Why are Good Nonprofit Fundraisers Hard to Keep? RESPECT

Satisfaction Cant get no Why are Good Nonprofit Fundraisers Hard to Keep? RESPECT
I can’t get no…

Fundraisers report that money is the number one reason they leave their jobs [See Part I of this two-part series here]. While I do believe too many fundraisers are underpaid relative to their skill sets and performance, I’ve a hunch it’s not the real chief culprit for fundraiser dissatisfaction. What is?

Guess what? The reason is very similar to why donors leave you. If you read through this article, you’ll learn both (1) how to keep more fundraisers, and (2) how to satisfy, inspire and retain more donors.


I gave you a hint in the title. Yup. It’s what Aretha Franklin famously sang about:


It’s not just respect for fundraisers as individuals that’s lacking. It’s respect for their profession. For what it takes to succeed with development in a nonprofit organization. For what it means to be a part of a team — all working together towards the same goal — and why it’s impossible to succeed without a supportive infrastructure and culture.

And by the way, donors won’t thrive absent a supportive culture and infrastructure either. They’re looking to be a part of your community, your family, your way of life. If you won’t give them this warm, fuzzy, connected feeling — they’ll find someone else who will.

So what pre-conditions must be in place for fundraising staff, and donors, to want to stay?

Continue Reading

Why are Good Nonprofit Fundraisers Hard to Keep? MONEY

Money Why are Good Nonprofit Fundraisers Hard to Keep? MONEY
Money is only part of the story of why fundraisers leave

If you’re a fundraiser, does this sound like you?

Show me my money!!!

According to five years of research by Penelope Burk (culminating in her book, Donor-Centered Leadership) as well as a much-talked-about study by CompassPoint and the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, half of chief development officers plan to leave their jobs in two years or less and 40% plan to leave fundraising entirely.  The number one reason fundraisers give for leaving is to earn more money.

What’s going on, and how can you fix it? Is it about money, or something else?Continue Reading

6 Secrets to Rock Multi-Channel Integrated Nonprofit Fundraising Campaigns

Rock musician 198x300 6 Secrets to Rock Multi Channel Integrated Nonprofit Fundraising Campaigns
How you can rock your multi-channel social media and online/offline fundraising strategy!

This post includes 6 expert tips and best practices for any business, including a non-profit, wanting to run an integrated marketing campaign that generates more potential donors and raises more dollars.

Wait! What is an integrated marketing campaign?

An integrated marketing campaign is a marketing effort that uses a consistent message across traditional and non-traditional marketing channels. Ultimately all the messages should reinforce each other. Integrated marketing campaigns enable brands (yes, your nonprofit is a brand) to reach new audiences and gain mass exposure for their marketing promotions. Plus, in the information overload world in which we live, folks need to see your message multiple times before their brain will process it (Did you know that, on average, only 16% of Facebook fans will see what you share)?

There used to be a marketing ‘Rule of 7′ stating that a prospect needs to hear the advertiser’s message at least 7 times before they’ll take action to buy that product or service.  Guess what? That rule was invented by the movie industry in the 1930’s! It takes a lot more impressions today (I’ve heard as many as 21).

So a multi-channel campaign is the way to go. Whether you reach folks 7 or 21 times, or somewhere in between, your messages should range over different sorts of media. Consider emails and newsletters, social media posts, website and blog, direct mail, advertising and even in person presentations. But it can’t be a big mish-mash.  You’ve got to integrate everything to ensure all your media channels are working together. That’s how you’ll ultimately get noticed.

To illustrate how this might work for you, here is an exampleContinue Reading

Clairity Click-it Future of Fundraising Edition: Culture of Philanthropy, Donor Retention, Gratitude, Nonprofit Change + Learning Opps

Black cat and computer mouse 241x300 Clairity Click it Future of Fundraising Edition: Culture of Philanthropy, Donor Retention, Gratitude, Nonprofit Change + Learning Opps
Catch this Special Edition!

This week is all about what we need to do, collectively and within our organizations, to assure a bright future for philanthropy. I’ve gathered articles from some of the leading thinkers and researchers in the civil sector. This is important stuff — and one “Click-it” you won’t want to miss! Plus, as always, some great learning opportunities for you (scroll to the bottom).Continue Reading

Clairity Click-it: Keep Donors; Make a Case; Neuromarketing; Appeal Frequency + News to Use

Mouse mouse2 300x202 Clairity Click it: Keep Donors; Make a Case; Neuromarketing; Appeal Frequency + News to Use
Click it!

Want to keep more donors? This week’s Click-It will show you how in a number of different ways. Create magical experiences for supporters by taking a page from Disney. Craft a persuasive case for support by stepping into your donor’s shoes and asking yourself, and your team, some critical questions. Learn more about the importance of personalization by watching a video from Starbucks. Understand the psychology of the three different types of buyers (aka donors). And think critically about the number of appeals you send, and how this may help or hurt your donor acquisition, renewal and upgrade efforts. Plus you’ll find some “News You Can Use” (tons of really useful data and reports) at the bottom of this post.  To your success!

Keeping Donors

Click-It: How Disney Creates Magical Experiences (and a 70% Return Rate) from the Help Scout blog gives lessons you can apply to your nonprofit in order to enhance donor loyalty and retention. Walt viewed his theme parks almost as “factories” that produced delight and entertainment. What does your organization do to create a customer service culture that will delight your supporters? Long before Hillary Clinton wrote “It Takes a Village,” Walt understood this: “Whatever we have accomplished is due to the combined effort. The organization must be with you, or you can’t get it done.” This article makes for a very interesting read.

Case for Support

Click-It: Defining Your Case Through Four Vexingly Simple Questions by Andrew Brommel of Campbell & Company could also have been titled “Deceptively” simple questions. Because, while simple, these queries go to the heart of what it takes to be an effective nonprofit communicator and fundraiser. ACTION TIP: Convene an inter-departmental group and try to address these questions one at a time. Can you answer them thoughtfully and strategically? If you can, it will take you far.


Click-It: Starbucks Personalization – Evil, Funny, Or Brilliant? This article from Roger Dooley on Forbes will explain to you why you should be personalizing your donor communications. Plus you can watch a funny video. Fun is good!

Click-It: The 3 Types of Buyers, and How to Optimize for Each One, a guest post by Jeremy Smith on Neuromarketing, describes how understanding and embracing human psychology helps you understand consumer behaviors. He describes three types of buyers: Spendthrifts, Tightwads and Average Buyers. I happen to believe this applies to donors as well. Take a look, and see how it might help you with your fundraising offers. There’s a big storytelling trend these days (and for good reason); this article helps you determine when adding in a soupçon of data can help.

Appeal Frequency

Click-it: Is It Better or Worse to Send More Appeals? Michael Rosen gives us a thoughtful piece showing the answer to how many appeals you should send is not a simple one. If you’re going to test it for your nonprofit, you may want to track a number of variables.For now, what we know is that multiple appeals will generate more current net revenue. However, we don’t know how many appeals are optimal. We also do not know the affect multiple appeals have on donor retention and Lifetime Value.”


Click-It: Must-Read Fundraising and Social Media Reports for Nonprofits is a thorough list from Nonprofit Tech for Good with everything from the Nonprofit Benchmarks Study to the mGive Text Giving Study to the Millennial Impact Report to the Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Study and more. There’s something for everyone here.

Click-It: 50 Ways to ‘Move’ Your Donor: Stewardship Solutions to Get to Yes with Finesse. I’ll be joining the Foundation Center May 19th for a special Major Gifts Master Class: You’ll leave with a step-by-step cultivation plan; plus you’ll learn a novel, tried-and-true way to choreograph and measure your moves so you know exactly when you’re ready to ask. Register here.

Want more ways to keep more donors? I’ll be speaking in person at the AFP Silicon Valley luncheon meeting April 21st on why “A Donor is a Terrible Thing to Lose.” If you’re in the area, come by to learn how to improve your bottom line by recalibrating your strategies to concentrate more efforts on donor retention. Not nearby? Check out my Donor Retention and Gratitude Playbook.

Photo: Flickr, Isaac Torronterra

9 Amazing Secrets You Need to Get a Major Donor Meeting

Milk a cow 284x300 9 Amazing Secrets You Need to Get a Major Donor Meeting

If you want to milk a cow, sit by its side.” Get the visit to get the gift!

Did you know you’re 85 percent on your way to securing a gift if you can get your prospect to agree to a visit? So says veteran major gifts fundraiser Jerold Panas in his iconic book, Asking. He also says, “If you want to milk a cow, sit by its side.”

But … how do you get the cow to cooperate? Ay, there’s the rub.

Why is it so hard to get a visit with a prospect?

It just is. People screen phone calls. They don’t answer emails. They’re busy. And, let’s face it, they know what this is about. Once you get in the room with them, you have your chance to win them over. But how to get there?Continue Reading

Do You Want to Double Your Donations? Seize Matching Gifts!!!

chocolate love you melting 300x225 Do You Want to Double Your Donations? Seize Matching Gifts!!!

Your matching donations will melt away — unless you seize them!

Children crave sugar, cars want gasoline, and nonprofits need money to operate at full capacity. While moms bake their children cookies and drivers give their cars all the fuel they need, nonprofits have donors to keep them running. Nonprofits need all the dollars they can get, which is why increasing fundraising from matching gifts is such a crucial endeavor.Continue Reading

Too Many Hats? 3 Secrets You Need to Build a Fundraising Marketing Team

nonprofit communications report 2015 Too Many Hats? 3 Secrets You Need to Build a Fundraising Marketing Team

Hats off to the newly released report from Kivi LeRoux Miller! See what it means for you.

I recently had the privilege of presenting at the ALDE Conference, during the course of which I had the good fortune to listen in on the Keynote Address presented by Kivi LeRoux Miller. It got me to thinking about becoming a nonprofit milliner.

Say what?

Well, here’s the deal. I’m sure I could do a brisk business selling all sorts of different hats based on what Kivi had to say about results from her 2015 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report. After surveying more than 1500 nonprofits, guess what she found?Continue Reading

Philanthropy, Not Fundraising: I Have a Dream 2015

Moonrise large Philanthropy, Not Fundraising: I Have a Dream 2015

I have a dream…

I have a dream for 2015 – 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 lifecycle of their engagement.

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

7 Proven Keys to Inspire Nonprofit Boards to Lead and Give

Key to the heart 7 Proven Keys to Inspire Nonprofit Boards to Lead and Give

It’s not about money. It’s about what’s in their hearts.

My first year as a nonprofit fundraiser was before social media, cell phones, email, computers and even FAX machines. I had never heard the term “information overload” and I wasn’t distracted by interruptions every five minutes.  Why do I mention this?

Because in today’s fast-paced world we are often so bombarded with bells, whistles and flashing lights that we lose sight of the basics. We lose focus.

Back in the day, I focused.

My number one focus was our board of directors. I knew that before we could get others to give, the board needed to give. Passionately. Continue Reading