"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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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. (read more)

What To Do After You've Written a Grant
There's more to grant writing than just "writing." A lot more. At its core, grant writing has three steps that I call the 3Rs: Research, wRiting, and Review. In a previous post, I shared the importance of doing your research before starting to write a grant. This post will offer tips on reviewing what you write, before you submit your proposal to a foundation. (read more)

The Most Overlooked Part of Grant Writing
Here's a secret: there's more to grant writing than just "writing." A lot more. Successful grant writing always starts with thorough research, and it ends with a thoughtful review. This post focuses on research - the most overlooked part of grant writing. (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)

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)

How to Be Your Donor, and Why
"Be Your Donor Day." Have you heard of it? It's not a traditional holiday and it gets little fanfare. However, this simple concept has big implications for your nonprofit. Think of "Be Your Donor Day" as a time to measure your donors' giving experience. From testing your donation system to tracking your back office process, you want to make sure every donor's experience is a great one. (read more)

10 Tips for Year-End Fundraising Success
It's back-to-school time. And if you have kids - whether they're in kindergarten or starting college - you make a plan for getting ready for that all-important first day. What about your nonprofit? Are you getting ready for the most important time of your year? December can be make-or-break for your organization's annual budget. If you haven't started planning your year-end fundraising campaign, now's the time to start. And here are a few ideas to get you going. (read more)

5 Fundraising Lessons from Give Big 2016
Give Big Day had its challenges in 2015. One major fundraising platform crashed, making the system unavailable to donors for most of the day. Yet the Gallatin Valley (Bozeman, MT) crushed its $300,000 giving goal and raised more than $420,000 using what they called Plan B. Here's what they did. And, just like Bozeman, you can raise more money when you apply these five overarching themes to your fundraising. (read more)

How To Have Better Board Meetings
Do your board meetings feel like a necessary evil? Well, there's hope. You can have better board meetings. Great board meetings are possible, but they don't just happen. They take planning, preparation and a commitment from everyone, from the board officers to each and every board member. Here are 14 tips for better board meetings, with specific suggestions for your board chair, treasurer, secretary and the individual board members. (read more)

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)

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 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)

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)

Improve Your Writing Tips for Writing for Older Donors
This month's musing was inspired by a fabulous presentation that I attended at the Fundraising Summit last month. The session on Bequest Marketing was presented by the equally fabulous Leah Eustace, ACFRE. Leah's presentation got me thinking about older donors in general and their importance to your organization. So, this month, I'll share some thoughts about older donors and tips writing to them -- just the way they want to read it. (read more)

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