Fundraise Smarter

Creating a Nonprofit Membership Program

Posted by Steven Wesley on Mar 29, 2018 10:00:00 AM


A membership program is one of the most fruitful nonprofit funding models. It allows charity organizations to maintain financial stability and focus on real work instead of chasing money day after day. However, it’s not easy to create a successful membership program.

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Topics: Fundraising, Nonprofit, nonprofit management, fundraising campaigns, membership program, nonprofit membership program

Fundraising in the Digital Era [Video]

Posted by Logan Montone on Jun 6, 2017 10:00:00 AM


Like Tacos and Fundraising?

Well, nonprofit leaders in Buffalo, NY sure do! And the seminar we hosted on "Fundraising in the Digital Era" a few weeks ago was the place to be! From breakfast tacos to digital fundraising tips and tactics, it was an absolute blast. Don't worry, we got the whole thing on video for you. Although, you'll have to come visit us if you want the tacos.

Okay, I'm officially hungry. But let's try and focus on the fundraising strategies you can learn and use from our video of the event!

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Topics: Fundraising, Online giving, online fundraising, fundraising events

Planning a Perfect Fundraising Event in 5 Steps

Posted by Andrew Hurley on Mar 28, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Fundraising events are some of the most rewarding fundraising strategies that nonprofits can implement. An event is an opportunity to work with social cues to inspire more fundraising and learn more about your donor base. 

But fundraising events can also be risky and taxing. Your organization is putting time, money, and resources on the line, often in a months-long process.

To help ensure that your event is the smashing success that it can be, you’ll need to plan accordingly. Start with these 5 simple steps:

  1. Set clear goals.
  2. Brand your event.
  3. Invite your attendees.
  4. Invest in the right software.
  5. Sell promotional products.

Let's break each of these down; 

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Topics: Fundraising, Software, mobile giving, Data-Driven Fundraising,, event fundraising, donor research, branding

The Top Private Charitable Foundations in Your State

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on Aug 1, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Private charitable foundations.

To the general public, they’re just those names they hear read off at the end of their favorite NPR show.

But to nonprofit development workers, they’re a valuable source of funding and support.

Many of these foundations pay out millions of dollars a year to deserving nonprofit organizations. Often times, the causes they support align with the values of the wealthy individual who founded them (even if he or she has long since passed).

So who are the biggest players in private foundations near you? I put together this handy spreadsheet breaking down the largest foundations by state, along with how much they distributed in the form of grants for the latest calendar year available (2014 for most).

Take a look to see who’s near you!

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Topics: Fundraising, Major Gifts, Fundraising Data,

The Common Sense Approach to Corporate Fundraising That Nobody Seems to Be Doing

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on May 31, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Last week, we had the great privilege of hosting a webinar with Chris Baylis (here’s the recording on demand if you missed it). Chris is an expert on all things sponsorship, and people eat his presentations up.

I think one of the things that makes his presentations so engaging and interesting to people is this: a lot of what he says is “counter-cultural,” yet common sense at the same time.

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Topics: Fundraising, corporate giving, event sponsorship

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

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

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

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

How This Nonprofit Used Emotional Triggers For a 5-Figure Campaign (In Under a Month)

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on Feb 29, 2016 10:00:00 AM


Want your next fundraising campaign to be a success?

Nail your emotional response.

Whether it's online, at a gala, or delivered through a street canvasser, it's the most important thing a nonprofit can do to raise funds.

Here’s why:

Emotions are the #1 driver of actions. That mean sharing AND donating.

In everything you do in a campaign, your first priority should be eliciting an emotional response from your audience. And the research shows that high arousal emotions, positive and negative, get the biggest response.

So what kind of emotion should you target?

You could make people mad.

You could make people happy.

Or you could make people sad. Tug on their heartstrings a bit.

I’m here to make the case for a tear-jerker campaign.

Sometimes, a hit “right in the feels” is exactly what we need to hear to force us to open our hearts and wallets and contribute.

But it’s a delicate balance. Going the tear-jerker route can quickly start to feel overly “preachy” or like a guilt-trip to your donor. That’s not what we’re going for.

You have to inject just the right amount of heartbreak, urgency, and hope to pull it off.

I think the best way to do that is by looking at a successful example of a nonprofit that knows how to get an emotional response and breaking down exactly what makes it so effective.

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Topics: Fundraising, Storytelling,

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