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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

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

Key Website Metrics to Assess for Successful Nonprofit Marketing

by Dan Linn on Aug 29, 2018 3:45:32 PM

You may have noticed that nonprofit marketing has become increasingly data driven.

These days the modern nonprofit has at its disposal a multitude of digital marketing metrics.

The data geeks in your organization have never been happier.

For others the volume of metrics and KPIs (key performance indicators) can be overwhelming.

Finding the most important metrics can be challenging.

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Topics: Fundraising, donor cultivation

4 Ways to Improve Donor Personas and Boost Your Fundraising Strategies

by Dan Linn on Aug 22, 2018 3:28:43 PM

How often have you spent weeks, even months pouring over the details of a new marketing campaign only to have it fall flat?

You were sure that you did everything right.

Even after the monumental effort your team invested in collecting data, doing research and planning, while working against a tight deadline, the results you had hoped for never materialized.

It’s a nonprofit marketer’s worst nightmare.

Year after year, campaign after campaign, nonprofits find themselves asking the same old question; why aren’t we seeing better returns on our marketing campaigns?

The culprit could be your donor personas.

Millions of people use the internet every day.

How can you make sure that the right donor prospects find your site and like what they see when they land there?

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Topics: Donor Retention, Fundraising, donor personas

3 Immediate Steps for Financially Failing Nonprofits

by Perry Jowsey on Aug 6, 2018 4:28:55 PM

Last month I designed an interactive assessment for nonprofit finances, designed to provide an immediate snapshot to help evaluate and monitor nonprofit health.  Taking stock of this sort is more important now than ever before.  According to Forbes in 2016, half of nonprofits are set up to fail – and that was in the midst of economic boom predating current year predictions of a $20 Billion charitable giving decrease. 

Although budgeting with a downward and declining revenue projection is a dominant reality for nonprofits entering 2019, some are far more vulnerable to market forces.  You might be working for an organization where the ‘writing is on the wall’, perhaps through several years of budget deficits and hemorrhaging of cash.  Or, it might hit you out of the blue, like corporate giant Bear Stearns in 2008 – dissolving overnight after posting its first quarter of revenue loss in a more than 80-year history. 

Whatever path has led you here, if you’re among the 10% or so that scored under 20 on my assessment, your organization has a terminal diagnosis. Just as with any diagnosis this severe, the alternatives are to accept the fate and focus on getting affairs in order for the inevitable end, or to fight to the end with optimism and embracing all experimental remedies.  

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Topics: Nonprofit, Fundraising

5 Authenticated Secrets to Use in Content Marketing for Nonprofits

by Dan Linn on Jul 26, 2018 3:56:30 PM

Fall is just around the corner.

Have you considered launching a fall fundraising campaign?

Seasonal campaigns are a great way to make up for funding shortfalls, build support and advance your mission.

For many small nonprofits, running an effective seasonal campaign may seem too difficult.

But sometimes, all it takes is the right game plan to get things moving.

Many hold the preconceived notion that marketing is exclusive to the realm of for-profit companies.

But, this is simply not the case.

Nonprofits are competing with each other for donor interest and need to implement an effective marketing strategy to truly stand out.

Grab a pen and a piece of paper and answer these 10 questions.

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Topics: Nonprofit Marketing, Content Marketing, Fundraising

A 10 Question Quiz to Assess Your Fundraising and Nonprofit Health

by Perry Jowsey on Jul 20, 2018 3:58:09 PM

July is a natural time to take stock of your nonprofit organizational health. 

For most, it is the beginning of a new fiscal year, and for most others, it marks the mid-way point of current operations.  In any case, the final 4 months of the calendar year are central to nonprofit fundraising success.

While no one formula or set of circumstances can guarantee failure or success, there are some core areas where best performing organizations thrive, and where those who cannot hit these structural benchmarks languish or dissolve.

We’ve used these principles to put together this quiz as a tool for your organizational self-assessment. 

Are you poised for a fundraising windfall this year, or is a precarious future lurking around the corner?  Complete the answers below and use the scoring key to determine your results.

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Topics: Nonprofit, Fundraising

Donor Behavior 101; Building A Fundraising Strategy for Success

by Dan Linn on Jul 16, 2018 2:30:37 PM

As the development director of your nonprofit, you probably spend a lot of time trying to understand your organization’s target market.

What are their interests, needs and desires?

What really makes them tick?

What makes them want to donate to your nonprofit?

But don’t lose site of the big picture.

If you’re looking too closely at your own target market and how to push your nonprofit marketing message out, it’s easy to forget the foundation of successful donor cultivation.

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Topics: Nonprofit Marketing, Content Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Fundraising

Three Ways to be More Personal in Nonprofit Fundraising

by Perry Jowsey on May 13, 2018 4:39:12 PM

Dear Donor,

Don’t take this personally.  This letter has been auto-generated by a moderately priced software program, but it will make no attempt to use your name, speak to you individually, or make any reference to your contribution history.  You should feel lucky, however, because we know many nonprofit organizations won’t bother to send you a letter at all.  We appreciate your continued support.

Not so sincerely, your soon to be former charity of choice.

 

Hyperbole aside, nonprofit organizations are communicating with donors like this every day.  Generic correspondence is pushed out at arbitrary intervals, hoping for substantial returns but not in accordance with a governing strategy and not actively conducting performance analytics.

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Topics: Nonprofit Marketing, Fundraising