Author: LAPA

Impact Report

Create An Impact Report That Shows Donors Your Value

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA A growing number of nonprofits are creating impact reports to show donors how their contributions have made a difference. When done well, impact reports can be powerful tools for showing results through hard numbers. But they truly excel when they amplify the metrics with real-life stories and voices that put a face on the organization’s work. The Massachusetts nonprofit Root Cause married numbers and stories beautifully with its recently released Impact Report: 2021. This piece is especially effective because it provides a clear snapshot of what the organization does, uses simple graphics to display information,

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Discomfort in Fundraising

Three Steps to Manage Uncomfortableness in Fundraising

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA We try our utmost to avoid it, but feeling uncomfortable is key to fundraising mastery. In fact, the more advanced fundraising you seek, the more uncomfortable feelings rise. Yet it is an enormous (and lucrative) gift to yourself, and especially to your nonprofit, to work through these initial feelings. Aversion for being uncomfortable is understandable. Uncomfortable situations trigger feelings of being out of control. Anxiety and fear storm through us and our bodies get tense. Being uncomfortable goes against our innate desire to feel calm and at peace. Many fundraisers call me when they are

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Survey

Do You Report Back After Donors Are Surveyed?

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA. Your survey to donors is only half the picture. You have to report back your findings. In this blog post, we are modeling for you how to report back, so that you in turn can do the same with your donors. You see, hundreds of LAPA’s 70,000+ blog readers and webinar attendees recently took an Audience Survey on their experiences of using our thought-leadership content—our weekly blog post, our webinars, our white papers, and sample cases for support, and Laurence’s books. Here’s what they said. You can use our format to report back to your

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Untitled design

Behold, the Carbon Neutral Direct Mail Campaign!

By Roger M. Craver, JD. Last week, we celebrated Earth Day, which makes it an appropriate time for fundraisers to think about what we’re really doing — professionally, personally, and collectively — to save our planet. I’m not asking you to think about raising money for climate change or conservation. Instead, it’s time to consider how our practices are affecting our planet — and how we can take collective actions at our organizations to make a difference. In gathering my ball of string for this Earth Day post, I came across a LinkedIn post from Steve Falk, President and CEO of Canada’s Prime Data.

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Untitled design

Write a Superb Case Statement

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA A superb case statement communicates to the donor why funds are urgently needed and why philanthropic support makes sense. It’s critical for that to occur on the first page of the case, as this sample does so well, since many people will only read that page. “How can we ever say no?,” the cover page asks. Right from the start the key question is posed and driven home. When executed well, a case statement inspires your donors to invest in your future — and become ambassadors for your mission and vision. Most people associate Cases

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Board Leaders

Cultivate Heavy Lifters for Your Board

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Your board can be a robust fundraising engine, but not if it’s cluttered with board members who are light lifters. And, let’s face it, most nonprofits have boards that do very little. It’s better to have even a few people on your board who are willing to put in the time to guide your organization to its greatest impact. I’ve seen organizations transformed by three or four such people, and it’s much more advantageous to recruit this type of board member. The question, of course, is how do you cultivate the heavy lifters to ensure that you’re giving them

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Inspiration

The Fundraising Future You Want

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA I met Dr. Paul Farmer at a conference 15 years ago. Unexpectedly, Paul recently passed away in his sleep from an acute cardiac event while in Rwanda, where he had been teaching. He was one of the founders of Partners in Health (PIH). As an international healthcare organization founded in 1987 PIH was, and remains,  driven by its vision “to bring the benefits of modern medical science to those most in need of them and to serve as an antidote to despair.” Partners in Health inspires me. That is why I keep giving to it

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Taxes

Helping Your Donors Navigate Tax Season

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Tax season is a great time to communicate with your donors about how they can make smart decisions about their giving. In fact, if you have donors who are required to make annual distributions from their individual retirement accounts, there is still time for them to receive a benefit on their 2021 tax returns. According to IRS rules, anyone who has an IRA must take a required minimum annual distribution (RMD) from their accounts once they turn 72. But that time is growing short. Eligible donors have until Tax Day (April 18) to give money

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Untitled design

Reassuring Donors in Turbulent Times

We all lose perspective.  Donors particularly lose perspective about their vital role in supporting your mission when faced with seemingly more crucial causes. That’s especially true right now as they experience the horrors of war, political misinformation campaigns that fracture our society, and personal economic struggles like higher prices.  In the midst of the AIDS pandemic, Peter Drucker once told me that it was his job “to lift the chin of [his] staff and volunteers to inspire them beyond the fear of dying to embrace their full potential to care for others and to provide real service.”  So I will

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Text to Give

Use Text Messaging for Donor Stewardship

Text messaging is an important — and largely underused — donor stewardship tool.  Advanced fundraisers have been slow to fully embrace text (aka SMS) messaging largely out of fear that they are intruding on their donors. But as texting has become the primary form of communication for many of us, it’s time to move past that fear and embrace texting as a central piece of your larger donor communications strategy.  Text marketing has an incredible 98% open rate — and most messages are read within the first 30 minutes of delivery. The average American sends more than 40 texts per

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