3 Rules for Thanking Nonprofit Donors that Should Never Be Broken

Thank you balloons 300x300 3 Rules for Thanking Nonprofit Donors that Should Never Be Broken

Never underestimate the power of a thoughtful, personal thank you.

If you’re not retaining as many donors as you’d like, you’ve no one to blame but yourself. And I’m here to tell you why.

You’re Not Thanking Donors Properly.

I’m serious. How you handle donor acknowledgements is that important. Yet, sadly, most of you do an absolutely rotten job of showing your donors how much they mean to you.

Part of the problem is due to focusing on acquisition at the expense of retention. Most executive and development directors don’t even know their retention rates without looking them up.

DUDES! Your retention rates should be on the tips of your tongues! If you don’t know how you’re doing, how can you improve?Continue Reading

Clairity Click-it: How Philanthropy is Changing; Social Media Measurement; Twitter for Nonprofits; Recurring Gifts; Lapsed Donors; Thank You

Mouse mouse2 300x202 Clairity Click it: How Philanthropy is Changing; Social Media Measurement; Twitter for Nonprofits; Recurring Gifts; Lapsed Donors; Thank You

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Here’s this week’s Clairity Click-it, leading off with a provocative piece about the state of the charitable sector and roaming through a mix of interesting and useful nonprofit marketing and fundraising tips — all designed to help you be the best you can be. Enjoy!

Changes in Philanthropy

Click-It: Philanthropy Reconsidered: The Paradigm Shift is a fascinating, thought-provoking article Continue Reading

6 Traits of Relationship-Building Nonprofits + 4 Most Effective Ways to Retain Donors

Bad day 6 Traits of Relationship Building Nonprofits + 4 Most Effective Ways to Retain Donors

Your donors have bad days too. Learn to be a friend.

Donor retention has continued to plummet every year for the past seven years.  It’s really, truly an awful problem. For some unknown reason, all that hard work you put into acquiring new donors is, seemingly, being wasted. Why?

I recently asked folks what ONE word they would use to sum up what is needed to transform donor loyalty. I received some interesting answers and thought I’d share them with you, along with my comments, here. First, let me remind you of my own Big Secret — the one principle I’ve found that makes the greatest difference to long-term, sustainable fundraising success: Continue Reading

Clairity Click-it: Leadership, Text Donations, Mobile Optimization, Saying Thank You

Mouse mouse2 300x202 Clairity Click it: Leadership, Text Donations, Mobile Optimization, Saying Thank You

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Here are some important links for you as we head into prime fundraising season. Some will make you think. Others are hands-on and practical. Enjoy!

Leadership

Click-It: To Be a True Leader, Start by Listening. Check out this podcast where Allison Fine interviews Annie Murphy Paul, author of the upcoming Brilliant: The New Science of Smart, about the concept of “cognitive humility”—recognizing what you don’t know and having an eagerness to learn. Do you fear to let others know when you don’t know something? Learn how to embrace admitting this as a strength.Continue Reading

The Big Secret – One Word – to Transform Donor Loyalty

SECRET 300x300 The Big Secret – One Word – to Transform Donor Loyalty

What ONE principle can change your donor relationships from short- to long-term?

In a recent post about building donor loyalty I promised to reveal my personal #1 SECRET the one principle that makes the greatest difference to long-term, sustainable fundraising success.

I’m going to share that principle here; then I’m going to turn this principle into a word – actually three variations of the same word – that you can use to transform the way you’ve been doing business.

Are you ready?Continue Reading

You Can’t EXPLAIN People into Caring – Nonprofit Social Media Messages that Work

 

Secret shh.. You Cant EXPLAIN People into Caring – Nonprofit Social Media Messages that Work

Does it feel as if what your organization does is a big secret no one knows how to share?

“We’re the best kept secret around.” “No one knows what we do.” “If folks understood the depth and breadth of our work they’d want to support us.”

Does this lament sound familiar? It’s probably the most common complaint I hear from nonprofits. And all too often folks think the answer is hiring someone to write a newsletter or annual report. Or getting someone to “do” social media. All with the end goal of explaining what you do to people so they understand and want to make a charitable gift.

Folks, you can’t explain people into caring about you.Continue Reading

Clairity Click-it: Best Fundraising Asks; Loyalty Metrics; Cultural Change; Maximize Time on Social Media; LinkedIn

Mouse mouse2 300x202 Clairity Click it: Best Fundraising Asks; Loyalty Metrics; Cultural Change; Maximize Time on Social Media; LinkedIn

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Here”s your ‘Back to School’ Clairity Click-it. It’s a good time to learn a few new tricks — and there are plenty of them here for you to noodle on and sink your teeth into.  Let’s take a look!

Best Fundraising Asks

Click-It: Your Favorite Fundraising Asks or Offers in Your Appeals? Kivi LeRoux Miller is conducting a survey and you can join in. She suggests a few goodies like: the Match; the Menu; the Emergency; Sponsor/Adopt; the Single Story; the Sustainer and Buy it.

Loyalty Metrics

Click-It: 7 Donor Loyalty Metrics Every Nonprofit Should Track. Even small improvements in donor loyalty can have a huge impact on the returns your nonprofit is able to generate from its fundraising. Adrian Sargeant gives us a great list of metrics to track in the Bloomerang Blog. I’ll bet you’re not doing them all! (especially check out #7).

Cultural Change

Click-It: Social media marketing is not a “project”. Sometimes the mere act of calling something a ‘project’ can cause folks to resist it and derail change. Or so posits Mark Schaefer in this post on the Grow blog. What do you think?

Save Time on Social Media

Click-It: How to Save Six Hours a Week on Social Media. Did you know that American adults spend an average of 3.2 hours a day using social networks!Of all business professionals, those who spend the most time on social media are marketing professionals. How much time depends on the size of your business. Check out the graphs and, if you’re finding it to be a big time suck, read this article from the folks at Buffer to learn to manage your social time more effectively.

LinkedIn

Click-It: 5 easy steps to heighten your nonprofit’s LinkedIn profile appeal to donors and others. This article by Miratel Solutions describes why LinkedIn may be one of the best social channels for nonprofits when it comes to creating awareness. It’s where a lot of potential major donors (e.g. C-level execs) will form an impression of you, so it makes sense to maximize your profile. There are other tips for maximizing your use of LinkedIn in the article as well.

New Resources for YOU:

A great blog is one of the best investments you can make in acquiring and retaining more donors. Learn how with my 4-volume Nonprofit Blogging Playbook. Get as many Guides as you want or need (if you buy all four, I offer a “Bundle Bargain” discount). Each guide will teach you something different: (1) Blog Fundamentals; (2) Content that Compels people to read and share it; (3) How to Use your Content to Engage folks, and (4) How to Promote your Blog so it Builds Momentum and drives more potential supporters to your website.  I stand by all my Clairification products.  If you’re not happy, there’s a no questions asked full refund policy. The only way to lose is by doing nothing. Don’t be a loser!

Photo: Flickr, Isaac Torronterra

6 Best Ways to Make Storytelling Part of Your Nonprofit Culture

Storytelling brain 6 Best Ways to Make Storytelling Part of Your Nonprofit Culture

How do you fill the brains of your staff, volunteers and donors with stories about your organization?

Everyone loves a good story. Everyone.

Which is why storytelling should be at the heart of your nonprofit’s strategic communications. I know ‘storytelling’ is a meme du jour. But that’s no reason to ignore it. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t! There’s a reason these phrases become buzzworthy. In this case, because you want to serve up content that’s relevant, attractive and accessible to your constituencies. Storytelling fits the bill better than anything else.

In fact, of all the content you can create, storytelling is your ultimate weapon and the most powerful means of communicating your message.

Let’s look at this a different way. Continue Reading

6 Types of Modern Jargon to Avoid in Your Fundraising Appeal

Head scratcher2 6 Types of Modern Jargon to Avoid in Your Fundraising Appeal

Huh? I’ve no idea what you mean.

Who writes your annual appeal letter? If it’s your executive director or your board chair there’s a very good chance it’s filled with jargon. This (pardon my non-jargon language) sucks.

Jargon is the opposite of constituent-centered writing.

It’s not your writer’s fault. Most of us use jargon all the time without being aware we’re doing so. It’s the language we speak when we work together in groups. It’s a sort of short-hand. Acronyms. Labels. Terms of art. It pops up all over the place. But, again, when it comes to using it in your fundraising appeals it’s bad news. Yet it’s exceedingly difficult to avoid. Why?Continue Reading

3 Secrets to Boost Fundraising Response: Help Donors Stretch Their Dollars + More

stretching your dollar 3 Secrets to Boost Fundraising Response: Help Donors Stretch Their Dollars + More

What kind of leverage can you offer your donor so your year-end appeal is an offer they can’t refuse?

Your year-end appeal is less likely to fall on deaf ears than at any other time of year. Why? It’s the time of year when people are naturally inclined towards counting their blessings and feeling both grateful and giving. Some nonprofits raise as much as 40% or more of their annual giving total during the last few months of the year. And 33% of December gifts are made on December 31st. It would be a shame to miss out on this!

In essence, you’ve got people where you want them in November and December. This being the case, don’t you want to put your best foot forward?

SECRET 150x150 3 Secrets to Boost Fundraising Response: Help Donors Stretch Their Dollars + More

I’m going to let you in on a little secret…
Continue Reading