Time to Start Planning Your (gasp!) Holiday Appeal
Tuesday, 27 August 2013 17:25

The summer is drawing to an end, and the time is right to begin to planning your holiday appeal.  Why so early?  There is lots to do to make this year your best yet!  Here is a short checklist to get you started:

From the pyramid to the vortex
Friday, 22 February 2013 15:58

Social media is disrupting the traditional pyramid of donor engagement.  A donor's lifetime value may encompass more than the contributions given - their influence should also be taken into account. Most organizations have taken influence into account in the past with their board members (give or get), but most have not considered/measured the value of a donor's engagement.

Social media allows what were once considered low-engagement donors to contribute much more to an organization than just dollars.

Read more about it here:


The Science of Long Appeal Letters
Wednesday, 09 January 2013 13:52

We run into this often when we are working with committees to coordinate annual or holiday appeals.  Everyone agrees that they prefer receiving a short letter, and would give to the organization no matter what...  but then why do long letters consistently pull more and larger gifts?

Here is an excellent article on Guidestar explaining the current thought behind why longer letters work better.


Elections and Nonprofit Innovation
Friday, 13 January 2012 18:05

As competition for resources, such as donor dollars and volunteers, increases, nonprofits are looking for new models of providing services and new ways of fulfilling their missions.  Is your organization considering new models of volunteerism, new partnerships and collaborations, new channels for fundraising?  Are you presenting your donors with the same old fundraising letter, or are you emphasizing not only the stories of your clients, but highlighting the other benefits you provide to your community? Do you understand the full scope of the impact your organization, and the nonprofits in your area as a whole, have on your community? In other words - are you open to innovative ways to partnering with government, and/or other nonprofits to bring jobs to the community and to enhance every aspect of your organization?

Here is an excellent article by Robert Egger on new models of public-private cooperation and the potential economic impact:


Will we elect leaders that share our vision?


Meaningful Budget Work by the Board
Friday, 24 June 2011 19:50
Overseeing the financial resources of a nonprofit is one of the most critical functions of a board.  Unfortunately, we see too many boards that don't have a clear understanding of either the income streams or the expenses of an organization. This both limits the board's ability to assess and plan for the future, and creates situations where they are making decisions without understanding the full impact those decisions have on the budget, such as adding a new program or staff member.

Below is an excellent article from Blue Avocado on the budgeting approval process.

For many nonprofits, the annual "approval of the budget" is the cornerstone of board financial oversight. However, this annual approval is frequently an empty ritual: one where board members peruse a budget that they are unsure is realistic or appropriate to the planned activities.

Read more on Blue Avocado...

Donor Trends Looking Up in 2011
Friday, 24 June 2011 19:47
A comprehensive new study published in the Chronicle of Philanthropy of over 17,500 donors across the country showed both positive news and interesting trends for nonprofit fundraising in 2011. The survey, which included donors from a wide range of charitable groups, showed that only 7% of donors plan to decrease giving this year compared to 17%. On top of that, 25% of donors surveyed said that they plan to increase giving in 2011. Good news for nonprofits this year! This survey also offered up some interesting new trends that are emerging this year.
Social giving contests: Big Payout or Big Pain?
Monday, 17 January 2011 04:02

A new trend in corporate giving makes it easier for millions of people across the nation to decide where corporate dollars should go through online contests. These social giving contests are seemingly a great opportunity for nonprofits to gain exposure fast and earn money for their organizations. But are they really worth it?

Excel - Why it isn't a donor database
Monday, 17 January 2011 03:56

Excel is a great program. It is perfect for crunching numbers, tracking budgets, and herding gobs of numbers into organized columns and rows in order to easily make sense of them. Unfortunately, too many organizations use Excel to track their most valuable asset – their donors. Here are a few reasons why a donor database is the investment you should make to protect and grow your assets.


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