What’s in a Name?

Nonprofit organizations offer a variety of ways for individuals to be involved.  But only one outlives all those involved.  A Named Gift.

The gravity of trading a significant portion of one’s wealth in exchange for long term family name recognition on a lecture hall,walkway, building or even an entire institution is enormous.  What are appropriate expectations for the donor and the institution?  How will promises be kept after the parties involved are gone?

These are also gifts which can transform an institution.  And for that reason, determining the value of naming opportunities is extremely important since the decisions can be as permanent as any we ever make.

Terry Burton, author of “Naming Rights: Legacy Gifts & Corporate Money,” tracks these gifts at the Major Gift Resource Center of his own firm, Dig In Research.  He works with institutions to determine the market value of gifts and gathers information on how to market these special, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

I interviewed Terry to hear his thoughts on the phenomena in advance of a webinar he is conducting on “Making Money on Naming Rights” this Thursday, October 13…


Today’s Bake Sale is on Twitter

In promotions for her new book Twitter for Good, author and leader of social innovation at the company Claire Diaz Ortiz says that every nonprofit should have an account (with a specific goal in mind) and that one of the first things every account holder should do is start tweeting.

These are two commonsense pieces of advice that are somehow often lost on organizations waiting for the perfect time, strategy and examples before getting started.

Others like CEO4Teens, a group founded by two US teenage students who wanted to make educational opportunity available for young people in Indonesia, just jump right in.  And it works.

What organizations with a specific goal in mind are finding is that today’s Bake Sale is on Twitter…and Facebook, YouTube and other social networks.  These organizations are simply going where the people are.  And since they are interested in making social change real, and not just promoting ideas, they are monetizing that activity, too.  In short, they are asking for money.

In this edition of Today in Fundraising, I interview Brooks Dyroff, Co-Founder of CEO4Teens about their current Twitter & YouTube campaign and how it is funding new educational opportunities for young people all the way from Boston to Indonesia.

Take a look and see how a small, volunteer-run charity can use free pathways like Twitter to invite support and make change happen now.

Warming Up for Cold Calling

The time has come.  You must pick up the phone.  To call a stranger.  A stranger who has been giving to your organization for years.  But has never, ever heard from you.  Do you know what to do?

Armando Zumaya, a veteran fundraiser now serving as Chief Development Officer at the Center for Public Integrity, has years of experience working through endless calls to reach and develop relationships with millionaires and billionaires.  And now he’s sharing that experience in a virtual training program that is rare in the nonprofit world.

“In the for profit world, people spend a great deal of money teaching sales people how to cold call.  How to get to people you don’t know.  People you should know,” Armando explains.  “In these difficult times, there are excellent prospects in your community, people giving to causes similar to yours, and you have no clear way of reaching them.  You don’t know anyone who knows them.  Often you have to call them directly to reach them.”

Armando will provide a special webinar on “Cold Calling and Prospecting for Development Officers” on September 15 through FundraisingInfo.com.  He will provide a practical, tactical and real-world anecdote filled training to get fundraisers on the phone and out the door.

“These days with the economy being crunched and people losing major donors, you want to bring in new major donors.  You need to replace them to keep your organization’s head above water,” he says.

See how two years of persistence on the phone led to one $5 million gift in this video preview…


Coming soon to a mobile device near you!

Nonprofits have been mad for mobile since the outpouring of support in the wake of the Haiti Earthquake.  Yet text fundraising is the main beneficiary of this interest, despite its significant limitations, such as caps on giving amounts, delays in receipt of funds and the inability to obtain donor information to acknowledge support and build relationships.  Companies have been busy working to address these problems in a way that won’t break the bank for nonprofits already under tremendous financial pressure.  One which recently emerged is Give.Mobi, a relatively inexpensive mobile platform which makes giving easier for organizations and, more importantly, for the rapidly expanding universe of donors who are no longer tied to their desktops.  Give.Mobi is initiating #GiveMonday to promote mobile giving and I asked the company’s CEO, Bob Jones, about this new effort to tap the goodwill of twitter for the financial benefit of nonprofits.


Giving Show Interview on Global Fundraising & Social Media

If you haven’t heard Michael Chatman‘s Giving Show, here’s your chance!  Michael invited me to serve as his guest on August 18, 2011 and asked me about my views on global fundraising and social media today.  We took questions over Twitter, shared resources and challenged some of the myths cause nonprofits to hold back on the two greatest emerging markets for fundraising today.  Take a listen and let me know what you think!  Just click here:  Michael Chatman 08-18-11


My Way

I recently stopped at a fast food place with my son and his friend following a late afternoon round of lasertag.  As I saw the two boys open their burgers and simultaneously pluck out the pickles, a little jingle from my childhood rang through my head.  If you are old enough you may remember it, too:

“Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us, all we ask is that you let us serve it your way…”

It occurs to me that as much as we talk about the importance of the customer generally, and more specifically donor-centered fundraising in the nonprofit world, businesses and nonprofits keep handing us our burgers with pickles without even bothering to ask us if that’s what we want.

Unlike hungry boys after lasertag, adult donors don’t have a desperate hunger to give to organizations that ignore the needs and interests of potential contributors.  That’s the theme this month of my little ode to an oft-recurring theme in fundraising these days entitled “Or The Highway” over at the Fundraising Sherpa blog.  Please take a look and share your own fundraising pickle stories!


Social Media and Major Gifts: Stage One

How do we get professional development operations to take social media seriously?  By developing a process to move it from “friendraising” to “fundraising!”  Doing so, however, requires more than a simple decision to start asking our new social media friends to give.  It is also a matter of building out the business process to identify and cultivate relationships with individuals found through social networks who will one day become our major charitable investors. Who should be in charge of such an activity?  And how do we convince them to do it?  Read the latest edition of my Fundraising Sherpa blog to learn what I think organizations must do today to get started in mining social media for major gifts.