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Six Ways to Really Scare Away Your Donors

This popular article is reprinted from October 2009. Enjoy!

Halloween is upon us…and there is no more appropriate topic that we could cover than how to effectively scare away donors.  In the, um, spirit of the season, let’s look at six ways to guarantee donors will want nothing to do with you!

Be undefinable. Keep ’em guessing, we say.  Why box yourself into a specific purpose when you can be fluid and flexible…you know, all things to all people.  You need the freedom to pounce on whatever new cause-de-jour comes along.  Let those other nonprofits label themselves.  Not you, though…you be a chameleon.  Keep changing it up.

Be ineffective. Boy, this one gets them every time.  If you want to make a really bad impression, just refuse to accomplish anything measurable.  Rely on grand platitudes and empty rhetoric.  Plan constantly, but never, ever get anything done.  That’s waaaay too much work.  Hey, I know…just pretend you are a congressman!  Talk the talk, then talk some more!  With a little practice, you’ll be a pro at kicking the can down the street.

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Obama Targets Charitable Giving Tax Deduction

In the seemingly never-ending budget battle on Capitol Hill, President Obama and his team are once again targeting the tax-deductibility of charitable donations.  Check out the following article, then let us know what you think... http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/domestic-taxes/152027-tax-break-for-charitable-giving-targeted-for-elimination

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Is Your Nonprofit Repelling Donors?

Every nonprofit in existence needs money.  Your ability to pay the bills depends upon it, not to speak of your ability to accomplish your mission.  But do you really understand what it takes to be attractive to donors?  Is your organization truly fundable?  Or, have you inadvertently created an atmosphere that repels givers?

In this week’s article, we are going to explore key elements of fundability by looking at three areas of concern:  mission, structure and behavior.

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Common Myths Concerning Nonprofits

Just yesterday, I was interviewing a new student intern candidate in my office.  During the course of our wide ranging discussion, the conversation turned to some of the interesting misconceptions we encounter with clients.  I made the comment that we often feel like the crew of the Discovery Channel show, Mythbusters.  There is a never-ending supply of well-entrenched myths and misconceptions in the nonprofit world…and dispelling them is part of our job!  In this article, let’s take a look at a few of the more common ones.

MYTH: Build it and the grants will come.

FACT: Uh, good luck with that.

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Get More Out of Your Fundraising Efforts

Let’s face it.  Times couldn’t be tougher for many nonprofits, especially when it comes to raising money.  And in the nonprofit world, things often run in inverse proportion:  The tougher the economy, the greater the need…and the scarcer the resources.  So what can you do to beat the odds and secure the necessary funding to run your programs?

Let’s try a little exercise.  Grab a piece of paper and write down 5 creative ideas for raising a significant amount of money for your organization.  Now, take a look at the list.  What do the 5 items have in common?  If you are like most people, your list is mostly populated by event ideas.  I bet that half of you wrote down a golf tournament!

First of all, there is absolutely nothing wrong with events.  Events, such as golf tournaments, can indeed be successful exercises that raise your organization’s profile, as well as some money.  But events are costly, both in terms of overhead and labor.  Large events can take months to plan, scores of volunteers to pull off…and may or may not end up netting much money.  Nothing like having 6 months of planning go down the drain when it rains on the big day!  If you want to see big improvements in your fundraising ability, you simply must learn to think differently.  Think relational instead of transactional.

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How Year-End Contribution Statements Can Raise Money

It’s one of those administrative tasks that must be done every year:  mailing your donors a year-end statement of their contributions.  Even if you are receipting on a per gift basis, a year-end itemized report is a best practice that should be adopted.  If you are already doing that, good for you!  But let me ask you this…

Is your year-end donation letter making money for you?

Have you noticed that some nonprofits are still doing fairly well in this economy, even thriving, while others have suffered dramatically?  What do they know that you don’t?  While there are many contributing factors that underlie success in fundraising, I submit that the most important element is effective communication.  One of the best places to communicate is in your receipting to donors.

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