GuideStar Blog

How Thinking Like LEGO Helps Boost Your Member Engagement

Last night I was making my rounds around the house before bed, turning off lights and checking locked doors, and then out of nowhere—ZING! I stepped on a LEGO brick. Why do those darned things hurt so much? Like many parents of elementary school-aged kids, I have a hate/love relationship with the expensive, colored plastic bricks. But the evolution of the LEGO brand is fascinating to consider—and it could help your nonprofit keep members coming back year after year.

What’s Your Nonprofit Job Title—Chief Excrement Officer?

I recently facilitated a major gift workshop for professionals from animal nonprofits. You know, animal shelters and rescue organizations. Many didn’t have development professionals on staff. For the most part, the Executive Director was responsible for “doing it all.”

Not only was the Executive Director the chief, cook, and bottle washer, but also claimed to have titles such as:

  • Chief Cuddler (love this one)

  • Director of doing what no one else will do (another awesome title)

  • Chief Excrement Officer (probably my favorite)

It got me to thinking ... can more descriptive, interesting, and friendlier job titles help us in our nonprofit work?

The Mycelium Model for capacity builders, professional associations, funders, and other support organizations

Every year, I look forward to the Puget Sound Mycological Society’s Wild Mushrooms Show, where hundreds of types of mushrooms are on display. All are critical to the ecosystem. Some are edible and delicious; others are poisonous; a few phosphoresce in the dark; several gradually melt into a sticky mess. In other words, mushrooms are very much like nonprofits.

Donor Retention: 6 Ways to Create Lasting Relationships

You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation. You must have a solid foundation if you’re going to have a strong superstructure.”

—Gordon B. Hinkley

The foundation for a strong nonprofit fundraising strategy is building relationships with your donors. By focusing on building relationships, you’ll see better donor retention over time. Better donor retention rates mean a higher lifetime value for your donors, resulting in better return on investment (ROI) for your nonprofit’s donor communications efforts.

Tidying Up Philanthropy

Since returning from a recent trip to Japan, I’ve been hyper-aware of the chaos and trash that my home city (New York) seems resigned to. It’s everywhere—from overflowing trash cans (often full of items that could be recycled) to people angrily elbowing their way off the subway. But when people and places take pride in tidiness, shared space, and orderly mores, interaction becomes more effective and enjoyable. The same is a helpful reminder for philanthropy in more ways than we might think! To name a few:

Why Corporate Volunteerism and VTO Are on the Rise

Volunteer time off, or VTO, is a popular trend in employee benefits and, as a result, more and more companies are taking notice. But why is corporate volunteerism a hot commodity, and what does it mean for businesses, employees, and nonprofits?

In Search of Peaceful Development

Today Alliance Magazine published a special peace-building issue, co-edited by Candid's own Lauren Bradford. We are pleased to cross-post the editorial Lauren and her fellow editors wrote for the issue. Based out of the UK, Alliance magazine is the leading global magazine on philanthropy and social investment.

Lebanon, Syria, Rwanda, Colombia, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Vietnam, Kashmir—this is only a short list of the more recent conflicts that have dogged our collective history, yet, as many contributors to this special feature point out, peace-related grantmaking, at less than 1 percent of all grantmaking, seems irresponsibly small.1

Why a Donor Gives Dramatically More

Your organization occupies a box in a wealthy donor’s mind.  Let’s say it’s the five-thousand-dollar box.  How can you leap to the million-dollar box?

Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining: 10 Inspirational Fundraising Clichés

It all started when I recently read the famous quote:

Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

The quote is attributed to several people. I’m not sure why it struck a chord with me, but I immediately thought—that applies to fundraisers.

Design Therapy for the Purpose-Driven Organization

The value of brand design for nonprofits or foundations—when done right—is not just in the outcome but in the process. Design is the act of (re)imagining how we see and communicate ideas. It's an opportunity to challenge assumptions, change minds, and test the status quo.