fundraising nuggets

Last week, I was in San Antonio for the annual AFP International Conference on Philanthropy.

It was an amazing conference with many of the brightest minds in our field in attendance. Fortunately, many of those bright minds led workshops.

And since lots of us were tweeting like crazy (over 5,000 tweets from a 3-day conference!), most of the best tidbits can be found on Twitter.

Of course, when I decided to do a compilation of my favorite bits of wisdom, I saw that my friend Gail Perry had done the same thing. Great minds think alike! (You can read Gail’s article at I’m going to share mine, too, and if you follow her too, it won’t hurt you to see some of these twice.

Here are some of my favorite fundraising nuggets from the event.

Have you ever thought how different history would have been if Martin Luther King, Jr. had said “I have a strategic plan”? Dreams inspire. @gailperrync

How donors define oversolicitation: being asked to give again before learning first gift had an impact. @rachelmuir @gailperry

Your donors are being approached about & converted into monthly givers; get in the game or get left behind. @dan_blakemore

You don’t choose donors. They choose you. And then it’s your move. @SMacLaughlin

Opportunity only presents itself to a prepared mind. #gettingtoyes @FundraiserBeth

To get your nonprofit story right, step back! Think about your audience before you present your problem in your marketing. @rdhawthorne

It’s seven times more expensive to get new donors than to keep current ones. @mattforgood

Each ask should have 2 TYs: thanks (gratitude) and thanks (accountability; here is what your gift did). @donorguru @FundraiserBeth

Your challenge this year is to thank donors in a way that doesn’t require a #10 envelope. @donorguru @sldoolittle

55% of nonprofits have no plan for donor relations. @sldoolittle

Stop producing an annual report. Produce an impact report. Show where the money was used. (And put a face on the cover). @Network4Good

The internet is not “the Easy Button” for fundraising, especially mid-level donors. People still want meaningful contacts. @emthesooner

Millenials ACTIVELY follow only 5 organizations. If you don’t interact with them, welcome to their outer circle. @rdhawthorne

Donor loyalty is not about the donor being loyal to you, it is you being loyal to the donor. @harveymckinnon

Smiley faced kids don’t work! Sad faced kids tell donors “I can help those kids.”  @thattomahern @gailperry

Major gifts: What will the donor feel as a result of this cultivation move? @tammyzonker @gailperry

It’s not about the WHAT. It’s about the SO WHAT. @blackwelderlisa

Be clear about your #1 goal and measure it. @leamerman

Make communication with donors natural so they don’t say ‘oh dang, they’re cultivating me.’ Dan Samuels

And since I was tweeting out the nuggets from the sessions I attended, here are a few that I tweeted myself:

Complacency is enemy #1 for nonprofits.

There’s a difference between spectators and fans. What does your nonprofit have?

Stop asking people to support your annual fund. Boring. Ask them to help you change lives.

Build a brain trust of people to support and guide you. It’s a safe place to learn and grow.

If you are a workaholic, they will always expect you to be a workaholic. Time for a different strategy.