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Social Media Tactics for Nonprofits

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

I provided a podcast over at BlogTalkRadio that you’ll want to listen to.  I talked about social media strategies to earn funds for your cause.  Social media gives organizations like yours opportunities to share your mission, build a community of supporters and raise funds!

With Social Media non-profits can tell their organizational stories in order to inspire donations. Learn the best four platforms to start with.  Discover what five other organizations are doing best on social media. Below are the links to the organizations I talked about and their best social media platform.

World Wildlife Fund — Check out their Facebook

American Red Cross — Check out their YouTube

Charity: Water — Check out their Pinterest

Second Harvest Food Bank — Check out their Twitter

Music for Minors — Check out their website and the “Donate Now” button. They are a small organization with a presence on facebook and twitter.

Lessons I Learned From Jane Goodall

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

I had the privilege of meeting Jane Goodall in person.  She was the featured speaker at the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) conference in San Diego.  At the time I didn’t know why Jane Goodall would be invited to a fundraising conference—after all she has spent her entire career in jungles with chimpanzees—but I was delighted at the thought of hearing what she might say.  After a few anecdotes Jane revealed that she fell in love with Tarzan as a child and she thought he married the wrong Jane.  “He married the wimpy Jane,” she said.  “I would have been a better match for Tarzan.”  Everyone in the audience agreed.

Jane told us that she’d never forget that her career started because of a philanthropic donation.  If it weren’t for that first grant award she never would have been able to pursue her dream of living among wild animals.  She remarked that in 1960 she had no degree, no formal training, no organization backing her, no permission from the African government, and no money.  But she had the chutzpah to pursue her dream anyway.  She went off to Gombe, Africa—with her mother, because British policy did not allow a woman to move to the jungle alone—and began the adventure of a lifetime.  That first grant got her started and more grants kept her research going.  Now 50 years later, Jane continues sharing her knowledge of chimpanzees, as well as awareness of the urgent threat facing wild chimps.

Jane and Freud

Here’s what else I learned:

1. Jane’s passion and dedication for her cause comes through when she speaks, in her mailings to donors, the JGI website, and in her books.  Her mission and purpose is on everything!

2. The Jane Goodall Institute relies on more than grants these days; they use direct mail campaigns, social media campaigns, sales of products, sponsorships, and other methods.  The JGI diversifies it’s fundraising.  I concur diversification in raising donations and raising awareness is key to sustainability.

3. The one thing all these above vehicles have in common is Jane’s belief that we can make a difference.  And look at all she has accomplished in fifty years by making us believe we can make a difference, too. That’s what I think grantwriters should learn from Jane—we must show others how their grant will make a significant impact.  Make the reader believe that their support will change lives, or change the world. (That’s the Grant Whisperer’s mantra)!

4. A single grant launched Jane’s career and the important work she set out to do.  NEVER underestimate the power of a single grant.

5. I totally agree—Tarzan hooked up with the wrong Jane!

Is a Fundraising House Party Right For Your Organization?

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Fundraising house parties can be an exciting way to earn funds for your cause. How do you know if house parties are right for your organization? How do you organize one? The Grant Whisperer answers the age-old question ‘should you bring a llama to a house party’ and more over at BlogTalkRadio. The episode gives you tips to have a successful event that puts the fun back in fundraising!

A common question is how many staff should attend the fundraising house party. My recommendation is, as few as needed. The host counts as one, add a board member, and then the staff person making the presentation. Three is good for a small house party; add more as needed for a larger crowd.

The host and staff/board member coordinate the event to ensure the project or program is highlighted in the best possible way, all the elements of the event harmonizes with your organization, and that an ask is made.

Click on the arrow below to hear more useful tips in the 16-minute episode.

Listen to internet radio with GrantWhisperer on Blog Talk Radio

How To Create An Annual Development Plan

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Special Guest Beth Williams, CFRE, visited the Grant Whisperer to offer her expertise and advice for creating an Annual Development Plan for your organization. She discussed how a development plan helps your organization build the structure for all your fundraising programs: Grant Writing, Direct Mail, Special Events, Major Gifts, Planned Giving and Donor Recognition. Beth also gave her tips on how to prioritize your annual efforts and how to develop a budget to support those efforts. Beth’s knowledge will guide you to creating a plan that gains the support of your staff and board.  She makes it sound so easy!

Beth Williams, CFRE, has over 17 years of fundraising, special event planning and program development experience in the non-profit industry. Since 2002, she has been the director of development at Hospice of the Valley during which time the organization’s annual budget increased from 2 million dollars to $11.3 million in 2010. Prior to Hospice of the Valley she worked for Families First and the Law Foundation Silicon Valley where she was the director of development. Beth is a member of the Silicon Valley Planned Giving Council and Association of Fundraising Professionals where she is currently serving on the Board of Directors. Beth became a Certified Fundraising Executive in March of 2010. (Same date as the Grant Whisperer)!

To hear the 26-minute episode, click on the white arrow in the black circle below.

Listen to internet radio with GrantWhisperer on Blog Talk Radio

BONUS: Here is the link for a Sample Annual Fundraising Development Plan. Take a look. Send me any questions you may have and if I can’t answer them, we’ll take Beth up on her offer to answer a few questions for us. Keep in mind that each organization is different and your organization may not be implementing all of these fundraising programs mentioned in the episode recording or the sample.

Giving Circles—A Fundraising Opportunity

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

I recently attended a workshop on Giving Circles at a local AFP Chapter meeting. Four panelists from diverse communities talked about how their Giving Circle organizations are making an impact in their communities.

But first, let me describe what a giving circle is. A giving circle is a group of individuals who pool their funds together for a common cause. They can be very informal, such as a group of friends or colleagues; or they can be formal 401(c)3 organizations. You may have heard the term, ‘giving club’ which may be a really informal group of friends or relatives doing the same thing. Moderator Hoa Tran of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation called Giving Circles “strategic giving where the donors are more involved.”

Asian Women Giving Circle

Michelle Branch of the Full Circle Fund says, “It’s a member-driven grant process. Members of the Full Circle Fund giving circle determine who the grantees should be.” The members are highly involved with the organizations funded. They have three circles of interest: education, the environment, and global economic opportunity.

Dee Dee Nguyen of Lunar Circle calls giving circles “potluck philanthropy.” She says they reach out to folks who didn’t think they could be philanthropists. They concentrate their resources to the San Francisco Bay Area’s Asian American and Pacific Islander community.

Donna Delaney introduced the Lantern League a women’s giving circle that has distributed funds to various local non-profit groups who provide educational programs for women and girls.

Each of the giving circles varied in how they are structured, how much they give, how they select grantees, causes they support, and the type of involvement they want with the grantee organizations. To search for giving circle opportunities near you, do a Google search. Type in: giving circle + your city’s name

Royal Fundraising Advice from Sarah Duchess of York

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

In honor of the royal wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton, I thought I’d add a bit of royal flavor to this blog by sharing fundraising lessons I learned from a former princess.

I had the pleasure of hearing Sarah Duchess of York speak at the Association of Fundraising Professionals international conference in Seattle.  In case you didn’t know, the duchess has been involved with several charities in Britain and internationally.

Sarah Ferguson Foundation

The Duchess really had that charisma and regal quality about her. She started her talk off with humor telling us that she married the Queen’s handsomest son. 🙂  Sarah, Duchess of York, said to the audience, “you can make a difference if you have passion and understanding.”  She told us to speak from the heart for our cause. (How real is that? Doesn’t the Grant Whisperer frequently advise you the same?)  She urged the room of fundraisers to follow-up with donors and to be sincere.  You don’t have to be royalty to recognize sound advice when you hear it.

What I Learned Today About Fundraising

Friday, February 18th, 2011

I attended my local Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) meeting to hear Rebecca Tseng Smith talk about donor-centered fundraising. She offered many amazing tips from her many years of experience in fundraising for major universities. Rebecca currently works at Stanford University. The most interesting thing she pointed out were the top reasons people give to charitable organizations:

1.     To give back to society

2.     A strong belief in the cause

3.     To make a difference in the world or to change the world

4.     Their religious beliefs

5.     Tax considerations

6.     To continue their family’s tradition of giving

Rebecca Tseng Smith

The above motives are in the order of the most popular with giving back to society at 88%. Rebecca mentioned that the majority of these top motives have nothing to do with us. However it was our jobs as fundraisers of our organizations to tie our requests for support from individuals to these top motivators. In other words tie our requests to the donors interests. Now that’s something I’ve been saying in the arena of grant writing. Let’s continue this discussion in my next post.