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

How to Tap Into the Power of Social Media to Find Nonprofit Donors

Are you still using yesterday's tools to find today's donors?

Are you still using yesterday’s tools to find today’s donors?

Where do you go to look for new donors to support your nonprofit in 2014?

If you’ve not yet tapped into the power of electronic communication to find new supporters – social, mobile, email, crowd funding, online donating — read my recent post on Maximize Social Business: The Answer to Finding Nonprofit Donors: Social Media.

While this is in no way a slam dunk, neither is any type of lead generation strategy a magic bullet to converting leads into donors. You still have to do the hard work of building relationships with these folks. Yet… Continue Reading

ONE BIG THING Your Nonprofit Must Do TODAY to Succeed in 2014

Stop pussy footing around! It's not about YOU and how pretty you are.

Stop pussy footing around! It’s not about YOU and how pretty you are.

Adopt an integrated inbound marketing and fundraising strategy.

If you don’t know what that means, you’re in trouble. Read on.  If you do know, are you really doing it? It’s time to stop pussy footing around this.

Here’s why:

(1) Nonprofit marketing and fundraising have changed more in the past five years than the preceding 50. I’m not kidding!  The digital revolution ended business as usual.

(2) Fundraising and marketing must be seamlessly integrated. They cannot be separate silos any longer.

Have you caught up with reality?Continue Reading

Where Have all The Donors Gone? Three Guesses

What's going on?

What’s going on?

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


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

How One Nonprofit Got Warren Buffet to Invest through Crowd Fundraising


Warren Buffet Invests in Nonprofit IPO

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 Tour Guide

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 on playing card dressed as fool

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?

stop sign

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

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!

The S.F. Giants School of Social Media: 3 Tips to Drive Nonprofit Fan Engagement

Photo of S.F. Giants ballpark with Twitter post about baseball heaven
This is baseball heaven, Tweet courtesy of @bradmangin

Story+Customer Experience+Voice = Community

The Giants embraced social media during a time of magic for the team in 2010.  The franchise hadn’t won a World Series in 54 years. Finally, it was all coming together in an exhilarating way.  And social media was there to share the thrilling tale with fans all over the world.  From the Giants’ foray into social media come three take-aways:


What’s more shareable than a great yarn? In 2010 the Giants, with their fans, became social producers building something akin to a round robin tale. With everyone adding in, they succeeded in crafting a story people wanted to talk about.  AT&T; Park filled with “Fear the Beard” signs; the slogan “There’s Magic Inside” created an aura of enchantment.  
When fans become a part of your story it creates community.  Like-minded folks connecting with something they believe in. Good social media directors are directors of customer experiences, figuring out what fans want; then translating this into a win/win. Fans want to see their players on the All Star Team. The franchise does too. So the Giants successfully rallied their fans to vote local favorites onto the team through social media — one example of a natural alignment between franchise and fan desires.
Image of S.F. Giants Pablo Sandoval Gnome
Giants fans have a real voice, echoed by the social media ‘voice’of the team. Fans shared 40,000 photos on Instagramin the past two months! You learn a lot this way about your constituents and what moves them. The result? The Giants have had a sell out streak ever since beginning with social media and co-creating the experience with their fans.
When you align empathically with your customers it’s a game changer. Social media – not as a tool, but as an attitude — provides social meaning in a chaotic world.
See the full post published on Windmill Networking