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The Best Idea Is Found in These Rooms

The following article is cross-posted from Alliance magazine blog. Based out of the UK, Alliance magazine is the leading global magazine on philanthropy and social investment.

The best idea is in these rooms! A conference that only has one goal—exchanging as much knowledge as possible—is only as good as the ideas that are shared. Its success is measured by the participants’ willingness to pick up these ideas and pass them on.

Therefore it comes as no surprise that the workshop on “Understanding the needs of local communities” was completely booked and more participants than expected followed the remarks of Cindy Lindsay (CF Canada), Beate Hirt (Healthy City Slovakia) and Christina Vaileunu (CF Bucharest).


Young Professionals Are Not Joining Associations, But Not for the Reasons We Think

Did you know that hair is a good metric for organizational health? Recently, I was on the phone with a seasoned professional and long-time engaged association member, who said, “I walked into the conference’s general session room and looked out over the seated crowd of about 3,000. Do you know what struck me? All the gray hair.” I hear some variation of this worry all the time from members and association professionals alike. You see, I am a qualitative member researcher, and I study why members engage and why they don’t, and I have found that hair is a big issue for many professional and trade associations.


Running Effective Virtual Meetings: Tools and Techniques for Engagement

In many of the workshops I've been facilitating based on the Happy Healthy Nonprofit: Strategies for Impact without Burnout, many nonprofits are recognizing that offering some workplace flexibility to employees is not only an attractive benefit, but also can increase productivity and help with burnout prevention. Many nonprofits allow staff to work remotely one day a week. Workplace flexibility creates a need for better skills in facilitating virtual meetings and hybrid meetings, where some participants are in the room and others participate using audio-only or video conferencing platform. That's why I've added a new workshop on running and facilitating effective virtual meetings.


Peer-to-Peer Campaigns: Hosting Kick-Off Fundraising Events

Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns have huge amounts of potential if they’re executed properly. Between your organization’s network and your fundraisers’ networks, you can gain massive exposure and collect plenty of donations.

But first you need two things: the right tools and the right motivation. That second element is why so many peer-to-peer campaigns start off with a stellar kick-off event!


When Developing a Case for Support, Absolutely, Positively Include These Three Essentials

An effective case for support seizes donors by the collar, gripping their minds, their hearts, and inspiring them to open their checkbooks.

Every successful case should contain more than a dozen key elements, as I discuss in my book Making a Case Your Donors Will Love. In this article I’ll focus on three of the most essential.


GrantAdvisor.org, a Site for Reviewing Foundations, and Why All the Cool People Are Using It

Hi everyone. I’ve been involved with a few awesome projects on the side, and one of those projects has now been launched. No, it is not the puppet show on the importance of general operating funds; that will come later. No, it is not Nonprofit Fight Club, because there is NO Nonprofit Fight Club, so stop asking about Nonprofit Fight Club, OK?

I’m talking about GrantAdvisor.org, a new website that allows all of us to anonymously review foundations.


How to Determine an Exact Ask Amount for Each of Your Major Gift Donors


Vanguard Charitable to Offer Exclusive Nonprofit Research Directory through Partnership with GuideStar

Vanguard Charitable has launched the GuideStar National Nonprofit Directory, a comprehensive and easy-to-use charitable giving research tool featuring information on more than 2.6 million nonprofit organizations. Vanguard Charitable is the first donor-advised fund to offer this service to its donors, boosting their ability to make informed and thoughtful charitable giving decisions. The in-depth information included in the Nonprofit Directory, which would typically cost $1,000 annually per user, is available to Vanguard Charitable donors free of charge.


Navigating Nonprofit Marketing, Part 5: Empathetic Marketing & Branding

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4 recap:

  • Marketing has become a rapid, innovative growth machine
  • What is behavioral marketing?
  • Welcome nurture tracks
  • Remarketing

“Okay, we’ve optimized our site, and have created our analytics and outreach channels. Now, how will people in the digital world recognize us?” you ask.


The State of Grantseeking

We recently kicked-off GrantStation’s Fall 2017 State of Grantseeking™ Survey. And, yes, I’d would be most appreciative if you would participate. But more importantly, I’d like to share some of the results from the reports of the prior survey, results that reflect trends that have immediate real-world implications.


Charity Navigator and GuideStar: Working Together to Move Beyond Overhead

When I am asked about Charity Navigator I often joke that they are a “frenemy” of GuideStar. But the truth is that they are a friend. We’ve worked on projects together and have an amicable relationship. Our two organizations joined with the BBB Wise Giving Alliance in 2013 to launch the Overhead Myth campaign, a collective attempt to shift the conversation about nonprofit performance away from financial ratios ... and toward programmatic results.


#GivingTuesday Ideas: 15 Resources to Plan Your Best Campaign Yet

As the global giving day that kicks off the holiday season, #GivingTuesday—the charitable counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday—calls for special attention this year. In 2016, the social sector raised $177 million online, a record total that proves the movement is only gaining momentum.

To help you make the most of this global day of giving, we’ve assembled 15 resources chock-full of #GivingTuesday ideas and strategies to help you plan your best campaign yet.


Is Your Fundraising Software Ready for the Biggest Giving Day Yet?

Your organization’s reputation and supporter relationships are always at stake. But when it comes to national giving days, like #GivingTuesday, the stakes are even higher. In 2016, #GivingTuesday raised $168 million—up 45 percent from 2015.


3 Ways To Pitch A Corporate Partnership For #GivingTuesday

The biggest giving month of the year is right around the corner. In fact, about a third of all giving happens in December. To get the most out of your December, kick off the month with a killer #GivingTuesday campaign. And to get the most out of your #GivingTuesday campaign, partner with a corporation.


Fundraisers: Ambassadors or Back Office Support Staff?

A young fundraiser in a new job recently told me that he has been calling donors to introduce himself. “They don’t want to talk to me,” he said sadly. “They want to talk to program staff or the executive director.”

I wanted to encourage him, but there was a sliver of truth in his discouragement. It is more gratifying for a donor to get the attention of a frontline worker or a leader than the development staff. On the other hand, throughout my fundraising career I have solicited many five- and six-figure gifts as the sole representative for the organization.


Highlights of the 2017 GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report

The 2017 GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report has arrived! The 17th edition in our annual series, the 2017 report remains the only large-scale nonprofit compensation analysis based entirely on IRS data. Like all of the previous editions, it was analyzed and written by GuideStar senior research fellow Chuck McLean.


Hurricane Irma Cuts Swath of Destruction

As a category 5 storm last week, Hurricane Irma devastated several Caribbean islands. Then it was Florida's turn. Now Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina are feeling Tropical Depression Irma's impact.

Many nonprofits already engaged in Hurricane Harvey relief are also responding to Irma. Other organizations have joined them. The following list is based on news reports, information from nonprofits, and organizations' websites. We expect the list to grow as more organizations assist communities in Irma's path.


Charity Navigator and GuideStar Announce First of Its Kind Collaboration to Publish Charity Results

Sector leaders unite to share insights about results, outcomes, and impact

Today Charity Navigator and GuideStar have launched their first-ever collaboration for publishing charity results and progress data. The new initiative will allow the two industry giants to work together and advance the discussion of impact measurement among nonprofit organizations while minimizing burden on nonprofits.


7 Effective Steps to Mend a Bruised Relationship in the Workplace

When one teammate steps on another’s toes (to put it nicely), too often it’s our natural reaction to hope for the best without taking the time to fix the issue at hand. I call these “bruised” relationships.

If a bruised relationships goes unresolved for too long, it can end up doubling the amount of stress on your team, creating an unproductive atmosphere. I’ve seen many good, talented people leave organizations over bruised relationships that could have been solved with the proper effort.

If you know of a bruised relationship at your workplace, here are seven proven steps to repair that relationship and get back on track to building a productive, cohesive team.


Better Understanding Business Models in the Nonprofit Sector

In talking with the leaders of nonprofit organizations across the sector, there is a single truism that undergirds all of our conversations: limits on overhead create a pressure that deeply impacts the choices and tradeoffs leaders wrestle with every day. At Bridgespan, we have spent the last decade hearing this story from nonprofit leaders, and in turn, working with funders to counter the “overhead myth.”


GuideStar Then and Now: The Impact of a “Simple” Idea

On September 6, 1994, a new business opened in an office park in Williamsburg, Virginia. Philanthropic Research, Inc. (PHR), sought to transform philanthropy by gathering nonprofit information and making it available to donors. PHR was a for-profit entity staffed by five people (founder Buzz Schmidt and four employees).

Not surprisingly, a lot has changed in the past 23 years.


The Zen of Grantseeking

Nelson Mandela said, “There is no passion to be found playing small—in settling for a life that is less then the one you are capable of living.” I have embraced this sentiment my entire life—not only in my personal living and adventures but also in my day-to-day work.


Leading with Empathy

When we think about the characteristics of a charitable organization—a “public benefit” corporation (that’s the official IRS moniker for charitable nonprofits)—elephants may not immediately come to mind. But for those of you who are familiar with research about elephants, you’ll know what I’m about to share and why I’m suggesting that nonprofit leaders should try to be more like elephants. A defining characteristic about elephants is that they treat one another with empathy. And right now, treating others as we would like to be treated ourselves feels very important.