First Thing Tuesday

How Much Does Fundraising Cost?

Posted by on Jun 20, 2017 in Board Development, Featured, Plans and Budgets | 0 comments

How Much Does Fundraising Cost?

Imagine a day when someone walks in the door of your land trust and offers to pay for everything you need to accomplish your mission. Not an invitation to be extravagant, and not crazy stuff, but if money weren’t a barrier, what would it cost to run your land trust? What would you include in your calculations? Your ED salary would be included as well as your program staff. But the fundraising staff would no longer be necessary. You’d probably hang on to your communications staff, too. The newsletter, eNews, social media, and news releases...

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Educating about Protection

Posted by on Jun 13, 2017 in Communication, Donor Cultivation, Featured, Uncategorized | 6 comments

Educating about Protection

Last week, I wrote about how two words – “educate” and “protect” – are used by land trusts in describing what they do but that serve to further distance themselves from the some of the same people they wish to serve – or at least partner with. (See Othering.) In response to the post, Carol asked, “Great article but what’s the solution?” This week’s post will help answer that question. One alternative to the word “educate” was offered by Lisa in another comment, “We use the term ‘engagement.’ How do you engage with your members, with your...

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Othering

Posted by on Jun 6, 2017 in Donor Cultivation, Featured, Uncategorized | 6 comments

Othering

Three weeks ago, Vu Le (formerly Non-Profit with Balls, and now Non-Profit AF) wrote a critique of donor-centric fundraising. In his post, he complained about the whole idea that donors should be in the center of what non-profits do, “I just don’t believe that donors should be in the center of non-profit work, or even in the center of fundraising work.” I’ve spent the past two weeks analyzing his post and making the case that the center is where everyone else is and that donors should be at the center also. (See What is a Donor? And What is...

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More Counterpoint on Donor-Centrism

Posted by on May 31, 2017 in Donor Cultivation, Featured | 4 comments

More Counterpoint on Donor-Centrism

Yes – I know. I should have posted this yesterday, but I failed to work on Memorial Day. My bad. This week, it’s First Thing Wednesday! Two weeks ago, Vu Le (formerly Non-Profit with Balls, and now Non-Profit AF) wrote a critique of donor-centric fundraising. In his post, he complained about the whole idea that donors should be in the center of what non-profits do, “I just don’t believe that donors should be in the center of non-profit work, or even in the center of fundraising work.” When I started my fundraising career, I started by...

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What is a Donor? And What is “Donor-Centric”?

Posted by on May 23, 2017 in Donor Cultivation, Featured | 3 comments

What is a Donor? And What is “Donor-Centric”?

Vu Le had another great post last week, this time taking on the concept of donor-centric fundraising. In some ways, he is right on – in some ways, he misses the boat. Either way, he challenges our assumptions and makes us think. I love that about him. You can read his post here. The all-important premise of his post is that “donor-centric” means putting the donors at the center of your organization. Even though I don’t believe that is what it means, it’s easy to see where someone could get that impression. Consider this article from Simone...

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Qualities that Make a Good Board Member

Posted by on May 16, 2017 in Board Development, Featured | Comments Off on Qualities that Make a Good Board Member

Qualities that Make a Good Board Member

I just returned from a stellar week at River Rally – the national conference for river advocacy groups. I was there to teach, obviously, but I got a chance to learn a lot too. Green Infrastructure, the on-going plight of the people from Flint, a behind-the-scenes look at what happened at Standing Rock, and plenty of opportunities to see the world through other people’s eyes. Great stuff. My session was about major gift fundraising (of course), and I came to the part where board members need to give themselves first. How can we ask people to...

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Fundraising Systems That May be Getting in Your Way

Posted by on May 9, 2017 in Board Development, Donor Cultivation, Featured | Comments Off on Fundraising Systems That May be Getting in Your Way

Fundraising Systems That May be Getting in Your Way

“The systems you have in place right now either were created or evolved on their own to support the current status quo. If you want to change the status quo, you’re going to need to change the systems that support it – first.” I’ve been saying those sentences for so long, that they just roll off my tongue now. We want our Board members to play a larger role in raising money for the land trust. So we need to look at the systems we have in place that support Board members NOT raising money – and change them. These systems either get in the way...

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Giveaways, Trinkets, and Other Premiums

Posted by on May 2, 2017 in Featured, Membership | Comments Off on Giveaways, Trinkets, and Other Premiums

Giveaways, Trinkets, and Other Premiums

I fielded a question about premiums again last week. I get these periodically, because it seems intuitive that if someone is going to join, or give, or upgrade, or renew, they will need to get “something” in return.   This is probably the case only rarely. Most donors want to support the work we’re doing because it is work they value. Why do we have such a hard time believing that?   Now, to be sure people will often take advantage of token items that are offered once they have already decided to give, but the gift itself is just...

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Untying the Budget Knots

Posted by on Apr 25, 2017 in Featured, Plans and Budgets, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Untying the Budget Knots

Untying the Budget Knots

I am working with an organization right now that needs to reboot their fundraising systems. They sent out their fall appeal last year and their renewal notices this year using email. It was a well-meaning but misguided attempt to save money – because their fundraising hasn’t been all that good lately. They didn’t even send renewal notices to everyone on their list because they didn’t have email addresses for everyone. I suggested that they mail a sequence of renewal letters, using paper and envelopes and stamps. Their initial answer was that...

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Membership Discounts and Other Crazy Stuff

Posted by on Apr 18, 2017 in Featured, Membership | Comments Off on Membership Discounts and Other Crazy Stuff

Membership Discounts and Other Crazy Stuff

Well-Meaning Tom: Thanks for all your help. Per yesterday’s meeting, I’ve set up a Doodle poll for selection of our date for the full day meeting. DA: What does this mean? “Membership special – 50% off new and renewals March 28 – June 3!” (It was in your email signature.) It sounds like you are offering half off memberships. Well-Meaning Tom: Yep. The membership committee increased our membership rates last year from $50 per household to $110 per household, and added additional layers of membership above and below that, with varying benefits....

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