GuideStar Blog

Is Your Fundraising Appeal Cluttered? That Won’t Do

Marie Kondo is the high priestess of tidying up. The essence of her method, which everybody’s heard of by now, is this: If a thing gives you joy, you keep it. If it doesn’t, you thank it and let it go.


2019 Fundraising Trends—And How to Take Advantage of Them

I view January and February as a test run of sorts, before we really embark on a new year and new resolutions. This may feel especially true as we’re still figuring out what happened in 2018. Last year we saw lower year-end fundraising results. We saw a decline in the number of donors who give in the lower to middle end of the giving range. And whether those developments have anything to do with changes to the tax law remains a question.


8 Tips to Enhance Your Fundraising and Donor Relationships

All of a nonprofit’s actions are interconnected. If you do something to enhance your fundraising, that action is likely to affect another one of your strategies as well. Therefore, make sure you’re thinking through how one decision will affect each and every one of your strategies.


3 Things You Should Not Do When Writing About Your Nonprofit

The importance of storytelling is undeniable. For a brand that wants more exposure, using storytelling in marketing is a must. But how can nonprofits benefit from storytelling, and does it work any differently for them?


How Small and Medium Nonprofits Can Benefit from Using an Automated Dialer

Without actually meeting a supporter or donor, the closest you can possibly get to them is through a phone call. By calling them, you’re ensuring a personal touchpoint for communication, which is a great way to engage people in open-ended conversation.

In fact, several studies prove that phone calls are valuable retention tool for nonprofits:

  • Calling donors to thank them for their gift 24 hours after they’ve donated leads to an 39 percent increase in donations the next time you make a solicitation.

  • Calling donors to tell them how their contribution has positively impacted your campaigns and report your work without requesting additional money increases the amount they contribute the next time by about 41 percent.

But most small or medium-sized nonprofits still go about calling in an old-fashioned way: manually dialing numbers on their phones and using spreadsheets or actual paper to record responses. This is a hugely inefficient way of reaching out to supporters and an unnecessary waste of time. Cue phone banking through automated dialers, which optimizes the whole journey of using phone calls to connect with donors.


Show Me the Love: Creative Ways to Steward Your Donors

As development professionals, we often find ourselves laser-focused on closing gifts to reach our revenue goals. On average, gift officers spend more than three-quarters of their time identifying, cultivating, and soliciting new leads. While it is important to focus on actions that drive revenue, stewarding donors once the gift is secured helps maintain a strong and active donor pool.

It is important to show donors just how special, valued, and appreciated they are. Investing in stewardship techniques and developing strong relationships has been proven to lead to more frequent and larger gifts. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we wanted to share some ways to show your donors the love. From basic best practices to customized approaches, below are some tips to activate your donor base and maximize revenue through stewardship.


Bullet Lists Can Drain the Life from Your Fundraising—or Pump Up the Energy—Here's How

Bullet points are normally a helpful tool for making what youve written more readable.

When you have several similar points you need to make, a bulleted list can: 

  • Introduce visual variety, which increases readability.
  • Turn what would have been a long paragraph into an easily scannable entry point.
  • Organize your thinking, thus making it more clear.
  • Lower the reading level of your copy. 

All good.

But let me show you a type of bulleted list that hurts fundraising results:


Nonprofit Tech Solutions: A Guide to Ramping Up Donations

The new year (calendar or fiscal) typically comes with increased funding goals. However, this doesn’t always have to cause stress! Higher goals should boost your own confidence in your organization because it shows that you are passionate enough about your mission to want to grow.


When Asking Goes Wrong: A Case Study in Communication Failure

Communicating by email and text can be tricky. You don’t have the advantage of vocal inflection as you do on the phone, or visual cues as you do in person.

Not to mention potential grammatical errors—which can sabotage the best of intentions.

For example, “Let’s eat, grandpa,” versus “Let’s eat grandpa.”


The Good and Evil Words of Fundraising

Fundraising has two magic words. One is enchanting, the other has sinister force to weaken your writing. When you control these two words, as I explore in my book, How to Turn Your Words into Money, you can wield wizard-like powers.


  2019 Seals of Transparency are now available!