The leaves are starting to change here in Louisville and there was a briskness in the air when I took the dog for a walk this morning. Christmas and the ‘giving-est’ season of the year will soon be upon us. If you haven’t started already, now is the time to plan how your organization will be asking donors to consider you in their year-end giving plans. A good tip is to make sure that you personalize your written appeals, rather than sending the out-dated ‘Dear Friend’ letters. If you’re not sure how to do that, or want help with your fall appeal, please let me know.
Included below is an article about surveys that came from a question asked by a reader. Send in your question and I’ll try to answer it in next week’s installment.
Here are this week’s headlines. Happy reading!
THOUGHTS ON FUNDRAISING
Personalize Fundraising Letters: 3 Ways for Even Small Nonprofits to Go Pro (Writing Fundraising Donation Letters Blog) This article covers the logistics of how to get away from “Dear Friend” and other impersonal elements that take away from the power of direct mail. http://stepbystepfundraising.com/personalize-fundraising-letters-3-ways-for-even-small-nonprofits-to-go-pro/
Equal Rights for Fundraising (Harvard Business Publishing) A very frank, somewhat abrasive, reflection of the role of fundraising in the nonprofit sector. http://blogs.harvardbusiness.org/pallotta/2009/09/equal-rights-for-fundraising.html
The 50-Cent Rule: If a charity spends less than half its funds on its programs, does that mean it's ineffective? (Slate) This article includes great information about the ongoing debate regarding overhead costs. http://www.slate.com/id/2227676
Desperately Seeking Grants Can Lead to Identity Crisis (KeysNews.com) "Nonprofit board members play an important role in seeking funding from foundations. Board members can utilize their connections to make phone calls to friends or colleagues to move the proposal along. Also, nonprofit boards have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure the organization fulfills the grant requirements. http://keysnews.com/node/16652
TIPS AND RESOURCES
Six Secrets Of 'athon' Events (The NonProfit Times) Anyone who has worked with me probably knows that I am not a huge fan of organizations hosting several events each year. However, if you’re going to have an annual event, it’s good to make it a successful one – both in dollars raised and awareness raised. A note that is not mentioned in this article – try to find an event that connects in some way with your mission. A big drawback of events is that many times, attendees are not aware of the organization that is benefitting from the event (or they forget within a week or so following the event). http://www.nptimes.com/instantfund/09Sep/IF-090910-1.html
Mistakes Nonprofits Can’t Afford to Make (Albany Nonprofit Business Examiner) Five marketing mistakes nonprofits make and how to avoid them. http://www.examiner.com/x-20630-Albany-Nonprofit-Business-Examiner~y2009m9d9-Mistakes-nonprofits-cant-afford-to-make
Creating a Great Survey (Kirsten’s Fundraising Headlines Blog) A great way to prepare for a campaign (whether an annual campaign or major gift campaign) is to do a survey with your current constituents. http://fundraisingheadlines.blogspot.com/2009/09/creating-great-survey.html
How Charities Harness Social Media For A Social Impact (CS Monitor) A recap of Twestival and other successful fundraising efforts through the use of social media. http://features.csmonitor.com/innovation/2009/09/08/how-charities-harness-social-media-for-a-social-impact/
Get Your Social Media Questions Answered by the Pros -- Gear Up for Giving (Nonprofit Marketing: Getting Attention Blog) This is a month-long series of social media tutorials to help you understand how to key social media tools and techniques to build awareness and motivate action for your cause. These free, live online Q&A sessions are hosted by some of the pros in the field. The series is a precursor to the next round of America's Giving Challenge. http://www.gettingattention.org/my_weblog/2009/09/get-your-social-media-questions-answered-by-the-pros.html
9/11: National Day of Remembrance (Washingtonpost.com) A summary of some of the events that occurred last Friday to remember 9/11. http://afprc7.blogspot.com/2009/09/911-national-day-of-remembrance.html
Slow Economy Sparks Nonprofit Collaborations (New Mexico Business Weekly) Don’t waste a good crisis. That’s one way to look at the current recession, said Dennis Plummer. “It’s really true,” added the executive director of the Metropolitan Homelessness Project in Albuquerque. “This has pulled voices and people to the table we have not seen before.” http://albuquerque.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/stories/2009/09/14/story5.html?b=1252900800%5E2076601
Feeling Good about Giving: The Benefits (and Costs) of Self-Interested Charitable Behavior (Harvard Business School Working Knowledge) "Social scientists have identified a host of ways in which charitable behavior can lead to benefits for the giver, whether economically via tax breaks, socially via signaling one's wealth or status, or psychologically via experiencing well-being from helping.” http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/6272.html
'Nonprofit Man' Puts Heart, Soul and Backing into Causes He Believes In (Memphis Commercial Appeal) He's known as "Nonprofit Man" and "super senior" by those he helps, but 84-year-old Lee Wakeman prefers the shadow to the limelight. During the last 21 years, and mostly behind the scenes, Wakeman has helped raise millions for local nonprofits. http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2009/sep/08/passion-to-give-good-news/