The 101 Biggest Mistakes Nonprofits Make

The 101 Biggest Mistakes Nonprofits Make

Andrew Olsen has done our whole vertical a service by compiling a list of the most common mistakes that nonprofits make. Whether you are new to the nonprofit world, or have been involved for decades, there is something for everyone to learn in Olsen’s new book. My personal favorite is Mistake #75: Asking at the Wrong Time. Nonprofits now have access to sophisticated algorithms that can really help them know when they should and when they shouldn’t be asking their donors. It’s a mistake to continue to rely on antiquated RFM modeling to choose when your organization should be communicating. Do yourself a favor and order a copy. It’s like giving yourself an instant MBA in nonprofit management. 101 Biggest Mistakes Nonprofits Make...
Bearing Down

Bearing Down

Many people that work in the numbers business, including us, have been saying for a while now that the stock market is overcooked, and a big correction is inevitable – so the major dive in the Dow Jones yesterday was not a huge surprise. No matter where we end up in the next few days, many finance gurus are still predicting a drop of 30% or more. This article by David Rosenberg, the chief economist at Gluskin Sheff, was reposted by Business Insider on January 11, 2018, explains the trends in an easy to absorb manner: http://www.businessinsider.com/markets-look-stretched-rosenberg-says-2018-1 Of course, Mr. Rosenberg is counseling private investors. At Analytical Ones, we are consulting with nonprofit organizations. And all of us that worked in fundraising through the market collapse of 2008 know that philanthropy is closely tied to market performance. So, what did we learn a decade ago that will help us prepare this time around? This is what you can expect it see: The recession of 2008 had a catastrophic effect on new donor acquisition. It has only been in the last couple of years that organizations have recovered in this area. In times of economic uncertainty, donors are unlikely to add organizations to support. Large donors dried up. Again, in times of economic uncertainty, its tougher for donors to write those big checks. Loyal donors continued to give – and they gave generously. Knowing these things, here’s what we recommend you should be doing now: Even with the drop yesterday, the market is still strong. Now is the time to be investing as much as you can in new donor...

Empathy is the New Black

This is the third in a series of blogs on 2018 trends. You can read about the first trend here and the second here. The fourth trend for 2018 stated in the Forbes article is: We are in an era of purposeful business driven by collaboration, inclusion, and the notion of leaving the world a better place. Empathy is the NEW BLACK. Now, don’t you feel good? Nonprofit organizations have ALWAYS been about leaving the world a better place. It’s about time! The commercial world wants to align with your good cause. But here’s the bad news: The commercial world is now competing in your space, and they have a lot more marketing money to throw at it. And this will distract your donors. Over the past decades, we’ve seen a slow but steady rise in the social enterprise movement. That blend of leveraging capitalism for a good cause. Think Newman’s Own or Ronald McDonald House Charities. This trend is only going to accelerate in the next few years, and companies with strong brands are going to hook up with nonprofit organizations with strong brands and both will benefit. We have a couple of recommendations for your organization to optimize this trend. First, start imagining what an ideal partnership with a commercial entity might look like. Second, begin researching companies and come up with a list of suitors that could be potential partners. Last but certainly not least, before initiating the conversation, it will be imperative that your organization create and sustain a strong nonprofit brand. A strong commercial brand will only join forces with a equally strong nonprofit...

Five Marketing Trends for 2018

Recently, Forbes published an article called “Top 5 Trends for Marketers and Entrepreneurs In 2018.” I find these trends to be very encouraging for nonprofits. The market is moving towards nonprofits, and – for a change – the nonprofit industry is well-positioned to leverage the trends that Forbes describes. Trend One: We are in an experience economy. Antiquated rules of engagement no longer apply. Nonprofit organizations have never been in the business of selling a product. So, the “antiquated rules of engagement” have never applied. Rather, nonprofit organizations have had to focus on the intangible of the giving experience. Chalk up a point in your favor. However, we don’t get off the hook that easily. Though nonprofits intrinsically understand the importance of the donor experience, they don’t typically budget funds towards understanding and improving the donor experience. That point goes to our friends in the commercial space. They are much more deliberate about understanding the customer experience. What should nonprofit organizations do? They need to go behind the donor analytics and tie those findings to the donor experience. It sounds hard, but it really isn’t. And with the technological research tools of today, it’s easier and more affordable than ever before. First, you need to commit some resources to understanding your donors’ experience. We suggest you begin by benchmarking your donors’ experience at every place you intersect with them. Only after you have benchmarked and understand the donor experience can you can improve on the donor experience and maximize engagement. Stay tuned for Trend 2: In the age of experience, EVERYONE is a...

Marketing / Anti-Marketing

This blog is a little different. Sometimes, even among us, we don’t agree on things. Here’s one example. Bill: If you ask 10 people to define marketing in the nonprofit space, chances are, you will get 10 different answers. Here’s the one answer I like, paraphrased from my marketing professor Dr. Bob Colby at Northern Arizona University: Marketing is finding offers that donors want to give to. In other words, offers should not be static. We should constantly be asking donors what they want to give to and adjust our programs to deliver what the donor wants. Far too often when we are doing offer development research for clients, and the immediate response to any new offer is, “We can’t use that offer. We’d have to change our programs.” Bingo. That’s not a marketing attitude. That’s an anti-marketing attitude that will lead an organization down the path of irrelevancy. Sumarie: Well, that’s very interesting and I don’t agree. When I worked at CARE – through testing – we knew that donors responded best to simple, straight-forward “feed a child”-type appeals. While occasionally programs would require that children are given nutritious food, most often the best way to help a child was to provide the parents with training and agricultural tools to provide ongoing sustenance to their families, and hopefully to make a living, too. A negative example of nonprofits changing their programs to meet a donor’s whim is when a major donor left a substantial bequest to a number of nonprofits. The donation was earmarked for programs that would change the core focus of the nonprofits away from social...