Fundraising

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Tis the time of year for gift-giving. For family, friends, colleagues (Secret Santa, anyone?), and even – especially – for service providers.

Which means: It’s a time to remember just how interconnected we are. How dependent – on couriers knowing where to leave our urgent package of warm winter socks, or baristas remembering how many dollops of whipped cream we like in our mocha-caramel swirl.

How much our smoothly-running universe depends on the sensitivity and professionalism of others.

And to express that acknowledgement with generosity.

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It’s that time of year – when all good nonprofits get out their end-of-year appeal.

Carefully crafted, visually appealing, lift notes written on top (hopefully) by the person who knows the donor best.

Cajoling done, we’ve collected contact information from board members, made sure to mail-merge and personalize each letter.

Package complete with reply card, self-addressed envelope, perhaps a brochure or fact sheet.

And then… into the mail (with a first class stamp) it goes.

Holding our breath, we wait.

But maybe, this year, there’s more to be done.

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Nonprofits are a community’s collective response. To issues of unfairness, expressions of cultural pride, a means through which we care for one another.

They’re how we join together to right a wrong, to create a force for change that is greater than any of us can muster up individually.

Nonprofits are, in a word, leaders in their communities.

So when an earth-shattering occurrence takes place that promises to upend our future, as occurred with last week’s election, it doesn’t take long for nonprofits to move out in front, rising above daily programming to serve as a flash point for their community’s voice. 

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It provides a rallying cry for “Why Now.”

A “We’re All In This Together” peer motivator.

A deadline – so helpful as a “Get Off Your Chair and Get Going” procrastination-buster.

But it doesn’t help delineate the “Why Us” – the unique value that helps your nonprofit combat appeal fatigue and capture donor attention.

Which you need, to help your nonprofit stand out in a crowded sea of appeals all landing on the same day from a host of nonprofits – all using #GivingTuesday as the same rallying cry, peer motivator, and procrastination buster.

It’s the “Too Much Of A Good Thing” phenomenon. How do we stand out from the crowd on #GivingTuesday?

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There’s a phrase in management – the burning platform – that refers to a situation in which people are forced to act, because the alternative is worse. A crisis moment: we can’t stay where we are because the ship is burning up underneath our feet, so we have to jump (the actual impetus for the original metaphor).

The choices faced on a burning platform are powerful – an organization can’t maintain the status quo, so business as usual is not an option. What results is “immediate and radical change due to dire circumstances,” according to change management theory.

In nonprofits, this radical behavior change often includes fundraising. 

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