No more dumb questions, we don’t care what your fourth-grade teacher said. A dumb question is a question asked with no context. And, as peer to peer (P2P) organizers send their volunteer fundraisers into the world, they are sending them out there to ask dumb questions, which can make fundraising pretty darned hard.
Benchmarking is an examination of the past. Benchmarking is descriptive and diagnostic, and it has value. But it is not predictive. If “benchmarking” were moving a couch, “benchmarking” would move the couch 20 times and evaluate the effect of each placement on the satisfaction of the home’s occupant. If “predictive analytics” were moving a couch, “predictive analytics” would find twenty people who had already moved their couches, interview them and apply those learnings to where to put the couch.
Let’s face facts – Facebook is in our peer-to-peer fundraising space. And while that is scary, it opens up a world of possibility if we choose to come out and play. Let’s talk about the playing field, how to get on it and what might happen to your organization if you do. The score in the Facebook birthday fundraiser game is kept in dollars raised and constituent data collected.
Two conversations at one time result in consternation. We’ve all been a part of them. Mom is asking Dad about an event on Saturday, and he is answering about an event on Tuesday. Or your builder is talking about the design of bedroom #1, and you are talking about the design of bedroom #2. Until we are both in the same conversation, there is no progress.
Here are the two conversations our nation is having trouble with today…
In a recent blog, we wrote about the crucial role that volunteerism plays in the success of peer-to-peer campaigns. Get it right, and good things happen. Get it wrong, and you can expect revenue to flatline, if not decline. We’ve seen it happen over and over. The trick is to build guardrails that give volunteers room to act with some level of autonomy but still give them enough structure to ensure a successful outcome.
You can probably tell that the studio that the photo was taken in belongs to the police, specifically the Boulder, Colorado PD. On November 16, 2017, Baron was arrested for taking more than $130,000 from a nonprofit he set up called “Humanwire,” an organization that purported to help Syrian refugees.
We spent several days last month at Susan G. Komen’s national peer-to-peer meeting in Dallas. Komen was started by Nancy Brinker in 1982. Like many nonprofits (and people) who are entering middle age, it’s a good time to take stock of one’s successes and shortcomings to better chart a course for the future. If I had to sum up the focus of the three days of meetings in one word, it would be “volunteerism.” To recapture the power of volunteerism that was responsible for the organization’s best days.
Often when collaborating on strategy for events, we get into bookkeeping territory. A typical question sounds like this, “When determining costs of grassroots events, like a walk or a 5K, do you include staff, event costs, or both?” On the face of it, it’s a pretty straightforward question. But it’s not surprising that we hear this a lot, because there is no standard method of reporting across the nonprofit industry.
An article appeared in the Chronicle of Philanthropy last week titled, “Nonprofit Leaders Add to Outpouring of Fury Over Border Policies.” It talks about how nonprofits like the Texas Civil Rights Project and Save the Children are responding to the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance policy” that has resulted in separating parents seeking asylum at the southern border from their children.
Turnkey’s clients include organizations like Church World Service and UNICEF, groups who address humanitarian crises around the world. We never expected to be confronted by a humanitarian crisis unfolding in our own home, on the southern border of the United States. One created by our government.
We recently hired someone to come into Turnkey and figuratively kick us in the shins. We asked her to “secret shop” us. If you’re not familiar with this term, it’s when someone comes in and acts like a customer, (in our case a fundraiser) goes through the customer experience you provide, and then critiques it. What a horrifically painful gut punch.
Millennial studying is the navel-gazing of our time. We spend crazy time doing it. Don’t take our word for it, ask the Google machine. A Google search of “Millennials and charity” returns 210,000 hits, while searching “Millennials and nonprofits” gets you a whopping 434,000. The reason for the interest is understandable.
We were having lunch with friends recently, and the conversation got around to politics. “How,” one person wondered, “could my friends and family members who voted for Trump still be so solid in their support? Through the porn star payoffs, incivility, and daily displays of ignorance that characterizes the dumpster fire that is this administration? How is that possible?”
My generation talks about millennials like they are a different species. We think they are different at the DNA level. We study them and develop intricate ways to deal with them, with systems and processes and ropes and pulleys and whispers and shouting and…none of it works very well. And we need to figure out why – and soon.
One of the great pleasures in working with nonprofit clients is getting up every day and knowing that you are helping them do good on behalf of their constituencies. They advocate on behalf of people living with autism, cancers, ALS, and cystic fibrosis. Some support people dealing with the hardships surrounding immigration, homelessness, depression, or drug addiction.
I sit in on plenty of calls and speak to lots of nonprofits about rewards, incentives, gifts, prizes, and recognition. (For the record, the word ‘prize’ makes me wince.) On a recent call with Kris Eschman and Wayne Baldaro from NAMI, they relayed that overcoming the incentive mentality with their affiliates regarding recognition programs is challenging. However, they explained, once there is a breakthrough with the chapters and the leadership truly gets it, the fundraising skyrockets.