Tag: marketing

Your 2022 development plan

This post shares ideas that can be used for both nonprofits and for-profit organizations. It focuses on development/fundraising, and many of the ideas can be incorporated to a business plan.

First things first. If you haven’t created a development plan yet for 2022, begin work on it today. It’s as simple as creating a document titled “2022 Development Plan”. The key in starting now is that you’ve started the process.

In my mind, a development plan, or fundraising plan, is a road map for how we will fundraise this year, who participates in it, what are our goals, what are our challenges, and what we need to accomplish the goals. I’ve seen plans that are dozens of pages long with small type and ones that are simple Power point documents that are specific ideas and goals. Choose which one best suits you and your organization.

Keep your plan positive. Keep in mind you want a plan that can be accomplished with your current capacity. Keep your plan realistic with the goals. For example, if you raised $50,000 from individuals in 2021 and your 2022 development plan is to raise $500,000 there is an issue, unless you already have committed donations close to that amount.

I like to break down my plan to revenue-generating categories: individual giving, corporate, civic/faith, and institutional (foundations) are some for a good start. Some organizations like to have specific line items for board giving and major gifts. Others may have some type of income, which I would keep out of a development plan. If you have special events, there are different ways to have that in the plan. The two most common are to have that revenue separated out completely, or (#2), have event revenue within the other categories based on the category that generates the revenue.

Be sure to have a part of your plan that includes who is participating in what. This can be super helpful, especially when presenting to groups, like your board.

Every revenue area comes with a fundraising goal. Like I mentioned earlier, keep it realistic. I’ve seen many nonprofits toss a ridiculous amount into individual giving because they had to add revenue, with no reality in that amount. If you know your annual fundraising event will be different because of , say COVID, keep that in mind when creating your goals. I fully encourage thought-out growth and positive thinking, just keep it realistic.

What are items, events, people, situations that can possibly keep you from reaching your goals? I usually create a one-pager listing these.

Lastly, consider all of your ideas you have, and others have offered, to reach the fundraising goal of each revenue category. This becomes your check-off list. For example, under individual giving you may have the following: expressions of gratitude, impact sharing, phone calls, one-on-one meetings, video calls with the director or a program manger, increased direct mail, increased e-appeals. This list can go on and on. I’m sure you get the idea.

I realize this all may seem over-simplified. For me, it’s not. A development plan does not have to difficult or complicated. After all, this document is your plan for the year, the plan you will use to be successful.

Thank you for reading!

Social media tips for smaller nonprofits

If you are reading this blog post you’re on social media. Based on my Altrui website data, you’ve most likely found me because of my presence on social media platforms. My favorites for Altrui and for being part of the nonprofit world are Twitter and LinkedIn.

I’m one who believe social media can be a relevant tool for nonprofits, especially in marketing, fundraising, and communications. Like everything, some nonprofits work and hustle on social media and you can tell. Others, well they have a ways to go.

I’ve recently been looking at social media from smaller nonprofits, and have some ideas on how they may grow their presence and possibly their mission impact through social media. If you don’t know this yet, there are as many opinions to how or if social media can be beneficial to nonprofits as there are nonprofits. This is simply my opinion based on a good amount of time working in social media for causes that are super close to my heart.

This post is specifically for the smaller nonprofit, or the nonprofit that has very little capacity to take on social media.

First, you have to start somewhere, but not everywhere. Pick one platform and give it a go. Before deciding which one to start with, speak with people you trust, staff, supporters, donors and friends at other nonprofits. See what they think. Side note: Your donors will LOVE that you asked them!

For the purpose of this post, you’ve chosen Twitter. You create your account, add the two photos (put some thought into this), and post your first tweet.

Many nonprofits then post again in a month, follow a dozen orgs/people, and then decide that Twitter is not working for them. Like any social media, one has to give it some hustle, time, and careful consideration. The posts need to be posts that people can learn from or feel engaged with, and have to be consistent. One or two posts here and there, without any thought, will not grow an audience.

The biggest lesson I learned that I can share with you all is that growing social media takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight, or even in weeks. It’s definitely a growth process. Before starting in social media one has to have a commitment to see it through. That means time and effort.

Post about what you know. Become a resource. If you serve people seeking asylum at the border, become a resource on that. You serve survivors of domestic violence, well you know what to do. Become a resource.

Share from others. On Twitter it’s called retweeting. Find articles that you learn from or feel could educate others and share them.

Connect with others. Keep doing that. It’s rare that I find social media accounts that are that good, that don’t have anyone that they follow. Everyone has something to learn.

Put a link in your profile to your website. Get people there.

Share your fundraising campaigns.

Don’t use twitter to share your Instagram photos. I’ve seen amazing nonprofits whose missions I love post only their Instagram photos, which comes up as a link. Imagine what that feed looks like.

I use social media to get in front of more people and to share nonprofit missions and Altrui work. Sharing good content helps. Sharing crap content doesn’t do anything for nonprofits or my business. Share content that can help people learn, grow and take action.

Thanks for reading! Questions or comments? dan @ altrui.org

It’s OK to ask for help!

In eighteen months of working with Altrui clients, the number one thing I end up reminding people is that it’s OK to ask for help. This has become an important part of mental health wellness.

Help from your team. From your boss. From your board.

Many fundraising teams are overwhelmed. Some have less resources than they did a year ago, with more expectations put on them.

Success, however you look at it, is possible. It’s easier to get to when you have support. And remember that people cannot support you if they don’t know you need help.

Here’s something to consider. Grab a coffee (I’m a coffee guy) or tea, create a list of urgent items that need to be accomplished, and then next to each item add who you think could help with it.

Think big. The list of people who can help you can be more like a dream list.

Regardless of who or how, the important thing is that you are good with asking for help. We can’t, and shouldn’t have to, go at it alone.

Thank you for reading!

Action 3: Share stories

Part III of a four-part blog series on building relationships with donors and customers.

A few months into COVID, one of the small, local businesses we support posted on their Facebook page that thanks to all of their customers, they had been able to keep 80% of their staff on payroll. We gave them more business the next day.

Share important and impactful stories with your customers and donors. It will make differences beyond your wildest dreams.

For nonprofits, many of us already have an email list we use to communicate with donors. Whether it’s an email blast or newsletter, share current successes and struggles with your donors. We are well into COVID now, so how has that affected your programs and mission? Or has it? How have the recent elections around the country affected your work? Are you in a field or geographical area where winter makes it more difficult?

Donors want to hear about this. I have found that especially these days people are very much interested in taking action to support others. They want to know how their donation or volunteering has made a difference. You hold that key. Share the stories.

In the world of small business it may be difficult to do this. Pre-COVID many businesses we support didn’t have a Facebook page, website or email list. Figure out how you can best communicate with your customers and start sharing what is going on. Many smaller communities have a Facebook page where businesses can share items on a certain day (or any day). Take advantage of that. If you have the capacity to do so, start gathering emails of your customers and send a monthly note about how things are going, offers to support your customers, and any news that might remind them you’re there.

Stories add a lot to building relationship with your donors and customers. Keep them going and those relationships can only grow.

Thanks for reading!

Action 1: Strengthen your social media

Last week I wrote about celebrating one year of Altrui and shared four actions I am working with clients on that are turning out to be successful. Now I’m going to break each one down.

First is to strengthen your social media. The first thing to do is to write out all of your platforms on social media to include platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn along with others like email blasts and your website. Once you have that, take a long, honest look and rate them, most used on the top and least used on the bottom. This is important because I like thinking about where we invest time, and on the flip of that, if we might be better off investing time elsewhere.

Regardless of where this lands on your list, having a website that is always kept up to date is vital. There are books written about this and so many other consultants thrive in the world of what a fantastic website looks like, so I’ll just add a small bit here. As a fundraiser, it’s important to me to have a clear option to donate. And to be able to donate in a click or two, without any complications or silly questions. Some people just want to donate. Make it easy for them.

One other point about websites is in regards to a blog. If you have a blog on your website keep it up to date. There’s nothing like being excited about a nonprofit blog just to see the last post was written two years ago. Only have a blog if you have the capacity to keep it current.

Share your impact. Share your ups and downs. How can I help? What do you need? What are you doing that stokes the passion of why I support you? Keep these things in mind. And remember to respond to questions and comments.

Capacity is key. If you can excel on every platform, go for it. If you have time for just one or two, keep it there.

On Twitter I am @fundraiserdan. You have my website, and I try to post a new blog post every week. These are my top two social media platforms. I have a presence on others, and these are the two that are on the top of my capacity list.

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!

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!

Overwhelmed?

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!

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!

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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