The blogs and online tools that follow have been curated to give you useful tools and advice on how to proceed. Fundraising bloggers are remarkably generous with their knowledge, albeit they are usually blogging with the hopes of selling their services or products. MatchDotDollars is grateful for their wisdom and generosity, but does not endorse anyone’s products or services. We have simply curated what is already available to the public and organized it to be readily available to meet your fundraising needs.
The list below is a "best of" compilation of blogs and online resources. View our complete list of favorites here.
Learn how to use a spreadsheet to set priorities, track progress, and tally figures. Use Google Docs sheets (easily shared), Excel, whatever works for you. But get comfortable with using a spreadsheet format, it's critical for planning your work and working your plan. www.wikihow.com/Use-Google-Spreadsheets
Learn and grow
Follow a few blogs, attend a conference, keep up with a few publications. The time spent on learning and networking will allow you to set priorities and stop chasing "shiny objects". This link takes you to the introduction to an article in The Agitator, a subscription based blog ($25). The Agitator is written by one of the pioneers of direct response marketing for nonprofits -- Roger Craver. His views are well worth taking to heart.
Plan, review, revise and plan
Plan your work and work your plan. You can spend your time reacting to crises du jour or moving forward with specific goals and priorities. Gail Perry has extensive experience in university based fundraising -- probably the best training there is. She is generous and wise in her blogs especially about major gift fundraising. While she has extensive experience with large institutions, it's readily adaptable to small shops.
Pamela Grow is a leading and resourceful online fundraising presence. She's all about small shops. Her website is chock full of useful resources and she's a fabulous online marketer of her online services. Here's a calendar with useful links for a years worth of useful strategies and tools.
Sandy Rees speaks the language of small shop fundraising. She's been there and done that. Her approach is sensible and doable. Now just do it. www.getfullyfunded.com/its-time-for-fundraising-plan-2-0-2/
Zillow, Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Open Secrets -- use them and you will find a wealth of information about your prospects. Even better, ask your donor who and what they know about other prospects.
Lynn Wester calls herself the guru of donor relations. It's a well deserved title.
Jerold Panas is one of the wise elder statesmen of fundraising, he's a leading advocate of the art of good listening to be a good "asker." www.panaslinzy.com/index.php/resources-jpl/bookstore
Thank and Steward
Make the donor feel special in as many ways as possible, as often as possible.
Make your thank yous personal. Make it about about the donor and their impact (not yours). Be creative.
Here's a great example from Lynn Wester's website.
Sofii is a clearinghouse for fundraising ideas and samples compiled from experts in the US and the UK.
Tools & Strategies
The board, along with staff, is responsible for fundraising. And fundraising is not just about asking for money. Asking is only a small fraction of what's needed for a successful fundraising program. There are so many other ways for board members to participate in fundraising. www.exceptionalboards.com/2014/09/03/fundraising-its-everyones-job/
Tom Ahern is "considered one of the world’s top authorities on how to increase revenue through donor communications." Check out his website for useful free stuff and you'll see why. He is all about donor-centered, relationship building, life time value fundraising. Read his materials, find him at a conference, his reputation is well-deserved. He's coined the term "loverize" your donors. You get the general idea -- show them the love and they'll show you the money.
Events -- can't live with'em, can't live without 'em. The question is how to do it right. Ideally, the donor experience should be transformational not transactional. And events put donors into your pipeline of prospects to cultivate and upgrade to major donors. So be cautious and intentional when organizing events. My favorite event is part of the Benevon process. Benevon is an expensive package but attending one of their events can be eye-opening. See if they have a client in your area and if there's a free one-hour ask event scheduled -- attend, learn and donate.
Mal Warwick a highly regarded pioneer in the field of direct response marketing for nonprofits.
Here's Mal Warwick's Basic Appeal Letter Template shared by Pamela Grow.
Claire Axelrad is one of a handful of active and generous bloggers focused on the art and science of individual giving.
Idealware is a nonprofit like us. So they are not selling anything and their information is invaluable.
Here are the stats. Need to find a good resource for the how-tos.
Make it short and visual.
Network for Good offers lots of useful advice related to online giving and monthly giving through their blog and free resources.
Salsa is a vendor of online services and they too are generous with ideas. So again, we are not endorsing vendors just passing along their good advice.
Tell stories. Make it real, so someone can see, feel and touch what you are saying. The more senses involved, the more likely it will penetrate the part of the brain that activates empathy and giving.
Kivi Leroux offers endless good advice about communications. This link takes you to a book that she is selling. We are not endorsing the book, but the promo materials offer a great overview of what should be included in an annual report.
Put a face on what your organization does, one person and how your donor impacted their life. Impact is key. Speak to the heart with a good story. Nothing deadens a good story quicker than numbers.
Amy Eisenstein is remarkably generous with her wealth of knowledge about major gifts. This link gives you a wonderful overview of the major gifts process and many useful practical steps. Amy's materials are especially useful for small nonprofits.
This article is written for large institutions, but the concepts are completely applicable to small shops.
Moves management is about taking a systematic approach to building your relationship with your top donors.
Veritus Group- This is one of our very favorite blogs. It is directed at major gift officers (MGO) at large institutions. And most of what they write about is applicable to any organization trying to build an upper level (mid & major) donor program. As they say, when the focus is on the relationship and not the money, significant giving will follow. Here's one approach to Moves Management. Google "moves management" for alternative approaches -- use a spreadsheet and identify the monthly steps that will be taken to build the relationship with your upper level donors.
Simone Joyaux is widely recognized for her focus on donor-centered giving and means it when she says, "It's not about the money."
Jeff Brooks of Future Fundraising Now writes often about relationship-based fundraising.
Ken Burnett wrote THE book on relationship fundraising in 1992 and we're all still trying to get it right.
Planned giving -- it's not money in the bank today, but it's a significant pot of gold that you can't ignore. For a small shop it should become an integral part of the communication with committed donors -- both large and small. The average bequest to nonprofits is $25,000 and very often comes from smaller donors. One of the best indicators of a possible planned gift is long term loyalty.
Over a third of all individual giving is done after Thanksgiving. What are you doing to be part of the mix and distinguish yourself from all those other appeals that are bombarding your donors?
It starts with Thanksgiving, followed by Black Friday, Cyber Monday and then Giving Tuesday. It's a relatively new concept, but it has been catching on. Some use it as a single day, online fundraising event. Our recommendation is that it be built into a comprehensive year-end fundraising campaign.
Acquiring donors is critical but keeping them for the long haul is where the real money is. Getting your donors to sign up as a monthly sustainer increases the likelihood that they'll stay with you.
You know about the ice bucket challenge, you've probably been asked and given to a friend or family member for their fundraising effort. Here's a few dos and don'ts to consider.