We’ve all been there: swimming in a sea of spreadsheets, climbing walls of sticky notes, and plowing through piles of note cards, all containing bits and pieces of valuable donor intel that we can never seem to find when we need it. Or worse: Maybe ...

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How To Evaluate A Donor Management System For Your Nonprofit and more...

How To Evaluate A Donor Management System For Your Nonprofit

We’ve all been there: swimming in a sea of spreadsheets, climbing walls of sticky notes, and plowing through piles of note cards, all containing bits and pieces of valuable donor intel that we can never seem to find when we need it.

Or worse: Maybe your organization invested in a system that didn’t end up doing all the things you wanted it to or was way too complicated for the staff to use without calling on expensive, hard-to-reach technical help.

Happily, help is on the way.

Knowing it’s time for an upgrade, you followed our advice and convinced your executive board to approve funds for a new donor management system. Congratulations!

Now it’s time for the fun part: deciding which system is best for your nonprofit’s specific needs.

Lucky for you, we’ve put together a helpful brief that walks you through every step of evaluating a donor management system. It even includes a handy checklist of features that’ll ensure you get everything you need—and nothing you don’t.

Here are a few quick hits from the brief to get you started.

How do you begin whittling down the long list of potential donor management systems on the market? It all begins with your wish list. Gather...

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2 Questions Before Planning Your Next Nonprofit Event

Truth be told, I have a love/hate relationship with events. I love getting dressed up to attend a fancy benefit. On the other hand, I’ve seen too many organizations host events because their leaders felt they “should.”

Without strategy or follow-up, events waste an organization’s limited resources and leave an exhausted staff in their wake. Events are also expensive. In fact, it costs 40 cents to raise $1 at an event while it costs just 15 cents to raise that same dollar through major gifts.

So, why do organizations continue to host events? Because, as Claire Axelrad wrote in her recent post, events offer an invaluable opportunity to deepen stakeholders’ engagement with your organization. That’s why more organizations are going beyond the traditional gala or golf tournament to develop events like festivals and intimate dinners to connect with donors in new and unique ways.

That leaves just one question is: how do we make the most of events? My answer is, to paraphrase John Donne, “no event is an island.” That means your events need to play a pivotal role in your organization’s overall fundraising and solicitation strategies.

Before you plan an event, ask yourself...

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How to Make More Money with Nonprofit Fundraising Events?

Fundraising events are a nonprofit mainstay, but they typically take a lot of time, money, and effort to produce. Because even the most basic events can run into tens of thousands of dollars, it’s important to squeeze as much return on investment from these big-budget items as possible.

All too often, though, many nonprofits see the event itself as the finish line, missing critical opportunities for more connection, insight, and inspiration along the way. (All things that lead you to more loyal donors and increased giving.)

That’s why we’ve assembled a thorough, step-by-step guide to maximizing your event ROI. Inside the pages of How To Get The Most ROI From Your Event Season, you’ll find tips and guidance for every planning stage to help ensure you bring in more money at your event than you spend on it—while engaging donors and building long-lasting relationships.

This free eGuide covers everything from choosing an appropriate type of event; defining success; using your donor management system for online invitations, ticketing, donations, and follow-up; and maximizing next year’s event ROI based on this year’s outcomes.

It’s like having an expert event planner by your...

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Tax Reform – Is the Sky Really Falling for Nonprofits?

Network for Good has been receiving a lot of questions about the recent Tax Reform Act and what we think the impact will be on nonprofits and the communities we serve. To help us shed some light on the topic, we brought in one of our Personal Fundraising Coaches, John Gilchrist, FAHP, CFRE, and Managing Principal with Philanthropy Focus LLC (dba Fundraiser Strategies), a boutique consulting firm dedicated to the success (fundraising and governance) of nonprofit organizations to weigh in on the topic.

Recent Tax Reform Act

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ushered changes in the US Tax Code, effective January 1, 2018. Here are the highlights in the TCJA:

  • Increase in the standard deduction to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for joint filers
  • Elimination of personal exemptions
  • Limitation on State and Local Taxes (SALT) of $10,000 (inclusive of income and property taxes)
  • Reduction in the corporate income tax rate
  • Reduction of five of the seven tax brackets (marginal rates)

What do these changes mean for the nonprofit community and your donors?

The answer is not crystal clear. The short answer is it depends. However, here are some key points to keep in mind. (These...

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3 Reasons Your Grantmaking Strategy May Not Be Working

Pictured Here: Central Alabama Community Foundation – what they’re doing is working.

It’s understandable. Programs, not payroll nor paperclips, create excitement and enthusiasm among your board, grant committee, and community when it comes to awarding grants. However, if you are in the philanthropy business, you are in the capacity-building business. We can’t create the type of long-term, lasting change we seek without strong organizations. As grantmakers, we’re dependent on nonprofit leaders that can sustain and scale their impact without applying for more grant dollars.

To borrow an example from our for-profit friends, have you ever seen the show “Shark Tank” on ABC?

If so, you know that the first questions asked after the entrepreneur’s pitch will be, “What are your sales for the last year?” and “How much do you plan to sell this year?”

The sharks dig into the company’s ability to effectively market, sell and scale their product, before digging into its competitive advantages or how it’s manufactured.

The sharks know that investing in sales and marketing isn’t a separate strategy. It’s an integral part of their investment strategy. More...

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