Category: Fundraising

professionals

Go Pro Or Go Home

Being professional does not mean being stilted or stodgy, but it does mean comporting oneself in a manner that dignifies the proposition being made to the donor. Whoever solicits for a worthy cause – be it a volunteer or a paid fundraiser – becomes the face of that cause to the donor.

mail box

Sharing is Not Always Caring: 3 Considerations for Donors’ Contact Information

For better or worse, nonprofit organizations can and do share their mailing lists with other organizations. The decision to share or not is one that should not be taken lightly, and there are at least three major considerations that need to be addressed.

Money

The CFRE: Worthwhile or Not? (Part 2 of 2)

I applaud what CFRE International is trying to do, as I believe in accountability for fundraisers. I also believe in accountability for the certification process, and if the CFRE is to grow in its recognition as an industry standard, and be taken seriously, then it must introduce greater rigor into the process.

Money

The CFRE: Worthwhile or Not? (Part 1 of 2)

There has been a lot of discussion among fundraisers, both online and around the water cooler, about the CFRE credential, whether or not it has merit, whether it is credentialism run amok, or worse, a scam. While¬†@CFREx’s comparison on Twitter of the CFRE to the sinking Titanic is a bit overblown, there are a number of reasoned critiques out there that do make some valid points.

4 Must-Dos to Handle Donor Information with Respect and Confidentiality

The sixth tenet of the Donor’s Bill of Rights says donors have the right “…to be assured that information about their donation is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by law.” A failure to treat donors with respect and safeguard their information can be disastrous to the relationship. All philanthropy is based on trust, and once the trust is gone there is nothing left. Safeguarding donor information is not just the law, it is vital to the success of the organization.

pigs-at-the-trough

Don’t be Like Pigs at the Trough, Say “Thank You” To Donors

It ought to go without saying. When someone offers you something, and you accept it, you say, “thank you.” It’s just common sense, and yet it never ceases to amaze how uncommon common sense has become. Sadly, many nonprofits act like pigs at the proverbial trough, greedily snorting up all the resources donors put in front of them without ever acknowledging the generosity of their gifts.

Open Ledger

Keep Donors Informed: Open Up the Books

Donors cannot make informed decisions about how and where to give their money if they cannot get a sense of the financial health of an organization. Nonprofits that are on the up and up should have no trouble disclosing basic financial information.

Conference Table

Donor Rights and the Nonprofit Board

Donors can only evaluate an organization’s ability to operate ethically if they have reasonable access to information about who the leaders are, and their operational track record. For this reason, the Donor’s Bill of Rights calls for organizations to be open about the identities of their board members.

playing cards

Don’t Hide Your Hand From Your Donors

Donors have the right to know an organization’s mission, how it intends to use unrestricted funds, and whether or not it has the capability to follow through on its promises.

bag over head

Thou Shalt Not Kiss-Off Donor Intent

Alumni/Development work is always and everywhere about relationships. Relationships take time to build and are based on trust. Building trust by honoring donor intent might seem like good old-fashioned common sense. The problem is, common sense isn’t so common anymore.

bill-of-rights

A Guided Tour of the Donor’s Bill of Rights

Any philanthropy professional worth his or her salt is, or should be, on intimate terms with the Donor Bill of Rights. It outlines the backbone of trust, which lies at the heart of all philanthropy, and organizations who ignore these tenets do so at their peril.

person meditating

The Value of Margin in Alumni/Development Work (and life!)

One of the most overlooked productivity hacks has to do with the concept of margin. That is, creating space in your workflow for not actively working on a project. That might seem counterintuitive, but building in empty space is actually integral to the overall project management process.

students at graduation

Student Satisfaction and Alumni Giving: 7 Strategies for Engagement

There is a strong correlation between student satisfaction and alumni giving. Here are 7 ways advancment can help ensure greater student satisfaction on campus.

Iceberg

Alumni Relations and Icebergs: The Hidden Makings of Success

Engaged alumni, a thriving annual fund, regular major gifts, these are all highly visible signs of a healthy alumni/development program. The reality, though, is that the vast majority of what makes these successes happen lies behind the scenes where no one can see. Much like an iceberg, the bulk of what drives institutional advancement is largely hidden from view.

headlines

3 Headline Templates for Optimizing Fundraising Appeals

Donors only spend a few precious seconds scanning fundraising appeals. It is critical that eye-catching headlines and call-out text be crafted in a way that communicates the essence of the message. Here are three templates to help make the most of your headlines.

student with books

Vocation and Gen Z: Alumni as Mentors

Mounting evidence indicates that Gen Z-ers tend to be espeically open to coaching and mentoring. Given the right circumstances, alumni can be effective mentors, helping students grapple with the big questions of vocation.

Disney Castle

Be “Show-Ready” and “Optimize the Mundane” with Alumni

Here’s what a trip to Disney World taught me about delivering an exceptional level of service to alumni and donors.

hurricane damage

5 Alumni Engagement Strategies for When Tragedy Strikes

Alumni/Development work is all about relationships. Good alumni engagment after a disaster strikes is all about being responsive to the needs of the moment.

written letter

Before Your Next Appeal Goes Out, Check the “You” Factor

Appeal letters are at their best when the language focuses heavily on the donor’s need to know that he or she is the only one who can make a difference in that moment. Too many refernces to “us” and “we” redirect attention back to the organization, attenuating the importance of the donor’s role.

direct mail appeals

Gone in 20 Seconds: Grabbing Attention in Direct Mail Appeals

Over 90% of potential readers never open the envelope. The more that writers understand about how readers engage with direct mail appeals, the better chance they have of maximizing open rates.

gift range chart

How a Gift Range Chart Can Reveal Gaps in Your Donor Base

Gift range charts are invaluable tools that can help drive fundrasing appeals throughout the year. One can see clearly how many gifts are needed at each level, and how many prospects are needed for each gift. There is one often-overlooked benefit, however, and that is their ability to reveal gaps in your donor base.

Old Phone

3 Reasons To Not Give Up on the Phone Just Yet

Annual phon-a-thon appeals have witnessed declining success rates for quite awhile now, but there are still some good reasons to continue doing them.

Primer Cover Page

4 Ways Your Board Can Benefit From a Primer on Advancement

Board members bring their own unique skills and abilities to the table, but they may not necessarily understand the role institutional advancement plays in the organization. Providing them with a brief primer on the aims and functions of advancement can be an invaluable resource for fostering understanding and engagement.

Thumbs Up

5 Reasons Why Every Campus Needs a Centralized Fundraising Approval Process

Student groups and campus organizations can and should be encouraged to participate in fundraising, as it helps foster a culture of philanthropy and extends the reach of the development team. It is vitally important, however, that a centralized process for approving and monitoring fundraisers be put in place. Here is why.

direct mail

What Gets Read First In Direct Mail Appeals

Direct mail appeals are unlike other forms of writing, and people do not read them the way they would other correspndence. Are you including a P.S. line in all your direct mail appeals? If you are not, you need to. Here is why…

twitter welcome screen

4 Ways I Use Twitter in Alumni/Development Work

Twitter can be an extremely powerful tool in alumni/development work, both in terms of alumni engagement and one’s own professional development, but only when you understand the nature of the medium and what it can and cannot do.

saying thank you

Thanking Donors: Is There Such a Thing as Too Much?

Saying thank-you is a critical part of donor stewardship, but it can be overdone. A carefully crafted donor recognition plan ensures that donors get appreciated consistently and in just the right ways.

social media

3 Things No Social Media Toolkit Should Be Without

Many alumni and friends are ready to help spread the word about your next online giving day, but in order for them to be effective, you must provide them with the right guidance and tools.