Social Media

Yup, that’s me!

Posted by on Jul 28, 2012 | 0 comments

Katya made a point in a recent blog post about “the one thing every home page needs”.

I have repeated over and over again the very same advice, in fact, I have implemented it with several organizations I work with. And yet, my home page is missing the one thing every home page needs.

Katya reminded me of the importance of the human connection when someone lands on your home page. I’ve always phrased it as having “eyes” on your home page, someone looking straight back at the viewer. Because when people surf the internet and land on your page, you have 3 seconds to catch their attention. As I’ve said before, the eyes have it.

A viewer’s gaze will automatically connect with the eyes on the face you have chosen to share. Visit your home page, take a look…is there anyone there? If so, do they make you feel welcome? Engaged? Hypnotized? (just kidding)

When you gaze into those eyes,  do they say “Come in and set a spell” or “I need your help”? If not, they should.

And yet, as of this moment as I am typing,  there are no “eyes” on my home page. No one to welcome you to the site and invite you stay awhile.

Therefore, today begins a new strategy. My image will now be used on the blog posts until I can redesign my home page (time is the challenge here, so bear with me please; it will get done!).

So take a look, let me know what you think. And yup, that’s me.

Come on in and set a spell!

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Unlucky is as Unlucky Does…Not

Posted by on Apr 13, 2012 | 0 comments

It’s Friday the 13th – a rumored day of double unluckiness.  Double unlucky because a) the number 13 carries bad luck with it, and b) Friday is the unluckiest day of the week (or so it is said).

Fundraisers can’t afford to be unlucky, let alone double unlucky! We need every bit of luck we can get, but even with a big glob of luck factored in, successful fundraising is based on research, preparation and follow through, not luck (although a little luck never hurts!).

The “lucky”  or successful fundraiser is typically a tenacious, friendly, hardworking person.

The less successful fundraiser may be considered unlucky, but it’s more likely there is an absence of process, communication, and follow through.

A critical component of successful fundraising is regular, ongoing efforts to identify, cultivate and maintain donor relationships. The ability to do this has nothing to do with luck, but has everything to do with effort.

Below are four tips that will add order to your daily effort:

  • Organize your existing data
    • If you have lists in multiple formats and files, it’s likely that you are spending too much time searching for information that could be much more easily accessed if it was organized in one place. One of my clients has recently completed intensive research on database management systems and selected DonorSnap. There are many good systems available, find one and use it!
  • Create a to-do list
    • Fundraising incorporates many small tasks; working from a list will facilitate your memory as well as your efficiency. I use Google Tasks (synched with GeeTasksPro on my iPhone), but there are many options for you to choose from.
  • Prioritize….everything
    • Begin with your desk
      • Arrange items according to their frequency of use,
    • Continue to your computer and smart phone
      • Clean off your desktops
      • Organize your folders and files
      • Update critical funding dates to your calendar (grants, events, follow up calls, donor meetings, regular outreach, updates to clients, board, management)
      • Incorporate prioritization levels in your to-do list (if your calendar doesn’t have a prioritization function, you can simply add a number in front of each task to show priority: “2 Draft May12 DM to Housefile”, “4″ Catch up on Filing)
      • Synch programs such as Google Docs, etc. from computer to phone for ease of access when not at your desk
    • Last but NOT least, spend 1/2 day (at least) working on your database
      • Clean up your data
      • Prioritize your outreach, donor by donor
      • Synch your database calendar with your (Google, Outlook, etc) calendar

Once you’ve taken the time to organize and prioritize, your luck (success) just might improve!

It’s much easier to be in the right place at the right time with the right message when your data and efforts are organized!

Maybe the phrase should actually be, unlucky is as unlucky doesn’t.

Here’s wishing you a double dose of GOOD luck! Double luck because a) you’re getting organized, and b) you’re prioritizing!

Lucky is as lucky does!

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Are You Making It Easy for Donors to Give Online?

Posted by on Mar 26, 2012 | 0 comments

No matter how much time and money we dedicate to building and redesigning our nonprofit websites, the donation page is often the last area of focus, which is (in my book at least) a huge mistake.

If our content is commanding, great, but if there is confusion and chaos on the donation page it won’t matter.

This post about 11 Donate Now Best Practices highlights successful approaches to online giving and provides a foundation for your online fundraising campaign. Note a few seemingly obvious points: Keep it Simple, Place the DONATE button in a prominent position, Don’t use too many graphics…well, you can read it yourself.

So take a look, then take a look at your donation page. It may be time to make some changes!

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Overthinking Can Be Dangerous

Posted by on Feb 2, 2012 | 0 comments

Today has been a flurry of non-activity.

Well, not at my desk, at least not today…but have you ever looked at the clock and realized that you had accomplished nothing but had spent hours mulling things over? I imagine we can all remember a day (or a month) when we managed to while away our productive time being unproductive.

Mulling is good in moderation. Overthinking is dangerous, at any level.

What about…

  • the nonprofit organization that feels disconnected from their donors and wants to reach out, but spends a year putting together a plan before sending even one email?
  • the well-meaning development officer who wants the thank you note to be perfect, but in the creation of this perfection allows weeks and months to go by before a simple thank you is sent to the donor?
  • the fundraising department that can’t reach consensus on a new database and stops updating donor information on the old database until a decision is made?
  • the weekly column that’s due on Friday, but on Wednesday still isn’t drafted?

How can these overthinking efforts be corrected?

Fundraising is an “in the moment” industry. Yes, it’s also a long term effort. Yes, we are working on sustainable, long-term relationships. But the reality is, if you miss the moment, it’s gone. Another moment may provide the opportunity for another timely ask or a personal thank you, but the initial opportunity is still lost. You missed it.

So, let’s work on planning, but not overthinking our efforts. How can we do avoid analysis paralysis (a favorite term of a former boss)? Here are a few tips to get you thinking (not too much) about how to rethink (not too much) your thinking processes:

  1. Track your thoughts – use a ledger and keep track of the time you spend contemplating or reworking or rewriting a project. Take a real look at the time spent preparing and add a value to it (X hours x hourly rate). Does this pencil out, is the value of time to project realistic?
  2. Analyze your purpose – stop for a minute, change your focus and try to determine why you are giving something so much thought. Is it because of self-doubt, a colleague’s criticism, a former negative reaction, a hoped for promotion? Discern your own motivation and critique it’s merit.
  3. Take a break – sometimes we overthink because we’re unable to begin doing. Take a break and you should return refreshed and ready to begin working, rather than thinking.
  4. Redirect – change your focus. Think about something else. Force your mind to stop thinking about one issue and ponder something else (but don’t overthink it!).
  5. Set parameters – for instance, set a time limit on your “thinking/planning” process. Once the time is up, go to work on the project. If it’s doesn’t come together after a predetermined amount of time and effort, do a second “thinking/planning” session, followed by a work session, and repeat. Until you are successful.
  6. Give yourself some slack – you are not perfect. Ask a colleague for their input, recognize that first drafts are exactly what they appear to be – first drafts. Overthinking your first effort reduces the time you will have to edit and rewrite on a second go-through.
  7. Envision the bigger picture – be realistic about the import of this project. Don’t give it more attention, thought, time or effort than it should receive. Balance your time carefully to best manage everything and reduce overthinking to a minimum.

Don’t give this blog post too much thought. Just read it, embrace it, and run with it: send out that thank you note today, work from a simple spreadsheet today, outline the content for your weekly column today, call a donor today….

Make tomorrow a flurry of activity! Don’t overthink, just think and do!

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8 Lessons Shared (to Our Benefit)

Posted by on Jan 12, 2012 | 0 comments

Brent Beshore, the CEO of AdVentures, created his company in 2007 ( now ranked #28 on the 2011 Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies in the U.S.)  ”to create, enable, or acquire companies that offer transformative communications solutions.”

In this blog post, Beshore recounts 8 lessons learned over the past 6 years.

My take-away? The backbones of start-up success: simplicity, planning, humility, courtesy, focus, perseverance, and profit.

We can learn from his experience.

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