"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.

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Is Your Writing Too Long, Too Short, or Just Right?

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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)

What Your Donors Really, Really Want

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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)

Meeting Your Fundraising Goals - This Year and Next

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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)

How to Get Donors to Like You (and Give More)

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How to Get Donors to Like You and Give More
Dale Carnegie's seminal book, "How To Win Friends and Influence People," was published 80 years ago. It's an oldie...and a goodie. It wasn't written for fundraisers. However, there are many lessons you can apply when you want to raise more money for your nonprofit. Use what you learn here to build relationships, make stronger appeals, and show appreciation to your donors. Then, you'll raise more money. (read more)

Anatomy of a Stellar Thank You Letter

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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! (read more)

15 Fun Facts from the Giving USA 2016 Report

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15 Fun Facts from the Giving USA 2016 Report
For more than 60 years, the Giving USA report has provided insights into the sector. This annual report tells us about U.S. giving trends from the last year. It gives us a benchmark for philanthropy and helps us understand who's giving - and to whom. This year's headline read "2015 Was America's Most-Generous Year Ever." And that's good news for the nonprofit sector. And that's not all the good news. Read on for 15 giving facts that you need to know. (read more)

How You Should Be Talking To Your Donors

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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. Here are some examples of how a lot of nonprofits talk to their donors...and how you should be talking to your donors. (read more)

Do You Have Board Members or Bored Members?

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Do You Have Board Members or Bored Members
You know those conference name badges with the colorful ribbons that say "Speaker," "Sponsor" and the like? I attended a conference recently where some attendees were wearing strips that said "Bored Member." (They were tchotchkes from the exhibitor's hall, and they were the hottest item there.) Silly as it seems, it does make you think. Does your nonprofit have "bored members?" Are you one yourself? If you answered yes, here's how you can change that. (read more)

Do You Have Too Many Competing Priorities?

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Do You Have Too Many Competing Priorities
The new year. It's a time for fresh starts and new beginnings. It's a time for plans...and priorities. If you're like most people, you probably feel like you have too many things to do. And you wonder how you'll get them all done. There's no doubt that most nonprofit employees are charged with doing a lot of different tasks. So, I ask you, what's your top priority? And what would happen if you focused your time, energy and resources on that single most important thing? (read more)

10 Essential Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards

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10 Essential Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards
Did you know that "Board" and "Board Members" are not interchangeable terms? The board is the collective group of individual board members. Individuals have responsibilities, just as the group has responsibilities. Every nonprofit board, as the governing body of the nonprofit, has 10 fundamental responsibilities. Do your individual board members understand what the board is charged with? (read more)

21 Tips for Your Next Fundraising Appeal

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21 Tips for Your Year-End Fundraising Appeal
When it comes to fundraising, what do you need to know? First, abandon the idea of a single "annual appeal." Asking for money is no longer a once-a-year activity. In fact, donors expect you to ask more often (and they respond when you do!), so don't wait until this time next year to ask again. Second, the primary focus of your appeal should be to keep your current donors – not attract new ones. Lastly, here are 21 tips and tricks to a better appeal, every time. (read more)

How To Plan Your First Big Fundraising Campaign

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Before You Start Planning Your Next Fundraising Campaign
So, you want to raise money. A lot of money. But you don't know where to start. Well, you're not alone. Here's the good news. You can raise more money. But first, you need a plan. A recently released study of small nonprofits (less than $2 million budgets) found that, when it comes to fundraising results, "the ONLY thing that matters is whether your organization has a fundraising plan." Okay. So, where do you begin? (read more)
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