Project Management

How Oxfam used new power in the 1960s to help a group of teenagers raise £5 million.

A short while ago I met up with Giles Pegram to record his
reflections and thoughts about why people give? (which you can hear
here). As part of this discussion, Giles told me how he got into
fundraising. His story repeatedly brought to mind the concept of
New Power which seems to be attracting growing…

read more

The post
How Oxfam used new power in the 1960s to help a group of teenagers
raise £5 million.
appeared first on


Project Management

Me trying to get to the bottom of my inbox during EOQ


Project Management


Project Management

Post by RebelNPO This week’s theme is UNHELPFUL BOARDS: Get in on the fun by sharing your…

Post by RebelNPO This week’s theme is UNHELPFUL BOARDS: Get in on
the fun by sharing your…

Project Management

Transitioning from Raiser’s Edge to Salesforce

Transitioning from Raiser’s Edge to Salesforce

Project Management

5 questions never to ask in your fundraising

Asking someone as question is a time-honored way to strike up a
conversation. What about those Seahawks? or Cold enough
for you? People ask questions like these because they can work
to start a conversation.

I think that's why so many fundraising messages start with a

They shouldn't. Not usually. Here are some question types that
almost never work:

  1. Simple yes or no. Have you ever driven a
    motorcycle? If the answer is yes, you might have a
    connection. But if it's no, you're off on the wrong
  2. Boring yes questions. Have you ever eaten in a
    restaurant? A yes to an obvious questions isn't worth
    much if it's a boring answer. Your question needs to evoke passion
    in some way.
  3. Well, duh questions. Are you against small children
    dying of painful, preventable diseases? This type of question
    gets you an easy yes, but probably not much passion. You can
    sometimes turn this type into a good question if you add an
    unexpected twist.
  4. Head scratcher questions. Have you ever wondered if
    our capacity-building initiatives are sustainable? Make sure
    you're speaking your readers' language and framing the issue in
    ways they care about.
  5. "Can you imagine" questions. Can you imagine carrying
    your adult child 12 miles just to get basic care for a serious
    injury? The answer to most can-you-imagine questions is
    no. And when it's yes, it's often a boring yes. Avoid

A question that invites an enthusiastic, passionate yes
can be a great way to start a message. But it's hard to formulate

If you're not sure, don't start a fundraising message with a

Project Management

5 Habits of Successful Nonprofit Social Media Managers in 2020

In the world of nonprofit social media, the landscape is
changing so rapidly, and it’s becoming harder and harder to build
community in our hyper-connected world.

Three billion people
, around 40% of the world’s
population, use social media – spending an average of

two hours every day
sharing, liking, tweeting and
updating on these platforms.

That breaks down to around
half a million tweets and Snapchat photos shared every

Not only is social media use showing no signs of slowing down,
yesterday’s tried-and-true growth drivers are becoming
increasingly obsolete, demographic shifts are resetting donor
expectations, and the promise of technology to reach new supporters
has never been more real.

There is a lot on the plate of the modern nonprofit social media

It’s getting harder to manage the chaos, avoid burnout, and do
your work more effectively and efficiently without losing your

To help you get focused, I recommend adopting these five habits
in the New Year.

1) Focus on building a community, not just an audience.

Social media is not just about grabbing attention and growing an
audience. It’s about
building a community

As nonprofit social media managers, we have to know inside and
out who we want in this community, and what they want to hear from

This is why so much nonprofit social media content falls flat.
No purpose, no reason to exist – just simply promotion.

You may say, well, we want to engage everyone! Everyone with a
pulse needs to be a part of our online community!

Let’s get real for a second. Your mission and your message is
not going to resonate with everyone.

If you are a small nonprofit dealing with a niche issue or a
local problem, you have to face facts that your online community
will be a lot smaller than a national organization.

Community building is the focus of my upcoming book,
How to Build and Mobilize a Social Media Community for Your
Nonprofit in 90 Days – click here to get notified when it’s

My best advice is to nail down who your choir is – and
preach to it.

If the choir is singing together in harmony, they will bring
others in and share your gospel.
Leverage your current community members
bring others into the fold.

Unless you are dealing with an issue that is getting national
press coverage, it’s incredibly difficult to get traction from
complete strangers online.

Every day, go into your communities (let’s stop calling them
platforms) and see what’s working. Answer comments and questions.
Be present and don’t over automate.

Always be learning about your community and what they are most
interested in, what moves them, what drives them, what inspired

Create content just for them and more will follow.

2) Set a timer.

How much time do you have to spend on social media? Is this 100%
of your job, or just 10%?

The best way to determine
how much time social media management
is going
to take is to clarify how much time you have to devote to it.

The truth is that getting results on social media is much like
getting results out of an exercise plan. Consistency and intention
are key.

If you have thirty minutes a day to get a quick walk in,
that’s better than sitting at your desk all day every day and
getting zero activity.

If you can fit in an hour walk once per week, your results will
be even better. The same goes for social media.

No matter if you have all day or just an hour a day to focus on
social media, you need to create a time management plan to avoid
spinning your wheels and wasting time (so easy to do on these
platforms that are designed to grab our attention and keep us

I recommend the popular Pomodoro
, where you set a kitchen timer (it doesn’t
have to be a tomato timer) for 25 minutes.

If you aren’t constantly monitoring your social media
accounts, using the Pomodoro Technique at the beginning of the work
day will help you focus and ensure that you have addressed all
messages and notifications that came in overnight.

Remember that the work of social media is not just posting and
promoting your own stuff and then leaving.

The real work that gets results is the most time-consuming –
it’s interacting, building connections, exploring topics,
creating content, and tweaking, analyzing, improving.

Once the 25 minutes is up and the timer dings, you are done –
no matter what you did or did not accomplish.

You can then set it again at the end of the day, or in the
middle of the day. It all depends on how many channels you manage
and what else you have going on that day.

Social media management takes discipline and practice, but a
time-based strategy like this is absolutely crucial for nonprofit
social media managers that have other competing job

3) Take mental health breaks.

Mental health stress on social media managers is a real thing,
and the ramifications are just beginning to be

The always-on mentality dominates pretty much every industry
right now, but is especially true with social media.

Consistent use of social media can be
detrimental to our mental health
and so taking a step
back now and again is essential, even if it doesn’t seem like an
option because there’s just too much to do.

This may mean turning off social media notifications when you
leave the office. If you absolutely need to respond to something,
set aside 10-15 minutes of dedicated time after work to go into the
platforms. Then shut it down for the night.

It’s also important to take digital detoxes and vacations, to
come up for air.

To give your eyes a break from the screen, here are some great
mental health podcasts to listen to:

Holding Space
with Dr. Cassidy Freitas
aims to demystify mental
health and therapy and make it more accessible through

Jen Gotch is Okay…Sometimes
is a mental health
podcast from the founder of, chronicling her journey with
bipolar and anxiety.

is a self-care podcast hosted by a
psychotherapist and a lifestyle blogger, exploring important themes
like sleep, healthy eating, and balancing the body, mind, and

4) Just say no to perfectionism.

Content is never going to be perfect, and your social media To
Do list will never be fully complete.

We have to be ok with done and imperfect, as it’s better than
simply not done at all!

I don’t mean allowing lazy mistakes and awful content to take

But you shouldn’t be spending hours designing and tweaking one
single Instagram post, or spending hours editing a smartphone video
that is going to be 30 seconds long.

Attention to detail is great but perfectionism is a killer.

Get that post up. Edit it later if you find a drastic

Test, see what’s working, and do more of that.

5) Advocate for yourself.

Every job has its busy periods, but constantly feeling like
you’re struggling to keep your head above water is not okay.

As Thea Neal wrote in
her must-read post
“Should you ask your
social media manager if they’re okay?”:

We’re expected to be marketers, creators, analysts and
customer service people. We’re stressed out.

If you are a team of one and your work responsibilities amount
to three full-time jobs, you have to be honest with your supervisor
and the Board that this is not sustainable.

Conduct a detailed inventory of your time, listing out as many
tasks as possible and how much time it takes to accomplish

Don’t be afraid to advocate for your work!

For more on how to
get the respect you deserve as a nonprofit social media
, watch this video:

In Conclusion

It’s a busy, noisy, crowded online space.

Sometimes, people can be not-so-nice.

Sometimes, the work feels thankless.

Sometimes, it feels like you are doing it all alone.

You are not alone – come
over to Facebook and join the community
of nonprofit
social media managers, fundraisers, and storytellers, all going
through similar things!

Let us know how we can support you.

Here’s to a very happy and healthy New Year!

The post
5 Habits of Successful Nonprofit Social Media Managers in 2020

appeared first on marketing
for the modern nonprofit

Project Management

Four Ways Fundraisers Are Not Ready for 2020

Here are common mistakes
that will make prospects see you as a nuisance instead of a
philanthropic opportunity in 2020.

When I stated my fundraising career in the early 2000s, it
seemed that every institution was putting together a 2020 Vision.
Countless hours were spent pulling together staff, students, and
“designated experts” to forecast a far-flung but quickly
approaching future in the hopes of positioning their institution
for fundraising success.

Looking back, no one knew the game-changing innovations that
were about to come to life over the next two decades. At a time
when debates raged about whether email was a viable communications
method, nobody could imagine a world where social media would drive
personal relationships,
texting was the preferred means of communications for a third of
American adults
, and artificial intelligence would be able to
tell us more about our constituents than ever before.

Now 2020 has arrived. As we boldly venture into a future far
different than those imagine by science fiction authors, it appears
few institutions are truly prepared to realize their outdated 2020
vision, let alone truly leverage all the potential available to
them as advancement leaders.

Here are four key areas where I have noticed development
professionals lagging behind:

1. They focus on the appeal and not the people behind the gift

One of my favorite quotes is “If you want money, ask for
advice. If you want advice, ask for money.”

Time and time again I have seen this play out in fundraising.
Good fundraisers are engagement professionals first. It is
important to connect with your prospects on the most personal level
possible to understand their interests, desires, and where your
organization can fit into their philanthropic plans. Knowing your
prospect personally is the key to securing transformational $1M+
gifts as well as $100 gifts. Many professionals focus on the
fundraising appeal and not the people behind the gift. If your
focus is fundraising, your prospects will move to a nonprofit that
focuses on them and their impact.

2. Their tools don’t talk to each other.

Knowledge is power, yet most institutions are trying to run a
supercomputer on triple-A batteries. From traditional communication
streams like phone, direct mail, and email to more modern
enhancements like texting, digital advertising, and marketing
automation, the strength of each is only as good as the weakest
link in the communications chain. No channel works alone. Your
channels must speak to each other in order to maximize outreach and
share valuable prospect information.

My colleague Chris Bingley dives further into this topic in his
amazing article, “Innovation
in Fundraising is More Than Duct Tape and Twine
” which I
highly recommend reading after you finish this one.

3. They still talk to their alumni like they are students.

Relationships develop over time. People get to know each other
through regular interaction, discovering common ground and areas of
like and dislike.

However, so many people in the fundraising industry miss this
critical point about engaging alumni. They think they can continue
to send solicitation after solicitation based on outdated prospect
information pulled from their days on campus, primarily their
degree information. While this may help with your first
communication, it cannot be the basis of your relationship for
life. Every interaction is an opportunity to learn more about your
audience. Institutions need to take advantage of new technology and
systems to not only capture this information, but use it to build
predictive models, shape communications, and drive strategy.

4. They make <Name>, <Last_Gift_Amount> and
<Designation> the extent of their fundraising

Every advancement office needs to strike the right balance of
ROI for personalized communications. Personalize too much and your
staff have to create dozens of versions of each letter, email, ad,
etc. throughout the year. But too little personalization makes
communications come off as formulaic and sterile. So how does an
institution find this sweet spot?

First, stop trying to do it alone. For years, fundraisers tried
to throw more human resources at this problem in the hopes of
create more and more segments. When people were not available to do
the job, most organizations just wrote it off as too difficult and
went along with the best they could do.

Thankfully, there are now AI-driven solutions like
RNL QuadWrangle
that can do the heavy lifting necessary to
curate content, connect individuals, and deliver tailored
communications that fit the needs and desires of a 21st century
advancement office. I also recommend seeing a demo of how
quickly and easily RNL QuadWrangle can help you set up customized
donor interactions.

Talk to RNL about being ready for 2020 and beyond

If any of the four examples above sound familiar to you, then
you are not as ready as you could be for 2020. However, the good
news is that the technology to get you ready is more cost effective
and easy to implement than ever. RNL can help you get there
and set you up for success for years to come.

Talk with our fundraising experts and find out how you can use
the latest technologies to engage alumni and optimize giving.

Request a free consultation today

The post
Four Ways Fundraisers Are Not Ready for 2020
appeared first on
Ruffalo Noel Levitz.

Project Management

What Do You Want to Read About in 2020?

Last week, we revealed our
Top Ten Blog Posts of 2019
. Annual reports, social media, and
email did well as usual.

Now, we want to know what we should focus on in 2020?

We will, of course, monitor emerging trends and best practices
and report those to you, but what are you particularly interested
in reading more about?

Share in the comments below or send me an email to

Project Management

When you are building a relationship with another professional relationship manager

post by @elleuminate