Category Archives: Fundraising

Webinar: Funding Trends in Arts and Culture

It looks like October is Funding for the Arts month at the Foundation Center, and I happen to know that a lot of you are involved in the arts.  Why not attend the Funding Trends in Arts and Culture webinar and see what you can learn?  Experts in the arts and culture field will discuss funding trends, you can attend from your own office, and it is free.

The Foundation Center webinars use Microsoft Office Live Meeting software.  There is a link on the registration page to download it, along with some basic instructions.  The software is very easy to install and use (don’t be scared away!), but if you have any questions or problems, feel free to call (432 5062) or email me for help { katebfpl at gmail dot com }.


Webinar Notes: Fundraising A to Z in Difficult Times

Last week I spent two whole days participating in a  Cooperating Collection webinar, hosted by the Foundation Center.  I took part in sessions that will help me create a better, more effective Cooperating Collection, and also sessions full of tips for nonprofits in tough economic times.  I hope to share some of my notes with you over the next few weeks.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Fundraising A to Z in Difficult Times was conducted by Michael Seltzer, author of  Securing Your Organization’s Future: A Complete Guide to Fundraising Strategies.

***  The new destination for nonprofit fundraising is sustainable funding, and securing fundraisers rather than donors.  ***

Accentuate the Positive. The recession is the time for NPOs to invest in communications and marketing.  Try to craft a positive message about your cause so it can rise above all the gloom and doom about Wall Street.

Collaborate.  “Much can be gained such as cost savings and enhanced impact through working more closely with others.”  Share physical office space, share events, share online spaces.

Experiment.  Create a small scale, experimental initiative or campaign.  Less start up investment, less effort, but still can land you in the public’s eye.

Fundraise Selectively.  No shotgun fundraising!  Engage your supporters in your organization.  Don’t call them donors – call them members or stakeholders.

Get Rid of Dead Wood.  “The times require all hands on deck.  Make it attractive for board members that are not pulling their weight to rotate off the board.”  Create “post board service” opportunities to help gracefully transition less effective baord members off the board.  If you want better people on your board, change your message when recruiting board members.  Sitting on a board is a civic opportunity and a position of honor!  Make sure your organization treats (and promotes) it as such.

Join Forces. Explore group purchasing plans to create cost savings.  There is more to gain than lose in the sharing of information and resources with other NPOs.   Cooperating Collections can be meeting grounds for the NPOs in the community.

Look to the Future.  “Organizations will prevail if they are prepared to innovate and reinvent themselves.”  Example:  selling Girl Scout cookies online.  Genius!

Links to Visit

Two links worth sharing …

  1. From Katya’s Nonprofit Marketing Blog :   “For decades, fundraising pros have relied on a ‘little blue book’ to inspire and inform their boards: The Raising of Money, 35 Essentials Every Trustee Should Know, by Jim Lord.”  Go to Katya’s blog and click the link to download the “little blue book” for free.
  2. If you have not yet subscribed to The Grantsmanship Center‘s e-mail newsletter, Centered, you should do it now.  Each month’s newsletter contains a few short, information packed articles.  Go to their home page and look for the “Join Our Mailing List” link on the left hand side.

Nonprofits: News on the Economy

The Foundation Center has a new page on their website called “Focus on the Economic Crisis.”  Here is what the New York Foundation Center director, Charlotte Dion, has to say about it:

“We know that many of you are very concerned about the impact of the current recession on giving. To help you track what’s going on, and to give you some historical perspective, the Foundation Center has created a new web feature that brings together headlines from Philanthropy News Digest, Foundation Center research, interviews with leaders in the field, podcasts, and other resources on the topic.”

–  from the Philanthropy Front and Center – Cleveland blog

Useful, or just depressing? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Cultivate High-End Donors

I just found a great article on FundRaising Success titled “45 Easy Ways to Cultivate High-Value Donors.”  The suggestions are indeed very easy, practical, and easy to apply.  Some of my favorites:

7. Have someone who benefits from the organization’s work write letters describing how the organization has helped.

16. Send donors articles that might interest them — even if they have nothing to do with your organization. Sometimes it’s better if they have nothing to do with your organization — that tells donors that you’re interested in them as people and not as checkbooks.

27. Take out a thank-you ad in the local newspaper.

What are some of the ways you thank your donors?

5 Ways to Cultivate Potential Funders


from Flickr/Andyrob

Cultivating a relationship with potential funders can increase your chances of getting a grant proposal funded.  In The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Grant Writing by Waddy Thompson (Franklin Public Library call number CC 658.15224 THO), cultivation is defined as “means of educating a funder or donor about a charity in preparation for a solicitation.”  It makes sense, right?  The more a foundation (or any donor) knows about your organization, and the more chances they have to see you in action, the more likely they may be to fund your projects.

In our rural area, we may not always have the chance to cultivate foundation funders face-to-face, but that doesn’t mean we should neglect this crucial aspect of foundation fundraising.  Here, five ways to cultivate a realtionship with your potential foundation funders without meeting face-to-face.  


  1. In all correspondence, reinforce connections between your organization’s mission and the foundation’s interests.  Express your nonprofit’s connection to the foundation’s interests, but do so in your own natural language.  Don’t just parrot the foundation’s mission back to them and say, “We care about these issues too.”  Refer to grants they’ve given in the past, or organizations they have supported.  If the foundation has sponsored any studies into your shared field of interest, read them and refer to them, perhaps even citing them in your proposal. 
  2. Place an inquiry call to the foundation prior to submitting anything.  If the foundation publishes a phone number, use it.  Line up all the pertinent facts about your program and make a list of bullet points to refer to during the call if necessary.  You may not get a chance to speak to someone who cares about your bullet points (like a program officer), but having them on hand in case you do can be a real lifesaver.  If you only get the chance to speak with a secretary, ask for copies of every publication the foundation creates (annual reports, current and past RFPs, and the like), and also the name of the program officer to whom your inquiries should be addressed. 
  3. Include the foundation on your organization’s mailing list.  If you publish a newsletter, make sure the foundation receives it.  If you send out a press release, make sure the foundation receives it.  If you had a successful program, send photos to the foundation with a note saying something like, “Here is one way we use our donor’s funds to …”. 
  4. How often is too often to contact a funder?  It’s a delicate balance.  Don’t be a nuisance, but don’t wait so long that they forget who you are.  Every two weeks to once a month should be sufficient.   
  5. Always say thank you.  Send a thank you note to the funder, whether you receive the funding you requested or not.

Do you have any other ideas for cultivating relationships with potential funders?  Share them in the comments.

Online Fundraising for Nonprofits

Does your nonprofit have a strong web presence?  If not, you may be missing out on a powerful source of funding in these uncertain economic times.  The effects of our bad economy are already being felt in the world of philanthropy.  Establishing a strong web presence is a cost effective way to diversify your nonprofit’s fund raising strategy.  Here, some reading to get you off to a good start:     

Online…They’ve Got Mail: 10 Marketing Strategies from TheNonProfit Times

When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Online, a commentary from Jeff Brooks’ Donor Power Blog on a FundRaising Success article, 10 Tips for Fundraising in Tough Times

12 Easy Ways to Build Your Nonprofit’s Email List from the ever-useful Nonprofit Marketing Guide

And a very relevant, very funny Email Checklist from Seth Godin