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18 posts from April 2013

Weekend Link Roundup (April 6-7, 2013)

April 07, 2013

April-showers-umbrellaOur weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....


On NCRP's Keeping a Close Eye blog, Rosenberg Foundation president Tim Silard discusses the foundation's recent decision to increase its payout this year to 6.1 percent to help advance immigration reform. "Our hope," writes Silard, "is that this major step by a mid-sized foundation can go a long way toward encouraging more of us in philanthropy to stretch our funding even further...to respond to this unique window of opportunity."


In a post on the Council on Foundation's Re: Philanthropy blog, Rita Soronen, president and CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, reminds us why storytelling matters. Indeed, it is "at the heart of all emotions," writes Soronen. "And nonprofits simply must use communications -- storytelling -- as a very important tactic to steward current donors and secure new funders."


Jeff Brooks, author of the Fundraiser's Guide to Irresistible Communications, explains that fundraising is "a two-way conversation" and if you don't know that, you're missing an opportunity to engage your donors in a real way.

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Blinded By the 'Sophisticated Donor'?

April 03, 2013

(Derrick Feldmann is CEO of Achieve, an Indianapolis-based creative fundraising agency. In his last post, he wrote about the importance of "usability" to the online fundraising experience.)

Feldmann-headshotWhen I started in fundraising, I had almost no experience asking for money. To compensate, I read lots of articles and books about the different approaches and techniques used by successful fundraisers. As I immersed myself in their ways, I started to pay particular attention to an approach that emphasized the importance of communicating to donors the impact their gifts were helping to create.

Many years later, as the head of national fundraising for a K-12 education program, I spent a good deal of my time seeking support from some of the biggest foundations and corporations in the country. My "ask" in these situations invariably included what I thought was a powerful and persuasive presentation that demonstrated to grantmakers how a grant would transform the lives of a certain number of students and ultimately improve a community. Every time I gave my presentation, I would see heads nodding and would sigh with relief, knowing that those present "got it." Of course, not every presentation resulted in financial support, but even when they didn't, I usually made new friends who understood and liked what we were doing and were willing to help us build our network of supporters.

I used this method, with its focus on impact, in every fundraising solicitation I made. And I taught my staff to do the same.

One day, a member of the board who planned to ask a friend to donate to our organization before the end of the year called me to review our solicitation script. But as I walked him through it, I could tell something was wrong. He didn't say anything after I finished, but he clearly was uncomfortable. A week or so later, he called me to report on the meeting and let slip that he hadn't said any of the things to his friend I'd told him to say. When I asked why, he said, "I've known my friend a long time. And I know the only thing that really matters to him is my trust in this organization and the people who run it. I could've talked about all that impact stuff, but it wouldn't have made a difference. So I just told him why I support you and asked him to consider making a gift."

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Most Popular PhilanTopic Posts (March 2013)

April 01, 2013

It's the first day of April, which means it's time to look back at the most popular posts on PhilanTopic in March:

What have you read/watched/listened to lately that you liked and would recommend? Use the comments section to share with our readers....

Quote of the Week

  • "[L]et me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance...."

    — Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States

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Guest Contributors

  • Laura Cronin
  • Derrick Feldmann
  • Thaler Pekar
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  • Allison Shirk

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