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

What Nonprofits Can Learn About Donor Retention from David Letterman

David Letterman and Justin Bieber 300x202 What Nonprofits Can Learn About Donor Retention from David Letterman

Are you the last kid on your nonprofit block to adopt social media as a tool to build relationships?

If you’re not using social media to get and retain more donors, be afraid. Be very afraid.

Social media has ceased to be a nice little “toy.”  An “add on thing.”  It’s the thing. If you’re not hanging out where the majority of your constituents are getting their information, you may as well fold up your tent and go home.  David Letterman didn’t “do social media.”    ( See “Do you use the Twitter device?” ).  He’s going home.

Letterman  may be ready to go off into the sunset. But you shouldn’t be. You can learn new tricks!Continue Reading

Is the Civil Sector in Death Spiral Mode?

Withering Tree 168x300 Is the Civil Sector in Death Spiral Mode?

Wither civil society?

Today’s post is a quick – yet very thought-provoking – share.

I happened upon Ruth McCambridge’s feature story for Nonprofit Quarterly, Jeremy Rifkin: The Future of the Economy is There for the Civil Sector to Claim.  In it she dissects Rifkin’s op ed for the New York Times, “The Rise of Anti-Capitalism.” I often hear a lot of doom and gloom about our sector, so this inspired me.

Maybe we’re not in a death spiral. Yet.

But we do have to create our own future.Continue Reading

Where Have all The Donors Gone? Three Guesses

Head scratcher Where Have all The Donors Gone? Three Guesses

What’s going on?

That’s the question that has fundraisers everywhere scratching their heads and crying in their beers.

Hmmn…

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?Continue Reading

Do You Play ‘Hot Potato’ with Social Media at Your Nonprofit?

Hot potato 300x225 Do You Play ‘Hot Potato’ with Social Media at Your Nonprofit?

Who’s got the hot potato?

In the children’s game nobody wants to be left holding the hot potato. Does that sound like the way social media is ‘played’ at your nonprofit? Is anyone in charge? Who sets goals? Who decides what to do/not do? Who evaluates success? Where does the buck stop?

Too many organizations still have not taken charge of their digital strategy.  It’s beyond time for this to happen, as I explain inContinue Reading

How One Nonprofit Got Warren Buffet to Invest through Crowd Fundraising

 

Warren Buffett How One Nonprofit Got Warren Buffet to Invest through Crowd Fundraising

What a great investment!

Fresh Look – Crowd Fundraising Trend

Crowd fundraising offers a huge new opportunity for nonprofits to acquire new donors and expand their base of support. Thus far it’s mostly been used for peer-to-peer campaigns, but one nonprofit recently employed it in a very clever new way.Continue Reading

One Thing You Absolutely Must Know about Today’s Donor Engagement Journey

Philanthropy, Not Fundraising

Disco Dave Duckboat 300x265 One Thing You Absolutely Must Know about Today’s Donor Engagement Journey

What do you and this Duck Boat tour guide have in common?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and make an assumption.  Here goes: Your goal is to attract supporters and invest in long-term relationships that will sustain your mission. If your goal is different, read no further.  Otherwise… carry on.Continue Reading

April Fools Day is Coming: Is Your Nonprofit’s Social Media Ready?

joker April Fools Day is Coming: Is Your Nonprofit’s Social Media Ready?

Are you just fooling around?

If any of the following apply to you, your nonprofit is not ready for the 21st century. The cure? Read Monday’s post to get serious and avoid being pranked — or spanked! — for failing to embrace the fact that we’re all social businesses now. Truly, it’s time to get serious (just not today; for now, have a little fun, a super good week-end and… get determined after April 1st). Let’s get in the spirit!

Do you:Continue Reading

Do You Make These 5 Social Media Mistakes?

stopsign 300x223 Do You Make These 5 Social Media Mistakes?

Stop Making Last Year’s Mistakes

Happy 2013!  Since 13 is one of my lucky numbers, I know it’s going to be a good year. You’ll see that Clairification has a fresh look, and that’s going to be the theme for this year.  A fresh look. A clairifying look, if you will.  So… since so many of you have questions about social media, let’s start by blowing out a few cobwebs and clearing our heads.  Because if you think any of these things, you’re making a mistake.

Continue Reading

Two Things Nonprofits Must Know about Social Media to be Donor-Centered


 Two Things Nonprofits Must Know about Social Media to be Donor Centered
This month I’m writing about how to be donor centered. Today I’m taking us in a perhaps unexpected direction – the path of social media.  What does that have to do with being donor centered? Everything. There are two principle reasons why:

1.  Social media is about relationships, not technology. Your constituents want a relationship. We talk so much about the importance of building relationships in the nonprofit world that it’s truly perplexing to still hear folks asking “do we really need to do social media?” 
 Social media is not only pervasive; it’s inherently ‘social’ — an act of attraction. It asks who’s interested?  Who wants to participate?
2.  Your constituents expect you to be where they are. Donors communicate information through a multitude of channels, and want to be connected to their causes constantly — on their own terms. If we’re not where our donors are, they’ll engage with someone else who is.
We’ve entered a new era in nonprofit marketing where Winging It with Social Media No Longer Works. You need to take control of your social media marketing with a donor-centered strategic plan. In a nutshell:
1.      Listen Assign someone to pay attention to what folks are saying.  Charge someone with responsibility to respond to constituent comments. Check out these free listening tools.
2.      Engage Have a purpose. Be intentional. Check out Need a Social Media Strategy? by Kivi Leroux Miller.
3.      Measure How are you measuring the return (qualitative; not just quantitative) on your investment of resources? Check out Do You Believe in Life After Likes?; How to build an engagement ladder, and Measuring the Networked Nonprofit: Using Data to Change the World.
4.      Integrate Combine social media with your other marketing strategies to assure consistent messaging. Check out How to Integrate Social Media with Traditional Media.
5.      Collaborate Don’t silo social media in a corner as the province of a lower-level staff member. Make it an organization-wide collaboration. Check out Beth Kanter and Alison Fine’s The Networked Nonprofit.
6.      Help (Don’t just sell) Don’t just push out stuff, asking people to do something for you.  Offer something of value.
Check out my full post on the subject on Windmill Networking  .  Then let me know what you think!