Blog Archives

Your case for fundraising goal better match your messaging and need


zikaThis morning, I was in my car driving down the interstate when National Public Radio (NPR) ran a story about UNICEF’s goal to raise $9 million to fight against the Zika virus. If you want to learn more about this new, you can click here and read more about it in the Washington Post. However, this isn’t really what today’s blog post is about . . . this morning I want to share with you my response to this story and how it applies to your non-profit organization.

In the three seconds after listening to this NPR story, here are the thoughts that raced through my mind:

  • Ugh! Not another scary disease story (e.g. Swine flu, bird flu, SARS, Ebola, etc) to whip up public fear and motivate action on any number of fronts. Here we go again.😦
  • Hmmmm, I wonder if little kids are still carrying UNICEF boxes collecting small change at Halloween? Is it possible for a simple “tin cup philanthropy” campaign to raise $9 million for this effort?
  • Barf . . . I think some of the U.S. Presidential candidates who lost last night’s Iowa Caucus could probably fund this $9 million UNICEF goal many times over. (If you doubt me, then you may want to click here and make sure you’re near a toilet for the post-article queasiness)

You’re probably wondering what any of this has to do with you and your non-profit organization?

Simply . . .

Make sure that your fundraising goal matches the size of your case for support!

If you are trying to do something BIG and you need your donors to understand how BIG it is as well as rise to the BIG occasion, then your fundraising goal better also be BIG. If you don’t live by this rule, then it is likely that your campaign will:

  • be seen as underwhelming
  • lack traction and volunteer support
  • attract fewer donors than anticipated
  • result in smaller average size gifts
  • run the risk of not meeting goal

I took a phone call the other day from a potential client wanting me to bid on a capital campaign. After asking a few questions, it was apparent they only wanted to set a six figure goal to do a little renovation. I encouraged them to go back to their boardroom, ask the following questions, and then we’ll talk again:

  • What other needs do your clients face in your community? How much money do you need to address those needs?
  • Are your physical plant issues perfect if you are successful with these small renovations? If not, then what more needs to occur and how much would that cost?
  • Is your endowment satisfactorily large enough to inspire confidence in your donors that you have the question of long-term sustainability addressed?
  • Look at this renovation campaign through the eyes of your donors. What do they see? What are their reactions?
  • Does your organization possess the internal organizational capacity to sustain what you’re building? If not, can that be built into this campaign? If so, what would that cost? (e.g. endowing staff positions, etc)

Please use the comment box to share your thoughts and experiences with goal setting and building a B-HAG (e.g. big, hairy audacious goal) type of campaign and case for support. Have you been in this position before? If so, what did you do and what did you learn? We can all learn from each other.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

Non-profit organizes camel race to raise money for its mission


20160121_131831[1]Recently, I’ve been working with Boys & Girls Club of Watertown on a project, and a few months ago staff asked me if I wanted to schedule my January return trip around their Camel Race fundraising event. Of course my answer was “Heck yeah!” I’ve been doing resource development and non-profit work for almost two decades, and I have never seen a camel race to raise money for charity. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. So, today’s post is all about my experience, and it is an opportunity to share picture.

Spoiler alert . . . my camel won (I named her Carmen, after the somba singer dancer of Chiquita Banana fame, and you can see her pictured to the right)!  :-)

What is a camel race?

20160122_205458[1]In a nutshell, a camel race is a game of chance. It involves betting, dice rolling and moving decorated camels through a race course. Here are a few details:

  • Event sponsorships are sold to area businesses
  • While different sponsor levels come with different benefits, every sponsor is asked to decorate a camel shaped piece of plywood
  • Participants purchase tickets to attend the event (in addition to the camel races dinner is provided)
  • Before dinner, there is a social hour where attendees are asked to vote for the best decorated camel (of course people vote by placing dollars in ballot boxes in front of each camel)
  • There are also opportunities to purchase raffle tickets before dinner
  • Camels are segmented into different races (there weren’t more than six camels per race because there aren’t more than six sides to a dice) and each camel is assigned a number between one and six
  • 20160122_205516[1]Two very large fuzzy dice are rolled and the numbers rolled move the camel with the corresponding number one space forward on the race course (e.g. if a two and six are rolled then camel #2 and camel #6 each move one space)
  • The winner of each race competes in a championship race at the end of the evening
  • Event attendees place bets on which camel will win each race
  • There is software that determines the odds and payout ratios based upon what people bet

If you are still scratching your head and unsure of how this event works, then here is how the organization describes the event in their FAQ document:

How does the race work? Camels will move a space along the racetrack when their assigned number is called out as a result of a throw of two really large dice. Every time your Camels number is called out, they get to move a space. First Camel to move 10 spaces wins the Race. Attendees are allowed to bet on each heat using their camel bucks.”

While this event was unique, I walked away thinking it was kind of like a cross between a casino night and Duck Race fundraising event.

For the record, I LOVED this fundraising event. I give it a big gold star for fun and creativity.  :-)

What did the camels look like?

I love how excited and creative event sponsors got with their camels. The following are a few thumbnail snapshots I took with my cell phone (there were at least 30 camels and I just don’t have the space to share all of them . . . my apologies).

20160122_171636[1]     20160122_171639[1]     20160122_171644[1]

20160122_171648[1]     20160122_171652[1]     20160122_171655[1]

20160122_171700[1]     20160122_171705[1]     20160122_171707[1]

20160122_171711[1]     20160122_171717[1]     20160122_171727[1]

20160122_171732[1]     20160122_171749[1]     20160122_171814[1]

Is a camel race the answer to ALL of your fundraising challenges?

The short answer is . . . NO.

20160122_205535[1]Special event fundraising is:

  • time consuming
  • volunteer intense
  • costly (e.g. it will cost your organization between 50 cents and $1.30 to raise $1.00 when you consider both direct and indirect costs)

This doesn’t mean your organization shouldn’t host a handful of (read this as one, two or possibly three) well planned and executed special events through the year. Because you should! However, it needs to be done in conjunction with a diversified resource development plan that also includes an annual campaign, private foundation grants, government funding, corporate giving, family foundation support, major gift strategy as well as periodic efforts focused on capital, endowment and special project initiatives.

For more information about developing your organization’s annual resource develop plan, here are a few links you should check out:

In addition to folding your special events into a well thought out RD Plan, your organization should always be looking at the “return on investment” (ROI) associated with your special events. Keep in mind the Association of Fundraising Professionals advocates that you keep your cost per dollar raised to under 50 cents.

Click here to access an awesome ROI measurement tool developed by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) for its local affiliates.

What is the most unique special event fundraiser you’ve ever seen? How does your organization integrate special event fundraising into its fundraising program? How reliant are you on funding that comes from your events? How do you assess ROI? Please use the comment box to share your thoughts and experiences?

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

It is gift giving season. Do you know what you’re giving your donors?


IMG_20151220_110543620[1]Happy Holidays, DonorDreams readers! I am one of those people who procrastinates gift shopping until the last minute, which is why I was so relieved last night when I snagged the last Minecraft video game for Xbox 360 off the shelf at Target for my niece. Phew! That was a close call. I know that gift giving isn’t just on my mind because last week one of my clients gave me a pen and set of blank cards designed by their clients as small token of their appreciation (see picture to right).

Giving gifts to donors as part of a campaign (e.g. mugs, plaques, frames pictures, tote bags, etc) or at the end of the year as part of a holiday stewardship initiative is fairly commonplace in the non-profit sector. Of course, this activity is full of an angst because the last thing in the world a non-profit organization wants to do is leave the donor with a feeling that their donation had just been wasted on gift giving and appreciation.

A few years ago, a fundraising professional wrote to me and ask me for advice on this topic. I shared the following:

  • Pick up the phone, call your Top 10 donors and ask their opinion on what they think is appropriate in your community (because a simply phone call can be as much of a gift as any tote bag or appreciation plaque)
  • Send every donor a holiday card at the end of the year and include a simple Impact Report along with it (or at least incorporate some simple ‘impact messaging’ with your card)
  • Utilize “The Smell Test” and don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right (when it comes to donor gifts)
  • Practice the “KISS principle” and don’t do anything too extravagant (when it comes to donor gifts)

Gifts don’t always need to be something physical. Sometimes a personalized acknowledgement can be a very thoughtful gift.

For example, last week our friends at Bloomerang gave me the best gift of all when they named the DonorDreams blog to their list of “64 Fundraising Blogs You Should Be Reading in 2016“. This was the second year in a row that this blog made that list, and it was better than almost any other holiday gift I’ve received in recent memory.

(Side note: I encourage you to click-through and read the Bloomerang article about other non-profit/fundraising bloggers. There are a number of smart and engaging bloggers on that list who you might want to check-out.)

Do you give your donors gifts? If so, what do you give them and how do you make sure that you don’t over-do-it and upset your donors? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment box below because we can all learn from each other.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

Is your holiday mail solicitation personalized?


mail mergeI had the privilege of interviewing a young fundraising professional yesterday for an online article that I am writing. In that interview, we talked for almost an hour about direct mail and her passion for learning as much as she can about that industry’s best practices and how to apply it to her non-profit fundraising work.

We spent a good long time talking about her passion for “mail merge“.

I know, I know. To those of you who don’t do much work on the snail-mail side of the fundraising profession, this probably sounds a little funny. After all, isn’t mail merge simply a word processor function?

The reality of direct mail and targeted mail is that the more personalized you can make your mail piece the more effective it will be in raising money for your organization. In other words, a letter that begins with “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Friend” will raise significantly less than “Dear Erik” or “Dear Mr. Anderson“.

Of course, for many of us, mail merge begins and ends with the salutation at the top of the letter. But this was NOT the case for my energetic young interviewee yesterday. The following are just a few of the ways she was using mail merge in her fundraising letters:

  • Customized salutation (as described above)
  • Customized signatory (board member with a relationship to the donor)
  • Last year’s gift amount
  • This year’s ask amount
  • Customized gift level check boxes on the response card
  • Customized message on the outside envelope

To say this fundraising professional is in love with the mail merge as a tool would be an understatement. As would be my admiration for someone who exhibits that much passion for her work with donors and the art of philanthropy.

You might be wondering about the last two bullet points pertaining to the response card and the exterior envelope. Let me try to clarify in the space below.

With regard to the check boxes on the response card, there is some good evidence that indicates that the numbers you use psychologically factor into the donor’s decision.

For example, if a donor gave $275 last year and you’ve asked them to consider a $350 gift this year, some experts say you should not provide check box options with big gaps (e.g. $250, $500, $1000) because the donor will likely round down if last year’s gift is closer to that number instead of rounding up. To combat this psychology, using mail merge to customize the options (e.g. $275, $350, $500) can help increase the effectiveness of your upgrade strategy.

With regard to the customized message on the outside envelope, there is good evidence that people open mail from people they know. For example, an envelope that simply indicates there is something from your non-profit organization is less likely to be opened because donors can guess it is likely a solicitation and treat it like they do other direct mail. However, mail merging a message such as “A message from [insert BD vol name] is inside” will increase the odds of the donor opening the envelope because we all give consideration to our friends.

There is no doubt that direct mail and targeted mail are complicated and involve proven practices (aka the science of direct mail), which is why talking to young, enthusiastic fundraising professionals about this topic always does my soul some good.

So, my tip for today as it relates to direct mail is MAIL MERGE is your friend!

The following are a few older DonorDreams blog posts on the topic along with a few other resources:

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

The key to growing corporate relationships? Matching gifts!


Good morning, DonorDreams readers! As the Beatles sang so many decades ago, “I get by with a little help from my friends“. As you know, I’ve been relying on a number of guest bloggers to get me through a busy period. Today’s guest post is from Adam Weinger over at Double the Donation blog.Adam shares  I hope you enjoy this morning’s post.  Here’s to your health!  ~Erik


How Your Nonprofit can use Matching Gifts to Grow Corporate Relationships

By Adam Weinger
Double the Donation

matching giftMatching gifts are a great way for your nonprofit to receive twice as many donations from donors and their employers. While this benefit is obvious, did you know that matching gifts can also help your nonprofit create and cultivate relationships with corporations?

Nearly every company is looking to expand and improve its culture of corporate social responsibility. Your nonprofit can help these businesses achieve their goals while you simultaneously promote matching gifts to your donors!

Here are three ways that your nonprofit can use matching gifts to cultivate corporate relationships.

If your nonprofit has existing partnerships with corporations that provide stellar matching gift programs to their employees, thank those companies for encouraging employee giving and helping your nonprofit accomplish its mission.

Take a look at Double the Donation’s list of the top matching gift companies to see if any of your corporate partners made the cut!

1. Press releases

Sending out a press release is one of the best ways for your nonprofit to put the spotlight on your corporate partners. Not only is this a highly visible and simple way to let people know about the good that your organization’s corporate partner is doing, but it also gives you an opportunity to let others know more about your nonprofit in general.

A sample press release should include information about:

  • Past donations.
  • How long your nonprofit has been partnered with the company.
  • How many employees have taken advantage of the matching gift program.
  • The other types of corporate giving programs that the company offers.
  • Any other pertinent information.

Press releases draw attention to the philanthropy of the companies that help your nonprofit and educate the general public about your nonprofit and the work that you’re doing. Plus, the company’s employees feel good knowing that they work for a business that regularly gives back to causes that they feel deeply about. They’re a win for everyone involved!

For help on getting started forming partnerships, check out these best practices.

2. Use your nonprofit’s website to acknowledge corporate partners

Many donors are already using your organization’s website to make their donations. Why not use the opportunity to promote the generosity of the corporations that offer matching gift programs?

If you already have a dedicated matching gift page on your nonprofit’s website, add some information about companies that have outstanding matching gift programs to educate donors about doubling their donations while simultaneously thanking and acknowledging those companies.

If you don’t have a dedicated matching gift page on your website, set one up so that donors know exactly how they can maximize their donations and can research the companies that offer them.

Additionally, promoting your corporate partnerships and their matching gifts can help ensure that those partnerships thrive and continue down the line.

For ways to use ePhilanthropy to secure matching gifts, check out this article.

3. Recognize corporate partnerships and matching gift programs at events

Whether your nonprofit is hosting a gala, auction, walkathon, or other fundraising event, you can make the most of a captive audience to thank your corporate partners and laud the matching gift programs that they offer their employees.

Obviously, don’t overshadow the corporate sponsors that have made your fundraising event possible. But it’s a good idea to give a shout out to all of the companies that have helped your organization in one way or another.

When you publicly announce and promote the businesses that have assisted your nonprofit with their matching gift programs, you not only strengthen the existing nonprofit-company relationship that you have, but you also let other individuals know about matching gifts.

* * *

There are many benefits that nonprofit-corporate partnerships can produce. When those companies offer matching gift programs, your nonprofit is doubly rewarded. Recognizing your corporate partners online and in person is your nonprofit’s way of acknowledging their generosity and drawing attention to their outstanding matching gift programs.

Get more from your prospect research and screening efforts: Part Two


Good morning, DonorDreams readers! Tis the season, and like you I am slammed. I apologize for missing Tuesday’s post, but the day just slipped away from me. I’m very sorry. However, today’s post is the second part of the prospect/donor research and screening article from DonorSearch’s Sarah Tedesco. And it is VERY GOOD!!! Last week she wrote about screening and how it can help improve your special events. Today, she focuses in on how it can help you identify hidden planned giving prospects in your database. I hope you enjoy this morning’s post.  Here’s to your health!  ~Erik


5 Factors That Can Help You Identify a Planned Giving Prospect

When nonprofits talk about identifying a prospect’s giving capability, there is usually some variation on three points.

Capability can be evaluated based on a person’s philanthropic inclination, level of wealth, and connection to your organization.

That donor identification formula is used regularly for prospect research, and it works. Most often, organizations turn to this research when seeking out major giving candidates. But, there’s another type of donor that also deserves that level of investigation: planned giving donors.

If a nonprofit knows what to look for, it should have no problem locating planned giving prospects.

The following five factors are all identifying traits of planned giving donors.

These indicators are rooted in the above points (philanthropic interests, wealth, and tie to your organization), but have been tweaked to specifically help identify planned giving donors.

Factor One — Loyalty

loyaltyIn terms of traditional types of giving, past donations are strong indicators of future giving. That trend logically carries over to planned giving.

Leaving a planned gift is a way of securing a legacy, and those who donate such gifts are likely to want to have a legacy with an organization that they’ve had a strong connection to.

The correlation is clearly evidenced by the fact that during their lifetimes, 78% of planned giving donors contributed over 15 gifts to the organizations they allocated funds to in their wills.

Factor Two — Recipient of Your Nonprofit’s Service

clientsThis factor is in reference to those whom your organization positively affected. The range is fairly broad here. A planned gift might be left to a university by a dedicated alumnus. Similarly, a hospital might receive a planned gift from a grateful patient.

Cross reference your list of those who have benefited from your service and have also donated, and that can be the start to your search. Throw in some of the next few traits and you’re on your way to finding the perfect planned giving prospects for your organization.

Factor Three — Traditional Wealth Markers

wealthLet me start by stating in no uncertain terms that planned giving prospects do not have to be wealthy.

I repeat — planned giving prospects do not have to be wealthy.

We’ll get to that point in a moment for factor four, but for the time being, we should acknowledge that many planned giving donors are wealthy.

How do you check for these signs of wealth? Perform a wealth screening. You’ll be looking for real estate ownership, extensive political giving, stock ownership, and other similar indicators.

Factor Four — Has the Desire to Leave a Bigger Gift Than is Presently Possible

large giftFactor four encompasses the large gift loophole for planned giving donors. Although they are often comparable in size, unlike major gifts, planned gifts do not inherently require wealth.

Just because someone does not have the current expendable income that allows for large charitable gifts does not mean that the person is disinterested in giving those gifts.

Those who want a workaround for that obstacle can allocate a planned gift in their wills (also known as a bequest). That way, the funds go to the nonprofit when the donor no longer needs them.

If you want to build the kind of relationships that result in planned gifts in situations like these, your organization absolutely must have excellent stewardship. Nonprofits with successful planned giving programs follow top-notch donor retention practices.

Factor Five — Has Been an Ongoing Supporter of Your Organization

loyalty2You’ve probably noticed a theme among three of the traits listed above:

Candidates for planned giving are dedicated supporters.

Planned gifts are not left on a whim. The word planned is in the term! They come from people who have developed a bond to your cause, so you need to keep them in mind when considering prospects. Think beyond those who have made monetary gifts.

Look to:

Support of your nonprofit comes in many forms. Don’t forget that when you’re finding planned giving donors.

* * * *

Remember, when searching for planned giving prospects, it is not one, but all of these factors combined that will help you identify the best candidates. A planned giving prospect has more than one defining trait. They’re multi-dimensional donors, influenced to give because of a confluence of circumstances.

8% of individual giving comes from bequests. Ensure that your organization is receiving a part of that 8%. Now that you know the prospects you’re looking for, start seeking planned gifts.


sarahSarah Tedesco is the Executive Vice President of DonorSearch, a prospect research and wealth screening company that focuses on proven philanthropy. Sarah is responsible for managing the production and customer support department concerning client contract fulfillment, increasing retention rate and customer satisfaction. She collaborates with other team members on a variety of issues including sales, marketing and product development ideas.

Get more from your prospect research and screening efforts: Part One


Good morning, DonorDreams readers! As many of you know, my work schedule has become challenging in recent months, and I’ve asked a number of “virtual online friends” to help me out with guest blog posts. Today’s post is from Sarah Tedesco, who is the Executive Vice President at DonorSearch. She talks about the role that donor and prospect screening can play in helping your special events raise more money. I hope you enjoy this morning’s post.  Here’s to your health!  ~Erik


 

3 Ways Prospect Research Can Help You Raise More Money from Events

Most nonprofits host at least one event annually. Even smaller nonprofits will typically make the push for one.

Cost per dollar raised (CPDR) is often the biggest factor in deciding on an event type. Smaller nonprofits with tighter budgets cannot afford to make the upfront investment for something like, say, a concert. Instead, they can opt for an event like a walk-a-thon. Each event has its merits. It comes down to individual circumstances.

Given the heavy emphasis on CPDR, nonprofits absolutely have to maximize fundraising in every aspect of the event. Prospect research is a valuable asset for such maximization.

See what a screening can do for your next event in the three benefits listed below.  

1. Teach You Valuable Information About Your Guest List

guest listSo you have your RSVP list. You know who is coming. What do you do with that information?

Hopefully, you use it! And by use it, I mean doing more than making sure you have everyone’s t-shirt size or dinner order. Both pieces of information are important for the flow and preparation of your event, but they’re not incredibly relevant to the task at hand — fundraising.

Twiddling your thumbs with a guest list in front of you is a missed opportunity. Research the attendees and learn about them before you see them.

Prospect screening can reveal so much about donors, like their:

  • Giving histories
  • Financial situations
  • Philanthropic interests
  • Business affiliations

Developing prospect profiles on all of your guests prior to the event will supercharge your staff’s ability to mix and mingle when the big night rolls around.

You might know some of the high-quality donors in attendance, but prospect research will help you round out the list. Once you know who is coming, create your VIP, very important prospect, list.

Your staff can study those individuals and make sure that they dedicate some time to stop by and check in with each VIP.

2. Point Out the Donors That Warrant Extra Post-Event Attention

follow upMuch like you can create a pre-event V.I.P. list, you can do the same after the event.

The post-event research can accomplish two tasks:

  1. Making up for the pre-event process if you didn’t perform an advance attendee screening.
  2. Finding the VIPs who weren’t on your initial list.

Your organization’s handling of event acknowledgments and follow-ups is crucial. You know this, so any information you can gather to improve the process should be welcomed with open arms. Well, open your arms to prospect research.

A high-attendance event, like a 5K, is going to have far too many participants for your staff to reach out to one-on-one afterwards. But, certain donors warrant that type of follow-up.

Consider an example scenario with a donor named Ron who attended your fundraising dinner and auction as a plus one. At the event, he ended up bidding on and winning one of your middle-of-the-pack auction items. You learned his name and various personal details through his auction win, and screened him after the fact.

Your post-event screening revealed that he’s a perfect candidate for planned giving. You now have a direction to go in after sending your acknowledgements.

Knowing what to send immediately after a contribution is easy…it’s a thank you. The next stages of building a communication stream require much more nuance and perspective. That’s when prospect research is so necessary.

3. Help You Adjust Your Event Strategies

strategic planning implementationAlbert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Insanity is a strong word, but you have to switch things up if your fundraising events aren’t bringing in enough money. That can mean adjusting the event itself or hosting an all new event. Choosing the latter option will take some effort, but there is no shortage of fundraising event ideas out there to get your mind going.

Rather than just guessing the solution to your issue, let prospect research lead you in the right direction. Have the data inform your plans.

Screen those you invited, those who RSVP’d, and those who attended. There’s going to be some overlap among those categories, but it won’t be all overlap.

Look for trends in your fundraising performance and commonalities among the various prospects you screen. To isolate the trends, you’ll need to analyze multiple years’ worth of participation.

For instance, your research could show that despite the fact that one of your events is largely populated by millennials, they’re collectively donating less than any other age group in attendance.

That could direct you to assess how you’re collecting donations. Maybe the event needs an online giving component. Maybe you need to optimize the process for mobile donating.

In another scenario, you may notice that an event you’ve hosted for five years draws a disproportionate percentage of small and mid-level gift donors as compared to major gift donors. If that event isn’t yielding enough funds, find ways to attract those missing major gift donors.

Whatever the solution you’re searching for, it starts with the data.

Attending industry conferences can also be another great source of insight into fundraising event best practices. For more information, here is a great list put together by IMPACTism of the upcoming conferences in 2016.

——

As you can see, there’s a place for prospect research in any and all phases of an event. Incorporate the screenings into your other betterment techniques and see even greater results.


sarahSarah Tedesco is the Executive Vice President of DonorSearch, a prospect research and wealth screening company that focuses on proven philanthropy. Sarah is responsible for managing the production and customer support department concerning client contract fulfillment, increasing retention rate and customer satisfaction. She collaborates with other team members on a variety of issues including sales, marketing and product development ideas.

Hangin’ with Henry and talking about organizing your resource development efforts


As most of you know, the first Thursday of every month has been dedicated to featuring a short video from Henry Freeman, who is an accomplished non-profit and fundraising professional. Last month, we didn’t share one of Henry’s information videos and instead opted to highlight his recently published book–  Unlacing the Heart. (To re-visit last month’s book review, check out the post titled “A book every fundraising professional MUST read!)

We affectionately call this monthly series “Hangin’ With Henry”  because of the conversational format around which he has framed his online videos. This month we’re talking about The Top Down Principle The Key to Organizing Your Office, Your Time, and Your Work.

For those of you who subscribe to DonorDreams blog and get notices by email, you will want to click this link to view this month’s featured YouTube video. If you got here via your web browser, then you can click on the video graphic below.

I chose this month’s video because the last five DonorDreams blog posts all focused on how to develop a written resource development plan for your organization. Henry does a nice job of making the case for being:

  • thoughtful / mindful
  • strategic
  • tactical

I believe that today’s video puts the last few weeks of posts in context. What do you think? Please use the comment box section to share your thoughts and experiences.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

Culture trumps strategy? Maybe it is more of an alignment issue


culture1It is a basic truism for some organizational development professionals that “Culture trumps strategy“. In the last few months, this expression has been front and center in my mind. I guess the reason it bothers me is because of its implications, which is none of what I bring to the table as a non-profit and fundraising consultant matters unless the organization’s culture is ready to receive it and act upon it.

If the organization’s culture isn’t open to the change they wish to make, then the first order of business needs to be how to evolve culture in such a way that helps people embrace the impending strategies that will emanate from the desired initiative or plan.

So, does culture really trump strategy or that just a bunch of hooey? When I struggle with things, I usually Google it. So It did. And this is what I found:

Confusing? I know. But I really liked what Mike Myatt said on May 29, 2012 in his article appearing in Forbes titled “Culture vs. Strategy – What’s More Important?”

“Put simply, a corporation’s strategy that ignores, or only pays lip service to culture, will be the beneficiary of the toxic environment they deserve.”

I also liked what what I read in the Switch & Shift article when it comes to synergy between many organizational forces:

“Culture, strategy, leadership, branding, innovation, customer orientation and employee centricity must co-exist.”

I think I like this last quotation because it provides me with an idea of how organizational culture can be changed. In other words, you need to work intentionally with all of these organizational threads to weave your organization’s tapestry we call “organizational culture“. I think this idea is best fleshed out in Steve Denning’s Forbes article titled “How Do You Change An Organizational Culture“.

culture2I’ll stop Googling now. Because I think I get it now.

If your non-profit organization wants to raise money by implementing private sector philanthropy strategies, then you better have a “Culture of Philanthropy” in place first. If you don’t, then there will be a ton of resistance from every corner of your organization.

Sorry for such an egg-headed post today. I’m obviously struggling with something in my professional life and it spilled out into the blog this morning.

Do you have a good handle on your non-profit organization’s:

  • culture
  • leadership
  • strategies
  • employees
  • donors
  • clients
  • brand

If so, how do you know that you do? And more importantly, how are you aligning all of these things as your organization’s leader?

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

A book every fundraising professional MUST read!


henry freeman bookI do a lot of reading as a non-profit consultant and blogger. I subscribe to other people’s blogs (e.g. Marc Pitman, Jeff Brooks, Seth Godin, etc). I subscribe to e-newsletters (e.g. Tom Ahern, Pamela Grow, etc). I allow companies like Blackbaud, DonorPath, Network for Good and Convio to send me awesome whitepapers, eBooks, etc.

I love to read. I believe you cannot thrive (let alone survive) in our industry unless you’re a lifelong learner and committed to continuous improvement and evolution. There are lots of ways to achieve this goal. I prefer to read.

So, when my friend — Henry Freeman — told me that he just published a book and wanted to sit down and talk about it, I couldn’t resist an invitation like THAT.

I won’t go into the details, but I walked away from that meeting with a suspicion that my life was about to change (or at the very least, my life was about to become clearer). After consuming Henry’s book in two short airplane rides, I am now totally convinced my life has been touched and I am different.

Here is a short excerpt from Henry’s book — Unlacing the Heart — from page 2:

“One of the most visible hats I wear is that of a fundraising consultant. As is true of most professions, a rather generic title like “fundraiser” tells you very little about who I am and what I actually do. When someone learns that I am a fundraiser, the conversation usually drifts off into a discussion of his or her work and occupation. Yet I do no see myself as a person who simply helps organizations raise money. I am a person blessed with the desire and capacity to hear people’s stories and help them build their dreams.”

I felt the same way after reading Penelope Burk’s book, Donor Centered Fundraising. However, Henry’s book added to that experience.

When I read Penelope’s book, which was full of data-facts-figures, I understood more deeply why I loved resource development and fundraising. The idea of “donor-centered fundraising” resonated with me because I never saw myself as a “solicitor of funds“. I loved the relationship building aspect of resource development and felt a sense of fulfillment when talking to people about their philanthropic passions and working with them on finding ways to make their vision a reality.

When I read Henry’s book, my epiphany was that “philanthropy” is spiritual in nature. Relationship building requires finding a sacred and vulnerable space for both the the fundraising professional and the donor. AND this isn’t a fundraising tactic. It is a human trait that good professionals who love their jobs just so happen to possess (or ultimately find inside themselves).

Here is a short excerpt from Henry’s book — Unlacing the Heart — from page 98:

“For fundraisers and members of most professions, the “hat we wear” clearly states that our presence in the room with another human being is primarily grounded in what we do to pay the bills. Indeed, few people will trust you (nor should they) if at any point you try to disown the professional role that brings you to their door and into their lives. There are, however, many opportunities to move relationships to a deeper level while still working within the boundaries framed by the professional roles we play.”

If you are someone who loves the spirituality aspects of philanthropy, then you’re going to love this book!

If you are someone who loves the relationship building aspects of resource development, then you’re going to love this book!

If you are someone who loves the storytelling nature of fundraising, then you’re going to love this book!

Philanthropy is so much more than asking people for money in an effort to sustain our non-profit institutions. Henry demonstrates that so clearly through a series of stories about:

  • his journey to El Salvador
  • his mentor relationships with Henri Nouwen and Herb Cahoon
  • his professional relationship with Margaret
  • his personal relationship with Alfredo

As I read this book, I found myself moved to tears, which is how I know Henry was unlacing my heart and helping me tap into what I love most about philanthropy and my job. I am confident that he will do the same for you.

This book is a “MUST READ” for anyone who works in our field and aspires to find meaning and fulfillment in this work.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

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