Friday, November 21, 2008

Request for direct mail/online fd information from The Nonprofit Times

I need some hard numbers on nonprofit direct mail and online donor responses. I would prefer initial contact via email - but feel free to call if that works for you. I would love to know:
  • How many pieces of direct mail are sent out?
  • What is the response rate?
  • How do those numbers compare to last year?
  • What is the average gift you are seeing?
  • Are some mailings/regions performing better than others?
  • Is your nonprofit increasingly turning to email?
  • How many emails are sent out for the holiday, and do they have follow-up emails?
  • Are you seeing a higher average gift online?

    Please answer the questions that apply to your organization. I'm trying to figure out if the holidays are going to be good, bad or ugly - and would love to hear from you. Thank you and I look forward to your response!

    All the best,
    Michele Donohue
    The NonProfit Times
    973-401-0202 Ext 208

5 Tips for facing tough economy

The staff of CCSNYS put their heads together, and came up with the following five strategies that might help your organization in facing the upcoming tough economic times ahead. Remember, a dollar saved is as good as a dollar earned!
  1. Get more efficient - put in cost controls and cut where possible
  2. Reorganize internally - reorganize how you do things in order to do them better
  3. Raise more money - diversify your funding sources, which admittedly, is tough to do unless there is existing infrastructure and experience
  4. Restructure - consider your options: merge, collaborate, shared services
  5. Look at market realities - core versus secondary programs, etc...

Let's make this a space where we can go for sharing tips on how you may be doing any of the above helping each other, we make everyone stronger!

Friday, November 14, 2008

WNY ED Network upcoming meeting

As I write this, it's 60 degrees outside, so it's hard to believe that our December meeting is quickly upon us. I hope that you can join us on Wednesday, December 3rd at the Red Cross Mansion on Delaware Avenue here in Buffalo. Networking will begin at 10:00 a.m. with a panel discussion to follow at 10:30 about the issues that nonprofits will be facing in the coming year.
The turbulent economy, government cutbacks, political advocacy and the need to collaborate will all be topics under consideration. (We'll also be reviewing the results of our ED skills survey and probably fine tuning that so we can really get a grasp of how we can all help each other out!)
I hope you'll join us!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Highlighting Resources For Your Nonprofit

There are so many great resources available, and we would like to share one that we find very helpful. Here is a collection of articles rounded up by the Minnesota Council on Foundations for their blog. Take a look at these articles or visit their blog.

Nonprofits Need Gen Y Leadership in an Uncertain Economy
Perspectives from the Pipeline (cross-posted on the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog): It’s clear that the old top-down hierarchy isn’t the best model for what needs to happen in organizations today. When we just don’t have time to come up with another 5-year strategic plan to survive in this economy, how do we generate new ideas to address issues head on? Right now is an opportunity for young nonprofit professionals to bring fresh, innovative ideas for how we do the work of social change.

Charity Uses Blog to Disclose its Financial Woes
Give and Take: Kjerstin Erickson’s charity is in financial trouble — and she’s telling the world about it. Tactical Philanthropy’s Sean Stannard-Stockton has been following the story and says that “if you care about nonprofit transparency, I think this is a conversation you need to be a part of.”

A Trip Down Merger Lane
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Is yours a mid-size agency that is strong and that wishes to grow, but you don’t have the financial capital to do so? Is your unrestricted financing shrinking? Are you having difficulty raising the quality of your back-office services because you can’t afford the investment? If so, perhaps it is time for you to seek a full or partial merger partner for your nonprofit.

Philanthropy Calls to Action
Philanthropy 2173: There are at least five current examples of organizations that are promoting or encouraging certain types of collective action by philanthropists during this economic cycle and in preparation for a new presidential administration. These are positive signs of efforts to work together, to aggregate action, to respond and work within tough external realities, and to think deeply about the timing and commitment philanthropists make to the causes they care about.

Start Your Turnaround Stories Today
Balancing the Mission Checkbook: Turnarounds make great case stories after the fact - when the organization is revitalized and builds a new reputation for connections with the community, strong leadership, and financial health. Who wouldn’t want all that? So why wait until things are bad?

In Defense of Raising Money: A Manifesto for Nonprofit CEOs
The director of business development at the Acumen Fund has been linked all over the web for his essay that begins “I’m sick of apologizing for being in charge of raising money.” He wonders, “How is it that in the nonprofit sector we create this illusion that growth and change and impact can happen absent … energy and engagement?” This link goes to Seth’s Blog; original PDF here.