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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Volunteers are Donors Too, and Other Trends in Nonprofits

I listened to a Webcast recently highlighting some trends for improved fundraising. The guest speaker, Jayne Cravens, quoted some interesting stats and information, some of which I have included in this post. Cravens says yes to databases. I agree that a good DATABASE IS ESSENTIAL to effective fundraising. In addition, I agree with Cravens that it is important to enter information for every person that comes into contact with the organization--including those who volunteer, not just those who have given money. Remember: Volunteers are Donors too! (or at least potential donors). Cravens also encourages fundraisers to ask volunteers to become donors. She quoted a statistic that says volunteers give ten times the dollars non-volunteering donors give. If someone is willing to commit time and talent, they are very likely willing to support your mission financially too. It also takes fewer resources to ask an individual for a monetary gift if they are already invested in your mission. Instead of valuing volunteer hours with a dollar amount for their "free work", Cravens suggests that the best way to respect our volunteers and value their input into our organizations is to talk about the impact of the volunteer core. Cravens also offers perspective on Talent Managers (Volunteer Coordinators)--who can match volunteer skills to a project or job that will benefit the organization. I have provided a link to the Webcast below. The trends in nonprofits are relevant to those who raise money, bring in resources, run programs and manage in other words, everyone who works for a nonprofit could benefit from listening. Check it out, download the documents and share it with your peeps. On-Demand Webcast: Volunteer Management: 5 Trends That Can Improve Your Fundraising Bottom Line

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Guide to Nonprofit Navigation As You Grow

I want to share one of my favorite nonprofit resources. The 5 Life Stages of a Nonprofit Organization: Where You Are, Where You're Going, and What to Expect When You Get There

This book has been a tremendous help to me and to my clients. It offers a great overview as well as tools to help you identify the areas of potential growth for your nonprofit. Sometimes, organizations may grow in one area (program), but not in another (board development). These gaps in growth can cause some interesting symptoms that are often painful and frustrating. Ensuring your nonprofit has the governance, financing and staff support necessary for new programs is essential for your success. I encourage nonprofit leaders to acquire a copy of this book, read it and use it with your board, development and program teams. It is a great resource on many levels, including team building.

The book includes The Wilder Nonprofit Life Stage Assessment to help you find where your organization is on its course of development. Here is just one example from the book that looks at Governance and Staff Leadership growth. The complete grid provides descriptions of all areas of an organization and the qualities of each stage in development:

Please let this blog community know your experiences with this tool.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Are You Ready?

Is your organization ready to submit a grant proposal? Here is a quick laundry list of basic documents and information that most foundations require of applicants. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Individual Giving Opportunities: Rules, Tools, and Branding

Dear Fearless Nonprofit Leaders:

Welcome to my first newsletter/blog for nonprofit professionals. I hope you find this communication short, sweet and useful. It is my hope to use this space to pass along interesting and helpful information, share my nonprofit business philosophy and engage in some dialogue among nonprofit professionals.

In the last 6 months, I have worked on two separate Individual Giving Campaigns for clients. In doing so, I have come across several enlightening articles and some information that seem worth sharing. As leaders of your organizations and in your community, I hope these articles will provide support and assistance to you as you move through another year of programs, services and fundraising.

Just to be clear, and despite the title of every article below, I do not like the term "Annual Fund". But for the purposes of a common language among nonprofit professionals, it is useful here.

The Annual Fund is Obsolete

Annual Campaigns: Once a Year Every Year

Annual Fund Giving and Getting Guidelines for Trustees

Annual Fund Tips

In addition to the thoughts expressed in these articles, it is my opinion that no matter what you do to raise funds for your nonprofit business, it is usually a good idea to brand the event or regular fundraising effort so it is recognizable to your constituents. Naming an individual giving campaign or a regularly held special event gives your stakeholders and donors a sense of belonging to the campaign and to your organization. Using a color scheme, image and a memorable title for your campaign can clearly tie a donor to your mission, programs, services and clients. Branding through a simple image and/or key words puts a living picture of what a monetary donation to your organization really means. Would you feel more connected to a donation made to an Annual Fund or The Water for Life Campaign?


Jennifer Sabatier