Tag: altrui

Keep thanking

The photo is of a thank you card for donors.

It’s already mid-December. You’re watching donations come in supporting your appeals, attending holiday gatherings, and trying to get in front of as many donors as possible for that ever-valued year-end donation.

With everything that is going on, keep thanking your donors. Keep the calls up, keep the impact stories going, and keep making sure that your donors know what it means for them to donate.

That their donation changes the world. For someone. Or something.

As my family makes donations this month I’m unfortunately surprised by how many organizations, especially the ones we have donated to for many years, don’t take the time to just say thank you.

I get it. They are busy. There’s a lot going on. And at the same time the proof is in the pudding: when we thank donors right away, let them know how we spent their donation, and then how that donation impacted our mission, we have a huge chance that the donor will donate again.

And our life-long relationship begins (or continues!).

Some of my clients have a couple of people on staff who make calls, others engage their volunteers (Including board) to help with the expressions of gratitude. You don’t need to do this alone. Ask for help if needed.

The time you spend doing this is definitely worth it, and will make a difference.

Thank you for reading!

Burning out is not mandatory

I’m on a road trip to work with some Altrui clients. While planning the trip I decided to plan time for self care. Burnout is common in the world of nonprofit fundraising, and although I am far from that I want to keep it that way and be an example to my clients of taking time for oneself.

Self care looks different for each of us. For me it means doing some camping on my own and spending time with friends in my intimate circle. In between Altrui client time and project work I’ll be doing both.

Burnout is real in our field, specifically the field of nonprofit fundraising. I could also say it’s real in the nonprofit world in general, and since I work specifically in fundraising that’s what I am writing about.

Expectations, deadlines, budgets, mission work, too many hours, lack of supportive leadership. All of these can not only add stress to one’s life, they can add to personal burnout. You may see burnout all around you. You may see co-workers having tough times at work. I remember talking to a fundraiser at a nonprofit a few days before an event and they said “aren’t we supposed to be super stressed right now.”

No. We don’t have to be stressed, and we don’t have to burnout.

Remember when becoming so burned out that your only solution is to quit your job is not the best way to deal with burning out. I suggest we as a collective community deal with issues leading to burn out long before anything like that begins to make sense in our heads. And when we begin to practice this and practice self-care, it makes it easier for other to consider it.

And let’s support each other on a deeper level. It makes a difference.

Thanks for reading. And as always, my email is dan@altrui.org if you have any questions. Or comments!

Small business housekeeping

I found myself in the same spot. Again. I had stopped doing Altrui housekeeping every Friday and was all of a sudden overwhelmed.

Background. Altrui Consulting is just over one year old. For the first several months all I did was hustle to build the business. Nothing could take my eyes off of the prize, which was making sure Altrui would make it.

I soon realized that although I had years of nonprofit fundraising experience and relationship building experience, I had not run a consultancy. Taxes were rather simple for me as I had learned all I could about them and when I needed to pay them. In Q2 of my first year I subscribed to QuickBooks which helps significantly.

If I enter the data.

Working with clients, for whom I am super grateful, is my passion. It doesn’t feel like work. It’s wonderful. It’s all of the “business” upkeep that I get behind in.

I wanted to write this post so that those just starting with their own business, whether a consultant or something different, realize that they’re not alone. There’s a lot to do, and it’s not all as fun as your work. I’m finding that if I just calendar a couple hours a week to do business housekeeping, then I’m good and I don’t have to experience that feeling of falling behind.

I also have found, which may sound pretty obvious, that keeping my workload list up to date really benefits me. My list includes any project due to a client and when it’s due. I use an Excel spreadsheet but there are also programs out there that can help you make this process easier.

Lastly, being a member of my local chamber of commerce helps me a great deal with all of this because I get to meet with other small business owners and share stories of what’s going on. As I often say, I’m always learning, and being surrounded by others who consider themselves always learning and who also have their own small business is beneficial to me.

I hope this was helpful. Thanks for reading!

Share your struggles

“You want us to share that with donors?!” my stunned client said after I suggested we add what they had just told me to the current fundraising appeal we were working on. It was about a struggle they were having, not unlike almost every other nonprofit.

Simply said, I want you to share your struggles. This came to mind when another person I work with said to me in an email “the struggle continues”. I was curious so asked. They didn’t mean in the general, worldwide sense of struggle. They meant the struggle for the nonprofit. They work in programs and are inundated with more tasks, more expectations and more requests for services. They have to say “no” a lot.

This is where we come in as nonprofit fundraisers, as story tellers. We tell their story. It connects with the overall story, and it’s important for donors to know about the struggles. After all, donors want to help. They want to be part of ensuring the mission and impact continue.

This is true for businesses as well. Keep your customers in the loop on how business is going, how it might be changing, and ask them for their support. An example is my local gym. Gyms have just been closed (again) and our gym moved all of their equipment outside so people can still work out and they can remain open. They had this news all over social media.

Your donors want to know your struggles. It does not come across as desperate to share them.

Thank you for reading! My email address is dan@altrui.org

5 steps to take to rock Thanks for Giving Day

Thanks for Giving Day will be here before you know it. Although some nonprofits do this type of thanking day earlier in the year, I have done Thanks for Giving Day the Thursday before Thanksgiving Day (in the US) and this year it’s November 21st.

That means you have a little time to plan. Remember, if you need help, we’re here! And for those of you new to TFGD, here are five steps to take to ensure your event is meaningful:

  1. Send a save the date to all of your board members asking them to take a shift for calls. I have done 4pm – 8pm and asked board members to sign up for a two-hour shift. Let them know how important this day is and what it will mean for donors, and let them know that all you are doing is thanking people.
  2. Have lists of all donors who have given this year, with their phone number. Do not list their donation amount.
  3. Plan a dinner buffet. I have used Chipotle. Also, if you are ok with having alcoholic beverages, ask board members to bring wine and beer.
  4. Make sure you have work spaces for the board members, complete with a phone. This could be desks throughout your agency or one table with several phones. I like board members to call from the agency as then your agency name pops up for caller ID.
  5. Create a social media plan to promote TFGD the week of and to do some live posts while board members are calling donors.

There is more to do, and this list covers the basics. Any questions, email us at helloaltrui@gmail.com.

If you let us know you are doing Thanks for Giving Day, we will share that information on social media.

Thanks for reading!

Is LinkedIn helpful?

Like many parts of social media, LinkedIn seems to have it’s positive and negative moments for people. I recently have seen some peers in non-profit fundraising post about their challenges with LinkedIn and after reading all of the comments on their posts (by far negative) I thought I would share some of my experiences.

Just to be clear, I’m not an employee of LinkedIn nor am I paid to write positive things about them.

I have been on LinkedIn for many years. Three years ago I decided that I wanted more from LinkedIn and decided to put more effort in it. Before creating strategy around that I decided to clean it up. I wanted to be connected with people I actually knew, people in my field (non-profit development and fundraising) and people in fields I could collaborate with (corporate leaders, recruiters, activists). This took a while as it was before one could delete from the profile. I had to go through each profile and decide if there was relationship or partnership potential there.

All of that time totally paid off. I ended up deleting almost half of all of my connections, quickly realizing that I had too many connections with people I didn’t know and couldn’t think of how we could benefit each other.

I started fresh. My goals include building relationships with people in my field, those who I can learn from and those who I potentially might want to work with one day. Another goal is to engage with people and businesses who might want to partner with me and the non-profit I work for. By partner I mean that they get something out of the relationship and we get something out of the relationship, not just me as a non-profit wanting them to donate and then see you later. A true partnership. Finally, and this can be inclusive of the partnership part, I want to engage with the community around the children served by my non-profit, specifically who we are as a non-profit and why we need to exist.

In other words being on LinkedIn for me can’t be all about me.

Additionally, like all of social media and most things that end up being good for you in regards to goals, I need to work it. Seriously work it. That doesn’t mean being on LinkedIn 24/7. It simply means that I need to be proactive if I want results or if I want to feel it’s worth my while. On LinkedIn that means adding posts and articles that might benefit my connections and/or my goals, liking peoples posts, engaging with their posts (writing a comment), introducing people and sharing job openings/searches.

In the last three years my LinkedIn experience has totally changed. I hope what I have shared can be helpful to you!

Thanks for reading!

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