"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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4 Do's and Don'ts for Donor Acknowledgment
Your nonprofit relies on donations from individual donors. And, chances are, you're a donor to other nonprofits as well. Do you pay attention to how different organizations thank you when you make a donation? I sure do. Recently, I made modest, but equal, gifts to a dozen nonprofits. What happened next inspired this post. (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)

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
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)

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 An Attitude of Gratitude
Do your donors feel special? I do, and it's thanks to some tremendous work by nonprofits in my adopted hometown of Bozeman, MT. I made 10 modest gifts to 10 nonprofits on Give Big Day and watched to see what would happen. Wow! Here are some of the ways that I've been thanked for those donations over the last 90 days. Steal these ideas and you'll make your donor's day! (read more)

Whats In Your Writing Toolbox
Grant writing is a skill that you hone over time. And just like a good craftsman, you need a good set of tools if you want to do the job well. Maybe you have an APA style guide. If you're old school, you might even have Mr. Webster's work sitting nearby. When it comes to proofreading and review, I'll bet you're probably using your word processor's spell check and grammar check features. And that's good. But there's more. (read more)

Proofreading vs Editing Whats The Difference
It's called grant writing. Alas, there's so much more to grant writing than just "writing." Grant writing always starts with comprehensive and thorough research, and it always ends with a careful and thoughtful review. Your review should be a combination of proofreading and editing. What's the difference, you ask? Read on, dear reader. (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)

Improve Your Writing Keep It Simple Seriously
The U.S. Navy is credited with creating the "KISS Principle." The acronym stands for "Keep It Simple, Stupid." You should apply the KISS Principle to your nonprofit's writing. Whether you're writing a grant proposal, a direct appeal or website content, you want to write so your audience will understand...and be inspired to take action. (read more)

SHIFT The Way You Think About Fundraising
Last week was the 51st Annual International Conference of the Association of Professional Fundraisers. The theme was SHIFT, as in "shift your perspective and get a whole new focus on fundraising." Dozens of nonprofit thought leaders (including Tom Ahern, Penelope Burk, Simone Joyaux and Beth Kanter) shared ideas that inspired the nearly 3,000 of us fundraisers who were in attendance. Here are a few takeaways. (read more)

Improve Your Writing Commonly Confused Words
March 4 is National Grammar Day. Isn't that fun? At the very least, you'll have to admit that grammar can be funny. Grammar can also be frustrating, which is why I'm sharing some common errors with you. Do you know the difference between use and utilize? Continual and continuous? Alternate and alternative? What about impactful - is it a word, or isn't it? (read more)

How To Score More Donors and Volunteers
If you're a football fan, then you know that the Big Game is the Super Bowl, and vice versa. This clever wordplay works with this audience. However, you and your nonprofit should be careful. Ambiguous words and vague concepts can confuse your audience. Every time you communicate with your supporters, you want to be clear about what you do...and exactly how you want them to help your cause. (read more)

What a 10-Year-Old Can Teach You About Thanking Your Donors
We're taught as children that you always say "thank you" for a gift. Children may be able to get away with a verbal thank you or template-like letters. But your nonprofit can't. If my 10-year-old niece were a nonprofit, you can bet that I'd support her cause. Here are 3 reasons why. Apply these lessons when writing your next thank you to a donor, and you be taking a step towards getting your next gift. (read more)

3 Ways To Celebrate National Philanthropy Day
Every year on November 15, National Philanthropy Day gives us a chance to recognize and honor the people who make a difference in our lives, in our communities and in our world. You won't find any cards at Hallmark that celebrate this annual event. Even so, I'd like to suggest that you send a card anyway. In fact, I encourage you to thank these 3 different types of supporters this month. (read more)

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