Newsletters

Cause Effective's e-newsletters offer timely advice, tips and tools for nonprofit staff, board members and volunteers.  Here are some recent samples: 

 

March 2017: Development Under Seige -- Both Crisis and Opportunity

When the ALCU raises $24 million in one weekend - it's the progressive movement's version of the Ice Bucket Challenge.

While of course we all have donation envy, there's a lot to learn about how, in this pivotal moment, our organizations can build the support they need to face these challenging times. What are some of the principles that led to that $24 million jackpot - and how can we apply them across the sector?

Read the rest here!

 

 

January 2017: After The Annual Appeal -- What's Next?

Welcome to 2017.

In the fundraising universe, that means annual appeal results are, for the most part, in.

Through the grapevine, we're hearing about groups holding their own....perhaps with donors giving slightly less while they wait to see where the needs will be greatest...or donors giving more to threatened causes while holding back on areas considered less "essential."

These are changing times. How can nonprofits follow up on their appeal to keep donors involved?

Read the rest here!

 

 

November 2016: Milestone Anniversaries

Every five years, like clockwork, nonprofits approach a "milestone anniversary" - marking 5, 10, 20, or even 75 or 150 years of service to the community. Whatever the number, nonprofits often wake up belatedly to realize its possibilities and end up scrambling to pull together a public celebration. Maybe, if someone has the foresight, they place an "anniversary logo" in everyone's signature line.

We think anniversaries are too important an opportunity to waste. In that spirit we offer these guidelines, wherever you are in your anniversary cycle, to make the most of your anniversary campaign.

Read the rest here!

 

 

September 2016: Breathing Room: Investing in Development Staff

You need to spend money to make money.

Easy enough to say, but difficult to make the decision to invest in more development staff.

Can a nonprofit striving to reach its development goals - especially stretch goals associated with a new strategic plan - get there without hiring additional personnel?

And how can you know, beyond a hunch based on "gut"?

Read the rest here!

 

 

June 2016: Board Recruitment: Bringing In Relief

"We know what we need to do, there's just not enough people to do it!"

Sound familiar?

Sometimes the problem with low-functioning boards is not lack of knowledge about what board members should be doing - it's a pure and simple lack of bodies to do the work.

It's all well and good to understand that high-performing boards function through committee work; but it's hard to populate committees with a 5 member-board (or 5 active members within a board of 12).

The answer, in these cases? A high wattage focus on very strategic recruitment.

Read the rest here!

 

 

April 2016: Sacred Cows: Showing Your Fundraising Event Who's Boss

We call them special events for a reason.

They bring us money, friends, visibility, reach, media opportunities, board prospects and more - on top of raising essential unrestricted dollars.

But they are also behemoths - public, time-sensitive, all-consuming. If we're not careful, they can take on a life of their own.

Events are tools to meet our organizational objectives - and "because we always do it" is never a good reason to invest so much time, money and human capital to pull them off.

So when is it time to take a breath and ask - is it really worth it? The answer is - every single year, well before we plunge in. Here are some ways to rethink an event that's just not so special any more.

Read the rest here!

 

 

February 2016: Board Retreats 

Energize. Align. Commit. Act.

Nonprofits facing a disengaged board...a board that's operating as less than the sum of its parts...or those facing a transition point (new leadership, refreshed strategic plan, major environmental shifts) often come up with the same solution - holding a board retreat.

The vision: 15 people gathered together, delving deep into weighty topics, and emerging united and ready to run.

But a few days later...? As excitement wanes and board members' commitments to the nonprofit compete with family obligations, work challenges and the like, our best laid plans have trouble taking root.

How can we get the most out of the effort we put into a retreat - with results that last?

So here are some quick tips for those fundraising-is-but-one-part-of-my-job staff and board members, to help us kickstart Fall... and set us up for a terrific spring.

Read the rest here!

 

 

November 2015: Sold Out 

Smashing through fundraising barriers. A board bursting with pride at its own achievement. A room packed to the rafters with the right people.

Several Cause Effective clients have achieved this and more with breakthrough events this Fall. So we asked them: "What are the secrets of your success?"

Read the rest here!

 

 

September 2015: Is Fundraising On Your Mind? 

Summer is barely over, and the rush into Fall is already well underway.

You know the feeling. New hires, program events, reports due... it's as if a bell goes off the day after Labor Day and then it's full-speed ahead - at least until Thanksgiving.

For those of us for whom fundraising is but one responsibility (executive directors, board members, senior staff), it can be all too easy to relegate Fall fundraising to writing breathless notes on annual appeal letters in late-November.

But what a missed opportunity.

So here are some quick tips for those fundraising-is-but-one-part-of-my-job staff and board members, to help us kickstart Fall... and set us up for a terrific spring.

Read the rest here!

 

 

May 2015: If You Build It 

Special events - a way to celebrate, to bring people together, and to raise money, all at the same time. What's not to love? But time and again, special events seem to lend themselves to a special kind of nonprofit “magical thinking”:

“If we throw a really fabulous party” ...

     “If we get just the perfect auction price” ... 

          “If Oprah serves as our honorary benefit chair” ...

                “If Janet Jackson shows up to sing” ...

                    “If people learn we are celebrating 50 years of service” ...

...then we'll sell hundreds of tickets/dozens of tables/secure a big name sponsor that will bring us to our (probably inflated), nice round-number of a goal. 

Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. And this kind of magical thinking keeps event planners (board members, committee chairs, staff) from taking the hard steps necessary to realize the kind of revenue that might actually be raised - not just this year, but over time. 

Read the rest here!

 

 

March 2015: Unstick Your Board 

We've all heard the directive by now: “Board members must raise funds.” But even though many board members know this is their responsibility, boards across America aren't living up to this dictum.

Enter a boardroom and announce a new board fundraising campaign, and watch board members freeze like deer in the headlights. They want to do their job - but they just can't move off the dime.

How can we “unstick” our boards?

Read the rest here!

 

 

February 2015: Donor Stewardship

As in most relationships, the key to donor satisfaction is good communication. And, also like most relationships, the more carefully you listen, the better you can choose activities that delight, intrigue, and nurture donor's connections to your work.

Get to know the mind of your donor. How? By asking them through one-to-one conversations, small-group meetings, e-surveys, and every which way you can - why they give and how they want to hear about what their gift achieved.

Read the rest here

 

 

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