December 2, 2013

Year-end fundraising checklist for nonprofits


Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, fund-raising professionals, social enterprises, donors.

Guest post by Nancy Schwartz

nancy-schwartzDecember is the hands-down most powerful month to fund-raise and to strengthen relationships for the year to come. So stop cranking it out right now — for one to two hours — and start your last-chance marketing audit to uncover if you’ve been doing the right things and should quickly do more of what’s worked, or whether you need to retool pronto to wind up strong.

If your planning year is a fiscal year, rather than a calendar year, I urge you to shape your outreach to your donors, volunteers and program participants who live on the calendar year model. It’s your job to match their outlook, rather than shoehorn them into yours.

No matter if you’re scrambling to increase year-end impact or hoping to shape your 2014 plan to surpass 2013 results, jump into these four last-chance marketing to-dos today. Continue reading

September 12, 2012

How to use social media to reel in big fish donors

Image by Canolais on Flickr

Techniques to lay the groundwork before approaching prospects

Guest post by Geri Stengel

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs.

Many nonprofits already use social media, including mobile, to raise money among individual donors. Small donations add up, as Mark Hanis found. His first Facebook campaign raised $250,000 in 2005 for Genocide Intervention Network, now known as

But few nonprofits use social media to build relationships with potential big fish donors. Yup, you can target and build these important relationships by engaging with them through LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. The relationship starts online, but the “ask” happens offline, perhaps on the phone, but most likely face to face.

Building these relationships is hard work, but the benefits are enormous. Effective social media outreach takes at least 25 hours of staff time per week, according to the Ditch Digital Dabbling research report. Hanis has tips for those willing to undertake the task, based on his experience as head of the Genocide Intervention Network:

1Identify prospects using annual reports and gala invites from nonprofits working in that sector, which are among Hanis’ favorite methods. The Foundation Center also recommends reading press releases from nonprofits announcing donors as well as newspapers, magazines, etc. They also recommend using database such as WealthEngine or DonorSearch. The Foundation Center subscribes to DonorSearch so you can use this for free from their library.

Continue reading