Nonprofit Overhead Worth: When is More not Less?

Nonprofit Overhead Cost: When is More Not Less?

Light bulb idea: Why not spend what it costs to get the job done effectively?

 

In A dollar more (vs. a dollar less) Seth Godin provocatively suggests you consider a race to the top.

This made me immediately think of the nonprofit overhead conundrum.  Too many nonprofits feel stuck with trying to justify the amount of money they spend on staff and infrastructure in a race to lure more donors to their cause.

The common wisdom (really nonsense) is that “a dollar less” is good. That the less you spend, the more effective you are.  “Lean and mean” is supposed to be a good thing.Continue Reading

What Do You Call a Development Staffer Who Facilitates Philanthropy?

Do you consider yourself a "Donor Engagement Guide?"

Do you consider yourself a “Donor Engagement Guide?”

 

A super star!

Seriously, that’s what you are.  But you may be wondering why I ask.

What’s in a name?

Recently, veteran fundraiser Jerrold Panas weighed in on the subject of development titles. He noted he prefers “Charitable Gift Planner,” “Chariable Gift Counselor,” and “Director of Donor Services” to the most often used “Director of Planned Gifts.” He also champions “Vice President for Philanthropy” over “Vice President for Development (or Advancement).”

This reminded me of a time when my boss and I went round and round on this subject.  It was a good 15 years or so ago.  We knew “director of development” was not exactly a transparent title [try looking up the definition of “development” and you’ll see what I mean].

“Development,” by itself, has little to do with philanthropy. Continue Reading

The Meaning of Philanthropy, Not Fundraising – Part 2

The meaning of Culture of Philanthropy

Get on the path to philanthropy, not fundraising

 

In Part 1 I laid out why philanthropy inspires, and fundraising tires.

Fundraising must be done, of course, but there’s something about how it’s been practiced in the past that turns too many people off.  It’s been connoted as being all about money, when really it’s all about valued outcomes.

These valued outcomes are shared by many who support the cause – donors and non-donors.  Employees and volunteers. Development departments and program departments. Major gifts staff and annual giving staff. All these folks have a collective stake in the nonprofit’s survival.Continue Reading

The Meaning of Philanthropy, Not Fundraising – Part 1

The meaning of Culture of Philanthropy

Get on the path to philanthropy, not fundraising

 

I wish I’d told my younger self “you’re right!  Stick with it; don’t get distracted. Stay the course.

Here’s what I’m talking about: Philanthropy, not fundraising.

This has been the tagline for my business and blog since I began Clairification in 2011. It grew naturally out of my experiences working as a frontline development director for 30 years. I’ve always insisted that no single person could possibly receive credit for a donation.  “Donors don’t give because of development staff,” I’d tell program staff.  “They give because of the great work you do!Continue Reading

Leap Day Nonprofit Dilemma: To Board or Not to Board

Leaping man - to a new board model!

Ready to LEAP forward to a new nonprofit board leadership model?

 

My board is driving me nuts!

Today is “leap day” — that little something extra we’re given every four years, just to slow things down a bit and make February last a bit longer.

Leap day has something in common with nonprofit boards of directors — that little something extra, volunteers put in charge of the business, that has an unfortunate tendency to slow things down and make decision-making take a lot, lot longer than it usually should.Continue Reading

5 Powerful Nonprofit Opportunities: Your Path to Success in 2016

5 Powerful Nonprofit Opportunities

When opportunities knock, open the door! Success is just waiting for you to welcome it inside.

 

Your year-long “Dive the Five” virtual course begins!

Listen.

Hear the knocking?

I most surely do!

If you pay attention, you’ll see the year ahead is bursting with opportunities for your nonprofit to succeed — more than you’ve ever succeeded before.

What do you need to do to grab these opportunities?

It’s as simple asContinue Reading

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

Not Your Usual Year-End Nonprofit Donation Issues

Not_Your_Usual_Year-End_Donation_IssuesI doubt you’re worrying your pretty little heads about this stuff, but you should be.

Because year-end giving is simply too fraught with angst — and it needn’t be that way!

Giving to your nonprofit should be a joyful experience for your donors – before, during and after the transaction.

Not an anxious period of wondering whether their credit card transaction is secure, whether their gift went into a black hole or whether you’ll use it as they intended.

And guess what else?

Receiving donations should be a joyous occasion for you too.

Not an unmitigated nightmare of receiving credit card numbers that don’t work, worrying about how already busy staff can possibly process all your year-end donations and, for that matter, do so in a timely, professional and personal manner.

So give yourself and your donors a break.

How to do this? Continue Reading

Clairity Click-It: Nonprofit Productivity and Self Care

Catch this special edition devoted to making you and your organization more productive, effective and serene.

This week’s Click-it is dedicated to productivity. Yours.

Sometimes I like to find useful information that has nothing to do with nonprofit work, per se, but which has to do with being a human being working to be efficient and effective in our fast-paced world — all while balancing work and personal life. So I’ve collected a bunch of resources to help you work smarter, faster and better while also becoming less stressed, more relaxed, more focused and much more happy. Sounds like a good deal, right?

I know you think you have to run yourself into the ground to take care of the folks who rely on you for help. There’s so much to do and it’s all so important!

But to take care of the world you must take care of yourself first.

Why not send this entire post to everyone on your team; then ask them to come back to your next staff meeting with ONE thing they’re going to do differently as an individual and one OTHER thing they’d like to suggest doing differently as a team?

It could be fun – and a nice break from business as usual.

Ready? Let’s get started!Continue Reading

Clairity Click-it: List Building, Calls to Action, Nonprofit Management, Silos, Change

Mouse with computer mousee
Click it!

This week I’ve a potpourri of links on a variety of fundraising, nonprofit management and nonprofit marketing topics. It’s still summer, so I figure it’s a good time for a varied reading list. Some practical stuff, and a little food for thought. Why not?

List Building

Click-It: How to Build Your Email List from LinkedIn and Twitter. This post by Amy Hall on the Maximize Social Business blog offers some great practical tips for converting your social media contacts into supporters. After all, isn’t that one of the major reasons you’re trying to generate more connections and followers?

Calls to Action

Click-It: 12 Nonprofit Call-to-Action Twitter Images to Study and Learn From. This is a great collection of examples from Nonprofit Tech for Good.Continue Reading