Category: Strategy

3 Ways Integrated Planning Helped My Nonprofit

3 Ways Integrated Planning Helped My Nonprofit

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA “Plans are worthless, but planning is invaluable.” – Peter Drucker You may recall that I had the good fortune of being a Peter Drucker fellow. I think of his teachings often, and I have even dedicated my upcoming book to him, “Fundraising Truths to Live By,” which should be out later this year. Drucker showed me how to integrate planning into my daily work. He taught me to not wait for a new plan to be written or an old plan to be updated. The latter is what many nonprofits do. Every three to five

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Siri and Alexa Are Fundraising

Siri and Alexa Are Fundraising

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Social media, e-mail, big data; it’s clear that technology is changing the way we fundraise. This week’s guest video blog covers one piece of technology that I bet you haven’t considered: smart speakers. A longtime colleague of mine, Jay Frost, shares his video on how “smart speakers” like Siri and Alexa are providing new ways to fundraise. Have a look and, as always, I welcome your questions and comments:     We welcome your comments about this post on the LAPA blog.

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How To Ask Donors To Make Contributions Through Their IRA

How To Ask Donors To Make Contributions Through Their IRA

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA You may recall a recent article I wrote regarding donors contributing through their IRA and how it can help your year-end drive. Here is an example of one charitable organization, The Fellowship of Reconciliation, putting this advice to practice by sending their donors a short, simple e-mail: Ways to Give Smarter: Making A Contribution From Your IRA [Donor Name], Did you know that you can make a charitable contribution through your Roth IRA or traditional IRA? That’s right, and if you’re 70.5 or older, there are some added tax benefits to making your “Qualified Charitable Distribution”

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Fundraising Idea Gold Donor Surveys

Fundraising Idea Gold: Donor Surveys

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Donor surveys are powerful, yet underutilized. Do you know your donor’s age? If you intend on cultivating and engaging them, you must know their age. A donor survey can help you secure their DOB plus other vital information that you need. Donors commonly say they did not give again because they disliked the way they were asked. Don’t let this happen to your donor program. A donor survey can reveal their preferred means of communication (e.g., phone, text, e-mail, snail mail) as well as preferred times (evening, weekends). Then, integrate this information into your donor

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A Pressing Question

A Pressing Question

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Ask LAPA Q. One of our readers writes: Is a fundraising plan part of a strategic plan? If so, why is it important? Isn’t a strategic plan focused on what we will do to fulfill our mission not how we make the money in order to do it? ~Jennifer, an Executive Director from Boston, MA Laurence Pagnoni, LAPA Chairman, replies. A. Many nonprofits exclude mention of fundraising or a development plan from their strategic plan leaving the development department to create its own. This is often not the best scenario because it may lack a

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What Do Fundraisers Do (And why it matters)

What Do Fundraisers Do? (And why it matters)

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Having worked as a professional fundraiser for more than two decades, I am convinced that a better understanding of our work is needed. People generally know what an accountant or bookkeeper does. By virtue of television, people think they know what a lawyer or forensic scientist does. But when it comes to fundraising, there are two common misperceptions. One: those high-end fundraisers who work for the most distinguished hospitals, universities, and museums and earn high salaries are thought of as miracle workers who weave magic spells over wealthy philanthropists and mysteriously produce large sums of

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Relationships, Relationships, Relationships

Relationships, Relationships, Relationships

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Never underestimate the human element in your wealth screening. All the prospect research in the world doesn’t outweigh the need to include the human element in your wealth screen. Fundraising is a relationship business. Getting to meet your donors to learn about them is crucial for cultivation and solicitation, and yet securing meetings is often harder than securing gifts! We often don’t know where to begin in securing a meeting. We ask other donors or our trustees, and they too are puzzled. Many stakeholders don’t have a direct connection to the donor. Instead, it’s often

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Making The Sell

Making The Sell

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA What does “donor research” and “wealth-screening” mean to you? This three-part series examines the latest in donor research in three critical areas: 1. The value of screening your entire donor database; 2. Tips on what’s new about wealth screening so that you can “sell” it; and 3. The value of relationship science to connect with donors. Part I may be read here. Part II: Making the Sell Modern wealth-screening focuses more on philanthropy, what a donor actually is giving to charity, not just fixed assets. In the past, wealth-screening overly relied on fixed assets, such

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Having The Conversation

Having The Conversation

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA The advent of online applications doesn’t mean you no longer have to talk to a funder. Many grant-makers, especially the independents and family foundations, don’t have Web sites and electronic portals. Large, bureaucratic foundations that have gone paperless often have online forms that are so long and involved, you might want to talk to them, if possible, just to determine if it’s worth your while to apply. So here’s what you need to extract from a phone conversation with a funder. 1. Identify the best person to talk to. If the party on the other

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