YOU are a valuable tool!

by Edward Sumner

I had the privilege recently of participating in Jim Shapiro’s Better NonProfit Conference which was designed to help development professionals and other non-profit folks to grow, lead, and fund their organizations.  The speaker line up was solid, content really helpful, and the project reminded me of how valuable other development professionals are to me.

I have never come across a professional fundraiser who has it all figured out and I for sure  know I haven’t.  Each of us has unique perspectives that have been informed by years of fighting and flourishing and cumulatively, these years of experience shape our philosophy, best practices, as well as the way that we formulate and try new strategies.  All too often, we do not make these rich and cumulative experiences available to one another.

In my view, there is no risk is sharing our best ideas.  Understandably, if we are in consultative roles and our fundraising products and services are licensed and trademarked, that’s a different jam.  But for the most part, I am increasingly convinced that consistent and intentional conversations among fundraisers are among the most valuable tools that we have.  What we impart to one another in terms of things we see working well, successes we have been surprised by, and challenges we did not expect adds significant value in terms of how we plan and design our next moves and plans.

Prioritize time to meet with other fundraisers.  Share.  Ask.  Listen.  Encourage.  And do it again.  We can be invaluable tools for one another, it’s just a matter of making it happen.

Who are you connecting with?  What are you learning from other organizations?

Join the conversation at @infosmallchange #ascblog

There are now more than 1 billion smartphones on the planet.  And, in a recent study, researchers learned that 9.5% of donations came from mobile devices.  Clearly, this is a huge opportunity for fundraisers and a seamless and user friendly mobile giving interface can be an incredibly helpful tool to increase giving.

I’ve done a little bit of testing, and found that there are some non profits out there who really have their mobile giving option dialed in, characterized by:

  1. Webpages that are designed to be mobile friendly
  2. A singular and integrated giving page that does not require being bumped to another site
  3. Limited fields in which to enter data
  4. An automated text or email confirming receipt

These are the basics.  There are lots of other great options like mobile card readers that scan credit cards and automatically populate fields, but getting the basics right is whats most important.

So, how do we know if we are mobile ready?  The Network for Good has recently come up with a helpful little survey to assist non profits in gauging their readiness as well as provided recommendations on how to answer important questions for which we may not currently have the answer.  Another really helpful way to gain a clear understanding of what’s working and what’s not is to simply test market some options, use your smartphone and go out and give $1 or so to a few of the big guys and see what it’s like.  And if it’s been while, go ahead and give a gift to your own not profit and objectively assess how easy and awesome the experience was.  If it wasn’t easy or awesome, or pales in comparison to what you found with other agencies,  it’s likely time for a new tool.

With mobile giving, what’s working well for you?  Join the conversations at @infosmallchange #ascblog

A valuable tool from the archives: Handwritten Notes

June 24, 2015

When was the last time you received a handwritten note? I can count on one hand the number of handwritten notes that I’ve received in the last six months. If you eliminate holiday cards and birthday cards that just have a signature on it, then it’s even less. Another remarkable thing about the handwritten notes […]

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That Crowdfunding though….

June 18, 2015

This year I have received many requests to participate in Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe campaigns.  And I mean, like a LOT.  There seems to be an interesting shift taking place and folks feel inclined to raise funds for just about anything, and some of them are amazing causes and products.  Some of them, not so […]

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That ole donor database

June 16, 2015

Last week we queued up an intro to our next series of blogs that will highlight thoughts on the tools we need in our Toolbox as fundraisers.  Some of them are old and familiar and may need replacing.  Some of them may be new and we are getting to know how to use them well. […]

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I need my tools

June 10, 2015

My daughter is a little bit of a hobbit.  She’s 5 & 1/2 and loves collecting leaves, seeds, sticks, flower buds, acorns and the like and bundling them up together.  It’s weird and wonderful and recently she’s been taking it more seriously as a craft.  Over the last few weeks I’ve been pulling together a […]

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One from the Vault: Relationships

June 8, 2015

Excited to share this straightforward and thoughtful reminder from Jason Dick: Too often, we don’t ask the hard questions and share our real challenges, joys, and struggles. We do this because we are afraid of letting people into our worlds and of what they might think if they really knew who we are. What if […]

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You don’t want to miss this!

June 2, 2015

There is a great conference coming up that you should really sign up for.  It’s free, it’s online, and it’s got a lineup of speakers that have a lot of helpful things to say about how to do fundraising more effectively and more creatively. It’s call the Better Nonprofit Conference and you can register today to […]

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One simple way to simplify

May 28, 2015

A simple and helpful perspective shift from Josh Collier: I felt like I couldn’t get anything done. The Tyranny of the Urgent wasn’t just a struggle, it was my daily reality. Not able to do what I love most, I found myself totally discouraged. So I asked my friend David Achata for help. He said he’d […]

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Sticky Notes Part II – The Practicum

May 27, 2015

A great follow up post from our friend Josh: 2 weeks ago we talked about my friend and his sticky notes – the big point: your technology doesn’t make your organized, YOU make you organized. All the tech in the world doesn’t change how you approach, prioritize, and organize your life. So, here’s 10 simple […]

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