Monthly Archives: March 2012

Speak the truth in fundraising

Today’s post is a guest post written by Sandy Rees. Sandy Rees CFRE, founder of GetFullyFunded, helps nonprofit leaders raise the money of their dreams and build successful Boards. She’s a Coach and Consultant and provides clients with the “how to” of fundraising as well as help with personal/professional development. You can learn more about her and the GetFullyFunded system at

Speaking the truth in fundraising is critically important.  As an AFP member, I subscribe to a code of ethics that’s based on truth and professionalism. Yet, I find many professional fundraisers aren’t totally speaking the truth in fundraising.  Let me explain.

Speaking the truth is not just about telling factual information about your organization.  It’s also about your personal willingness to accept what’s true about your fundraising environment. It may require you to shift your thinking a bit and let go of some beliefs that aren’t serving you.

The truth is that your organization was started to do something worthwhile and make a difference in this world.

Whether you’re feeding the hungry, protecting clean water, or preserving history, you’re really about changing lives.  That’s the first piece of truth you must believe in.

Next, you MUST accept that if your organization is doing something worthwhile, it’s worthy of receiving donations.  Lots of donations.

BIG donations.

I’m astounded at the number of people who view their organization as “just a little nonprofit” and don’t see it as equal to other nonprofits.  They say things like “Our mission isn’t sexy like _______.”  “We don’t have major donors like _______ does.”  “We can’t get the media’s attention like _______ does.”  Do you see the stinkin’ thinkin’ here?  When you think like this, you are actually setting the course for the future.  You’re dooming your nonprofit to remain small.

Here’s the truth:  your nonprofit is just as worthy as any other nonprofit out there.  So start acting like it.

“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.”  Buddha

flickr photo by lan Sane

Finally, you must believe that no matter what you hear on the news about the economy, there are people out there who want to support your cause and are willing to make a gift.  (If you need to, read that sentence again and again.)  It’s true.  I heard from a client just the other day, that they reached their campaign goal already this year (and they have nine months to go!).  You are no different.  You can do this too.

The success in fundraising happens when you use best practice fundraising techniques with a positive outlook, and you expect good things to happen. Once you learn how to recognize and speak the truth, I bet you’ll find it incredibly freeing, and you’ll find fundraising to be easier and more fruitful.

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Great fundraising begins with great leadership

post by Molly Hahn.

Do you feel like your organization has been in a stalemate in the last few years?


flickr photo by frankblacknoir

If you do and you want to point to something besides the economic downturn, you might examine how board members are chosen and what expectations you have of them. While this may seem like a no-brainer, finding the right mix of personality and strengths on your board is a fine art.

For instance, while you may seek high-profile public figures or people with wealth, questioning their belief in the cause is truly an essential step in the nomination process. Some questions that you might ask board candidates:

  • Are you willing to invest both financial contributions and time in this board?  Be specific.
  • What is your interest in the cause?
  • What other nonprofits have you been involved in, and to what extent?
  • What expectations do you have of staff?
  • Are you willing to ask your peers for donations?
  • Are you a big thinker or a detail person?

Once a new member joins your board, then what do you do to bring them up to speed on the various programs and initiatives? Do you as the staff member ask for input enough to make their presence valuable? Do your board members have specific tasks, which are meaningful and also limited enough to seem manageable?

Finally, have you as a development professional experienced the board perspective yourself? Just last year, I was elected chair of my church’s parish council. I find there is a fine line between relying on the staff to manage the day to day and having them do so much that the council feels unused. We have had an ongoing discussion about leadership from the various committees and on our council, and yet I wonder if some people know the staff will step in and do not take their presence at meetings seriously.

In all, bringing out the best talents of your leadership is a road that is not always easy to navigate. But plugging through it mile by mile makes the journey worth it in the end!

What obstacles have you come across when gearing you leadership to act more like fundraisers?
What are some things you have done that WORKED?
Share below or join the conversation on social media through our Facebook page or Twitter account!

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3 initiatives to attract millennials to your cause!

post by Willie Matis

In July 2011, there was a great article written on Written by Christina Attard (@gptekkie), the article entitled “Good news about Millennials and Fundraising” dove into great statistics and tendencies about millennial, specifically millennial donors.

Christina touched on the very important aspects of millennials to remember…

  • Millennials aren’t in the best position financially to be giving money away.
  • Millennials expect to be treated exactly like donors of past generations only through different media and outlets
  • 55% of millennials are giving already; what about recognizing the top tier of millennial donors
This banana doesn't exist anymore!

Calculating a budget is hard! (flickr photo by JorgeBRAZIL)


As a millennial, personally there is not a lot of cash to be given to ALL of the organizations that do a FANTASTIC job of serving the causes that I am passionate about.  However, there is plenty of time to serve your nonprofit.


As a fundraiser, I want to make sure that potential millennial donors have a chance to connect with my organization, remember what we do, and make a positive impact.  Making that initial connection with millennials is critical.

Here are 3 initiatives to make it easy for the technology-using, passions-flaring, and world-saving millennials to make an initial connection with your non-profit’s cause that will last forever:

  • Action alerts – whether this be asking to donate a tweet, use house party profits for your organization, or send an email to a legislator, giving millennials goals to achieve is the first step. And make sure these goals ask them to use tools that they are already using!
  • Leadership programs – create  an opportunity that encourages the millennial working for your organization (or the millennial that has been volunteering since high school) to lead a program that includes others from their friend and professional network to create awareness for your cause.
  • Volunteer/internship opportunities –  especially for college-aged millennials, the first volunteer or internship that they participate in could be the organization that they will support the most.  Knowing that you made an impact within a summer internship creates a link to that organization that is hard to break.

These initiatives are just the beginning, may not result in a lot of initial donation, but can create a group of loyal followers who WANT to make a difference.

– what opportunities with non-profits have caused you to maintain your connection with their cause?
Fundraisers – how have you created opportunities to let young professionals make an impact on the community under your organization’s mission?

Comment below! Tweet us – @afpindiana .. or Facebook us.

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AFP Brown Bag Reaction – Social Media Fundraising

post by Willie Matis

Yesterday’s AFP Brown Bag Series featured Nathan Hand, VP of Development at Indianapolis based School on Wheels.  The workshop titled – Social Media Fundraising – really was a workshop!  Nathan didn’t just stand in front of the crowd and talk about how social media can be used to fundraise for your organization, he made every attendee think about how to formulate their own social media fundraising campaign.

AFP Brown Bag Workshop

He really did. A whole 15 minutes was spent on working on your individual campaign.


A great workshop done by a local member who has had A TON of experience in Social Media Fundraising left the crowd with 5 action steps  when starting a campaign online:

  1. Based On Asset or Need? Combination?
    Are you trying to create a social media fundraiser based on your following or because you have an organizational need?  Maybe both are present, but knowing what you want to get out of it is first and foremost.

  2. Use who to get what and why?  Who – People. What – Tools. Why – Hook/reward.
    Are you going to contact the 5 people with the most Klout out of all of your followers?  Are you going to ask your board members who are influential on Social media already?  And then what are you going to give them as tools – just a link? a picture? a story?  Lastly, why are you having them do this? Is is just helping out your organization? Or is their a prize for the person who sends the most tweets/posts/retweets)

  3. Language/message (Exact Tweet; Exact DM; Exact FB post; Exact email; etc.)
    VERY VERY IMPORTANT. Send them exactly what you want them to say.  Otherwise, you will end up with 32 different messages and instead of engaging a lot of people, you will now just confuse a lot of people.

  4. Targets/Asks – 50 DMS – tweet v DM 5 friends; 50 FB messages (post v comment v like; 50 personal emails (bd, committees, top donors)
    Another building block on top of point number 2.  Make sure you target people who will then influence the audience your organization needs to influence.  Make your ask specific (weird how much a social media campaign sounds like a good ol’ fashioned fundraising campaign, right?)

  5. Follow-up – celebrate either way NO MATTER WHAT
    Even if you lose, come up short or your website crashes and have to rebuild a new one.  CELEBRATE! It sounds crazy, but do it.  You may not have been successful at a fundraising level, but you upped engagement, touched an untapped audience and furthered that bond between some of your followers and your organization.

Nathan explaining the effect of the social network.

An excellent AFP Brown Bag to hold on the same exact day as the launch of AFP-Indiana’s blog!

If you want to learn more from Nathan (follow his blog) or if you would like to see what School on Wheels has done (go to their site).  You can subscribe to this blog by clicking here to put it in your reader of choice or by putting your email address in the box in the sidebar on your right!  Hope to see you all at the next AFP Brown Bag – “FREE FOR ALL” – on April 4th at Keep Indianapolis Beautiful.

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AFP – Indiana Chapter has a blog! And here’s how we are using it

 AFP International was founded in 1960.

The Indiana Chapter was founded in 1982.

And Facebook…………….. 2004.

Through AFP Indiana‘s 30 year history, the association has kept its mission of fostering the growth of development of philanthropy, the fund-raising profession, the Chapter, and its individual members.  We have done this by holding meetings, workshops, discussions, Indiana Fundraising Days, and more, and the best way to continue to foster growth of the profession, the Chapter, and its individual members is by growing in the same way as the profession and its members.

Fundraising and social media are becoming more and more intertwined with every new blog post about how to engage donors with all of Facebook‘s changes, with every picture that is pinned to someone’s Pinterest board, and with every Retweet, +1, Stumble, Share and so on.

social surf

flickr photo by spillarke

Through this blog, our Facebook page, our Twitter page and more, the AFP Indiana Chapter will be fostering growth of the fund-raising profession, your individual skill set as fund-raisers and the Chapter as a whole.  Join us in any way you would like – subscribe to this blog, LIKE our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter – that is the nature of social media right? Meet your audience where they are!

Posts about direct mail pieces, annual fund programs, capital campaigns, chapter events and fundraising in general will be found here.  Want to guest post? Click here. Most posts will be from External Communications committee member, Willie Matis, but other posts will come from board members and other committee members as well.


We are lucky enough to begin our blog and revamped social media efforts on the same day as Nathan Hand‘s Brown Bag Series presentation titled – SOCIAL MEDIA FUNDRAISING.  Hope to see you there, but if not, check out our LIVESTREAMED EVENTS page.  Nathan’s presentation will be streaming live with ways to chat and interact with others who are tuning in.



Filed under Fundraising in General