Category Archives: Classics

Increasing Revenue From Special Events

Does your special event make money?

“That was a great awareness event.” “We really reached a lot of people.” “We broke even on expenses.” Are these the outcomes of your most recent special event? What about “We exceeded our fundraising goal!” Creating an engaging and exciting event is hard enough for professional event producers. For nonprofits the challenge is even greater. Your priority is not event production, BUT you must create a successful event that raises the money your organization needs. You want to create a memorable experience and reach your revenue goal. If you want to raise meaningful money from your event consider these two suggestions. Make fundraising the number one priority for your event. Spend as much – or more – time on fundraising as you do on event production. Define your strategies for […]

Read More

Creating a successful special event

“Think about what you want to do and how you want to engage with your guests. Think about what you have access to without having to go anywhere else. Find the hidden treasures within your own organization and make those things work for you.” This wisdom comes from Jeanette O’Bryant, development officer with the National Civil Rights Museum. She invited guests to step back in time and experience a Night at the Lorraine, the motel that has been redeveloped and transformed into the National Civil Rights Museum. Together with her committee Chair Terrence Reed, event committee members, employees and volunteers she created a new fun revenue stream. Here’s the concept: Guests are invited to celebrate the vibrant history of the Lorraine Motel for the benefit of the museum. They step […]

Read More

Strike while the iron is hot!

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Charlottesville. DACA. These are just three “hot topics” that dominated traditional and online media recently. Here’s the question: has your nonprofit increased its revenue, number of donors, people served, or community profile as a result of recent national media attention? We encourage you to be proactive and share the value of your work with your community. Let people know how your organization relates to matters that are dominating public discussion. Think of it this way: most people want to know what they can do. If your organization makes a difference in the lives of people impacted by natural disasters, racism, white supremacy, and/or immigration policy you need to let people know. Whether you define an event as “good” or “bad” be prepared to communicate on social […]

Read More

Teamwork and strategy – 4 keys to success

Teamwork and strategy – 4 keys to success

So you’re ready to launch – or re-launch – your nonprofit. Or maybe you want a fresh start, a tune-up, or a do-over for your existing organization. What should you do? Get together and talk? Listen? Plot and plan? Review your finances? Visit organizations that inspire you? Yes. And more. When starting or restarting, be strategic. You definitely need to plot and plan. And make commitments to your team mates. Forget about hierarchy – at least for the moment. Teams can go a lot further than a leader. Its simple math: there’s more of you. If you can’t rely on each other and trust each other then you don’t have a team. You might have a founder, an executive director, board members, volunteers and maybe staff. But you don’t have […]

Read More

Old school fundraising

Online giving, viral campaigns, large grants from foundations, funding from government agencies. These are some of the popular revenue streams for nonprofits. Those with earned revenue also secure funds from tuition, fees, sales, leases, rentals, licenses and other sources. All sources provide the money needed to make the missions of nonprofits come to life. There is also another important revenue source: “old school fundraising” or “passing the hat.” Old school fundraising is all about reaching into your pocket – and into your community – to collect money to give to a nonprofit you believe in. It is the process of rubbing nickels together to make magic. It means looking to your neighbors and friends and asking, asking, asking. Not for $1 million but for $10 and $20. Depending on your […]

Read More

If you can’t raise it, save it

If you can’t raise it, save it

We recently heard the phrase “small up.” It means to look wisely at your resources and find ways to live with less while retaining your focus on what’s important. While the phrase is being used within the context of personal finance, it is one that can have value to a nonprofit. Fundraising often focuses on securing the funds needed to operate a nonprofit. Another aspect of fundraising is securing in-kind gifts and services. This means asking individuals, organizations and businesses to donate those things you would ordinarily have to purchase. This can reduce operating costs, and fundraising needs. You can also look at these gifts as expanding the impact of your fundraising: you can dedicate a larger percentage of funds raised to service, advocacy, performances or classes. If you are […]

Read More

Radical thoughts on nonprofit boards

“How many of your current board members are actually worth paying? If you had to pay your members what board positions would you fund?” These questions caught our eye as we read a promotional piece for a book about philanthropy. The author, Jimmy LaRose poses some provocative thoughts in his book Re-Imagining Philanthropy.  He promotes the idea that boards are not about governance, visioning, policy-making, volunteerism, or management. He believes these roles should be filled by a strong CEO. He advocates for a board of six experts who cover the areas of law, communications and marketing, entrepreneurship and  accounting. They should be joined by an expert in your area of programming and a nonprofit expert. That’s it! Their role – in LaRose’s opinion – is to fulfill obligations related to […]

Read More

Money Is Not Enough

Money is not enough

Nonprofits play a critical role across the country. They represent, serve and advocate for a great diversity of individuals, families and causes. They are joined in this work by foundations and corporations who provide money, resources, connections and technical assistance. In many cases it is through the work of nonprofits that foundations and corporations live into their missions: nonprofits are one way that the actual work gets done. Nonprofits and funders are natural partners. Yet there is always the reality that nonprofits solicit and funders give. This is one of many dynamics involved in the solicitation and granting of funds. Other dynamics include who gets to define the impact a nonprofit makes; how many nonprofits a community needs; and the reasons behind why some organizations are funded and others aren’t. […]

Read More

Time to retreat

Time for a retreat!

Summer is often associated with beaches, family vacations, hot sun and good fun. For those in the nonprofit sector summer is also the season for retreats. These are times set aside to focus on programming, strategy, growth, partnerships and – many times – fundraising. While we believe in keeping the “fun” in fundraising – and all other activities – these retreats need to blend fun and business. With this column we share a few suggestions for how to help ensure retreats are well planned for by both staff and board members. Planning If you are charged with helping to plan a retreat we suggest you provide all participants with information in advance of the retreat. While not everyone will read and absorb the material, some people truly need to receive […]

Read More

Interim leadership: blessing or curse?

Interim leadership: blessing or curse?

One of the biggest changes within the life of a nonprofit is the change in leadership. In most cases this will be accompanied by a period of transition with an interim leader. The position is short-term and in most cases temporary. We have seen interims who serve as placeholders or caretakers. Others are innovators. Some are turn-around leaders. Others are brought in explicitly to “clean house.” The experience can be tumultuous, or a “breath of fresh air.” What actually happens within an organization during this time is highly contingent upon the actions of the board, the culture of the organization, and the person who serves as the interim leader. Finally, the terms under which the prior leader left will also impact how the organization transitions into the future. In all […]

Read More

%d bloggers like this: