Month: April 2014

Crisis Communication: How to Avoid “Hair on Fire” Reactions and Act like a Pro in the Face of Organizational Calamity


Milwaukee Planners & Grant Writers Roundtable will meet on Thursday, April 30th from 9-11am at the United Way of Greater Milwaukee to discuss Crisis Communication.  No organization is immune to bad things happening; only smart organizations know how to handle the unexpected. Learn from organizations that have gracefully survived hard times with their community standing intact; get concrete tips from those in the know:

  • Ann Curley, Owner – Curley Communications
  • Georgia Pabst, Reporter – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • Andi Elliot, Interim CEO – Community Advocates
  • Anthony McHenry, Executive Director, Silver Spring Neighborhood Center

Learn more and register online today!



About Milwaukee Planners & Grant Writers Roundtable:
This group of nonprofit planning and grant writing professionals is organized through the Non Profit Center of Milwaukee.  We share successes, challenges and keep current on events and technology that impact your work. Sessions are held quarterly.  

Find your donors and woo them

The Nonprofit Collective


Developing a relationship with a donor is one of the most challenging and time consuming tasks for any nonprofit group, regardless of size, mission or budget.  It’s not to say that it’s not critical because everyone knows that it is.  The challenge is that your nonprofit is probably not the only nonprofit courting the individual giver, corporation, foundation, and affinity group.

Where do you dedicate the biggest chunk of your time when your organization is already running rail thin in the areas of budget, staff and resources?  Year after year individual giving is responsible for the biggest dollars at nonprofits.   A dollar here, a text donation there really adds up, as high as abut 75% of overall financial contributions to nonprofits.

It’s important to spend a little time going through your donor database and determine who are the givers – passive and active – and begin reinforcing those relationships…

View original post 271 more words

Annual giving strategies


Everything….and I mean everything starts with a plan.  Here’s some thoughts on creating an annual giving strategy for your organization.


Clear, measurable and documented goals and results

  • Master timeline of activity, with staff responsibility assigned
  • Annual work plan in place with specific dollar and donor-based outcomes
  • Reports allow for effective evaluation of progress, and staff are empowered to make program changes based on data
  • Formal final report based on the work plan is created, reviewed and discussed before plans are finalized for the coming year

The annual fund maintains healthy growth

  • Donor-retention rates are carefully monitored
  • New donors are acquired each year to compensate for natural donor attrition.

The annual fund has a strategic focus

  • Continually works to identify potential donors
  • Strong commitment to personal solicitation for high-level annual-fund support, and it involves asking people to consider an increase

The annual fund is a visible priority across the organization

  • Leaders and staff are able to articulate the case for annual-fund support easily
  • Annual fund is a visible priority in all fundraising outreach-campaign, annual reports, website, public remarks, events, board members

The annual fund has highly visible and engaged volunteer leadership

  • Annual fund has a core group of volunteers willing to invest time and energy
  • 100% leadership (Board) participation
  • Staff support volunteers with reporting tools, personalized training, marketing materials
  • Vehicle for volunteers to provide feedback on an annual basis about their experience

Annual fund gifts are stewarded well

  • Accurate, timely and personal acknowledgement for annual fund gifts is provided
  • Donor records are maintained rigorously
  • Use of annual-fund gifts is clearly articulated to donors in a compelling way

In between


There you are front and center

Staring at me from the screen

I’m alone – no socialite

Oh and yeah, and it is Friday night


Looks like you’re having fun

New girls on your arms

Where’s your wife, center of your life?

It’s all part of the gig, man


There you are on the side

You can’t see me from where I stand

Is there a line in between

The show and what you really mean?


Sometimes things are not

What they seem

But the feelings hold their meaning

All the same


What’s your story?

First things first.  And in the world of fundraising, your organization first needs a case statement.  So, what’s your story?


A case statement can be daunting to write. You must be able to clearly communicate your various campaign themes concisely, explain why your nonprofit organization is important, and demonstrate how your nonprofit has been successful in the past.

A good starting point is to follow a common outline for case statements that can help guide your writing. To customize this outline to fit your needs, consider your audience and purpose and write with both in mind to keep your nonprofit case statement effective and focused.

STEP 1: The Introduction

A case statement needs a strong introduction. But unlike a lot of documents that stick to the cut-and-dry (emphasis on dry!), the point is to be compelling and draw your reader in. Think about your own interest and passion in your nonprofit’s cause and what first kindled those feelings in you, and try to convey those feelings to your reader.

  • Who are we? Describe the make-up of the organization.
  • Do we have a beneficiary/client story that explains our work?

STEP 2: Your Vision

Talk about your organization’s strengths and how you will use them to move toward your future goals. Show the readers that you know the direction you’re moving in and what value this brings to the community.

  • Where are you going?
  • Why is it important? Why does the community need your vision?

STEP 3: The Campaign

Describe the action steps your organization is going to take to accomplish the vision of the campaign. Tell the reader about the most important steps, and be sure to include what you will spend on each. Explain how each component relates to the overall vision.

  • What is our approach to solving this problem and issue?
  • How exactly will we work to solve this problem going forward?
  • How does this specific campaign solve this problem while carrying out the vision of the organization?

STEP 4: The Donor’s Role

Explain how the participation of potential donors will ensure the organization’s future. If your audience is potential donors, tell them how the organization will be improved by successful campaign. They will want to know what your organization look, feel, and act like after the campaign.

  • How can donor support help the organization? Show a financial model and give numbers.
  • What are some specific examples of donor support making a difference in this campaign or in solving this issue?

STEP 5: Reinforce With Facts +  Enhance With Visuals

Work facts and figures into the document as you go. Take some time to go back and reinforce areas that might need it with supporting statements that contain proof of your organization’s accomplishments. Demonstrate your progress.

At the same time, go back and look for areas that can be reinforced with engaging visuals, whether they be images, graphics, videos, or charts. Visuals provide an emotional connection to content and can seal the entire case statement into an effective package.


  • Be Simple.
  • Be Definitive.
  • Use Stories.
  • Don’t Assume They Know You.
  • Use Strong Language.