Category Archives for Fundraising

Three Ways to be More Personal in Nonprofit Fundraising

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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Nonprofit Marketing Strategies for Inbound Marketing Can’t be Optional

Perhaps the biggest challenge in nonprofit marketing today is also the biggest opportunity.

Nonprofit organizations have access to countless digital choices for reaching key audiences.

These many options have fostered the need for exploration and experimentation, which is why it’s common to hear about for-profit companies running 5 or 6 figure marketing tests that could eventually be grown to 7 figure marketing campaigns.

But nonprofits don’t have the luxury of open-ended testing and growth budgets.

How can charities strike the right balance with their nonprofit marketing budgets when experimenting with new initiatives?

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Grant Writing as a Nonprofit Fundraising Strategy, 8 Tips for Success

Of the three basic sources of revenue that fund nonprofits; earned income, donations from individuals and grants, the process of getting a grant is perhaps the most puzzling.

It is a rare nonprofit organization that could continue to carry out its mission if their grant funding dried up.

All but the smallest nonprofit organizations are likely to have people on staff or use outside counsel who specialize in grant writing.

Executive directors who see the success or failure of winning grants as a fundraising strategy as residing solely in the hands of the grant writer, fail to consider something even more important than the grant application—namely the purpose of the funding.

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Nonprofit Fundraising ROI: A Deeper Dive on Reasonable Costs to Raise a Dollar

What separates great nonprofit fundraising operations from middling ones? Great fundraisers – professional staff, volunteer board members, or expert consultants – develop and work an active plan to maximize the ROI. They yield the highest possible revenue being conscious of costs.

And so it may seem that nonprofits who stretch their budgets the furthest are by definition the most efficient. Yet, analysis we conducted last year revealed that paradoxically, pinching pennies on fundraising costs was actually far less efficient, and increased the cost to raise a dollar.

Like hedge fund managers, great fundraisers find the narrow path where they can make targeted investments to generate maximum revenue. Under-investing or overspending are commonplace; proactively initiating campaigns where you can predictably and reliably raise a dollar for under fifteen cents are rarefied instances. Yet, with the right planning, this is exactly what your nonprofit should accomplish.

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Contrarian Opportunities in Nonprofit Fundraising for 2018

Despite many predictions to the contrary, charitable giving will increase considerably in 2018. Moreover, corporate giving this year will increase by a greater rate than for the entire previous 5-year period. But the news isn’t all good for nonprofits; the worst positioned operations will face devastating financial consequences. So say my bold predictions for nonprofit fundraising in 2018.

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Alumni Engagement in The Age of Digital Fundraising

As colleges continue to graduate more students and have larger alumni pools, transitioning younger alumni into givers continues to be a challenge.

As reported by Blackbaud in their publication entitled 2016 donorCentrics Annual Report on Higher Education Alumni Giving, “as has been the case in nearly every year in recent history, alumni participation rates continue to decline in general, with the median for private universities slipping another percentage point to 18% and the public universities median also dropping one percent to 5%.”

To reverse the trends of 2016, public and private schools will really need to rethink strategies for reactivating lapsed donors and acquiring more new alumni donors.

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Lessons Learned From Nonprofit Fundraising for Natural Disasters

I’ve found that nothing quite succeeds more as fundraising fuel than a common good or conversely a common enemy. And none seems more highly effective than fundraising efforts to assist in recovering from natural disasters. Devastation like the recent hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria bring people together in unique ways, where normally fiscally conservative legislators and executives commit tens of millions in public funds, while traditionally thrifty citizens send their donations across the country to help with the effort.

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Three Proven Investments for Nonprofit Fundraising Success

Recently, I wrote on the subject of nonprofit fundraising ROI, discussing reasonable costs to raise a dollar for nonprofit work. This topic was well received, spurring a wide range of discussions from practitioners across the country seeking to apply best-practice standards to their work.

Given this response, I thought it fitting to follow up this analysis with a specific deliverable: three ways you can maximize the value of a $10,000 fundraising investment before year end. This is especially timely entering July, a time when most nonprofits are either wrapping up a fiscal year or at the midway point gearing for a strong final finish.

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The Role of Brand Identity for Colleges and Universities

This article has been edited and updated to reflect current nonprofit marketing strategies.

In March 2015, Sweet Briar College in Virginia announced that it would officially close at the end of the school year due to financial problems. Reaching this difficult decision clearly came from a multitude of complicated factors. However, in an article posted on Inside Higher Ed titled “Marketing Lessons from Sweet Briar,” author Robert Moore looks critically at Sweet Briar College’s situation, comparing them to similar institutions that have continued to be successful despite dealing with the same struggles. Moore is president and CEO of Lipman Hearne, a marketing and communications firm. He says, “No matter the answer, it seems obvious to an outside observer that Sweet Briar could have taken greater advantage of fundamental marketing principles and more effective student recruitment strategies as administrators considered this decision.” Read the whole article here.

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Engaging Your Generation Y Alumni

This article has been edited and updated to reflect current nonprofit marketing strategies.

Generation Y, or the Millennial generation, is frequently a major topic in discussions of business, marketing, and selling. For good reason—Millennials are the biggest demographic in the United States, with a total market size of 75.7 million. Thus, they are a huge section of all consumers, which is why we have also already discussed strategies for marketing to millennials.

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