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The thing I tell people in my Board Development, Fundraising, Budgeting, and Marketing and Social Media workshops,  all of them, is,
“If you think you are running this show, you may as shut your organization down now.”  What runs your nonprofit are market conditions, changing needs of your clientele, changing board dynamics, how well your organization is moving toward your long term vision, or not.

The Founder or Executive Director often thinks, they are running the show.  They are not.  If they maintain that course, they are going to make a lot of people, ie. staff, donors, community, clientele, board members, very unhappy over time.

Beth Kanter’s latest social media blog post speaks to how to use social media to stop doing it all yourself.   As she so astutely points out, if you don’t think you have time to explore social media, you may be creating quite a crisis for yourself down the road.   And, why would you think YOU have to create your social media structure and campaign structure yourself anyway?  You’re not even qualified.

Get resourceful.  Create a task force.  Create an entire committee and give them a goal.  A great goal to give them would be a “We want to raise $25,000 via social media in the next (whatever time frame).   Get on it.”  goal.   And of course, you’d want to enroll and enlist people to that task force that would love playing that game.   Not you, the founder, who thinks social media is something your grandchild does when he should be, well, whatever you think he should be doing.   I mean how long does it take to create a good committee.  Well if you go to your existing board and lazily expect them to reorganize themselves into a new function, well, you’ll never get a social media program going.  If you give the matter just half an ounce of thought, you’ll realize,  we can create this committee and recruit some spectacular local talent, they get to know us, we get to know them.  Our board is educated as well left unburdened.  We have fresh dynamic energy flowing the the top layer of our organization for the duration of the project, win, win, win, win, win!  Don’t burden your board with yet another task.  Bring them a present and don’t let them turn the present down.   Think for a minute on what you want social networking to do for your organization and assign a team of fresh people to get it done.

Beth’s articles are always on the leading edge, relevant, related and implementable.  http://www.bethkanter.org/simplicity-netnon/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+bethblog+%28Beth%27s+Blog%29 Enjoy.

Using Social Media To Accomplish More With Less

I don’t have time for social media

Join me on Tuesday, July 14 at 1 PM EST/1o am PST for a webinar hosted by Networked for Good “Using Social Media to Accomplish More with Less.”    It’s free and three lucky participants will win a copy of the book.  I’ll be talking about some of themes in the book and sharing some tips for streamlining your social media use.

One of the most common questions I hear is when I do workshops is, “How much time does it take to do social media?”.  It is usually followed by an observation that the organization is so resourced and time strapped that they can’t invest time doing anything that doesn’t provide an immediate and maximized return.   So, they don’t go further with their social media.  A common mistake.

One of the thing that Networked Nonprofits have in common is simplicity.   It clarifies organizations and forces them to focus their energy on what they do best, while leveraging resources of their networks for the rest.   Simplicity powers more informal connections between people, blurs boundaries, and enables nonprofits to scale efforts better than a single organization could.

Embracing simplicity helps nonprofits move from scarcity lens to that of abundance and allows them to leverage their networks through social media.  Here’s a couple of examples:

The SFSPCA has connected with social media savvy volunteers that now create content and manage some of their social media channels such as the Litter Did You Know blog and YouTube Channel.

Los Angeles Universal Preschool Parent Ambassadors on Facebook

Los Angeles Universal Preschool mission is to make voluntary, high-quality preschool available to every 4-year-old in Los Angeles County, regardless of their family’s income.  They have a group of parent ambassadors who work on land to spread the word about high quality preschool.  This group also has a Facebook Fan Page where they provide the same role online.

Preschool California uses Twitter to connect with journalists.  They discovered that Tweets are more informal, less time consuming than email so journalists may be more likely to read.   Despite only having a few interactions with reporters, Preschool California still retweeted and commented on a number of articles, garnering responses from other advocates and interested Twitter users, which helped increase their issue exposure to a larger audience that focus on early childhood education and are using Twitter.

Using social media can help nonprofits find people and other organizations with good ideas an interest in working together.  This is the leverage that they need to stop doing everything alone while ensure that a lot is getting done in their networks.     These organizations and people are right there, in the network, on Facebook or Twitter, waiting to connect with and support your organization’s efforts.

How are you using social media to accomplish more with less?  Have a story?   Leave it in the comments below and win a free copy of the book or this nifty Networked Nonprofit t-shirt created by NTEN.

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Nonprofits, if you have not researched Benevon or explored the Benevon Model.  Please do.

The following are many examples of Benevon programs, trainings and resources.

July 12, 2010

Five Tips  for Cultivating Expiring Donors
Five Tips for Cultivating Expiring  Donors It happens. Five years ticks by quickly. Before you know it, those wonderful donors who made those generous five-year pledges (of $1,000 or more per year) to join your Multiple-Year Giving Society just made their third year’s pledge payments and no one from your organization has gotten to know them yet. In fact, they are still complete strangers to you.

Take this as a serious wake-up call and get to work. Set up your donor cultivation plan now, starting with the donors who are nearest to the end of their five-year pledge payoff cycle. If you don’t get to know them and cultivate them systematically now, you will lose most of them at the end of the five years, if not before.

I’m always surprised when people tell us they don’t want to “bother” these loyal Multiple-Year Giving Society Donors. They think they should invoice them dutifully each year, call them at the start of the sixth year, and ask them to re-up on their pledge. That is precisely the opposite of what is needed.

The whole purpose of having donors who make five-year pledges at this level is not for your organization’s financial security. After all, if a donor does not pay their annual pledge, you are not going to take legal action against them. Rather, the purpose of the giving society is to identify those donors who want to be closer to the organization. They don’t have to make a five-year pledge. They could give the same amount one year at a time. By opting into your giving society they are communicating something critical: they want to give to your organization, they want to stay connected to you over the next five years, and they expect you to give them updates, ask for their advice, and include them in major milestones that the organization is facing.

To read the rest of this article, please visit our Current Feature Web page. This article is available until July 25, 2010.

In This Issue
Message From Terry Axelrod
Get to know your expiring pledge donors.
Announcements
Join us for this special call on July 22.

Join us for this special call on August 24.

Join us for this special call on August 25.

Ask Terry
Recognizing donors who don’t wish to receive e-mails or phone calls.
Coaching for Sustainability
Table Captain Backfill.
Introductory Sessions
Announcements

Learn how to become more effective at inspiring others about the mission of your favorite nonprofit organization and to leave a legacy of sustainable funding. This conference call will introduce you to the Benevon Model—a systematic process for engaging and developing relationships with individual donors.

Listen and ask questions about how to customize this model to the unique needs of your nonprofit. You are encouraged to invite other staff, board members, and volunteers to engage them in this practical and effective new approach.

Join us for the Benevon Monthly Introductory Session Conference Call on July 22.


The two biggest challenges groups face once they decide they want to implement the model and come to Benevon 101 are putting together a team and finding funding. This call will give you practical tips and solutions for how to overcome both of these challenges. Current Benevon participants will talk about how they tackled these issues, got their team to Benevon 101, and are now on their way to sustainable funding.

Join us for the Getting to Benevon 101 call on August 24.


Join us for a special conference call to learn about how to implement the Benevon Model to build sustainable funding for your nonprofit during these challenging economic times. Learn how to engage your community in your organization’s mission and to inspire giving, even in a lagging economy. Listen and ask questions as our alumni guest speakers from other nonprofit organizations discuss their success with this no-pressure, mission-centered approach.

Join us for this Conference Call for Implementing the Benevon Model in These Challenging Economic Times on August 25.

Ask Terry
Terry Axelrod Q: How do we handle long-term, extremely generous donors who want absolutely no communication (i.e., letters, direct mail, newsletters, etc.)? Do we even attempt to call them and acknowledge their generosity, or just accept that they want no contact?

Michelle in Minnesota

A: Begin by asking more questions about this donor. How did you determine that they do not want any contact? How long ago was their most recent donation, and when were they last contacted by someone at your organization? Use the person at your organization that is closest to the donor to re-connect with them, using the medium they prefer (e.g., phone, e-mail, mail). It’s possible that this donor may be OK with an occasional one-on-one contact, but would just prefer to avoid more general communication, such as newsletters and direct mail.

Terry Axelrod

For information about submitting Ask Terry questions, read our guidelines for submission.
Coaching for  Sustainability
Sharon Ervine

Our fundraising coaches inspire and motivate nonprofit organizations of all sizes and types. This week, Benevon Curriculum Director Sharon Ervine discusses Table Captain Backfill Strategy.

I often stress to my groups the importance of the Table Captain Backfill Strategy, because it is such an excellent method for both filling your Point of Entry® Events and ensuring that you have enough “ripened fruit” at your Ask Event. This strategy involves having all of your Table Captains invite guests to Points of Entry prior to the Ask Event, so that the people at their tables have all been introduced to your organization and cultivated. Here are some important tips for successfully implementing this strategy: :

  • Work with each Table Captain to establish goals and specific deadlines for achieving these goals.
  • Give each Table Captain a deadline for having all of their guests attend a Point of Entry. Aim for having all guests attend by six to eight weeks prior to the Ask Event, so that you have time to follow up and cultivate each guest.
  • Give them cards with dates of your regularly scheduled Point of Entry Events for them to pass out to their guests.
  • Encourage them to host a private Point of Entry in a Box for their guests at their office, home, etc. They can partner with another Table Captain to co-host a Point of Entry.

Learn more about Sharon and our other coaches on our Meet the Coaches page.

Introductory  Sessions in your Area
We currently have live, in-person sessions and conference calls open for registration, including:

For information about in-person sessions in your area, go to our Introductory Session calendar.

For conference call listings in your area, go to our Conference Call Calendar.

Watch our free online video, Seventeen Minutes to Sustainable Funding.

These two links offer simple, important and easy fundraising tools to execute and manage.

One of  the easiest and most responsible things a fundraising nonprofit can do is set up the simplest of social media, brandbuilding, fundraising and community message and relationship tools.  You only need two or three good ones.  Beth Kanter is THE social media strategist for the countries biggest nonprofits, and smallest.

http://nonprofitorgs.wordpress.com/2009/10/14/five-essential-apps-for-your-nonprofits-facebook-page/

http://nonprofitorgs.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/five-most-common-mistakes-made-by-nonprofit-admins-on-facebook/

A standard set of fundraising programs are a Major Giving program, a Bequests and Planned Giving program, a Community Builder fundraising program (your Social Media structure is at the heart of this), an Organized Volunteer program, a Corporate Matching program.  Merchandise Sales, Community Events.

Some notes on effective Social Media Fundraising: http://blueskycollaborative.typepad.com/blog/2009/07/top-10-reasons-why-your-nonprofit-should-have-a-viral-fundraising-campaign.html

Some notes on developing any fundraising program: http://ecsg.alliance1.org/content/taking-your-planned-giving-program-idea-reality

Many organizations are wondering how to effectively use a blog.  The answer is,  There is more than one way.

Question number one really is, what do you want your readers to do after reading your blog?  Share the article?  Share about your company?  Refer a qualified client?  Buy something or donate?  Register for a class? Call a number for more information?  Call you to have a conversation?  Meet you at Denny’s for a free breakfast?  What?  That is the question.

The second question would be, “How?”   The following article provides several blog models from companies who have used blogs effectively for influence, commerce, news, reference and community building.

The Art of Blog

While Blogs get a bum wrap from the ignorati as being host to  useless, naval gazing monologues, it actually takes a lot to write an effective blog post.

The world’s top rated CEOs rank The Blog as the number one most important communication tool for industry influence and customer relations.   They ranked a business website sixth out of the seven listed options.   For high powered business, blogs come first.   Read more about blogging at To Blog or Nor To Blog a great article on the risks of risking your voice publicly.

Here are a few ways blogs are being used effectively.  The Art of Blog

2667652948_020781c94bCollaborative programming, collaborative services, collaborative marketing.  It’s a time for making dollars stretch.  Nonprofits are collaborating as a means for responsible budget management and also as a way to powerfully maximize a donated dollar.

This is a must read article:   http://www.minnpost.com/scottrussell/2009/08/21/10990/nonprofit_entrepreneurs_ponder_joint_website_to_boost_business