Fundraise Smarter

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

A Conversation With AFP VP Michael Nilsen

Posted by Brooke Binkowski on Oct 5, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Whether you want more donations (and who doesn't?) or looking for people to get your idea off the ground and make it into a reality, sooner or later you're going to come up against the sticky issue of how much information to make public.

Transparency in philanthropy is a deceptively easy idea that can be incredibly complex and intimidating.. The rise of Big Data can obscure just as much as it reveals, so do you just put it all out there or streamline it? Do you let everything hang out? Keep information in your hip pocket? What's a charity to do?

I talked to Michael Nilsen, Vice President of Public Policy with the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFPnet.org) to get some answers.

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Topics: Fundraising, fundraising ethics

How to Win Public Support Like Donald Trump

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on Sep 28, 2015 10:00:00 AM

I stared blankly at my screen, unable to really comprehend or believe what I was seeing.

Poll after poll had ranked Donald Trump...Donald Trump!...as the front-runner for the Republican nomination for President.

Like many, I assumed this was a flash-in-the-pan lead. As soon as he had another dumb gaff, people would see him for what he is and move on.

But the gaffs came and went, yet his lead remained. It’s...mind-blowing.

What is it about this guy that makes him so impenetrable? He says horrifying things, insults his own party members, and constantly gloats about how rich he is. His fellow candidates do everything they can to tear him down. First they ignored him, then they engaged him, now they’re trying to ignore him again.

Yet he still enjoys a comfortable lead.

Then I figured it out.

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Topics: Fundraising, online fundraising, nonprofit marketing,

New Features From Facebook, Twitter, and Apple: What It Means for Nonprofits

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

Last week was a busy one in the tech world, with Apple, Facebook, and Twitter all rolling out new products and features. Reactions from the public have ranged from cynicism to enthusiasm.

But what, if any, effect do these new products and features have for the nonprofit world?

Let’s start with Twitter.

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Topics: Fundraising, Nonprofit tech, social media

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

Finding New Donors with Donor Stories

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on Sep 14, 2015 9:00:00 AM

The nonprofit fundraising world is filled with storytelling advice, and for good reason. Telling your nonprofit’s story in a powerful way is a far more effective means of cultivating and finding new donors.

But often times, we stop the story telling at the beneficiaries of our organization. Many fundraisers feel that once they’ve told the story of their nonprofit’s mission, there’s no other story to tell.

However, this overlooks what can be one of your most powerful sources of story telling magic (and one that can help you find new donors as well): your donors’ stories.

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Topics: Fundraising, online fundraising, Storytelling,, Finding new donors, donor acquisition

Finding New Donors? Keep It Simple!

Posted by Brooke Binkowski on Sep 3, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Nonprofits, by their very definition, aren't moneymakers, but money is still a major part of every decision you make at every nonprofit, whether it's a huge enterprise or a tiny no-overhead operation.

Without money, there can be no services. Without services, there is no nonprofit.

So, appropriately, in the nonprofit world, the million dollar (or more or less, depending on operating costs) question is: How do you bring in enough money to achieve all of your organization's goals and pay employees a living wage?

Grants are helpful – and they're always welcome. Foundations and government money can make or break a nonprofit organization, sure. But the real power of organizations are in the people: donors are the heart, soul, and lifeblood of any successful nonprofit, especially individual givers. The tricky part is finding donors. The trickier part is keeping them.

First things first. How do you go about finding new donors?

It helps to keep it simple and return to fundraising basics, with some minor tweaks for the modern world.

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Topics: Fundraising, Online giving

Is Buying a Nonprofit Email List Smart?

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on Aug 24, 2015 9:00:00 AM

I love sports, especially college sports.

There’s something about the on field struggle that athletes engage in that serves as a microcosm for life. Particularly in regards to college athletics, where the on-field play is still raw and unpolished, often marred by mistakes that teams must then respond to and overcome.

One of my favorite figures in college sports history is John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach. Wooden’s teams won an insane 10 national titles in a 12 year span (and to think I got tired of the Miami Heat after winning 2 in a row).

But he is perhaps best known for his wise, timeless quotes that apply to all areas of life, far beyond basketball.

Even all the way to nonprofit email marketing (No kidding!).

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Topics: Fundraising, nonprofit marketing,, email fundraising

3 Ways To Turn Those Entitled Kids Into Philanthropic Superstars

Posted by Maeve Strathy on Jul 23, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Editorial note: Today's post comes from Maeve Strathy. Come hear more from Maeve at our webinar on July 29th!

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about, writing about, and being the young donor. We know all the cliché stuff; they’re the major donors of the future… And it’s true! If baby boomers are our main source of donations now, then it’s only a matter of time before their children take their place.

But how do you identify them, these billionaires of the future?

Do you have young people in your prospect pool? Who are they? And why did they end up there?

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Topics: Fundraising, Young donors,

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