The frequency and intensity of asking for a donation is an ongoing question that surfaces all the time. In my line work helping nonprofit leaders to be effective and to raise as much money as possible I encounter lots of naysayers regarding time-honored strategies and tactics. There is both science and art to nonprofit fundraising. There are tactics that clearly have the metrics behind it to support the effort while others don’t have the science behind it but it just seems right. And often your efforts include a bit of both. Why is this important?
In every part of our life we encounter a series of decisions that rest on past experience and sometimes you need to go with your gut because there is no past experience or it’s not 100% clear what is best. Fundraising is no different.
The year 2016 is going to be an interesting year. The term “hang on” comes to mind. The stock market is down significantly – maybe plunging is a better word. Add to the mix a year filled with presidential election drama that can best be described as entertaining.
According to Philanthropy Roundtable, philanthropy is a huge part of what makes America America. They rightly state in a recent post that philanthropy’s importance stretches far beyond economics – case in point – their studies show that each year, seven out of ten Americans donate to at least one charitable cause.
We should be most concerned with fulfilling our mission. Making an impact that is measurable and distinct while changing lives for the good.
Let me first say – I have the greatest respect and admiration for Charity: Water. Their business model, their passion and their commitment to what they do – and of course their entrepreneurial spirit – are infectious.
I assume Jack Bauer needs no formal introduction. But for those of you that have never watched the award winning show Jack is the larger than life figure that single-handedly rescues the world from complete destruction in a given 24-hour period.
In a recent BBB article it was announced that the BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance, which is the Better Business Bureau’s charity watchdog arm, will begin a new initiative to verify the truthfulness of charitable appeals.
The article quotes H. Art Taylor the President & CEO of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance – Taylor says: “We are concerned about the extent to which charities are not providing sufficient oversight over paid fundraising firms, these firms sometimes employ more aggressive and potentially misleading tactics to increase donor response”.
Development Audits (or Development Assessments) are a genuine way to get a clear and objective snapshot of the overall health, effectiveness, and efficiency of a fundraising organization. Depending on the goal of the organization being assessed, the audit can include a review of the overall business operation, including organizational structure, business processes, marketing and communication efforts, positioning in the marketplace, donor surveys, as well as employee and volunteer staffing and so on.
Now that’s a million dollar question that we would all like the answer for wouldn’t we? The problem is this question is as elusive and subjective as asking a Wall Street professional when will we “hit the bottom”.
Is it brains, finesse, education, hands-on experience, determination, self-confidence, special training. What exactly does it take to succeed in the nonprofit field?
There are many nonprofit educational programs cropping up at universities all around the country yet I honestly don’t know one person, well maybe I know a few, that actually graduated from one of these programs and is currently working in the nonprofit field.
There is a great deal of talk about the accountability of nonprofits. Accountability is on the tip of everyone’s tongue and is being discussed at conferences and seminars and in nonprofit board rooms. It has become a punch line of sorts and frankly is in danger of becoming a meaningless word similar to the “all natural” tag lines you see on just about every food product sold, which have lost total credibility in my opinion.
I assume, which is always a dangerous thing, that you watched Tom Cruise play Jerry Maguire in the movie by that name. Jerry becomes enlightened and goes through an epiphany of sorts and pulls an all-nighter writing his 27 page Mission Statement, that for all intents and purposes is a strategic plan — no one writes a 27 page mission statement. If it really takes 27 pages to articulate a mission there are some serious business issues to work out.
We are all confronted with two seemingly opposing forces with our fundraising efforts. Building a relationship with our donor should always be front and center for us. We know that without a compelling relationship with our supporter no relationship can continue over the long-term — it will simply die out because there is no inspiring reason for it to continue.