FundRaiser Blog

The FundRaiser Software Blog is an excellent resource for nonprofit organizations looking to learn more about fundraising, donor management, membership management, and much more.

Josh and Jonathan

Josh Shirley (left) and Jonathan Smith.

Happy Father's Day to the fathers at FundRaiser. Their role as fathers is an important influence on who they are, on the job as well as off.

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Tagged in: Company culture
in Non-Profit Fundraising Tips 2613
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Kim Klein's blog on Steps for Raising $20,000 is a great article to use to show exactly how FundRaiser can simplify donor management.  If you look at the steps suggested to the student in order to raise funds for their trip to Costa Rica, you'll see how each step can be simplified and tracked using FundRaiser.

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in Trainers Blog 1667
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You don't need to see the whole staircase just to take the first stepDear Ms. Klein:

I am the treasurer of the Spanish Honor Society at my local High School. My goal is to raise approximately $20,000 in order to have all our club members fly to Costa Rica. We plan to volunteer at an orphanage there where we will teach the children English and organize activities for them. The problem is, however, that I have no idea where to start. I know a project of this scale requires more than a bake sale, but what? I understand that you are probably more used to dealing with things of a larger scale, but do you have any tips for the penniless high school student?

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in Non-Profit Fundraising Tips 2248
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Thanking donors is a private act. It is between the donor and the organization.  Recognizing donors is public, and because it is public you need to be absolutely sure you adhere to a donor’s wishes when you do it.

Obviously, you don’t publicly recognize a donor who has requested anonymity. But just how publicly does the donor want to be recognized? Does he wants his name ballyhooed from one end of town to the other, or would she prefer a discrete listing in the annual report?

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in Non-Profit Fundraising Tips 1948
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With Memorial Day just around the corner, it might be a good time to mention a couple of ways you can keep track of memorial gifts in FundRaiser.  We call them "Tribute" gifts, and they can be in memory of departed loved ones, or in honor of living individuals, or even in celebration of some life event or other.

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in Trainers Blog 2163
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One of the best ways to cultivate a relationship with a donor and strengthen that donor’s loyalty to an organization is to foster the donor’s connection with key staff. Obviously, executive directors and other very senior staff are naturals for this. But there are other approaches.

For one thing, you can introduce donors to staff members with whom they share interests. Another possibility is to invite donors to lunch with senior program staff. The donors get to hear the inside scoop on what the organization is doing, and staff develops an appreciation for the donors. That’s a win/win situation in my book.

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Tagged in: donor loyalty
in Non-Profit Fundraising Tips 1621
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In a recent blog here by Kim Klein, follow-up was stressed as an important element in asking people to volunteer their help.  It's as true in fundraising as in any other aspect of volunteerism (or life itself, for that matter) that communication is critical in fostering a strong, respectful, and meaningful relationship.  So use what FundRaiser provides to keep abreast of what's happening with your individual requests of volunteers, and be prepared to communicate often and openly.  Here are a couple of features that I've talked about in the past, that can be very helpful in accomplishing your goals:

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in Trainers Blog 2005
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The Face wants you to know.Hi Everybody! The name is Nick and if you've called for FundRaiser Tech Support in the last year or so you've probably talked to me, and if not, then what's stopping you?

Anyway, today I would like to talk about the best way to import data into FundRaiser and the mythically obscure .CSV file ... scary. Now, you may or may not be asking yourself. "Awesome Nick, how do I create a .CSV without summoning potentially evil spirits?"

Well, first things first, open up your spreadsheet in Excel. Most of the time it will be saved as an Excel Workbook or some other file useless to FundRaiser. Now, go to "Save As" this will open the "Save As" window. On the bottom of the "Save As" window you will see a drop menu that says "Save As type." Now this part is crucial, click on the drop down menu.

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Have faith and follow through Dear Kim:

I recently sent a letter to the founding director of our organization and asked her to consider being on our event committee.  I never heard back from her and so I formed the committee without her.  But now I have heard through the grapevine that she is a little hurt not to be included on this committee.  It is our 30th Anniversary and the event is a really big deal.  She had her chance, so I am not sure what I am supposed to do.  Ideas?

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in Non-Profit Fundraising Tips 1341
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SHHHHH!!  Don't tell anyone I'm giving you this sneak peek, but I feel compelled to let you know just one new layout feature coming in the near future.  It won't happen for a month or two, but when it does, you'll be able to take advantage of it right away.  The Tony Poderis blog of April 7th got me thinking about this, because it's nice to be able to thank brand new donors in one way, while thanking repeat donors in a whole different way.  In fact, one of the points in Tony's blog is to thank donors for past support.

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in Trainers Blog 1443
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Thanking donors seems like something so basic that we shouldn’t even have to talk about it. But more mistakes, with more devastating results for donor loyalty, are made in the thanking of donors than anyplace else. So, let’s go over six rules for saying “thank you” that are absolutely essential.

  1. Thank a donor immediately. Send out a thank-you note for a gift no later than the day after the gift is received. Nothing is more important than a prompt thank-you.
  2. Be humble. Don’t act as if or communicate the thought that you were expecting the gift as something that was the donor’s responsibility to do.
  3. Praise the donor’s generosity. Do not stint. Let the donor know how important the gift is.
  4. Praise your donor’s leadership. Anyone who gives is a leader and should be treated as such, and call attention to the fact that their gift will influence others to give.
  5. Thank donors for past support. When you receive today’s gift remind the donor how appreciative you are of past support, but do not talk about future support. Do not say thanks out of one side of your mouth and hint at future requests out of the other.
  6. And finally, never let a hint of disappointment show. Never, ever show a lack of gratitude for a gift, whatever its size.

There are two things that must be remembered about saying thanks. Donors expect it, and they deserve it.

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in Non-Profit Fundraising Tips 1376
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This week's Kim Klein blog shows how some small organizations may falsely assume that "major" donors are their best target demographic when considering time vs return.  Statistically, individuals give more than foundations or corporations, and there are many more "small" donors contributing to non-profits than there are "major" donors.  Let's look at how FundRaiser's built-in word processing and automation of thank-you letters can whittle down time spent while increasing returns from the vast majority of donors.

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in Trainers Blog 1567
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Dear Kim:

My nonprofit has recently decided to follow your advice and build a base of individual donors.  (We have lost most of our foundation funding and see this as our only choice.)  We are very small, with only two staff and five board members and so we want to attract a small number of big donors ($5000+).  We are not trying to disrespect people who can only give $35 or $50, but we don’t have the staff capacity to deal with them and think it is more efficient to go after big gifts.  How can we best focus on major donors?  

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in Non-Profit Fundraising Tips 1817
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As a development officer in a nonprofit organization you are well positioned to facilitate business and social contacts your donors may wish to make. Once, I had a family foundation that was making substantial gifts, and a donor who was head of a large financial house. I knew the broker-donor wanted to talk about handling the Foundation’s investments, so I put them together. The result was two happy donors and my employer, the Cleveland Orchestra, reaped the benefit of being the matchmaker.

Inviting a donor to a party or event hosted for you by those who are more socially or professionally prominent is a good way to help that donor up the success ladder. Conversely, inviting prominent members of your community to a party hosted for you by a donor who is trying to increase his or her social or professional standing can work just as well.

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in Non-Profit Fundraising Tips 1382
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In this week's blog by Kim Klein, the focus is on laying out an effective strategy for raising money, based on your organization needs and resources.  I'd like to give you a few steps on how to lay out an effective training strategy for learning FundRaiser software.

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in Trainers Blog 1420
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Dear Kim,

We are a tiny grassroots organization with less than two volunteers available to help with special events and no paid staff. We rescue a species of animal whose rescue needs are not concentrated enough to focus on one city, so we operate throughout the state.  Thus, what few volunteers we have are spread out too far to commute to on-site fundraisers.  We have also not had success in trying to get our volunteers to act as salespersons (cookie dough, scratch card, etc. fundraisers). What do you recommend?

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in Non-Profit Fundraising Tips 1283
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Before I get too far, let me say that I'm making a departure from the usual blog material.  Normally I'm asked to write about FundRaiser features to complement another blog from either Kim Klein or Tony Poderis, and that was the case this week, as well.  But I decided to write something totally different, sparked by our granddaughter's return to Arizona (where the training office is located) from the east coast area.  She flew in, but had several boxes of "stuff" shipped, including her computer, which was, in her words, "so slow I think it died".  In 25+ years working with personal computers, I don't remember having seen such a slow machine.  It took at least 5 minutes to boot up, and usually several boots before it successfully opened Windows to the desktop.

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in Trainers Blog 1459
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FundRaiser staff has more than one 'foodie' among its ranks, so there was no problem coming up with a recipe that we wanted to give a try at the local Chili Cook-Off recently. Quite a lot more debate went into the name of the chili...
At the end of the day, we took home the first prize for Booth, and had a fantastic time cooking up our pot ot Dragon's Breath Chili. Here you have it, not too hot, but with a little something special about the taste.

 

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Tagged in: Company culture
in About us 1890
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Preparation makes informal meetings go smoothlyEven if you successfully get donors to make site visits and are able to reach out to them as described above, it is not enough. You need to do more to keep in touch. After all, how many times a year will a donor be willing to come to the organization, or how frequently can you call for an appointment without becoming a pest? Besides, there are other ways to communicate and express interest in donors. Let’s begin by looking at communication that is more about the donor than the organization.

Send birthday and other appropriate greeting cards. Send get-well cards and even flowers to a donor in the hospital. Keep your eye open for items about donors in newspapers. When you see one, clip it and send it along with a “congratulations” note to the donor.

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in Non-Profit Fundraising Tips 3984
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Kim Klein's blog on Donor Research this month is all about collecting information about donors.  As most of you know, in FundRaiser there are a multitude of ways and places in which to store this data.  The one complaint I've heard about this is that it can be difficult to remember where you've put each different type of information.  Is it in the Name Details? or Preferences? or Spare Fields?  And why should I have to jump all over the place to see the information that is important to MY tasks in this organization, anyway?

Enter the "Custom Page" concept.  Have you noticed the Custom Page tab (normally found to the left of the Master List tab) in FundRaiser?  If it doesn't exist, you probably have Spark.  If you have Select or Professional, it may have been moved to the right of the Master list (Options | Change Tab Order).  The Custom Page is, at first, a blank space just waiting for you to design your perfect information layout.  What information about donors do you want at your fingertips?  Where is that data normally kept?  You can "mirror" that field (or table) of information on the Custom Page.  You can have, for instance, not only the donor name, phones, email, age, and so forth, but also the table showing their entire Giving History, or the table shoing all of their Category Codes, or any specific Preference settings that are important, or...  whatever you wish.

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