What do Lukewarm Tapioca and Molten Chocolate Cake have to do with Fundraising?

molten chocolate cake 300x199 What do Lukewarm Tapioca and Molten Chocolate Cake have to do with Fundraising?

Does this get your attention? Is this a heart you could wrap your heart around? Make you want a taste?

Or… What Your Donors Won’t Tell You about Your Nonprofit Messaging.

At first blush, tepid tapioca and gooey hot chocolate might appear to have nothing whatsoever to do with securing vital resources to further your mission. Blush again.

Blush hard. Think of all the good things you could accomplish were you to more effectively master the art and science of fundraising. Feel the warm pink tinge beginning to creep up your neck as you embrace the errors of your ways over the past year. Or two. Or 10. Or even more.

Are you still doing things like it was 1985? 2000? 2008? If so, you should probably be embarrassed. Because I know very few organizations who are succeeding today using yesterday’s strategies.Continue Reading

Yes, The Donor Pyramid is Really Dead

dinosaur 300x300 Yes, The Donor Pyramid is Really Dead

When it’s our time to go, we all gotta go — dinosaurs and pyramids alike!

An Open Letter to Andrea Kihlstedt — Part 1

[I am responding to Andrea Kihlstedt’s Open Letter to me, Is The Donor Pyramid Really Dead, in the Guidestar blog. She was responding to my recent posts on the death of the Donor Pyramid in Fundraising Success Magazine: R.I.P. Donor Pyramid? and Maximize Social Business Blog How Social Media Toppled the Donor Pyramid – What that Means for Nonprofits.]

First, let me say this is a great dialogue to be having. The donor pyramid is a sacred dinosaur, and it’s good to challenge old assumptions from time to time. After all, the dinosaurs had a very good run, but even they became extinct.

Andrea says “no, the pyramid is alive and well,” making the case that (especially in capital campaigns) not all donors are equal. She also finds use for the pyramid in other campaigns, noting a Kickstarter campaign she recently worked on in which the biggest gifts came from donors who were approached face-to-face rather than via online strategies.Continue Reading

How to Hire a Fundraiser: Don’t Try to Make a Chicken out of a Fish-Pt.2

chicken out of fish 300x271 How to Hire a Fundraiser: Don’t Try to Make a Chicken out of a Fish Pt.2

No matter what you do, you can’t make a chicken out of a fish.

In Part 1 of this article I outlined the performance habits (practice) and innate qualities (psychology) to look for in a candidate for a chief fundraising job. I encouraged you to ask candidates questions that probe for these behaviors and qualities.

Equally important to the questions you ask the candidate are the questions s/he asks you.
Continue Reading

You’re Not Alone: What To Do When You Start To Fail at Fundraising

sinking ship 216x300 You’re Not Alone: What To Do When You Start To Fail at Fundraising

It may be noble for the Captain to go down with the sinking ship, but a compelling fundraising offer it is not.

Once upon a time (around about 2008) a big mean recession cast its dark shadow over many a nonprofit. Grantors cut back on funding. Donors zipped up their wallets. Salaries and benefits got cut. Seasoned professionals were laid off, or left voluntarily. Others lasted awhile, but became increasingly discouraged.

Six years out from the biggest stock market crash since 1929, I’m beginning to hear a lot of organizations crying “Uncle!” These are the ones that, for reasons unbeknownst to them, have not rebounded. And they’re desperately trying to beat back the wolf at the door.

The thing they fear most? Failure.Continue Reading

If it’s Broke, Better Fix it: Two Disarming Truths

broken arm xray 247x300 If its Broke, Better Fix it: Two Disarming Truths

What’s wrong with this picture?

Truths: Today, there are two things broken from my perspective: (1) my arm, and (2) the donor pyramid.

Yup! I’m really not much of a camper, but had a momentary lapse in judgement over the week-end. Kaboom!

Luckily, I managed to type up an article about the sad state of the donor pyramid prior to being reduced to a one-handed hunter/pecker (because this method is SLOW, baby)! That article, “R.I.P.Donor Pyramid,  is gracing the cover of the May/June Fundraising Success Magazine, so I hope you’ll check it out over there and let me know what you think. Here’s my bottom line: Continue Reading

Fundraising Silent Auctions: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, the Easy

bid 300x300 Fundraising Silent Auctions: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, the Easy

What makes people want to bid/not bid on your silent auction items?

Got a silent auction coming up?

Silent auctions are a bit like the story of the little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead: When they are good they are very, very good; when they are bad they are horrid.

The Good

Silent auctions can be a great way to increase event revenue and entertain your guests.

The very best events I’ve witnessed are those whereContinue Reading

Why Your Nonprofit Fundraising and Marketing is Outdated

 

change same buttons 300x225 Why Your Nonprofit Fundraising and Marketing is Outdated

Fundraising and marketing have changed more in the past 5 years than the previous 50.

Philanthropy, Not Fundraising

For too many nonprofits something isn’t working. Change is happening at a rapid pace while people try to employ yesterday’s ‘best practices,’ seeming to work harder and harder to make do with less — while needing to serve more.

Before the digital revolution, an information imbalance existed.  This facilitated a one-way ‘push’ model of marketing/fundraising. We could define our own brand and sell it.  Guess what? Continue Reading

WARNING: Your Fundraising Communications are Too Pretty

Storyteller thumbs up 198x300 WARNING: Your Fundraising Communications are Too PrettyCreative is great. I see lots of beautiful newsletters, web pages and email appeals. They have great design, colors, photos and even videos. But they have a problem.Continue Reading

11 Steps to Turn Social Media into Fundraising Gold

Gold globe held aloft 300x279 11 Steps to Turn Social Media into Fundraising GoldBet you thought social media sucks for fundraising. Au contraire.

It can help you raise money big time – but only if you engage with purpose. Just like anything else, social media won’t help you meet your goals unless you know where you’re going with it. Out of context, social media exchanges are just transactions.

Ask yourself this question: What am I going to do to make this exchange mean something, now and in the future? Continue Reading

Your Secret to Mindblowing Fundraising – Improve Donor Retention Just 10%

mindblowing 176x300 Your Secret to Mindblowing Fundraising   Improve Donor Retention Just 10%

Double the value of our donors? That would be mind blowing, dude!

Imagine what it would mean to your mission if you doubled the lifetime value of all of your current supporters.

I recently listened in on an interview between Gail Perry and Jay Love of Bloomerang. It’s a great listen, and the two of them fired me up to write another post on the importance of focusing your efforts on donor retention.

Do you know even know what percentage of donors you’re retaining? According to Jay, less than 5% of fundraising offices know this answer!  So, you’re not alone.  But you can do better.Continue Reading