See how Tallahassee-based Big Bend Hospice Foundation, a Basics & More Alum, beautifully connects their donors to their stories in this week’s Power of Nonprofit Storytelling.

You may have heard it directly from a donor:“Don’t waste my money on a paper thank you letter!” Perhaps your nonprofit is an environmental organization and you know that your donors are concerned about waste and energy use. Is direct mail right for your mission — and for your donors? See this week’s What’s In My Mailbox for answers…and a terrific Welcome Kit example.

Developing Your Nonprofit’s Monthly Giving Program | A Primer. New from yours truly.

Vu with Answers on grant proposals if nonprofits were brutally honest with funders. Of course the question goes unasked: what if nonprofits put their focus on developing their individual donor programs (it’s where the money is anyways!) and quit jumping through the rubbish hoops these clueless funders set up? What a concept. Imagine. Rather than drowning in frustration as you try to decipher grantor language and force fit programming for a $15,000 grant, try adding 60 new monthly donors. As I always say: put your focus on what you can control.

Good news, indeed. 2017: “The year charitable giving bounced back.” New from The Agitator. Read the comments closely. And don’t even THINK about dropping direct mail.

Richard Perry is here to remind us that Institutions Are Just Like Individual Major Donors. And I couldn’t agree more. In my days in programming for a grant making foundation, it was the story within the grant proposal — that emotional component — that first attracted attention.

Are you wasting money buying advocates? Definitely make it a point to read Advocacy Fundraising #3: Finding and Converting Advocates and the entire Advocacy Fundraising series from The Agitator.

Archives

An organization serving women and children I worked with regularly sent staffers out to to Walmart to pick up donated diapers and gift cards. And yet another organization I worked with would accept no funding from Walmart or most banks due to ethical concerns (they did have a strong relationship with Subaru). Now, many organizations are asking about accepting donations from businesses in the cannabis industry. If you don’t have a gift acceptance policy, now is the time for your board to create one.

Learning Opportunities

Do you ever wish that you could build a predictable monthly revenue stream — and create donor loyalty for your organization?  What about lowering your fundraising costs while simultaneously reducing donor attrition?

Long a staple of fundraising programs throughout the world, monthly giving is a gold mine, particularly for small nonprofit organizations. Recent studies have reported donor retention rates of 90% and up for monthly donors (the average donor retention rate is 45%)! Even millennials love monthly giving. Sixty percent of donors under age 35 give monthly.
If you’re not quite sure how to go about creating and growing your organization’s monthly giving program, Mastering Monthly Giving | Basics & More™, is your answer.
 Mastering Monthly Giving | Basics & More™ is the single most comprehensive online class to create and grow your organization’s monthly sustainer program. Guaranteed. And now is the last week to save big. Learn more and enroll here. Download the syllabus here.

Are you dizzily reeling from golf outings to 5K runs to galas to a holiday concert to…Casino Night? Does your fundraising consist of Amazon Smile, local restaurant nights, and a “dear friend” year-end fundraising letter? Are you constantly engaged in “spray and pray” fundraising, looking to see what sticks? Join our next Motivate Monday for a sneak preview of What Are Simple Development Systems and How Can They Help You? Next Monday at 1 pm EST.  Save your seat here.

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What’s In My Mailbox | Mapping your donor’s journey: EDF shows you how to start

February 21, 2018

You may have heard it directly from a donor: “Don’t waste my money on a paper thank you letter!” Perhaps your nonprofit is an environmental organization and you know that your donors are concerned about waste and energy use. Is direct mail right for your mission — and for your donors? Your donor preferences are, […]

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What’s In My Inbox | Make the love for your donors last far beyond V-Day

February 20, 2018

Remember how I’ve encouraged you to look for the opportunities in each and every day? Whether the day in question is a nationally-celebrated holiday or not, there’s always a reason to celebrate your donors by reaching out to them with gratitude. And for actual holidays? Go forth and make it your own. There are infinite […]

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Fundraising Friday | February 16, 2018

February 16, 2018

How will the Humane Society of the United States regain donors’ trust after the resignation of Wayne Pacelle? Their acting CEO offers up some words of wisdom in this week’s Power of Storytelling. Brittany’s Hope is back. This time with a short, sweet email impact report to emulate. This week’s What’s in my Inbox. Worried […]

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What’s In My Inbox | A short and sweet impact report via email, from Brittany’s Hope

February 14, 2018

Change started with you. These four words are a compelling email header, setting the stage for the impact report from Brittany’s Hope that hit my inbox earlier today. The report is short, sweet, and decidedly donor-centric. Beautiful photography brings the numbers to life, from the number of children adopted, to how many received medical treatment […]

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Power of Storytelling | The Humane Society’s first step in regaining donor trust

February 12, 2018

Ah, trust in our institutions. It’s eroding on a weekly — some would even say daily — basis. Edelman, a Chicago-based public relations company and marketing consulting firm, just published their annual “trust barometer.” A gauge for global sentiment and culture, the barometer provides insight on where we are right now in the world when […]

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Fundraising Friday | February 9, 2018

February 9, 2018

See how one Basics & More Alum does Facebook Live right. This week’s Power of Nonprofit Storytelling. The city of Philadelphia is a happening place today with the big parade. What’s In My Inbox, The Philly Art Museum is celebratingthe Birds’ victory, too! #FlyEaglesFly For more on Thursday’s newsletter topic, be sure to catch Nick Ellinger’s epic series over on The Agitator on donor […]

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What’s In My Inbox | The Philly Art Museum is celebrating the Birds’ victory, too! #FlyEaglesFly

February 6, 2018

Even if you missed out on the epic showdown between The Philadelphia Eagles and The New England Patriots this past Sunday, you’re undoubtedly well aware of the outcome: the Birds won! I’m no football fan myself, but the 2018 Super Bowl was one heck of a game and a nail biter in every sense of […]

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Power of Storytelling | Working Facebook Live right: a B&M Alum shows you how

February 5, 2018

Julie Edwards is Executive Director at The Humane Society of Northeast Georgia, where she’s in charge of fundraising, major gifts, and planned giving. She’s also a Basics & More Alum who has taken multiple classes that I’ve offered, and I’m honored that she’s not only “attended class,” but gone forth and implemented. Check out this […]

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Fundraising Friday | February 2, 2018

February 2, 2018

As a true blue cat lover, I could hardly resist this week’s Power of Storytelling. A story that speaks to the crazy cat lady in me. What systems do you have in place for your new donors?  Download your free cheat sheet! It’s only what I’ve been saying for YEARS. Why Inbox Inundation May Be The […]

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What systems do you have in place for new donors?

February 1, 2018

By 10 AM on #GivingTuesday, were you already exhausted? You nailed your year-end campaign. Segmented your letter to eight different audiences. Corralled board members to write sticky notes. Hand-addressed the envelopes to your major donors. Made follow up phone calls. In short, you put your blood, sweat and tears into that year-end campaign. We all know it. […]

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Power of Storytelling | A story that speaks to the crazy cat lady in me

January 29, 2018

Great Big is a global media company that has been creating and releasing compelling cinematic stories since their 2015 launch. To that end, with their Great Big Story newsletter, they’ve created a space for sharing some of their inspiring content. I’ve been a subscriber for awhile now, and in their latest storytelling showcase, I was […]

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Fundraising Friday | January 26, 2018

January 26, 2018

What does it take to create a story that resonates with donors so much that it brings in nearly $25,000 of a $5,000 goal? Bruce Almighty is back. This week’s Power of Storytelling. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. What are you doing to celebrate the wonderful donors who make your work possible? This week’s What’s […]

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What’s In My Inbox | Preemptive Love shoots a win for this Valentine’s Day

January 23, 2018

Valentine’s Day is around the corner. Yes, it has taken the shape of vapid, saccharine commercialism over time, and those ubiquitous monogrammed candy hearts are actually pretty gross. But in the whole grand scheme of things, none of that really matters, because you can celebrate V-Day however you want to (or don’t want to). And […]

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Power of Storytelling | The story of Bruce Almighty continues…three years later!

January 22, 2018

I remember the story of Bruce Almighty well. In fact, I’ll never forget it. Nearly three years ago, a young cat wandered into a backyard of a home in the Northwest section of Regina, Canada. Horrified by what they saw, the homeowners immediately called Animal Protection at Regina Humane Society to come assist. You can […]

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Fundraising Friday, January 19, 2018

January 19, 2018

What can you learn from this eye-opening “before” and “after” fundraising appeal? This week’s What’s in my Mailbox. And we revisit an earlier Mailbox feature to see the difference extra engagement made in this year-end appeal. How are we framing donor retention? The Agitator’s brilliant Nick Ellinger with The Behavioral Science of Fundraising Metrics. This […]

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What’s In My Mailbox | A 65% increase in funding with this “before” and “after” fundraising appeal

January 17, 2018

Nobel Prize winning author, Ernest Hemingway, famously said, “The first draft of everything is usually shit.” But stay with it, for oftentimes all it takes are a few simple tweaks to transform your writing into a masterpiece that gets results. Case in point: when Christine White, Annual Fund Officer for East Side Baby Corner, a student […]

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Fundraising Friday | January 12, 2018

January 12, 2018

You’ve heard these words from me before: “Inspire and delight donors.” They’re both at the heart of solid revenue-generating nonprofit communications, and they drive donors to double down on their support. But what exactly does inspiration and delight in communications look like? Find out in this week’s What’s in My Inbox. Anxious over the new […]

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What’s In My Inbox | What does “inspire and delight” look like? MoveOn to find out!

January 9, 2018

You’ve heard these words from me before: “Inspire and delight donors.” They’re both at the heart of solid revenue-generating nonprofit communications, and they drive donors to double down on their support. But what exactly does inspiration and delight in communications look like? How does it take shape? Here’s a great example. MoveOn.org is perhaps one […]

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Fundraising Friday | January 5, 2018

January 5, 2018

Is it easier or harder to set up monthly giving in a small shop? Read my interview with Harvey McKinnon and find out. You can write a letter or an email that’s donor-centered…but your systems might give you away. Donor-centricity. Are you faking it? Even the smallest shop should be incorporating testing. But how? TESTING: […]

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