copycat

Special events are an integral part of nonprofit life and fundraising. They can be a fun way to build relationships, raise money, and increase awareness. They can also drain resources and divert an organization from its primary purpose. There’s a lot to consider before planning an event:  just because another organization is hosting a gala, walk-a-thon, bike ride, silent auction, golf tournament, or concert doesn’t mean you should do the same. Here are six things to consider. Do your homework and research. Sit down and talk with the leadership of organizations whose events you admire. Ask about bumps in the road you should be aware of, things that went well, the near disasters, and things they learned in hindsight. The best people to learn from are your peers and partners, locally […]

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Does your nonprofit meet your community’s needs?

Does your nonprofit meet your community’s needs?

As 2019 – and the decade – comes to a close take a moment to ask the critical questions. We all believe in what we are doing. We believe in the mission and vision of the organizations we lead and are associated with. We have contributed to strategic planning and fundraising. We give of our time, talent and resources. We know we are making an impact. The above is all well and good, but is it good enough? Is the health of your organization the most important aspect of your work? What if you are not meeting a community need – is organizational health still critical? We suggest that you take time to truly consider the extent to which your organization is meeting community needs. A starting point is checking […]

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Which nonprofits will be on your holiday gift list this year?

Which nonprofits will be on your holiday gift list this year?

As you decide whose been naughty and whose been nice, remember the nonprofits who make are “nice” every day of the year. Giving Tuesday is a “global generosity movement” that kicks off on the Tuesday after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. It’s all about unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. It’s a great time to start your holiday giving: you can give in person, online, by check or credit card. You can donate your house and everything you own. The choices are endless. Being of a more moderate nature, we recommend working within a “giving budget.” It will save you from a potential financial hangover in January, and keep you in the joyous spirit. Study your finances and what […]

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What is your fundraising “red zone?”

What is your fundraising “red zone?”

With less than 45 days to make or succeed your fundraising goal, it’s time to put a “red zone” plan of action in place. In football the red zone is the most difficult time to score. You are down to the last 20 yards. Things are difficult and intense. This is not time for the “ten yard by ten yard” standardized process. You are close, but you need to put all forces into play to score. The rest of the game doesn’t have to be as intense and strategic, but this is the do or die zone. Likewise, the last 45 days in a fundraising campaign can be the most difficult. You know you have to meet your fundraising goal. But what is your plan? Will you go on automatic, […]

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Its time to say thank you!

Its time to say thank you!

It is so easy for THANK YOU to fall through the cracks. Yes, you are focusing on getting last minute gifts in the door, but don’t forget to say thank you and say it properly. It’s Thanksgiving season: time for reflections and actions rooted in gratitude. For those who are nonprofit leaders there’s a dual focus: saying thank you and meeting your fundraising goals. This is a lot to manage, but it’s something you have to do. In the fundraising “business” its called stewardship and it is critical to sustaining your organization. Here’s why: the competition for funding, talent, relationships, and wisdom is fierce. When we talk with people who give to nonprofits, we hear a consistent refrain: “I gave. I gave time and money. I gave to help them […]

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Hidden talent within your organization – a way to build capacity and infrastructure

You can spend your time looking for that “perfect” person to hire or you can look within your organization for hidden talent you can develop. Finding the right people to advance your fundraising can be challenging. It takes time to identify, recruit, and hire the right person. The competition for people with fundraising experience is fierce, and just because someone has experience doesn’t mean they have the right experience for your organization at this particular time in its history. While there are no easy answers to the talent acquisition conundrum, there is one suggestion that can make things easier: look within your own organization. Take time to learn who amongst your staff, management, board members, and even your donors can help grow your fundraising. Start by talking with everyone you […]

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How well do you know your donor base?

How well do you know your donor base?

This is the busy season for most nonprofits. Organizations are simultaneously “closing out” this year and planning for next year. Development directors and executive directors are keeping a close eye on the total of gifts received, and the extent to which the organization is on track to meet its fundraising goals. In the midst of it all we recommend keeping your individual donor in focus. Here’s what we mean: meeting a fundraising goal means that many people decided to give to your nonprofit. Each should be recorded in your donor database. Together – the person and the data associated with them – should be reviewed as you fundraise and plan. When you record information about your donors you have the information you need to make critical management decisions. Here are […]

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Who qualifies to be the face and voice of your organization?

Who qualifies to be the face and voice of your organization?

The debate is on: should the face and voice of your fundraising campaign be the executive director, CEO, or president? Should it be a major donor? What about the board chair? Volunteer leadership? Alumni? Perhaps it should be a recipient of services/advocacy. Maybe a national personality. In many organizations the top staff person – such as the executive director – is the face and voice by default. Is this the right decision? Should there be a series of faces and voices? Many colleges and universities will use the president or chancellor as the face and voice of their campaign. For decades comedian Jerry Lewis was the face and voice of the Muscular Dystrophy Association with his Labor Day weekend telethon. Lou Rawls and the United Negro College Fund are forever […]

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Power, wealth, and influence – what does it really mean?

Power, wealth, and influence – what does it really mean?

In the fundraising world there are things we are comfortable talking about, and things we tend to shy away from. One of these is the impact that people of power, wealth, and influence can make on the life of an organization or institution.   There can be a tendency to believe all people bring equal assets to the board of an organization. That belief can obscure the specific value that people of power, wealth, and/or influence can bring. Its not that these people are more important than other board members, but rather that their absence can have a negative impact. Let us be clear, leadership and vision need to be provided by people who have deep relationships with the people a nonprofit serves or advocates for. You have to have […]

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What to do if you have to do it all: guidance for the one person fundraising shop

What to do if you have to do it all: guidance for the one person fundraising shop

Sometimes you are the one person responsible for fundraising for your organization. When that’s the situation our guidance is this: start small and plan BIG. The most important thing to know – and act on – is that you must have a well-defined job description. You can contribute to creating it if you are already in the job. If you are considering such a position, be sure to ask for the job description and review it closely. It needs to define what you are being asked to take responsibility for and the resources available to you. One of those resources needs to be the executive director. He or she needs to dedicate time to cultivation and solicitation, and to meeting with you each week. Yes, every week. Look out for […]

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