Tag: charity

With deep gratitude

This post is all about gratitude. A huge thank you to so many who have supported me and the growth of Altrui. March is my sixth month in business and a good time to say thank you.

Thank you for being by my side. For continually reminding me that I got this, and that I can rock this.

Thank you to all of my peers in consulting who have taking time out of your busy schedules to answer my questions and give me direction.

Thank you to all of those accountants on social media who have gently educated me on what I need to be doing in regards to my accounting. Because of you I have an accountant and a QuickBooks account!

Thank you to all of my fellow nonprofit fundraising professionals who have so much experience in the consulting side of this and have constantly reached out to offer support.

Huge thanks to all of you who have recommended me and Altrui! Because of you I am working with more clients that I expected I would be with such a short time in the business.

Thank you to all of my clients! You have entrusted your fundraising to me and I will never forget that. I am forever grateful.

And thank you to everyone who has connected with my on social media. Altrui is new on Instagram and Facebook, and having support on these platforms as I grow is super helpful.

Sending big love and gratitude.

Thanks for reading!


If you are in the arena of nonprofit fundraising, chances are you may be a little overwhelmed. If you’re not, I am super happy for you and my gift to you is that you can skip this blog post or save it for a time that you are.

My experience with clients and peers in nonprofit fundraising is that come 5pm or 6pm, it really is time to go home yet there seems so much more to do. Many stay longer, which negatively affects their family and their life, and others go ahead and head home but feel guilty for leaving and get down on themselves for not getting enough done.

We all experience feeling overwhelmed at times and I’d like to offer actions one can take to chip away when feeling like this. Some of these ideas are repeated from past blog posts. Here’s my list:

Create a list of must-dos for the morning once you arrive. I mean it, only must-dos.

Check and respond to email upon starting your day and then don’t check email again until lunch time.

Use an auto-response to communicate with those emailing you.

For future projects or work you are doing for others, be super clear in expectations, time line and boundaries in regards to what is possible for you to accomplish and what is not. If we can all have super honest conversations about what we are working on, the end result and how everyone feels when it is done is a much more positive space.

Ask for help. It’s OK. If you lead fundraising efforts and you simply do not have staff to help, go to your board. Then volunteers. My experience tells me that there is always someone who can help, even by taking the simplest thing off of your plate.

Get comfortable with saying “no”. Not no, I’m not going to do this. More like, no, this will take days not hours so I cannot get it back to you by this afternoon. Realistic work load scheduling helps a lot.

Go for a walk. I know, that makes no sense when you are swamped and feeling overwhelmed. It doesn’t make sense, until you are actually walking and begin to feel a bit better.

Don’t multi-task. That may look good on job descriptions (it doesn’t to me) and it will decrease your being overwhelmed if you focus on something and finish it, then the next something.

If even just one of these helps, I am super happy. Thank you for reading!

Altrui is born – starting a new business

Altrui Consulting is born!

I’m very excited. Altrui began as a way to invite people who wanted to “pick my brain” to pay for my time and experience. As I decided to leave my career in nonprofit fundraising I became excited about being able to support all types of causes and organizations making the world a better place. So in October of last year I introduced Altrui to the world.

Every day I learn something more about owning a small business. So this post is about that. I’ll get back to fundraising and relationship building in the next post I promise!

You start with an EIN. That’s your social security number for your business. In a google search make sure you end up on the IRS page so you don’t pay a company a ridiculous fee to create something that is free. Yes free. And it takes less than five minutes.

In California I had to publish my new business in a newspaper for four weeks. That process was pretty easy. There are other things you will need to do that might be specific to your field. In mine, nonprofit consulting, I had to also pay a fee to the state of California. And apparently that’s the case in 38 states!

You’ll want a separate business bank account. For easier tracking of expenses, get a business debit card too. Then get some type of online system for your taxes. This was all new to me, and I learned as I went. Some days I’d be at my desk and sit in awe as I realized another thing I had to or should do. As a sole proprietor, I have to make sure taxes, social security and medicare are all paid. Having always been an employee, I had never even considered that.

Connect with other people in your field. Ask questions. Join a local chamber of commerce. Ask more questions. Meet for coffee with other small business owners.

As important as all of the legal items you need to consider are, what I have learned in the first few months of Altrui is that having had a website and social media presence when I started allowed me a chance to get in front of so many people right away. From a business perspective having a website potential clients or customers can go to makes them a little more comfortable in thinking about doing business with you. When I introduced Altrui back in October, I had Altrui on Twitter and LinkedIn. As I continued learning and growing I decided to create Altrui space on Facebook and Instagram as well. It takes time to grow these and to create good content, and that time has been worth my while.

While working on social media I had business cards made and a name tag made with my Altrui logo. I worked with a company I had met at my local chamber of commerce and soon realized that having someone who could help me with promotional items was important. Next up is a new business card and table-top banners.

If you’re new to all of this, I think the best advice is to really figure out the tax and legal part (find a great accountant), while remembering why you are doing this and tapping into your passion for what you’re doing. Don’t let anything get in your way. Don’t be afraid of asking for help or saying you don’t know.

For those of you just starting like me, I wish you the very best. Let me know how you’re doing!

Thank you for reading!

A simple thank you

I spend a lot of time on social media and with clients talking about thanking donors. Not a nonprofit? This blog post still might bring you value as I’m sure you have customers, guests or someone to thank.

Last week while working on blog posts I began to think on whether or not this whole thanking donors business is really that important.

That didn’t last long. I immediately remembered receiving a thank you letter in January for a donation we had made in early December. We have been donating to this organization for seven years. A month is a long time to take to send a thank you letter, and that wasn’t the only issue I had. For whatever reason I was negatively affected by what was missing from the letter: a signature from the CEO. Sure, their name was there at the end of the letter, it was stamped, as in part of the printed letter. The signature was not signed by the CEO.

Not a big deal? For some, perhaps. For me it definitely is a big deal. I don’t even know if the CEO knows that we donated. And if all I am getting is a printed letter that no one has to write on, what the heck took so long? In my nonprofit career I spent dozens of hours personally signing thank you letters, and in most cases adding a personal note. I always looked at it as part of my job, like this is how we do things in thanking donors and letting them know how personally grateful we are for their support.

I also believe that we only have so many opportunities to build relationships with our donors and how we thank them can make a difference in that relationship.

I’d love to hear what you think. I’d also love to hear stories about being thanked, or not thanked!

Thank you for reading!

The automatic thank you email does not count

I was super excited to make a donation. I had learned about your work, your mission and your impact, and the more I learned the more excited I got. Finally I took the time to go to your website and make my first donation. As I hit “submit”, I was thrilled to be a part of you.

The automatic thank you email I received was great. I didn’t know the name of the executive director, and I learned a couple of other interesting impact facts.

Being in the nonprofit fundraising world, I know that an online donation may only end up in front of one person. Some organizations have a great system down in ensuring that online donors are met with the same passion and gratitude as other donors, and I can tell. In this case, I had forgotten that we never received a thank you note until I received an email asking for another donation.

Your mission is so incredibly important to us, especially at this moment in time, that I didn’t think too much about it. I know you have probably been inundated with donations, and perhaps decided to only send the auto-response as a thank you/tax letter.

I will donate again. And I want you to know that I will give more if you at least acknowledge that a human being on your team knows that we donated, and that someone is happy that your organization has a new donor. Even if we are only one of a hundred that day.

For an organization that is in the spotlight and is receiving an unprecedented amount of donations, there will be a period of time to settle in. Take the time. Keep your eyes on the prizes; your mission and impact. At some point, make the time to thank your donors and build relationships with them. I promise it will pay off in a major way.

Asking less

In non profit fundraising sometimes the focus is to ask, ask, ask. Increase the revenue, get donors to give more, continued growth, continued expectations of donors.

This being the case, you the reader will either love what this post is about or you will roll your eyes and get back to your list of cold calls.

Keep in mind that donors are people. I know, this brings a chuckle to many. As a donor and as one who is in relationship with many donors, nonprofit fundraising professionals are still missing the point, and missing out on the relationship.

Today consider what you can do to build your relationships with donors. Set the ask aside. Set the pressure of more revenue aside. Simply take a few minutes and think about what you can do to strengthen the relationship between your organization and the donor.

I’ll offer some ideas in the next post, and to get you going, consider picking up the phone and calling them. See how they’re doing, tell them of some great news you heard from program staff, tell them you were just thinking of them.

No ask.

Thanks for reading.

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!

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