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Below you will find all of our past articles about anything nonprofit and charity related in general. It is a long list of articles so don't hesitate to bookmark this page and come back often. If you would like more great fundraising information in the future then please sign up for an email notification whenever we publish a new article.

Five Tech Tips to Punch Up Your Nonprofit Communications by Nancy Schwartz

There's a disconnect in the nonprofit world. I read countless articles about technology and its powerful applications for the nonprofit sector, but seldom is there coverage of the critical interface between technology and communications strategies. That's a serious gap.

What's happened, in my opinion, is that many of us shy away from technology. By leaving tech decisions to the IT department rather than schooling ourselves on these opportunities, we limit the impact of our communications strategies.

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Podcasts For Nonprofit Organizations: Development for Leaders, Board Members, Staff and Volunteers by Roger Carr

There are some terrific podcasts available on the subject of nonprofit organizations. They cover topics including:

  • Starting a nonprofit organization

  • Fundraising

  • Leading and managing

  • Using technology effectively

Listening to informative podcasts is a great way to learn. You can listen to podcasts on your computer or with a portable mp3 player when you are away from your home or office. I have turned my car into a classroom! Rather than listening to the radio, I listen to podcasts I have downloaded to my mp3 player. There are special accessories that allow you to play your mp3 player through your car radio.

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Have a Well-thought-out Procedure for Acknowledging Gifts from the Successful Fund Raising newsletter

Do you have a seamless procedure in place for who’s responsible for sending thank-you letters to contributors? Is it the person who solicited the gift? Your CEO? Both? Does the size of the gift play into who signs the gift acknowledgment?

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Get Organized NOW! by Heidi Richards

Get Organized - Being organized gives us a sense of control, when you’re disorganized, you feel out of control. When you are organized, you are more able to concentrate on those things that really matter to you. When you are organized, you feel less stress. Getting organized means getting rid of clutter. It means setting up systems. What needs more organizing in your world right now? Here are some tips to help you get and stay organized ....

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Marketing For Just Cause by Harry Hoover

Cause marketing is a relationship between a for-profit and a nonprofit that brings in money and resources for the nonprofit, while providing credibility and goodwill for the business.

According to the IEG Sponsorship Report, this category grew to $733 million in the US in 2001. There are a number of reasons for that growth. A Cone Communications survey found that:

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How to Request Bulk Freebies and Multiple Samples for Special Events, Fundraising, and Organizations by Brian Chow

Do you need to request products samples for an event you are organizing? Do you need to request bulk freebies for fundraising? Do you need to find sponsors for product donations?

Here are strategies to help you request freebies and samples from companies and sponsors. You should be aware that the offers posted on many free stuff sites are not suitable for bulk requests. These sites list free stuff offered by corporations that use free offers to promote their products and services. Generally, these companies limit their samples to one per person, family, or an organization.

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Lessons for the Real World by the AFRDS

Fundraising teaches older students numerous “real world” lessons, according to author Chad Foster. His book, Teenagers Preparing for the Real World, lists several lessons the fundraising sales experience can provide.

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Be Careful What You Wish For - When Having a Large Benefactor is Not a Good Thing by Jacob Ackart

You spend so much time and resources chasing too many small donors and too few large donors that sometimes you can't help but wish your organization had one large benefactor. While that could be wonderful, you ought to be careful what you wish for, because sometimes having a single large benefactor can hurt your organization more than it can help it.

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Gotta Blog – Why Blogs Matter for Your Nonprofit by Nancy Schwartz

You probably have heard more and more about nonprofit use of blogs over the last year. And you may have read my article, "Should your nonprofit launch a blog?, " last fall. It's a great introduction to blogging for nonprofits. Take a look at:

A quick reminder – a blog is a website that takes the form of an online journal, updated frequently with running commentary on one or many topics.

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The Six Simple Principles of Viral Marketing by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

I admit it. The term "viral marketing" is offensive. Call yourself a Viral Marketer and people will take two steps back. I would. "Do they have a vaccine for that yet?" you wonder. A sinister thing, the simple virus is fraught with doom, not quite dead yet not fully alive, it exists in that nether genre somewhere between disaster movies and horror flicks.

But you have to admire the virus. He has a way of living in secrecy until he is so numerous that he wins by sheer weight of numbers. He piggybacks on other hosts and uses their resources to increase his tribe. And in the right environment, he grows exponentially. A virus don't even have to mate -- he just replicates, again and again with geometrically increasing power, doubling with each iteration:

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Real World Lessons by Doug Nash

If you believe the media, it seems that in our modern times nobody does anything without first thinking “what’s in it for me?” Especially the younger generation that too often is tagged as “Generation Me”. I don’t agree with this rather depressing view of our current society. An interesting point in this though is as fundraisers, what we can offer those young and talented people to donate their time and effort. There is much we can offer however it is up to us to communicate to them what it is that we have to offer and they have to gain.

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Fundraising Makes it Happen by the AFRDS

Before Hurricane Katrina, there was Hurricane Ivan. Ivan roared ashore in the middle of the night on September 16, 2004 – leaving parts of the Florida panhandle in shambles. Pensacola was hit especially hard, with more than 10,000 homes destroyed and $6 billion in damage.

Schools were closed for weeks after the storm, roads were blocked with fallen trees, and phones were silent. But by the time Christmas arrived, the ingenuity of a local fundraising company had helped rebuild the community.

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Fundraising and Wellness Policies by the AFRDS

For decades, schools, sports leagues and youth groups have kicked off the fall season by selling candy to pay for items and programs not covered by shrinking school budgets — such as new playground equipment, computer labs, band uniforms and after-school reading programs, just to name a few. Today, candy still is one of the most popular items sold to raise funds, and makes up a large share of the $1.4 billion raised each year by school groups through product sales. However in recent years, candy sales in schools have come under scrutiny with new government mandated wellness policies aimed at reducing childhood obesity.

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Handling Money by Doug Nash

Considering how hard it can be to raise funds it is a little unsettling to witness or hear about how some groups handle the green stuff once they have it. Handling money is not a natural skill. How many stories do the rounds about people winding up bankrupt after winning a huge Lotto win or after benefiting from a large financial windfall? We have all heard them, however do we ever stop to think their may be some wisdom to be gained from looking a little closer at these horror stories.

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Writing a Nonprofit Annual Report Seven Quick Tips by Kivi Leroux Miller

If you've been asked to write an annual report for a nonprofit organization, here are seven tips to get you on your way.

  1. Focus on accomplishments, not activities. We want to know what you did, but more importantly, we want to know why you did it. What were the results? Why did you spend your time the way you did? What difference did it make?

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Fun Fun Fun by Doug Nash

People will quickly find reasons for not doing what they don’t like doing, so if your fundraising doesn’t have a healthy element of fun involved then you will be very lonely and your fundraisers short lived, not very satisfying and not very profitable.

If those involved in your fundraisers are enjoying the experience they will exceed their expectations and yours for that matter. Not only this they will come back time and time again. They forget they have come to raise funds, rather they are coming to have fun or a good time.

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A Case Study in Gratitude by the AFRDS

Once a fundraising campaign is complete, it is important to thank everyone involved - especially the parents. You might even use the opportunity to brag a little.

On the last day of the 1999-2000 school year, parents of Kennesaw Elementary School students in Cobb County, Georgia, received a ....

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The Annual Report by Sylvia Allen

Annual reports showcase a company to its customers and stockholders. You can get them via the internet or by calling the Investors Relations department of the company. The introduction sets up the rest of the report by making a good first impression. It often features a letter from the chairman to the stockholders describing the previous year and plans for the future. By reading this section closely, you can generally figure out what the company considers important, what is happening that's exciting and what problems the company expects to face. Look for a company overview as well as important information about the company's structure, markets, products and customers.

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General Selling Tips for Fundraising by Chip and Ralfie Blasius

These fundamental, time-tested tips will help you and your group sell your fundraisers more effectively. They are designed to help the first-time salesperson get up to speed as well as serve as refreshers for the lifetime adult professional. Read and think about each point before you go out to sell.

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Ask A Pro: About Fundraiser Return Policies by the AFRDS

Sponsors can learn too late that the fundraising company they've contracted with has a different return policy than what they've experienced in the past. Some companies have a strict return policy, while others may be more lenient. We asked a few professionals for their advice on how to avoid surprises at the end of a product sale.

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Book Review: Fund-Raising & Marketing in the One-Person Shop by Michael Henley & Diane Hodiak by Deane Brengle

I just love it when I get a book like this to review. It fits the needs of our readership to a T. This book is aimed foremost at the small to medium size nonprofit that has a volunteer fundraiser or a full time professional that hasn't been extensively trained in fundraising. The book is right on target.

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Book Review: Fast Fundraising Facts for Fame and Fortune by Jean Block

Whether you are raising money or developing people, power, influence, things, or time - it's all the same.

Remember, your ultimate goal in resource development is to build relationships - long and fruitful relationships. You want people to become ready and willing volunteers. You want people to give once and to continue giving more and more, year after year.

And, above all, have fun! If you aren't having fun, then how can you expect anyone around you to get excited about your fundraising project or to volunteer their time to your very special cause?

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Shape Your Nonprofit Website to Generate the Actions You Need by Nancy Schwartz

At this point in time, almost every nonprofit organization counts heavily on its website to generate donations, program participation and volunteers, among other goals. What's ironic is that, now that we're more experienced and comfortable with the Web, many nonprofits have diverted their focus from making sure their sites are maximized to engage users.

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Print-it-yourself Brochures by Tod Snodgrass

Internally designed (a.k.a. "design-it-yourself") marketing material, created on relatively inexpensive desk top publishing (DTP) systems, has become the norm within more and more organizations. The relatively low cost of most DTP systems is one reason for their popularity; ease of use is another.

Closely paralleling this "design-it-yourself" trend is another phenomenon: print-it-yourself. If you need to produce a few color brochures, almost nothing can touch the combination of an inexpensive inkjet color printer coupled with a DTP system.

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32 Ways to Reduce Fundraising Expenses by Hope Primas

Fund-raising is a way of life in the nonprofit world. In fact, it IS life, because your programs will not survive without some form of funding.

No matter what program or service you offer, you must raise money to support it.

Think about it for a minute. How many fund-raising letters do you send? How many hours do you spend on grant writing? How much money do you spend on staff, brochures and pledge cards? Postage? Supplies? Office equipment? Donor awards? Food? Travel? How much did it cost you to run your last special event? You have the picture. Now let's get to the savings.

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Fundraising a "Necessary Evil" for Elementary Schools by the NAESP

A majority of elementary school principals would stop school fund-raising but find it necessary to provide services, supplies, and extra opportunities for their students. These are among the findings of a survey conducted this spring by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). Nearly 700 principals responded to the nationwide survey (22% return) that asked them how and why they raise funds.

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Some General Principles of Charitable Nonprofit Fundraising by Beverly R. Hoffmann

Unless an organization has a "golden goose" to whom it can turn for short range donations or an asset against which it can borrow, there are no "quick fixes" in the charitable nonprofit world. Traditional funders (foundations, corporations, etc.) usually avoid an organization in crisis because, to them, the need for fast cash means that the group has not planned well for its needs and has not developed alternate sources of funding over time to backstop emergencies. Cold as this may seem, it is a reality of the contributions marketplace.

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Money Business by the AFRDS

Sometimes non-profit groups will assign an inexperienced volunteer to track money during a fundraiser. This can lead to problems. Here are some money handling tips to consider:

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Eight Reasons Why Nonprofits Should Go Online by Diane Hodiak

Internet marketing can be one of your most cost-effective tools for reaching your donors and constituencies. The internet has a large geographic reach across the globe and also provides ample opportunities for targeting special markets or interest groups. Even with a simple home page you can begin to communicate important messages that will bring results for your organization.

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Protect Yourself: Get It In Writing by the AFRDS

More and more fundraising companies are asking for written contracts. It's a good idea because it protects you, your organization and the fundraising company to have all major decisions in writing. With a contractual agreement, you both assume responsibility for complying with the terms, but you also begin the fundraising project with a clear understanding of who is responsible for what. Here are some things to look for when reviewing a fundraising contract:

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McDonald's Community Food Tent

McDonalds sponsors a food tent at the 1997 Gerber National Baby Food Festival in Fremont, Michigan as a fundraiser for community organizations. Each participating local nonprofit or charity picks a meal time(s), menu, and price. Then they cook the food, serve it, and clean up.

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Three Simple Steps for Forming Your Booster Club by the Booster Clubs of America

1. Establish the need

Does your high school need a booster club? Of course it does. The real question is: How badly is it needed? The person who can answer that question is the athletic director. He manages that part of the school budget and he's the one who is in a position to quote chapter, book and verse on the deficiencies.

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Five Ways to Measure a Fundraising Company's Credibility From the Fundraising Edge

Although selecting the right fundraising company can mean a difference of thousands of dollars in profits for a non-profit organization, relatively few organizations invest adequate time in making that decision. In an April 1996 workshop at the annual conference of the National Catholic Educational Association, Russell Lemieux, Executive Director of the Association of Fund Raisers and Direct Sellers (AFRDS), suggested focusing on five key areas when interviewing fundraising companies:

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Book Review: Make a Note of It by William Olcott

In his 11 years as editor of Fund Raising Management magazine, Bill Olcott wrote a monthly column entitled, Editor's Notebook. In it he reported on the big trends impacting the fundraising field and what effect they would have on fundraisers.

His new book, Make a Note of It, are his best and most memorable columns. They represent a compendium of fundraising wit and wisdom from experts in the field. They touch all aspects of fundraising -- from successfully going one-on-one with a prospect to coping with stress in a world of permanent white water.

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The Peanut Recall Hits the Fundraising Industry by Deane Brengle

The peanut butter and peanut paste recall by the Peanut Corporation of America has spread to food products sold by and through the fundraising industry.

This web page serves as a central reference point for information about recalled fundraising products that are affected. Information is listed by manufacturer, supplier/distributor, and fundraising group (school, etc.).

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Making Safety #1 in Fundraising by the AFRDS

Schools and other non-profit organizations raise nearly $2 billion (net) annually through fundraising sales of giftwrap, candy, magazines and many other products. This money pays for: computers, playground equipment, library books, field trips and many other important cultural and athletic enrichment programs. Indeed, many of these programs would not exist without the schools' self-help measures through product fundraising.

However, concern for the safety of children who might ignore instructions not to fundraise door-to-door is jeopardizing the future of these programs in some school districts.

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Liability Insurance for Small Nonprofit Organizations by Community Consulting Associates

A nonprofit organization should consider getting liability insurance in case it is sued. It should consider property insurance to pay for loss of things it owns. A business owners policy, a package that includes both, is sold at discounted rates that may make it a good deal even if the organization owns nothing more valuable than its files. An organization with employees may be required by law to have workers compensation insurance - and may want it even if not required.

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Mailing Lists: Are They For You? by Deane Brengle

The internet offers several places for like minded people to participate in discussions on a variety of topics. Web sites and usenet newsgroups are the ones most people are familiar with. An often unexplored addition to these are mailing lists.

What is a mailing list? A "mailing list" (or listserv, mail reflector or discussion list as they are sometimes called) is a vehicle for exchanging opinions and information among individuals focusing on a specific area of interest. They operate by email. You subscribe and unsubscribe by email. You receive messages automatically by email in your mailbox. You respond by email. Most mailing lists are managed by moderators who attempt to keep the train of thought from wandering off subject and sometimes screen out commercial messages.

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Newsletter Review by Deane Brengle

This month (January 1997) we are going to take a look at two newsletters from Stevenson Consultants, The Volunteer Management Report and Successful Fund Raising. Contact and subscription information is found at the end of each review.

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Nonprofit Collaborative Partnerships by Kirby Rooks

Nonprofit collaborative partnerships are something every nonprofit should consider at this time. Why? The economy of the U.S. is on the downswing and well entrenched in a full blown recession for starters.

All nonprofits should be looking for ways to increase their impact at this time while also sharing expenses to get more bang for their buck. There is no better way then forming a collaborative partnership to accomplish this goal. A goal that is real because more people need more assistance during times of economic turmoil.

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Bylaws Guide: Part 1 by the Booster Clubs of America

Editor's Note: This bylaws guide is written specifically for booster clubs. With slight modification it can be appropriate for many organizations.

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The Word You Hear Most Often When Fundraising by Andy Robinson

When I’m working with group of board members or other volunteers, I often begin with an exercise. I ask people to take a blank piece of paper and draw a vertical line down the center of the page. On one side, I tell them to write a plus sign (+) and on the other, a minus sign (-).

“Under the plus sign,” I say, “write anything about you - your skills, your beliefs, your experience, your attitude - that’s going to help you to be an effective fundraiser. I’m not asking about your organization, I’m asking about you - your personal qualities. Under the minus sign, write anything about you - your fears, your discomfort, your lack of experience, whatever - that’s going to get in the way of you being successful. What are your barriers?”

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Bylaws Guide: Part 2 by the Booster Clubs of America

Editor's Note: This bylaws guide is written specifically for booster clubs. With slight modification it can be appropriate for many organizations.

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Build Donor Loyalty to Meet Your Long Term Fundraising Goals by Gerry Reeder

Fundraisers often can't see past their noses. This is hugely problematic. When this happens, your organization will lose sight of the big picture and you will not develop loyal donors.

Between new technologies and social media the number of non-profits and charities are proliferating at a record pace. This means that as time progresses there will be more charities vying for the same amount of donations.

If your organization is operating with a short-sighted mindset you will suffer in this environment. The organizations that will prosper will be the organizations that build and establish donor loyalty. They will prosper because loyal donors will stick with your organization no matter who comes calling ... so long as you earn and keep their loyalty.

There are three rules to increasing donor loyalty:

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Review: The Nonprofit Guide to the Internet by Deane Brengle

What can I say? Robbin has hit a homerun with her new book. The subject of Nonprofits and the Internet is a rapidly evolving field and she covers it like a pro. An excellent reference book for any nonprofits bookshelf. If your online or not, if you have been thinking about getting your nonprofit online this book is for you. It's not a matter of if you get online, it's a matter of when!

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Promotional Products: How Non-Profits Can Avoid a Public Relations Nightmare When Buying by Heidi Thorne

Let's say you're launching a fund raising campaign for a children's welfare organization. You've decided to distribute an imprinted T-shirt as a thank you gift for donations. Great idea that could help spread the word about your work as the shirts are worn in the community. So you find an attractively price T-shirt online. Prices like that will help you save funds for your cause. But wait! That inexpensive price may turn into an expensive public relations nightmare. Here's how...

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Editor's Picks

Fundraising Booklets
Cookiedough Fundraising
Scratchcard Fundraising
Safe Fundraising

Recommended Suppliers

Constant Contact
The gold standard in nonprofit email newsletter delivery. Custom newsletter templates, funding appeals, event updates & more. 20% nonprofit discount!

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7 Essential Steps to Raising Money by Mail
Learn with practical examples, detailed checklists, writing helps and other tools. Sample letters for different types of solicitations and for different nonprofit groups. A step by step guide to writing fundraising letters.

Silent Auction Guide & Toolkit
Learn how to create a successful silent auction fundraiser. Silent auction strategies, timelines, auction items and how to organize and display them, how to close an auction and take payments, and other add on fundraisers to boost the bottom line of your silent auction.

Let's Raise Money
The inside scoop about small group fundraising. Learn from the founder of a national fundraising company as he reveals secrets observed over nearly two decades of fundraising.
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The Ultimate Guide to Planning a 5K Run or Walk Fundraiser
Plan a successful race from scratch. Proven marketing strategies, find and manage volunteers, maximize revenues, recruit and motivate teams. Checklists, forms, speadsheets, worksheets all included.

Secrets of the Charity Auction Experts
Learn from the experts! Discover the best selling auction items. How to get auction items donated. How to boost attendance. How to get more bids and higher selling prices. How to coordinating volunteers, staff and auction consultants.

Grant Writing for Beginners
Learn how to quickly and easily establish relationships with regional foundations and build a strong base of grant support for your nonprofit.
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