#donorlove Newsletter Audit (with Agents of Good)

Do you send a printed newsletter? Does it boost donor loyalty and engagement? Is it serving your organization or is it just something you do because you’ve “always done it that way?”

Your donor newsletter needs to ooze with #donorlove and show your donors all the great things that THEY are accomplishing (not what your organization is accomplishing). Make them the hero and give them the credit.

It’s one thing to tell you how to do this and other to show you. My friends Jen Love and John Lepp at Agents of Good do just that in this #donorlove Newsletter Audit. Check it out and optimize your donor newsletter!

Board Fundraising Menu

Do you have a “fundraising board?” Did that question just make you laugh?

If so, you are not alone, many (most) nonprofit organizations struggle with engaging their board in the fundraising process. In my experience the issue typically comes down to one (or a combination of the following):

  • Lack of clarity on their role;
  • Lack of knowledge on how to perform their role;
  • Lack of motivation to complete their role

Productive Fundraising’s “Board Fundraising Menu” helps to address each of these issues by providing a list of 30+ ways that board members can assist with fundraising. It is designed as an exercise that board members complete where they indicate which tasks they are comfortable and willing to assist with. Download the sample, create a custom one for your organization and begin moving your board to a more engaged fundraising state.

Download It Here

Fundraising + Personal Productivity [podcast interview]

I recently had the honor of being interviewed by Mike Vardy, host of one of my favorite personal productivity podcasts, Productivityist!

Mike Vardy is a writer, speaker, productivity strategist, and Founder of Productivityist. He is the author of The Front Nine: How to Start the Year You Want Anytime You WantThe Productivityist Playbook, and Beyond Trying.

On the podcast we dig in deep to the intersection of fundraising and personal productivity (one of my favorite topics). I hope you’ll nerd out with me and give it a listen!

The Secret to Sending Prompt Thank You Notes

After we meet with a donor, prospect or volunteer; especially for the first time, we fundraisers have the best of intentions to send a thoughtful hand-written thank-you note. We truly appreciate the gift of time that the individual has given us and we want to sincerely thank them for it.  Plus, we know that most people don’t get many thank-you notes; especially hand-written ones, and we know the impact that they have on the recipient.

But what typically happens?  That’s right—life happens. We go to back to the office and get buried in the flood of emails that piled up while we were away. Or we head home and go right into dinner prep, homework help, dog walking or other activities. Even if we add “Write thank you note to Susan” to our to-do list, three days often go by before we get to it — and promptness is a big key to success with thank-you notes.

As a self-proclaimed productivity nerd, this scenario drove me nuts for the first five years of my fundraising career.  There had to be a better way to get these notes written and out promptly, without having them be just another stressor.

Finally, I found the solution.  And it’s simple:

  1. Keep a set of thank-you cards and pre-stamped envelopes with you at all times (in your briefcase, car, purse, etc.).
  2. Before going into your meeting set out a note (my favorite spot for this is the passenger seat of my car) and pre-address it if you have time.
  3. Immediately after the meeting, write the note.  Don’t put “Write thank-you note to Susan” on your to do list—actually write it! The details of your message will be fresh in your mind and it will be effortless.
  4. On your way into your house or office, drop the completed thank-you note into the outgoing mail.

That’s it, and it’s not rocket science. What does it require?  It requires you creating a new habit.  How long does that take?  Typically, 30-45 days.

So stick with it and eventually writing thank-you notes will go on autopilot for you. I’ve been doing this for over a decade now and haven’t stressed out about a single note, and I’ve never missed sending one either. And that has made a big difference with the donors that I’ve had the pleasure of working with to make this world a better place.

This post first appeared as a part of Advancing Philanthropy: Perspectives – a free membership benefit of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).  Check out more posts by @fundraiserchad for AFP.

Julia Campbell: What Facebook’s Shift to Privacy Means for Nonprofit Marketers

Has Facebook become a challenge for your nonprofit organization?

Have you found your level of engagement to be steadily dropping?

Does it seem like your donors and advocates just don’t see your posts anymore?

You’re not alone … I’m hearing this from lots of clients and workshop attendees.  I’m not a digital expert, but I’m frequently on the conference speaking circuit with some of them … including social media guru Julia Campbell.

So, here are Julia’s thoughts on how nonprofits can adapt to Facebook’s algorithm and privacy changes.  It’s a quick read that will shift your thinking and save you from a lot of mental strife!

Fundraising Forecasting Template

Fundraising Forecasting Template

I’m practicing what I preach today.  Rather than creating a fundraising forecasting tool for you, I’m sharing the awesome one that my friend Peter Drury created.  Peter’s a great guy, incredible fundraiser and a fellow #afpeep.  Here’s what he has to say about this great FREE tool …

“Do you ever feel like you’re swimming in information about relationships, prospects, potential asks, completed asks, grant opportunities… and then someone asks you for a forecast? (Usually they don’t ask for a forecast, but instead ask (with anxiety in their voice), “How are we doing this year? Are we going to make our goal? How confident are you we can make it?”

If you’ve ever struggled to answer the anxious questions above, and you’d like a methodical way of responding – that you can update once/monthly and always keep the forecast current – then this template has been made for you! I’ve created this template in Excel, with all formulas embedded, so you can simply swap out the fake names for real ones and use this to impress your board, peers, and executive director. More importantly, it will help keep your work in focus, so that you can more effectively manage opportunities and relationships and, in turn, raise more money.”

Download It Here

How Do You Define “Major Donor” at Your Nonprofit?

How Do You Define “Major Donor” at Your Nonprofit?

It’s time to address one of the most common questions that I receive: “What is a major donor?” or “What level is a major donor?” You all want a number. You want me to say it’s $5,000 or it’s $10,000. I can’t do that because it’s arbitrary. In some organizations it’s $500 and I’ve seen it as $50,000 in some organizations.

But really it doesn’t matter because the next question is, “What are you going to do about it?” What are you going to do with that group of donors that is your major donors? What are you going to do that’s different, that’s special, that makes them feel like this is a personal relationship they have with your organization? Do you know what you’re going to do or you have some ideas? Now the question is, how many donors can you do that for?

For super small one person it might just be 10 or 25. For bigger shops, with a dedicated development director, maybe 50 or 100. Once you know the group that you can support at that level, then you’re ready to define what a major donor is for your organization. So print out the list of all past donors, sort it by the size of last gift and look for the break point.

Wherever that falls, that’s a major donor for you. It can change over time but that’s the level of major donor that you’re capable of supporting at this point in time. That’s what matters. The dollar amount doesn’t matter. It’s all about where you can provide the personal experience that’s going to grow their relationship and their support of the organization.

Get on the “Ask, Thank, Report, Repeat Cycle” with Agents of Good

How do you split your time between the various fundraising activities in your annual fund?

Do you spend more time asking, thanking or reporting?

My friends at Agents of Good, Jen Love and John Lepp, spend a lot of time talking about this in their quest to promote #donorlove throughout the sector.

I had the honor of hosting them as the keynoters for the AFP Central PA conference a few years back (that’s us on their fabulous tour of Hershey’s Chocolate World). While in town, they penned this great, short blog post which really narrows in on where we should be spending our time (HINT: you’re probably not spending enough time on that last part). Check it out now.

Grant Calendar Template [free download]

Have you ever missed a grant deadline? 

Or maybe more likely, a close out report deadline? 

It’s easy to do. What’s the secret to avoiding it? 

Get everything all in one place and check it regularly (monthly, if not weekly).  Give our FREE Grant Calendar Template a download and make it your own.

[click to immediately download to your computer]

How to Raise More Money at Your Fundraising Event

Would like to raise $5,050 more at your organization’s next event?

Are you tired of running all over town picking up donated gift cards for your silent auction which don’t even sell for face value?

Then try a wishboard at your next event and raise more money with less effort.

So, what’s a wishboard?

A wishboard is a stand alone donation board. It consists of 100 spaces where event attendees can make a donation to the organization in any amount from $1 to $100. Once a board is filled the organization has raised $5,050 in contributions.

Typically, wishboard supporters will also support other event fundraising opportunities (e.g. silent and live auction). The wishboard amounts are small. Because of this, wishboard support is often given in addition to other contributions.

Wishboards are an easy way to get more revenue from your event with minimal effort from staff and volunteers.

Here’s a sample of what one looks like …

How does it work?


Adding a wishboard to your next event is quite simple. Here are the steps …

1) Select a specific project or program for which to fundraise (this works far better than unrestricted operating support as it’s something your organization is “wishing for” but does not currently have the funds to purchase);

2) Have a wishboard designed (we can help with this);

3) Decide how the board will be displayed/featured;

4) Assign staff or volunteers to the wishboard at the event and make sure they are trained on what to say (“Would you like to sponsor a few spots on our wishboard? It’s funding ______________.”);

5) Make the purchase process as seamless as possible (Are you using names or bidder numbers? Can they pay instantly via credit card?);

6) Capture contact information so you can follow up after the event to say thank you and keep in touch with them.

How do I make it happen?

You now know everything you need to know in order to add a wishboard to your next event.

Your designer and printer can easily create a wishboard for you.

But to make it even easier, we offer custom wishboards shipped to your door in 3 weeks for just $150 plus tax. If you fill the board that’s $4,900 for your organization after the expense of the board.

Ready to place your order? Let’s get started.