Tag: social media

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!

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.

Just laid off?

It’s been several years. Our nonprofit was in financial trouble and for leadership lay offs were the answer. I was on the list. My boss was kind, honored my time there, and offered me the day to gather my things.

I wasn’t surprised. I had seen the writing on the wall and had begun to prepare.

I had a lot going for me. I am married so there was still an income. I had vacation time and with a little severance pay I left the office that day with enough to get me by for a month or so.

The biggest thing I had, which is really what made the whole process of being laid off and being unemployed so much easier, was my community. An example of this is that on the same day I was laid off I posted on Facebook that I had been laid off, that I now had free time, and that I would love to have coffee, breakfast or lunch with people. The caveat was that whoever invited me would have to pay.

By the end of the day, just hours after I posted, I had 68 invitations. Soon, people began leaving gifts of coffee and coffee house gift cards on our porch (I’m a big coffee guy and the gift cards helped me work from local coffee houses and get out of the house).

By day two the reality had set in. I forgot to mention that the first day I applied for unemployment. By the second day I had my resume ready to go. I had a couple of friends look at it and made edits based on their feedback. I sent an email to close friends in the nonprofit world and began checking employment websites. I updated my LinkedIn account and switched the recruiter option to let recruiters know I was now looking. By the end of day two I had spent ten hours beginning my search. I began day three by being dressed and ready for the day just as if I were going to work.

I had to look at money and see where I could save and what I could cut.

Honest conversations with close friends and those in my professional circle helped. I highly recommend that. Communicating your job search to your entire network is important.

I was laid off on a Thursday and began phone interviews on Monday. I fortunately was offered a job three weeks later and after five weeks of being unemployed began my new position.

It’s not easy. There are a lot of feelings that hit someone when being laid off. The biggest action for me was to reach out for support. I had this amazing community of friends and peers who were right there for me. Reaching out made a big difference, and I highly recommend it. Let everyone know what you’re looking for and for those close to you let them know how they can help.

I hope this is helpful. If I can help let me know. My email is dan@altrui.org I’m happy to be one of those who supports you while you find your next adventure. I can be especially helpful if you’re in the nonprofit world as that’s my world.

You definitely do not have to be on this journey alone.

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

Shared nonprofit concerns

I am back home after my second Altrui road trip this year. This one was to Denver, where I spent most of my nonprofit fundraising time and where I am fortunate to call many nonprofit leaders friend. I ended the trip in Las Vegas where I am slowly building new relationships.

After dozens of conversations within the past couple of weeks with those directly involved in nonprofit fundraising, I can tell you that there are many shared concerns.

First on the list of concerns is fundraising. Most I spoke with had already been in solid communication with donors and funders and were relying on years of “donor love” practices that meant they were in solid relationship with their donors. Nonetheless they were still concerned about fundraising efforts and future funding.

Each person I met with had canceled a fundraising event. Half had created a new virtual event and all had created a fundraising campaign to make up some of the lost revenue of canceled events. I had several conversations on the success of virtual events and the success of asking corporate supporters to continue sponsorship with or without an in-person event. More and more are getting comfortable with the thought of creating successful virtual events.

Some of those I met with had furloughed or laid off staff, or were about to starting in July. My hope is with donor-centered approaches to fundraising along with virtual events that this does not become the norm for nonprofits.

Board support was half positive and half negative, so if you’re struggling with some on your board, which by the way may not be new, you are definitely not alone. Some board members have transitioned well to this tougher world and others have not. Consistent communication and one and ones can help, along with being as clear as ever in explaining what you need from each board member and the impact of their support.

If you have felt overwhelmed you are not alone. If you have felt sad you are not alone. If you have felt hopeless, again, not alone. You are also not alone if you have felt excitement with the successes you are having and large doses of hope as donor after donor continues to show up in support. Every person I met with has embraced their own personal creativity and that of their teams in focusing on solutions that enable them to continue their life-changing programs.

Interested in my thoughts around actions one can take based on all of my conversations? Sure! Here you go!

Connect with other nonprofit leaders and fundraisers.

Don’t give up on special events. Look into a virtual one.

Keep communicating with donors and funders. How are they?

Keep your website current. This includes current contact information.

Share your impact.

Lastly, whether this is our new normal or not, keep pivoting to meet the needs of your organization and your staff. Keep your programs strong and impactful. More than ever, our worlds needs strong nonprofits making the world a better place.

If you would like to talk about how Altrui might be able to support your fundraising and relationship-building efforts, please send an email to dan@altrui.org

Thank you for reading!

You’re not alone

We’re in tougher times. And we’re all in different situations. Some are working harder than ever and some aren’t working. In our world, the world of nonprofit fundraising, everyone is experiencing so many different things. The main thing I keep thinking of is that regardless of the situation you’re in, you’re not alone.

Of course if you are staying at home and have a house full, you may wish you were alone, but that’s not the type of alone I’m thinking about.

In the nonprofit world, you are definitely not alone. Everyone is having new challenges and having to look at their mission and their world differently. Feeling overwhelmed is typical in our world, yet can be even more intense these days. You’re not alone.

Now in the fourth month of a different world, we’ve seen actions that are really working. The biggest success we’ve seen is with nonprofits that are reaching out to their donors to continue building that relationship and to keep donors in the loop on what is going on and the continued impact of the mission. It’s so important. It’s important to ask how your donors are doing along with letting them know what your current needs are. If you have concerns around fundraising, remember you are not alone! Many nonprofit leaders are feeling the same.

Many of you are presenting budgets to your board for the next fiscal year (starting July 1st). Holy cow. It’s not easy. Budget time can always be a bit stressful and how in the heck to you budget the next year? Like with everything else, you give it your best shot, present it, and move on.

From special events to the next direct mail piece, everything is different. And if I know one thing about nonprofit fundraising professionals, it’s that we thrive in many situations and we just don’t stop.

Grab your coffee or tea, check in with those who inspire you, and keep doing what you do best.

Thank you for reading!

Starting your own business

I’m in month eight of running Altrui Consulting full time, and even though that seems like a long time, it really isn’t. I continue to learn something each day about not only how to run a consultancy, but learning about something I hadn’t even considered the day prior!

Like most things in life there are pros and cons to starting your own business. I seem to have mostly pros so far. I also have a spouse that is bringing in a paycheck and I have other sources of income in other work. That’s important to consider. It’s great to go off and start creating the job and business of your dreams. Just remember that you need some type of revenue at all times.

I chose to go the Sole Proprietorship route. It’s just me and it’s always going to be just me. When I send some work out to a colleague, it’s due to the fact that colleague can do the job better, and they just take on the client. This has helped me build trust with my clients, saying when I don’t know or when there is someone I know who could do the work better than I could. Nothing like building a deeper trust with your client.

I set up a business account at my local credit union and got the smallest QuickBooks account. I learned quickly that as much time as I spend trying to grow my business and secure new clients, I also had to spend time with business housekeeping. For example, if I’m not sending invoices, I’m less likely to get paid!

I spend time in my social media accounts every day. I was fortunate to have had Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube accounts when I began. After learning more I added a business Facebook account an a business Instagram account. Both are slowly growing and get me in front of different people.

A note about social media. I don’t need my Instagram account to have several thousand followers, unless I know the majority of them. I am carefully and strategically growing my Instagram account because I want it to be relevant and I want to be in relationship with those I am connected with. That takes time. I’m patient with the growth.

My last experience that I’d like to share is how important it is to have an accountant. One who will talk through next steps with you and can be a great resource on all things taxes. Yes, taxes!

More to come. Thanks for reading!

Altrui Consulting is here for you!

We’re open and ready to serve. Altrui is here for you!

The nonprofit world, as the rest of the world, is changing every day. As the need for nonprofit services rises, many struggle with making ends meet, fundraising, and keeping in touch with their stakeholders and donors. Increased workload and decreased resources.

Some nonprofits have decided not to fundraise during this time. Indeed, many have furloughed or laid off their fundraising teams. Meanwhile, we at Altrui have been encouraging the opposite. Support your fundraising team as much as possible. Support their efforts in engaging with your donors and keeping your donors up to date with how you are continuing your amazing work during these times.

Don’t stop fundraising.

And if you need help with any part of your fundraising or marketing, we’re here for you. We 100% believe in the power of nonprofits, and know that nonprofits will be OK through this especially if they stay in communication with their donors and let them know how they can help. Right now with current clients we are working on email appeals, social media campaigns, a planned giving campaign, a spring appeal an online fundraising event.

We know this will pass. We’re with you now and will be with you then. Thank you for continuing to do all you can to make the world a better place. Your impact is life changing.

Thank you for reading!

Facebook live video – fundraising and books

I did my first Facebook live session. I talked about fundraising ideas for today and some favorite fundraising books.

Books I reviewed are:

“Writing without bullshit” by Josh Bernoff

“Retention fundraising” by Roger Craver

“The fundraiser’s guide to irresistible communications” by Jeff Brooks

“The happy, healthy nonprofit” by Beth Kanter and Aliza Sherman

“Decolonizing Wealth” by Edgar Villanueva

“Magnetic nonprofit” by Jeremy Reis

“Influencer” by Brittany Hennessy

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!

Good bye multitasking

I am an awesome multitasker.

A requirement is that you are an excellent multitasker.

Being able to multitask in a chaotic environment is necessary.

Whew! There sure is a lot of pressure to be a multitasker!

I have been saying good bye to multitasking, and I think this is a good time of year to consider doing the same. The thing is, we all have so much to do. Just ask anyone in our field and they will let you know how busy they are. I have found that what works well for me is to focus on particular actions, take them, them move on to the next.

Of course no one wants to hear this. In our field, the very basic of requirements is that one is an incredible multitasker. You see it in almost every job description. I think our donors, our peers, our staff, and us ourselves deserve a lot better. The more we put focus on one task and one area, the more brilliant that turns out. And that works out well for all everyone.

I’m not saying to cease all multitasking this very instance. I’m saying that for me multitasking is not the best way. More to come on this.

What do you think?

Thanks 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.

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