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What I Learned (and Didn't Learn) at the NIO Summit 2022

Last week, I attended NextAfter’s NIO (Nonprofit Innovation & Optimization) Summit for the first time. And as it turns out, all the hype leading up to the conference was justified - it was well run, informative, and FUN. 

NIO isn’t like most conferences. For one, there are no breakouts. So, no hustling from room to room hoping you chose the best topic. Everyone gets the chance to hear every talk - and learn about topics they may never have chosen for...

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Stop Blaming Fundraising: 8 (Other) Ways to Improve Your Bottom Line

Sometimes fundraising gets a bad rap. Actually, it gets a bad rap most of the time. Hang out with nonprofit leaders anywhere and you'll hear phrases like these:

"Fundraising is hard."

"Nobody likes to fundraise." 

"We don't have a development person/department."

"There's too much competition/we're all chasing after the same money."

While I don't dispute that fundraising can be a challenge, (just look at how many people and companies are dedicated to helping...

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Don't hate the player...or the game.

This post was taken from the weekly B-mail message sent March 22, 2022 to subscribers. Click here to get on the list.

 

I feel a bit silly admitting that I start and end each day playing online games.

Silly, but honest. 

In the morning, the mini crossword and that singular round of Wordle give my brain a quick jumpstart (or so I choose to believe) and at night a bit of mindless Toy Blast or 1010! eases me right out of my day. 

You, too? Don't worry,...

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Numbers, Stories, and the Formula for Making the Case

This post was taken from the weekly B-mail message sent March 1, 2022 to subscribers. 

Last month I delivered a talk - IN PERSON - to a group of fundraising professionals here in Virginia. It was thrilling to be in the same room as my audience; to see the nodding heads, raised hands, and smiling faces. As invaluable as Zoom has been throughout the pandemic and beyond, there is just no substitute for proximity. The energy exchanged between people who are together brings a whole...

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A Better Way to Avoid Personality Problems on Your Board

If you missed last week’s blog post about common personality types that get in the way of nonprofit progress, you can check it out here. In a slightly tongue-in-cheek way, I described eight seriously disruptive players...so that you might pinpoint sources of friction within your board.

 

Here’s the good news: many of you probably read the list, had a chuckle, recognized a person or two, and decided those folks weren’t so bad after all.

 

...

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Board to Death: 8 Personalities that are Killing your Organization's Mojo

Running a nonprofit organization - and working effectively with a board of directors - requires a high degree of "people skills." Your ability to organize, galvanize, and mobilize a wide variety of people (and their personalities) will determine how successful you can ultimately be in advancing your mission. Disruptive behaviors lead to conflict and, as Dale Carnegie Associates says, "conflict in the workplace weakens morale, strains productivity, and burdens overall progress." 

The...

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How to Be A Great Board Partner (In 8 Easy Steps)

The best relationships - of any kind - often take the form of partnerships;  during which the parties involved work together to create a particular outcome or reach some type of mutually beneficial goal. The same can be said for the nature of board/staff relationships at nonprofit organizations - the most effective and mutually satisfying arrangements happen between people who take a collaborative approach to their service/work. Contrary to the hierarchical structures found in most...

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It's About Time

Welcome to September. I don’t know about you, but this month always seems to take me by surprise. And this year is certainly no exception. 

 

I’ve come to realize that, as we grow older, it’s typical to think more and more about the passage of time. The idea that life seems to speed up each year is one that causes me - and nearly everyone my age or older - to lament in disbelief. We are mystified by the acceleration. Baffled, even. 

 

And, whether we...

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Failure to Communicate: Why Half of Nonprofits Aren't Emailing Donors

 

This week I stumbled upon a 2019 research report that said only about half of nonprofit organizations send a confirmation or follow-up message when someone makes a donation or subscribes to the organization’s mailing list. HALF.

 

We all know how critical the first 30 to 90 days are to the lifecycle and “lifetime value” of a new member or donor. It’s been consistently shown that donors are more likely to give again within the first few months than at any...

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How to Use Email to Grow Your Nonprofit in 2021

Finding new members and donors for your nonprofit organization can sometimes be a challenge - especially if you have a small team or a packed programming agenda. Finding the time to seek out and engage people who might want to join your cause isn’t always feasible when there are events to plan, initiatives to develop, or reports to write. Wearing many hats adds to the excitement of running a nonprofit but it also means leaders are often stretched thin

 

When I was the...

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