Philanthropy, Not Fundraising: I Have a Dream 2016

Photo of moon rise
I have a dream…

I have a dream for 2016– and beyond. I have a dream  this is the year your organization will move beyond defining yourself by what you’re not (nonprofit) and will begin to define yourself by what you are (social benefit). I have a dream  this is the year your people will move from an attitude of taking and hitting people up (aka “fundraising”) to a mindset of giving and lifting people up (aka “philanthropy”). I have a dream this is the year your staff and volunteers will move from enacting transactions to enabling transformation.

I have a dream you will think big, because thinking small will not get you where you need to go. You will understand there is great power in a big, wildly exciting vision. You will share this vision broadly to attract people — and financial resources — to your cause. You will no longer be content to remain a “well-kept secret.”

I have a dream you will learn who your best influencers  and advocates are and you will embrace them.  You will recognize you are no longer your best messenger. You will understand that many forces beyond you influence your donor’s decision to invest with you, and you will expand your thinking and operations from a one-dimensional to a multi-dimensional model.  You will allow your constituents to engage with you at multiple points of entry, and to move freely between these points during the life cycle of their engagement.

I have a dream you will push yourself and your organization towards transformative change.Continue Reading

4 Guaranteed Ways to Research Major Donor Prospects

Know what to look for and where to look!
Know what to look for and where to look!

MAJOR GIVING.

It’s one of those terms nonprofiteers bandy about freely within the grand scheme of things to be devoutly wished for.

But precisely what constitutes a major gift, and where are they to be found? These can be difficult to pin down for your particular nonprofit.

You have to know (1) what you’re looking for, and (2) where to look.

Today I’ve asked an experienced prospect researcher, Ryan Woroniecki, Vice-President of Donor Search, to give us some practical major donor prospect identification guidance. Ryan, please take it away!Continue Reading

Clairity Click-it: Fundraising Wisdom; Retention; Overhead; Time Management; Software; Social Marketing; Major Gifts

ClairityClick-it2MouseMouse
Start the new year with a bounty of expert tips and free resources!

Happy New Year!

Here comes the first 2016 “Clairity Click-it” — an eclectic kick-off to the year.

I find so many great resources across the World Wide Web, some from other disciplines, and I want to share those I find most helpful. There’s so much the nonprofit sector should be learning and borrowing from others – we don’t always need to reinvent the wheel!

I’m also trying something new this year – “Dive the Five.”

I’ve selected five major themes to discuss with you this year in depth. Strategies that are so important to your success in 2016 – and beyond – that I want to be certain (1) you’ve got them on your priority list, (2) will begin to dedicate some serious resources towards them, and (3) will practice them regularly, until they become almost second nature.

If you learn to “Dive the Five” you’ll be able to raise money for anyone, any place, any time.Continue Reading

Clairity Click-it: Free Holiday Gifts + Useful Fundraising & Nonprofit Management Articles

This week's Clairity Click-it Gifts -- wrapped up in my blog. Open them!
This week’s Clairity Click-it Holiday Gifts — wrapped up in my blog. OPEN THEM!

This week’s Click-it is more of a holiday season “Open-it” collection of gifts. For the second year in a row, I’ve gone shopping and will offer you one or more free gifts every week from now until the end of the year.

These are all good. And the first one today is a real doozy — a gift to me that I’m “re-gifting!”Continue Reading

13 Smart Year-End Fundraising Strategies

Team toasting
Here’s to December 31st!

It’s here, it’s here!

That giving time of year!

My dear, don’t fear!

It’s time to get in gear!

Good cheer, get clear,

As the year-end draws near…

Bad poetry aside, it really is the time to get all your ducks in a row so you don’t miss out on this time of year when many charities will receive as much as 40% of their entire annual campaign goal.

So I’ve got 13 tips to give your year-end fundraising a shot in the arm!Continue Reading

Supercharge Your Year-End Nonprofit Emails with Foolproof Subject Lines ♡

4 Killer Techniques
Plus some Secret Little Tips (see below)

Still stuck for subject lines for your year-end emails?

Your subject line is like your outer envelope for direct mail.

A window into your message.

Make sure it’s open enough to give a glimpse of something intriguing… urgent… exciting… emotional… shocking… funny… useful… anything compelling to grabs folks’ attention.

The more specific and to the point, the better.

NOTE: if you’re not planning a series of year-end emails — get on it NOW! If you’re sending less than 7 emails in December, you’re below the nonprofit average.  You don’t want to be below average do you?

As much as a full third (33%) of December gifts occur on the 31st of the month! Last year the percentage increase in overall fundraising was 2.1%, while the increase in online fundraising was 8.9%.

If you’re not online, putting forward your most compelling fundraising offer at a time when folks are primed to give the most, you’re missing your best opportunity.

Here are some subject line techniques I particularly like, with thoughts about how you can use them to boost your year-end fundraising:Continue Reading

3-Word Formula Guaranteed to Raise Money

3_Word_Formula_to_Raise_MoneyI consider these three words the holy trinity of fundraising success.

They are simple.

They are easy to remember.

They really work.

Plus, if you wrap them up with some emotional color, you’ve got an offer that can’t be refused.

Let’s take a look.Continue Reading

Clairity Click-it-Year-End Fundraising: Lapsed; Online; Copy; Peer-to-Peer; Website; Landing Page; Saying Thanks

This week’s Click-it is dedicated to your year-end success!

December is the biggest fundraising opportunity of the year. What you do between now and December 31st will impact what you’re able to accomplish through the rest of the year.

  • Close to a full third of giving happens in just this one month.
  • 12% of all giving happens on December 31st (don’t go on vacation that day)!
  • 30% of all online donations are made in December.
  • 10% of all online giving happens in the last three days of the year
  • Average gift size is larger in December than any other month.

It’s now or never.

Please. Seize your opportunity!

But do it right.

It’s no longer just about direct mail or an email or two.

You’ve got to think about your website, thank you pages, social media and peer-to-peer fundraising – just to name a few. Old school is good, and there are some tips in the articles that follow to help you. But they’re no longer enough.

You must use online techniques to leverage offline techniques.

Think of social media and your website home page as advertising for your appeal. So that when folks finally receive your request for a gift, they do so with eyes and ears wide-open. Because they’ve been primed.

Ready? Let’s get started!Continue Reading

7 More Weeks – Are You Ready for Year-End Fundraising?

7_More_Weeks-Ready_for_Year-End_FundraisingThis is the giving season! Between now and December 31st, statistically, are the “make or break” weeks for your annual fundraising. It doesn’t matter what fiscal year you’re on. Donors operate on a calendar year.

So I’m offering up 5 tips to help you out.

Because people do most of their giving between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve — and I don’t want you to miss out

It’s a time when people feel grateful for friends, family and other blessings, and are inclined to be generous towards others. They want to share their blessings.

Your job is to tap into these feelings of generosity when they’re most at the surface. To strike while the iron is hot.Continue Reading

It’s Not All about Major Gifts: 10 Ways to Succeed with Small Gift Fundraising

Small giftsNot long ago I went to research something online and ended up viewing the first entry Google gave me – which was on Wikipedia. To my delight, I ran into an awesome fundraising campaign (this is an occupational hazard with fundraisers – we actually like and admire things like pledge breaks when they’re done well)!

Here’s what I found superimposed at the top of the screen:Continue Reading