The communications classes on the Basics & More roster consistently recommend that you *touch* your donors a minimum of 12 times throughout the year. It might sound like a lot, but it isn’t. In fact, most who’ve gone forth and begun communicating more regularly with their donors have reported back that it’s actually pretty easy and winds up feeling natural to them. Many of your regular donor touches involve communicating to your donors with gratitude for how they’ve made your wonderful work possible. Because of them, you’re able to do what you do. You don’t want them to forget it. Reminding them throughout the year is the way to go. If you do this consistently and well, and if you do it in a way that is heartfelt while being genuine and honest, you’ll only strengthen the bonds you have with your supporters.

Believe it or not, 24 touches throughout the year is preferred. Does that number feel daunting? Then start with 12. Regardless of where you are, do yourself a favor and download my 12-Touch Portfolio. Even if you find the 12-touch minimum effortless, this guide will no doubt prove useful to you when you need a fresh dose of inspiration. I’ve said it in the blog post from where you can download the portfolio, and I’ll say it again: NO COPYING, please. These are just examples for you to work with.

Speaking of examples, another great one recently hit my mailbox, and it’s from Kehillah Jewish Education Fund, a Basics & More Alum. Check it out, and see how they’ve reached out to me (and others) with pure gratitude. They’ve done it in a way that is genuine and donor-focused, they’ve helped me understand my special role in their vital work, and they’ve compelled me to want to give again. Through this piece, I’m seeing how I’m helping, and just as importantly, who I’m helping!

You know what’s right around the corner? Year-end fundraising season. What better time is there to warm up your donors for your year-end appeal than right now? I’ve got good news.  Your Best Year-End Fundraising Ever: THE SYSTEM, is making its grand return soon — back by popular demand, and better than ever. Donor communications are especially critical during these last few months, and they can make or break your fundraising for the year. So be on the lookout for it…

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What’s In My Inbox | National Audubon Society does simple and direct

July 18, 2018

I love birds. I enjoy watching them, especially in the tin birdhouse that hangs just over the deck outside of my kitchen. I marvel at how many wrens can fit into that tiny house, and at the music their chirping creates. Sometimes, it sounds like they’re having a party. On the opposite side of my […]

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Fundraising Friday, July 13, 2018

July 13, 2018

What, exactly, IS a *gratitude report?* It’s like an annual report, but not quite. For the past several years, we’ve been teaching the principles of gratitude reports at Basics & More™. And I’d have to say that this week’s Power of Storytelling is the most moving example of a gratitude report I’ve seen yet. Courtesy of John Lepp and Agents […]

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What’s In My Mailbox | Multichannel campaign mastery, courtesy of Ontario Nature

July 11, 2018

Research has shown that multichannel fundraising campaigns perform the best. If your organization is relying solely on digital for your campaign, chances are, you’ll wind up lost in the shuffle as more and more nonprofits embrace #GivingTuesday. Many smaller nonprofits turn to #GivingTuesday for their first foray into digital campaigns, but they often neglect to […]

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What’s In My Inbox | How are you providing value?

July 10, 2018

Pediatric nurse practitioner Karen Ridlon founded Eastside Baby Corner after she became concerned over the many babies in her practice who were beginning life without access to basic needs. While on the job, she witnessed a lack of adequate food, clothing, beds, and safety equipment. EBC began with a wonderful idea and Karen gathering a […]

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Power of Storytelling | The most moving gratitude report I’ve ever seen

July 9, 2018

Let’s be honest. The term “annual report,” on its face, can sound technical and stodgy, because reports so often evoke images of data in the form of numbers and charts. Even your oh-so clever infographic or postcard can’t save it. But what happens when you flip it — and give your donors the credit? Then […]

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Fundraising Friday | July 6, 2018

July 6, 2018

What do you do when you’re a woman running for congress on a pretty small budget? Go online of course! This week’s Power of Storytelling will make you cheer. You’ve got a mission statement, but do you have a values statement? Another great read from Mary Cahalane. Richard Turner is one fundraiser I’m proud to […]

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Power of Storytelling | MJ Hegar is a door-busting, wall-breaking warrior…on a budget!

July 2, 2018

In the face of the ongoing political horror show that is our Congress, MJ Hegar is currently on the frontlines of our democracy, fighting to create change despite having many doors slammed in her face by many men. A certified badass with her own incomparable brand of moxie and can-do, MJ announced her congressional candidacy as […]

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Fundraising Friday | June 29, 2018

June 29, 2018

Are you feeling story-stuck? This week’s Power of Storytelling is sure to get you “unstuck” with seven tips to inspire. Wondering what kind of images are best to share on social media (and which ones to AVOID)? From the brilliant John Haydon. Who might be lurking in your donor database that doesn’t necessarily scream “I […]

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A Nifty Tool to Help You Build Relationships With Foundation Funders

June 28, 2018

What if one simple tool could ensure that you never let a prospective foundation grant slip through your fingers again? In the six years I worked in programming and communications for a grantmaking family foundation I learned a lot about nonprofit management just from observing the grant proposals that crossed my desk. Of course there […]

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Power of Storytelling | Feeling story-stuck! Here are seven tips to inspire.

June 25, 2018

Do you struggle to find your organization’s best stories? Are you often at a loss, wondering which stories will resonate the most with your donors? What about framing the stories that you uncover to make them compelling? That can sometimes be a challenge too, can’t it? By now, I’m sure you already know that finding […]

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Fundraising Friday | June 22, 2018

June 22, 2018

Confession: this week’s Power of Storytelling has nothing to do with nonprofit fundraising. The story of the frozen kitten named Bagel was simply too good not to share. Have a smile – you need it this week. When it comes to your organization’s stories, do you think you have to be always reinventing the wheel? […]

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How Much Should You Request in Your Grant Proposal? How Much Do You Need?!

June 21, 2018

One of the most common questions I’m asked is “How do you know how much to request when drafting a foundation grant proposal?” Well, how much do you need? Folks, this isn’t rocket science and I refer, once again, to my constant mantra of “systems, systems, and systems.” Have you been researching foundation funders on […]

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What’s In My Mailbox | Smart fundraisers know…you can never say thank you too often!

June 20, 2018

Julie Edwards is Executive Director of The Humane Society of Northeast Georgia. I’ve mentioned her before because she’s a dynamic personality who continually does cool stuff. She works Facebook Live like a pro, creating a wonderful example for nonprofits everywhere. She writes awesomely creative thank you letters. Day after day, through her work at HSNEGA, […]

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What you need to know about the latest Giving USA Report

June 20, 2018

Giving USA 2018, The Annual Report on Philanthropy that shows us, year after year, where the money in nonprofit fundraising really is, has just been released. The good news: Total estimated US charitable giving increased by 5.2% – to $410.02 billion! Individual giving increased by 5.2% Giving by foundations increased by 6% Giving by bequest […]

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What’s In My Inbox | An alpaca named Pamela?! Heifer is at it again!

June 19, 2018

Have your donor communications got you in a rut? Do you feel stuck? Uninspired? Listen, regardless of how passionate you are about your organization and mission, you’ve probably experienced writer’s block. And that’s okay. Writer’s block can affect us all. Heck, it’s even hit me on a day when all of the other stars felt […]

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Power of Storytelling | The adventures and misadventures of Bagel, the frozen kitten

June 18, 2018

Earlier this year, Nikki Martinez, a cat foster mom, put on her Superwoman cape and, along with her husband, rescued a small litter of frozen kittens. While walking her dog, a woman stumbled upon the trio of one-day-olds behind some shrubs, and she immediately called Nikki for help. Sitting in an AM/PM parking lot, Nikki […]

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Fundraising Friday | June 15, 2018

June 15, 2018

You’ve heard the rumors, but are they true? Are fewer Americans giving to charity? Where Are My Donors?, a new Chronicle of Philanthropy article, sheds some light on how rates have dropped. Back to Basics: How Nonprofits Can Combat Donor Decline in 2018 (and Forever) How did one man grow his email list from 38 […]

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What’s the One Secret to Winning Foundation Grants?

June 14, 2018

It does not happen all at once. There is no instant pudding.” W. Edwards Deming When a colleague sent me a link to a web page with the following claims and asked me if it was legitimate, I had to smile. Hundreds of Billions Up For Grabs — Every Year! … there are the more […]

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Lessons From Motivate Monday | Nonprofits on the web *must* be GDRP compliant…here’s how!

June 13, 2018

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a new and complicated development. It’s a European Union regulation, and yet it affects American businesses. I touched on it a few weeks ago in an Inbox installment  and was grateful to Global Giving, an interwebs-based nonprofit donation platform, for improving my understanding of it. But I’ve heard from […]

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