M+R had a fascinating post* last week about political fundraising. It highlighted insights from the digital team who sent out fundraising emails for the Obama campaign. While political fundraising is its own animal, I do think many of these insights apply to all forms of fundraising. So whether you’re a political activist or a nonprofit fundraiser, or of the red or blue or purple persuasion, you will find this interesting.(The whole post is here. These are some highlights along with my commentary.)1. It’s hard to predict what will work – so testing matters. There were 18 very smart people on the email team alone, and they often predicted the wrong winners among versions of emails. And just when they figured out what worked, it stopped working. So they tested again. Keep testing!2. The best segmentation was based on what donors did – not how they voted or their demographics. Segmenting their message according to the ways people responded worked far better in yielding strong fundraising results than any other variable. What have people donated in the past? In response to which appeals? Segment accordingly.3. Length didn’t seem to matter a lot, until the end of the campaign, when shorter did better (reminds me of my advice to write very short appeals on December 31!). What did matter was the content and relevance of the message.4. For fundraising, setting a big goal for number of donations worked, but little, very local goals (we need six more donors in Washington, DC) did not. Those only worked for advocacy. Interesting. Something to test?And my favorite finding? The best appeals also had the highest unsubscribe rates. Like Mark Rovner always says, evoking passion means you get strong opinions on all sides. Bland is safe – and gets NO reaction.For more findings, check out the full post, “Surprises from Obama’s New Media Staff.”*Hat tip to Jono Smith of Event360 for sharing the post.
As fundraisers, we often want to know why and how our supporters plan to donate in any given year. As donors, we usually want to know the same thing from the organizations we support. If I give to your organization, what can I expect? Do you have a plan for me if I am a new supporter? A lapsed donor? A major donor? A peer-to-peer giver? A recurring donor? If you don’t have a plan for me, how do you expect to develop a relationship with me as a donor? We often talk about segmenting lists and personalizing communications, but when it comes to your various donor and supporter types, do you have a holistic plan for identifying, nurturing, and retaining each unique tier of support? While you may have the best intentions, without a clearly articulated plan, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to successfully execute tactics that will help you create a well-rounded, long-term fundraising approach for each type of donor (or potential donor).For best results, your comprehensive fundraising strategy should include: a list of key segments for your organizationhow your organization defines each segmentthe historical and projected fundraising results from each groupthe specific tactics and messages that will help you build relationships with each type of donor You should also understand how each segment interacts with the rest of your donor pool and which triggers move someone from one tier to the next (in either direction). If you don’t have this data, start by talking with your most loyal donors to find out what has them giving year after year.Need some help thinking about this? Download the archived presentation of our free webinar with Sea Change Strategies’ fundraising experts Alia McKee and Mark Rovner. Listen to the recording f to learn from these two fundraising gurus, get an inside look at The Missing Middle report, and get your mid-level donor questions answered.
An organization’s ability to accomplish its mission is only as strong as the organization’s infrastructure. As you fight to make the world a better place, how do you make sure you’re providing a nonprofit workplace that fosters fairness and complies with the necessary rules and regulations? I recently had a chance to catch up with the Aina Gutierrez, author of Walking the Walk: A Values Centered Approach to Building a Strong Non-Profitand Deputy Director of Interfaith Worker Justice. Her new book is an easily digestible, yet comprehensive, practical guide to organizing and improving internal operations and finances.NFG: What drove you to write this handbook? Aina Gutierrez: The national nonprofit I work for, Interfaith Worker Justice, has a network of more than 40 affiliates that are small organizations with less than 10 staff. Part of my job in the last twelve years has been to train these groups on the subjects outlined in the book (office administration, fundraising, financial management, board development and human resources). There were two trends I saw in talking to these groups and other small nonprofits I’ve been involved with. The first is that most small groups struggle with these “back office” issues because there were few training resources and materials for those that juggle multiple roles and don’t have the time (nor passion!) around building systems and procedures. And yet, many of them were really struggling with personnel issues and managing their budgets. It caused many staff and board leaders stress and burnout.The second is that many of the policies and procedures of small nonprofits don’t seem to reflect the values that the organizations espouse in their programmatic work. A number of staff work for low pay and few benefits. Most small organizations don’t have access to constructive feedback or support. I felt strongly about the need to reflect the organization’s values in the way it operates, and that a written resource might be the best way to do that.NFG: The book is geared toward small nonprofits with fewer than 10 employees. We work with many organizations who also have volunteer “staff” or staff members who are running their nonprofits on the side? Can you share some advice for those situations? AG: Sure. It’s pretty amazing, but the smallest nonprofit isn’t that much less complicated to run than a more established organization. Both have boards, raise money, file government forms and have policies. This can be tricky for groups without paid staff, or with part-time staff. There’s never enough money or time to accomplish everything.NFG: Can you share some advice for those situations?AG: So I would recommend that your readers do a quick assessment of each area outlined in the book and highlight parts that seem important to the organization that are missing. The book has chapters on staff, board, office systems and management, government requirements, finance, and fund development. And just start working on it, bit by bit. Include a few tasks in the organization’s workplan, or find a board member or two that are willing to help. There’s a lot of information online and from allied organizations that can be easily adapted and used for small nonprofits. It’s really just being aware of the back office work that needs to be done and doing a little bit at a time.NFG: There’s an entire section on building and managing your board. We hear from many nonprofits who struggle with this relationship. Why do you think this is often such a difficult piece of the puzzle?AG: I think any institution made up of passionate people who bring with them varying ideas and perspectives will not be without its share of internal struggles. An organization’s board is no different. Managing the board can be very rewarding, but it can also be frustrating at times.. And, as staff, it can sometimes feel like its not worth the time and energy to build a strong board, so it falls by the wayside.But, it is worth it. The key is to continue to recruit and develop leaders that care about the organization and have something wonderful to contribute to its success. If someone doesn’t have a skill set or experience to help, or creates a lot of drama, or brings a different agenda to the table, or doesn’t want to do any work – that person shouldn’t be on the board. It can be time consuming to recruit and keep the right people for the job, but a small group of people that really connect and are willing to work can help build the organization in some really incredible ways.NFG: What are some of the challenges you’ve observed in nonprofits who don’t have strong administrative systems? AG: Oh goodness, there are so many stories. Every nonprofit I’ve worked with has at least one horrible story that cost a lot of time, energy and usually money to fix. I certainly have made plenty of own mistakes in this area!The biggest challenge with organizations that don’t have strong systems is that it’s not an efficient way to operate. Pulling together a 300 person mailing shouldn’t be an all day job. But if your database is disorganized, the printer jams the envelopes, and you have to run to the post office to buy stamps, it can take hours. It impacts the important work that the group should be doing. And its super frustrating for the staff!Having weak systems can also cost a lot of money. I’ve worked with a number of groups that miss government filing deadlines and have to pay late fees. Or groups that order office supplies last minute and pay expensive overnight shipping for a meeting. Or, groups that miss grant deadlines because there are not good tracking systems for applications or reports. These things all cost the organization a lot of money, and there often isn’t money to go around.NFG: What are the payoffs for getting it right?AG: One of the biggest rewards of those with good administrative systems is that they are able to engage more people in their work. Organizations that are able to efficiently communicate with their constituents and potential supporters via email or direct mail are more likely to receive more donations and support than those that don’t communicate. Donors that are assured the organization is run well will continue to give and often give more. Board members that are better connected or informed about the work will more likely be better engaged and provide more help.Having good administrative systems is really the backbone of any strong nonprofit organization. It has a direct impact on its programmatic work and financial viability.NFG: This book is obviously a great guide for emerging organizations, can established nonprofits learn a trick or two as well? Should these organizations re-assess their processes? How often?AG: Yes, definitely. I encourage readers of more established groups to first review the policies and practices outlined in the book and make sure they have similar structures in place. Second, take a look at their own policies through a values-centered lens and see if there are areas that don’t reflect the organization’s values. And third, consider if its time to update a few things. For example, my organization recently looked at our healthcare plan to see if we should try the state-based exchange through the Affordable Care Act. It didn’t make sense for us to change right now, but it is likely something that will impact our healthcare benefits in the future. Even long time organizations should try and keep up on policy changes that could benefit small nonprofits.All organizations should look at the administrative and financial progress made every year. Don’t look at everything, but when the organization is making its annual goals and objectives, it should include some work on internal policies and procedures. Incorporate this work incrementally into the organization’s board and staff and new things will be done every year. Progress is something to feel good about!Thanks to Aina for her insight and for providing a handy guide to policies and processes that can sometimes feel daunting. For more tips and insight, check out Walking the Walk: A Values Centered Approach to Building a Strong Non-Profit.
Nonprofits are finding new ways to tap the most vocal supporters outside their core networks to become active supporters of their causes. These supporters, or peer influencers, could be even more important than your brand. While young people may be inclined to “like” or share your existing information, you must respect the fact that they are capable of much more. Focus instead on inspiring Millennials to create and share their own perspectives. Give them the opportunity to take greater ownership over how you are perceived in the world. Peer influencers can help establish trust, exchange ideas and information, and demonstrate relevance. You can begin to embrace peer influencers and make them work for you by following these steps:￼Consider working with influencers so you can know the message they are sending while giving them room to adapt and remix it.Create opportunities for influencers to be creative, and recognize their efforts when they have success.Make sure your website and landing pages are easy to read and access, or the influence will not work.Monitor the reach of your influence (retweets, etc.).Help your staff understand and leverage the power of influencers.At the end of the day, Millennials are highly selective about what organizations they engage with in a crowded and noisy marketplace. Even though peer influence might attract a Millennial to click or read, it might not be enough to persuade them to follow your social channels. The key to reaching and engaging Millennials isn’t to do more traditional, expensive advertising and marketing campaigns or flashy, creative social efforts that emerge from inside your operation. It’s about finding a way into conversations between Millennials, and then letting those conversations take their course.Adapted from Network for Good’s eBook “The Millennial Donor Playbook,” by Kari Saratovsky, Chief Engagement Officer at Third Plateau Social Impact Strategies
Fall is a busy time of year. Whether it’s getting the kids back to school or the quick transitions between Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas, there are many reminders that the dog days of summer are long behind us. On top of all that, we are looking squarely in the face of the year-end fundraising push. Whether or not your fiscal year ends on December 31, donors and nonprofits alike know this is the prime giving season. Consider these stats from Network for Good’s Digital Giving Index:30% of all giving occurs in December.12% of all giving happens in the last three days of the year.Many terrific blog posts and webinars offer words of advice about how to end the year on a strong note. If we know we’ll have donors’ growing attention over the next two and a half months, I suggest looking at the end-of-year blitz as one part of a longer donor engagement plan. Sustainable fundraising embodies a year-round dialogue with your donors and isn’t limited to these last two to three months of the year. This is especially important to keep in mind since we know organizations have been facing a negative growth in donors: For every 100 new and recovered donors, 103 were lost through attrition. Your focus over these next few months should be on engaging the donors you have so they continue to give.Share, Celebrate, and Don’t OversolicitPenelope Burk, the guru of donor-centered fundraising, found in her research that the number one reason donors stop supporting an organization is that they feel they are being “oversolicited.” With tight deadlines and multichannel communications, it’s easy to get swept up in the transactional part of fundraising—getting those gifts in by December 31. Are your communications—e-newsletters, mailed and electronic solicitations, tweets, Facebook posts, and so on—bringing donors closer to your work and inspiring them to commit more deeply to your mission without always asking for money?Before you begin asking for year-end gifts, use a variety of multi-channel fundraising to bring your work and beneficiaries before your donors:Share with your donors’ examples of impact and stories of transformation that their gift made possible.Highlight what you were able to do because of the gifts you received from your donors.Celebrate your donors and make them feel that their support made a difference in some way.Now your solicitations will be natural extensions of the dialogue you’ve created around the results donors have helped you achieve, resulting in donors being more open to investing in you again.Engage Your Middle to Major Gift Donors and ProspectsMiddle to major donors generally have higher loyalty rates and consider their gifts to you as investments. Show these donors how much you valued them:Schedule staff or volunteer leadership calls to these larger donors just to thank them for their continued support and to share a few highlights of your year.Send this group of donors and prospects a personal letter, a link to a video or simple thank you card from one of your beneficiaries.Give these donors and prospects an up-close and in-person view of your work. Can they meet any of your staff and/or beneficiaries or participate in a one-off volunteer opportunity?Mind you, these are all stewardship activities that should not be isolated to year-end. But in the spirit of the seasons of thanking and giving, they can complement the inundation of solicitations these donors will be receiving from you and other organizations.Assess and Grow in 2016We all know that feeling of relief when December 31 has come and gone. How will you build off that year-end fundraising momentum in 2016? In addition to making sure all gifts are promptly processed and acknowledged (another key ingredient in Penelope Burk’s donor-centered fundraising), this is a good time to assess and adjust your plans for 2016 in two ways.First, determine which messages or communication format resonated most with your audience. Make necessary adjustments in your 2016 plans to ensure you’re speaking to your donors in the way that resonates best.Second, take stock of who gave to your organization:Did you have new donors (either first-time or lapsed donors who returned) and donors who upgraded their support? Call or visit your new and upgraded donors to thank them and find out what motivated their new or increased gifts.You might also conduct wealth-capacity screening to identify which of these donors has the potential for a larger commitment, and then tailor a personalized cultivation strategy to bring them closer to your organization.Did any of your LYBUNTs not make a gift? Focus on finding out why your larger and longstanding LYBUNTs didn’t include you in their philanthropic plans. Understanding what drove their decision is important for you to find out and could lead to renewed support down the road. It shows your donors that you care about their motivations and don’t just view them as a walking ATM.The “noise” of appeals and communications from organizations competing for limited philanthropic dollars will grow louder over the next couple of months. Use the themes of gratitude and generosity (of spirit, interest, and information) to drive thoughtful connection with your donors.Make this December your best year-end fundraising season ever with Network for Good’s smarter fundraising software, built just for nonprofits. Reach more donors, raise more money, and retain more supporters this year with easy-to-use tools and step-by-step coaching. We have everything you need for a bigger, better campaign, all under one roof. Find out more by speaking with one of our expert fundraising consultants.
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Share this: Posted on April 3, 2013March 13, 2017By: Kathleen McDonald, Senior Program Manager, Maternal Health Task Force, Women and Health InitiativeClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The final plenary of the Global Maternal Health Conference 2013 (GMHC2013) in Arusha, Tanzania struck a nerve. The expert panel presented evidence of disrespect and abuse in maternity wards from all over the world. The audience was captivated and moved but not shocked. From Rwanda to the Netherlands, everyone had a story.Many had witnessed signs of undignified maternity care, yet it had not been named. It had been pushed aside as a cultural norm, or considered as an outcome of a constrained health system. Disrespect and abuse is practiced when laboring mothers are admonished or beaten in a moment of acute vulnerability for having too many children, for having children too soon, for having HIV, or for simply crying out in pain. It manifests itself structurally when an overburdened midwife tries desperately to accommodate an overflowing delivery room, when a mother is abandoned by skilled personnel to deliver on a bare labor ward floor, and when she is handcuffed to a bed when she cannot afford to pay hospital fees.Disrespect and abuse during childbirth is not a new phenomenon. Evidence of poor patient-provider interactions have been documented for decades in North America, Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America. Maltreatment discourages women from delivering in health institutions, where life-saving treatment for complications in pregnancy and childbirth is available. Often referred to as the ‘moment of truth,’ the quality of the interaction between the healthcare provider and the patient is closely linked with women’s utilization of skilled birth attendance and, ultimately, maternal and newborn health outcomes. However, due to the already overstretched global health agenda, it is easy to overlook the importance of this critical relationship in maternal health programs and policies.The GMHC2013 afforded an opportunity for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers not only to share evidence, interventions, and advocacy for respectful maternity care, but also to challenge all those present to acknowledge this global problem that is hiding in plain sight. If advocates champion that maternal health is women’s health and share the imperative that women’s rights are human rights, then it is vital to support systems, infrastructure, and policies that ensure women’s rights extend to the delivery room.Over the next few weeks, the MHTF will host a series of guest blogs on respectful maternity care that will continue where we left off in Arusha. Posts will explore questions such as: What are programs and policies that are advocating for women’s dignity during childbirth? Should respectful maternity care be considered a component of quality care? What are the economic and human rights implications? How can communities become involved? How is disrespect and abuse present in rural and urban settings? In the private and public sectors? In rich countries and poor countries?We invite you to share your story. Please submit your blog post to Sarah Blake firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on April 17, 2013March 13, 2017By: Sarah Blake, MHTF consultantClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Between March 8, International Women’s Day, and Mothers’ Day on May 8, the Global Mom Relay, is using social media to connect and mobilize support for the UN’s Every Woman Every Child campaign to improve maternal and child health. The relay invites participants to contribute to organizations dedicated to promoting maternal, newborn and child health by either sharing blog posts hosted on the relay site via email, Twitter or Facebook, or by making a $5 donation to the day’s featured organization. Through tomorrow, the relay features MAMA, the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action, and this week’s posts include a feature on Jill Sheffield, founder and President of Women Deliver, and by Every Mother Counts Founder Christy Turlington Burns.In today’s featured post, Fistula Foundation CEO Kate Grant writes:Not every woman is lucky enough to give birth in a modern delivery room, like I was. But no woman, anywhere, should have to suffer a life of misery and isolation simply for trying to bring a child into this world. Obstetric fistula has affected mothers since women began giving birth, and it will continue to happen until all women have access to high quality maternal care.The relay was developed by the UN Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, BabyCenter, The Huffington Post, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with thegoal of improving the lives of women and children around the globe. For more, visit the Global Mom Relay website, or follow the discussion Twitter, Pinterest or watch the Global Mom Relay video.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Posted on May 14, 2013March 8, 2017By: Kate Mitchell, Manager of the MHTF Knowledge Management System, Women and Health InitiativeClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)On May 12th, NPR ran a story, C-Sections Deliver Cachet For Wealthy Brazilian Women, that explores the extraordinary numbers of Cesarean deliveries occurring in Brazil. The author discusses various factors that might be contributing to the issue: To what extent are women demanding Cesarean births? Are doctors pressuring women to opt for surgery? Are Cesarean births becoming a “status” symbol? The author also examines the role of doulas, or birth coaches–and raises questions about how doulas, fairly uncommon in Brazil, might serve as a critical intervention in supporting women who would like to have a vaginal birth but are feeling pressured into a Cesarean delivery. Excerpt from the piece:There is a debate in Brazil as to why the rate here is so high. Doctors like Sasaoka say it’s due to the demand. But new mother Mariana — who doesn’t want her last name used for fear of offending her doctor — says often women feel bullied into it. She says she wanted to have a vaginal delivery. “My doctor said to me he’d have more control in a C-section than in a natural birth,” she says. He also told her he would also almost certainly have to do an episiotomy — a procedure where the vaginal opening gets cut to allow for delivery. She was terrified. She says her doctor kept telling her that C-sections were better, and that she felt pressure to have one.Read the full story. Listen to the audio version of the story. Learn about the Maternal Health Task Force’s work to better understand the under- and over-use of Cesarean births in low-income countries. Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Posted on August 19, 2013February 16, 2017By: Sarah Blake, MHTF consultantClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)In “Ending preventable maternal deaths: the time is now” published today in The Lancet Global Health, a group of maternal health experts call on the global health community to not only commit to ending preventable maternal deaths, but to set a specific timeline for doing so. Citing the maternal health manifesto adopted at the 2013 Global Maternal Health Conference, the authors lay out a series of priorities for the development framework that will follow the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The authors suggest that“An ambitious but realistic global target is to reduce maternal mortality ratios to less than 50 per 100 000 live births by 2035.” Along with this target, the authors propose new approaches to both measuring and achieving progress. From the article:“This method would help to focus planning for maternal survival. For all countries with estimated maternal mortality ratios of less than 400 in 2010, the goal would be a steady progression past a series of 5 year milestones to reach the global target. The expectation that every country would cross one milestone within every 5 year interval will provide a method to measure each country’s progress, and will also contribute to global progress. The 5 year milestones for countries with high initial maternal mortality ratios (>400) would be individually designed and tracked. Countries with an estimated maternal mortality ratio of less than 100 would be expected to move to lower values according to defined milestones, but with a focus on internal subpopulations whose maternal mortality is higher than the national rate. Strategies to implement targeted interventions to reduce maternal mortality need to address more than the clinical causes of death—they should respond to changing demographics, meet the specific needs of women for reproductive health, and address contextual features such as challenges caused by changes in health-care systems. These challenges include financial incentives, the effects of decentralisation, the role of the private sector, and urbanisation. Universal access to high-quality health services, including family planning and information and services for reproductive health (especially for vulnerable and at-risk populations), should be put at the centre of efforts to achieve the vision of ending maternal deaths.”For more on the ongoing planning process for the post-2015 development agenda, visit the High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda final report.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Announcements of New Technologies Underscore Complexity of Challenges in Maternal Health Service Access and Quality
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on October 3, 2013February 2, 2017By: Sarah Blake, MHTF consultantClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)In the past week, three potentially high-impact innovations have made the news. Each holds promise for easing some of the key barriers that women face in reaching high quality maternal health care in a timely way, and together, they demonstrate both the common need for improvements in areas such as transportation and communication, which often inhibit women from reaching health care, and technologies that ensure women who reach health services receive the high quality of health services they require.First, last week, WHO, announced that it, in collaboration with medical technology company Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) and Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development partners that they would begin scaling up production of the Odon device, an obstetric tool designed for use in settings where birth attendants lack the skills or equipment needed to safely perform forceps or vacuum-assisted deliveries.Second, the Thomson Reuters foundation reported on the launch of the Ghana pilot project for Zero Mothers Die, an effort that draws on the many potential uses of mobile technology, enabling pregnant women to communicate with skilled birth attendants and earn money to cover costs associated with using health care , while also building the capacity of health workers.Finally, The Atlantic and The Huffington post both reported on a new design for a “donkey ambulance,” equipped with an inflatable saddle that British charity HealthProm and designer Peter Muckle developed with the aim of enabling women living in remote, mountainous areas of Afghanistan to reach health facilities that would otherwise be out of reach.Share this: