Wednesday May 15, 2013
I've been reading the most recent book by Jeff Brooks, The Fundraiser's Guide to Irresistible Communications: Real-World Field-Tested Strategies for Raising More Money (Emerson & Church, 2012).
I'm not surprised that I agree with him about everything.
I follow Jeff's blog religiously, and you should too. It's Future Fundraising Now. Jeff's blog is infuriatingly plain. So is his book. Really, his core advice for direct mail fundraising, "make it plain, make it corny, make it obvious," is a sort of mantra for everything he does and writes.
That's because it works. How does he know? Because he tests everything! That's the difference between someone who really knows what he's talking about when it comes to fundraising and lots of other so called experts who just "theorize."
By the way, Jeff walks the talk. He is the creative director at TruSense Marketing and has been helping nonprofits for over 20 years. He's worked with some of the biggest nonprofit brands.
Jeff says that our biggest mistake in fundraising is thinking that what we like is what works. We're self-centered, rather than donor-focused. And, frankly, we are soooo off the mark.
Tuesday May 14, 2013
There is a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth when it comes to the subject of nonprofit boards. And it's true that many nonprofits have woefully inadequate boards that don't understand their fundraising duties nor even want to engage in helping with fundraising.
This month's Nonprofit Blog Carnival host, Erik Anderson of Donor Dreams, challenged us to write a letter to our board members (or a fictional board) that expressed all that we ever wanted to say...good or bad...to them.
I am lucky. The boards I've worked with have been pretty terrific, especially that first one when I was new to nonprofit work and was still learning the rules of staff/board relationships.
I have decided to put my gratitude into a love letter to that board for teaching me so much.
Monday May 13, 2013
May is Older Americans Month (its 50th anniversary!), a great time to thank your older donors and volunteers, and to simply appreciate the rich diversity that older people bring to our organizations.
This year's slogan for the month-long celebration of older people is "Unleash the Power of Age." How will you do that? Check out the official website (sponsored by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Administration for Community Living) for lots of ideas that you can jump into immediately.
Volunteerism is one of the hallmarks of aging. People simply do more of it as they age. Plus, volunteering is steadily becoming more popular for this age group as we learn about its benefits to our physical and mental health.
AARP, the premiere advocacy organization for older Americans, has become an ardent promoter of volunteering by older people. AARP, which does significant surveying, found that volunteering is becoming steadily more popular, In 2003 62% of older adults volunteered. That number rose to 69% in 2009, and in 2012 stood at 76%.
Why? One reason is that volunteering just keeps older people in the pink. A recent study by Volunteer Canada incorporated much of the research on this topic from recent years and found that volunteering does these things for older people:
- improves physical functioning
- enhances emotional health
- provides social advantages, and
- is good for brain health.
All of those factors are turning out to be key to longevity, and not just existing but living an energetic and engaged life well into old age.
So what are you doing to recruit, engage, and grow your nonprofit or charity with the help of older people?
Here are some resources about older adults and volunteering:
Image: Courtesy of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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Tuesday May 7, 2013
Benevolent's mission is simple. Help people who just need a modest helping hand to dig out of a tough spot. And do it through online crowdfunding.
There are so many crowdfunding sites that have sprung up in recent years that it is truly daunting to keep up, but this one caught my attention almost instantly.
So what's so special about it?