4 Steps to Strategic Communications

Picture this: a wealthy donor opens up the daily newspaper at her kitchen table and sees a heart-warming story about a school-age child benefiting from your nonprofit’s services.

On her drive to work, she hears your executive director interviewed on morning news radio.

Before an afternoon meeting, the same donor scans her Instagram and Facebook feeds and sees your story being shared.

Later, she gets an email from your nonprofit, featuring the story and a direct request for a gift. In one click, a donation is made.

What steps did it take to turn one story into a donation? Maura F. Farrell provides the details.

https://www.philanthropy.com/resources/checklist/4-steps-to-strategic-communica/6598/

6 Ways to Beat Writer’s Block

The formula for getting work done is simple: Show up and sit there. Think. Stare out the window. Write.

There’s no muse, no need for a perfect storm of artistic conditions to come together before you can rack up the pages. You just do the work. The work gets done.

But simple formulas don’t always produce good results. Let Rachel Toor guide you through tips to of what to do when you get stuck.

https://www.chronicle.com/article/6-Ways-to-Beat-Writer-s/243587

How to Identify and Respond to Fundraising NOs

One of the greatest challenges of being a development professional is dealing with rejection. The fact is, you are going to hear the word “No” a lot.

But the best fundraisers know not to take it personally and get right back on that fundraising horse. They also learn that sometimes a No can help you find your way to a Yes.

Here, Allison Gauss, defines the 9 types of fundraising nos and what to do with them.

https://www.classy.org/blog/how-to-identify-and-respond-to-fundraising-nos/

Strategic Planning Sucks the Life Out of Nonprofits

The nonprofit sector has created a culture in which strategic work is seen as a necessary evil, a process to endure, something to suffer through. Executives often enter the process begrudgingly. They may insist there is no time, money, or support. They may say that the board adds little value, that a bold and expensive vision will be hard to “sell” to a board that must raise money. It’s pretty easy to see how an executive director could have an attitude problem.

When it comes to strategic planning, chief executives often feel sure they know the right answer and already have a sense of what needs to get done in the next few years. Board members will tell you their voices aren’t heard or valued. Precious few board members find making plans invigorating or enriching, nor are they excited to promote a new strategy to potential donors.

Some organizations get the planning process right, but in this blog Joan Garry discusses some of the strategic-planning problems and how to solve them.

https://www.philanthropy.com/article/Strategic-Planning-Sucks-the/247368

6 questions trustees should ask their fundraisers…

Being a trustee feels like a weighty responsibility. There are so many important issues to get to grips with and fundraising is often one of the areas in which many trustees have little or no experience.

In fact, many of the skills and experiences they have from their business lives directly apply to fundraising: having a clear strategy, thinking long term, understanding the budget, checking out the competition, exploring the data, knowing your customers, and taking a leadership role.

Susie Hills poses six questions to help trustees explore these vital aspects of the fundraising health of their organisations.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/6-questions-trustees-should-ask-fundraisers-susie-hills

Building fundraising success: the importance of leadership

Time and time again we see the critical role that leaders and trustees have on their charity’s major gift fundraising success.

If you are a Trustee or leader, how do you develop the skills that make you effective in either fundraising directly or supporting the executive team? What do you need to know about major gift fundraising in order to lead from the front?

Caroline Underwood shares 5 questions fundraising boards should ask themselves in this blog.

https://www.lucyinnovation.co.uk/2016/12/building-fundraising-success-importance-leadership/

Alumni Engagement: What We’ve Gotten Wrong And How To Fix It

At some level, every fundraiser knows that alumni engagement is an important driver of alumni giving. At the same time, the advancement profession seems perpetually perplexed by how to measure engagement and apply those measures to increase philanthropy. Why is that?

Generally speaking, advancement offices have access to a pretty accurate picture of who alumni were as students, but very little information on who they are now.

As a result, advancement professionals are primed to treat alumni as former students instead of getting to know them as mature adults. This leads to false assumptions about current alumni needs and the relevant steps a school might take to increase engagement by addressing those needs.

Different from alumni affinity, Dr. Jay Le Roux Dillon describes “Alumni Role Identity” in this series of blogs – a measure of a graduate’s level of connection to their alma mater and an indicator of their inclination to donate to same.

Part 1: https://www.salesforce.org/alumni-engagement-weve-gotten-wrong-fix/

Part 2: https://www.salesforce.org/higher-education-fundraising-culture-sameness-busting-3-massive-myths/

Part 3: https://www.salesforce.org/alumni-role-identity-new-way-alumni-donor-psyche/

Part 4: https://www.salesforce.org/past-webinars/alumni-engagement-scoring-science-tell-us-webinar/

7 simple steps to qualify your donors

Unsuccessful fundraisers don’t understand qualification. They don’t recognize its power. They wait for the next wealth screened list. They fiddle with it in Excel or in some other database. They make a few calls. They don’t get any appointments. They give up. Then they say the list was no good.

Unsuccessful fundraisers don’t use the qualification process effectively. They don’t recognize the fact that understanding qualified supporters in-depth is crucial. When they call, write or visit them, they ignore their interests, passions, desires, and needs. And, too often, they ignore them entirely. They don’t call, write or visit them at all.

Here, Greg Warner provides seven easy to follow steps to help you qualify your prospects.

https://imarketsmart.com/7-simple-steps-to-qualify-your-donors/

Creating a DIY wealth spreadsheet

Wealth advisors need to understand wealth trends in relation to their client’s investment strategies. Their companies have the necessary resources to provide that insight for them in the form of studies and surveys. Surveys dealing with wealth allocation are particularly useful for estimating wealth.

In this blog, Kenny Tavares has come up with a list of three resources that can be accessed for free to begin creating your own wealth estimates. Aside from having the data we crave, these reports provide great information on current wealth trends.

https://www.helenbrowngroup.com/creating-a-diy-wealth-spreadsheet/

GDPR note: Just because data is available in the public domain does not necessarily mean that it can be harvested and used for other purposes. Although you may not have to obtain consent to use it, please check with your data protection officer or seek legal advise before undertaking prospect research.

Wealthy Britons don’t match the generosity of Americans – here’s why

What’s it like to give away a billion dollars?

One of the few people who know is Stephen Schwarzman, co-founder, chairman and chief executive of Blackstone, one of the world’s biggest private equity firms.

He has given away more than that already, mainly to causes related to education, culture and the arts, but – with a fortune put at more than $16bn (£12.8bn) – is likely to go far further during his lifetime.

His latest big donation, in June this year, was a £150m gift to the University of Oxford to establish an institute dedicated to the study of ethics in artificial intelligence.

He realised very quickly that “the UK was unaccustomed to philanthropy on this scale. During the course of the day [that the donation was announced] I learned that my single gift was about half of the £310m given by all philanthropic individuals to arts and culture in England during 2017-18.”

The UK lags well behind the US, both in terms of the number of wealthy people who make sizeable donations to good causes and in terms of the scale in which they donate.

Ian King, Business presenter on Sky News examines the socio-economic reasons behind the different attitudes to charity in these two countries.

https://news.sky.com/story/sky-views-we-could-do-with-more-us-style-philanthropy-11832538

Does the CCPA apply to non-profits?

It’s important to be aware of data protection legislation across the globe so that non-profits are familiar with requirements.  If nothing else, these requirements tend to become the norm and therefore shape the expectations of your donors and supporters.

The CCPA applies to “businesses.”  The Act defines that term to include any legal entity (e.g., corporations, associations, partnerships, etc.) that is “organized or operated for the profit or financial benefit of its shareholders or other owners.”1  This accords with the fact that non-profits are exempt from many of the data privacy and security regulations within the United States – in particular, they are largely exempt from enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission, and, therefore, are exempt from compliance with the rules, regulations, and guidance of the Federal Trade Commission to the extent that such rules, regulations, or guidance are not incorporated in state laws that do apply to the non-profit.

In comparison, the European GDPR does not contain any exemptions for non-profit organizations.

So, unless your non-profit has a commercial branch or deals in selling data lists, CCPA does not apply.  GDPR, however, does – if you are dealing with citizens of the European Union.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/privacy-faqs-does-the-ccpa-apply-to-non-95070/

Countdown to CCPA: Updating your Privacy Policy

The California Consumer Protection Act requires businesses and charities to make disclosures in their public-facing privacy policies and to update annually such disclosures, starting January 1, 2020.

To comply with the CCPA, the privacy policy must include the eight points listed in this useful guide.

https://www.pillsburylaw.com/en/news-and-insights/ccpa-privacy-policy.html

Attention marketers: in 12 weeks, the CCPA will be the national data privacy standard. Here’s why.

The California Consumer Privacy Act will effectively be the US national data privacy standard for consumer business and brands when it takes effect on January 1, 2020. (Although enforcement by the California attorney general has been delayed until June 2020, individual and class-action law suits may begin immediately.)

As of this writing, that’s precisely 12 weeks, or no more than 55 working days, allowing for the holidays. Given how many companies were radically unprepared for the GDPR given two years for preparation, this implies that lots of companies need to do lots of work lots of fast.

There are three interrelated and inescapable reasons why CCPA-compliant data practices will quickly become the standard across the US, even for companies that don’t do business in California. Here, Tim Walters, Ph.D. explains more.

https://contentadvisory.net/attention-marketers-in-12-weeks-the-ccpa-will-be-the-national-data-privacy-standard-heres-why/

California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA): What you need to know to be compliant

The California Consumer Privacy Act could have more repercussions on U.S. companies than the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that went into effect in 2018. The California law doesn’t have some of GDPR’s most onerous requirements, such as the narrow 72-hour window in which a company must report a breach. In other respects, however, it goes even farther.

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) takes a broader view than the GDPR of what constitutes private data. The challenge for security, then, is to locate and secure that private data.

CSO, which serves enterprise security decision-makers and users with the critical information they need to stay ahead of evolving threats and defend against criminal cyberattacks, shares an excellent guide on what CCPA means to you.

https://www.csoonline.com/article/3292578/california-consumer-privacy-act-what-you-need-to-know-to-be-compliant.html

Here Comes America’s First Privacy Law: What the CCPA Means for Business and Consumers

On January 1 2020, a landmark new data law comes into effect, subjecting U.S. businesses to a sea change of privacy regulations. After that date, Americans will be able to demand that charities disclose what personal data they have collected about them, and also ask them to delete that data. The California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) will severely impact tech giants like Google and Facebook, as well as retailers like Macy’s and Walmart.

This heralds the end of an era in which the U.S. defied a shift in global privacy norms, and allowed American companies to commodify consumer data.

There remains, however, considerable confusion over how the law will be enforced, and how much of a burden it will be to U.S. companies. What follows is Forbes’ plain English explanation of the law, the politics surrounding it, and how it will affect businesses and consumers.

https://fortune.com/2019/09/13/what-is-ccpa-compliance-california-data-privacy-law/

6 assumptions you should make about donors

Jeff Brooks takes guidance produced on customer experience and reviews it through the lens of a fundraiser because it’s a look at how people think and decide.

Here are the “6 components of human beings” with what each might mean for fundraisers to give you a powerful advantage.

https://www.futurefundraisingnow.com/future-fundraising/2018/03/6-assumptions-you-should-make-about-donors.html

What Donors Want When It Comes to Communication

The fine art of donor communications is a constant topic of study and analysis. But while nonprofits don’t always know what type of communications donors want, common sense would dictate that donors are looking for some kind of feedback about how their money is used. But what kind of contact do they want and how does this contact improve giving?

This data on evidence, updates and thanks seems aimed at nonprofit communicators who are afraid of bothering their constituents, which is a normal response to donor fatigue. Yet, donors also complain about the wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am approach, in which nonprofits drag their heels with a timely thanks. So what’s a nonprofit to do?

Amy Butcher shares her thoughts in this blog.

https://nonprofitquarterly.org/what-donors-want-when-it-comes-to-communication/

Direct Mail – Dead or Alive

These are dark times for direct mail fundraising. Response rates are down (and have been trending lower for more than a decade). At the same time, costs of paper, printing, and postage keep going up, usually faster than inflation.

So direct mail is dead, right? The sooner you stop using it for fundraising, the better. Right?

Not so fast.

Jeff Brooks takes a sober and non-panicked look tells at direct mail to see that it isn’t dead. It’s not even sick. But it’s changing, like everything else.

https://www.moceanic.com/2019/direct-mail-dead-or-alive/

Thank you!

It’s been just over six months since Propper Fundraising launched and last week we hit a milestone with our 2,000th visitor since April 2019. Altogether, this site has had a total of 3,565 views! Thank you for your support, especially to those who like and share our posts further. This site would not be what it is without you.

Over 90 blogs have been included here so far, so I thought it would be fun to share the top 5 most popular blogs. Here goes:

  1. How Will I Know (if my Development Director is doing a good job)? by Susie Hills
  2. 5 Years of Reflection — 10 Things I Learned About Effective Research ManagementManagement by Jason Briggs
  3. Long Read: What does it take to deliver an outstanding donor experience? by Holly Palmer and Lee Durbin
  4. Seven Golden Prospecting Strategies for Major Gifts by Gail Perry
  5. What is the value of a Development Office? by Becki Mckinlay

A huge thank you to all six authors and all those bloggers who take time out of their busy lives to share their thoughts and expertise. You really are helping non-profits to thrive.

Christian Propper