Author Archives: Cody Switzer
September 27, 2012, 9:30 am
Anna Maria Chávez, chief executive of the Girl Scouts of the USA, is leading the organization in celebrating its 100th anniversary this year—and looking ahead to its future.
And as she works to keep a century-old organization relevant to a new generation, Ms. Chávez says she is also focusing on working to attract new adult supporters.
“We need to raise awareness with adults around investing in girls,” she says.
The organization is in a $1-billion campaign to raise money for leadership programs for girls and an effort called ToGetHerThere to raise awareness about girls’ causes.
Ms. Chávez says she is an example of how investing in her organization pays off. The lessons she learned in Girl Scouts as a 10-year-old influenced her entire career.
July 11, 2012, 9:52 am
Claudia Looney, senior vice president for development at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, has managed a successful $1-billion capital campaign and was named the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ 2012 Outstanding Fundraising Professional.
What’s the secret to her success?
Learning to take risks and accept failure, she told The Chronicle in an interview seeking her advice for new fundraisers.
“You learn from each experience,” she says. ”You just try not to fail more than once at the same thing. That really is where you grow and you become better at what you’re doing, because you’re sort of stepping out of your comfort zone.”
Ms. Looney says fundraisers setting out on their first big campaign need to have five elements in place: an inspirational cause, a pool of donors with enough money to get the campaign started, strong leadership, enough resources for…
May 16, 2012, 5:18 pm
One sign the giving climate is getting better: When we asked fundraisers this spring to name their biggest challenges, not one talked about the economy.
But that doesn’t mean fundraising is easy. Jamie Ersbak, a donor-relations assistant at PATH, the global health charity in Seattle, told us he felt pressure because of “the death of the unrestricted gift” and the number of donors who want to earmark their money for specific purposes.
Kathy Butler, executive director of the Okanagan College Foundation in Kelowna, British Columbia, said she faced the same challenge fundraisers have encountered since the profession began: Forming stronger relationships with donors and convincing them to give more.
See more thoughts from fundraisers in this video, and tell us in the comments below about your biggest challenge in seeking gifts.
May 2, 2012, 2:23 pm
Donors who give through mobile text messages could soon have the options of giving a larger donation and setting up repeat text gifts, say the leaders of two of the organizations that oversee text giving in the U.S. and Canada.
Jim Manis, chief executive of the Mobile Giving Foundation, and Bernard Lord, chairman of the Mobile Giving Foundation Canada, said in an interview that they are working with some cellular service providers to allow $20 donations—double the current $10 limit—and recurring donations, though they gave no timeline on when those features would be available.
Mr. Lord said 75 percent of donors are willing to give $20 or more through text messaging, according to research his group has conducted. Forty-seven percent say they are willing to donate $25 or more through the platform.
Text-message gifts remain popular, the two men say, even though it is quickly be…
April 3, 2012, 9:37 pm
Nonprofit managers could take a lesson from archery, says Richard Dietz, founder of Nonprofit R+D, a training and technology consulting company. An archer will shoot an arrow, see the results, string his bow again, adjust based on his last shot, and fire a truer shot.
Adapting a similar approach can improve fundraising and technology projects, said a panel at the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ annual conference, in Vancouver. By embracing mistakes and adjusting strategies, nonprofits can learn to “fail more informatively.”
“The secret is learning what didn’t work and correct the mistakes so you can go forth with a better plan. Few of our failures are fatal, so keep that perspective,” said Erin Shy, senior director of product management at Sage Nonprofit.
Lee Berkeley Shaw, director of development at Rebuilding Together Montgomery County, in Maryland, has learned that…
April 3, 2012, 5:37 pm
Social media are often associated with young people, while planned giving is associated with older donors—but it is possible to mix the two and produce results.
“The people most willing to give you a planned gift are the people who have been giving to you for years,” said Kristen Schultz Jaarda, senior vice president at Crescendo Interactive. Because social media are built on relationships, they can offer a great way to appeal to those dedicated donors, she said.
In a session at the Association of Fundraising Professionals annual meeting, in Vancouver, Ms. Jaarda and Carole Touchinski, executive director of the Marquette County Community Foundation, shared lessons they’ve learned using Facebook, Twitter, and blogs to promote planned gifts.
Some of those lessons:
Test the waters. If you aren’t sure if your Facebook fans will respond to a post about planned gifts, just try,…
April 2, 2012, 5:49 pm
Nonprofits that want to create marketing deals with companies need to think hard about how they can make it simple and low-cost for the business to carry out every step of the arrangement.
Brent Buechler, Calgary Public Library Foundation’s manager of partnerships, said during a session today at the Association of Fundraising Professionals annual meeting in Vancouver that the goal should be to make it easy for companies to tell their employees, like those at the checkout register seeking an extra $1 for a good cause, how to make the pitch.
Those employees are an important and sometimes overlooked part of a marketing deal, expert say.
“They are the ones who are going to have to ask,” says Jocelyne Daw, a cause-marketing consultant.
Smart charities recognize that making such pitches is an add-on to their everyday job, so make sure not to add much of a burden and offer to train …
April 2, 2012, 9:19 am
Scott Harrison, who founded Charity: Water, has been seeking a director of development for two years. But every applicant fails to meet his ambitious plans, he told the Association of Fundraising Professionals annual meeting on Sunday.
Mr. Harrison says the conversation always goes something like this, with him starting out by asking, “How much money did you raise last year?” The answer is usually something like “$10- million.” “How many people are on your staff?” “10.” “That just doesn’t work for us,” he says.
Mr. Harrison, whose organization employs only two fundraisers, is looking for someone who can generate a much higher return.
Doing things differently has been Mr. Harrison’s goal since he started his nonprofit. Mr. Harrison, a former nightclub…
April 1, 2012, 4:49 pm
Laura Fredricks, a fundraising consultant, say she has noticed a disturbing trend. Too often fundraisers use the same formula to seek a gift, whether they are asking for $10,000 or $50,000, instead of tailoring each interaction with a potential donor to the person’s interests and values.
That practice wastes time and ensures poor results, she said at the Association of Fundraising Professionals conference, which opened Sunday in Vancouver.
Conversations with donors are too important to use a standard template, Ms. Fredricks said. A guarantee that fundraisers are doing the right thing: They should be a little nervous every time. Otherwise, it’s a sign they are coasting.
She offered her five steps to improving conversations with donors:
Know exactly what you want. Before you contact a donor, you should have an idea “how much, how many, how often, and why” you want their gift,…
March 22, 2012, 11:07 am
An “elevator speech” can be a powerful tool for fundraisers and nonprofit workers to explain their organizations’ missions—and quickly build a case for a donor’s support.
In the video gallery below, see more than 25 examples of elevator speeches from the recent South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas, and from The Chronicle’s video archives.
Which speeches do you think are most effective? Why? Post your thoughts in the comments section below.
For advice on crafting your elevator speech, see the article in our most recent issue, available exclusively to Chronicle subscribers.