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
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,
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
By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA A good question is said to be worth more than a good answer! I believe that wholeheartedly. The dawn of a new year is a perfect time to reassess. As fundraisers, investigating our strategies and practices brings us more revenue. The start of the year is a chance to be reflective and to look ahead. It also offers the first opportunity for many of us to take a deep breath and relax after the hectic year-end giving season. This investigation starts with asking the right questions. The most empowering and galvanizing questions create value. They
Mother Jones illustration; Jörg Carstensen/Getty By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Much has been written about the extraordinary grantmaking of businesswoman MacKenzie Scott. With a net worth of $65.3 billion, much more giving is expected. Scott is a member of the Giving Pledge. When she signed the pledge, she said, “I have a disproportionate amount of money to share. My approach to philanthropy will continue to be thoughtful. It will take time and effort, and care. But I won’t wait. And I will keep at it until the safe is empty.” Despite its name, the pledge is not legally binding. The
By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA, Chairman Paying a fundraiser based on the revenue return you potentially will receive exposes you to pay a much higher fee than you should. It’s an unwise business proposition. The Association for Fundraising Professionals (AFP) even deems it unethical. In AFP’s position paper, they describe six specific reasons why. AFP believes that individuals serving a charity for compensation must first accept the principle that charitable purpose, not self-gain, is paramount: “It is our view that if, by definition, private financial benefit cannot inure to the charity, it should not inure to the worker. By law,
By Josh Birkholz How do you make the case for non-frontline roles? Leaders are more likely to interact and prioritize the frontline officers, but a balance must be met to maximize ROI. Here are five ways to make the case for organizational support staff. Making the case for program investment and seeing the resulting growth in giving may be among my favorite roles as a fundraising consultant these past 17 years. I can speak confidently because the data is sound. I can speak with credibility because I am not asking for my own resources, rather making the case for somebody
Hiring fundraisers can be challenging. Just ask any Executive Director or CEO. Fundraisers tend to move jobs often and most fell into fundraising without studying it as a career, making…
Understanding these trends is essential for you to adapt your strategies and identify areas for improvement. If you’d like my feedback on your adapted annual fundraising plan, send it to me here.
If I never again hear the phrase, “now, more than ever,” I would be pleased. I understand why we use it, to convey urgency, but it is hackneyed. Was our mission not urgent before Covid19?
I am writing having just returned from a weekend of silence. With all that has happened this year, I find spending time in stillness necessary, and it’s particularly necessary if you want to go deeper in your donor communications and avoid stale messages.
Editor’s Introduction: Nikkia Johnson’s blog post is direct by necessity. We do not mean to offend by some of the language. Sometimes great teachers need to get our attention to breakthrough to a truth. This post is important because Nikkia is speaking from her experience, she is sharing a grassroots community-centered perspective, and because her voice as a Black women is often muted within the professional field of fundraising.