Is a brochure the best way to present your case to individuals?
A community foundation boss of note (hey, Neil!) recently tossed this question into my email in-box: What do you think of a fundraising appeal that has the headline….”Help (name of org) survive” I have always been of the opinion that this is not good practice. That donors want to be inspired to help people and meet needs, provide something new and exciting, support… Read more »
Donors are special. Why?
Because there aren’t that many of them.
Read this article.
We are now halfway through 2020. What an exhausting, overwhelming, anxiety-producing, crazy ride it has been. The question before us now is how will we choose to experience the second half. Because my guess is that it will be equally, if not more, unpredictable. We can choose to be tossed around by it, or we can instead choose to find the possibility in the… Read more »
Those of us who work at nonprofits are drawn to a particular mission and a desire to do good and give back. Most of us have navigated our careers thoughtfully and intentionally and have worked hard (perhaps even tirelessly). Yet often, despite our good intentions and hard work, we find ourselves replicating the practices that created the inequity we committed to disrupt in the… Read more »
The fact is that a financial glass ceiling exists for nonprofits — a limit, which many nonprofits hit, where the money just won’t grow. They may have a great solution to a social problem, but they are unable to attract the money necessary to deliver on that solution. I see this all the time in my consulting practice. A nonprofit has existed at a certain budget level — let’s say $1.5 million — for years and years, and though they have big ideas for how much more they could be doing, they just can’t seem to get past that $1.5 million mark.
Every word matters. Some words matter more. We or you?
Storytelling is one of the greatest tools we have for engaging communities on complex social and environmental issues, in ways that can drive belief and behavior change. People are far more likely to remember information if it reaches them in the form of a story. Good stories also have an incredible ability to reduce counterarguing on divisive issues. And when people are transported by a great story, they remember the events in the story and feel like the experiences were their own. As a result, the story has the power to influence future beliefs on related issues.
Why this book screamed to be made In the US, as of 2017, there were something like 1.3 million government-sanctioned charitable organizations. It’s a growing sector: at current rates, about 47,000 new US charities are born each year. Is that a lot or a little, for a nation of some 330 million? I say it’s a lot. After all, the same population gets by with… Read more »
Ummmmmmm…. Good question, Echo. ¶ In our little world [The Case Writers], where we pretty much get to write and design whatever we think is best, working with a group of clients who want exactly that, every “normal” element is questionable. You start each day with this question, “What if everything I think I know is wrong?” ¶ In other words, if something normally… Read more »
Early in my 30-plus year career in the philanthropic arena, I was looking for a major gifts officer for a reproductive health clinic in Los Angeles. Of the many résumés I received, one was from a candidate with ten years of solid experience—but for eight of those ten years, he worked for religious charities that opposed the values held by my organization. Within the… Read more »
It started with a threat, from a board member in the midst of a board meeting. “If she doesn’t produce in a year, she’s out of here.” Thirty seconds. Sixty seconds. Silence hung in the room like fog at dawn. I was beginning my third job with a nonprofit. The first two positions were highly-sought-after spots with low-pay and high-perks. … Read more »
The 8-hour work day is a construct. In fact, throughout history the most creative and productive among us only worked a few hours a day, as Alex Soojung-Kim Pang explains in his book Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less
It was a beautiful August morning. Twenty campers and four counselors outfitted in orange lifejackets paddled silver canoes across a glassy blue lake in northern New Hampshire. We pulled up to a sand spit. As we unloaded, I, one of the junior counselors, muttered, “I wish I had a brownie. We should have brought snacks.” In response, all twenty campers moaned in… Read more »
The IGNORANCE CEILING is destroying fundraising. Now you know. Meet the frustrated: So MANY fundraisers quit so fast. They learn “best practices” … and then collide with the “Ignorance Ceiling.” I.e., bosses and boards insisting: “I don’t like it. No way.”
Recently, a CEO confided that the accelerated disruptions occurring in her industry, with the advent of new technologies, new entrants and new business models, were shaking her usual confidence. While an expert in her field, she was doubting her adaptability to the increasingly complex nature of the challenges leaders face today, from work to home life. She is far from alone. More and more,… Read more »
Suddenly it seems like everyone’s talking about it. Or maybe “finally” is better than suddenly. The Chronicle of Philanthropy has gotten weighty on the subject. On June 7, it featured a scathing article by Amanda Pearce, CFRE, under the headline, “Nonprofit is a Tax Status, NOT a Business Model.” Even US charity watchdogs have admitted they got it wrong. In case no one at… Read more »
Many of the principles of fundraising I learned early on really are true: listen to prospective donors to connect them to your cause; build relationships to move supporters to the next level of giving; and thank donors more often than you ask for money. These do result in better fundraising outcomes. But based on my recent experience, I’m wondering if the scarcity-based approach of holding your funding sources under lock and key could use an upgrade.
I was pinned under a 200 pound guy, and he had scissors. The volunteer assignment was simple: help a young man with developmental disabilities to learn a new skill, one-on-one. We were working on learning scissor use. How did I end up flailing on the floor needing assistance? I had a clear goal for my college volunteering experience: Explore different ways to help people reach excellence. … Read more »
1. Why Eleven and Three-Quarters? Be a little less predictable. “10 Top Tips” is predictable. “11 Top Tips” is a little less predictable, but still pretty obvious. I ripped this idea off, as most of you immediately recognized, from Harry Potter’s Track Nine and Three-Quarters at King’s Cross Station. Steal well. And often. But don’t steal from failures. Which means you’ll have to learn… Read more »