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Archive for September, 2015

Prepare the Annual Holiday Season Appeal to Donors

It’s time once again to consider the “something old, something new” that should go into our 2015 Annual Appeal.

Just for you: A few new 2015 twists on Annual Appeal practice:

For Starters: Time to get creative with copy in the first appeal? What’s the new take on your work that will capture your donors’ attention? Something that will motivate. That captures a sense of urgency. That tells the donor how you deliver hope. Short but powerful images that can’t be ignored.

  • Follow up. Now is the time to plan ahead. Four-to-six weeks after your initial Appeal, send a follow-up to selected segments of your list who didn’t respond first time around. Take a theme from the initial Appeal, and do a short update on it.
  • Second Appeal. Six months after your initial Appeal, go back to your donors with a new mission-related message, or a new story to tell that will get your supporters’ attention and motivate them to give again.
  • Stewardship. Put a “thank you” plan and system in place now that acknowledges gifts soon after they are received. Personalize the “thank you” to different degrees depending on amount of gift and the duration of relationship with the particular donor.
  • Communicate. Have a communication plan and system in place that keeps your donors informed on what’s happening at your Nonprofit that will be of interest. Consider a special, exclusive executive newsletter to donors with notes and observations from the CEO that give an insider perspective to what’s happening.
  • Always the Mission. All communication always features the Nonprofit mission.
  • In my estimation, these steps should produce a 10% or greater bump from your Annual Appeal. Track it. See what some revision of your practice can do for your Annual Appeal revenue.

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    NH Nonprofit Leadership Summit Big Hit

    Congratulations to Mike Ostrowski, Interim CEO NH Center for Nonprofits for the work of his team to present a topnotch conference. Jeanine Tousignant, VP of the Center’s Board, served as Master of Ceremonies.
    Steve Zimmerman, Spectrum Nonprofit Services, opened with “The Capacity to Endure.” His Six Key Questions starting with “What do our constituents need?” were provocative and can help a nonprofit establish and maintain a proper focus. Aren’t we in business to serve our primary customers? Those who need our service?
    Kim Klein of Klein and Roth Consulting followed with her stimulating talk: “Less is the New More.” The work to downsize government, cut taxes and leave more $ in the taxpayers pockets has resulted in more competition for the charitable dollar and not enough new dollar sources from all the tax savings to serve the needs of various client groups. Among other things, Kim contends that “public” schools are disappearing and raising more and more money in the community to cover more children’s programs that used to be paid for with tax dollars.
    Meanwhile, the top 1% accumulate more and more wealth while the rest of us stay stagnant.
    What is wrong with this picture?
    Some may argue that Kim is feeding a cultural war on the wealthiest Americans.
    The point truly is, there is minimal trickle down.
    And we’re in a rut…by many measures, the US is falling behind in its pursuit of happiness.
    Nonprofits discussed at table talk: What can we do?
    Results will be captured and reported back to NHCN members.
    Stay tuned!

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    Psychology of Change and Implications for Nonprofits

    Dan Gilbert gave a very popular TED talk: “The Psychology of Our Future” http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_you_are_always_changing?language=en.

    He cites studies of how much people think they changed over the past 10 years, and how much they will change in the coming 10 years.

    The findings are interesting: We actually change (including who is our best friend, what is our favorite music, what issues and nonprofits were/will be important to us) much more than we believe we will.

    The psychology of this phenomenon is important to grasp when talking to clients of our nonprofit and supporters of our nonprofit. Change happens. And will continue to happen. Are we prepared at our organization to deal with what comes our way?

    Nonprofit organizations go through strategic planning exercises. And then they think they are done. Planning is great at building a sense of shared values among a board and staff. But if we don’t also determine how we’ll implement the changes we just agreed to. And recognize that the constant going forward will be change…we won’t be ready to deal with what the future has in store for us.

    Check out the link to the Dan Gilbert video. Think how that applies to you. And to your organization. And next board meeting, let’s consider the issue and how we can deal with life going forward.

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