We all have an incredible fundraising resource right in front of us—our board member, colleague, and loyal volunteer ambassadors. But most of us look right past them, much less make it appealing or easy for them to participate and succeed!

You still have time to launch your team of fundraising messengers to spur year-end giving. They’re already fans, so many of them will be eager and effective fundraisers. Here’s how to ask for participation, train and support your messengers, and thank them.

Your ambassadors’ reach, engagement, and donation impact is directly related to saying the right thing at the right time. The trick is.. it can’t be a script, repeated from everyone to everyone. That’s just not genuine or relevant.

Provide these three message tools to your ambassadors, and you’re golden. They’ll ensure your team’s comfort and confidence, which means they’re more likely to talk with more donors and prospects. These tools also increase the odds prospects hear the kind of consistent yet personal messages necessary to spur engagement and giving!

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Nancy Schwartz on December 6, 2016 in Fundraising: Innovations & Research | 0 comments
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2017 Nonprofit Communications TrendsKivi Leroux Miller’s annual Nonprofit Communications Trends Report is one of my “go to” resources for boosting client communications impact. The report provides concrete benchmarks for your marketing, fresh ideas to experiment with, and the proof points you need to lobby for the resources and support you need to do communications right.

Please take 10 minutes right now to respond to the 2017 Nonprofit Communications Trends Survey. Deadline is tomorrow, December 2! Every survey taker will receive a free copy of the report in January and be invited to a preview webinar before the results are released.

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Nancy Schwartz on December 1, 2016 in Planning and Evaluation | 0 comments
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#GivingTuesdayIt’s #GivingTuesday 2016, the best day to do vital prep work for #GivingTuesday 2017.

Whether your organization is a passionate participant or still weighing joining the movement, you have lots to learn from watching colleague and competitive organizations execute their #GivingTuesday campaigns. Even if you decide to stay on the sidelines—maintaining focus on year-end—you’ll know what your prospects are seeing post-Thanksgiving each year so that you can shape your campaign accordingly.

Take these three steps now, concentrating on other organizations that your donors support and those in your cause or programmatic arena:

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Nancy Schwartz on November 29, 2016 in Fundraising: Innovations & Research | 0 comments
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Relevant MessagesThis morning’s election news dug into the divide that’s fracturing the U.S. Hearing the stats on how deep and broad these divisions are—rural vs. urban, men vs. women, those with post-secondary education vs. those without—wasn’t surprising. But it was distressing, especially as I contemplate where we go from here.

So many organizations have ignored the chaos we’ve lived in during this extended election ramp up. In sharp contrast, StoryCorps has communicated with non-partisan honesty and heart:

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Nancy Schwartz on November 8, 2016 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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Online-Engagement-Tool-GuideGuest blogger Maureen Wallbeoff, Vice President at Firefly Partners, brings a people-focused, collaborative influence to the Firefly team and clients. 

If the title of this blog post resonates with you, you have lots of company. 
In fact, most nonprofit organizations have a degree of dissatisfaction with their online engagement tools – primarily because there is no perfect platform. Nothing like the pressure of year-end to highlight those lacks.

Fundraising, advocacy, email marketing, events, eCommerce, and CRM are all standard components of most nonprofits’ online engagement software. They’re all critical to the smooth functioning and ultimate impact of every nonprofit using websites, online tools, and technology to communicate, advocate, and raise money to further their missions. You just want to provide a great experience for your supporters and an easy-to-manage tool for your colleagues (mostly accidental techies), right?

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Guest Blogger on October 27, 2016 in Tools | 2 comments
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all-org team of messengers

We’re in count down to year-end fundraising season, with its relentless pressure and never-ending to-dos. Are you banging your head against the wall yet?

Joking aside, it may seem like your team’s hard work and limited resources won’t be enough. Yet you know how much you could bring in, if only…

Good news! There is a way to move past this seemingly insurmountable barrier—Launch a team of messengers to be your nonprofit’s ambassadors for year end (and beyond). Enlist your colleagues, board members, and passionate supporters to boost your nonprofit’s reach and results for little or no cost. The best part? They’re already motivated to help you reach your goals.

Start with these three steps to identify, inspire, and support ambassadors for your year-end campaign:

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Nancy Schwartz on October 26, 2016 in All-Org Marketing Team | 1 comment
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All-Org Team of MessengersWatch the webinar at your convenience

Join me to learn how to turn your board, staff, and loyal volunteers into a team of passionate and engaging messengers. They’ll develop confidence and skills while you’ll get more of the donations and donor loyalty you seek—without additional budget or hires. Bonus: They’ll connect your organization with their personal networks—many of whom you’d never reach otherwise.

Nancy Schwartz on October 4, 2016 in Fundraising: Innovations & Research | 0 comments
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Small Organization FundraisingGuest blogger Heather Yandow brings more than a decade of experience as an outreach coordinator, coalition leader, project manager, and fundraiser to Third Space Studio’s clients.

The latest Individual Donor Benchmark Report is now available with groundbreaking findings to support small nonprofits with their fundraising efforts. The survey compiles annual fundraising data from organizations with budgets under $2 million to highlight trends nonprofits can use to spark their own success.

This year’s findings taps two clear paths to successful fundraising:

  1. Working from a plan strengthens individual donor fundraising for small and medium-sized organizations.
  2. Organizations retain just 60% of their donors from year to year, so finding new donors is a critical element of fundraising on an ongoing basis.

The Key to Success
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Guest Blogger on September 29, 2016 in Fundraising: Innovations & Research | 1 comment
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Civil Nonprofit Communications

Every election season is a barrier to connection, with people overwhelmed by 24/7 messages from multiple campaigns via multiple channels. But connecting this fall, with a presidential campaign as contentious and bizarre as the Clinton-Trump contest, is tougher than ever. That’s a real concern as we plunge into Giving Tuesday and Year-End.

Tonight’s debate will, once again, highlight our dukes up, all-rules-broken political arena. Pile on the chaos we face on so many fronts—from Hurricane Matthew recovery to racial profiling, and the refugee crisis—and it’s almost impossible to get attention, much less motivate action. We can’t fight it, nor can we sit it out.

Here’s how to get (and stay) close to your people right now:

1) Show your people you get them. The shifting of norms—who is presidential material and how the campaign is run, caring for refugees fleeing nations that brutalize them, public safety for all—is unnerving. People are feeling vulnerable, and the candidates’ fear mongering fuels our anxiety and sense of powerlessness.

Acknowledge that this is a tough time for all of us, and that you respect and care about your people and their families.

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Nancy Schwartz on September 27, 2016 in Strategy | 1 comment
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All-Org Team

So many of you have reached out to me recently in total panic, asking for guidance because you’re stressed to the max by pressures of launches, giving day, and year end. Then there’s the biggest one—the pressure of unrealistic expectations (especially your own). I know because I live it too.

Methods for addressing those pressures are you- and organization-specific, but some game-changing strategies work across the board. One tried and tested method stands out as the most universal, powerful, and long-term way to get happier, healthier, and more productive at work (sorry if I sound like clickbait, but it’s true):

Team with colleagues and peers in the field to share your needs, provide and ask for help, vent and listen, or to get or give a fresh take. There’s nothing like it—we are so much stronger together. The outcome is stronger too—personally, for your output, and for the ultimate results.

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Nancy Schwartz on September 14, 2016 in All-Org Marketing Team | 0 comments
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