Many nonprofits have a one size fits all approach to fundraising appeals.  Or, if they segment their appeals, they base it on age, or giving history, or if they are very sophisticated, both.  I’m not saying that age and giving history aren’t important, of course they are.  But do all Millennials think alike?  Do all lapsed donors respond to the same appeal to “come back?”  Are all Boomers capable of giving multi-million dollar gifts?  No.  Donors and prospects are as individual as we are, and if you are going to be successful marketing your nonprofit mission to them, and help your nonprofit stand out from the crowd, you need to get creative.  The following steps will help you create personas that you can use in your donor and prospect marketing and solicitation segmentations. Read more

2014 will see a shift in focus for nonprofits as they respond to changing demographics in the giving population. Two trends will dominate: first, Boomers are retiring, and as they do so, planned giving opportunities will become much more prevalent. Boomers will also be more involved than ever in causes about which they are passionate, translating into increased volunteering. Nonprofits should be ready with meaningful opportunities that allow their Boomer supporters to apply their business skills and work experience. Secondly, Millennials are developing their unique profile as donors, and indications are strong that they will be civic-minded, creative, and very active in determining how their contributions are used. Nonprofits who want to engage Millennials will need to speak to them on many channels, including mobile, be willing to listen and respond to their ideas and feedback, and involve them as partners and insiders in finding solutions for social problems.Read more

The nonprofit sector continues to grow, despite the economic downturn and sluggish recovery.  The Urban Institute’s The Nonprofit Almanac 2012 by Katie L. Roeger, Amy S. Blackwood, and Sarah L. Pettijohn indicates that the number of nonprofits grew by 24% from 2000 to 2010, and their growth in revenue was even more striking at 41%.  Nonprofits contributed $804.8B to the U.S. economy in 2010, representing 5.5% of GDP.  Perhaps more important, nonprofits now employ 10% of the U.S. workforce, meaning one in every 10 working adults now finds meaningful employment at nonprofit organizations.  This growth in nonprofit influence is fueled in part by a rising demand for services as the recession fueled drop in wages and employment for Middle America feeds the ever-growing income disparity gap between the rich and the rest.Read more

As 2014 gets underway, predictions abound.  With full knowledge that “the best way to predict the future is to create it,” we offer the following ideas for nonprofits to ponder this year and beyond.  Trend One: With the Continued Growth of the Nonprofit Sector, Individual Donors Will Become More Important.  The nonprofit sector is growing in both size and influence, government cutbacks are negatively impacting nonprofit funding and corporate funding, while growing, is a mere 6% of total contributions. Nonprofits wishing to survive and thrive in this uncertain and unsustainable economic climate will have to rely heavily on individual donors.  Identifying, involving and integrating these individuals into partnerships to help solve our most pressing problems will be the challenge of 2014.  Nonprofits will need to understand their donors and supporters on a different level – go beyond wealth and beyond demographics – to dig deep into the psyche and motivations of their constituents.  Read more

GuideStar led the first revolution in nonprofit transparency by posting IRS Forms 990 online nearly two decades ago. That resulted in greater accountability in nonprofit practice and greater transparency in compensation, program effectiveness, and giving across the sector. Now we’re helping to lead a second revolution. We want to expand the definition of transparency to be more timely, interactive, inclusive, and comprehensive.  On Monday, February 24, at 2 pm ET, we are holding the first ever Impact Call, and we invite you to join us. Loosely based on the quarterly earnings calls held by publicly-owned companies, the Impact Call is open to everyone and will be the first step in addressing these new transparency definitions.Read more

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