I try not to rant very often, but every once in a while something just hits me the wrong way. It happened this week with an article I saw in the Harvard Business Review. The headline says it all: ‘How to Screen for Motivated Workers Who Are Drawn to Your Social Mission: Offer Low Pay.’ Really? And this in in HBR? I’ll admit, I feel better now that I’ve had my say (you can read my rant in the comments below the article if you’re interested).

This got me thinking - do you invite your donors to have their say? Whether it’s through a phone call, a meeting, an email or a survey, asking donors for their thoughts is powerful. Not only does it provide you with good information, it also establishes two-way communication which is the first step of building a relationship. And a stronger relationship will often result in higher gifts. Just some food for thought.

Quote of the week:  If you want to hire great people and have them stay, you have to let ideas win, not hierarchy. - Steve Jobs

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

Awareness / Communications

  • Crowdsourcing: Soliciting Your Donors’ Wits Instead of Their Wallets You need work done that no one at your organization knows how to do but that you can’t afford to outsource. What if there was a way to get creative solutions to the complex issues your organization is facing for free or at a low cost, while at the same time energizing your support base and strengthening their relationship with your organization? @Blackbaud
  • 5 Ways Nonprofits Are Using Google Hangouts Feel like you need a stronger connection to your supporters? You should consider using Google+ Hangouts to strengthen and solidify their support. @CauseVox
  • 6 Types of Stories that Spur Giving As a fundraiser, you aim to change how people perceive your organization’s work and cause, then motivate them to give. Connection is the lubricant for this conversion, but the deadly dull way so many organizations discuss their work frequently gets in the way. Yawn! @Network4Good
  • 10 Kinds of Stories to Tell with Data For almost a decade I have heard that good quantitative analysts can “tell a story with data.” Narrative is—along with visual analytics—an important way to communicate analytical results to non-analytical people.@HarvardBiz
  • What Makes a Good Annual Report Letter From a Director? Are you starting to write your annual report? Do you want to know how to write a better letter from your director? What makes a good letter from a director in your annual report? @wildwomanfund

Fundraising Planning

  • Tap Into The Innate Kindness Of Your Donors Why do we behave the way we do? Crack the code, figure out why your donors do what they do, and you’ll be much more successful, right? That sounds calculating. But I don’t think it is. Our job is to connect donors to the changes they want to make in the world. Understanding the best way to do that is helpful. @fundchat
  • How To Follow in the Footsteps of Your Nonprofit’s Promise Call it “The Case of the Message That Disappeared.” It (based on a true story) goes something like this: To acquire new donors, this charity sent out direct mail appeals that boldly, on the outbound envelope, challenged Christians to “follow in the footsteps of your faith…” @BloomerangTech
  • The BIG 5 in fundraising performance metrics You might love it. You might hate it. But if you respect your donors and your work as a fundraiser you are likely to spend a few hours per week looking at reports. Those reports will tell you all sorts of things about the behavior of your donors...@101fundraising
  • Nonprofit Software Implementation Best Practices, Building a Solid Foundation If you recently purchased a new nonprofit software solution, the next step is to implement it. The implementation process sets the tone for the future success with your software solution and is a critical first step. @JeffHaguewood
  • The Blackbaud Index: Overall Charitable Giving to Nonprofits Decreased 0.7% in March The Blackbaud Index today reported that overall charitable giving to nonprofits decreased 0.7% and online giving increased 12.8% for the three months ending March 2014 as compared to the same period in 2013. @Blackbaud

Fundraising Tactics

  • Anatomy Of An Ask Another week, another awesome infographic, this one from our friends at Nonprofit Hub. Asking for a gift doesn’t have to be as complicated as an operation, but if you think about just a few of these important areas, you’ll come through with flying colors. @fundchat
  • How Vs. Cancer is Using a Local Focus to Cure Childhood Cancer Vs. Cancer has one goal: To Cure Childhood Cancer. Since being founded in December of 2012, Vs. Cancer has had tremendous success in empowering athletes and their communities to support their cause. @stayclassysd
  • What do you say when you see ugly design in fundraising? That's the way fundraising goes: Ugly works. Tacky works. Corny, embarrassing, and messy work. In print, or in digital. How much you and I enjoy the design has no bearing on its power to motivate response. Stick to the fact about what moves donors. Ignore the sharp-tongued man on Twitter. @jeffbrooks
  • Clickthrough boosters for fundraising emails From The Daily Egg blog, here are 12 Strategies to Boost Email Marketing Click Through Rates. These are aimed at commercial marketing, so make sure to bend these to your own donors and your offer. @jeffbrooks
  • Case Study: From 0 to 584 Donors in 17 Hours — A Crowdfunding Success Story Can you imagine starting a new campaign and bringing in 584 new donors in the first 17 hours? OK. Here’s how a crazy successful crowdfunding campaign happened. @501videos
  • Give Local America: Getting People Excited About Giving Days Over the past year, Knight Foundation has helped 19 foundations organize Giving Days in their hometowns, offering tips through the Giving Day Playbook, a Peer Learning Networkfor exchanging ideas and by providing matching funds for their events. @kanter