Category: Strategy

New ‘Giving USA’ Report Signals Turbulence Ahead for Fundraisers

New ‘Giving USA’ Report Signals Turbulence Ahead for Fundraisers

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA The pre-eminent source of annual data about giving and philanthropy in the United States — Giving USA Foundation — this week released its 2021 report. This year’s edition offers a mixed bag of news for fundraisers and sends a few warning signals about what we can expect in the balance of 2022. But before the warnings, some good news: Charitable giving totaled a near-record $484.9 billion in 2021, which was flat when compared to 2020. That’s considered a win, especially since COVID-19 sparked an 8.1% annual increase in giving in 2020, and many observers feared

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Advancing Your Prospect Research

Advancing Your Prospect Research

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA A lot of donor information is hidden. Most donors aren’t advertising their net worth or telling us about the other nonprofits they donate to. So it’s up to us to do the research in advance of our conversations with them. Three Options Nonprofits have three options for conducting this research: Conducting In-House Research — Larger nonprofits with the financial means often build dedicated research teams into their organizational structure. Hiring a Consultant — Instead of hiring a full-time prospect researcher or having an existing staff member screen donors, you can bring in consultants like LAPA

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Roe vs Wade

Should Your Fundraising Be Apolitical?

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Nonprofits involved with the abortion debate are seeing a fundraising spike because of the recent leak of a draft opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court that would overrule Roe v. Wade. But for nonprofits whose missions are not about reproductive rights, the future of Roe v. Wade is causing intense internal discussions about whether they should take a stand or be apolitical. The topic of abortion stirs strong emotions on both the left and right. As a result, public statements from a nonprofit on the issue are likely to rankle a portion of its donor base.

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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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Lapsed Donors

Reengage Your Lapsed Donors

By Alyssa Greengrass, MA. “How do we get our donors back?” It’s a common yet distressing question. And it’s one that I regularly hear from fundraisers and executives at nonprofits of all sizes — ranging from large national hospital systems to local food banks. While it seems difficult to win back donors who have chosen to stop supporting your nonprofit, it’s important to resist the temptation to simply focus on closing new gifts. Ignoring your lapsed donor file is cost ineffective and jeopardizes relationships that took time and care to develop. Often, these lapsed donors are devoted supporters of your

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Whitfield 1

What Is Trust-Based Philanthropy?

By Eddie Whitfield. As we enter our third year of the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project, we’re reflecting on the stories of leaders and organizations that have embraced trust-based philanthropy and what connects them. In September, we launched the Trust-Based Story Map, which highlights the personal journeys of leaders from across the United States who are adopting a more trust-based, power-aware approach to their work. As we take a closer look at these stories collectively, some powerful themes are emerging about what inspires the adoption of trust-based philanthropy and what we can learn from the trends we are seeing. Diversity in Lived

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Does positive or negative messaging raise more funds?

Do Negativity and Alarm Really Raise Funds?

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA A reader writes: “My inbox and mailbox are flooded with fundraising appeals from causes using the words ‘terrifying,’ ‘alarming,’ ‘emergency,’ etc.  “Yes, we’re in deep sh*t on many levels. Why would they think I don’t know this? The messages only make me more depressed, and depression does not motivate me to contribute. Does negativity and alarm really raise funds?”  —John, CEO of a civic education nonprofit   Dear John, This is a top-of-mind question for many fundraising professionals. Fundraisers use danger messages because marketing data often (not always) shows they’re highly effective when compared with

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Use this touchpoints as loudspeakers to maximize donor engagement.

7 Key Touchpoints to Keep Donors Engaged

By Alexa Strautmanis Seven is a golden number in marketing. As the “Rule of Seven” goes, an individual must see or interact with your nonprofit’s brand at least seven times in the course of a year before they’re inclined to take any action.  Following this rule is a best practice when it comes to donor engagement. Through multichannel marketing, these seven touches can be seamlessly woven into your nonprofit’s communications to keep your cause top-of-mind for new donors and deepen relationships with your current supporters. Your nonprofit may already be hitting this magic number. If you mail your constituents quarterly,

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How Do You Bring Equity Into Your Fundraising Practices

How Do You Bring Equity Into Your Fundraising Practices?

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA LAPA blog reader Kennita, who works for a historic preservation nonprofit, writes, “How do I bring equity into our fundraising practices?” Thanks for writing, Kennita, and that’s a terrific question. I hope my answer is useful. It just so happens that a key advanced fundraising trend is to bring equity into your fundraising practices. But what does that really mean, and how do you implement it? For a complete view of 2022 fundraising trends, watch this video. Fundamental Questions Here are two fundamental questions to get you started. What is your fundraising equity approach? The

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