"Let's Talk Nonprofit" is a blog by Third Sector Consulting that addresses common questions that nonprofits have. Questions about fundraising. Questions about boards. Questions about what's going on in the nonprofit sector today. Ready? Let's Talk Nonprofit.

2017 Blog PostsLet's Talk Nonprofit Blog RSS Feed

The Year In Review Best of LetsTalkNonprofit in 2017
In case you missed a post (or just want to re-read a favorite), here are the top 5 articles from this past year. Rankings are based on email open rates and social shares. (read more)

Is Your Writing Too Long, Too Short, or Just Right
Twitter recently increased the number of characters per tweet from 140 to 280. 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? (read more)

Storytelling Differences Grants vs Donor Appeals
All stories are not the same. In fact, your stories should be different - very different - depending on your audience. Data may tell, but it's your stories that sell. Your grant proposals will include lots of data, but your direct appeals to individual donors won't. So what kinds of stories should you tell, especially in your year-end donor appeals? (read more)

What Your Donors Really, Really Want
Donor retention is key to a nonprofit's annual campaign and overall fundraising success. Yet many donors focus on getting new donors, rather than keeping the ones they have. So, how do you keep donors? By giving them what they want. And what do donors want? It's surprisingly simple. Do these few simple things, and you'll drive donor commitment, loyalty and retention - and raise more money. (read more)

What Donors Do After A Disaster
After a disaster, people want to help. And donors to the relief efforts are very likely donors to other organizations - including yours. If you're not a relief organization, are you worried how Harvey (and now Irma) may impact your donations? Are you concerned about donor fatigue? That donors will be overasked and overcommitted by the end of the year? (read more)

How To Help - After a Disaster
It's been 5 days, and Harvey is still wreaking havoc across the South. And it will be months - even years - before the area fully recovers. People want to help, and you may be one of them. Consider these options to help the victims of Harvey as well as future disasters. You might be surprised at what you shouldn't do. (read more)

Telling Your Nonprofits Story With Guidestar
Savvy donors and foundations are using Guidestar to learn about your organization. And savvy nonprofits are using Guidestar to tell their organization's story. So, what does your Guidestar profile say about you? Guidestar promotes transparency, and you can earn a Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum seal, based on what you share. What color is your profile? (read more)

Demystifying the Data from 2 Key Fundraising Reports
Fundraising is both a science and an art. And each year, Giving USA and the Fundraising Effectiveness Project give us lots of data and insights to the sector. Once you unlock the data, you can use the science to practice the art of fundraising. Here are some top takeaways from the reports and how you can use that information to raise more money. (read more)

5 Things To Do Before June 30
Ah, June. School's out. Pools are open. Vacation season is in full swing. Alas, summer isn't always a picnic for nonprofits. That's because the beginning of June also means the end of June isn't far away. And for many nonprofits, June 30 marks the end of their fiscal year. Regardless of where you are in your nonprofit's "year," there are five things you need to do now. (read more)

Overhead Its Not A Bad Thing
There's a new school of thinking is that overhead isn't a bad thing, especially when those expenses are being used for growth. I like Peter Drury's metaphor - that overhead is like cholesterol. There's good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. Just because your number is high, that doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad thing. Do you know your number? (read more)

Meeting Your Fundraising Goal - This Year and Next
There's been a lot of talk lately about the President's proposed budget for 2018, which seeks to reduce or eliminate hundreds of programs. The key word is "proposed." The proposed cuts may or may not happen. Regardless, what the President has proposed should serve as a reminder to all nonprofits that it's important to create and keep a diverse revenue stream. And it all starts with your fundraising plan. (read more)

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. (read more)

How Does Your Board Compare?

How Does Your Board Compare
It's not unusual for people to keep doing what they've always done...especially if they don't know any other way. Just knowing how your board compares to other nonprofits can help you see where there are opportunities for improvement. Here are 10 points you can measure against and what the data means for you. (read more)

The Best Boards Practice Good Governance
When I grow up, I want to be a BOARD MEMBER!" Said no child. Ever. So, it's not surprising that a lot of people join boards without really understanding what a board really does (or is supposed to do). The best boards practice good governance. But what does that really mean? And what does "good governance" look like? Essential governance practices are explained here, plus a 7-point checklist for you to use. (read more)

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