Nonprofit organizations

Easy Come, Easy Go: More Lessons from HubSpot’s Email Purge

Last week, I wrote about HubSpot’s surprising decision to cut 250,000 email addresses from its marketing roles and what we could learn about increasing our email open and click rates. To be clear, I haven’t spoken to anyone at HubSpot, I’ve only read about the company decision to make this move in some of their blog posts like this one by Pamela Vaughan

HubSpot's move was a big step, the kind of marketing decision that, down the road, people will hail as genius or will condemn as idiotic. 

Here’s why I believe it will have a happily-ever-after ending, why HubSpot was able to do this, and one of the things that we—in the nonprofit sector—should learn from them.

Are Your Sponsors Commitment Phobic?

Are Your Sponsors Commitment Phobic?

Do you have trouble getting your sponsors to sign on the bottom line?

Planning a fundraising event is challenging and time-consuming. You need a minimum of six months to plan an event (yes, I know it can be done in less, but it begins to get ugly if you have less time than that) and, ideally, nine months or more.

Lining up sponsorship commitments is usually something you do early in the process because that way, you can offer your sponsors maximum benefits—they can be in all of the pre-event publicity like participant registration or ticket sales and event promotional materials.

What if your sponsors delay making their commitment decisions? 

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. 

3 Ways Forward When You're Not Grant Ready

3 Ways Forward When You're Not Grant Ready

3 Ways Forward When You're Not Grant Ready

If you search online for information about “grant readiness,” more likely than not, you’ll come across information about becoming prepared to write a grant. You’ll likely to stumble upon a list of documents that you need to gather to be prepared to make sure that you are ready to write and submit a grant like the one I posted here . These lists are helpful. But they are lists about grant writing preparedness and not about grant readiness.

Grant readiness is about your organization or about your organization’s programs. It’s about whether or not your organization is an organization that is going to be considered a good investment in a funder’s eye. Grant funders do not want to rescue failures or organizations on the brink of failure. Instead, what they want is to invest in organizations that are a wise investment, organizations that have the capacity to succeed and to bring returns—not, of course, to them, but to the community, to the people or cause that they serve.

Whether or not an organization is grant ready include:

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.

Career Advice for Nonprofit Professionals

Career Advice for Nonprofit Professionals

In the nonprofit sector, we nonprofit professionals apply for positions in the nonprofit sector. We have experience with nonprofit jobs.  Because we’re nonprofit professionals with nonprofit experience, applying for nonprofit jobs, we assume that the people who are reviewing our resumes understand what our titles and positions mean and entail.  They don’t.  Even if we list our accomplishments, they don’t get it.  Too often, board members are hiring or sitting on the search committees that hire us. Those board members are almost always business people who don’t understand what’s involved in our jobs.

12 Things To Do During The Summer Slow Down

12 Things To Do During The Summer Slow Down

For fundraisers and other nonprofit professionals,  the summer months are often slow.  Donors, board members, and other colleagues head out for vacations.  It becomes difficult to hold committee meetings and get things accomplished.  One board of directors I used to work with met monthly all year-long except in the months of July and December—December because of the long holiday break and July because they recognized that practically everyone was on vacation.

So how can you make the most of this summer slow down? Here are 12 things you can do while the office is quieter during the summer months: