Tag: philanthropy

Thank you for two years of Altrui!

Today I am celebrating two years of Altrui Consulting and am filled with gratitude!

Two years ago I left the job I thought I would retire from, created a website that included a few thoughts on how I might be able to help nonprofits with relationship building and fundraising, and Altrui was born.

Although I had been in the nonprofit fundraising world for many years, the worlds of consulting and running my own business were all new to me. There is a long list of lessons over the past two years, and every day I learn something.

It’s been a magical road. I have loved every minute of it. While Altrui I have grown, we’ve been honored to work with nonprofits that are making the world a better, safer place. Their impact inspires me every day, and I am lucky to be a part of their work.

My thank-you list is extensive. If you have supported me in any way, thank you. That means a kind word, a warm welcome, sharing your experience, listening, a retweet, a kind comment on LinkedIn, or if you are one of hundreds whom I have learned from. I am forever grateful for that and happy to have you in my life.

I am ecstatic to see what year three brings!

Thank you all!

Don’t forget to ask

There’s a lot going on. Don’t forget to ask your donors to donate.

You thanked quickly. You share your impact often, along with personal notes to donors sharing how their donation impacted your work. You continually work with board and staff in building the relationship you have with your donors.

Is it time to ask them to donate again?

I bring this up because this has come up a couple of times with me in the past month. I see an organization going through an intense time in serving those they serve, hoping they will reach out to me as a donor for help.

Your donors are very interested in you and your mission. They see the world as you see it and embrace the change you are making. They have your back.

So when times are tough, or tougher, bring them in. Let them know what’s going on and how they can help. I don’t mean always going to them with “urgent” requests. I mean during those times where your team has encountered even more difficult circumstances and those you serve are in even darker circumstances, bring your donors in. They want to help. And because you are in relationship with them, they will.

Thank you for reading! I really appreciate it.

Your donors still need you

I’ve written posts that engage people who donate to nonprofits, reminding them that their favorite nonprofits still need them. While writing these and seeing the conversations that rise from them, I realized that our donors need us just as much.

When my husband and I donate to organizations, we’re doing so because their mission is something we care about, typically something we care about deeply. It’s important work to us, work that in some way is making the world a better place. Their work strikes at what causes are important to us.

I think this is important to write about and discuss because I also have heard from nonprofits who sometimes believe that with everything going on in the world, their mission and work may not be as important to their donors.

They are.

And your donors will do everything in their power to be able to continue to support your work and ensure your impact. This is especially true (perhaps always?) when you are in good relationship with your donors.

Keep this in mind. Whether or not your own world is getting back to normal or not, your donors are there. Keep them posted, keep reminding them why they donate to you, and keep asking them to help you make the world a better place.

Thank you for reading.

Small donations add up

Most of the work I do is with small, grassroots nonprofits. They all have some donors that give at the higher level, but where they really rock it is with continually receiving a large amount of smaller donations. These smaller donations add up, and allow the organizations to have even greater impact.

I know, a lot of what you hear about is major donors this and major donors that. I’m sure most of what you hear is true, at least for the nonprofit saying it. This post isn’t about major donors and isn’t saying anything negative about them. The point here is to open anyone’s mind around the value of all of your donors who are giving smaller amounts.

Most smaller donations come from e-appeals. They also come from people who have some level of interest in your mission. If you have the capacity to grow your smaller-donor base (and the desire!), the e-appeal is a great place to start. The organizations that have built their base of smaller donations begin here. Then they ensure quick thanking coupled with shared impact.

Once these have been done the next move can be to invite these same donors to become monthly donors. Share the impact of their moving to monthly giving. Keep in mind that growing your list of monthly donors takes time, both time to grow and time to work those relationships. Capacity is key to starting this.

Keep in mind that some of your appeals targeting smaller donations will be for the one-time donation and others will be to create donors from those who give. Regardless of where a specific donor lands, their donation can be the start of an ongoing relationship.

Relationship? With someone who donated $10.00?

Definitely. At first look remember that you know nothing of this donor, have no clue why they gave, and that it’s up to what the next step is. My idea is to start building the relationship as soon as you receive their first donation.

What can you do this week to connect with your donors giving at smaller amounts?

Thank you for reading!

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!

The good, the bad, and your updates

After speaking with a donor last week I realized that she had given me a great reminder: Transparency is super important between your organization and the donor. What this means to me is sharing the good and bad (or not so good) with your donors. Share the ups and the downs.

I have learned from working with donors that they love to be included in what is actually happening in the organization they’re supporting. They love to hear stories of success and they love hearing about your challenges.

Many donors want to know how they can help during difficult times, not only around giving but around other ways to help.

If your organization does some type of newsletter, be sure to include challenges with successes. If you send a personal update to donors, include the same, along with actions a donor can take to support the organization with their challenges.

The more a donor knows, the stronger the relationship can become.

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions about this or other posts, feel free to email me at dan@altrui.org

Light at the end of the tunnel

Since the first days of Altrui, we have offered a “dollar a minute” call to ensure any nonprofit professional, no matter their nonprofit size or budget, could use our services. Since then we have met met nonprofit professionals from all of the country and even abroad.

The best thing about this call is that it’s sixty minutes of what the client needs. This could be me mostly listening or 60 minutes of pure strategy. By the end of the call the client feels like there is light at the end of the tunnel.

What possibly could happen in an hour? Well, most of the time the person on the other end has intense feeling happening around work, budget, giving, staff, mission and anything else you can think of. They are overwhelmed and are sharing urgencies sometimes for the first time. They feel alone.

In every call there is a feeling of relief. Just have an honest conversation about revenue and expenses, about donor giving (or not!), about board issues. Many of these challenges seem to go away by simply talking through them. The power of challenges definitely lessens.

There is indeed light at the end of the tunnel. If your mission was important and your impact was clear before this pandemic, then all of that is still true.

You’re not alone. Sometimes just having an honest conversation about where we’re at, what is urgent, what we’re afraid of, and where we go from here can make us stronger and more focused.

Thank you for reading!

People are donating

As I read of more nonprofits laying off fundraising staff, I thought now was a good time for a reminder.

People are donating. People who have a lot are donating and people who are struggling are donating.

People are trying to figure out how they can make a difference during these trying times. They want to help. Many feel powerless.

That’s where we in the nonprofit fundraising world come in. It’s up to us to let people know what we’re doing, the impact we’re having, and most importantly, how our mission matches how people want to make a difference.

We have to keep building relationships and honor those who give.

We have to ask.

Nothing new with any of this.

Thank you for reading.

Thanks for Giving Day!

Time flies, and here we are already in mid-November!

That means that Thanks for Giving Day is here! Thursday, November 19th, nonprofit board members and staff members will call donors to say one simple thing:

Thank you!

That’s it. It’s all about thanking the donor.

If you haven’t done a Thanks for Giving Day before, here is a quick list to help:

Ask board members to sign up to make calls/send emails.

Create a list of donors who have donated in the last year.

Create a quick script for board members.

Send each board member a list of donor names and contact information, along with the script.

And go!

Something that has helped me in the past is asking board members to send anything they learned about the donor during the call. Had they moved? Do they have a new email address?

Give it a try. Thanks for Giving Day is a great way to support you in building life-long relationships with your donors. It also a great way to get board members engaged with fundraising in a fun way.

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!

Building relationships

As I celebrate one year of Altrui Consulting, I have had many reminders about the work we do and why I believe it’s so important. Our biggest successes in the last year have been working with nonprofits to support them in building stronger, lifelong relationships with donors and stakeholders, and working with small businesses to do the same with customers and clients.

The common denominator with nonprofits and small businesses is that in many cases leadership/the leader are overwhelmed, feeling like they do not have the time, capacity or funds to grow or sustain their mission or business.

Even in the midst of a changing world and difficult times for many, there have been ways for nonprofits and small businesses to survive and thrive. I’m excited to have been part of that for many, and as one who is “always learning” am grateful to be working with so many passionate people that are making a difference in this world.

As I look back through the first year, here are some actions I have suggested organizations taking that are working for them:

Strengthen your social media. Make it so you can communicate quickly and effectively with donors, stakeholders, customers and/or clients. If you have five platforms but are honestly only working one, get rid of the rest and focus solely on that one. Communication with those who support you is critical.

Make sure everyone who supports you, in whatever way, knows how grateful you are for that support. An instant email after a donation or sale does not count. A quick check in upon leaving your restaurant or their volunteering at your nonprofit do count. Knowledge of your gratitude goes a long way.

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.

Lastly, and equally important as the other three, take a breathe. Breathe. Relax. Trust those you hired. Confide in your closest confidants. If you are not fine when someone you trust asks you, don’t tell them you’re fine. We can’t do all of this by ourselves. And we don’t have to.

Thank you 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!


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