Fundraise Smarter

5 Ways to Show Your Nonprofit’s Impact on Instagram

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on May 23, 2016 10:00:00 AM

If you’re plugged into the social media world, you know that Instagram has been in the news quite a bit lately.

A few weeks back, they announced major changes to the way posts will be displayed for users. Instagram will now follow a Facebook style algorithm, in that you won’t be shown every post, nor will they be shown to you in chronological order. Rather, an algorithm will decide what you will likely most want to see and show you posts based on that.

Then, just last week, Instagram revealed their new look. A new logo, color scheme, and app design. Reviews were...mixed.

But regardless of your thoughts on their new logo or timeline, Instagram is a force to be reckoned with. Last year they surpassed 400 million users, making it a bigger social network than Twitter. Plus, they have the backing of their parent company, Facebook, so they’re likely to be a force for years to come.

Instagram is getting crowded...


The problem with Instagram is that it can be a bit difficult to think of material to post. Instagram is just about the most visual social network there is, so you can’t just throw up some questions or update posts like you might on Facebook or Twitter (although you should absolutely do more than just update posts on those networks).

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Topics: social media, nonprofit marketing,

Missed The #DonorLove Rendezvous? Here's What You Missed.

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on May 16, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Raise your hand if you've ever dealt with the horror of a boring professional conference.

You know the ones: cold hotel conference rooms. Long opening sessions where you're obligated to clap for long lists of sponsors. Boring sessions. No breaks. No sunlight. Bad coffee. And you have to spend over a thousand bucks for the privilege to be there.


Thankfully, there's people like Rory Green and Maeve Strathy who are doing their damnedest to change that.

And they just might start a fundraising revolution in the process.

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Topics: Fundraising, #donorlove, conference

What President Obama Can Teach Us About Sending Great Email

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on May 9, 2016 10:00:00 AM

You know what I find positively terrifying?

Those photos of presidents comparing how they look their first year in office versus their last year.

Across a span of 8 years, their appearance seems to fast-forward decades. The stress and long hours of the job takes a visible toll on their health. The future of our country is hanging on their decisions that they must make on a daily basis.

Yikes. Makes you wonder why anyone wants to run for office.

Given all that responsibility, the President is forced to be very efficient in their decision-making process.

And there’s a lesson to be learned here for nonprofits when it comes to communicating with donors.

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Topics: nonprofit marketing,, email fundraising

The Silly Thing You’re Doing With Your Nonprofit Newsletter That Keeps Me From Reading It

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on May 2, 2016 10:00:00 AM

There’s a brand new train station in Lower Manhattan. But it’s more than just any transit station.

It’s the “Oculus.”

With wing-like arms that shoot hundreds of feet in the air, it’s bright white structure causes your eyes to squint on a sunny day.

The Oculus is an impressive structure, no one can doubt that. But the project always manages to elicit grumbles from New Yorkers whenever it gets brought up.

That’s because the train station cost $4 billion. That’s nearly $2 billion MORE than it was supposed to originally cost. It also took 12 years to build.

You see, in all the excitement of building something new, beautiful, and impressive, the most important aspect of a train station was forgotten.

 It has to efficiently connect people to trains. You needs to be a train station.

Now before you scratch your head and wonder what the hell has happened to the WeDidIt Fundraising Blog, bear with me a second.

The Oculus station fiasco is not unlike a lot of nonprofit newsletters.

They’re fancy.

They’re beautiful.

They’re big.

But did anyone stop and ask “Hey...are these affecting the behavior of recipients in anyway?”

Too often, the answer to that is no. Or more accurately, it’s “ know, I have no clue. I just loved this design.”


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Topics: online fundraising, nonprofit marketing,, email fundraising

I Analyzed Data on 458 Nonprofit Zoos and Aquariums. Here’s What I Found.

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on Apr 25, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Almost everyone has a distinct memory from their childhood of going to the zoo or aquarium.

There’s something magical about going to this place in your city where you can see and learn about incredible animals from all over the world.  Huge animals with sharp teeth, long tusks, or glowing eyes, right there in front of you.

I asked some of our team members here at WeDidIt about their memories of the zoo or aquarium as kids.


Our CEO Su Sanni has some great memories from the @bronxzoo

A video posted by WeDidItNYC (@wediditnyc) on

Besides playing an important role in education, zoos and aquariums also play an important role in conservation efforts around the world and in their local communities. Look no further than our friends at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, who just this past winter rescued nearly 100 sea turtles in their area suffering from a condition known as “cold stun.”

With over 450 zoos and aquariums across the country, I decided to crunch some data and to learn more about these nonprofits.

Here’s what I found.

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Topics: Fundraising, aquariums, zoos

Stay Protected: What the IRS Expects You to Tell Your Donors

Posted by James Gilmer on Apr 18, 2016 10:00:00 AM

There are some things in life that are super important but also, well...a little boring.



The DMV.

Not exactly sexy stuff. But the consequences of overlooking them are pretty severe.

That’s why I’m so grateful that there are people out there like the good folks at Harbor Compliance who are absurdly dedicated to helping nonprofits take care of the (let’s face it) boring yet OMG-you-better-not-forget-to-do-this kind of tasks that come with running a nonprofit.

Things like donation receipts and charitable solicitation disclosures.

Today on the blog, we’re joined by James Gilmer from Harbor Compliance who is going to tell us exactly what you need to include in your email solicitations and receipt emails to stay on the right side of the law.

Everyone say “Hi James!”

Alright James, take it away!


Donations, grants, and public support are all indicators that the community appreciates your charity's work. No matter the type of nonprofit you run, one of the easiest ways to show #donorlove is through a simple thank you note. As a matter of compliance, you may be required to provide additional forms of acknowledgement to your donors, both before and after you receive a gift.

Let’s start with charitable solicitation disclosures, which happen at the point of solicitation.

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Topics: donor stewardship, nonprofit compliance, IRS

The Top 3 Most Charitable Baseball Teams

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on Apr 11, 2016 10:00:00 AM

It may not feel like it for those of us in the Northeast quite yet, but Summer is right around the corner.

How do I know? Because baseball is back!

I love going to the ballpark. Even if you don’t really like baseball, most people can admit that going to a Major League game is fun. Hot dogs, beer, Summer breezes, singing songs. It’s one of my favorite Summer activities.

When you go to a Major League Baseball game, you’ll undoubtedly hear something about what that team is doing in the community.

In fact, just about every team in “The Bigs” has their own charitable foundation that supports various causes in their hometown.

This got me thinking: which team has the most generous foundation?

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Topics: event sponsorship, For Fun, grants

What Would Your Donors Say About You If Asked on the Street? [VIDEO]

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on Apr 4, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Our friend Rory Green wanted to find out how nonprofits measure their donor stewardship and retention efforts.

This is an important issue. After all, you improve what you measure, right? If nonprofits aren't measuring donor retention or stewardship, they're probably also going to do a poor job of it.

So Rory went out and asked 1,000 different fundraisers about their stewardship and retention metrics, and the answers were...well...they'll raise your eyebrows.

While nearly everyone polled agreed that stewardship was important (93%), only 50% of fundraisers thought their organization is doing a good job at it.

In fact, only 31% of respondents even had a donor retention goal at all.


This kinda blew my freakin' mind.

It also got me thinking: What would their donors say about this?

Well, I set out to answer that question this week. On a beautiful, sunny afternoon in Brooklyn, I went out to ask some nonprofit donors about their last donation experience to see how these organizations stacked up.

I asked what kind of organizations they gave to, if they were thanked, how they were thanked, if they were updated, and more!

I got a wide range of responses, but you might be surprised at how many of my interviewees said they have no clue where their money went or how it was spent.

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Topics: Fundraising, donor stewardship, Donor Spotlight

The Top 10 Most Visited Nonprofit Websites (And What You Can Learn From Them)

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on Mar 28, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Whenever anyone downloads our nonprofit website guide, they get an email from me asking what their biggest wish is for their organization’s website.

It’s fun to see what different organizations are working on, plus it’s a great way to keep a pulse on what’s weighing heavy on nonprofit workers when it comes to their digital fundraising.

And yes, I really do read and reply to all of ‘em!

A recurring theme among the responses goes something like this:

“I wish we had more traffic on our website!”

Not exactly surprising, right? Anyone who’s ever run any kind of website will tell you that they’d love more visitors. Visibility can be a very good thing. If you build up an audience, properly nurture them, then tell them an engaging story, digital fundraising can be a consistent revenue channel for nonprofits.

It’s not the end-all, be-all by any means. Having an audience is far different than having the right audience. But the right audience can be a very powerful force for change.

So if your goal is to increase traffic, who better to learn from than the 10 most visited nonprofit websites in the country?

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Topics: online fundraising, nonprofit websites

This State Has the Most Nonprofits Per Person

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on Mar 21, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Today's blog post just might win a nonprofit trivia contest for you one day...

Every year, a friend of mine from college organizes a March Madness bracket contest that’s a bit...unusual.

Rather than picking teams based on who you think will actually win the game, you have to pick a completely arbitrary, non-basketball related factor, then apply it to each match-up.

The nerdier and more complex, the better.

The end result won’t win any serious office bracket competition, but it’s pretty entertaining to see what everyone comes up with.

While pondering what I wanted to do for my entry this year, I got to thinking what interesting nonprofit stats I could crunch that might be of interest to you, our wonderful blog reading audience.

Thankfully, there’s no shortage of nonprofit data sets out there to play with.

So I downloaded the IRS’s entire list of tax-exempt charities in the United States. All 900,000+ of them.

Scrolling through the list, it was clear that bigger states had more registered nonprofits (duh), but it got me wondering:

Which state has the most tax-exempt organizations per person?

So with some spreadsheet magic, I counted up each state’s total number of organizations, threw that into another spreadsheet containing population data for each state, then divided the population by number of charities in that state to see how many people per nonprofit organization each state had.

So which state has the most nonprofits per person? And who has the least?

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Topics: Fundraising

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