Communications

The Race is Still On

The Race is Still On

Growing up in Pennsylvania, I had a good friend named Sylvia. We swam on a swim team together. I was pretty much lousy at all sports – swim team included. Sylvia, however, had talent.

Sylvia was so much stronger and better than all of the rest of us in our age group that none of us could really give her a challenge. Near the end of any race, she'd look back at us and we were nowhere near her. She'd leave us way behind. So she'd slack off. There wasn’t any need to make a big effort. She would simply coast to a stop at the end of the race…and still win.

Sometimes the coach would give her a hard time about it telling her how many records she could hold if she just wouldn’t slack off at the end, but she wasn't especially interested in records. She was swimming for the fun of it. We were just in grade school and she didn’t feel any pressure.

It can be easy to feel like Sylvia right about now. #GivingTuesday is behind us. The end-of-year appeal letter we’ve been rushing around to get in the mail has gone out. It might even be kind of quite around the office. But it’s not time to coast to a close just yet.

Reach Their Hearts, Not Their Heads

Reach Their Hearts, Not Their Heads

I love committees.  I'm serious. I do. Those of you who know me personally know, I'm an extrovert. I'm energized by being in a room full of other people. I love brainstorming and discussions. 

But there are somethings a committee shouldn't do and writing your end of the year appeal letter is one of them.

Budgeting for Fundraising Success

It's that time of year when many nonprofit organizations are working on the annual budget. An Executive Director friend, working on his budget, asked me if I could outline for him what types of expenses belong in a combined development, marketing, and communications budget. He wants to make sure that the Development Director at his organization has all the tools he needs in the budget to succeed. 

Kudos to him! The reality is that it takes money to make money and my friend is wise to realize that. It won't do any good to put a Development Director on your payroll if you don't also provide him or her with a budget to work with. If you want your development director to solicit major gifts, for example, you need your development officer to be able to visit your major donors, to see them face to face and, unless your donors live inside your office building, that means needing a budget for travel.

Here are some things that a Development Director is going to need funding for and a template for a development budget. 

7 Groups of People Who Can Contribute Content to Your Nonprofit's Blog

7 Groups of People Who Can Contribute Content to Your Nonprofit's Blog

Ever visited a nonprofit's blog page to find...well, nothing? The Blank Blog is all too common on nonprofit websites.

A lot of nonprofit organizations resist beginning a blog or, if they have a blog, they let it languish because they can’t imagine how to keep it full of content. They don’t know what they could possibly say that would be interesting to their readers OR they are so overworked and understaffed they can't figure out how to complete one more task (e.g. writing blog posts).

The good news is that the people who love a nonprofit organization—donors, volunteers, board members, clients—would be interested in reading several things about the nonprofit, things that a nonprofit staff leader—especially one that has served a long time—might take for granted and see as routine and a nonprofit staff leader doesn't have to do it all himself.

Christmas in July

Christmas in July

This Saturday is Christmas in July.  Santa might not be coming, but there are great sales everywhere and some retailers are even trying to get people thinking ahead to the holiday season which, if you’re a fundraiser, is a really good idea. If you haven’t already begun planning for the end of the year, now is the time to get started.

It’s four months until Giving Tuesday and five months until the close of the fiscal year.

Travel Season and the Nonprofit Journey

Travel Season and the Nonprofit Journey

It’s vacation season.  Time to pack up the suitcase and jump in the car, head to the airport, or hit the highways.  Many of us are enjoying pools or beaches or hiking on shaded mountain trails.

Most people are in the mood to travel.  So why not take your volunteers and donors on a journey?

A Firestorm: Marketing v. Fundraising

A Firestorm:  Marketing v. Fundraising

This year’s Nonprofit Communications Trend Report, published annually by Kivi LeRoux Miller, highlighted the possibility of conflict within nonprofit organizations’ communications and development departments about role definitions, goals, resource allocations, strategies, tactics, and more. 

And, just to prove how prescient the report might be, nonprofit fundraising and marketing bloggers have begun to slug it out online.

I suspect where communications and development cannot agree, collaborate, and talk things through, it is often the case that, in these situations, there is no culture of philanthropy. And while Underdeveloped calls on Development Directors to work to change from within the culture of philanthropy in organizations that lack it, it’s been my experience that in those organizations where no culture of philanthropy exists, the development director often lacks the power or authority to lead such change.  By the nature of the problem, the development director is disenfranchised in these situations.