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Unlocking Growth for Organizations and Idealists Like You

Four Resolutions For Every Fundraising Leader

We hope that these last few days of 2014 find you well rested, grateful, and ready for a great new year. With 2015 just days away, our thoughts are turning to what we want to accomplish in the months ahead.

As you contemplate what you want to achieve both personally and professionally, here are four ideas for what to promise yourself – and your team.

1. I resolve to talk less and listen more. As leaders, our job is to create alignment around a shared vision. That sometimes means communicating outward: painting a picture, giving direction, providing context. But often the best information is not sitting in your head – it’s in someone else’s. And the truth is, it is hard to hear other people when you are talking. In the new year, take more time to listen to what other people are telling you.

Topics: Leadership

Your Fundraising Success Depends On Two Words

As I was doing a quick scroll through Facebook the other day, this post from my friend Jennifer made me stop and nod my head in agreement: 

Four Ways To Better Utilize Your Volunteers

Four-Ways-to-Better-Utilize-Your-VolunteersThere are always two camps nonprofit staff fall into during this time of year. In the first group, staff members have almost everything done and can be found humming “Jingle Bells” around the office all month. Each year you hope you’ll be in this camp and yet, it doesn’t always happen that way, right? Those of you agreeing with this are (sadly) used to being in the second camp. This camp is for staff members who aren’t quite panicked per se, but they are slightly frenzied. They are the ones with the ever-growing task list that is fueled by the urgency and need to wrap things up before the year ends. If you’re in this group, right about now it probably feels like you’ll never tackle your time-sensitive ‘to do’ list. Well, we’re here to tell you that you don’t have to feel that way and the work can get done.

Topics: Funding Leadership

New IRS Data Shows How The Recession Changed Charitable Giving

As almost everyone in development knows, a significant amount of charitable giving occurs during the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. According to Guidestar, over half of the organizations surveyed received most of their contributions between October and December. A 2012 Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University study showed that among high-net worth donors (households with income greater than $200,000 and net worth over $1,000,000), nearly 43% of those surveyed gave more during the holidays compared to the rest of the year.

There is considerable evidence that tax policy influences giving, and many donors are probably rushing to get one last tax break for the year. At the same time, there is clearly a self-fulfilling prophecy at play as well: most nonprofits mount major year-end campaigns, and many donors are responding to the significant volume of asks they receive.

Topics: Funding Strategy

Need Knows No Season

You know it’s coming – the closer the calendar gets to January 1st, the more your mailbox and inbox fill up with year-end donation appeals. You are aware that this influx of donation requests is inevitable for a few reasons. First, it’s the nature of the season. Second, you are most likely a supporter of charities outside of your own organization and have been watching these campaigns roll out over the past couple of months. And finally, your organization is running its own end of year giving campaigns too!

Nonprofits of all sizes, in countless locations, and with varying causes – including your own – run numerous giving campaigns during the holiday season, making it easy for constituents to give back and spread joy to others. And whether your supporters see giving as a way to express their gratitude for the blessings they have or as a way to make some last minute tax-deductible charity donations before the year ends, you know that giving is on their minds more than usual right now, and that it is partially inspired by the magic of the holidays.

Topics: Funding Inspiration Strategy

Four Reasons You Need A P2P Community

If you’re a nonprofit organization with a peer-to-peer fundraising program, chances are you think that you’ve already got a strong community supporting you. After all, community is inherent to the definition of peer-to-peer, right? Your fundraisers reach out to their networks – their communities – asking them to donate, participate in, and support your fundraising events. Community? Check.

But not so fast! A peer-to-peer community is much more than just a list of email addresses belonging to last year’s donors. A community is a group of people bound together by a sense of responsibility, a common goal, and a deep connection to your cause. A true community is neither created instantly nor maintained through generic communications.

Topics: Funding Community

Setting Yourself Up For Success: How To Plan For Growth In 2015

As the New Year edges closer, most of us welcome the chance for a fresh start, a clean slate, and new budgets. In an ideal world, the nonprofit budget process brings leaders and implementers together to discuss and determine reasonable growth targets for a nonprofit business plan, and the additional resources needed to help you hit your target.

Topics: Funding Leadership Strategy

Holiday Experiences To Engage Donors Year-Round

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Christmas carolers wandering snow-dusted streets, children excitedly lining up to sit on Santa’s lap, and the gentle ringing of a Salvation Army Red Kettle. For most of us these are quintessential holiday memories, filled with magic and warm emotions. These emotions and the overarching feeling of kind-heartedness make this season the perfect time of year for expanding the reach of giving, goodwill, and love.

In the nonprofit sector, however, you count on the empathy and generosity of others 365 days a year, not just during the holiday season. So the question is, how can you harness the impulse to give during this time of year, to inspire action and giving year-round? One way is to provide a meaningful experience for your constituents.

Topics: Funding Strategy

Seven Things Keeping You From Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Success

What comes to mind when you think of success? For most of us in the nonprofit space, success equates to fulfilling our organization's mission. Success is knowing that we found a cure, ended poverty, protected the environment, or fully served another worthy cause. But just as these weighty goals are not achieved overnight, neither is your work. Therefore, you often have to focus on the smaller successes that will eventually lead you to achieve your primary goal – creating a better world. The smaller successes typically come in the form of increased advocacy, attracting and activating new fundraisers, and of course, revenue growth.

Revenue growth is the primary driver for most organizations. It is the foundation that allows you to do important work in this world. And while revenue channels vary among organizations, peer-to-peer fundraising programs are typically at the top of a nonprofit’s portfolio. As peer-to-peer experts, Plenty has learned through experience the most important things to consider as you evaluate and improve your program. 

Topics: Funding Leadership Strategy

What's Hiding In Your Peer-to-Peer Data?

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to speak at the first ever Engage P2P Conference in Washington DC. The day included speakers from a variety of innovative nonprofits like Girl UpSt. Baldrick’s FoundationWounded Warrior Project and Special Olympics. Each group was able to share their peer-to-peer fundraising success story and the tools they used to get there and increase their impact. 

Impact, after all, is the goal for all nonprofit organizations, and one of our favorite peer-to-peer tools to use at Plenty to achieve this is sophisticated data analytics. Using analytics to help organizations better understand their peer-to-peer programs is our bread and butter. This is partly true because of our inner geekiness, but more so because we recognize the huge potential that stems from these tools. 

At Engage P2P, during my presentation with Marisa Hull from JDRF, we had the chance to showcase these tools and discuss JDRF's personal experience using their peer-to-peer data and analytics to drive strategy for their Walk to Cure Diabetes. JDRF currently raises $80M a year from over 125 thousand participants in their Walk series. A nationally held event of this size has the potential to impact many people, but with big events comes big data. JDRF, like many other organizations, had amassed a vast amount of data over the course of the Walk’s lifetime making it difficult to sort through and analyze effectively. Recognizing this, they reached out to us to take a closer look at the Walk and conduct a deep-dive into their data to help create new strategies for growth. 

Topics: Funding Leadership Strategy

Four (RED) Inspired Stewardship Tips For Your Next P2P Campaign

December is upon us and red is everywhere. We, like many of you, are now nearly immune to the clusters of red that have sprouted up in shopping malls, on neighbors’ homes, and city streets – some only the day after Halloween!

That said, we couldn’t help but notice the collaboration between Product (RED) and Apple that has colored the Internet and social media channels alike for yesterday's World Aids Day celebration. If you’ve opened the App Store in the last week, you’ve probably noticed it too. 

Topics: Funding Strategy

Another Blog Post About Giving Tuesday

Do we need another blog post about Giving Tuesday, the “global day dedicated to giving back” founded in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation?

Probably not. In the two years since it was launched, the day has been widely lauded, fairly well researched, and quickly declared a social media success. It is hard for me to think of what to say about it that hasn’t already been said. So I will start with this - you should participate. Find an organization you care about and give, generously.

Topics: Inspiration Strategy