You’ll be starting to see a few changes over the next couple of weeks. I’m migrating from using a shopping cart to handle emails to a program called Infusionsoft. I decided it was time to finally live what I preach and invest in a system that will allow me to better meet your needs. One of the things I’ll be launching soon (made possible by this new system) is a free 7-day fundraising planning program. I’ll let you know when the training is ready for enrollees.

Along those same lines, are you using a ‘real’ donor management system to make sure that you’re meeting the needs of your donors? It’s an investment that pays off quickly – especially because it helps with your donor retention. Did you realize that, in most cases, the amount an organization spends to acquire a new donor is about equal to that donor’s first gift? If you do the math, that means the only way to get ahead is to make fairly darn sure they stick around to make a second gift… Being better able to communicate with your donors, and identify what type of information they would be most interested in receiving, will make that much much easier.

Not sure which direction to go in selecting a donor management system? My three favorites (and which one I recommend depends on where an organization is in its life cycle) are: Bloomerang, DonorPerfect and DonorSnap. TechSoup also has advice available to help with that decision. And feel free to email me or call me if you need a little more direction.

Here’s my most liked quote of the week (based on the number of likes on my personal Facebook page):
To strengthen the muscles of your heart, the best exercise is lifting someone else's spirit whenever you can. - Dodinsky

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

  • Which is Most Effective: Print, Email, or In-Person? When we were putting together the questions for the survey for the 2014 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report, one of top suggested questions was, “What one type of content do you think is most effective for your organization, regardless of the amount of time you spend producing it?" ... Kivi's Nonprofit Communications Blog
  • How to find and destroy jargon and other donor-unfriendly copy in your fundraising One of the things that kills fundraising copy is stilted, odd, jargon-filled, legalistic language that's hard to read or understand. It happens because everyone inside the organization completely understands that copy. It's in insider language, and you can't detect how weird it really is. Here's a solution, from Damn, I Wish I'd Thought of That! ... Future Fundraising Now
  • Performing Effective Advocacy (Blog) An education organization in Pittsburgh transitions from watchdog to community engagement as its mission evolves. By Charrissa Lin & Christopher Keevil
  • Marriage Counseling for IT and Communications: Get Better Results Together  More and more IT groups are building up strategic capacity, serving many business goals and needs across an organization. At the same time, Communications groups are moving more into technology system decisions and driving resource and process needs. By Melissa Bear

What Others Are Doing

  • 10 Reasons This Fundraising Appeal Hits It Out of the Ballpark : It’s not about the money. It’s about the mission and the impact.  This year-end fundraising blog post from 2013 by One Justice, absolutely nails why we ask folks for support....Clairification Blog
  • Epic snowmobile journey a fundraiser for Montana nonprofits: The Trans Montana Ride began more than 20 years ago. Organized by the Montana Snowmobile Association, the ride has always served as a fundraiser for Montana nonprofits. Riders must raise at least $350 in pledges. … Bozeman Daily Chronicle
  • A Nonprofit 180: CASA of the Tennessee Heartland We all love a good story about an underdog who is able to turn around a seemingly impossible situation. It gives us hope that we can do it ourselves. Well, I wouldn’t exactly call Naomi Asher an underdog, but she’s a determined Executive Director who turned her organization around 180 degrees and went from disaster to dynamo...Get Fully Funded
  • Nonprofit Raised $41k on Twitter: Knowing a lot of snow was on the way, he took to Twitter and sent out a simple challenge: I'm donating $100 per inch of snow tomorrow (airport measure) to @WheelerMission. Who will join me? Within minutes, the tweet went viral and the pledges started pouring in … Social Media Today
  • 4 Nonprofits Who Are Maximizing Their Social Media Presences  Here’s a look at several nonprofits that have used creative social media or crowdfunding strategies and the key takeaways other nonprofit organizations can … Bloomerang

Fundraising Planning

  • Atlas of Giving Estimates U.S. Charity Jumped 13% in 2013: Preliminary numbers from philanthropy tracker Atlas of Giving indicate Americans gave away $416.5-billion last year, a 12.9-percent increase from 2012, reports the Los Angeles Times. … The Chronicle of Philanthropy
  • Donor Service: Cost Center Or Profit Center? The holiday shopping season, coupled with the current wave of renewed interest in raising the minimum wage and the plight of workers at places like Walmart, got me thinking about — what else? — donor retention.… The Agitator
  • Make This The Year You Start Planned Giving: Bequests, Part I Now we’re ready to start promoting your inaugural Planned Giving program. Who’s your audience? In general, your best potential donors are: 55 and over. Loyal, consistent donors, irrespective of dollar amount. By Tony Martignetti
  • Your Fundraising Calendar for 2014 It’s planning time for 2014! Here’s a strategic guide to help you get the highest return for your fundraising effort. And, as Donald Trump says, “If you’re going to be thinking, you might as well think big.”
  • The Secret to Raising More in 2014 Every week, I have a conversation like this with a nonprofit leader: Nonprofit Leader: "We need to find new donors." (As though there's a magic bullet, a secret place to find new donors.) Me: "Why do you want to find new donors?" By Marc Pitman

Fundraising Tactics

  • What Language Works Best in Crowdfunding Campaigns?: Kickstarter brought in an impressive amount of money from its crowdfunding campaigns in 2013, totaling on over $480 million pledged. A Georgia Tech study has gathered information from Kickstarter campaigns to determine what phrases work best to attract funders to crowdfunding campaigns… Nonprofit Quarterly
  • Invisible trouble in your donor file Is your fundraising program in more trouble than it seems to be? It could be. Programs in decline often disguise their woes: as the file shrinks, average gift goes up, making up for the shrinkage.…Future Fundraising Now
  • Get Ready For February: Valentine’s Day Campaign Planning & Ideas for Nonprofits Kerri Karvetski helps you get ready for what could be your next big engagement campaign: Valentine’s Day! ... Kivi's Nonprofit Communications Blog
  • The State of Donor Retention in 2014 There’s a lot being written about donor retention. We were wondering what the real pursuit of donor retention looks like among boots-on-the-ground fundraisers. Recently, we surveyed our database of over 8,000 nonprofit organizations nationwide to see where they stand on the issue… Bloomerang Blog
  • Survey Shows Donor Retention Still Undervalued by Nonprofits It was a disappointment to read in Kivi Leroux Miller's 2014 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report that donor retention is still not highly valued by many people working at nonprofits…By Joanne Fritz

Online / Technology

Leadership / News / Other

  • The Finance Committee: What is it and What Does it Do?  A board of a nonprofit is generally empowered to create committees at its discretion, subject to the organization’s bylaws and the laws of the state of its incorporation. When properly used, committees can serve to alleviate some of the workload of the full board and to help increase board efficiency…Nonprofit Law Blog
  • Charitable Deduction Probably Safe for 2014, Say Experts: Nonprofit experts are confident the charitable tax deduction will emerge unscathed from the current session of Congress, but they are less certain how lawmakers will deal with several tax breaks for charities that expired at the end of 2013…The Chronicle of Philanthropy
  • The State of Volunteering In America Here are highlights from the "Volunteering and Civic Life in America" research report. Wild Apricot Blog
  • It’s Legal. You’re Honest. But Are You Ethical? Abiding by the law and being honest are two core principles of ethical conduct. But being a truly ethical professional demands more...Associations Now