The importance of gift acknowledgement with matching gift donors

Good morning, DonorDreams readers! In 2015, I relied a little more heavily on friends of mine in the blogosphere to provide guest blog posts to help me through periods of intense travel to visit with non-profit clients. While I’ve managed to slow things down recently, I still plan on featuring some of those same guest bloggers in 2016 because of the positive feedback I received from DonorDreams readers. 
Today’s guest post is from Adam Weinger over at Double the Donation blog. He provides a handful of awesome ideas for how to recognize donors who make matching gifts to your organization.
Gift acknowledgement is important to donors according to Penelope Burk’s research (source: Donor Centered Fundraising). She said on page 46, “. . . 44% of study donors said that prompt gift acknowledgement influences their decision regarding future support.  And , when considered as part of an overall communication strategy that includes personal contact and meaningful information on gifts at work, prompt acknowledgement would influence 93% of respondents  to give again, 64% of them to give more, and 74% of them to give indefinitely.
I hope you enjoy this morning’s post because I think Adam hits the nail on the head with regard to matching gift donors. Here’s to your health!  ~Erik

Don’t Just Ask for Matching Gifts; Say Thanks

By Adam Weinger
Double the Donation
double the donationSomeone once said that, “If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.” While this quote is great advice for all of us in our own personal lives, it is also good practice for nonprofit organizations.
Gratitude is crucial for nonprofit success. If someone contributed to your organization and never received a follow-up acknowledgement, they’d be very unlikely to give again. But a simple thank-you note or a phone call can make all the difference and keep donors giving for months and years to come. Even small nonprofits can show their gratitude in any number of ways!
But what should you do when matching gifts are thrown into the equation?
The short answer is that you should be thankful for a donor’s contribution as well as their employer’s matching gift. But you might have questions about how saying thank you for matching gifts works in practice.
You’ve come to the right place! We’re going to take a look at a few ways your organization can show your appreciation for matching gifts.

Let’s talk about saying thank you for matching gifts!

For more information about saying thank you in a donor-centered manner, check out this article.

1. Give matching gift shout-outs at your next fundraising event.

shout outIf you want to: A) Get the word out about matching gifts and, B) Thank your donors for submitting matching gift requests, talk them up at your next fundraising event.
Whether you’re hosting an auction for your school or a potluck for your religious organization, fundraising events of all shapes and sizes are the perfect locations for saying thanks for matching gifts and encouraging others to look into having their donations doubled by their employers.
During the event, have a speaker thank those donors who have had their donations matched and provide a brief explanation of how matching gifts work to those who might not know.
A captive audience can easily be encouraged to look into matching gifts if you say thank you for the ones you have already received. Try acknowledging and appreciating your matching gift donors to encourage others to double their donations!

2. Personalize your acknowledgements

personalizeAfter asking for donations, receiving those contributions, marketing matching gifts, and receiving those matching gifts, you’ll need to personally thank your donors.
Donor acknowledgement should already be a part of your stewardship strategy, but when matching gifts are involved, you have to say thank you twice. Two donations means two acknowledgements.
And just like your thank you letters to donors should be personalized, your matching gift acknowledgements shouldn’t be cookie-cutter templates.
Instead, use the donor’s preferred name in the greeting, mention their past contribution, and thank them for taking the time to submit a matching gift request. Make sure you reference their employer and the amount of the donation.
Because the process of submitting and verifying a matching gift can take weeks and sometimes even months, a donor may have even forgotten that they submitted a request. Your thank you letter will remind them and perhaps encourage them to donate again in the near future!

3. Offer incentives for major matching gifts.

appreciatedMany companies will set a cap for the amount that they will match. Even though this limit is in place, it doesn’t mean that your nonprofit can’t potentially receive two major gifts.
If this occurs, your nonprofit should show sincere and genuine appreciation for the two contributions made possible by your donor and their employer.
Host a dinner or luncheon in your major gift donors’ honor or dedicate a building, wing, or room to them. You can feature your major gift donors and their employers in your newsletter, on your website, and on your various social media accounts. If they donated toward a large, tangible project, have them at the grand opening or ground breaking. 
There are numerous ways you can show your major gift donors you appreciate them and their employers matching donations.
You can also potentially form a partnership with their employer by extending your thanks to them as well. When a major gift is matched, it means more donations for your nonprofit, but it also means an outpouring of appreciation and gratitude.

4. Say thank you to donors’ employers.

thank you noteIt’s easy to get swept up in saying thanks to your donors for their contributions (and rightly so!), but let’s not forget where those matching funds are coming from!

Your donors’ employers shouldn’t be left in the lurch when it comes to your matching gift acknowledgements.
Those sincere acknowledgements can help pave the way to exciting and rewarding partnerships with those corporations. You might even be able to benefit from other corporate giving programs that your partner companies institute.

5. Say thanks in different ways.

electronic communicationsNot all of your donors are going to check their emails on a daily or hourly basis. Others might detest direct mail.

Make sure that you’re saying thank you according to your supporters’ communication preferences.
If a donor mailed a check in and then had their donation matched, it might be fair to assume that they prefer direct mail. If a donor always makes donations online and uses text-to-give to donate to your fundraising campaigns, they might prefer electronic communication over tangible acknowledgements.
Find out what works best for your supporters and plan accordingly. You wouldn’t want to discourage a donor from giving again just because you didn’t send the correct form of acknowledgement.

*     *     *     *     *

Saying thank you for your donors’ contributions isn’t just a good exercise in gratitude. It is also a great way to keep donors giving over time. Acknowledging matching gifts is just another part of the stewardship puzzle. If you take the previous five steps into consideration and make them a part of your acknowledgement strategy, your donors (and the companies they work for) will know that you see them as more than just ATMs. You’ll form stronger relationships that will be mutually beneficial in the months and years to come.

Merry Christmas, Happy Festivus, and Happy Holidays

ohare at christmasMy plane landed at O’Hare yesterday afternoon, which symbolized the end of a very long year for me. I am now ready to work from my home office for the last few weeks of 2015 and take a little time off to celebrate the holidays with family and friends.
As I look at this time of the year through a non-profit lens, there is a lot going on.

  • Lots of donors are making year-end charitable contributions (approx. 40% of charitable giving occurs in the fourth quarter of the year)
  • Many non-profit organizations are engaged in planning activities (e.g. strategic plan, resource development plan, etc) and busily getting ready for next year
  • Holiday cards and stewardship gifts are being sent to non-profit donors
  • There are countless holiday parties being hosted for non-profit staff and clients

When I boil all of this down, I see this time of year as a time for building a sense of community and family.
With this in mind, I want to take a break from pumping out non-profit and fundraising content and simply say:

Happy Holidays, DonorDreams readers!

Please know that . . .

  • I appreciate you
  • I appreciate your readership
  • I appreciate your comments
  • I appreciate you sharing this blog with friends and encouraging them to become part of this online community

Each and every single one of you is part of my collective non-profit family, and I wish you and yours a special holiday season (whatever you may celebrate).
Here’s to your health!
Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847

Writing your resource development plan in steps: Step Three

As I explained last week, one of the most often clicked blog posts in 2015 is something I wrote at the end of 2014 titled “Time to start writing your 2015 resource development plan“. With this in mind, I decided to take a deeper dive on this subject by writing a series of posts on how to go about writing your organization’s annual resource development plan.
The first post in this series was titled “Writing your resource development plan in steps: Step One,” and it focused exclusively on the importance of putting the right people at the table. The second post was “Writing your resource development plan in steps: Step Two,” and addressed pre-planning activities such as evaluation and assessment.
Today’s post is all about the next step, which of course is about visioning and goal setting. Enjoy!

Statement of Fundraising Purpose
manifestoWith your volunteers sitting around the planning table and your organization’s resource development assessment data gathered and digested, it is now time to cast your vision for the upcoming year. This can be accomplished with the following exercise:

  • Ask participants to take 5 minutes to jot down answers to this question: “Why are we raising money?
  • At the end of the 5 minutes, go around the room and ask participants one at a time to share one of the reasons they wrote down.
  • Capture these responses on a flip chart or whiteboard
  • Keep going around the room until there is nothing left on anyone’s scratch paper (ask participants not to share anything that has already been shared by someone else in order to keep the exercise moving along)
  • Facilitate a discussion around everyone’s responses (e.g. does everyone agree with everything that was shared? if not, then why not?)

Staff should take all of this feedback and incorporate it into a few paragraphs that some fundraising professionals call the “statement of fundraising purpose“. This mini-proclamation is included in the beginning of your written resource development document. In the grand scheme of things, it serves as a precursor to developing your organization’s internal and external case for support documents for the upcoming year’s events, campaigns, mailings, and fundraising initiatives.
The following is a sample statement of fundraising purpose for a fictitious Boys & Girls Club that I dug out BGCA’s now defunct RD Plan software wizard that I referenced in the first blog post of this series:

“The Boys & Girls Club of ABC operates six Clubhouses that provide more than 2,400 boys and girls with positive and safe  places to learn and grow, ongoing relationships with caring adult professionals, life-enhancing programs, character development experiences, hope and opportunity. The Boys & Girls Club of ABC relies upon the philanthropic support of individuals, corporations and foundations in order to sustain and grow its services. During 2007, The Boys & Girls Clubs of ABC completed a comprehensive strategic plan that showed a need for two additional Clubhouses to work with kids in the XYZ community. Studies showed that more than 1,000 kids in the XYZ community lack access to positive and safe places to learn and grow.
In order to add two new clubhouse facilities by 2009, The Boys & Girls Clubs of ABC will need to continue to raise annual operating support as well as complete a capital campaign for the construction of two new Clubhouses. Implementing this resource development plan, approved by the board of directors, creates and maintains a resource development program that will provide additional philanthropic funding to enable the Boys & Girls Club of ABC to reach its goal of directly serving 3,400 kids annually by the year 2010.”

Can you see why the statement of fundraising purpose is so important? It helps volunteers see your organization’s fundraising activities through the lens of your organization’s goals and helps everyone understand the importance of achieving your fundraising goals. It also helps reinforce that volunteers aren’t asking their friends for money for no good reason.
Goal Setting: Part One
goal2There has to be hundreds of ways to skin this cat, and none of them are incorrect. The following method is very simple, and while it lacks a ton of process, it will get you where you need to go (but feel free to use whatever process best fits your organizational culture):
Step one: Prior to the meeting, pull together a chart illustrating: a) the three year trend for various sources of revenue, b) the percentage of total revenue each source of revenue constitutes, and c) a blank column for next year’s goal. The following is an example of what that chart could look like.
blog chart
Step two: Facilitate a discussion among volunteers about what they see, and ask them to suggest reasons why the trends are what they are.
Step three: Facilitate a discussion among volunteers about where they want to see the numbers next year.
Is this three step process overly simple? Of course! Is there more to setting your revenue goals than simply pulling numbers out of the air? Of course!
This process is simply a starting point.
Over the course of your next few meetings, you and your volunteers will drill deeper on volunteer prospect lists, donor prospect lists, range of gifts charts, budgets, etc. We will talk about all of these things in the next blog post.
As the details get fleshed out, you will likely find yourself coming back to the goal numbers you initially included in this chart and revise them. So, make sure to use a pencil while facilitating this exercise.  🙂
Goal Setting: Part Two
smart goalsThe previous section sets the stage for establishing fundraising event and campaign goals; however, there are non-financial goals your team should also consider. Those non-financial goals could focus on: strategy, leadership, operation, donor relations, marketing and communication, and evaluation and monitoring.
These “process goals” impact your organization’s capacity to engage donors and perform resource development tasks.
The following are a few examples of process goals:

  • Engage board members in the resource development process by involving them in the cultivation and stewardship of donors.
  • Make sure that the organization has an electronic database that easily generates reports and enables effective management of donor relationships.
  • Develop a written stewardship plan whereby every donor receives a minimum of four stewardship impressions every year and the Top 100 donors receive at least eight stewardship impressions.

You don’t need a facilitation process to have this discussion. Simply ask volunteers to share what they think are “foundational issues” necessary to underpin the organization’s fundraising success in the upcoming year. Once you capture those ideas, try to distill them down into three to five goal statements.
If you have more than three to five process goals, then ask volunteers to rank those goals with the intent of only including the top three to five goals in your written plan.
After this meeting, it is advisable for staff to work on these process goals and re-write them using SMART goal verbiage.
Congratulations . . . you’re well on your way to developing next year’s written resource development plan. In our next post, we will look at validating our goals and creating strategies and tactics.
Here’s to your health!
Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847

Storytelling can be so much more than just a fundraising tool

storytellingLast night I met with a non-profit board of directors, and we spent an hour talking about the “Three Stories You Need To Tell“. I centered the discussion around the Nonprofit Storytelling for Board Members curriculum developed by Chris Davenport at 501 Videos LLC.
It was a great evening (in this facilitator’s opinion). We talked about the importance of developing each board volunteer’s “involvement story” as well as developing an organizational “impact story” and “thank you story“. At the end of the meeting, worksheets were distributed and work groups were formed. The excitement and buzz around developing the first draft of stories that will be shared at the organization’s next board meeting was palpable.
For me, I’m excited for this organization because I suspect cultivating a culture of storytelling will jump start this board’s resource development efforts. More importantly, I believe a storytelling culture can used during planning processes to engage board members in:

  1. organizational assessment
  2. vision casting

Let me take a moment to explain . . .
assessmentHow many times have you been handed pages full of data at the start of any type of planning process (e.g. strategic planning, resource development planning, etc). You are typically asked to look for gaps in addition to organization strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
This type of work is foundational and important to any planning process. However, the board president at last night’s meeting would tell you that data looked at within a vacuum is worthless.
So, the question I posed last night is: “What if we used a storytelling paradigm to contextualize our organizational data at the start of a planning process?
For example, let’s say your data is telling you that you served 25% fewer clients in 2015 than 2014. Rather than just accepting that data point at face value, your board could drill deeper to find the stories behind why this is happening. Perhaps, the story of one of one of the 2014 clients who stopped being a client in 2015 could be told and a deeper understanding of what is happening could be achieved by decision-makers.
I would argue that a deeper understanding of your organizational data will enrich your planning process.
Vision casting
visionAfter the assessment phase of any planning process is over, it is common for boards to spend time developing a vision for the future. It is upon this vision that goals, strategies, tactics and metrics are all built.
For years, one of my favorite “vision casting exercises” has been asking board members to pretend they are newspaper reporters (I probably like this exercise because I used to run a small town newspaper many years ago).
I ask them to envision themselves five or 10 years in the future writing a story about their organization. Of course, the question is: “what is that story about?
As part of this exercise, I ask everyone to write their story and share it with the group. This gets everyone engaged in creating a collective vision.
Of course, this is nothing more than using storytelling as a tool to create a vision.
The question I asked last night was what other storytelling exercises could we develop to create a shared vision? Could we even use storytelling as a brainstorming opportunity to develop organizational goals and strategies?
I believe the answer to these questions is YES because of what Chris Davenport tells us are the “Thee C’s of Storytelling“:

  1. Character
  2. Connection
  3. Conflict
  4. Conquest

It is this final “C” that has me believing a storytelling approach can get board volunteers thinking about goals and strategies. After all, if every good story needs to end with how the main character will solve the conflict, then doesn’t this get people talking about your organization’s potential “future state” (aka vision) but also possible solutions (aka goals and strategies)?
I believe it does, and we’ll get a little closer to the truth at the future board meetings.
storytelling dvdI’m not trying to sell Chris Davenport’s products today, but if you haven’t checked out his storytelling DVD and collateral materials you may want to do so. Click here to learn more about his DVD product. Click here to learn more about a very useful brochure that can accompany the DVD or be used as a standalone resource. Click here to learn more about his free field guide and journal.
Again, I will not profit from any of this. I do not have a business relationship with Chris other than the fact that I’m a customer and purchase resources from him. OK, OK, OK . . . I guess I am smitten with this work and have found his stuff useful in my some of my consulting projects. Regardless, I won’t see a penny of anything you decide to purchase anything from him.
Does your organization do any storytelling? Please scroll down and use the comment box to share how you employ the power of storytelling? What have been the results? Has it changed anything in your organization (e.g. are board members better fundraisers now, is your planning process more dynamic and engaging, have you used storytelling to enhance your board governance and board meetings, etc)?
We can call learn from each other. Please take a moment to share.
Here’s to your health!
Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847

Are You the Future of Philanthropy? Meet Marissa Garza

NPBlogCarnivalBannerFor the third year in a row, DonorDreams is proud to be hosting the Nonprofit Blog Carnival in May. On May 4, 2015, we published a call for submissions from non-profit bloggers across the blogosphere on the topic of “You are the future of philanthropy,” which stems from a 2007 TED Talks video presentation by Katherine Fulton. I asked bloggers to pontificate on any number of topics including the democratization of philanthropy, aggregated giving, social investing, and much more. If you are a blogger looking for more details, click here to read the May 4th call for submissions.
We will publish the May 2015 Nonprofit Blog Carnival on May 28, 2015 right here on the DonorDreams blog platform.
In addition to whipping the blogosphere up into a frenzy, we are dedicating our Tuesday and Thursday DonorDreams posts throughout May to people involved in local philanthropy. We’re videotaping donors, volunteers and non-profit professionals and asking them to answer the following question posed by Katherine Fulton at the end of her TED Talks presentation:

“Imagine 100 years from now and your grandchildren are looking at an old picture of you. What is the story? What impact did you want to have on the community around you? What impact did you make?”

Meet Marissa Garza
Marissa Garza works as and volunteers for:

Being a “child of philanthropy” (e.g. Marissa’s mom has worked for a local non-profit — Marklund), Marissa has enjoyed volunteering for everything from direct care to helping with special events. She has filled her life with volunteer opportunities and other little opportunities when and where she can.
For all of these reasons, we  ask Marissa to take a crack at answering the question that Katherine Fulton posed at the end of her TED Talks presentation.
Marissa’s philanthropy story?

(Note: If you receive DonorDreams via email you may need to click here to view today’s video interview.) 
Stories from your community?
Katherine Fulton says in her TED Talks presentation:

“We have a problem. Our experience to date both individually and collectively hasn’t prepared us for what we’re going to need to do or who we’re going to need to be. We’re going to need a new generation of citizen leaders willing to commit ourselves to growing and changing and learning as rapidly as possible.”

Have you met someone in your community who you think embodies the future of philanthropy and is a member of a new generation of citizen leaders? If so, please scroll down and use the comment box to tell us about that person.
Here’s to your health!
Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847

How to Retain Employees in Today's Job Market

Hi, DonorsDreams Readers! It’s me, Marissa. I’m covering for the blog for Erik as he sails the ocean blue on a well-deserved vacation. Today’s post was written by Denise Benages, an HR professional for over 16 years. She shares with us best practices for retaining employees in an ever changing job market. Thanks, Denise!

Once upon a time, people stayed at their first job, moved up the ladder and received a gold watch when they retired. How very Ward Cleaver!
retaining-employeesWelcome to 2015, where the average worker will have 12-15 jobs in their lifetime. Ten of those jobs will be held before the age of forty. So how is a nonprofit to function in the land of no golden watches? Well, we must ask ourselves, how do we retain employees.
First, let me ask you, do you have a retention strategy? In a 2013 survey of nonprofits, 90% did not have formal retention strategy. However, the majority of them did have informal retention strategies. Let’s talk about how you make an informal retention policy into a formal one.
Your first step is to evaluate your policies. What are you doing to keep your employees? What is your turnover rate? Are you turning over staff in a particular department? These questions will lead you to discover what issues your nonprofit faces when it comes to retaining employees.
Remember that statistic about having 10 jobs before the age of 40? It should not be surprising that entry and mid-level staff were reported to be challenging to retain (30% and 40%). It is interesting to note that the numbers were much lower at the experienced-level (17%) and executive level (only 4%). Yet, most HR training dollars are spent on leadership training rather than job specific or business skills training. When surveyed on staffing challenges, 49% of non-profits are concerned with retaining entry level staff.
Retention is extremely important to nonprofits because turnover costs can be as much as 50-60% of an employee’s annual salary when you consider the cost of recruiting, onboarding, accrued time off, workflow disruption, lost clients and replacement costs. So it’s imperative that we look at why employees leave and how we can monitor this.
Here are some of the most common reasons employees leave their current positions:

  • Dissatisfaction – To examine this, immerse yourself in each department. Pay attention and monitor the feeling in the office. Conduct exit interviews to determine why people were unhappy at your non-profit.
  • A Better Opportunity – Employees are always looking to move up, you will not be able to stop some of this turnover. But you can ensure they know you have a career path for them. Build goals into the review process, so employees are clear of what they need to do to move forward. Employees only look when they don’t see their next step.
  • Following Their Map of Success – Some employees know they have do to A, B & C to get to the next place in their career. Their current position may have been a stepping stone from the beginning. Turnover can be stopped before an employee is even hired. Dig deeper in your interview to see where an employee aspires to be. If their dream is not available in your organization, they might not be the right candidate.
  • They Just Quit – This is the most important turnover to dig into because they are reacting to something negative in your organization. You need find out if it’s the job, harassment, bad management, skipped over for a promotion or any other HR situation. You may not be able, or want, to save that employee but it’s important that you resolve a systemic issue before you replace the employee.

We touched on why people leave, but it’s equally as important to know why they stay. You would be surprised to hear it’s not the money.
Recruiting-Retaining-Quality-Employees-croppedHere’s some reasons employees find more important than money when considering staying with an organization:

  • Job Satisfaction – Employees need to enjoy their work and believe their job is important. Give them feedback on how they are doing and how it’s helping the company. Tell them randomly during the year, not just in a review.
  • Employer/Employee Relationship – It’s imperative for employees to have good communication with their supervisor and have a good working relationship. They don’t have to be friends, but need to be considerate and fair. Make sure your team is trained on how to deal with employees. Observe their interactions and coach them.
  • Training and Development – Your investment in them shows them loyalty and commitment. They will give you the same in return.
  • Work/Life Balance – Your organization may not be able to be competitive with salary, but you can also compensate staff with paid time off, flexibility in schedule, or telecommuting.

While retaining employees might seem challenging; the good news is the most important thing you can do to retain your employees is to listen to them. If you do that, you have all of the answers right in front of you and may be able to hand out a gold watch or two.

What does your Mural of Generosity look like?

muralI’ve had a recurring thought for the last two weeks because I keep running across beautiful donor recognition walls at non-profit organizations. Just yesterday I came across a donor recognition board in the lobby of the Knight Nonprofit Center on the Gulf Coast in Mississippi, and it was titled the “Mural of Generosity“. I just love the sound of that. Don’t you?
So, my recurring thought is this:
In a perfect world, what would you organization’s mural of generosity look like?
Please understand that I am not looking for vendor recommendations on where to purchase a nice donor wall.
I would like you to envision the following:

  • Who is on your mural?
  • Where is that mural displayed?
  • For what are they being recognized? (e.g. lifetime giving, planned gifts, recurring loyalty, etc)
  • What does it look like?
  • How is it continuously celebrated? (e.g. how do you build your organization’s culture around the mural)

You know how this works. Please scroll down and share your thoughts in the comment box below. We can all learn from each other AND we can certainly inspire each other from time to time.
Here’s to your health!
Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847

Your non-profit reputation and the internet

whats in your walletI woke up this morning with the words of Samuel Jackson echoing through my head. While this actor has played a number of different roles in Hollywood, the words in my head were from his Capital One credit card commercials . . . “What’s in  your wallet?” As I shuffled around my hotel room trying to wake up, I started reviewing all of the possible reasons why I woke up with this popular commercial on my mind. After a little thinking, I’ve decided that my subconscious mind is still wrestling with an email I received yesterday morning from a non-profit organization asking me not to delete any reference to them in a blog I posted last week.
Here is what the email said (of course, I’ve removed names to protect the innocent):

“We noticed that you referenced ABC Agency in a blog post and linked to a 2005 memo written by our former Director of Development. As the information is old, and the director is no longer with our organization, we kindly request that you remove the reference from your blog post.”

Let me start by saying . . . of course, I honored their request. I’m a nice guy, and my professional goal in life is to help non-profit organizations and not become a thorn in their side.
However . . . something is obviously bothering me about this email. After thinking it through, I figured it out.
I found this document with a simple Google search. So, this agency (or someone associated with the agency at one time) uploaded this document to the internet. Once you do that, it is likely “out there” for the entire world to see and use. Forever! Once something is put into the public domain, it is almost impossible to take it back.
whats in your wallet2I think there are a number of “lessons learned” associated with this situation. Here are the one’s I can identify:

  • Be careful about what you post to your organization’s website, social media, blogs, etc. Consider putting policies and procedures in place to guide what employees can and can’t share about your organization online.
  • If your agency has decided to have an online presence, adopt the wise words found in the Serenity Prayer when it comes to things you can and cannot change. In the long run, it will likely save you from “Maalox Moments“.
  • In order to protect your brand’s reputation, monitor your organization’s good name. Periodically Google your agency name. Set-up a Google Alert and let Google tell you when someone is saying something about you.
  • When something is posted about your organization that you don’t like, a polite email with your request to remove the comment, reference or document can be appropriate (however I refer you to what I said earlier about the Serenity Prayer). More important, be careful about what you say in the email because you have no idea who will read it, who it will be forwarded to, or where it will end up. (Please note that I shared the agency in question’s email with the world on my blog. Enough said?)

If you are looking for a few resources on this subject, this is what I found:

What is your wallet? LOL Seriously, how has your non-profit organization decided to tackle the question of appropriate online content? Please use the comment box below to share your thoughts and experiences? Why? Because we can all learn from each other.
Here’s to your health!
Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847

Programming changes at DonorDreams blog

changesWelcome to May! While this month represents lots of things to lots of people (e.g. rain, flowers, planting gardens, non-profit conferences, etc), May is an anniversary month for The Healthy Non-Profit LLC and DonorDreams blog. It was three years ago this month that the company and the blog were started. So, today we’re going to do a little celebrating in addition to announcing a few programming changes.
WooHoo . . . Let’s celebrate!
Over the last 36 months, you and I have accomplished the following things together including:

  • 725 blog posts
  • 332 direct blog subscribers
  • 1,839 individuals checking in from time-to-time via blog subscriptions, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest
  • 1,353 comments (not including the comments you’ve written on different social media sites pertaining to my posts)
  • 53,924 page views
  • Readers from 23 different countries around the world on all five continents

These bullet points just represent the accomplishments related to the DonorDreams blog. They don’t include business-related accomplishments associated with my non-profit consulting practice — The Healthy Non-Profit LLC — such as:

  • the number of clients we’ve been privileged to serve
  • the conferences we’ve attended
  • the trainings we’ve facilitated
  • the plans we’ve facilitated and helped develop
  • the organizational capacity we’ve helped grow.

Hip hip hooray!
Programming changes at DonorDreams blog
For the last three years, I’ve been able to write something almost every day, and I’m humbled by how many people have read and engage in conversations around these posts. I believe that my blogging helps me be a better consultant, facilitator, planner and trainer. For this, I am grateful!
I honestly believe that WE have grown this blog and The Healthy Non-Profit LLC together. I am indebted to you and your readership. Thank You!
Unfortunately (or fortunately as the case may be), I cannot keep up with blogging every day and providing capacity building services through my firm. As a result and starting this month, DonorDreams blog will scale back its publishing schedule to two days per week — Tuesdays and Thursdays.
I’m currently looking at two options with regards to content:

  1. Focusing content around a monthly theme
  2. Focusing Tuesday content on board development and Thursday content on fundraising

If you have an opinion, I would love to hear your thoughts. As always, please share them using the comment box below.
With regard to the month of May, you may have noticed that we’re hosting the national Nonprofit Blog Carnival. In our April 29th post, we issued a “call for submissions” to the non-profit blogger community. This month’s theme centers on how non-profits can build LOYALTY among various stakeholder groups like donors, staff, volunteers, etc.
We will publish the Nonprofit Blog Carnival on Wednesday, May 28, 2014. In the meantime, we will focus all of our DonorDreams posts in May (remember we’re now only publishing on Tuesdays & Thursdays) on the same topic of building loyalty.
Thanks again for your readership and continuing support! I look forward to working with you and seeing what you and I collectively accomplish here at DonorDreams blog in the upcoming months and years.
Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847

A few quick programming notes . . .

Good morning, y’all!
I have temporarily relocated from Chicago to Dallas to work with a client, and this will precipitate a few changes at DonorDreams blog. I understand that most people don’t like change, but I really think you will like this one.
Starting next week, I will only publish a blog post on Tuesdays and Thursdays. As always, those posts will focus on all sorts of non-profit relate things including fundraising, volunteer recruitment and management, board development, operations, etc.
On Mondays, Rose Reinert, who has been a guest blogger here before, will write about social media and technology related topics. Since Rose has been a non-profit person her entire life, these posts should take on a particularly non-profit flavor. To get you more acquainted with Rose, here is the bio box that will appear at the bottom of each of her blog posts:
rose draft sig
On Wednesdays, I’ve asked Dani Robbins to expand her role from posting a board development article on the first Wednesday of each month to publishing anything non-profit related every Wednesday. I’m especially thrilled that Dani agreed to help me out because she recently agreed to join the team as their non-profit expert. Needless to say, Dani is writing more than she ever has written, and squeezing me into her busy writing schedule is much appreciated. Just in case you can’t remember Dani, here is the bio box that appears at the bottom of each of her blog posts:
dani sigOn Fridays, an old friend is back and he is talking about “organizational development“. I’ve used John’s posts at johnponders blog as a springboard every Friday for more than a year and applied my non-profit stories to his organizational development principles. A few weeks ago, John announced that he was going on hiatus; however, he has agreed to allow me to re-publish my favorite articles from his blog. However, this recycled material won’t feel used to most DonorDreams readers because according to the WordPress analytics for my blog many of you didn’t click-through to johnponders. I am excited about this opportunity to expose you in a direct way to John and his blog. Here is the bio box that I will use at the bottom of each of John’s Friday posts:
john greco sigFor those of you who don’t like these changes, never fear . . . they are only temporary. Everything should snap back to the way it was around Valentine’s Days. In the meantime, you know what I always say . . .
Here’s to your health!
Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847