THE WORLD IS WAKING UP, ARE YOU?

Here are 3 ways to harness color, nature, and wisdom as you emerge into Spring!

Tip 1. TURN YOUR RED TO RASPBERRY!

Did you know more than half of consumers’ first impressions are based on color alone?

And that one in 12 men is color-blind?

Continue reading THE WORLD IS WAKING UP, ARE YOU?

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How to Keep Your Sponsors Coming Back

We all love having sponsors. But how do we make them love us back?

Sponsors love knowing what you did with their support almost as much as you love having it.

By checking in with them after your event and keeping them informed of your successes, you increase the chances that they’ll return year after year!

(Bonus points if you can get them all in the same room together for a sponsor summit!)

Watch below for more information on how to foster relationships with the sponsors we love!

 

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Why Should Anyone Serve on a Board?

Love is one of the biggest reasons why someone serves as a nonprofit board member.

Many of us push interests to the backburner as we advance our careers or raise families. But, serving as a nonprofit board member can help you reconnect with those passions and find greater fulfillment in your day to day life.

And, as a bonus, we get to spend time with people who love the same things we do!

Watch below to learn more about why board members do what they do. And remember, if you want to show your board members some love this month, give them Nonprofit Hero: Five Easy Steps to Successful Board Fundraising!

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Cultivate Connection in 2021

Lucy’s first event meant the world to her and it was failing.

My daughter Lucy is beautiful, smart, a passionate political activist… and she’s on the spectrum.  She struggles to communicate and strains to organize her week, much less a rally. On that grey October morning, a few friends trickled in, slowly, so slowly. Nearby diners ignored us.

Until Lucy leapt onto the fountain base and raised her violin.

She played I Dreamed a Dream from Les Misérables.

Her violin sang of hopes torn apart, of yearning and love, of loss and revolution. She offered no introduction before she played nor explanation after. She didn’t speak. She just played. To her neighbors, to her town, to a country divided.

And in that moment, she united us. Friends and strangers, protesters and passers-by listened.

True leaders gather us for good, they don’t shatter us into bloody splinters. And sometimes, like Lucy, they use untraditional means to unite us, to raise us above the conflict and chaos.

Try these three tips to foster togetherness this year:

Continue reading Cultivate Connection in 2021

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The Most Common Mistake in Fundraising

The New Year is an opportunity to think about, plan, and accomplish your fundraising goals. And it’s better to do that imperfectly than not at all!

As a friend and mentor once said, “You have to do it the right way, and when you can’t do it the right way, you do it the wrong way because it’s gotta get done!”

To learn how to address your board’s common fundraising mistakes and make 2021 a year of success, check out Nonprofit Hero: Five Easy Steps to Successful Board Fundraising

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What’s in Your Nonprofit’s Future?

Come and Gaze into My Crystal Ball!

“You will meet a tall, dark stranger, encounter a shaman in Outer Mongolia, and ride a yak.”

If a seer had predicted that future before I met my husband Don, I’d have laughed in her face. It’s true that I love adventure and want to ride every animal that can be ridden, but Outer Mongolia?

Yet 2011 found us crouched with a golden-eyed shamaness in her smoky tent by Lake Khövsgöl.

And yes, I got to ride a yak.

Magic didn’t whisk me there. It was the sweet fruit of a series of steps, decisions made, opportunities offered, and actions taken.

You don’t need magic to boost gifts to your nonprofit, so skip the soggy tea leaves and crystal balls.  Focus on what you can do to spark support, right now, next month, and next year.   Here’s how you can use sensory language, monthly giving, and planned giving to brighten your nonprofit’s future.

Continue reading What’s in Your Nonprofit’s Future?

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Why Introverts Make Great Fundraisers

Why Introverts Make Great Fundraisers Video

Take-Away: It doesn’t take an extravert to make strong connections.

Don’t forget to book your Nonprofit Hero talk and training!

You’ll find more fundraising tips and techniques in Nonprofit Hero, Five Easy Steps to Successful Board Fundraising, available on Amazon, or for free from your local library. And via my blog, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages. Schedule a game-changing board retreat that’ll turn your volunteers into Nonprofit Fundraising Heroes, contact email hidden; JavaScript is required.  

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Evolution or Extinction? The ABCs of Nonprofit Survival

OVERARCHING PRINCIPLES

SIMPLICITY IS YOUR BEST PATH FORWARD. ACT. BRAVE THIS NEW WORLD. CLARIFY YOUR MESSAGE.

“Val, do you think online giving will ever take off?”

“I don’t know, Lawrence, did the telephone catch on?”

Decades ago, I was chatting with a foundation president and, I’ll admit, being a bit of a wise guy. My point was that fundraising is constantly changing. If you don’t evolve along with your donors, they’ll leave you behind.

The threat of nonprofit extinction is serious. By the end of 2021, 10-30% of nonprofits will merge or close, according to experts cited in the Washington Post and Deloitte. We don’t know if this crisis is like a blizzard that will pass or the onset of an Ice Age.

Amidst 2020’s chaotic uncertainty, simplicity is your best path forward.

Consider the ABCs of nonprofit survival that have already worked in 2020:

Continue reading Evolution or Extinction? The ABCs of Nonprofit Survival

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Money, Jobs, Action: What Your Nonprofit Can Do to Support Racial Justice

OVERARCHING PRINCIPLES

ENSURE YOUR NONPROFIT’S INVESTMENTS AND HIRING PRACTICES REFLECT YOUR ANTI-RACIST PRINCIPLES. ENSURE YOUR MATERIALS INCLUDE CONSTITUENTS OF COLOR AND INCLUDE THEM IN YOUR PLANNING PROCESSES.

MY STORY

In 1995, Freedom Theatre’s renown artistic director Walter Dallas chose me to lead his development team. I was one of the few white employees. I knew a lot about fundraising but not much about race relations. My Freedom colleagues taught me some important truths, kickstarting my ongoing education.

The one thing they didn’t have to teach me was that Black lives matter.

Freedom was founded in the 1960’s to present theatre rooted in the African American tradition. At that time there were no Black actors in commercials. They rarely appeared on stage, TV or in films except in menial or comic roles. Freedom helped create the professional performing opportunities that we take for granted today. That’s progress.

Off-stage, the violence of racism persists, as George Floyd’s killing highlighted… again. The world is watching to see how our leaders, including our nonprofit leaders will react.

Nonprofit leadership begins with the board of directors. In 1994, BoardSource’s Leading With Intent report, found 86% of our nonprofit board members were white. In 2017, they found 84% are white. That’s only a 2% improvement in 23 years! Even another respected source, the Fundraising Effectiveness Report, found that more diverse boards make better decisions and that the nonprofits they lead are more resilient.

Almost all of us are connected to nonprofits, as donors, staff or on boards.

HERE ARE THREE THINGS YOUR NONPROFIT CAN DO TO SUPPORT RACIAL JUSTICE:

Continue reading Money, Jobs, Action: What Your Nonprofit Can Do to Support Racial Justice

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Q & A Vlog Series: What Makes an Effective Leader?

Q: What is Val Jones’ definition of an effective leader? Do you have any real-world examples?

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