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Nonprofit Fundraising Tools You May be Overlooking, Part 1 (Amazon Tools)

fundraising nonprofit Oct 03, 2019

The Q4 giving season is right around the corner and fundraising planning will be filled with talks of direct mail, email, search marketing, and a few other tactics. While these will cover most of individual fundraising, I’m kicking off this three-part blog series to talk about ways you can incrementally grow your online fundraising revenue even more. This series will dive into nonprofit tools available from Amazon, Google, and Facebook. While each of these three can come in handy during Q4, they all provide a way to generate money for your organization year-round.

First up, let’s take a look at how Amazon can help your nonprofit with AmazonSmile and Amazon Pay (for Alexa donations).

Amazon Smile Overview

What is it?

AmazonSmile is a service offered by Amazon that allows nonprofits to generate money when Amazon users purchase goods from the site. Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of eligible AmazonSmile purchases to your organization.

What you need to know:

  • For general...
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Start-Up Nonprofit Marketing Checklist: What to do First Online (Part 2 of 3)

fundraising nonprofit Sep 19, 2019

My last post covered some basics for nonprofits who are just getting started and looking to set up a low-cost option for a website. It’s important that you have your website set up before you branch out into other digital marketing efforts like social media and email. However, once your website is up, I’d recommend tackling social media next. This post will cover those basics.


Setting up your social media presence should happen after you have your website in place. This goes back to establishing authority for your nonprofit. I’ve come across nonprofits that have a Facebook page, but no website. I understand why though. Facebook is free and websites usually cost money, even if it’s not much. Facebook is easy to manage and maintain while a website requires planning and design. However, the perception of donors may be “come back and ask for money when you’re serious about your nonprofit.” In other words, solicit for funds when...

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Start-Up Nonprofit Marketing Checklist: What to do First Online (Part 1 of 3)

Most of the nonprofit marketing I’ve been involved with have come from established nonprofits that have some level of online marketing or fundraising budget. However, I do come across brand new nonprofits from time-to-time that are just getting started from scratch with little to no resources. They just filed their 501(c)(3) paperwork and now are in the mode of determining what comes next in terms of marketing. So, this article is speaking to my newly formed nonprofits:

You have a tremendous passion for a cause and have recently started up a nonprofit. Congratulations are in order to you for taking something meaningful and putting action behind it. You’ve already taken a step that many were too fearful to take. And though the cause lies at the center of your organization, there’s a tremendous effort involved with getting people to know your organization exists. Marketing may not be your forte, much less digital marketing, and it can be intimidating just figuring...

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6 Ways Nonprofits Can Engage Donors Through Live Video on Social Media

fundraising nonprofit Jul 31, 2019

It’s a fun, sick, and fascinating world we live in when it comes to social media. We get to hear rants we didn’t ask for from our friends and public figures. We get to watch funny or heart-warming videos that make our eyes well up with tears. And, thanks to Snapchat filters, we can finally fulfill our childhood dreams of becoming unicorns that throw up rainbows out of our mouths.

As social media has advanced the past few years, it’s been interesting to observe how nonprofits are embracing different features as they become available. Sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube allow you to connect with your donors in real-time through live-video streaming. The following excerpt from my book, The Digital Fundraising Blueprint, talks a little bit about the benefits of this under-utilized feature and provides 6 use-cases that can help your nonprofit engage with donors:

“One of the newer features available on most social media platforms is the ability to...

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Today, You Woke Up (with video)

Uncategorized May 19, 2019

Today, you woke up. Some people didn’t.

You got dressed, did your normal routine…probably used some means of transportation to get to school or work. The day is regular, status quo.

For you, that status quo may mean happiness, complacency, depression, or somewhere in between the three. But either way, you woke up today. You’re alive. You’re here for a reason.

You see, as you reflect on life, there’s a series of last times that have occurred or will take place. There is a last time you saw or talked to that friend or relative that passed away. A last time you played in the street as a kid with your friends. A last time you finished a grade level and never stepped foot in that school again. A last time you put on that uniform with your teammates or service men and women. A last time you celebrate a holiday.

There will be a last time you exhale air from your lungs. For some, that day will be today.

But today, you woke up. You have this moment. You have...

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Comparing 2018 Digital Fundraising Benchmarks (Blackbaud vs. M+R)

fundraising nonprofit Apr 30, 2019

Nonprofit leaders wear many hats. It’s quite the balance of pleasing many audiences, which includes donors, employees, community leaders, and those needing services (which is why the nonprofit exists in the first place). From a fundraising perspective, it involves keeping an eye on planned giving, major donors, and ROI from all fundraising efforts. Many critical investment decisions have to be made that can enhance or takeaway from the impact your nonprofit can make towards its mission. Every dollar counts. With that, the age old question pops up throughout the year: “How are we doing compared to other nonprofits?”

As a digital fundraiser, two reports I eagerly await each year are the Blackbaud Charitable Giving Report and the M+R Benchmarks Report. Both are available here and here. Both offer a trove of information that are useful in helping gauge your own organization’s digital fundraising efforts. Within the most recent release of each of these reports,...

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Five Cultural Challenges Nonprofits Face With Digital Fundraising

nonprofit Feb 21, 2019

“Transitioning from Direct Mail to Digital fundraising is easy, right?”

In the nonprofit world, direct mail is still king when it comes to generating revenue. This is one of the few industries in which this is the case, and I can confidently say it isn’t changing drastically in the near future. As a digital marketer, it’s fascinating to me because this sector seems ripe for the opportunity to shake up the industry with digital strategies and tactics.

After observing numerous nonprofit clients I’ve worked with, the implications are clear. A majority of individual donations come from older generations that have more disposable income and are more accustomed to responding to direct mail, as opposed to donating online. The more silent issue I see involves the culture of many nonprofits that hinders the advancement of digital fundraising.


The following is a roundup of five major challenges within the culture of many nonprofits that, if...

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Fundraising Roadmap: How To Prioritize Your Digital Fundraising Channels

fundraising nonprofit Feb 15, 2019

“If you had $10,000 to invest in your digital fundraising efforts, how would you invest it?”

This is a question I get a few times a year from different nonprofit clients. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer because it depends on overall fundraising strategy, technology, fundraising maturity, personnel and other factors. From a foundational standpoint, the way to prioritize your digital marketing channels is by the quickest path to the donation. This path will look different when comparing a startup community nonprofit versus an established international organization, but there are some sound approaches to prioritizing channels across any organization. The following order is one approach:

1. Your Website

This is your organization’s online home, where people will go to learn more about your cause. Just like your real house that you go home to at night, make sure it’s clean, in order and ready for company. You want your guests to have a good experience....

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Productivity: How to Gain 21 More Days in a Year (Includes Video)

personal development Apr 23, 2018

As life moves at the speed of Moore’s Law, many of us are vying to discover a rare treasure. Not gold. Not diamonds. Not even Bitcoin. I’m talking about time. The average American gets 6.8 hours of sleep a night. The 17.2 hours we spend awake each day are filled with necessary agenda items like commutes, meetings, work, eating, working out, running the kids to sports practices and more.

We’re over-scheduled and have become victims of time telling us what to do, as opposed to the other way around. There are, however, some areas where we spend unnecessary time. Think gaming, binge-watching TV and getting sucked into your smartphone. I’m going to give you a challenge that will make you 6% more productive, meaning 6% of your waking hours can be reclaimed toward fulfilling your purpose.

By The Numbers

First, let’s take a look at some numbers from ComScore’s U.S. Mobile App Report:

• 2.3 hours How much time we spend on phone apps on an...

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Use This 6-Step Process To Achieve Any Goal

personal development Oct 11, 2017

Goals are crucial to success in business and in your personal life. Yet they are sometimes neglected in both realms, as people often don’t follow goal-setting frameworks that provide continuity for business cycles and personal resolutions.

Over the past few years, I created the VOSTEK model, an acronym for vision, objectives, strategy, tactics, execution and key performance indicators. This is a model I have successfully used for setting goals in my personal life, as well as with Fortune 100 and nonprofit clients. I’ll break down each of the steps and explain how you can apply the VOSTEK model to goal generation in your marketing efforts.

1. Vision

At the top of my office whiteboard are the words, “It all starts with a vision.” It helps me remember that no matter what I do as a marketing professional, I need to keep the big picture in mind. Start with envisioning what it is that you want to accomplish. The vision is big and bold: it’s your blue sky,...

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