Fundraise Smarter

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.

*Shudder*

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.

What?!

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,

9 Sneaky Social Cues You Can Use For An Epic Fundraising Event [SLIDESHARE]

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on Jan 19, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Ah, galas...

That staple of nonprofit development strategies. Both beloved and beleaguered. 

One of the reasons that events and galas can be effective is the fact they they're social. Your most engaged supporters are there with you, face-to-face. They're chatting, drinking, and taking in some entertainment. It's a prime opportunity to launch a campaign and start bringing in donations.

Here at WeDidIt, we're big fans of using mobile-responsive campaign pages on iPads at events, because the donation is instant. There's no hiding pledge cards under your plate. Once that iPad starts getting passed around the table with everyone making instant donations, the social pressure is on to make a gift.

We called that an atmosphere of shared responsibility.

How else can you create an atmosphere of shared responsibility? Check out the SlideShare below for 9 tips!

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Topics: Fundraising, galas, fundraising events

10 Genius Last-Minute Gifts for Your Favorite Fundraiser

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on Dec 21, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Uh oh. It’s Monday. Christmas is Friday. And you’ve still got some friends in the office you need gifts for.

But what do you get the fundraiser who has it all?

Relax, we’ve got your back. Here are a few last minute gifts you can pick up that any fundraiser will love:

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Topics: Fundraising, For Fun

4 Surefire Ways to Prepare Your Nonprofit For Holiday Fundraising

Posted by Brooke Binkowski on Nov 9, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Halloween has come and gone, the fall weather has arrived all over the northern hemisphere, and we're one pumpkin spice latte and winter-themed window display away from the holiday season. In fact, the Christmas advertising has already begun.

This is also one of the most popular and lively times of year to solicit donations. After all, if people are already in the spirit of giving, what better opening can you get for the ask? As a matter of fact, the numbers are pretty amazing, especially with online gift giving: nearly $1 out of every $5 donated to a charity online is given in December – and donors give much larger gifts this time of year, too – around 80% bigger overall.

It's a no-brainer, right? Well, hold up there for a second. Yes, the holidays are the time that people and companies traditionally set money aside in order to give to charities and foundations, and therefore it's a great idea to focus fundraising efforts around the holiday season, but you have to be sure you're going about it the right way. Like so many other aspects of running a nonprofit, managing the holidays takes planning, cultivation, and knowing when to ask and when to give. A little preparation can reap benefits for you and your organization all year long.

Here are four surefire ways to make sure you're ready for the holiday season.

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Topics: Fundraising, Holiday Fundraising, GivingTuesday

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