This blog will help you win loyal friends for your nonprofit organization. I'm Dennis Fischman, and I approved this message.

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Don’t Let Your Donations Get Lost in the Mail

My beloved brother Ron Fischman died earlier this month. Our family asked that donations in Ron’s memory go to an organization he had supported. We gave out the organization’s website and its mailing address. But only the online donations went through.

The mailing address we found on the website was wrong.

Now before you wonder “How could a large nonprofit organization make such a stupid mistake?”, let me explain. The group’s correct address did appear on its website. It was on the Contact Us page.

But when you go to the Donate page (as we did) and look for the mailing address, you find a donation form to print out and mail in. That form hadn’t been changed since 2011–but the organization’s address had!

I don’t recommend asking your donors to print out a donation form. Hardly any of them ever do, and asking them to do it may actually discourage some people from giving. But if you aren’t going to use the form any more, make sure you take it off your website.

And no matter what, make sure your address is correct on every page where it appears.

What’s Your Nonprofit’s Campaign Story?

Election 2014

There’s an election going on, and your nonprofit organization is one of the candidates.

You’re competing for volunteer time.  You’re competing for donor money.  Everyone in your community can choose from a slate of good causes and “cast their vote”–for you, for a similar organization, or for a completely different cause that also appeals to them.

You need name recognition to win.  No one will vote for you if they don’t know who you are.  But how do you make sure people hear about you, and remember your name?

Tell stories.

Tell stories that dramatize the problem you’re trying to solve.  Tell stories that give people hope that there are solutions.  Give them a chance to be the hero of the story by giving you their time or money.

When they choose between you and other organizations, make sure they know your name.  Then you’ll have a chance to get their vote.

4 Ways to Pay for Your Communications Consultant

help

Your nonprofit organization does great work. You’d like more people to know about it. So you squeeze time for writing newsletters, sending email, and posting to social media into your schedule.

And still, people don’t know what you do.

You realize you need outside help…but there’s a problem.  How are you going to pay for the help you need?

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Four ways, in fact.

  1. Ask a donor. Most people give to your organization to produce immediate results. A few of your supporters understand that better communications now means a stronger organization later. Find a major donor like that, and ask him or her to give you the seed money you need.
  2. Write a proposal.  Communications is “capacity building.” Foundations will give grants if you show them what difference your improved communications will make. Businesses will also invest if you make a strong case.
  3. Do some crowdfunding. Zach Brown raised $55,000 online by making potato salad. How about you? Be very human and a little bit funny, and you just might get enough small gifts to pay your consultant.
  4. Build it into the budget. Communications are just as important as staff training and other items you budget for every year. It will be a lot easier to pay for help if you’re planning for it.

When you have the money in hand, here are seven tips on what to look for when you’re hiring a communications consultant.  And I’d love to talk with you about your project.  Drop me a line at dennis@twofisch.com: maybe we can work together!