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Sunday, January 15th, 2017

An Introduction to Business Planning: a one-pager

A business plan describes what you do, how you do it, who’s responsible, and what it costs – that’s it. If you only have time to jot your answers onto a post-it-note, then let’s start there. If you have time to dig a little deeper, we’ve got you covered.

A well thought out business plan will accomplish a few tasks for you. They present your vision to potential funders. You may also use the plan to attract partners, help to develop your place in the market, appeal to possible employees, and so on. When beginning to research and gather information for your business plan, include these topic areas:

Business Case: Discuss your proposed industry, your product/services, legal entity and business structure, and how you will have sustained success.

Market Strategy: Describe your market segment and explain why your business has a place within it. Tell us about your customers – who are they, where are they, and why they will spend money with you. Who’s your competition and why are you better.

Financials and Budget Narrative: This is where you include a three-year realistic profit and loss statement and balance sheet. Your budget narrative explains how you arrived at your calculations.

Your document should be a manageable read, about 20 pages with an appendix that could include additional documents like leadership vitae’s, workplan, and cashflow. If you still have gas in the tank, you can break our three major sections into greater detail by including: Executive Summary, Business Description, Marketing Plan, Competitive Analysis, and Management/Operations Plan.

If you are unsure as to how much detail to include in your plan, you can think of it this way; it depends on the nature of your business. If you have a simple concept, you may be able to express it in very few words. On the other hand, if you’re proposing a new kind of business or even a new industry, it may require quite a bit of explanation to get the message across. Happy planning!

The End is Near for Your Fiscal Year: Fundraising Tips, Tactics and Messaging to Implement Today

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

By Marcie L. Wagner, CFRE

You may be relaxed and comfortably reaching your fundraising goal OR today you’re feeling the heat and realize you need to hustle a bit more in order to get to your goal. the_end_is_near1_newWhatever the scenario, it is always just good business to be as strategic today, as you approach June 30, as you are in racing towards December 31st. So let’s begin some fiscal year-end fundraising chatter.

While it will always be a challenge to grab your donor’s attention in May and June in the same measure as November and December – it is documented that the positive payoff will be well worth your time and perhaps a bit of investment. According to the Association of Fundraising Professionals, you can expect at least a 20% increase in donations in May and June combined if you implement a fiscal year-end fundraising strategy.

What follows is a tactic and messaging example. When messaging, pay attention to your tone, it should be urgent, timely and specific, not desperate or needy. Be clear that the solicitation is coming to them due to the approaching fiscal year-end and that it is essential to reach out to ensure that your organizations much needed services continue to thrive.

When drafting your message be confident and clear with regard to what you want, why you want it, and when you want it.

Here is an example of an e-appeal used by public radio. You will notice the following:the_end_is_near2

  1. Begins with a bold, but brief case pitch
  2. Clearly states the situation
  3. Asks strongly and directly for the contribution
  4. Builds credibility by pointing out that others have already done their part
  5. Briefly and specifically re-states it all in the P.S. (along with gift amount suggestions.)


Subject: Just one weekDear friend,

What a difference WXYZ can make to your week… with news that keeps you connected… ideas that keep you interested… and conversation that brings you into the heart of the matter.

One week can mean a lot to WXYZ too – particularly this week!

That’s because just one week from today, WXYZ’s budget year ends and our goal right now is to raise $## through this email to finish strong.

If WXYZ has ever made your week, then please stand with our ## amazing supporters as we raise the critical final dollars it will take to help the programs you rely on thrive in the year to come.


You do have the power to make all the difference! Thank you!

Title and proud supporter

P.S. WXYZ’s budget year ends in just one week. Your $50, $100, or $200 contribution will go far in helping to raise the final $## to support the exceptional news that you count on every day. Thank you!

the_end_is_near3_newWhether you’re writing a series of emails, an on-air spot, a fundraising pitch, or a lengthier direct mail letter, these same principles will apply to helping you maximize your fundraising response at fiscal year-end, while also maintaining strong and healthy communications with your donors.

It is worth mentioning again, never, ever use a message or tone that would convey an organizational financial crisis. If you are really sweating it to reach your goal, it is easy to come across as desperate – while it may make you feel better, and it may inspire a handful of “saviors” to take action, the largest result will be questions regarding leadership’s ability to be fiscally responsible and why did they allow the organization to get into such a negative situation. You can see how this message can easily take a donor’s mind to a place you don’t want it to go.

In closing, you all are responsible for organizations that are unique – use fundraising tactics and strategies that make sense for you. Perhaps your donors won’t respond to an e-appeal, but you know from your December year-end that they respond to direct mail with a follow up phone call. The timing of your fundraising appeals may also need to be unique. Perhaps you begin your fiscal year-end solicitations on May 1 in order to be strategic and successful.

Four Ways to Turn Volunteers into Donors

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

By Marcie Wagner, CFRE

ten ways to volunteers img1First some quick stats and facts on volunteer giving. According to The Corporation for National & Community Service, volunteers are almost twice as likely to donate to charity as non-volunteers. Nearly eight in 10 (79.2 percent) volunteers donated to charity, compared to four in 10 (40.4 percent) of non-volunteers. Overall, half of all citizens (50.7 percent) donated at least $25 to charity in 2013.
Here are four tips to move your volunteers to donors.

  1. 1. Train Your Volunteers
  2. Treat them as if they are a new staff member. Ensure they are prepared with a training manual and job description. Provide them with a tour and use that time to introduce them to the staff. They should have a place and the tools to conduct their work and it should be clean, even if small. Make certain they are aware of who they report to, that they meet that person and review the job description, set dates and times of volunteering and cover any questions the volunteer may have. It is important that the volunteer supervisor is accessible to them while they are volunteering. Include a backup person in the event the supervisor is not available. Give them the logistics of when to arrive, where to park, check in, track their hours, get coffee, how long their shift is, what to do if they haven’t finished the job at the end of their shift. Be organized and available to them so they feel welcome, competent and impressed with the time you have taken to ensure their experience is a good one.
  3. ten ways to volunteers img2
  4. 2.Recognize Your Volunteers
  5. Volunteers should have a name tag so it is easy for staff to identify them and acknowledge them as they pass by. During staff meetings make a point of impressing upon staff the importance of saying “hi” to volunteers, perhaps chat with them and ask how they are doing, invite them for coffee or lunch with them. As they leave their shift they should be thank for their time. For volunteers who have made a long-term commitment; acknowledge them in your newsletter, Facebook, website or annual report.
  6. ten ways to volunteers img3
  7. 3. Write a note of Thanks to Your Volunteers
  8. Similar to donors, send your volunteers a short thank you note. Thank them this way early and more than once as appropriate.

  10. 4. Ask for a donation
  11. ten ways to volunteers img4
  12. Throughout their volunteer experience, they should be educated on the organizations broader work, not just the work they may be focused on. As you approach the ask, acknowledge the value of their volunteer work and how it is fiscally valuable, yet make a clear case for the need of individual donations in order to fulfill your mission. Focus the ask on programs and services, not general operating. Make the ask personal, face to face and come prepared with a donor packet and gift envelope, allowing them time to think over the level of their financial contribution.

Four Fundraising Resolutions for 2015

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

By Marcie Wagner, CFRE

  • Donation Optimization


Eliminate any links on your landing page that visitors can use to leave your website. Instead offer a clear and SECURE call to action which conveys a sense of urgency and an incentive if they give online. Offer donation giving levels, a link to your privacy policy and again include 3rd party secure giving validation. Finally, make certain your landing page is optimized for mobile. Infographic by johnhayden.com

  • Incorporate Mobile Giving

fundraising_image2Mobile donations are the best way to give to charity because of convenience, security and cost savings. Since so many people use their smartphones and tablets to surf the Web, you can no longer think of online giving as something that people do from a desktop computer. If you have mobile fundraising systems in place, this awareness can translate to an immediate gift. Not only is mobile the most convenient and secure way to give to charity, but it’s also the most affordable for organizations. Mobile giving typically has lower processing costs compared to others. It’s very effective as well, text message marketing campaigns are effective because it has a high open rate, often within a few minutes of receiving a message.

  • Ask Donors to “Give Up” Something for 30-40 days

Create a campaign around asking your donors to give up something for thirty or forty days. It could be coffee, soda, chocolate… and instead make a gift to your organization equal to what they have saved.
Infographic from classy.org

  • Create a Crowdfunding Campaign

Pick your most compelling program or a program that could do so much more (serve so many more people) given the funds were available and create a crowdfunding campaign. Kickstarter isn’t just for new projects anymore.

Board Member Tips to Managing Staffing Issues

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

By Marcie Wagner, CFRE
With information cited from Jan Masaoka


The role of the board of directors in personnel administration should be clearly defined for nonprofits in order to limit potential conflict with your Executive Director. Some questions to ask of your board include: should the board approve all salaries, or just the executive director’s? If a staff member has a grievance, at what point can they come to the board? How can the board’s finance committee members, for example, be helpful in hiring accounting staff, but not undermine the hiring role of staff? How can a board member appropriately give feedback to the executive director on the behavior of a staff person given the assumption the board feels swift action must be taken?

Board teams tend to be hands on or hands off. For example, it’s common that some desire to be in the loop with regard to staff compensation, while others would be upset if they were involved in any administrative staffing issue – even compensation. This blog will present to you targeted guidelines specific to board roles without stepping on the toes of the ED’s authority.
img 2

Guidelines for the Board’s Role in Non Profit Human Resource’s

1. Committee(s): The board establishes a board-staff sub-committee that works with matters related to human resources. This committee makes recommendations to the board for approval (rather than bringing matters to the board).
2. Personnel Policies: The executive director is responsible for ensuring that personnel policies and procedures are disseminated and implemented, and that the policies are reviewed as appropriate by the board. Individual members of the human resources committee may be able to bring their human resources expertise to make suggestions; every two years, the human resources committee reviews the policies with staff and, if appropriate, drafts changes.
3. Salary scales: The board Finance sub-committee working with the HR sub-committee should draft salary ranges for each position. This ensures that the board has considered the strategic matters related to salaries as they relate to organizations budget capacity. The salary schedule is sent by Finance committee to the whole board for approval. In this way, the executive staff are still responsible for salaries, but the range of salaries is one approved by the board.
4. Hiring: In some cases, at the request of the executive director, one or two board members may help during the interview process, particularly if you have an HR executive on the board. However, it should be clear to all involved that the final decision is made by the staff person to whom the new hire would report. In these situations individual board members are acting as advisors to staff.
5. Layoffs: A management decision to lay off staff usually reflects a financial situation that should already have been shared with the board. In this context, the steps that management is taking to deal with that financial situation — whether layoffs, paycuts, new income strategies, or others — should be discussed with the board and the board should bless or put a hold on management actions. Although in most staffed organizations the decision of who to laid off and when and how are management decisions, it’s critical for the board and management to be in sync about how the organization is responding to financial problems.
6. Grievances: Grievances on the part of employees must first go through the written procedures outlined in the employee policies manual. If an individual has exhausted the grievance process and that process has been documented, individual employees may be permitted (if it is so written in the policies) to raise a grievance to either the board chair or the board’s human resources committee, which then acts as the final arbiter. This may be especially appropriate where the complaining employee reports to the executive director and has an unresolved complaint about the executive director.
7. Serious charges about the organization’s management: Sometimes a staff member has a serious charge against management, such as the illegal or improper use of funds, sexual harassment, discriminatory behavior, or improper accounting methods that cannot be taken up in the grievance process. To provide an outlet for such matters (other than a complaint to the state attorney general), some organizations allow staff members to raise such concerns with the board chair. When other board members hear such complaints, they have a responsibility to direct the staff person to the board chair. By making the board chair the sole recipient of such charges, the board can prevent a disgruntled staff member from trying to develop allies on the board against the executive staff, and can provide a way to bring an organizational matter to the attention of the board as a whole.
Delegating Personnel Work
The board can choose how to delegate personnel-related work. The most common choices are:
• a standing (permanent) human resources committee,
• a human resources task force (that is, a temporary committee),
• a board-staff standing committee, or a
• board-staff task force.
Committee members might include the staff human resources director (if there is one) or executive director, and/or non-board volunteers such as a human resources attorney. (Note that if non-board individuals are members of the committee, either they should be as non-voting advisory members of the committee, or the committee’s recommendations should come back to the board for approval.) In some cases, the human resources committee is also responsible for developing plans and strategies for appropriate recruitment and utilization of volunteers, while in other organizations the human resources committee looks only at paid personnel.
Each organization will want to choose its own guidelines on these sensitive and important issues. Striking the right balance between board and ED authority may initially be challenging, but it’s far from impossible. In the end, sorting this out will strengthen your organization while making life easier for board members and staff.

Why Your Year-End Ask Should Last 12 Months

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

by Lincoln Arneal

Don’t let the name fool you, the end-of-year ask fundraiser for nonprofits is not about the end of the year.

For an end-of-year campaign to be successful, it cannot be done during the final few months of the year. Instead, an effective end-of-year ask extends beyond one letter and incorporates multiple touch points with potential donors.

image1We talked to multiple nonprofit professionals, and they all agreed that the year-end ask was about relationship building and connecting with existing and potential donors on a personal level.

Jerry Krueger is the vice president of branding/operations for Alpha Dog Marketing, a firm that coordinates fundraising campaigns, newsletters and mailing for nonprofits across the country. He said they also work the end-of-year campaign into traditional advertising, which will curtail into the entire year.

Krueger said the year-end ask should be just one part of a nonprofit’s fundraising plan.

“The year-end is critical, but it’s really about the whole year. You need to have a comprehensive plan and multiple asks,” Krueger said. “If all you have is the end-of-year ask, then you will struggle.”

Heather Stulken, the donor relations manager at Great Plains Food Bank, which serves North Dakota, said the end of the year was important because they conducted 60% of the mailings during the last four months of the year.

image2Their direct mail campaigns are divided into three seasons. They send out four mail pieces during the spring, two during the summer and nine in the fall. Stulken said direct mail might seem inefficient for fundraising because of how easily recipients could discard letters, but they’ve added two more mailings in the past few years based on the success they’ve had.

Stulken said they work with a California-based vendor,Russ Reid, to send out their mailings. Even though she doesn’t directly oversee the production of the mailers, Stulken watches the results and looks for trends from previous years.

image3According to their financial reports for 2012, the methods have been quite successful, as two-thirds of Great Plains Food Bank’s overall revenue came from donations.

“Because of where our time and energy is allocated, the best use of my time is not writing letters,” Stulken said. “The best use of my time is visiting donors. So we let this company do the mailings and they seem to be working great. It’s work that we are not capable of doing in-house to the extent that they are doing and be very smart about it.”

Both Stulken and Krueger said they heavily segmented their databases to send different mailings to new potential donors, and then to current donors based on giving levels and number of gifts. Each receives a different mailing, with slightly different content and a different layout and feel.

Stulken and Krueger said one of the most successful mailings were cards that have the appearance of being handwritten, but in fact, are not. Stulken said they updated their lists frequently. She image4said, for example, if someone made a donation by November 15, in the next mailing, they would receive a request asking for a second donation.

When the outside company completes the mailings, Stulken’s work really begins. After the initial donation, she follows up with every donor who gives at least $250 with a phone call or an in-person visit, depending on the amount and availability of the donor. Her goal is to convert these people from one-time givers into monthly donors.

“The personal touches, like phone calls and visits, are extremely impactful,” Stulken said. “I’ve seen quickly how they turn into major donors very quickly after we stop by their house.”

How to set up a Twitter account in five simple steps

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

In the first part of our social media how-to series, we demonstrated how easy it was to set up Facebook page for your non profit. Here, we’ll show you how to use Twitter to reach out to your customers and get your company’s name out there without having to spend big bucks on conventional advertising.

Step 1
image11First, you’ll need to setup a Twitter account. Go to www.twitter.com, and enter your full name, email address and the password you want to use for your account. Twitter will automatically suggest a username for you based on your first name and surname, but you should change this to the name of your non profit. If that name is taken already, try variations on it such as putting a “1” at the end of it. When you find a username that isn’t taken, click the ‘Create my account’ button.

Step 2
The next step is to find people to ‘follow’. The key here is building up a list of people whose posts you will find interesting. For a non profit Twitter account, a good place to start is people that are influential in your industry. Twitter will suggest some people for you to follow on the next screen, and you can get an idea of whether they’re relevant to your industry by the short biography listed underneath each Twitter handle. Don’t worry if you follow the wrong people – you can easily ‘unfollow’ them later.

Step 3
On the next screen, you’ll be able to find Twitter users by name or topic. From here, you can look up thought leaders and prominent executives in your field,and also
image12browse through categories to find people relevant to your industry. The final step in the setup process is searching through your existing contact databases to find friends and colleagues that use Twitter. You can look through your Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL and LinkedIn contacts.

Step 4
image13Now you can get to setting up your Twitter profile. From the main Twitter screen, you’ll see a ‘Set up your profile’ section on the right-hand panel.From here, you can upload a profile picture (typically your non profit logo) and write a short bio. The bio is important, as it’s what people will use to determine whether they should follow you. Something along the lines of “This is the official Twitter account of [non profit name]” should suffice.

Step 5
And now for the fun stuff – writing posts! Posts are limited to 140 characters, so you’ll need to be brief with your message. The aim isn’t to ‘spam’ your followers with information about your services, although this may be of interest depending on your particular industry. If your mission is to offer educational scholarships, for instance, posting to Twitter about any new scholarships available or deadlines would be appropriate. image14But you’ll also want to engage with people that mention your non profit name and post information related to your industry that your followers will find interesting. You can use free third party Twitter services like HootSuite (www.hootsuite.com) to get alerted whenever someone mentions your non profit name.

A Quick Guide to Building and Using Your Non Profit Facebook Page

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

The first of a series of blogs – upcoming blogs include: How to Set Up and Use A Twitter Account and Blog to Drive Traffic to Your Website

By Marcie L. Wagner, CFRE

A free service offered by Facebook; you can not only promote yourself (as most do), it is increasing essential to promote you nonprofit in order to share your stories, photos attached to freeservice1those stories or photos of your events. A Facebook page for your organization gain you “fans” rather than “friends” through the “like” button. Similar to a personal Facebook page, you want to continually update it with organization information, status updates, links to related issues, photos and videos. Make sure to encourage your followers or “fans” to like and share your stories and photos.

Why spend you limited time creating and updating you Facebook page? First, it is the most widely used social media network platform with over 500 million people actively using it each MONTH. Further, over 50% of these users log on during any given DAY. You must begin now to take advantage of this mass community.

In July of last year, James Parsons kindly walked audiences through how to set up your facebook page which I will share for you here.

How to build a Facebook page for your non-profit organization?

1.    Define your organization. This may sound obvious, but still, you should plan and know very carefully what the Page is all about: the organization’s story, mission, and its audience. Establish and program your Page with that in mind.

2.    Create the Page. At this point, you’ll be doing the ‘computer’ aspect of your journey to social goodness.

3.    Visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php

Just a reminder, IF you have a personal account, you should be logged in to that personal account before you can create the Page. This account will be used as the Page’s administrator. Facebook doesn’t allow users to create a Page without it linking to a personal account. Pages are not separate Facebook accounts and do not have separate login information from your timeline. They are just different entities on their site, similar to how Groups and Events function. You may add other administrators later on to help you manage a Page. But don’t worry, people who choose to like your Page won’t be able to see that you are the Page admin or have ANY access to your personal timeline

4.   At the ‘Create a Page’ site, select the category “Company, Organization or                  Institution”.
5.   Choose from the drop-down list the category “Non-Profit Organization”.
6.   Type the name of the organization. Be sure to select a name that will represent          your organization in the long term.
7.   Check the “I agree to Facebook Pages Terms”
8.   Finally, click the “Get Started” button.
9.   Next, you’ll be redirected to the Set Up section, where you’ll be asked to fill in             details for your Page.

  1. About


 Keep your organizations brand in mind. Your page and the questions that follow should all reflect the same branding as your organizations website and materials. “About” your organization you will write a brief description of your organization. I recommend you state your mission. You will add your website, Twitter, Blog links and any other links to the social media that you are currently using. If you are not using any, stay posted to my subsequent blogs which will cover these additional opportunities.  Please understand that Facebook  isn’t limited to only one site, and I recommend using as many websites as possible for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) purposes. Just click “Add Another Site”, and you can key in all the necessary additional sites your organization is linked to – you may also go back and update this information as you expand your online presence. Before clicking “Save Info”, answer the question “Is ‘name of your organization’ a real organization, school or government?”

Profile Picture

I recommend you use your organizations logo and adhere to their size requirements so your logo fits their window and doesn’t end up looking fuzzy, stretched out, cut off etc. They make it easy, you simply upload a picture from your computer. Or go to your website, right click on your logo, click “save as” and save it to your desktop so you can easily find it when you upload the picture from your computer. You can skip this step, if you haven’t decided a logo yet, but I would rather recommend that you place a photo that depicts your brand until you do have your logo in place. You can change this picture at any time.

Facebook Web Address
Choose a unique Facebook web address to make it easier for people to find your Page. Facebook usually suggests a name, but you can also choose your own. Consider first using the name of your organization, if that is taken, it should be similar, perhaps you don’t use all the words of the name of your organization. Once this is set, it CAN’T BE CHANGED. If you aren’t sure what to write, you can skip this step and come back to it later.

Reach more people
This is the part where you’ll be asked if you would want to advertise on Facebook. It is quite a good deal if you are a membership organization, especially to a newly published Page. With this, you can raise awareness about your organization and get more people to like your Page. The downside is it’s not free. If you’re interested, there are three payment methods to choose from (i.e. Credit/Debit Card, PayPal, and Direct Debit). Or, again, you can skip this step and come back later if you change your mind. You can also stop advertising at any time as well.

Add to Favorites

If you have have a personal profile page, this section will help you to add your Page to your ‘Favorites’ section of your personal profile for easy access anytime and don’t forget to become your pages first ‘fan’, you can also send a message to all of your contacts to become a fan of your page. Make certain to do this, depending on how many friends you have, you can already build a healthy audience and it looks very good to new visitors to you nonprofit page.

Administration Panel

Familiarize yourself with the Admin Panel. At the top of your Page’s timeline, you can see the admin panel. Poke around all of the different settings found at the “Edit Page” button.freeservice3Select”Edit Settings” and you’ll be redirected in the “Manage Permissions” page. You can change some of these, if not all, to your desired choice.

Add another Administrator, perhaps this is the staff person or volunteer who is familiar with facebook and will to keep it updated regularly. That option can be found in the “Settings” page. Look for the “Admin Roles” option and there you can add admins with different roles. They can be a manager (they have access to all editing options), a content creator (can’t manage admin roles), a moderator (can respond to and delete comments on the Page, send messages as the Page, create ads, and view insights), an advertiser (can create ads and view insights), and finally, an insights analyst (can only view insights). There is no limit to the number of admins a Page can have.

When we’re talking about organizations in Facebook Pages especially non-profits, always remember: Photos and videos are everything. These multimedia contents are much more compelling than status updates. They are more engaging, especially if the video or photo is linked to your website – this way your facebook page is driving traffic to your website or website donation page or event sign up page – you can link them wherever you would like.

Add an appealing Cover Photo.

Facebook now has the large Cover Banner. Here, you can upload a photo that will serve as your Page’s promotional banner. Choose a photo for this one, grab a picture of an event, or of your clients. Again remember to pay attention to their dimensions so the photo is not fuzzy, too large or too small.

Share your content.

Post your first status. Talk in the first person, it’s more personal and authentic. Create a two-way dialogue with your fans and supporters. Share exclusive photos and videos that will engage your audience. The more you post, the more people you’ll attract and the faster you’ll grow your Page’s followers. Build the community you envisioned. Good luck!


22 Crowdfunding Sites (and How To Choose Yours!)

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

BY Eric Markowitz


It’s not just Kickstarter anymore. Here’s a road map. Crowdfunding used to be pretty simple. Artists, inventors, and filmmakers posted their ideas, and funders chipped in a few bucks to make something happen. Kickstarter, the site that triggered the crowdfunding movement, was the cornerstone. In three years, the site has helped launch more than 95,000 projects.

Today, there are scores of crowdfunding sites. Indiegogo, Bolstr, Fundable–the list goes on. With the SEC poised to allow projects to offer equity, crowdfunding has the potential to revolutionize how entrepreneurs raise money. (For now, you have to offer some kind of reward in exchange for donations.)

But all sites are not created equal. Some specialize in nonprofits, or in certain types of products; others offer consulting services in addition to sourcing funding. In an increasingly crowded and complicated marketplace, where should you turn to fund your endeavor? Follow our map.

From the June 2013 issue of Inc. magazin



Click here to view the 22 crowdfunding sites and determine which best fits your special project

Year-end Fundraising in a Snap: 5 No-Brainer tactics to implement by December 31

Monday, November 11th, 2013

By Marcie L. Wagner, CFRE

img 1

1. Year-end visits or phone calls

Visit or call your top 2013 donors and your top LYBUNTS and ask for a year-end gift; however you define “major donors” for your organization. A smaller nonprofit may consider a one-time gift of $100 a top donor; others define a top gift as $5,000. If your list is too big to manage, bring in your board members to assist with the calls.

img 2

2. Prepare and send two year-end, “story-telling” appeal letters – double-down by integrating your year-end appeal through all social media avenues

Send your first appeal letter prior to Thanksgiving; send the final letter the last week of December. Next, over the course of November and December, send the same appeal to all your social media venues: a Constant Contact year-end newsletter, e-blast, Facebook, twitter, YouTube and most importantly, the landing page of your website. Repeat your message, theme, brand and “ask” in order to get the biggest bang for your buck. Given you are not recreating the wheel for each social media solicitation; you can accomplish it in a “snap”!

3. If possible, host an open house
Everyone is busy during the holidays with family and friend’s gathering to spread some holiday cheer – please don’t forget, your top donors are your closest friends too. They wouldn’t invest in your organization if they didn’t care greatly about the success of your mission. Time the open house over lunch or a brunch so you avoid the end of year holiday crush of parties.

img 3

4. Send out your 2013 accomplishments
Don’t wait until January to “toot your own horn”, send out your 2013 accomplishments to grant funders and, yes, your top donors and social media outlets.


img 4


5. Personalize, Personalize and Personalize

Again, when possible (and it most often is), personalize your donor appeal by addressing everyone through every medium by their name. Even better, add a live signature and personal note. What will put you over the top? Use first class postage and a postage paid envelope. When utilizing social media for your year-end message, personalize and then have that donate now button stand out big and early in the “ask”. Finally, say thank you no matter the outcome.