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Be Thankful for Nonprofit Fundraising Expertise

by Perry Jowsey on Nov 29, 2018 10:20:33 AM

Fundraising professionals are a unique subset in the nonprofit industry.  There is pressure to perform in an ultra-competitive marketplace, and the focus on dollars often removes them from the direct connection to community good that often motivates employees to join the sector in the first place. 

Sometimes a unique dynamic takes shape where fundraisers are put in isolation as the sole factor in an agency’s financial health.  “We didn’t double our budget this year, so let’s blame Angela – it’s her job to raise money.”  Rationale like this neglects the interdependent system necessary for revenue results – demonstrated strength in accounting systems, operations, and program evaluation – yet it is often a reality for development pros. 

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Topics: Nonprofit fundraising staff, Fundraising

Donor Cultivation; Three Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Nonprofit Website

by Dan Linn on Nov 15, 2018 5:02:17 PM

Everyone knows the more people you get to your website the more donor leads you’ll usually generate.

Even so before people can donate or volunteer, they’ll need to find you.

These days your website is the most likely channel where new supporters will find out about you.

Your website is where conversions like online donations, event registrations and sign-ups for email or volunteer service take place.

If your blogging with well-optimized rich content your goal should be to connect with people who believe in what you believe.

Nonprofit blogging is about talking to individuals separately, not en masse and that’s how you connect with people.

Blogging is a marketing asset with long term results.

It will help you attract high quality traffic, generate new donors and increase awareness for your mission.

The rest of this article will unpack the easiest way to get new visitors to your website and increase your success at donor cultivation.

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Topics: nonprofit blogs, donor communications, Nonprofit Marketing, Link Building

Donor Communications, 5 Tips to Expand Your Recurring Giving Program.

by Dan Linn on Nov 7, 2018 7:52:44 PM

George Bernard Shaw Irish playwright, and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925 once observed that “the single biggest problem in communication is the allusion that it has taken place.”

Why is communication important?

As humans, we need to transfer ideas from one person to another on a regular basis.

Nonprofit marketing professionals know that meaningful communication and good stewardship are the basic elements that induce prosperous donations.

While revenue from one-time gifts tends to be inconsistent throughout the year, monthly recurring donations provide a stable source of income, making it easier for organizations to plan and invest in their programs.

Depending on which study you believe and what industry you’re in, The Harvard Business Review reports that acquiring a new customer or donor is anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.

Think about integrating a recurring giving plan into your fundraising calendar.

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Topics: donor communications, recurring giving program

Nonprofit Blogs, Start With an Outline to Improve Understanding

by Dan Linn on Oct 31, 2018 2:51:58 PM

One of the most effective ways to tell the story of your nonprofit, its constituents, and staff members is through a blog.

Digital storytelling about your nonprofit allows you to leverage human stories to connect people to your cause and inspire them to support your organization and connect to a wider audience online.

Be prepared to spend more than a couple of hours writing your post. From the initial concept until the time you hit publish you might spend several days or maybe even a week writing your post.

Before diving headfirst into writing your composition, create an outline.

More than bullet points, I’m talking about a fully expanded outline with enough details that make it impossible for your article to go off topic.

Here is a 7-step method for outlining articles that I use.

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Topics: Writing Practices, nonprofit blogs

Identify These Traits When Hiring Nonprofit Fundraising Staff

by Perry Jowsey on Oct 18, 2018 9:50:36 AM

Just as it is crucial to use a criteria-based method in selecting and retaining nonprofit marketing and fundraising consultants, so too it is essential to hire staff with the traits identified with fundraising success.  Get it right and your organization is poised for short and long-term revenue growth.  Get it wrong, and you set your organization back a minimum of 3 years. 

So, what are the ‘must haves’ a development professional should bring to the table that will help build a culture of success?  During my nearly 20 years in this business, I’ve found that a diverse combination of some obvious characteristics as well as some less intuitive ones yields the greatest return.

If you are leading an executive search for a fundraising staff member, the candidate with all the following attributes will provide the maximum return on investment:

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Topics: Nonprofit fundraising staff

Grant Writing for Nonprofits, Building Your Outstanding Grant Team

by Dan Linn on Oct 11, 2018 3:41:57 PM

As you develop your budget and staffing plans for FY 2018, most likely those plans include growing your grant writing team with top nonprofit talent.

Clearly grant writing for nonprofits can be a profitable fundraising enterprise.

A 2016 giving study published by Philanthropy Southwest revealed that 25,611 grants were awarded in Colorado with an average size of $31,049.00.  

Hiring the right people is a crucial step to achieving your mission.

As the job market improves, there are those who believe that the competition for talent is growing more aggressive.

Job seekers do have more choices, in both the for-profit and the nonprofit segments.

But as Aaron Hurst, author of The Purpose Economy explains we have entered into a new economic era where top employers are expected to connect people with their purpose.

Today finding a job that is a perfect fit is all about having an impact in society, earning a degree of personal growth and finding the right community.

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Topics: Fundraising, Grant Writing

Hiring a Nonprofit Marketing Agency? 6 Questions to Ponder.

by Dan Linn on Oct 4, 2018 3:07:50 PM

Winston Churchill once remarked that “we build our houses, and then they shape us.”

He was referring to Parliament.

But that statement applies to most of us.

That is, we create and fulfill our own expectations.

Nowhere is that more apparent than in nonprofit marketing and communications.

The demands being placed on communications teams and the requirement for specialized skills is growing rapidly.

Most nonprofits struggle to find talent with diverse capabilities to focus on their endlessly complex set of needs.

For all but the largest and fully equipped nonprofits, hiring a team of specialists in areas like data analysis, market research and UX design simply is not financially feasible.

What should a progressive, forward-looking nonprofit do?

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Topics: donor communications, Nonprofit Marketing

Digital Marketing for Nonprofits. 5 Mistakes to Avoid.

by Dan Linn on Sep 26, 2018 5:28:14 PM

Whether it’s gala events, soliciting donors or selling raffle tickets, nonprofit organizations live and die by their budgets and funding streams.

Finding a steady revenue stream can be vexing especially for smaller nonprofits.

Irrespective of their tenure as nonprofit digital marketers, newbies and seasoned professionals alike, are prone to make mistakes as they execute their programs and campaigns.

Because digital marketing is changing so quickly there’s a tendency to always look towards the next best thing and focus less on the lessons of the past.

But developing an awareness and understanding of past mistakes is one of the best ways to pave a path to future success.

Being aware of the most common nonprofit digital marketing mistakes can help ensure your organization avoids them in the future.

With that in mind, here are 5 of the most common missteps nonprofits frequently make.

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Topics: donor communications, donor personas, Fundraising, buyer personas

Fastest Path to Nonprofit Revenue Growth: Major Donor Upgrades

by Perry Jowsey on Sep 11, 2018 1:38:40 PM

In every nonprofit organization, there is a great deal of focus on bringing in new donors each year. Sometimes, irrational optimism takes hold with offices envisioning a herd of new unicorns marching through the door – first-time donors making five-figure gifts that will transform the agency for years to come. 

Needless to say, such reality is seldom witnessed. More importantly, lost among these dream visions are the single greatest asset to nonprofit fundraising growth – existing major donors. 

The prevailing school of thought responsible for this misdirection is the Atlas-complex that deifies giving at a certain level, especially among early supporters.  The thinking supposes that donors just tap out at a certain level and it would be audacious to ask them to do more, perpetuating one of the greatest fallacies in philanthropy.

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Topics: Fundraising, Nonprofit Marketing, Major Donors

How to Build Trust in Donor Communications with Email Newsletters

by Dan Linn on Sep 5, 2018 5:02:42 PM

Email newsletters are one of the most important and least expensive communication channels you have with your donors.

A regularly scheduled email newsletter keeps your audience updated and helps to build trust with subscribers in nonprofit marketing.

Many nonprofits believe that their email open and click through rates are too low.

That said, if your open rate is hovering around 21% and your click through rate is about 8%, your nonprofit email marketing is right on target according to a report released by Constant Contact in April of this year.

How can you create a newsletter that keeps your audience engaged and delivers the results you are looking for?

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Topics: Content Marketing, donor communications, email newsletter