Over the past year or so I’ve been working with a wonderful group of consultants and experts in the fundraising world. Each has brought unique perspectives and insights that are so helpful for those working in small nonprofits. This includes Sandy Rees, Marc A. Pitman, Gayle L. Gifford, Lori L. Jacobwith, Betsy Baker, Sherry Truhlar, and Pamela Grow.

The book we've created, The Essential Fundraising Handbook for Small Nonprofits, provides an overview of many aspects of a fundraising program. If you're looking for a way to diversify funding, but aren't sure what to try next, get this book. It will definitely help your decision making.

The people who we’ve had review it so far have given it rave reviews. Here’s just one from Tom Ahern of Ahern Donor Communications: “What do you get when eight big deal specialists set out to produce a standard reference especially for small nonprofits? This wonderful, urgently needed book. It’s a step-by-step manual of everything small shops really need to make fundraising work for them, flush with checklists, guidelines, and fill in the blank forms! Consider it a cure for false steps.”

The book. The Essential Fundraising Handbook for the Small Shop will be available on January 15 from Amazon or at The Nonprofit Academy webpage. We’re also working on some special bonuses for those who order quickly. Stay tuned!

Quote of the week:
If I find 10,000 ways something won't work, I haven't failed... every wrong attempt is a step forward. - Thomas Edison

Here’s a summary of recent articles and blogs related to fundraising and nonprofit organizations. As always, please share this with others who might benefit from the information. Thanks again for reading!

Awareness / Communications

  • How to Sell a Nonprofit Marketing Plan to Your Board You have spent countless hours creating a marketing and communications strategy and budget for your nonprofit, and there is just one thing standing in your way from executing it: board approval. By Suzanne Hallsworth
  • How to Prepare for an Awesome Video Shoot Ah, video content marketing. It’s been a hot topic in 2013, and many end-of-year predication posts assert it will be more of a focus in 2014. Why? By Anne Murphy
  • Top Online Videos Of 2013 Let me take a wild guess … you are not really doing any heavy lifting today on the fundraising front. At best, you’re weeding out your email folder. So here’s a simple, fun distraction about top trending online videos. But possibly inspiring for your nonprofit. By Tom Belford

Fundraising Planning

  • Think you know Private Foundations? Think Again. The investment and giving behavior of many private foundations differs from that of the mega-foundations; and it matters that we know. By King McGlaughon
  • The Tyranny of Success: Nonprofits and Metrics Modern philanthropy famously demands success in the form of tangible, objective, measurably positive outcomes. This demand, in turn, requires nonprofits or those who audit or evaluate them to make sharp distinctions of their work into success. By William Schambra
  • Kick resolutions to the curb. Create a vision instead. It’s that time of year again. That time when lots of people start making New Year’s resolutions. I saw a funny cartoon today where two dogs were talking. One dog said “What’s a new year’s resolution?” The second dog said “It’s a To Do list for the first week of January.” Sad, but true. By Sandy Rees
  • The Keys to Establishing a Planned Giving Program Planned giving can provide your nonprofit and your donors with a valuable resource that can help undergird your financial stability. That’s why planned giving expert Jeff Jowdy recently joined us for a webinar in which he laid out the keys to establishing a planned giving program. By Michael Leaming
  • For Fundraisers, Why Quantity Is Sometimes Better Than Quality Everything I was taught growing up focused on the idea that quality was better than quantity. I recently read Sasha Dichter’s post, “Fifty Pounds of Clay,” and after a few paragraphs I began thinking how perfectly this fit into fundraising. By Beth Ann Locke

Fundraising Tactics

  • The Ideal Thank You Letter Went Out Today! I have seen the ideal appeal letter this season. But I haven’t yet seen the ideal thank you letter. If you wrote the ideal thank you letter, you: Called me by name. Confirmed how much I gave you. Told me how my gift would make a difference. Illustrated my impact with a story.  By Dennis Fischman
  • Making Money with Donor Newsletters: The How-To Guide to Extraordinary Results Can you imagine raising millions of dollars a year for your nonprofit…through your print newsletter alone?  That’s the kind of money Michelle Brinson generated in 2013 with Nashville Rescue Mission’s newsletter by following the simple techniques championed by master copywriter Tom Ahern.  By Pamela Grow
  • Seven Qualities of Excellent Grant Proposals There are literally dozens of books and articles (okay, perhaps hundreds) written about how to write excellent grant proposals.  However, once the technical understanding of grant application components is accomplished, I strongly believe it is time to focus on enhancing the craft of grant writing. By Diane Leonard
  • 5 rules for thanking donors It can be tempting to take it easy for a few weeks now that January is here. Of course, the reality is that your work with donors is just beginning. Now is your opportunity to begin turning year-end donors into your long-term partners in good. To do so, you need a solid plan...By Caryn Stein
  • Memorial gifts: do the right thing We buried my aunt on Monday. Her loss leaves a big void. She asked that memorial gifts be made to two charities in her community where she volunteered. For me as a donor, this gift has little to do with the museum and everything to do with my aunt. As a fundraiser, it offers an important reminder about memorial gifts. By Mary Cahalane

Online / Technology

  • Online Gifts Rose 16 Percent During Holiday Season Online gifts in the last two months of 2013 rose 16 percent higher than in the same months in 2012, according to Network for Good , a nonprofit that processes gifts made electronically. By Raymund Flandez
  • State of Social Media 2013  There were some great examples of using social media in 2013 to advance various causes and brands. New tools also continued to change the way companies and nonprofits can connect with their customers and advocates. By Brendan Kinney
  • 5 Web Design Trends To Watch Right Now Is your organization embarking on a website redesign in 2014? Here are five design trends to consider. By Allyson Kapin

Leadership / News / Other

  • Are you trying to "improve" your donors? A recent article on the Huffington Post is asking why nonprofit organizations haven't yet transformed planet Earth. Guess what? It's the donors' fault! All we have to do is train them to be better, smarter, more perceptive people. Just like us! By Jeff Brooks
  • 2014 New Year’s Resolutions for Board Members Are you ready for 2014? And . . . Is your board ready? This is the time when we all step back and make our resolutions. Here are some great New Year’s Resolutions for your board members! By Gail Perry
  • Nonprofits Need to Integrate Learning into their Work in 2014 The Chronicle recently published an article with expert advice on what nonprofits should start doing in 2014. If you look down the list of tactical advice and tips, there is a bigger pattern that emerges. By Beth Kanter
  • 4 Board Principles for a Fast-Growing Nonprofit During the past several years, I have had the privilege of working with a number of nonprofit boards that are leading and supporting fast-growing nonprofit organizations. By Mark Fulop
  • [GUIDE] Your Nonprofit’s First Strategic Plan Perhaps you are a small nonprofit without a strategic plan in place and would like to create one for the new year. Here are a few ideas to launch this important process. By Jay Love