Grappling with tragedy

first_imgThere are days when it’s hard to post, and this is one of them. Like you, I’m heartbroken over the tragedy in Newtown, CT, a place I once spent some time. As a parent, I can’t fathom any of it. Events like the one that occurred Friday recalibrate everything in my life.So today, I wanted to say just two things. First, I wanted to thank every one of you who works on a mission that in some way seeks to address this kind of horror — especially those of you who support people with mental illness and their families and those of you who comfort the grieving.Second, I wanted to share these words from a minister I don’t know at all. Whatever your beliefs, I think they might resonate. They did for me. I don’t share this in a religious vein. Only in a human and heartfelt one.…The very brokenness, the lump, the silent inexpressible grief arising in our collective soul reminds us that we human beings long for something purer than the isolated selfish ways we normally live. When pushed by calamity we want to live with our better selves… Let us hold each other up even as we weep. Let us step out into the darkness, light a candle, say a prayer, forgive, reach out, put our children on the bus, and risk love. We have no alternative. There is no grand scheme; only small actions that light the path, dispel the darkness, and offer renewal.last_img read more

The 4 Key Qualities of Amazing Thank You Letters

first_img1. Be personal.First things first! Being personal, warm, and authentic with your donors is critical. People expect for you to have open, honest and authentic relationships with them.  When communicating with your donors, make sure that you are being real and you are taking people seriously—not just treating them like an ATM machine.  In addition to creating a warm message, take the time to customize your thank you letters. One way to do this is to segment your audience and group donors based on the gifts they are giving, so that you can message them appropriately. A good email tool should make this easy to do, so take advantage of this option.If you are doing snail mail outreach, consider writing a handwritten note. We are all doing a lot of email marketing, and we are all used to getting direct mail. It is an unexpected treat to get a handwritten note in the mail, and this is something that can really make you stand out from the crowd. Another way to differentiate your organization is to pick up the phone and tell them just how important their support really is. Don’t be afraid to do something different, and take the time to customize your thank yous.  Investing the time to be personal pays off by making a good impression on your donors. 4. Be donor-centric.Be mindful of the fact that your donors make your work happen. They should get credit for the work that they do. List the accomplishments they’ve made possible and put them front and center in all of your outreach. Don’t just talk about your organization as if it was somehow outside of the work and the investment of your donors.The idea is that the donor made this possible. They get the credit. What did they accomplish? Not, “Thank you for your gift. Here are all the great things we did.” As you write your thank you letters, imagine all of the good you do with the donor at the center of it.  Strive to make your donors feel that way when they hear from you—make it about them and the difference they are making together with you. 3. Be creative.Don’t look at sending out thank you letters as drudgery—use it as an opportunity to be creative and connect with your donors. Plan to do something that can differentiate you.  Sending photos or videos of your work is a fantastic idea. There’s nothing quite like telling your story in a picture or a video. This allows you to create an even stronger emotional resonance with your donors. Another way to get creative is to let people who love you, some of your best evangelists, speak on your behalf. Instead of sending a thank you note to an executive director, consider sending thank you letters that come from volunteers, community members, or the person who was directly impacted by the gift.  Put your donors—and your thank you process—first this year. Include these four key components for effective and memorable donor thank you letters.center_img 2. Be tangible.Your thank you should connect the donor with what they’ve invested in to a program. It is not enough to say, for example, “Thank you so much for your investment in childcare services,” or, “Thank you so much for helping to save the environment.”  Show exactly how their donation is making a difference. Donors want to know that their dollars matter so tell them what you did with their money. One of the best ways you can do this is by telling one specific story of how a donor’s gift is making a difference.  Stories help make the impact of a giftIf your donors are local, invite people to come and be with you and tour your facility. Show them the work that you do, and if possible, meet some of the people that you serve.  Let your donors experience and become bonded to your cause. There is nothing like having an unforgettable experience to make a cause become tangible.   We all know thanking donors is important, but sometimes it’s easily brushed aside as one more item on our to-do lists. Consider this grim reality: nonprofits lose the vast majority of donors acquired each year. The typical nonprofit will keep only one in three to one in five of their supporters next year! The good news is there’s a lot you can do to turn the tide. last_img read more

10 fundraising mantras for 2013

first_imgLet 2013 be the year that you exceed your nonprofit fundraising and marketing goals. Not sure how to reach your full potential this year?The team here at Network for Good has outlined the 10 critical areas of focus for successful nonprofits, including social media, mobile and maximizing online giving. You can discover our recommendations for your 10 Fundraising Mantras for 2013 and let them guide you to true fundraising enlightenment.One of the mantras is to keep your donors! Do that with:1. Focus on donor retention more than donor acquisition. Instead of spending more time hunting for new donors, invest in fundraising success by working to keep the donors you have.2. Focus on donor lifetime value, not one-off campaigns. Gauge success by the way your supporters behave over their entire time of supporting you. This requires a commitment to building donor relationships and to looking at your response rate over time.3. Focus on results, not effort. It’s not how hard you are working. It’s what happens as a result of that work. Consider this when allocating time and resources to donor acquisition vs. donor retention.4. Focus on your most passionate supporters. Understand who your most loyal donors currently are. Do you know how to identify those people? Create a special plan to analyze your donors and continually cultivate the most committed. It is extremely difficult to replace these star supporters if they stop giving.The free guide is here. (Registration required.)last_img read more

The dinner party we really should be having

first_img(This is a post I wrote for LinkedIn and wanted to share!)A couple of years ago, I was invited to an unusual dinner party. Philanthropist Jeffrey Walker, the host, assembled the dozen or so guests – who mostly did not know each other – and outlined the rules of the intimate gathering. Everyone would explain who they were and what cause they stood for, and then we would take turns discussing as a table a series of challenging questions about philanthropy, a topic close to the hearts of everyone assembled. No side conversations or small talk. We were going to wrestle with ideas.This was my introduction to the Jeffersonian Dinner. Jeff models them on the real deal: Thomas Jefferson, president, scientist and writer of the Declaration of Independence. The president liked to invite intriguing guests who shared an interest area and then provoke a stimulating evening conversation around that topic.The event I attended was among the most fascinating (and pleasantly intimidating) evenings I’ve had. I walked away with many new ideas and several new friends that I still see regularly.I don’t think we do enough of this kind of stretching of our minds or our networks. As I said earlier this year, we have to put our brains on the right diet if we really want to make things happen in our lives and in the world. That means everything from reading something outside our regular experience to organizing a Jeffersonian dinner of people who have insights on a topic that matters deeply to our work.Ready to have that dinner party? Read Jeff’s post on how to do it. He has specific advice for people who advocate for good causes. But you can hold one on any topic close to your heart or career. The goal is to stretch your mind and your ties beyond their well-traveled patterns. You will be delighted by what territory lies beyond the old places – and how it expands your view on just about everything.last_img read more

Congratulations! You have received an BCBSNC Good Card

first_imgYou received a Good Card. Now it is time to choose the charity(ies) you want to help. Redeeming Your Good Card is as Easy as 123: Locate a charity by using the search box or by selecting one of the recomended charitiesClick on the “Donate Now” button, enter a donation amount*, and select “Add to Giving Cart”Click on “Redeem A Good Card” and enter your Good Card Redemption Code (ID#)Thank You! You have just spread help and hope with your Good Card.Trying to designate a specific chapter/program/etc? Simply write-in the information using the Designation section of the Donation Page. Having trouble using your Good Card? We’re here to help! Email us at goodcard@networkforgood.com* Note: Donations made using a Good Card must be equal to or less than the value of the Good Card. You can use your Good Card to support more than one charity, but you must make each donation separately.** Note: The purchase of a Network for Good gift card by BCBSNC represents a charitable contribution that may be deductible for tax purposes by BCBSNC.  BCBSNC Partners who receive a Network for Good gift code from are acting as the designator of the specific Network for Good charity that BCBSNC is donating to, and thus are neither giving a tax deductible donation nor receiving taxable income. The Network for Good tax exempt ID number is 68-0480736center_img Type in a charity name or use keywords Keywords:Charity Name:City:State:Select a stateAlabamaAlaskaAmerican SamoaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareDistrict of ColumbiaFederated States of MicronesiaFloridaGeorgiaGuamHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMarshall IslandsMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaNorthern Mariana IslandsOhioOklahomaOregonPalauPennsylvaniaPuerto RicoRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirgin IslandsVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyomingSelect a stateSelect a stateAlabamaAlaskaAmerican SamoaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareDistrict of ColumbiaFederated States of MicronesiaFloridaGeorgiaGuamHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMarshall IslandsMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaNorthern Mariana IslandsOhioOklahomaOregonPalauPennsylvaniaPuerto RicoRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirgin IslandsVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyomingZip Code:Category:Select a categoryArts and CultureEducation and TechnologyAnimals and EnvironmentHealthHuman ServicesInternationalCivic and CommunityReligionSelect a categorySelect a categoryArts and CultureEducation and TechnologyAnimals and EnvironmentHealthHuman ServicesInternationalCivic and CommunityReligionlast_img read more

Congratulations! You have received an ANA Good Card

first_imgLocate a charity by using the search box or by selecting one of the recomended charitiesClick on the “Donate Now” button, enter a donation amount*, and select “Add to Giving Cart”Click on “Redeem A Good Card” and enter your Good Card Redemption Code (ID#)Thank You! You have just spread help and hope with your Good Card.Trying to designate a specific chapter/program/etc? Simply write-in the information using the Designation section of the Donation Page. Having trouble using your Good Card? We’re here to help! Email us at goodcard@networkforgood.com* Note: Donations made using a Good Card must be equal to or less than the value of the Good Card. You can use your Good Card to support more than one charity, but you must make each donation separately.** Note: The purchase of a Network for Good gift card by ANA  represents a charitable contribution that may be deductible for tax purposes by ANA.  ANA Partners who receive a Network for Good gift code from are acting as the designator of the specific Network for Good charity that ANA is donating to, and thus are neither giving a tax deductible donation nor receiving taxable income. The Network for Good tax exempt ID number is 68-0480736 Type in a charity name or use keywords Keywords:Charity Name:City:State:Select a stateAlabamaAlaskaAmerican SamoaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareDistrict of ColumbiaFederated States of MicronesiaFloridaGeorgiaGuamHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMarshall IslandsMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaNorthern Mariana IslandsOhioOklahomaOregonPalauPennsylvaniaPuerto RicoRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirgin IslandsVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyomingSelect a stateSelect a stateAlabamaAlaskaAmerican SamoaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareDistrict of ColumbiaFederated States of MicronesiaFloridaGeorgiaGuamHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMarshall IslandsMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaNorthern Mariana IslandsOhioOklahomaOregonPalauPennsylvaniaPuerto RicoRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirgin IslandsVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyomingZip Code:Category:Select a categoryArts and CultureEducation and TechnologyAnimals and EnvironmentHealthHuman ServicesInternationalCivic and CommunityReligionSelect a categorySelect a categoryArts and CultureEducation and TechnologyAnimals and EnvironmentHealthHuman ServicesInternationalCivic and CommunityReligioncenter_img You received a Good Card. Now it is time to choose the charity(ies) you want to help. Redeeming Your Good Card is as Easy as 123: last_img read more

How to win more grants for your cause

first_imgIn order to survive — and thrive — nonprofits need to diversify their funding sources. In addition to individual giving, grants are another piece of a well-rounded funding plan. Of course, the best way to succeed in getting grants for your organization is to have a solid plan in place for securing them. Creating a calendar, having a documented grantseeking process, and using a decision-making matrix can help you to identify the right grants for your organization.So, what if you don’t have a solid grants strategy in place? You’re in luck.Cynthia Adams, CEO of GrantStation, will be our special guest at 1pm EDT on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 for Network for Good’s next free webinar, Building a Powerful Grants Strategy. Register for this free webinar on creating your grants strategy and make a plan for securing the right grants for your projects. I hope you’ll join this session — Cynthia is sharing useful worksheets and will be answering your questions to help you target and win the grants your nonprofit needs.last_img read more

Why Your Church Should Embrace Online Giving

first_imgAccording to Church Mag only 14% of Protestant churches in the United States are raising money online even though churches with online giving are earning more money. Is your church part of the 86% who haven’t ventured into the realm of online giving? Are you an online giving skeptic? United Methodist Blogger Cesie Delve Scheuermann says: “It is a legitimate way of giving.” Here are a few reasons why Cesie’s right and why your church should consider passing the offering plate online:1. One hundred percent of your members don’t attend 100% of your services. The reality is that not all members are present when the plate is passed every Sunday. A possible solution: The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America recommends recurring, online donations to help cure seasonal slumps.Members who don’t regularly attend services might find recurring giving options convenient. An online giving option and an email engagement strategy could also help you reconnect with members who don’t regularly attend services. Reaching out to members who have lapsed in attendance and offering them another giving option could present the perfect opportunity to reengage with their church family.2. Your congregants are already distributing funds (and doing so many other things) online.Your congregation is already primed for online giving because:81% of American adults use the internet66% of U.S. consumers pay bills online65% of people donated to a nonprofit online in 2012Think of all the things your church members can do online. They can order pet supplies, schedule doctors’ appointments, register for an event, and send a birthday gift to friends. But can they make a gift to their church family?3. Raise more money with an additional form of offering.Based on Network for Good’s analysis of online giving in 2012, an organization’s branded giving page earns, on average, $127 per donor.Online giving makes it easy for church members to quickly contribute funds in a time of crisis.If your church is like Oro Valley Church of the Nazarene, when you offer online giving, you have more opportunities to engage the younger, tech-savvy members and visitors (who expect the option to give online).Now is the time to talk about online giving with your church family, so download this questionnaire and begin the discussion with your pastor, committee, or board. If you’re ready to launch online giving for your church, check out Network for Good’s online donation tool, DonateNow.last_img read more

How to get people to notice (and love) your emails

first_imgRecently MarketingProfs reported that Q2 email open rates decreased 8.3% from Q1 levels. Click through rates also dropped slightly. While the referenced study from Epsilon looked at e-commerce email performance, it’s no secret that it’s getting tougher to break through the noise and ensure readers are opening and acting on your emails. Fortunately, there are things you can do to build a stronger email relationship with your supporters now so that you will have better success when you send those December appeals. Try these tips:Stand out.If your emails look like every other message in your supporter’s inbox, you’re making it easy for readers to ignore you. Spend as much time designing your emails for your readers’ inboxes as you spend writing the contents of your email. Create subject lines that make them want to open and read your message, and think about what shows up in the preview pane and from whom your email is sent. No one wants to get an email from “donotreply@thisnonprofit.org”. Give them something they can count on.Can your donors count on you for interesting, useful information and updates? Condition your readers to expect amazing stories and new insights about your cause so they’ll look forward to receiving—and reading— your emails.Personalize it.One surefire way to bore your supporters to death is to send them all the same, generic emails every month. Your emails must be personally relevant to the reader to grab their attention. In addition to personalizing emails with your reader’s name in the subject line or greeting, segment and tailor your emails to align with their experience with your organization. Treat recurring donors different from those who haven’t given. Send program-specific information to those supporters who have indicated a passion for a particular part of your mission.Make it mobile friendly. Over 40% of email is now being opened on mobile devices, so be sure to simplify your outreach, increase font sizes, and make your buttons and calls to action easy to click with a fingertip or thumb. Applying mobile friendly design principles to your emails will make your organization’s messages easier to read and act on, no matter how they’re being read. This will also improve the readability of your emails for older eyes.Bonus tip: Our friends at Constant Contact have shared some excellent advice on educating your readers about the new Gmail tabs, which some worry may affect open rates. Ryan Pinkham, Constant Contact’s Content Developer, offers sample email copy for you to customize and share with your supporters, along with a pre-designed email template for those of you using Constant Contact.last_img read more

A video to inspire you

first_imgThe Children’s Hospital at Darthmouth-Hitchcock recently posted an awesome video featuring staff and patients lip syncing and dancing to Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’. With over 1.5 million views, so many people have seen the kids at CHaD roaring! This video is a wonderful way to show the staff and patients having fun while still in what is the typical, sterile hospital environment. It sends the right message to make donors, and potential donors, feel good about what their money is supporting. Don’t you get warm fuzzies watching the staff and kids rocking out to this song? (Fair warning: this song will get stuck in your head!) Whoever chose to highlight the patients in their daily hospital setting had the right idea. Filming the kids in their rooms and play areas helps you grasp that this is their reality everyday: energetic nurses, IVs, hospital masks, gowns, machines, and wheelchairs. The only suggestion I have to make this video better would be to have the call to action embedded in the video in addition to the link posted in the about section. I’m sure they weren’t prepared for over 1 million views in such a short time, but I encourage CHaD to take advantage of their viral video success ASAP and turn those views into actions to donate! Wondering how you can make a video for your organization? Check out these 5 tips to help you get started.last_img read more