Tag: consultancy

Lessons learned from Altrui

I’m in my 21st month of Altrui Consulting and while I’m having the time of my life, I still get surprised by how many lessons I learn each day. Some of these come from my amazing clients, others from my super supportive peers, and still others by those of you who are kind enough to share your experiences on social media and teach people like me.

This past week I was reminded once again by how much I have to learn as a consultant, and thought it was a good time to share some lessons learned so far.

First, I’ve learned to slow down. To take it easy. Take it day by day. Focusing on what I have in front of me right this moment is super helpful.

Another big thing for me to learn has been around business housekeeping. I talk about this often and it’s super important. I have been in nonprofit fundraising for a long time, and I have a comfort zone with sharing my experiences and knowledge when it comes to fundraising and relationship building. At the same time I had never been a consultant or run my own business. Lots of learning curves! Keeping up with business work is crucial, and I have learned to take a few hours one day a week to solely focus on Quickbooks, invoices, vendor check-ins and marketing.

Next has to be communication. Clear, continuous communication. In my nonprofit career, I spent a lot of time with my team and peers. Lots of meetings and many discussions on whatever we were working on. This type of work is different. Sometimes there is only one conversation to plan the work and contract and then another to kick it off. Expectations, concerns, end-game wishes have to be clear to everyone involved. There has to be trust that you are listening, understanding, and fully focused on not only the work but them. This is something that is on the top of my mind with every client interaction.

Lists. I wasn’t a big list person before creating Altrui. I know. How did I survive? That has all changed now. I plan my weeks in advance and each day have my list of what client work I need to accomplish that day. Lists are incredibly helpful and I’m not sure why I wasn’t on the list band wagon before Altrui.

Build relationships. I learn more about this every day, even though it’s a huge part of what I offer to clients. Keep engaging. Keep listening. Pay attention all of the time.

Lastly, for now, I’ve learned to express gratitude even more. Gratitude is a big deal when you work for yourself and you run your own business. It’s important to share all of the gratitude that begins to fill you up. Let clients, vendors, peers and everyone else you learn from know how grateful you are for them.

Thank you for reading! Questions? Email me at dan@altrui.org

Nonprofit careers

Several years ago I was talking with a friend who had just been laid off and the topic of nonprofit careers came up. Well, I brought it up. I basically told my friend that in the world of nonprofit careers, there is pretty much everything that exists in the for-profit world.

Huh? That was the reaction.

All of my time in the nonprofit world has been leading development teams. For those unfamiliar with that term, it means fundraising. So when I write about nonprofit careers, keep in mind that my personal experience comes from a small part of that world.

That being said, I have worked with people in all areas of nonprofits, whether they were in finance, engineering, program work, marketing, building managers, public relations, and the list goes on. Some had been in nonprofits forever, and some made the change from the for-profit world and realized this was where they belonged.

If you’re in the for profit world and are looking for a meaningful change or are in between jobs, I definitely recommend checking out positions in the nonprofit world. If you Google your area plus nonprofit jobs, you will most likely find a nonprofit organization that has a job board. An example is the Colorado Nonprofit Association’s job page which usually has a hundred or so open positions in all areas of the nonprofit world.

There are also plenty of nonprofit job opportunities on Indeed and Idealist.org.

The nonprofit world can be a wonderful experience for anyone, especially those who want do more to make the world a better place.

If you’re considering a move to the nonprofit world and have any questions, let me know! dan@altrui.org

Thanks for reading!

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!

Stay in today

A lot of recovery programs promote “one day at a time”, meaning stay in today, stay in the moment. As nonprofit year-end fundraising campaigns go into full throttle mode, this thought can be super helpful. Stay in the moment.

Do everything you can to rock your campaign, and while working on it stay in the day. Don’t let negative thoughts hang out (or at least too long), and focus on what you can do that day.

Then do the same the next day. Some times taking deep breathes help too. I’m in no way saying that whatever you are experiencing isn’t important, my point is to focus on what you do best, and let the rest go. You’ve been here before and you’ve rocked it.

The world is different. And you’ve pivoted. What hasn’t changed is that your donors still want to support your mission and impact, and they want to be asked to help.

Surround yourself with others working their butts off in the arena. Don’t listen to naysayers. Remember all of the work you have done throughout the year to support this year-end campaign.

Wishing you the absolute best! Thanks for reading.

Dan Hanle Expert fundraiser for non profits.

Altrui Consulting turns 1!!!

I’m not sure what I thought my life or my business would look like after one year of working Altrui full time. September 30th is that one year mark for me. One year since I left a great nonprofit development position to create a consulting company that could perhaps make the world a better place by working with nonprofits to strengthen their relationship building and fundraising.

Just like that, one year has passed. It’s been quite the year. I have worked with some of the most amazing people, people who are as committed as I am to make the world a better place, to creating positive change for all living beings. Every conversation with a potential client has been an awakening for me into yet another world in which a committed person and team work passionately toward their mission for the biggest impact possible.

I am forever grateful. I’m grateful for all of the great things that have happened along with all of the learning lessons I have experienced. And my goodness there have been learning experiences, almost every day! I had no idea how to be a great consultant or how to run a small business. All I knew was that if I could match my passion for strengthening nonprofit fundraising and impact with others who had that same passion, then nothing could stop us.

Just like that I was sending out contracts. I was paying taxes. I was telling people about this far-fetched idea called Altrui, my vision and my hope of being better, doing better and taking my experience in the world of nonprofit fundraising to small and large nonprofits all over the country. I was making sure that I showed up fully ready to rock it for my business and my clients, always giving it my all.

I had and continue to have a huge amount of support from those who are in the arena of nonprofit fundraising, past and present peers and co-workers, friends and family and people I have met along my nonprofit journey who see our work as I do.

My consistent hashtag is #alwayslearning. Indeed I am. Every day is certainly an adventure and even someone as positive as me has wondered out loud if this is really for me and if I can be successful in this world of consulting. And then I brush that off, check in with someone on my personal board of directors, and get to work. I just keep hustling, regardless of what might be in my way (hello COVID).

Big thanks to all of you who have supported Altrui in any way.

Thanks for reading!

Relationships

For many in nonprofits and in business, the focus is on the money. Raising money and making money. I hear it all of the time. In my world of nonprofit fundraising, too much focus is put on how much someone can raise or how much a donor is going to give.

I’m not surprised anymore when someone in the nonprofit world, even a client, looks at me like I have lost my mind when I tell them that fundraising is not about money. It’s not.

Fundraising is not about money.

It’s about relationships.

Imagine putting more focus into the relationships you and your organization have with your donors and less focus on their actual giving. How is your donor? Why do they give to you? What program or part of your mission speaks to their heart the most? How did they feel getting a call on Thanks for Giving Day?

Build the relationship between you and your donor. Build the relationship between your organization and your donor. Put time and energy into the relationship. This of course is applicable with clients and customers if you are a business. Build and nurture the relationship.

A few actions I have found to be helpful in building a relationship with a donor:

Thank them quickly when they give. To be more specific, thank them within 24 hours. The generic email thank you does not count. Call them. Or better yet ask your executive director or a member of your board to call and thank them.

Give your donor a ring out of the blue. No reason. Just to say hello. Perhaps an update on their favorite program. How are they?

A personal note. Use a card you’ve created specifically for donors, like the one pictured above.

Ask your donor their opinion on something you are working on.

There are a dozen more ways to build that relationship. It’s that simple.

Give this a try. It will pay off for you, your organization, your mission, and the impact your organization has on our world.

Thank you for reading! Please share this post if you found it helpful!

Keep hustling

This is something I tell myself every day. As a small business owner and a nonprofit fundraising consultant, every day brings me new opportunities to serve others, support clients, build community and find new clients to work with.

And none of that happens if I don’t keep hustling.

Just like everyone else, my world changed back in March. All of my opportunities to meet with people in person, talk about Altrui, shake someone’s hand and go to public events where I could share my passion for fundraising were all of a sudden gone.

I had to re-calibrate. I had to re-think parts of my business plan.

That took about a day.

First, I had to make sure I showed up every day. To me that meant continuing with my video tips of the week, writing blog posts, communicating with clients, and reaching out to potential clients.

It meant figuring out how to stay involved with groups I used to physically engage with. Before I knew it I was hopping on Zoom calls.

It meant ramping up my social media presence and content.

It meant being at my desk showered and shaved, ready to rock it. OK, the shaved part wasn’t every day!

I kept engaging with other nonprofit fundraising consultants and we learned from each other. It was great, and still is, to be in community with all of these rock stars. This was a huge help.

I practiced self care. I reached out for help when I needed it and let those in my inner professional circle know when I was struggling or challenged.

I still struggle with keeping my work space neat!

Today all of these are second nature. People continue to hear about Altrui and I continue to be able to share what we at Altrui can do for them, their nonprofit, and their mission.

Thanks for reading!

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!

Welcome to Altrui consulting!

For several years, while leading fundraising efforts at various nonprofits, I thought of what it would look like to create my own consultancy with the purpose of supporting nonprofit fundraising professionals and helping fundraising teams and efforts become stronger. Welcome to Altrui!

I have taken my time in creating Altrui. Some of those who have been by my side since the beginning think I have been in business for years! I put a lot of thought into what the business would look like and offer. I found a web designer. I bought a website. Well the name at least, as I don’t know all of the legalities of how one owns a website. I spoke with friends, peers, donors, and leaders of super-small nonprofits changing the world. I decided there was room for me.

I wanted an agency that could help people changing the world get unstuck. To remind them that their mission matters and that there is indeed a light at the end of the tunnel. That we have tough moments but don’t have to have tough days. An agency that could talk someone through an idea, a fear, a campaign, an urgency or take on a project that has stalled because of time. I wanted to take all I have learned and experienced in nonprofit fundraising and put it to a different use.

So I give you Altrui. My little idea that I am beyond excited about. I’m new to the world consulting and look forward to being as much support as I can to those who need a breath or are at their wits end. Or those who want to try something new and want a little guidance. I’ve worked with several clients so far and am ecstatic how everything is going!

As I state on my website, I’m a fundraising geek. A fundraising nerd. Nonprofit fundraisers change the world. Welcome to Altrui! I’d be super grateful for your support, guidance, love and of course introductions!

Thank you!


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