Ideas from the NC Philanthropy Conference

By Eileen Hannan and Emily Holder, August 30, 2012

Be the Change" was the theme of last week's Association of Fundraising Professionals' Eighth Annual NC Philanthropy Conference.  Below are some ideas we got from participating in the sessions. 

Let the cause do the talking for your organization. On social media sites, start conversations and ask questions so that people not connected to your organization will want to engage with you.  (Jon Duschinsky, Be the Change and Brenda McDonald, InAweMarketing)

Consider why individuals give.  As explained in Simon Sinek's book, Start with Why, people donate because their passions match your organization's purpose. (Allan Burrows, Capital Development Services)

Re-evaluate membership benefits annually. Keeping benefits fresh will sustain your members and entice new ones. (Frances Beasly, Comprehensive Capital Campaign Old Salem Museums & Gardens)

Check your website analytics regularly to determine your baseline activity and create goals to attract new visitors. (Cathy Foster, Cool Coyotes, Inc.)

Provide your volunteers, donors, and board members with the tools and resources to be instruments of change for your organization.  Give them ownership. (Jon Duschinsky, Be the Change and Capstone Investment Partners)

Celebrate success. Compelling stories and testimonials provide the best case for support. (Capstone Investment Partners)

Before writing a grant proposal, check with your board members to see if they know anyone from the funding organization. Having a connection can put you in a good position for receiving funding. (Betsy Emerson, The Hill Center, Inc.)

Shift your language from fundraising to philanthropy. Fundraising is transactional and solely money-focused, whereas philanthropy is focused on building relationships and participation. (Allan Burrows, Capital Development Services)

Say thank you. Thank your donors, staff, board and other supporters personally and regularly. (Allan Burrows, Capital Development Services)

Practice self-care. Try to achieve work-life balance. (Christine Harrison Grant, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Eastern North Carolina)