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Guaranteed Nonprofit Recipe for Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Results

You’re likely hearing a lot these days about peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising.

It’s not new, having been around quite some time. Katrina VanHuss and Otis Fulton talk about the origins of P2P in their new book, Dollar Dash. They note:

Any time a person uses his or her personal leverage—a relationship—to gain a donation of something of value, P2P is at work."

It works because of one of the most fundamental psychological principles of persuasion (aka “social proof”). We trust our peers more than strangers. Not only do we trust our peers, we also want to fit in with them. To be accepted as someone who does the right thing.


Virtual Meetings and Today’s Effective Nonprofits

My business relies entirely on virtual meetings. I use them to meet with my staff. And all of my client meetings are virtual too.

In the beginning, I wondered if virtual meetings would be as effective as meeting in person. I worried about losing the sense of immediacy and close connection that come from face-to-face interaction. I wondered if virtual meetings would inspire the kind of follow-through I expect from in-person meetings.

But in more than three years of virtual meetings, I’ve learned that not only do they work well, but in most cases, they are more efficient and more effective.


Every Fundraising Appeal Should Include These Five Slants

Fundraising uses a style of writing that’s personal, repetitive, simplistic, old-fashioned, and just plain messy. Those from journalism school, academia, or business can be in for a shock.

But as I discuss in my book, The Fundraiser’s Guide to Irresistible Communications, the strange conventions of fundraising are the result of decades of experience, discipline, and head-to-head testing.

In the small space here, I’ll share five approaches that should filter into practically every piece of correspondence with your donors.


Helping in the Wake of Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Texas coast around 9:45 p.m. Friday, August 25, as a category 4 hurricane. Although Harvey has since been downgraded to a tropical storm, it continues to drop record amounts of rain as it moves across Texas. The National Hurricane Center advised Sunday evening that southeastern Texas was experiencing “unprecedented flooding,” and the New York Times reported the downpour was predicted to continue through Friday and that five persons had been reported killed by the storm. CNN stated officials had confirmed two deaths as of Sunday.


Stop Looking Forward. Start Looking Back.

Nonprofits need money. Always. Every day. Every minute. So, how are you going to get it? Another campaign? More major donor calls? Regional galas?? That crowdfunding thing? Hit up local businesses?

Man, I’m tired already. It can be really hard to avoid jumping right into the next thing immediately after you finish that other thing, especially when funding is tight. But I’m here to tell you. There’s something else.


STUDY: Nonprofits Continue to Hire More Aggressively Than For-Profits in 2017, but the Gap Is Narrowing

Nonprofit HR today released the results of its 10th annual Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey, which indicate that while nonprofits have been hiring more aggressively than for-profits for the last several years and will continue to do so in 2017, the gap is now narrowing. According to the survey, 50 percent of nonprofits plan to hire in 2017 (down seven percentage points from 2016), while the corporate hiring outlook is the best it has been in a decade, with 40 percent of for-profit companies planning to hire in 2017 (up four percentage points from 2016 according to the CareerBuilder's Annual Job Forecast). This narrowing gap is due at least in part to the growth of social enterprise and purpose-driven business.


Evaluate Your Board Meetings

I had just started my consulting relationship with Asheville School. It’s a very special high school in Asheville, North Carolina.

The meeting ended. But something happened that I had not been warned of. I was called on to give a 15-minute critique of the Board meeting.


4 Tips to Raise More Money with Online Peer to Peer Fundraising

Peer to peer fundraising is one of the most profitable ways to boost nonprofit donations, mostly because it requires little money up front yet reaches a wide audience. Of course, if you want your campaign to go viral, you'll need to make donors feel like they're part of something special, which means getting creative.


New Report Finds Gender Representation Stagnant Among U.S. Philanthropy Leadership

The proportions of women and people of racial and ethnic minorities in philanthropic leadership levels has been stagnant over the past decade, according to a new report from the Council on Foundations.


Top 10 Year-End Fundraising Tips

It’s year-end fundraising time!

Here are my top year-end fundraising tips to help you raise the most money possible this year-end!


Ending the Nonprofit Talent Hunger Games

Hi everyone. I just came back from speaking at the Blue Ridge Institute, a 90-year-old week-long retreat in the Tennessee woods for nonprofit leaders. It’s a combination of thought-provoking conversations and endearingly ridiculous hijinks, including an all-ages talent show, skits, hiking, dancing, a lot of singing, a softball game with equal-opportunity cheering and heckling from a designated group called “The Best Worst Cheerleaders,” a sarcastic daily news parody segment that roasts everyone mercilessly in good fun, and something called “moonshine cherries.” Basically, if I designed a retreat for nonprofit leaders, it would look a lot like BRI. But with more sock puppets (and Oxford Commas in the marketing materials). Check it out. It’s magical, and kids are welcome.


How to Maximize Your GuideStar Nonprofit Profile, Part 2

Your GuideStar Nonprofit Profile is your funding résumé. So what can you do to get it in front of funders, donors, and other key decision makers? We already covered a few helpful tools in Part 1 of this series. Here’s a quick summary in case you missed it:

Tool #1: a hammer—to hammer out the basics ...


From Heroin Tragedy to Charity

My best friend, Madison, died of a heroin overdose more than three years ago. If you are interested in learning more about his story, the Washington Post ran an article about him (and the rising heroin epidemic in Northern Virginia) shortly after his death.


Evaluating Charities in the Age of Online Ratings

I serve as liaison to the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, nonprofit information portals like GuideStar, charity evaluation groups, and the Combined Federal Campaign, all on behalf of Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA). Serving for more than a decade in these roles, one thing has become very clear: many donors do not realize there is no shortcut for making wise giving choices.


NONPROFITS: 15 Instagram Tips, Tricks and Features You Don’t Want to Miss

You don’t take a photograph. You ask quietly to borrow it.”
—Unknown

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

The photo social network Instagram is on its way to 1 billion users, alongside Facebook and WhatsApp. In the past two years, Instagram has doubled its monthly active user base to 700 million, and the pace of growth is accelerating.

That makes Instagram twice as big as Twitter!


Case Statements: Know Your Audience and How to Reel Donors In

A case statement is much like an elevator pitch. It’s your first shot at grabbing your funder, tugging at his or her heart strings, and convincing him/her to give to your organization. In today’s progressive and ever-changing fundraising landscape, one-pagers are no longer cutting it for foundations and philanthropists. It’s 2017. When was the last time you felt particularly moved by size 12 Times New Roman Font on a white piece of paper? After a program officer reviews thousands of case statements, even the most noble missions can become lost in mass mailings or foundation appeals. Here’s how you can stand out.


How to Write Winning Grant LOIs (with Examples)

Getting rejected by a funder can be a pretty harsh burn. Especially when the funder responds with something like, “Sorry, but you didn’t meet our giving preferences.” Don’t let this scenario happen to you. Get a higher return on the hours you’re investing in proposal writing by submitting short letters of intent (LOIs) before you begin writing that 10-page proposal.


How Your Nonprofit Can Routinize Reflection

Reflection is a critical step in assessing individual and team performance at your nonprofit. A reflective process, whether it is a structured process for individuals or groups, can give us insights about what worked and what could be improved.


What I Learned from My Nonprofit Internship

After 16 years of schooling, there is nothing more boring for me than sitting at a desk and taking notes. Something I love about internships is learning through real world experiences, rather than through a book. Internships have allowed me to try on multiple “hats” as I’ve narrowed my career interests and developed my professional skills.

When I first started at GuideStar 11 months ago, I was a different person. The work I’ve done, the people I’ve met, and the opportunities I’ve been given have shaped the way I think about myself and my future career. I wanted to share just a few of the lessons I learned.


Don’t Do It: Don’t Start a Nonprofit

Do you want to make a difference? Great. Please do. But don’t start a nonprofit.


Payment Processing 101: A Guide for Nonprofits

Payment processing is a necessity for any nonprofit organization, as you rely heavily on your donors’ gifts to further your cause. With the rise in popularity of online donation forms, your donors’ financial and personal information needs to be held secure throughout an online transaction for your organization.


Navigating Nonprofit Marketing, Part 4: Guiding User Behavior

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3 recap:

  • The two Os of marketing—Optimization and Outreach
  • Applying on-page optimization
  • Blog and social media strategies
  • The importance of paid advertising

“How big of an impact can marketing really have on my organization?” you ask.