In your world, do all of the conferences you want to attend all bunch up together on your calendar? They do for us. In the spring and late summer/early fall we pack a lot of them in. Conferences are something we look forward to: meeting others in the industry, hearing other organizations’ challenges and successes, and getting to learn the latest from the nonprofit world are the best things about attending a nonprofit conference.
Here are just a few of the nuggets we took away from conferences this fall in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Thomasville, Georgia. What would you add to this list as a promising practice for your organization?
- Instead of telling a story about your organization, show it through words that are meaningful. Choose a client from your organization and see if they will be a character in your story. Use your story to connect with your audience in a meaningful way. Then, see where you can plug your story in (website? annual report? newsletter? blog?).
- Make sure everyone in your nonprofit organization knows why it needs donor support and can clearly explain that to someone outside the nonprofit.
- Make sure every front-line employee or key volunteer, and each development person has a consistent message about your organization.
- Put your need or case statement at the front of each piece of communication your nonprofit produces.
- Make sure volunteers know the mission and vision of your organization, whether they volunteer once or repeatedly.
- When someone sends an inquiry through your website, put them on your mailing/email list. Then invite them to the next event that will, in a low-key way, begin to introduce them to your organization.
- Just 12% of nonprofits have a written fundraising plan.
- Use donor data to make informed decisions.
- Don’t survey your audience more than once a month.
- Someone has to be communicated with in a meaningful way seven times before taking action.
- Women age 50 and older are making more philanthropic giving decisions than anyone else. They influence what their spouses give, they live longer than their spouses and they often inherit twice (once from their parents and once from their spouse). Women are three times more likely to want personal communication with their philanthropy.
(Questions on our sources of information? Want to know more? Email us.)
Goodies from the Tennessee Valley Institute for Nonprofit Excellence: Kivi Miller’s book and Girl Scout cookies. Win.