Websites to increase your nonprofit’s productivity

Explore new websites to increase your nonprofit organization’s productivity.  Websites that help you work more efficiently and effectively so you can focus on furthering your nonprofit organization’s mission. And, because you work with a nonprofit’s technology budget – you can use all of these for free.

Check out five of my favorite websites, and explore ways you can use them with your organization.

  1.  Good news – you do not need to be a statistics guru to make sense of your nonprofit’s data!  This suite of services help you make sense of csv files, compares the text of various files, analyze the connectedness of your data and analyzes the most common words and phrases in your files.  Just upload your files and the rest is done for you – it is a great resources for analyzing program evaluations or survey data.
  2. Canva Don’t have a graphic design department?  No personal graphic design skills? No problem!  With Canva you can create amazing, professional and fun designs for your organization.  Create infographics, posters, notecards, and social media posts – no graphic design experience necessary.  The social media post templates are already perfectly sized for each social media network and there are sample poster templates where you can just add your event information in.  Check it out and start creating impressive and professional communications materials.
  3. Doodle So many meetings – board meetings, committee meetings, meetings to plan meetings… find the right date and time for each of your meetings with Doodle.  With Doodle you can provide potential meeting date/time options and invite each of the attendees to note their availability.  Saves time in scheduling all of your nonprofit’s meetings.
  4. Direct Poll: At your meetings, provide an easy way to gauge the temperature in the room on various topics.  Set up an electronic poll so meeting attendees can vote with their cell phone and share their perspective.  Then, the poll results show up instantaneously. This provides a way for everyone’s voice to be heard (not only the loudest) and you can use the results of the poll to guide the ongoing discussion.  Set up the poll in advance, and then share the QR code and voting link when you want folks to vote.  And yes, the meeting attendees can scan the QR code when it is projected onto a screen, making it easy for them to vote from their phone.
  5. Google Alerts: Stay up to date on content that is interesting to you and your nonprofit!  Set up Google Alerts to be notified when items of interest to you pop up on the internet.  You can set up alerts to be notified about your nonprofit organization, top donors, key partners and lead volunteers.  A great way to stay up to date on what is important to your organization.  Tip: Use “quote marks” around each phrase you set up an alert on.

Technology, and especially free technology, is a great resource to increase the productivity of your nonprofit.


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8 Habits of Successful Fundraisers

8ballWhat is it that successful fundraisers do, that helps them raise more money for the mission? Check out these eight habits of successful fundraisers and find ways to incorporate them into your routine.

  1. Thank donors daily: Don’t let a day pass you by in which you do not thank a donor. Long term success with fundraising results from growing a base of committed donors.  Providing a prompt and meaningful thank you to each and every donor will strengthen donors’ commitments to the mission.  So pick up the phone, write a note, or visit, just be intentional about building a habit of thanking donors daily.
  2. Stay connected to the mission: Fundraising is hard work. It is important to remember why you are working so hard to raise money. So stay connected to the mission – the reason you started raising money for the cause. Visit a program site, talk with program beneficiaries, volunteer for a mission –focused activity. However you do it, find a way to stay connected to the mission.
  3. Know the top donors: Every organization has top donors, and every successful fundraiser knows his or her organization’s top donors. Identify the donors who are the most loyal and have made the largest gifts to your organization. Get to know them, and continue to strengthen their relationship with the organization.
  4. Ask for donor input: Remember that no matter how fabulous you are, you do not know everything. It is important to ask for input from donors. Whether you are looking for guidance on fundraising strategies, strategic decisions or challenging situations, remember to ask your donors for their input.
  5. Create a plan and work the plan: A fundraising goal, without a fundraising plan, is just a wish.  Successful fundraisers establish a plan and then implement the strategies in the plan. Establish a fundraising plan to help you stay on track, and outline the path for successful fundraising.
  6. Listen to donors: When meeting with a donor, the most successful fundraisers talk less and listen more. They listen to understand the donor’s passions and interests. This enables you to personalize the cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of the donor.
  7. Give generously: Successful fundraisers are advocates for philanthropy. By giving generously, successful fundraisers are able to participate in the philanthropic process as a donor. Celebrate the joy of giving and feel the excitement of a donor by personally making a charitable contribution to a cause important to you.
  8. Enter notes in database: Even with busy schedules and urgent needs, successful fundraisers always make time to enter information into the donor database. A donor database is only as good as the information put into it. Recognizing the need to enter information about donors’ interests and engagement with the organization helps successful fundraisers personalize and tailor communications with donors. Make the time to get the information out of your head and into the donor database.

Habits develop over time. Although it may be impractical to establish all of these habits overnight, strive to put these habits in place so that you raise more money for the mission.


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5 Surprising fundraising mistakes

You are diligent and focused on fundraising, yet you could be sabotaging your development program.  Review these fundraising mistakes and execute these tweaks to achieve success in your fundraising program.

1. Communicating to donors how your organization is fabulous
Communicating with donors is not about how great your organization is at carrying out the mission. It is about how great your donors are and how they are the ones who make fulfilling the mission possible. The donors are the heroes, not your organization.

2. Requiring all board members to ask for gifts
Yes, board members should be engaged in the fundraising process. However, not all board members are equipped to ask for gifts. There are many other ways board members can contribute to the fundraising process such as identifying prospects, cultivating potential donors and thanking those who have already donated. By providing opportunities for board members to engage in all stages of the fundraising cycle, you can make best use of the gifts and talents of board members and maximize fundraising success. Learn more ways to engage the board in fundraising.

3. Measuring fundraising success merely by dollars raised
The total dollars raised is a measurement of fundraising success, but it should not be the only measurement. It is important to track donors, not merely dollars. Monitoring donor retention rates shifts the discussion to long-term fundraising success and maximizing lifetime value of gifts from donors.

4. Always talking to donors
Yes, it is a marvelous idea to connect with donors. However, it is important when you do connect with donors to listen to donors. Do not overwhelm donors by talking the entire time you are meeting with them. Remember to focus on listening, which will provide insights for future solicitations. Learn more about listening to donors.

5. Believing planned giving is too complicated for your organization
Planned giving is a method of donors supporting nonprofit organizations to make larger gifts than they could make from their income. Traditionally, planned giving involves a variety of trusts, bequests, and life estates, and is derived from the donor’s assets. Yes, there are some planned giving vehicles that are complex, yet there are some, such as bequests, that can be as easy as accepting cash donations.

These fundraising mistakes are all too easy to make. The key is to identify the mistakes and use the available resources to address the issues. Then, you can move forward to achieve fundraising success.

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