#fundchat Webinar – Young Professionals: Cultivating the Next Generation of Donors

View the webinar slide deck: click here.

Why Young Professionals Join#fundchat Transcript Now Available: Young Professionals: Cultivating the Next Generation of Donors

We are extremely pleased to announce the inaugural #fundchat webinar, titled “Young Professionals: Cultivating the Next Generation of Donors.”

Join the #fundchat community and Layne Gray, founder of Vivanista, on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 4 p.m. EDT for a presentation and a tweetchat (of course!) about this incredibly pertinent topic.

Gen Y (millenials, twentysomethings, etc.) are just starting out in their careers, rarely own their own home and surely don’t have a charitable remainder trust. So why should nonprofits spend valuable time cultivating them? If you cultivate a community of passionate young professionals today, the next generation of donors will already embrace your mission and cause. But how to do it successfully is both art and science.

This webinar will address the following issues:

  • Why Gen Y join Young Professional organizations
  • How to create and sustain a YP organization for a nonprofit
  • How to structure the organization and events
  • Philanthropic drivers and strategies that speak to Gen Y

Here’s how to participate in the very first #fundchat webinar:

  1. Register for the webinar on GoToWebinar – click here to register.
  2. Tune in to the webinar at the appointed time using the instructions (check your registration confirmation email). You can listen to the presentation through your computer or via a special conference call number.
  3. Finally, fire up Twebevent (or your favorite Twitter client) so you can discuss the presentation as-it-happens with the #fundchat community. Brendan Kinney will moderate the chat and seek input on the Q&A session via #fundchLayne Gray is the founder of VIvanistaat. If you are a #fundchat newbie, you can find out how to participate in a tweetchat here.

Layne Gray is a professional fundraiser who has raised millions of dollars for various charities. She has consulted with organizations to develop different types of volunteer groups, including young professionals, philanthro-teens, and women’s auxiliaries. She also designs fundraising campaigns that integrate in-person events with on-line tools.  Learn more about Layne and her firm, Vivanista.

If you have any questions or feedback, don’t hesitate to contact #fundchat moderator Brendan Kinney via Twitter or Email.


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 

8/24 #fundchat: “To CFRE, or not to CFRE, that is the Question”

Getting certifiedMany professional fundraisers seek out CFRE certification as a way to increase their credibility, knowledge and their marketability in the nonprofit world. Learn more about CFRE International here.

Are you contemplating CFRE certification? Or have you already received certification? We want to hear from both of you during this week’s #fundchat.

But first, we need your ideas for questions. What are your questions about the process and the value of certification? If you are already certified, what questions do you wish you had asked before taking the plunge? What about continuing education and professional development in general?

Share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below. Then “tune-in” for the #fundchat Twitter chat on Wednesday, August 24 at 9 pm EST. The members of the #fundchat community will respond to your questions and share their thoughts on the topic.

You are invited to join the conversation too! To learn more about how to participate in #fundchat, take a few minutes to learn the ropes and review our guidelines. Use your favorite Twitter client to follow the #fundchat hashtag, or use Twebevent.

8/17 #fundchat: Navigating Nonprofit-Corporate Partnerships

Partnership ImageIf you are a fundraiser or work for a nonprofit, you probably know that the issue of corporate partnerships is dicey. A partnership can have great result in great things for an organization, but can also present certain “challenges” with donors and members who may question the relationship.

Sounds like a great topic for the #fundchat community!

Join us this Wednesday, August 17 at 9 pm EST on the topic: “How Fundraisers Can Maximize Nonprofit-Corporate Partnership Opportunities?”

What can you do right now? Please suggest specific questions on this topic that you would like to see discussed by the #fundchat community. Submit ideas for questions in the comments section below.

Thanks to @sldoolittle for offering the following questions:

  1. What steps do you take to qualify corporate prospects?
  2. What success have you had with corporate sponsors or cause marketing partnership?
  3. Under what circumstances would your organization decline corporate dollars?
  4. What are your strategies for stewarding corporate partnerships?

Plus, here are some articles to get the creative juices flowing:

You can follow the discussion by using your favorite Twitter client, but we recommend using Twebevent – click here. If you are newbie to Twitter chats, it’s a good idea to review the guidelines for participation.

Oh, and don’t forget to invite a friend and spread the word about #fundchat!

– Brendan (@brendankinney)

The Cost of “Free”

A guest blog post by Ephraim Gopin.

freeThe word “free” will light up the eyes of a nonprofit professional, especially the CEO of a small nonprofit. If something can be had for free, why pay for it?!

But is “free” really free?

Take social media: Yes, the outlets themselves are free. BUT, if we adhere to the time = money principal, then social media is unbelievably expensive! Your staff must spend a lot of time on multiple platforms engaging people with the hope they eventually become volunteers, donors or, at the very least, share your posts with others.

And we ALL know what happens when you pass off the task of managing your social media to a volunteer: if you’re lucky they have an hour per week to share, post or like and then no one is around to engage and respond quickly. Eventually, people stop paying attention to your posts. But hey, at least you didn’t waste precious budgetary resources!

Or websites/graphic design, a pet peeve of mine: Websites and brochures are not cheap, especially if you want it done professionally and within a time limit. Here’s an example of how this “free” approach can backfire:

In order to save money, the CEO where I once worked decided we should search for students learning to become graphic designers and have them design our brochures and annual report. Right now, some of you are shaking your heads side to side because you know what happened next: we found plenty of eager students thrilled to add to their portfolios. What we did NOT get was a single, usable design.

And in the end, we wasted time (there’s that money thing again!) hoping against hope that the project would bring positive results. Guess what? The product wasn’t ready for a fundraising trip, so we hired a professional company, paid for and received beautiful brochures.

This is NOT a blanket indictment of volunteers. They are the best cheerleaders your organization has. Volunteers can build beautiful websites and design stunning reports, raise money and operate programs. But it’s the RELIANCE on getting things for free that hurts many nonprofits.

Free means no deadlines because you can’t demand from a volunteer that they complete a project on time. You can ask nicely, cajole, plead or beg but they have lives to live as well. The same thing can happen when you pay but at least in these cases you can terminate a contract and try to recoup any losses.

As a fundraiser, I have always believed you spend a buck to make a few bucks. That includes overhead, distribution of materials and more. We may think donors will have pity on our nonprofit if they see a brochure that is not professionally designed;  the donor knows the organization has no money, giving them more incentive to donate.

My experience has shown the complete opposite! Donors want to see that your organization has invested in their experience, for example, a well structured website which is easily navigated and can boost donations! Donors are only too happy to show their friends to whom they are donating if they feel the love.

Many of us in the nonprofit sector are always busy putting out fires and have no time for strategic, long-term thinking and planning. As staff is downsized and budgets slashed, the temptation to cut corners when possible is very real.

But stop and ask yourself, what is the real cost of “free?”

Read the rest of this entry »

Next #fundchat Topic: “Major Gifts: It’s Not Just About The Ask…”

Thanks to everyone who voted to help select the topic for our upcoming #fundchat.

The topic is: “It’s not just about ‘the ask’ – how to cultivate and solicit major donors and steward them for the future.”

How can you get involved? Here’s what you can do:

  1. Follow @fundchat on @brendankinney on Twitter (I moderate the chat).
  2. Offer ideas for questions in the comments section below or via the #fundchat hashtag. I’ll try to post the line-up of questions before the chat.
  3. Tune in at 9 p.m. EST this Wednesday, June 22 to participate. While you’re at it, invite a friend!
  4. Follow the #fundchat hashtag using your favorite Twitter client or use the Twebevent page – http://twebevent.com/fundchat.
  5. The chat lasts for one hour and questions are posted every 10 minutes. Offer your insights, advice and tips and don’t be afraid to share your challenges either.

A curated transcript of the chat will be posted the following day in case you miss the live chat.

Are you looking forward to our next #fundchat?

Now available: #fundchat Transcript – June 15, 2011

The first edition of #fundchat totally blew my expectations. We had anywhere from 12-15 people actively participating in the conversation during the hour-long Twitter chat.

As a first time moderator, I learned a lot (like it’s really important to have “extra” questions in case the discussion renders the next “official” question redundant!) But there were no major gaffes and many compliments at the end.

During my research about running a Twitter chat, I realized that it was very important to be able to provide a transcript to capture the conversation and also to share that information with others who weren’t able to participate. There are some very rudimentary tools out there.

I had high hopes for Storify and even got some buzz going about its ability to help curate social media stories or conversations. Unfortunately, the interface was difficult to use, at least on my Macbook using Firefox 4 and it took me over an hour to put the transcript together. If I can manage it, I just might try to build it during the chat to make the whole process shorter.

Here is the link to the “curated” transcript. I didn’t include every tweet, but tried to put together those that I think capture the essence of a particular discussion:


Be sure to Tweet and share the transcript on Facebook to help spread the word for next week’s chat!

Many thanks to the following tweeps:

@fundraisinisfun (winner of the farthest traveled award!)
Special appearance by: @NickCava (I couldn’t resist!)

Please send topic suggestions for next week’s chat to me at @brendankinney or leave ideas in the comments below.