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Being an executive director can be a rewarding job, but it can also be incredibly stressful and demanding. As the leader of a nonprofit organization, an executive director is responsible for everything from fundraising and program development to staff management and board relations. With so many responsibilities and a constant need to balance competing priorities, it's no wonder that executive director burnout is a common problem.
Online fundraising is a popular method for earning donations used by individual fundraisers and nonprofits alike. These campaigns leverage well-designed websites, livestreaming platforms, social media, and other digital tools to raise money for their causes in a fast and effective way.
But if you’ve yet to make the move to virtual strategies, you might be asking yourself why online fundraising matters for organizations like yours. Perhaps you feel as if you’ve made do with traditional fundraising strategies for this long, so there’s no reason to shake things up now. However, thesemodern fundraising ideas and resources have the power to bring your campaigns to the next level.
Let’s say you’ve launched a capital campaign to renovate your nonprofit’s facility. At the beginning of the project, you secure a handful of major donors who will support the larger financial costs of the investments. Months later, with lots of hard work, you’ve raised the rest of the funds from mid-level and smaller donors and, after a year of construction, the project is finally completed.
However, as you’re about to cut the ribbon to unveil the renovation, you look around and notice that some of the major givers who you connected with early on in the project have not made an appearance. In fact, you realize, you haven’t had many conversations with them in months.
In the virtual age, it’s not just Millennials and Gen Z who are using technology to stay connected. Virtual interactions are a fact of life for all demographics. So much of daily life, from work to socializing to shopping, now takes place online, and that includes many aspects of nonprofit management.
As a volunteer coordinator, that means you must adjust your volunteer engagement strategy to continue connecting with supporters in a digital-first environment. This has become especially important both during the height and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic since you more than likely reduced your in-person activities to keep volunteers and staff members safe.
How many times have you been told a fact, only to forget it by the next day? For example, we could tell you something like “squirrels are behind the most power outages in the U.S.” (it’s true!), which you mightremember, only because it’s odd. However, you’re way more likely to remember that fact if we told you a story about a squirrel named Larry who wreaked havoc on the American power grid, which led to the realization that squirrels do indeed cause a shockingly high number of power outages nationwide.
You get the point: stories are more memorable. And it’s proven! According to cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner, stories are 22 times more memorable than just stating a fact.
So how is this research relevant to your nonprofit?Well, it means that you can build stronger and more meaningful relationships with your website visitors by harnessing the power of storytelling.
Fundraising for your nonprofit is about more than money — it’s also about inspiring donors to make a difference with their contributions. Your donors don’t want to feel like an ATM. They want to know that their funds are impacting real people.
Through storytelling, you can convey this impact and more, especially if you bring stories to your website. However, you’ve got to do it right, so we’ve put together some tips to help. When using your website to share meaningful stories about your work, you should:
Picture this: You decide to donate to a nonprofit that’s piqued your interest and sit down, phone in hand, to complete your transaction. However, when you navigate to the nonprofit’s donation page, you have to click through to a third-party donation form that’s hard to read on your phone. You start to fill it out and realize it’s asking for a lot of your personal information and is going to take you a lot longer than you thought. Instead of donating to this nonprofit, you decide to abandon your donation and look for another organization to give to. It doesn’t matter whether you’re just starting a nonprofit or you’ve been running your organization for years—you know that your success relies on effective fundraising. And a huge part of fundraising today is not only driving donors to your online donation page but keeping them there. This is where the design and functionality of your donation page can be a huge asset to facilitate as many donations as possible. To help you optimize your own nonprofit donation page, we’ve organized the following essential strategies:
Eager to learn more about how you can make the most of your online giving form to maximize donations and engagement? Let’s dive in.
There are plenty of ways to raise funds and awareness, but one of the most popular strategies is fundraising events that focus on donor engagement. Auctions are a tried-and-true way to connect with donors and simultaneously raise funds for your cause. Adding engagement strategies in your next auction can bring your event to the next level. We will dive into 5 strategies you can implement in your next fundraising auction to drive deeper donor engagement:
Most nonprofit professionals, whether you’ve just started or have been in the nonprofit sector for a long time, are familiar with form 990. This end-of-year tax form can be quite daunting, even for seasoned professionals, but especially if you’ve only just become acquainted with it. Form 990s are very important for ensuring that your nonprofit maintains its tax exempt status and is legally recognized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. While it can be complicated to know which version of the form is the right one for your organization and how to fill it out, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to complete it on time. In this guide, we’ll start from the beginning to make sure everyone is on the same page about what the Form 990 is and why it’s important. Then, we’ll dive into deadlines, strategies you can use to ensure you meet deadlines, consequences if you miss deadlines, and next steps for your nonprofit. We’ll cover all of this important tax-season information by answering the following questions:
The average American picks up their phone 96 times a day, or once every 10 minutes. For most of us, this equates to hours of scrolling through social media, checking email, and staying in touch with family members and friends. For nonprofit organizations, this represents an effective way to engage with supporters amid the ongoing pandemic. Since most in-person events have been canceled or modified in some way, nonprofits have expanded their digital and mobile fundraising capabilities to engage supporters remotely. This includes exploring text fundraising opportunities that allow organizations to connect with supporters directly on their mobile devices. According to Double the Donation’s nonprofit fundraising statistics, half of last year’s nonprofit website traffic came from mobile and tablet users. This demonstrates the crucial importance of connecting with supporters on mobile devices, and text fundraising is a great way to do exactly that. In this quick guide, we’ll review everything you need to know about text fundraising, including:
Monthly giving programs provide your nonprofit with reliable revenue throughout the year. When compared to other fundraising initiatives, monthly giving may seem like it takes a “set-it-and-forget-it approach.” However, growing your monthly giving program to maximize its benefits takes dedicated time and investment. Knowing the program will earn regular donations once it’s established can be freeing for some nonprofits, but it may make other fundraising professionals assume that they can’t actively expand their monthly giving program further. As an incredibly valuable source of income, your monthly giving program is worth additional investment to ensure it’s achieving its maximum potential. Keeping in mind that monthly donors tend to increase their value over time, your nonprofit can take additional steps to attract more monthly donors and earn more from the supporters currently enrolled in your program. To help your nonprofit expand your monthly giving program, this article will explore five key tips including:
Every organization that relies on the hard work of volunteers understands just how important it is to foster a connected and motivated team. Communicating with volunteers has become more important than ever since 2020 and is essential to increasing volunteer engagement and retention. Effective communication strategies can greatly impact your organization's ability to cultivate long-term and meaningful relationships with volunteers. Creating these long-term relationships will not only help your nonprofit retain volunteers, but it can also help inspire those volunteers to donate more time and even money towards your cause. In this quick guide, we’ll offer some foolproof volunteer communication strategies to help you foster meaningful long-term relationships with your volunteers:
It’s time for a pop quiz! Yes, this is a pop quiz for our organization’s board members. You can download a PDF of this pop quiz here.
This quiz will gauge an individual board member’s engagement to the organization. Of course, this isn’t scientific. But it may serve as a good tool to spark the conversation about what drives the nonprofit, how to deepen the connection between the board member and what really drives the org, and perhaps to invigorate the passion you want board members to have for your cause.
Quickly answer these yes/no questions:
This is my second quarterly update for 2021. I've got seven quick updates for you this time:
What’s the difference between fundraising and development? Some people say it’s just a matter of semantics. They may be right. But I think there’s a distinction that’s worth noting.
Fundraising is transactional. It is the transaction of asking for and receiving a gift. Fundraising asks tend to happen on a timeline determined by the organization.
Development is relational. It is the process of developing relationships with donors for long-term, organizational benefit. Gifts may bind the donor to your organization over the entire span of the relationship. This timeline is defined by the donor.
Published every Tuesday, The Nonprofit SnapCast is a podcast for the nonprofit sector. The Nonprofit SnapCast is an interview-based podcast focusing on issues in nonprofit management—from board development, to fundraising, to volunteer management, and everything in between. Our audience skews broadly into nonprofit CEOs, EDs, staff members, professional fundraisers, board members, and consultants.
Sponsoring the SnapCast puts you in front of an average of over 1,000 monthly listeners. Please visit the Nonprofit SnapCast website for more information about our reach, and let’s have a conversation about establishing the right partnership with each other.
We welcome your questions and look forward to having a longer conversation about what it means to sponsor the Nonprofit SnapCast. Please send us a message via the SnapCast Contact Us page, and we’ll call you back with alacrity.
The Nonprofit SnapCast is a production of The Nonprofit Snapshot, and Podcast Wizardry.
Hello! This is Mickey Desai, your host for the Nonprofit SnapCast, here with just a little bit of bonus information for you. We're going to run something of an experiment with the SnapCast. I'm inviting both consultants and nonprofit leaders, nonprofit managers, staffers, etc., to come to the table with their case studies or their questions. If you're a nonprofit professional with questions about your nonprofit, or you've always wondered how to do something differently with your nonprofit, I'd love to talk to you. I'd love to try to get you partnered up with me and possibly a third party consultant on a recording to discuss what's on your mind regarding your nonprofit. Or I'd just like to hear your questions so we can tackle them by way of doing something like "listener mail" with the Nonprofit SnapCast. I'm thinking we're going to try to do this maybe once a month. Similarly, I’m looking to consultants to bring to the table, maybe with some of their clients who can talk about their work as a potential case study with the Nonprofit SnapCast. My goal here is to bring more real-world data and real world questions to the kinds of things we talk about on a day to day basis. This will be something of an experiment that I hope you can join me on. Please send me a note of interest via my Nonprofit SnapCast website. Otherwise, I hope you and yours are staying safe.
Diversity is quite the hot-button issue these days. But diversity is much more than an overused buzz-word, and diversifying your board is an all-hands-on-deck endeavor.
All the research unanimously suggests that diverse boards make smarter decisions, diversify their donor base, and better serve their communities. The research also shows that the majority of board leadership tends to be homogeneous in composition--over eighty percent white--and more than twenty-five percent of boards lack any people of color.
The game of leadership is played with many moving variables. When looking for board members, it is essential to include people of different backgrounds--differing life experiences that are shaped by race, sex, disability, socioeconomic status, industry experience, and even age. Including those voices on your board is critically important. All those individual perspectives, life experiences, and professional contacts are important for enriching your board’s decision making, and creating a generational impact for your nonprofit.
So how then do you go about diversifying your board? I've got eight steps / suggestions for you:
The Nonprofit SnapCast podcast seeks guests.
We're always looking for philanthropic and nonprofit professionals to share their wisdom on the program. This time, we're keenly looking for people who can talk with me about:
If you or someone you know would care to participate, please drop me a line via the Nonprofit SnapCast webpage:
An anonymous benefactor is making a $250 contribution towards (almost) any of the consulting work the Nonprofit Snapshot offers. If we can help your nonprofit with the services we offer in partnership with consultants across the country, please send us a note via our Contact Us form, or via our Nonprofit Snapshot facebook page. This benefit may be applied to any of the work the Nonprofit Snapshot provides, with the exception of "Social Media Shuffling." This is a good opportunity to make use of Nonprofit Snapshot services to help you keep your organization poised for 2021. We originally designed this slate of offerings to help nonprofits get affordable help to weather the storm that is upon us. We remain committed to helping you and your board navigate whatever challenges are ahead. This benefit will expire on October 15, 2020.
I founded The Nonprofit Snapshot with the intention of providing a high-quality, quickly deliverable organizational assessment to nonprofit organizations. It serves as a perfect forerunner to any strategic planning session, board meeting, or in-depth consulting engagement. The Nonprofit Snapshot helps nonprofit organizations examine their overall management practices, and establish their own priorities for growth, sustainability, and risk-management.
I am very happy to announce that the first round of testing of the Nonprofit Snapshot App is at hand. We are looking for a handful of consultants across the country to help us test the tool and make improvements for general release.
The Nonprofit SnapCast seeks guests. We're always looking for philanthropic and nonprofit professionals to share their wisdom. This time, we're keenly looking for people (maybe HR pros?) who can talk with me about:
If you or someone you know would care to participate, please drop me a line via the Nonprofit SnapCast Contact Us page. Thank you!
#nonprofits #organizationalculture #humanresources #nonprofitmanagement
Recommended Reading from The Chronicle of Philanthropy:
“Nurture, nurture, and then nurture some more. You’re probably thinking, I don’t have time to nurture. I need the money now. Well, you have staff and board members to help. Just get on the phone, and check in on your volunteers and donors. Check on them. That’s it. If they ask about the organization, see the next section. Keep your organizational family close and their mission fires burning. And don’t be surprised if folks respond with, How can I help?"
Nonprofit Snapshot has been doing a little fund-raising towards the purchase of new hardware and software to facilitate ongoing production of the Nonprofit SnapCast podcast. I am matching every dollar raised with two of my own towards the overall goal. And the goal is close at hand. Thanks to the generosity we have received via PayPal, we are less than $500 away from success....
How are you doing? Wherever you are, I hope you and yours are successfully navigating the storms that continue to unfold around us. Please drop me a line and let’s check in with each other. In the meantime, I’ve got a few tips & thoughts to share on maintaining and building community during pandemic:
(But be super quick about it.) Keep your entire “family” in the fold. (In addition to your donors, keep up communications with your clients, staff, volunteers, and community stakeholders.)...