A Tribute to Kathy Kingston

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Behind the microphone or behind the scenes, Kathy Kingston created magic. On January 30, 2020 Kathy peacefully passed away after conducting a two-day training program in Florida. It doesn’t seem possible that she is no longer with us. She was an incredible champion of fundraising professionals across the world. And she was my friend.

I first met Kathy 15 years ago, when I hired her to turn-around a fundraising event where I worked. From the moment I met Kathy, I knew I had met a friend. Her energy was boundless, her commitment to helping nonprofits sincere, and her ability to bring people together was inspirational.

When I started my own business, Kathy became both a trusted advisor and continued to be a dear friend. We started doing workshops together, and had a lot of fun creating ways to engage people in the fundraising process. I remember so many evenings having long conversations by phone. Kathy was always interested in transforming the fundraising event – using it to engage donors and build a sustainable program. While her auctioneering skills were legendary – her real talent lay in helping people understand and build a true platform for raising funds. [Read more…]

Your 2020 Year-End Appeal Begins Today

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Hooray – you just got through December and I hope everyone raised more money than they expected. Now it’s time to lay the foundation for your 2020 appeal.  No rest for the weary!

Like everyone, I received my fair share of appeals in December. Sadly, this was the only time I heard from many of these nonprofits all year. A few had sent me newsletters, which is good – but most didn’t tell me how they used my contribution. Only a few nonprofits kept me informed – telling me how my funds made a difference before asking me again. Those are the charities I supported. The rest – their appeals went in the wastebasket or were deleted.

So here’s my question to you: if the only time you hear from your charity is when they want money –how does that make you feel? Probably the same way I feel – And I won’t give again. Nor do most donors. That is one reason why retention rates among donors continue to plummet: 57% of donors do not renew their gifts. [Read more…]

Communications Assessments: Looking Within to Communicate Out

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By David Deschenes

“When you consider our limited staff and marketing budget, we put out a LOT of information – bi-annual fundraising letters, quarterly newsletters, flyers, and an annual report. We also send more than 30 e-blasts a year and have a robust presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It’s all important, timely and informative communications. But we’re struggling to keep up with it. We rely on other departments to get us at least the starting content for our collateral, and we often can’t get it when we need it. We feel like we’re always scrambling or trying to ‘wing it’ with content that’s owned by others.”

This was one of the primary concerns we heard at our first meeting with a new client who had hired us to conduct a communications assessment – a top-to-bottom audit of all current marketing and communications efforts in practice by the organization. [Read more…]

Data-Driven Philanthropy Drives Donor Relationships

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By Sharon Danosky

Most people think of fundraising as an “art”, — the skill of communication, crafting the right story, convincing donors to give to you.  While that may be true – there is a lot more to the story.

Good fundraising begins with data – good data.  To build a solid fundraising plan you need to be firing on all gears – and that cannot be left to the luck of the draw – or some heart-wrenching story.  You need to know who to ask; how much to ask for; what their interests are; what they have given in the past; what they are likely to give in the future and how they respond to different requests.  In short – you need DATA. [Read more…]

3 Key Considerations for Crisis Management

crisismanagemetBy David Deschenes

There are all kinds of issues and crises that can arise on any given day for a nonprofit. Ask an executive director if they’ve recently dealt with an issue that had a potential negative impact on their organization’s standing and they’ll most likely reply, “What? Of course!” There is no shortage.

Yet many nonprofits find themselves unprepared when it comes to communicating through a crisis. Following are three essential steps that all nonprofit organizations should take to be prepared for the next crisis or urgent issue that challenges their good reputation. [Read more…]