Join an Interactive Community?

June 28, 2009

Ok, so I’m getting excited about a new idea. Who would get excited about all of us together starting an online community where we promote each other’s online fundraising?

Would you be willing to commit to comment and vote for each other to win/raise money for your organization? Online fundraising can be really hard especially when you’re first getting started. But through this blog maybe we can make it easier for everyone.

Here are a couple of ideas that I’m thinking we could offer if together we decided to create this community.

  • Promotion of nonprofits who are competing for online grants & awards to help bring up your voting numbers
  • Forum discussions on fundraising and social media issues, along with forum leaders/experts to help coordinate and answer questions
  • Live video feed discussions where I will (or try to) answer any social media or nonprofit question from your nonprofit
  • A resource for you to ask questions and provide outside advice on how your organization can think about social media and online fundraising questions

This idea will not work unless I get a flood of responses from all of you. Please send me an email or leave a comment (or both!) if you would like to join. If you would be willing to co-lead a component this concept please send me an email and I’d love your input.

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As we plan and think about this feel free to invite your friends or let other nonprofits know about this idea. What does that mean?

  • RT (retweet) this post on Twitter
  • Put a link to it in your Facebook status update
  • Send a couple emails to friends and see if they’d be interested

Getting a Hold of People

June 24, 2009

I spend a significant amount of time trying to get a hold of people and have a few different techniques that I’ve used to do so. I’d love to hear back from you if you have any additional tools or ideas. Just leave a comment below with your technique.

  • Call at different times in the day and do not leave a message. Most people will answer their work phone when they are at their desk if they are not currently in a meeting or on a call. (Do not use this technique with their cell phone.)
  • Try multiple numbers. Make sure you have the work, home, and cell numbers of those contacts that you need to get in contact with the most often.
  • Leave more than one message a week on their phone. Depending whom the individual is I will sometimes leave 2 or 3 messages a week.
  • Use Gentle Persistence… don’t accuse them of not answering your call or get verbally frustrated with them, you want them to feel like they have a clean slate every time you leave a message.
  • Get to know their assistant. An assistant is often the gateway to the individual and they know when their boss will be available and when is a good time to call.
  • Try an email and call combo. When I have a little question I find leaving a brief phone message followed by a short email mentioning your call can be one of the most successful ways to get a quick response.

Celebrating Success

June 22, 2009

One of the most important elements in motivating co-workers is building an environment that celebrates success. I’m not talking about a little cheer when you get a big gift (although that works for some people). We need to take regular time to talk about what is going well and why.

Celebrating success is important especially in economic times like these. We will all have harder seasons to fundraise than others and for many people knowing that you did a great job is what will get you through.

I try and start my regular meetings by taking a quick opportunity to mention some of the successes and praises since the last time we met. Make sure that credit is going where credit is due. If you are getting someone else’s praise mention the good work that individual did to help you succeed. This will build your relationship with your co-workers as well.

Here is the tricky part, try not to flatter, over celebrate, or be too cliché. Many times just mentioning the specific success and a small piece of why it was successful is the perfect amount. Your co-workers know when you are flattering them (and although it may work for some it works in reverse for others) so make sure you are being authentic about your recognition.

Award & An Idea

June 19, 2009

50 States for Good program

(submitted by Devin Kingdon)

“Through the 50 States for Good program, the company is now asking its consumers to help decide what projects around the country should receive the company’s financial support. With a $100,000 community action fund and a goal of inspiring participation across all 50 states, Tom’s of Maine encourages people to share their opinions on the projects that matter most to them.” –

Applications are available on their website and are due by August 30. At that time submissions will be voted on and the 5 projects with the most votes will receive $20,000.

An Idea

Here is an idea… I find out about these things every so often and I do enjoy letting you know about them. Would you be interested in helping each other out with the voting process as a community?

What I am thinking is the first 3 to 5 of you that are going to submit an application would let me know. Then, as a community, we can help each other out and vote on a readers applications. What do you think? Would you be interested in something like this? Would you be willing and committed to help vote for each other?

Question: Stealing Donors

June 17, 2009

I have really enjoyed hearing from all of you regarding these questions. The last couple we have received some really great answers about Creative Events Ideas and Fundraising Ethics.

Question: What do you think about asking donors from organizations you worked with before for a donation or to get involved with your current nonprofit?

In the nonprofit world people are changing jobs more and more frequently. This can result in creating relationships with donors from a number of different organizations. I’ve found that when I work with people often times there are a few I get to know at a bit deeper level and stay in touch with after I am at the organization. Sometimes these individuals ask about my work to see if it fits in with their giving interests.

Staying Motivated

June 15, 2009

Working in fundraising is all about staying motivated by your mission to help your cause. As I have spoken about in other posts sometimes you hit a wall and you have to keep pushing. Raising support for your organization can have some really great moments but it also takes a lot of personal will when things are not going the way you would like. Here are a few things I do to stay motivated.

  • Talk with one of your clients or program staff and get a story about your organization from them. This is a great way to reconnect to the mission (see Great Donor Stories).
  • Take a walk, grab a cup of coffee, or say a quick prayer. Anything that gives you a break from your daily work and allows you to take a deep breath and refocus. I often get so bogged down by the details that it helps to clear my head and then reengage.
  • Take a Lunch. This forces you to interact with other co-workers and get away from your desk.
  • Keep a paragraph from a favorite book or a verse of scripture at hand that reminds you why you do what you do.
  • Have a quick chat with a co-worker. If you like your co-workers take a couple of minutes to hear from them about their work. This can help you see momentum in other fundraising areas and, if you like your co-workers, is a great way to improve your mood.

Do you have any tricks or tools you use to stay motivated? Let me know I’d love to use them myself.

Getting Your Way

June 10, 2009

Here is a secret I use and I’ve seen others way more intelligent and experienced than I use to get a result they like. All of us have ideas or projects we would like to see happen that seem to get “shut down” immediately or before we can even start to get people excited about them.

Every organization has its “Thought Leaders” or unspoken culture shakers that everyone looks to before making a decision. If you want your idea to succeed, these people need to be on board and excited before you go through the traditional channels. So why not involve them in the “development” and creation of your initial idea and allow them to provide you with feedback about your project so they have a vested interest.

I will often meet with these turning point people individually and present them a skeleton version of my idea. When presenting the idea I’m careful to make sure they understand that it is only an idea not a full fledge project. Often I’ll ask them what their thoughts are regarding areas of the project that would go over well and areas that would not. Appeal to them as an expert letting them flush out some of the areas of the idea.