Funds for All & All for Funds

Welcome to my blog! I'd like you to consider this an interactive space for sharing information, successes, ideas, strategies, and links to help us all raise more funds for nonprofits.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Blogging as a fundraising tool

I will admit I'm just doing a little brainstorming here. Most of the blogging that I see connected with nonprofit organizations could be characterized as "staff meeting." It's inward-directed, not written as if people outside the organization had any reason to read it.

I'm going to propose that you approach blogging for your nonprofit cause as, basically, direct mail. And I always tell my clients to approach direct mail as a phone call to your best supporter. Tell her or him everything about what's important that's going on, what you're planning or thinking about planning for the organization -- and this is the way in which blogging is oh-so-superior to direct mail -- ask them what they think.

Don't just blah-blah at them, don't just ask, just ask them what they think and what they like about what you're doing. Run polls and surveys. Ask for feedback and suggestions. Make them partners! has a good article on how to blog as a nonprofit in a way that makes sense.

And send me YOUR ideas about how blogging can help increase and enhance support for your cause.

After all, this is a dialogue.

Happy New Year -- and may your funds increase exponentially!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Strategic planning & creative visualization

Planning in fundraising has never been more important. The age-old strategy of "throw it against the wall and see if it sticks" won't work in 2010. To understate it, it's a very competitive market. Foundations and donors cutting back, and they have to be strategic too -- so if your organization has reached June and you still don't have an annual fundraising program plan, you may fall by the wayside in their priorities.

Planning ahead - maybe two years ahead -- is what I'd suggest.

Convene an informal group -- not a committee -- of your best creative thinkers and have a rolled-sleeves, kitchen table creative session to visualize your nonprofit two years in the future. Does it look the same? Provide the same services? Depend on the same funding sources? You need to do some outside-box thinking.

Creative visualization isn't just for artists. It's a powerful tool for gaining access to your more creative ideas, the ones that can make a big difference in your organization's future. One nonprofit I know envisioned starting a commercial catering service that not only provided vocational training and employment for its clients with disabilities, it succeeded in becoming financially self-sufficient in doing so. Now they have to turn away customers.

Others have envisioned such innovative strategies as micro-loan programs, where funds aren't donated to help people, but lent to give good ideas a start, and then return to the lender to go out again empowering individual initiative and enterprise somewhere else.

One nonprofit organized a Thankyou Squad. The opposite of those telemarketing programs that annoy us at meal times. This group of volunteers agreed to call donors to give them a personal thankyou, as one donor to another, for supporting the cause. The results: increased donations from every single donor who received a peer thankyou call.

Maiden Voyage

Welcome! A new blog, notes of a fundraiser in the trenches during the worst year for fundraising I have ever lived through. But hope is on the horizon! In the form of working smart and getting creative.

Tips for getting your nonprofit organization through hard times:

* Don't stop sending letters to your constituents and prospecting to find new supporters
* Don't rely on the amount of grant funding you've been used to; it will be awhile coming back
* Use new media to reach your supporters and prospects -- have you given any thought to a blog? Email blasts? Tweeting? A Facebook page? has a great post on ten things every nonprofit should know about social media.

Contact me if you'd like to brainstorm ways to increase your donations in 2010. And feel free to leave comments and good ideas here!