Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Power of Acknowledgement – Three Elements of Donor Retention

By Bill Sayre

What is your philanthropy’s superpower? Every nonprofit has powers, but the most important one that eludes many organizations is the power of donor retention. Unfortunately many nonprofits expect to lose more than 60 percent of donors after their first donation.

It is time to take on high first-time donor attrition rates and secure donor loyalty. Studies show that over the long term, retaining 10 percent more of first-time donors can lead to a 200 percent lifetime return. Here are three nonprofit powers to help improve donor retention and turn one-time donors into life-long supporters:

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Friday, August 28, 2015

Find out how to identify and cope with trauma Aug. 29 at the Cynthia Graham Hurd/St. Andrews Regional Branch Library

For eighteen months, Nicole Willcox worked helping residents in Newtown, Conn. deal with grief and trauma caused by the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. She will be in Charleston on Saturday, Aug. 29 at 2:30 pm at the Cynthia Graham Hurd/ St. Andrews Regional Branch Library, 1735 N. Woodmere Drive in Charleston, to share lessons she learned in Newtown and give area residents tips to identify trauma in themselves and others.  She will provide ideas on how to cope with devastating grief and a better understanding of the steps they can take to heal from the Emanuel AME Church tragedy.

As a psychotherapist and art therapist, Willcox knew how to help people suffering from trauma-induced mental health issues. At the request of friends from Newtown, she mobilized resources and pulled together groups of Master’s level trained art therapists in an effort to help the town’s residents.

When she arrived, Willcox found that many residents were unable to process their feelings and didn’t even realize they were displaying symptoms of trauma. In response, she began administering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder assessments and discovered that every person who took the test had PTSD-related trauma symptoms.

She witnessed the emotional roller coaster of residents and the community using her professional training as a psychotherapist and art therapist to help town residents.

To provide residents with the help they needed, she started educating the town’s adults about the mind-body connection so they would understand the physiology of how the brain responds to severe trauma. From experience she knew that verbal processes shut down for many people because the horror of a situation is often too much for the human system to conceptualize.

The best way to break through that barrier is to use therapies that involve art and the creative process. Scientifically, this type of therapy can actually build a connection in the brain that allows people to access extreme emotions and begin the healing process.
Within four months of the tragedy, Willcox opened an Emerald Sketch studio in Newtown – the first mental health program launched directly to respond to the shooting. Hundreds of town residents, from ages 3 to in their 70s, have worked with the studio’s art therapists since the December 2012 shootings, and Willcox expects to be helping residents for several more years.

Everyone is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all grief reaction and recovery process. There’s no timeline that everyone follows when healing for a mass tragedy.

Newtown resident David Brooker was working just down the street on the day of the shooting. For him, art therapy provided an outlet to express his grief, anger and more.
“There is no playbook for how you should feel, so it provided an environment where I could yell, scream, cry, be happy, be sad … whatever,” Brooker said. “Everyone feels the loss differently and with different gravity, so being able to completely be myself creating art gave me a way to find my own path. Most of the painting I did in the weeks after (the) massacre was total garbage, but it helped me get to a place - a place you don’t even know exists at the moment, a place of healing.”

With millions of dollars flooding into the community as donations after the shooting, the area’s Community Foundation surveyed residents to determine how they wanted the money spent. In addition to assistance for the victims’ families, the top priority was mental health counseling.

Willcox’s initial response was funded through the community and private donations, and she actively sought outreach opportunities in people’s homes, in the library, in churches and in other sites around the area. Eventually, the Newtown Recovery and Resiliency Team was established, and The Resiliency Center of Newtown opened. This non-profit continues operating today - providing free, long-term therapy services to residents still working through trauma related to the school shootings.

By giving residents a creative outlet and therapy that uses art, they were able to confront the trauma, identify issues in a safe environment and develop a plan for healing. Now as art therapy is established in Newtown, and so much knowledge on what works has been gained Willcox is visiting Charleston to share what helps people of any age and how to access needed support.

Nonprofits must be able to adapt

By Antony Bugg-Levine
CEO, Nonprofit Finance Fund

via:  www.socialvelocity.net

When we asked nonprofit leaders to identify top challenges as part of Nonprofit Finance Fund’s 2015 State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey, 32% said “achieving long-term sustainability,” by far the most popular response.

 What does it take to reach the promised land of sustainability? It may seem counter-intuitive, but one of the best measures of organizational sustainability is not stability but adaptive capacity, the ability to act as circumstances require and opportunities allow. A truly sustainable enterprise must have the capacity to nimbly respond to external conditions. A strong balance sheet must allow for flexibility. 

In the nonprofit sector, where pursuit of a mission is paramount, the ability to thoughtfully tack toward progress as funding conditions and community needs change is a hallmark of a success. That does not change the reality that our sector is notorious for restricted funding and hampered by a lack of available enterprise-level investment capital.

 So, how do organizations build adaptive capacity?

 Here are a few ways that nonprofits can build their adaptive “muscle” and be better prepared to change as the environment demands and opportunities allow. 

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Art of Fundraising

Chief Development Officer, YMCA of Greater New York

One of the questions I am asked most frequently is, "How do you fundraise?" It seems like a simple question but, in practice, asking individuals and corporations for their support is more art than science.

That's because fundraising is much more than asking for money. A key goal in development work is cultivating long-term relationships with donors. A committed patron will prioritize your nonprofit when it comes to charitable giving each year.

The majority of nonprofits still rely on the generosity of donors, though giving patterns have changed. A decade ago, benefactors were inclined to support multiple organizations. Today, we see donors making more targeted gifts in an effort to maximize their impact. At the YMCA, program-specific giving attracts three times as many supporters as our requests for support for general operations.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

How Live Streaming Will Change the Face of Philanthropy


Caroline Avakian

Huffington Post Impact

Mobile live streaming video has been thrust center stage into the tech limelight with the recent release of Periscope, Meerkat, YouNow, and Blab. The premise of these free apps is that it allows any user to live stream from wherever they are, doing whatever they want. The bonus here is that viewers can tune in and engage via comments. That one-on-one connectivity and intimacy that live video can provide is what social media users, especially millennials, have come to expect more and more. Big companies like Wendy's, T-Mobile, and Applebees, as well as entrepreneurs and brand ambassadors, are already using them to help them connect creatively with their social media-savvy customers and turn a profit. Essentially, the ease of use of these apps can make anyone a broadcaster without the burden of having to create and upload an edited, professional-looking video.

As live streaming becomes more mainstream, and brands and individuals race to understand how they can leverage these new tools for profit, we are also seeing a much more organic and productive use of it, as people capture real-time social injustices as well as breaking news events and emergencies.

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Friday, August 21, 2015

The 7 Ways To Get Smarter About Fundraising – FAST

By Andreia Lorgovan

Can you actually improve your fundraising skills? And is there a fast way to do it?

You can’t become a successful fundraiser unless you have a special gift and calling for this profession, but you can definitely get smarter about fundraising if you consistently work towards this goal.

Here are 7 proven methods that can help you accelerate your fundraising learning and achieve your nonprofit organization’s financial goals:

1. Find and read interviews of successful fundraising experts

There are two things that fundraising experts usually share during interviews: mindset and experience. If you want to become a fundraising professional, you need to think and act like one, and the easiest and most accessible way to do it is to read the insights these people provide during interviews.

Plus you’ll get to know better people you admire and trust – who wouldn’t like to hear some great stories and advice from fundraising gurus?
          Stay tuned as we will soon start a series of interviews with fundraising experts!

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Introduction to Seeking Grants Aug. 20 at Charleston County Library Main Branch

Introduction to Seeking Grants will be held Thursday, Aug. 20 from 12-1 p.m. in the Foundation Center Resources Area at the Main Branch of the Charleston County Public Library, 68 Calhoun St. in Charleston.

Become familiar with Foundation Center resources. Discover the grants database, learn basic and advanced search functions, and research foundation profiles. Handouts will be provided, and participants can practice searching for grants after the presentation. 

CCPL is a Funding Information Network partner with the Foundation Center. For more information, visit www.foundationcenter.org.