Art, meet Science. Science, meet Art.

As the 2018 AFP DC co-chair for the Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference – a.k.a. Bridge Conference – I’ve been super busy with other AFP/DC members and our colleagues from the Direct Marketing Association of Washington (DMAW) planning a great conference to take place July 31- August 2 at the Gaylord National Hotel! I want to share what’s new and interesting for this year.

Our theme – The Art & Science of Fundraising & Marketing – shines a light on the unique partnership between traditional fundraisers and their direct marketing counterparts. Bridging art and science is fundamental to what we all do each day, whether drafting a case for support, finding creative ways to engage our board members, writing direct mail copy, analyzing our mailing results, or creating cross-channel tactics.

Bridge 2018 will bring you the best of right-brain and left-brain ideas, with 12 dynamic tracks hosting more than 80 sessions, plus three inspiring and informative keynote sessions. While we know you come for the phenomenal educational sessions, the keynotes aren’t to be missed! Let me share a little bit about each one.

If you’re an NPR geek like me, you’ll love Shankar Vedantam, host of the Hidden Brain podcast, who will be speaking about the Hidden Brain & Generosity to examine how psychology and neuroscience – a.k.a. the “hidden brain” – can teach organizations about eliciting generosity. He’ll also explore insights into the nature of effective communication and look at how miscommunication can affect the performance of organizations.

In our second keynote, Geoffrey Peters of the Moore DM Group and Bernard Ross of The Management Centre will help us look inside our supporters’ brains through their talk, Neuromarketing, Behavioral Marketing, and Decision Science for Nonprofits. They’ll share how to motivate, persuade and “get through” to prospective donors, advocates, members and the public – factors we know are key to success both in fundraising and advocacy!

Finally, at our closing general session and reception, Allison Massari, an international keynote speaker, executive coach, and award-winning visual artist, will present The Art of Courage & Grace. Having built four thriving businesses from the ground up, Allison forged her path to success and will share her personal journey. As the survivor of two near fatal car crashes, one where she suffered severe burns on over 50% of her body, she has become a moving voice for the power of perseverance. Most importantly, Allison understands the importance of successful fundraising, as she established the Roger Pepper Adventure Camp for Teen Burn Survivors, a nonprofit named after the courageous man who pulled her from her blazing car.

With 80-plus sessions, our phenomenal keynotes, the Solutions Showcase (where you can find the answers to some of your most vexing problems), receptions,lunches and other great activities – we have a lot planned for you at Bridge! If you are one of our loyalists who attend Bridge regularly, I assure you the 2018 conference won’t disappoint! If you are planning to attend for the first time, make sure you plan to join us for coffee on the first morning of the full conference (Wed., August 1st) and ask the pros for some recommendations on which sessions to attend.

If you are still in the process of convincing someone that you need to attend, let us give you a hand! Check out our Persuasion Kit online – it should be an immense help to you!

Or just give me a holler. I’m always happy to chat about the value of Bridge!

See you there,
Joan

**As previously featured by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Washington D.C. Metro Area Chapter

Want to know your consultant’s secret weapon?

Years ago, I worked for a direct mail agency whose motto was “often wrong, never in doubt.” As consultants, we’re expected to know the answers. And if we don’t, we need to find the answers quickly. Every day can seem like a pop quiz on fundraising best practice.

As the co-leader of the AFP DC Consultant’s Affinity Group, I’m amazed by the level of support offered between consultants – especially since many of them compete for business.

We have more than 150 members and they often pose questions to the affinity group. I sometimes think “Are you crazy? No one is going to help you with that!” But in fact, almost every time, there are a few folks who pipe up to provide a recommendation, and share examples or templates.

I’m impressed every time with the answers. And they are not just yes or no comments, but full-page responses. I see it time and time again: members walk through their experience, give advice on best practice, or identify mine fields to watch out for as a consultant.

If you’ve ever wondered how consultants know all the answers, they have a secret weapon: each other! At the risk of oversharing, here are just a few examples of the kinds of resources members share through the affinity group:

EXPERTISE on programs such as: Google AdWords, Classy, Salesforce, peer-to-peer online giving, Goodworld, Bloomerang, FirstGiving, Board Match, and GiftWorks.

RECOMMENDATIONS for: project management software, best tools for corporate prospect research, grants pipeline templates, event management tools, staffing models for endowment campaigns, e-commerce solutions, relationship mapping tools, text to give options, charitable registration experts, and train-the-trainer programs on “making the ask.”

SPECIALISTS on: prospect research, marketing, communications, federal funding proposals, Benevon system, management coaching, grant writing, crowdfunding, digital marketing, website design, graphic artists, mailshops, printers, and translation services.

EXAMPLES of: case statements for arts and advocacy orgs, staffing structures and staff assessment templates, sponsor benefit listings, articles of incorporation and by-laws, sample campaign brochures, campaign guidelines, benchmarks and comparison metrics for phone programs, and list acquisition policy samples.

ADVICE on: pros and cons of a stand-alone foundation for an association, tax benefits for international donors, strategies for lifetime giving recognition program, testing tactics for annual giving campaigns, gift acceptance and gift agreement language, experience with all-volunteer campaigns, comparative association campaign results.

Next time you’re impressed by the in-depth counsel that your consultant provides, you now know their secret weapon: a community of peers at AFP DC who set aside their competitive instincts to help each other deliver best-in-class service to their nonprofit clients. If you are interested in joining the Consultants Affinity Group or attending upcoming events, contact me to learn more.

**As previously featured by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Washington D.C. Metro Area Chapter

What if Fundraisers Could Balance the Federal Budget?

Everyone’s talking about big government and taxes. Do we increase taxes? Do we cut the military? Do we cut the safety net for the poor?

A fundraiser’s answer to the budget crisis would be restricted giving.

Nonprofits tackle these tough budget issues every day. But nonprofits must keep their stakeholders happy. If you want your gift to pay for computers. No problem. If you want to pay for a scholarship program. No problem. If you want something named in memory of your daughter. No problem.

Why can’t the federal government do the same?

Why can’t the federal government accept restricted gifts?

I think folks forget why we pay taxes. If fundraisers let donors lose sight of why they give, our charities would surely suffer. What if we could choose to support what matters the most to each of us?

I know my husband would want all of his tax contributions to support first responders. Put his name on the side of a shiny new fire truck and he’ll put you in the will.

I have a friend who would single-handedly support our treasured national parks given the opportunity.

Another who would make sure our defense remains strong.

And I’m certain my mother would have wanted her taxes to support medical research.

The sequester reminds us of what exactly our taxes buy. The sequester means:

30,000 teachers and school staff could lose their jobs
800,000 defense employees could be forced to take unpaid leave
Small businesses would lose $540 million in financing
4 million homebound seniors wouldn’t receive meals
A fundraiser would make sure we raised enough money to support those programs.

What if donors ~ oops I mean taxpayers ~ could choose how they want their taxes to be spent instead of incessant battling over the budget.

Just a thought on how each of us could use our power for good.

9 Ways For Expanding Small Shops

Even if the prospect of growth is intimidating, sometimes it is necessary to expand rather than wither.

At the Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference at National Harbor, Md., Nadine Gabai-Botero of Focus Fundraising LLC, Joan Geiger Wood of Joan Wood & Company LLC and Isabelle Blanco of the Foundation Center offered advice for small organizations thinking of utilizing outside resources for growth.

They emphasized the following considerations:

  • Fundraising strategy. Seek guidance to develop the organization’s annual strategy and help determine resources that will be most effective.
  • Board development. A consultant can provide perspective, help elevate issues and encourage the board to take action on best practices, strategic recruitment, research, training and coaching.
  • Planned giving. There is enormous potential in planned giving, particularly to small nonprofits.
  • Direct mail and online. An organization can outsource its entire direct mail or online campaigns, or just pieces of them.
  • Data analysis and management. Data management can be outsourced. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish.
  • Events. Think through the goals when considering outsourcing an event.
  • Messaging. Communications is key to keeping donors informed and engaged.
  • Grant writing. Considerations include leveraging more of the available funding opportunities, developing proposals that require particular formats and supplementing staff without adding a new full-time position. Consider a trial run with a short proposal before the big one.
  • Prospect research. It’s not just for the big guys, and it’s not magic.

**As previously featured by The Nonprofit Times

Six Tips for Your Nonprofit in the Sharing Economy

May 2016 DConnection: Use Your Skills in a New Way – Volunteer Today!

I was studying for the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential a few years ago and was struggling to get the volunteer and education hours required for the application. I had been fundraising for many years and had started to back off on attending education sessions. Plus my work (and nieces and nephews) had taken all of my “volunteer” time. As I filled out my CFRE application it became clear to me that I was in a rut, working for my organization, but not my field.

I was an active participant in the AFP DC Law and Justice Affinity Group at the time so I reached out to a few of my colleagues from that group to ask how I could get more involved. I was and continue to be surprised by all of the wonderful volunteer opportunities right here in our chapter. I started as a volunteer on the education committee, and later joined the board, served as co-chair of National Capital Philanthropy Day 2015 and this year I am vice president of education for the chapter.

I share my journey because I’ve gone from not using the many benefits the chapter offers to being fully engaged in just a few years.  Now I’m putting my time – and money – right here in my community, working to improve the field I’ve spent my career promoting.

There are tons of ways for you to get involved as well.  Let’s think about it in terms of skill set:

  • Are you good at the art of the ask?  AFP DC could use your talents to secure sponsorships for the Bridge Conference and National Capital Philanthropy Day, two of the chapter’s signature events.
  • Are you social media savvy?  We need volunteers to get the word out about our education programs by tweeting from the sessions. And we need you to teach others how to do it.
  • If marketing and communications are your forte, then consider volunteering to refresh the chapter website, develop promotional copy for e-blasts or write articles for the newsletter.
  • If you’re an event person, there is great demand for your expertise.  This year we’ve got 38 education sessions to pull off, plus the Bridge Conference and National Capital Philanthropy Day.
  • Are you a whiz with numbers?  We could certainly use this skill set on the Finance Committee.  If you’re more of a data geek, we’d love to have your help with data analysis for the chapter.

These are just a handful of ways you can get involved as an AFP DC volunteer.  Click here to learn more.

**As previously featured by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Washington D.C. Metro Area Chapter

Use Your Skills in a New Way – Volunteer Today

I was studying for the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential a few years ago and was struggling to get the volunteer and education hours required for the application. I had been fundraising for many years and had started to back off on attending education sessions. Plus my work (and nieces and nephews) had taken all of my “volunteer” time. As I filled out my CFRE application it became clear to me that I was in a rut, working for my organization, but not my field.

I was an active participant in the AFP DC Law and Justice Affinity Group at the time so I reached out to a few of my colleagues from that group to ask how I could get more involved. I was and continue to be surprised by all of the wonderful volunteer opportunities right here in our chapter. I started as a volunteer on the education committee, and later joined the board, served as co-chair of National Capital Philanthropy Day 2015 and this year I am vice president of education for the chapter.

I share my journey because I’ve gone from not using the many benefits the chapter offers to being fully engaged in just a few years.  Now I’m putting my time – and money – right here in my community, working to improve the field I’ve spent my career promoting.

There are tons of ways for you to get involved as well.  Let’s think about it in terms of skill set:

  • Are you good at the art of the ask?  AFP DC could use your talents to secure sponsorships for the Bridge Conference and National Capital Philanthropy Day, two of the chapter’s signature events.
  • Are you social media savvy?  We need volunteers to get the word out about our education programs by tweeting from the sessions. And we need you to teach others how to do it.
  • If marketing and communications are your forte, then consider volunteering to refresh the chapter website, develop promotional copy for e-blasts or write articles for the newsletter.
  • If you’re an event person, there is great demand for your expertise.  This year we’ve got 38 education sessions to pull off, plus the Bridge Conference and National Capital Philanthropy Day.
  • Are you a whiz with numbers?  We could certainly use this skill set on the Finance Committee.  If you’re more of a data geek, we’d love to have your help with data analysis for the chapter.

These are just a handful of ways you can get involved as an AFP DC volunteer.  Click here to learn more.

**As previously featured by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Washington D.C. Metro Area Chapter