Fundraise Smarter

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

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

How Putting Your Donors On The Team Supercharges Your Fundraising Efforts

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on Nov 16, 2015 10:00:00 AM

I’ve always been a huge college football fan. I grew up in Florida in the 90’s; the peak of the UF vs. FSU rivalry. My uncle was a graduate of Florida State, and I could always count on getting some pretty sweet FSU gear for Christmas from him every year. I would watch games every week, cut out newspaper clippings of my favorite players to hang on my wall, and I distinctly remember being heartbroken following a certain loss in 1998.

Despite all that, I hadn’t actually attended a college football game yet. One year my Dad’s alma mater, Georgia Tech, was playing in a New Year’s Day bowl game within a few hours drive of our house. So he bought tickets for our whole family, and off we drove to Jacksonville to watch the Yellow Jackets play.

That’s when I really caught the bug. You see, I got to witness my normally quiet Dad stand up and sing Georgia Tech’s...colorful...fight song. Most kids would be mortified, but I had the opposite reaction. It was awesome. Seeing him be filled with such a huge amount of pride, high fiving strangers just because they were wearing the same logo on their shirt as him, I was in.

I remained a fervent FSU fan all through high school, and when the time came to pick a college, I had the great privilege to attend the my dream school. The school whose logo had adorned my t-shirts since grade school.

I’d be lying if I said football played no role in my decision. It was far from the only factor, but it definitely counted for something. Sports had shaped my identity as a “Florida State Fan”, it was part of who I was. Getting to now also be a Florida State student was a huge draw.

I experienced something similar recently in an interaction with a nonprofit.

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Topics: online fundraising, Crowdfunding, donor stewardship, P2P fundraising

Oh Captain, My Captain: Navigating the Seas of Donor Stewardship

Posted by Brooke Binkowski on Sep 17, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Editorial note: We're trying something different today! Blog contributor Brooke Binkowski put her podcasting skills to work and made a wonderful audio version of today's blog post. No time to read? Listen to this 5 minute podcast version instead!

If you're running a nonprofit organization, one of the major parts of your work, no matter what, will be money-related: raising it, administering it, and redistributing it. And of course, finding and cultivating donors will be an important part of that work.

If you're the head of your nonprofit, you sometimes start to feel like the captain of a vessel – most of your day-to-day probably involves running around, issuing orders and guidelines, putting out fires, and getting everybody to do their share of the rowing. When you're doing all that, who has time for fundraising?

Of course, when you're sailing the high seas of the nonprofit sector, raising money becomes a matter of sink or swim.

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Topics: Fundraising, donor stewardship, nonprofit leadership

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