After 10 years, this will be the last post on the Let's Talk Nonprofit blog.

To mark the milestone, I'm sharing the most-read posts from the last decade.

I re-read them all, and they're just as relevant today as when they were originally published.

My goal was always to provide information that would help you and your nonprofit thrive. I'm grateful for all of the readers who made these posts so popular.

The entire blog archive will remain available to you.

And now, here's your top 10!

#10 – 5 GRAMMAR RULES THAT WERE MADE TO BE BROKEN (BY FUNDRAISERS)

When you think about grammar, you probably think about subject-verb agreement, correct comma usage, and such. The problem is good grammar doesn't make for very good fundraising writing. Of course, there are still rules and best practices that fundraising writers should follow. But other rules were made to be broken. This post addresses the latter.

#9 – HOW YOU SHOULD BE TALKING TO YOUR DONORS

Penelope Burk literally wrote the book on "Donor Centered Fundraising" in 2003. So, the idea of donor-centricity isn't new. What's donor-centricity, you ask? It's organizing everything you do around the wants and needs of your donor. And in nonprofit communications, there's nothing more important than making the message about your donor. This post shares some examples of how a lot of nonprofits talk to their donors...and how you should be talking to yours.

#8 – 4 OFTEN OVERLOOKED PIECES OF YOUR FUNDRAISING LETTERS

Before you sit down to write your next fundraising letter, think about this. It's more than a "letter" - it's a package. Yet there are key elements that many nonprofits overlook when writing their appeals and putting the package together. I've written before about small things that can make a big difference in your next fundraising appeal. This post will look at four big things that can make an even bigger difference in your campaign results this year.

#7 – ANATOMY OF A STELLAR THANK YOU LETTER

Here are some simple truths: When you give someone a gift, you expect them to say "thank you." And when a donor makes a contribution to your nonprofit, you should always say thank you. In writing. It doesn't have to be handwritten. It could be a typed letter. Or even email. Whatever medium you choose, your "thank you" should have some basic elements. Follow these four simple steps and you'll take your thank you letters from average to All Star!

#6 – 9 STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL STEWARDSHIP PLAN

Stewardship is what happens after a donor makes a gift. Stewardship is about relationship-building. And that includes how you communicate with each and every donor. Do it right, and you'll create an army of more loyal donors. Loyal donors will stay with you longer and give more money. So, how do you create a successful stewardship program? This post includes a 9-point checklist to help you get it right.

#5 – 3 MUST-HAVES IN EVERY APPEAL LETTER

Nonprofits want to hear more donors say "Yes!" (Yes? Yes!) So why do so many nonprofits miss the mark in their fundraising letters? Before you send your next appeal letter to the printer, take a minute to see if you can say "yes" to these three simple questions. You'd be surprised at how many fundraisers can't say their letters do these three things. This post shares the secret of 3 simple - and essential - things you need in every appeal.

#4 – BYLAWS ARE MORE THAN A BUZZWORD

Being part of a nonprofit organization can feel a little crazy sometimes, don't you think? There's good news. Your bylaws can help stop the madness. Bylaws are an essential governance document and they should be revisited from time to time. Learn how to use your bylaws to guide and strengthen your organization. You'll also find an 11-point checklist for what your bylaws should include.

#3 – IS YOUR WRITING TOO LONG, TOO SHORT, OR JUST RIGHT?

Remember when Twitter increased the number of characters per tweet from 140 to 280? It begs the question: Just because you can say more, should you? The same question holds true for grants. If you're writing an online application and the response allows 300 words, do you need to use all 300 words? If it's a paper application, and you're allowed 5 pages, do you need to fill every page? And what about your donor appeals? What's the right length of the fundraising materials you write for your nonprofit? This post addresses those questions.

#2 – 5 LITTLE THINGS THAT WILL MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE IN YOUR NEXT FUNDRAISING APPEAL

Here's a little fundraising inspiration from the football field. Bear Bryant, legendary coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, once said, "Little things make the difference. Everyone is well prepared in the big things, but only the winners perfect the little things." That's true for your fundraising appeal, too. Yes, there are best practices in letter writing - those are the big things. This post shares 5 simple "little things" you can do to make your next fundraising letter stand out.

#1 – FUNDRAISING VS. GRANT WRITING: WHAT'S RIGHT FOR MY NONPROFIT?

I absolutely love that the #1 most-read post was written by a guest blogger, Meg Scofield, who I mentored back in 2014. We spent a lot of time talking about grant writing in the context of the bigger fundraising picture. This post was the culmination of those conversations.

Ask any nonprofit, "Do you need to raise money?" The answer will always be "Of course!" Should you be writing grants? Maybe. Grants are just one piece of the funding puzzle, and they aren't the only way for your nonprofit to bring in money. Learn how grant writing can fit in your broader development plan.

Photo credit(s): Pixabay


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