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Customer Success Manager at Blackbaud Canada

stalled campaignYour fundraising plan is written, your volunteers have been trained and you are ready to go out to ask for a donation to solve an identified problem in your community. Everybody’s ready to go! Except nothing happens. It’s so quiet in your office that you can hear the crickets. Your phone isn’t ringing. It seems like your campaign has gone sideways…potentially into the ditch. Here are 10 practical tips for defibrillating your fundraising campaign back to life.

jenny and charlotteThis year I decided that my household was going to have great mornings. No more of this dragging kids out of bed. I wanted to change my habits because  I hated the way I started my day with all that stress and negativity. I stumbled upon a study that said that if you think positive thoughts you will be 19% more productive! Wow! I liked the sound of that. Now what did I have to do to make that happen?  The steps I took reminded me a lot of the mental commitment required to be a good fundraiser. Want to be more positive in your workplace? Here are the steps to make it happen.

1)      Think positive thoughts

jen laurette“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”  ~ William Bruce Cameron, Sociologist

Guest post by Jen Laurette, Associate Director, Development and Alumni Relations at  Queen's University

Let’s start with the None at All. For various reasons, some organizations avoid using performance metrics among their fundraisers and instead take an all-hands-on-deck approach to collectively reaching the organization’s overarching goals.  I have worked for organizations that employed this approach - whatever you raised was seen as a win. While this can feel great, the lack of direct accountability can lead to status quo becoming the norm.  While staff retention was strong and we functioned as a team, who’s to know how much we may have been leaving on the table. Let’s move to the Good in Theory. 

jane griffith photoJane Griffith Practice Leader - Academic and Not for Profit at Four Corners Group, Inc  joined today’s Fundraising Mastermind call to talk about trends and hot topics in the not-for-profit world. Her advice and comments were so powerful that I immediately sat down and wrote this blog post.  Here is Jane’s advice for competing in the competitive landscape of not-for-profit executive search jobs. It’s a competitive landscape It seems awfully competitive out there because it is! People are not retiring like they used to, and the people that ARE competing for jobs in the not-for-profit sector are also coming from the private sector. There is a huge amount of competition.

vanessa chase picGuest Post by Vanessa Chase - The Storytelling Nonprofit Storytelling is becoming a regular part of fundraising programs and for good reasons. It is a powerful tool that helps organizations emotionally connect donors to their impact. According to a recent NPR story, anecdotally telling someone how they can help one person means they are more likely to make after. But sometimes storytelling can be easier said than done. If you work in fundraising or communications, you may not have direct access to your organization’s amazing stories or worse, there may be a silo in your way. I’ve talked to countless nonprofit professionals in the last few years who have faced these problems and I can certainly relate from my own experiences. Another common barrier to storytelling is interviewing, which can seem like a daunting task if you’ve never done it before. You may feel nervous. The interviewee may be nervous. It can be a recipe for an awkward interview.

If you don't have a microphone/webcam on your work computer you can join us by phone line. Think of it as 1) you sign in by video  then 2) you call into the hangout by phone. Here are the instructions. 1) Click the google hangout link and you will be connected to the call. We can't see you (you don't have a webcam) and we can't hear you (because you don't have a microphone - we're going to connect you by phone in a minute). 2) Click the "invite people" button (you're inviting yourself via phone) instructions    

Every year I do a list of “aha” moments from congress . (See my blog post from a few years back.) But this year, I’ve changed up my tune. I’m sharing the five implementable moments from congress – things that I can incorporate right away into my daily work that will change my way of working. It's impossible to be in every session at Congress. There's too many! If you are interested in hearing what the "collective brain trust of fundraising mojo" had to say about their favorite parts of congress, JOIN ME on a Google Hangout on December 11th, from 1-2pm EST. Send me an email at [email protected] or follow this link  and I'll put you on the reminder list for the webinar. Now, back to my "do-now" discoveries from Congress.

help!I have had the most amazing week! I received a book in the mail from a friend from far away. Do you know Brené Brown the author and sociologist? The book I received was Daring Greatly. Haven’t heard of her? Stop what you’re doing and watch this video NOW. Brene’s work is all about letting yourself be vulnerable-  to let yourself “be seen” by others, messy parts and all. (Here’s my blog post about providing board members with a space so they can be vulnerable with each other.) I think as fundraisers – especially in isolated, small shops – we think we can figure things out, get to the end of the appeal letter, the to do list, and the board retreat documents if we just work harder, put in more hours and cram one more thing onto our already busy work week. Fundraisers are not good at letting themselves be vulnerable (and I am including myself in this bucket!) We are crappy at saying “I need help.” And if we get to the point of needing help, we have no idea who to turn to because by then we’ve cut ourselves off from the very community that might be able to help…because we’ve been too busy. We need to change this.