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Your Nonprofit’s Checklist for Hosting Spring Fundraising Events

Spring fundraising season is upon us and the pressure is on for nonprofits to hit their goals at upcoming galas or events.  Here is a quick checklist to make sure your nonprofit is ready:


Ask Short Questions … and Hope for Long Answers: The Key to Donor Success

Ask short questions and hope for long answers. That’s one of my key mottos for fundraising.

We’ve all been in a class or at a conference when someone got up to ask a question and delivered a soliloquy. When they finished we might even have wondered if there was a question!

If you do that in fundraising, you’ll be dead in the water. As you start going on and on your donor’s eyes will glaze over.


The 4 Most Important Things for Grant Writers to Get Right

Lists of the 10 most common grant writing mistakes are common (I’ve even written one myself), but just avoiding the mistakes isn’t good enough to make yours a winning proposal. And whereas it is easy to come up more than 10 things not to do, on the positive side there are just four major things to remember to get right.


Member Engagement Is Not A One-Trick Pony. It’s Seven.

When it comes to member engagement, I often stumble across this nonprofit story as old as the industry itself: 

It’s the belief that just the passionate expression of an organization’s mission is somehow all that's needed to be engaging. That upon hearing the mission or the work of the organization, a donor, a volunteer, a company, a foundation will simply leap into action. And that action will not only be beneficial, but befitting to the organization’s known needs. 

Oh, if only it was ever that easy. 


What You and Your Board Need to Know When Asking for a Gift

I’ve been asking for gifts for more than 40 years. Some as modest as $50, others for $100 million. You could say I’m acquainted with the do’s and don’ts of motivating donors.

In my book Asking you’ll find a detailed approach to soliciting major gifts. In this article, I’ll simply highlight eight suggestions to keep in mind as you prepare yourself and your board for the big push.


Five Easy Ways to Build Rapport with Your Donors

Donors love to give but hate to be persuaded. That’s both the problem and the opportunity we face every time we create a fundraising appeal, whether direct mail or digital.


Five Mistakes Your Nonprofit Doesn’t Want to Make When Investigating Sexual Harassment Allegations

In a former professional role, I served as legal counsel to employers in employment discrimination cases, including sexual harassment matters. While representing employers I learned about many instances of sexual harassment that were not handled well by the employer. Many of the underlying harassment claims were so mishandled that the victims became even more outraged and angry, not only at the harasser but also at their employer.


How Will the New Tax Bill Impact Nonprofits?

Three months into the new year, the highly anticipated GOP Tax Bill (H.R.1) is in full effect. Below, we look at how the new tax regime may impact individual and corporate giving, and steps nonprofits can take in response to new opportunities.


3 Big Trends That Should Change the Way You Work Online

Sometimes in the nonprofit world, we get consumed with the specific details of online fundraising, advocacy and education for our causes and forget about the bigger trends at play.

Let’s take a quick look at three really big trends that will affect everything you do online, including fundraising. Think about all the pieces in the online experiences you are creating, including your website, email, social media and other third-party sites like crowdfunding or peer-to-peer fundraising pages. These three trends affect how people will feel about the experiences you are providing.


GuideStar Nonprofit Profiles—Now Featuring 2018 Seals of Transparency!

We’ve made it even easier to find current information on nonprofit organizations. Just look for a 2018 Seal of Transparency on GuideStar.

Our GuideStar Nonprofit Profiles now feature 2018 Seals—signaling that nonprofits have provided current contact information, fresh financials, recent results, and more. Find a 2018 Seal in the left-hand side of a Nonprofit Profile and you can rest easy knowing that you are viewing up-to-date information.


Fundraising Therapy, Part 2—It’s Not About You

If you’re a fundraiser, it’s often helpful to think like a donor.

When leading workshops, I encourage people to flip this mental switch. “How many of you have ever given away money to anybody for any reason at all?” Of course, all the hands go up.

Then I ask people to pair off and talk about why they give. These small groups generate a long list of reasons; here’s one of the most popular. Giving feels good.

I test this with the participants. “How many of you have ever made a charitable gift and felt good about it?” Again, everyone raises their hands.

This leads to another challenging question: Why are we so uncomfortable asking people to do something that makes them feel good when they do it?


Women as Integral to the Fabric of Our Work, Inside and Out

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.

As the largest infrastructure organization for sharing social sector knowledge and more than nine million data points about who’s funding what and where, the Foundation Center takes great pride in housing an equally sizable team of programmers, data specialists, designers, and other technologists.

Unlike most of the tech sector, more than half of those team members are women.


Tales from the Crypt: Dead People Are Better Donors Than Corporations

Today’s title might suggest morbidity, but actually it’s a tale of profitability. It’s a story about what happens to a donor’s money that isn’t spent during their lifetime.

Let me start at the beginning.


In Grantseeking Your Budget Does Matter

GrantStation is currently in the midst of its Spring 2018 State of Grantseeking Survey, and as you can imagine with an expected 3,500 to 4,000 nonprofit respondents, I receive feedback early and often.

One gentleman from a small nonprofit organization told me, “We were not eligible for the award because the funder required a paid executive director of $125,000 for two years, and a budget of $500,000 or more. Of course, if we had that kind of money there would be no need for a grant.”

And I understand his point, as I am sure that you do, too—grantmakers generally like to see capacity, as defined by organizational budget size, organizational age, and scope of services. But there are grantmakers who will fund organizations with smaller budgets, or all-volunteer organizations, or newer organizations, and those three things often go hand in hand.


Step Into Your Power

Successful fundraising often requires assuming more confidence than you actually feel. I got a new insight into that while leading a workshop last year. The workshop, on how fundraisers can build a major gifts program, was one that I had presented many times before. It focused on six elements of success: a willing board, a charismatic executive director, a compelling mission, individual donors, prospects, and a plan for low-pressure donor cultivation.


A Simple and Effective Activity to Engage Your Campaign Volunteers

A Simple and Effective Activity to Engage Your Campaign VolunteersIf you work with volunteers, you probably wrestle with how to keep their work fresh and exciting. Here’s an exercise you can use to overcome two different challenges you’re likely to face.


Nonprofit Winter Games Closing Ceremonies

Sadly, all good things must come to an end. The Nonprofit Winter Games are over, and were retiring the #NPOWinterGames hashtag until 2022. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Here are the organization(s) that won each game. Congratulations to all! Note: all winners were selected at random from the full list of participants in their events.


Combine Fundraising Thermometers and Events to Take Donor Engagement to New Heights

You’ve seen fundraising thermometers before. Everyone uses them—when I was a kid, we used them for elementary school fundraisers, church fundraisers, building funds, and other events. Today, nonprofits use them for peer-to-peer fundraising, capital campaigns, and lots of other places.

But it’s when they combine event fundraising with fundraising thermometers that really exciting things happen.


Everything You Need to Know about Running an Email Campaign for Your Nonprofit Organization

The success of an email marketing campaign relies on a foundation of good organization, preparedness, and fine-tuning. Only with these things can you be sure that your nonprofit emails will affect your readers, leading to interest in your cause. To ensure you get off on the right foot and maximize your rates of success, here’s everything you need to know.


Social Fundraising Deconstructed

While social fundraising is a critical concept to understand, it can also be a complicated one. But when you can embrace the idea and add it to everything your nonprofit is doing, it can be a powerful force that can help take both your fundraising goals, and your awareness goals, to the next level. 


Someone Wants to Start a Nonprofit? Quick, Grab the Torches and Pitchforks!

OK, everyone, sit down, we need to have a talk. Every once in a while, someone—usually from outside the sector—mentions their goal of forming their own nonprofit. “It has been my life-long dream to quit the rat race and start a possum therapy organization. It’s kind of like one of those equine therapy programs, but with possums instead of horses.”

From the online discussions I’ve seen, the response from us is often, “Hiss! How dare they want to start a nonprofit! Let’s burn their barn down! Let’s pour salt in their field so it shall remain fallow for seven generations! Let’s mix up the labels on their spinning spice rack so that nothing they make will taste good again!”

I understand where this anger might be coming from.


Power Questions Your Major Gift Donor Will Love

Here’s a natural, friendly and much more successful approach to major gift fundraising.

I’m showing you how to develop a warm, easy relationships with your major gift prospects. Relationships where they feel heard and understood. A relationship that builds trust and credibility.

When you take a donor-centered approach to a major gift, you let the donor lead the way. She feels entirely in control. She never feels “presented” to or pushed.

And she’s much more likely to end up with a generous major gift coming from her heart—and she’s with you for the long term.


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