10/19 #fundchat: “Getting Ready to Ask for a Big Gift”

Getting Ready to Ask for a Big GiftREAD the transcript (Now available!)

Last month, Tony Martignetti of #nonprofitradio fame, was featured on The Chronicle of Philanthropy website. His podcast, “Getting Ready to Ask for a Big Gift,” raised important issues and insights into this critical topic:

“For any nonprofit, success means preparing volunteers, board members, and fund raisers alike to ask for big gifts. How much should solicitors talk, and when should they listen? What steps can an organization do to prepare the prospect beforehand?”

Join the #fundchat community on Wednesday, October 19 at 12 p.m. EDT for a lively conversation on the topic of preparing for the big ask. If you are a #fundchat newbie, no worries…we’ve got you covered right here.

What can you do to help?

  1. Share your ideas for questions for this #fundchat topic by sharing them in the comments section below.
  2. Take a listen to Tony Martignetti’s podcast that inspired this edition of #fundchat!
  3. Spread the word about the 10/19 #fundchat by sharing on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook.
  4. RSVP for this event via the #fundchat Facebook page.

You can keep the conversation rolling between #fundchat sessions by connecting with tweeps on the #fundchat Facebook page!

Brendan Kinney, moderator of #fundchat 


10/5 #fundchat: Professional Development for Fundraisers: How to Elevate Your Game

Tweetups make informal networking happen.Everywhere you look these days there are a ton of professional development opportunities for fundraisers and other colleagues engaged in nonprofit work. There are the formal, like conferences, webinars, and workshops. There are the informal, like tweetups, tweet chats (like #fundchat!) and social networking sites that have a bent toward careers and networking. Technology has lowered the cost of entry for quality professional development opportunities and technology has enabled new ways in which you can connect with others in your industry.

What are the best professional development opportunities? Who goes? And how much? Are all important questions when it comes to raising your game.

Join the #fundchat community this Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 12 p.m. EDT to discuss this week’s topic: “Professional Development for Fundraisers: How to Elevate Your Game.”

If you plan on joining the conversation, here’s what you can do:

  1. Spread the word! Tweet, Facebook, Google+ (is that a verb yet?) and just plain ‘ol email your friends and colleagues about the chat.
  2. Save the date! Some folks are still getting used to our new time. It’s high noon people! (That is, if you live in the Eastern United States…)
  3. Share your questions. What thoughts or ideas do you have about professional development? What questions should we consider during the conversation on Wednesday? Share them in the comments section of this post.
  4. Bone up on the guidelines. Joining a Twitter chat is painless. We do have a few helpful tips.
  5. Bookmark it. Many participants use Tweetchat or Twebevent to participate in the conversation. You can also just follow the #fundchat hashtag in your favorite Twitter client.

Thanks so much for your interest and thanks in advance for being a part of this week’s conversation!

9/28 #fundchat: Effective Nonprofit Board Management

Join the #fundchat community at 12 pm EDT on Wednesday, September 28 for a conversation on the topic, “Effective Nonprofit Board Management”

Good governance is at the heart of every successful nonprofit. When a nonprofit organization stumbles or falls, you can usually trace the root cause all the way back to the board room.

Recruiting and managing a board is tough work. Finding the right people in the community who have the means and/or the talents and/or the stature to help your organization is not easy. Managing their expectations and actions is even harder.

This week’s chat was inspired by Jim Berigan’s article, “Boards Behaving Very, Very Badly” Follow Jim on Twitter at @sbsfundraising. It’s a good read and primer for this week’s chat.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Mark your calendar! This is the second time #fundchat will meet at noon on Wednesdays as opposed to our “old time” of 9 pm EDT. You can bookmark our Twebevent page as well.
  • Please share your thoughts on this topic AND ideas for questions that the #fundchat community should tackle this week about nonprofit boards. Use the comments section of this blog post to share and discuss.
  • Spread the word. Let others know about #fundchat and this week’s topic. For newbies, you can point them to our tips and guidelines post to help them see how easy it is to participate.

Check Out New #fundchat Blog Features

Today I’ve launched a few upgrades to the #fundchat blog:

  • Transcripts! Finally, all of our transcripts are in one place listed in chronological order. If you missed a chat or are simply looking for tips on a specific topic, this new section of the blog will help!
  • Community Resources. There are many ways to connect with other #fundchat participants including Facebook, LinkedIn, other great nonprofit/marcom chats on Twitter and more. You’ll find links to all of the community resources in this new area.
  • Guest Blog Library. We’ve categorized our guest post series for easier access. Check out the excellent posts we’ve enjoyed from some of the best nonprofit professionals on Twitter. You can also learn more in the community section of the blog on how to become a guest blogger for #fundchat.

There are a few minor modifications to the layout, including listing the latest comments on the homepage to encourage more conversations.

Let me know what you think of the changes or suggest other ways that the blog could be improved.


– Brendan, Moderator of #fundchat (@brendankinney)

9/21 #fundchat: Outsourcing Philanthropy

This is such a ridiculous picture, I had to use it.It’s a question all organizations, large and small, eventually ask themselves: “Can someone else do this better than we can?

In the face of thin budgets and diminished resources, nonprofits are taking a hard look at outsourcing key tasks such as direct mail, phonathons, sales, social media management, acquisition and even qualification of new donors.

This week’s #fundchat will tackle the issue of Outsourcing Philanthropy head-on. Thanks to @fundraisinisfun and @NonProfit_Meg for instigating the topic, but the conversation is also an offshoot of last week’s #fundchat that heated up over a question of fundraisers (staff and/or consultants) working on commission.

Here’s what you can do to help with this week’s #fundchat:

  1. Suggest a question. Please use the comments section below to offer your ideas for questions we should tackle on this topic.
  2. Save the date AND time. Based on a poll conducted last week, many participants suggested that 12 p.m. EDT would be a more convenient time for #fundchat (versus 9 p.m. EDT). We are going to give it a try so please spread the word that this week’s chat is set for high noon on Wednesday, September 21.
  3. Bookmark it. Many folks enjoy using Twebevent to participate in #fundchat. You are encouraged to give it a try or just follow the hashtag in your favorite Twitter client.
  4. Advise the Newbies. The best place to start for newcomers to #fudnchat is our guidelines post.

Should be a great #fundchat this week! Here we go…

9/14 #fundchat Summary: Ethics in Fundraising (including transcript)

ThLet's Get Ready to Rumbleanks to all for a great edition of #fundchat last night. Thanks to @hashtracking for providing a report of the festivities. Here’s a recap:

  • Participants: 67
  • Tweets: 507
  • Impressions: 731,000
  • Reach: 102,000

Our goal was to double participation this week. While that didn’t happen, we see an increase in each of the stats this week, so thank you! I know some of our regular, core #fundchat crew had conflicts last night and you were with us in spirit.

Speaking of spirit, there was quite a heated debate on whether fundraisers should receive commissions. Actually, @fundraisinisfun is to blame since he suggested the question! It turns out we could have had a chat on that one issue (and we plan to in the near future). Read the transcript for the full details.

Finally, you should cast your vote on whether #fundchat should move to a new time. I’ve received a few pleas since we began that an earlier time would work for more people. What do you think? Please vote now.

Thanks for a great #fundchat experience this week!

– Brendan (@brendankinney), Your Humble #fundchat Moderator

9/14 #fundhat: “Shades of Gray: Ethics in Fundraising”

Got ethics graphic

Update, 9/14, 4 p.m.

Here are tonight’s questions:

  1. Does your organization embrace the Donor Bill of Rights (or similar)? How do you underscore its importance with your fundraisers?
  2. What checks are in place at your organization to ensure ethical decision-making in fundraising?
  3. Are ethics discussed regularly within your team, senior management, board, with donors?
  4. If your organization has a Gift Acceptance Committee, who sits on it and how often does it meet?
  5. “What’s the big deal if I take a personal gift from a donor? Isn’t it rude, and harmful to the relationship, to say ‘no’?”
  6. Why shouldn’t fundraisers work on commission?
  7. What does your team do to share and learn from potentially ethical issues?
  8. When confronted with an ethical dilemma in fundraising, what is your decision-making process and who is at the table? Is this guided by a formal policy or an informal practice?


As fundraisers, we know that our ethical standards are always under the microscope. And for good reason: our constituents are looking to us to conduct ourselves in a way that lives up to the lofty missions of our organizations. We encounter situations when the right decision is not clear and we have to wrestle with doing what’s right for the organization and for the donor.

This week on #fundchat, we’ll be discussing the topic of ethics in fundraising. You can join the #fundchat community on Wednesday, September 14 at 9 pm EDT. You can participate by following the #fundchat hashtag or many folks like to use our Twebevent page. If you are new to #fundchat, check out our tips and guidelines post.

I need your help to get ready for this week’s chat and to meet a BHAG (Big Hairy  Audacious Goal) that I set last week. Here’s the scoop:

Spread the Word
Last week we had just over 40 participants in #fundchat. The goal this week is to double it. Why? Because fundraisers fixate on numbers, that’s why! To increase the impact of #fundchat, we have to increase the numbers in our community. So your goal this week is to personally invite friends and colleagues (and in some cases, sign them up for Twitter). Re-tweet about this week’s topic, introduce #fundchat to other related hashtags, and encourage folks to follow @fundchat. Doubling participation in one week is indeed audacious, but that’s we #fundchatters roll. Oh, and “lurking” doesn’t count toward our goal…it’s time for wall flowers to join the dance!

Formulate Questions
The quality of #fundchat is determined by the caliber of the questions week-in, and week-out. So many #fundchatters offer up great questions that add up to an hour of incredibly valuable conversation, ideas, tips and advice. Take a minute to share your ideas for questions in the comments section below. We typically address 5-10 questions during a normal #fundchat…maybe one of them will be yours!

Be Awesome
The only thing left to do is show up and be your regular awesome self. The reason that #fundchat has been such a success is because of our amazing participants. If you haven’t yet tuned in for #fundchat, you don’t know what you are missing. It’s a great opportunity to connect with a group of tech savvy nonprofit professionals. Let’s expand the circle this week by doing what we do so well, share your experience, knowledge and wisdom with others who are working in their little corner of the world to make it a better place.

– Your Humble Moderator, Brendan (@brendankinney)

Here are some good articles you can preview for this week’s #fundchat about ethics: