2013 saw a growing and widespread call for a fundamental change in the way we evaluate nonprofit effectiveness.  For far too long, nonprofits have been rated based on overhead ratios, and 2013 saw a long-overdue call for sanity in the sector.  Overhead ratios have a place in nonprofit management, but unfortunately in the nonprofit sector, over reliance on this one metric to the exclusion of all others has led us down the dangerous path to “The Starvation Cycle,” wherein nonprofit funders use low expenditures on overhead as a criteria to grant funding and nonprofits squeeze overhead at the expense of important management and infrastructure investments, and at times even misrepresent spending, in order to gain funding.  Low expenditures by some cause an increase in competition, and the entire sector becomes a victim of the starvation cycle. Read more

Over the past several years, Big Data, Data Analytics and Data Visualization have become some of the noisiest buzzwords in the nonprofit lexicon.   Data, analytics, and reporting together form the basis of business intelligence, and while many nonprofits are developing core competencies in one or the other of these key functions, it takes a true organization-wide commitment and approach to achieve the benefits of BI and data-driven decision making.  Read more

Donors want to give more money by text, want to learn more about you and your programs, and are really happy giving by text.  Those are some of the top findings of mGive’s 2013 Text Donation Study, an annual survey of text donors nationwide. The implications of the survey are clear: mobile isn’t just for text giving anymore. Nonprofits should use text messages to engage their supporters in more robust ways than fundraising.   In short, say more with text and make it social. Here are some of the key takeaway points from our 2013 Text Donation Study...Read more

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

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