Holiday Giving: Make It Bigger and Better Next Year

As we enter the final days of the Holiday giving season, a question occurs to me. It’s one all nonprofit development officers who expected this season to yield increased giving over last should ask themselves: Was I prepared? Come January it’s tempting to sit back and rest after a hectic three months. Maybe even pat yourself on the back a bit. That’s especially true if year-over-year you did better. But making dollar amount raised, number of gifts, and average size of a gift the only measures of success or failure is a mistake. Doing your job well in the final quarter can boost donations and cover up what you failed to do in the first three. When I ask were your prepared, I’m not asking about your readiness to receive an influx of donations. Nor whether you created and executed well-crafted appeals. I’m asking what you did during the first ten months of the year to enlarge your base of potential donors. How did the number of qualified prospects with which you began the final two months of this year compare with last year? Was the number substantially stronger? Was it ten, twenty, thirty percent…higher? I suggest you look at those numbers. Don’t kid yourself. Be ruthless in your analysis of what constitutes qualified. Then deconstruct everything you did to make this year’s number substantially larger than last year’s. I bet you’re going to be disappointed in your efforts. January is a great time to develop plans for making your organization better prepared to optimize the next holiday giving season. Then February through October carryout those plans. Make it...

Marcus Haile Joins Raise-Funds as a Content Contributor

It’s been more than a year and a half since Tony Poderis retired from his role as the chief content producer for Raise-Funds.com. In that time Dave Patterson has continued to manage the site and produce content on his own. I am happy to announce that is no longer the case. Marcus Haile, chief development officer at the Jacksonville Florida Cathedral Arts Project, has joined the Raise-Funds.com team as a content contributor and has written his first article—Accountability & Job Performance for Nonprofit Fundraisers.  In the article Marcus shares his thoughts and experiences about how development professionals are and should be held accountable by their bosses. I urge you to read this thoughtful examination of a subject that faces all in the business of raising funds for nonprofits. And, please, share your thoughts, concerns, and questions in the comments section following the article. Welcome aboard...

Landing Pages for Small-Gifts Campaigns

Email and social media are absolutely great tools for soliciting and achieving small gifts. That’s especially true for mini campaigns trying to raise money for tightly defined specific purposes. You develop a strategy for taking the campaign to the digital marketplace—usually email and various social media—then create a landing page that those tools will send prospects to. Then you sit back and wait to count the money, right? Not so fast there. What about that landing page and its role in the process of solicitation, giving, and fulfillment? That landing page can make or break your campaign. Read the new article Building a Small-Gifts Campaign Landing Page to learn important dos and don’ts of online mini campaigns and small...

What Causes Do Celebrities Support

What philanthropic causes do men and women support? Are they the same? Is there a coherent difference? Designer David McCandless includes in his book Knowledge Is Beautiful an infographic that answers the question for celebrities. Now we all know that the famous are different, but how different? Does McCandless’ graphic reflect what the rest of us support? My first inclination was to say yes. But then I realized something wasn’t there. Can you see what’s missing from the infographic? Hint: it’s really big. In 2013 the Lilly School of Philanthropy of Indiana University Indianapolis conducted research in the US that found, “Donations to religious congregations represent about 40 percent of household giving nationally. This is giving for primarily religious activity or spiritual development.” Lilly’s report additionally pointed out that the 40 percent is over and above the one-third of US giving that goes to religiously identified nonprofits. Do you see anything else missing?...

Tribalize for Donor Commitment and Loyalty

One of the reasons I like reading predictions about how things that seem to be changing will impact our lives is that they make me think. While reading TrendWatching.com’s 10 Trends for 2015, I got to thinking about how some of what they were predicting might translate to the nonprofit world. The result was a question: What if a nonprofit could position itself as a brand with which people could link their identity? Think Apple and the lines every time a new iPhone or iPad is announced. Those people are members of a tribe, and they are fiercely loyal to that Apple tribe. They’ll part with extra money for the opportunity to proudly wear the Apple badge. They proselytize for Apple. If you’re a member of the Apple tribe or have a friend who is, you know what I mean. What would nonprofits give for that kind of commitment on the part of donors? If only a nonprofit could make its donors feel about it the way iPhone, iPad, and Mac owners feel about Apple. And Apple’s not the only brand that has tribalized itself. It’s hands down the best, but other companies are succeeding in creating a similar sense of belonging. A couple of years ago I started using Airbnb. It wasn’t long before I was telling friends and acquaintances in no uncertain terms that they should jump onboard the lodgings brokerage. I had become a committed proselytizer. Now I start planning my trips with a visit to Airbnb website. Sometimes I even find myself visiting it with no trip on the horizon. Why? As much as it’s...

New Article on Single Women as Donors
and How To Reach Them

Check out the article I just posted on why single women are an extremely important segment of a nonprofit’s donor base and why social media should be an important part of your strategy to reach and nurture relationship with them. The infographic below only tells part of the story. Read the article Single Women Fundraising Sweet Spot to get the complete...