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4 Fundamental Donor Management Tips for Small Nonprofits

For smaller nonprofit organizations, one of the biggest challenges you can face is building out a robust donor management strategy.


Nurturing Your Potential as a Fundraiser

Jerold Panas, fundraising’s most prolific author, died on July 14, with wife Felicity by his side. Mr. Panas prepared this excerpt for GuideStar a month prior to his passing.

Is there a fundraising type? A combination, say, of Elon Musk and Angeline Jolie that is outgoing, people-oriented, well organized, and goal oriented?


Men and Women Really Are Different. At Least When It Comes to Charitable Giving Around Retirement.

Did you know ...

  • Although most households reduce spending after retirement, their level of charitable giving tends to remain the same?
  • Single women and married couples are more likely to give than single men, and to give more, before and after retirement?

TnC Is Not Just a Cable Channel: Loan Tips for Nonprofits

I’ve been lending to nonprofit organizations for close to 20 years. Most organizations take on debt responsibly, but I’ve also seen some nonprofits with loans that are more harmful than helpful.


5 Fundraising Tips—Straight from Donors and Grantmakers

Major gift fundraising—whether from individuals, foundations, or companies—is an alchemy of art and science, with the skill of relationship building at its core. In today’s shifting philanthropy landscape, the distance between donors and fundraisers is shrinking, with venture approaches on the rise and competition at its fiercest. So how can fundraisers adapt to this context?


Nonprofit Lessons from Mister Rogers

With the documentary about Fred Rogers receiving critical acclaim, we thought we’d take a look back and lift up lessons the nonprofit sector could take away from his life and legacy in public service.

Fred Rogers lived his life in support of his beliefs. His testimony on PBS funding is one of his more prominent forms of activism, but it was certainly not his only one. He found ways to engage on issues outside of traditional advocacy. Through the creation of diverse characters—both living and puppets—he sought to include depictions of people and storylines that brought often taboo topics and social issues to children’s living rooms.


Top 5 Things to Do Before Asking for a Meeting

While being prepared for the solicitation meeting itself is important, preparation has to start before you reach out to set up the meeting. There are two reasons for this.


Illuminating Nonprofit Fraud

Yesterday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state charity officials announced more than 100 legal actions against charities that fraudulently claimed to be using donations to help veterans. The charges ranged from filing misleading information with regulators to diverting donations to organization leaders and paid fundraisers. A few nonprofits received warning letters. Others were fined heavily and ordered to dissolve.


The Unspoken Truth about Boards and Fundraising

Does everyone on your board raise money?

If the answer is “No!”—perhaps the question makes you laugh or groan or grind your teeth—you’re not alone.

How do I know? By far, the most popular service I offer is board fundraising training. Because so many boards struggle to raise money, demand is endless. (Note to consultants: if you want to build your business, improve your skills as a fundraising trainer.)


Tracking Unicorns: In Search of the High Level Donor

Recently, I came across a fascinating article about a New York secretary named Sylvia Bloom who, unbeknownst to even those in her inner circle, had built up a large fortune over the course of her lifetime. Known as a frugal woman who rode the subway to work every day until the age of 96, it wasn’t until her passing, and a total bequest of $8.2 million to charity, that her secret was revealed.

One of the lucky organizations was the Henry Street Settlement on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, which received a gift of $6.24 million to endow a scholarship program for low-income students. Every nonprofit organization should be so fortunate. However, for most, such luck requires careful planning. How can your organization find the Sylvia Blooms (aka unicorns) of the world? We’ve compiled some resources to help with your search.


20 Tips to Help You Dress for Nonprofit Success

Like other nonprofit professionals, I wear clothing. So every morning I wake up and immediately have to make an important decision: what to wear for the rest of the day. Now, this does not sound like a very big decision, but I have learned that how we dress in this field is critical to our work, determining how we and thus our organizations are perceived. Although I am not a style guru, I have worn clothing, so here are some tips I have picked up over the years that may be helpful for you. Feel free to add your suggestions in the comment section.  


How Northwest Health Foundation Is Using Diversity Data to Do Better

On every grant application, Northwest Health Foundation (NWHF) requires nonprofits to report the demographics of the communities they serve, as well as the demographics of their board members. However, that hasn’t always been the case.


New Figures Reveal Diversity Gaps in British Philanthropy

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. GuideStar is pleased to offer a non-U.S. perspective on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

British foundations are falling short when it comes to embracing diversity. A new report commissioned by the foundation umbrella body, the UK’s Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF), highlights a striking lack of racial, age, and gender diversity in the make-up and composition of foundation trustee boards.


5 Myths Busted on Why Charitable Giving with Wills and Trusts Is Difficult

It’s a little-known fact that planned giving has one of the highest ROIs (return on investment) of any fundraising activity, contributing to the fact that pursuing gifts from wills and trusts is rarely a key mission funding practice among the average American nonprofit.


10 Best and (Almost) Free Tools to Create Mind Maps for Your Nonprofit

A mind map is a visual representation of keynote thoughts centered around the main idea. It helps us stay organized in the informational chaos.


Latest 2018 Data from Giving USA Is Good News! (For Now)

Giving USA is the most widely anticipated and recognized report on the “state of our sector.” It’s the State of the Union for philanthropy, if you will.

And the latest data from Giving USA is good news! For now …

Below is a summary of what’s in this video—not an exact transcript. But you’ll get the gist whether you decide to read, listen, or watch.


5 Ways to Market Matching Gifts on Your Nonprofit’s Website

If your nonprofit has delved into the world of corporate philanthropy, you know about matching gift programs. These immensely popular programs are pretty simple: companies give the same amount of money to the same nonprofits as their employees. All the employees have to do is submit the proper paperwork and ensure that their donations are eligible under their employers’ program requirements.


5 Reasons Small Nonprofits Run Away from Marketing Their Organizations

If the words branding, marketing, or publicity make you want to run and hide, you are not alone. Every single day, nonprofit leaders struggle with how to get more recognition for their organizations—they run away from marketing their organization.

Marketing is simply the set of activities nonprofit organizations use for creating, communicating, delivering, and amplifying their missions. It’s crucial to ensure your most important stakeholders know who you are and are excited to support you.


The Real Cost of Online Fundraising for Nonprofits

Online fundraising holds unlimited potential for nonprofits. Armed with a strategic email campaign or timely social media appeal, a nonprofit can raise thousands—or even millions—online in a matter of days. As online giving grows by millions of dollars every year, access to online fundraising is crucial for nonprofits. There are so many tools and strategies out there to help nonprofits, but most come with a hefty price tag. According to NTEN, the average nonprofit spends almost $100,000 on technology per year. Seems high, right? But after you take a look at the costs that go into online fundraising, which is just one slice of the pie, you’ll start to see how things add up.


What We’re Learning about Nonprofits’ DEI Journeys

A few years ago, I came across this quote:

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

James Baldwin

It immediately struck a chord. In my personal life, I think of this often for everything from my health to my relationships. In my professional life, I’m an analyst at GuideStar. I keep this quote framed on my desk to remind me why analyzing and improving nonprofit data is so important. The data that nonprofits collect and report isn’t just information in a database. It has the power to shape decisions.

In recent years, the sector has begun to focus on data collection for organizational diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).


5 Tested Tips to Fine-Tune Your Nonprofit Tech Strategy

At the heart of it, your nonprofit’s software solutions are in many ways the backbone of your organization’s fundraising strategy. Your technology tools power your team’s operations and make it easier to manage your data, monitor your campaigns, and stay in touch with donors and volunteers.

Since you rely on nonprofit software for so much, it’s important to periodically take inventory of your technology strategy to make sure you’re getting as much from your solutions as you can.

Unfortunately, many nonprofits aren’t even aware they have a nonprofit technology strategy, much less if they’re maximizing it!


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