"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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Focus on These 2 Groups of Donors and You'll Raise More Money
When you keep more donors, you'll raise more money. It's really as simple as that. Yet too many nonprofits focus on "donor acquisition" - or getting new donors. Smart fundraisers know that the money lies in "donor retention" - or keeping the donors you already have. The fact is you won't be able to keep all of your donors. But you can keep more of them. Here's how. (read more)

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? (read more)

How to Find and Keep Your Major Donors
Every nonprofit wants major donors. But here's a secret: you already have them. This post will reset your expectations about major gifts, show you how to find major donors in your database, and tell you how to keep them - so they'll keep giving and give more when they do. (read more)

Secret to raising more money, Treating your donors differently
Do you treat your donors more like VIPs or more like ATMs? Donors are, indeed, very important people. They are the reason your nonprofit can do its good work. Sadly, too many nonprofits treat their donors like bank machines. Donations are transactions. Thank you letters look and read more like a receipt than a genuine expression of gratitude. This post focuses how you can treat your donors more like VIPs. (read more)

3 Easy Ways to Show Donor Love
Do you know the most important word in fundraising? I'll give you a clue. I've used it twice already. It's "you" - as in "you," the donor. Your donor is the reason you can do your good work. Yet many nonprofits fail in giving their donors this kind of credit. They don't show enough #donorlove in their donor communications. This post will share 3 simple ways you can show more #donorlove. When you do, you'll keep more donors. And when you keep more donors, you'll raise more money. (read more)

Donors Want Outcomes, Not Activities
Fundraising is a cycle: ask, thank, report, repeat. Unfortunately, far too many nonprofits skip the "report" piece. And, the fact is, if you skip the reporting step, you're losing donors. Why? Because research finds that donors just want three things before they'll give again. One is "measurable results on their gifts at work before they are asked for more money." This post explores how you can report measurable results (or outcomes) to your donors. (read more)

3 P's of Better Thank Yous

Three P's of Better Thank Yous
Do you know what donors want? More importantly, are you giving them what they want? When you do, they're more likely to give again and give more when they do. Research tells us that donors want three very specific things. They aren't especially hard to do, yet most nonprofits don't. At least not very well. The first thing donors want is to be acknowledged: promptly, personally, and in a personalized way. This post explores what that means and how can you do it better. (read more)

Are your thank you letters personalized, personal, or both
Are your thank you letters personalized, personal, or both? Putting your donor's name in the letter and referring to the gift amount? That's personalization. Thanking your donor for something specific that they did? That's personal. This post will give you a few examples of how I made some thank you letters personal. Then I'll share some ways you can make your own thank you letters more personal, too. (read more)

The Year In Review Best of Let's Talk Nonprofit in 2018
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)

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)

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)

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)

The Real Value of Your Volunteers
Chances are, you missed International Volunteer Day on December 5. And that's understandable. This time of year, most nonprofits are focusing their attention on donors and year-end giving. At the same time, let's not forget the volunteers who make great things happen all year long. Volunteers add a lot of value to your organization – as both human and financial resources. Here are some tips on how you can assign value and show your appreciation to your volunteers. (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)

Cool Google Tools and How Your Nonprofit Can Use Them
Google. Can you imagine life without it? We use it every single day and in so many ways. There's Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Hangouts, Maps and more. And we can't forget where it all started: good old-fashioned Search. And as much as you use Google, I'd bet there are tools and programs that you're not using...and that could benefit your nonprofit. Here are five of them. (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)

Every Board Member Can Be A Fundraiser
Today is April Fools' Day, but this is no joke. Every member of your board CAN be an effective fundraiser. And when every board member is involved in fundraising, you will raise more money for your nonprofit. I recently facilitated a half-day fundraising training for a nonprofit board. At one point, a board member had that "aha!" moment and announced gleefully, "I can do that!" And she can. Every board member can. Read on and learn how to get your board "on board" with fundraising. (read more)

3 Statistical Facts That Will Improve Your Fundraising
The good folks at npENGAGE compiled a list of 50 Fascinating Nonprofit Statistics that covers the gamut -- from how many nonprofits there are in the U.S. (1.4 million) to how much is donated to them ($316 billion in 2012), by whom (Boomers give to more charities than Millennials) and how (online giving is growing). Here are 3 statistics that will surprise you. (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)

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)