Friday, September 2, 2011

All About Prospect Research

It goes without saying that cultivating donors is a major task for any nonprofit organization.  To find these individuals, most nonprofits undergo a process known as prospect research.  What is prospect research, you ask?  It is is a process in which a researcher will identify relevant information about potential donors, which will be used to develop a solicitation profile of an individual. Prospect research is most often utilized to find donors who have the potential to provide major gifts. However, the process is used to find donors at all levels and for all fundraising channels. This is done by evaluating a prospect’s ability to give and the person’s affinity for the nonprofit.  It's a complicated task but hey, somebody has to do it.

The NonProfit Times has a number of articles on this topic, so you can head you our prospect research page to find out more about how it can help your organization.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

All About Donor Management Software

One of the most important responsibilities for a nonprofit is keeping track of its donors.  With the use of donor management software, this has become easier than ever.  Here's a quick definition for the uninitiated:

Donor management software is technology that allows nonprofits to cultivate donors and donations on their computers.  This affordable fundraising software, made specifically for nonprofits, organizes all your donor information in one database, making it easy to stay close to your best supporters, track gifts, send thank you notes, produce fundraising appeals and track campaign effectiveness.  Overall, this technology is designed to be a one-stop-shop that lets nonprofits and charities to manage their fundraising efforts online.
The NonProfit Times organizes all of its articles by categories, and one of these is donor management software.  Have you been wanting to learn more about this technology, or have you been wondering how it can help your nonprofit?  Head on over to our "Search Articles" page to read more about it, as well as the others topics we have posted.

The NonProfit Times Remembers 9/11

This coming September 11th will be the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  To commemorate this event, the just released September 1st issue of The NonProfit Times contains 9/11-related articles.  Here is what you can expect to find in the latest issue:



  • "Bounced"-Our editor-in-chief, Paul Clolery, wonders why 9/11 first responders were not invited to Ground Zero this year.
  • "Safety Blueprint"-Melanie Lockwood Herman, executive director of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center, gives tips on how to increase safety at your workplace.
Check out this special edition of The NonProfit Times on our website.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Retro Article Of The Week: Hurricane Katrina And Nonprofits

Hurricane Irene caused havoc up and down the East coast over the weekend.  It caused major flooding, power outages, and some loss of life, but we should consider ourselves lucky we didn't have another Katrina on our hands.  That fateful storm struck 6 years ago, and we all know the damage and chaos it caused.  The storm hit during what was supposed to be the Community Action Partnership's (CAP) annual convention, which was being held in New Orleans that year.  In our October 1st, 2005 issue, we wrote about the impact Katrina had on conferences in New Orleans:

As Category 4 winds battered New Orleans approximately 300 people huddled in the confines of The New Orleans Marriott hotel just steps from the historic French Quarter. The accommodations were modest -- cots set up on the facility’s ballroom floor became a safe haven from the danger of flying glass shards from broken windows.

The tenor was a far cry from the buzzing activity of what was intended to be the Community Action Partnership’s (CAP) annual convention. Three of the CAP staff, one member of its board and some of its delegates were among those waiting out the storm.

“We were getting updates from the hotel staff and some people had the small, transistor-like radios,” recounted Brian Peterkin-Vertanesian, J.D., vice president for programs, and grants management, one of CAPs staff holed up at the Marriott.

“Things were mostly calm, although people did get a little more worried when we heard what was going on with the problems at the Superdome. You could tell that people were a little nervous but most were resigned to being there for a couple of days.”

New Orleans was a top convention city, with numerous charities and associations having to cancel or move their biggest revenue generator of the year.

Located near the Mississippi River, the area immediate to the Marriott was spared the deep flood water resulting from the broken levees on the 17th Street Canal in the western part of the city and the Industrial Canal on the east side.

Once the brunt of the storm had passed, Marriott allowed its guests to use the one functioning elevator to retrieve personal items from their rooms. When Peterkin-Vertanesian was able to look outside to assess the damage, he reported seeing blown out windows and flood water that had halted approximately a block away from the hotel.

During his time in the Marriott ballroom Peterkin-Vertanesian befriended a woman and her son, who worked at the Marriott. It was through that relationship that he was able to hop a 1 a.m. ride out of town after the storm had passed. Other than a strong police presence blocking off impassable roadways, Peterkin-Vertanesian described the departing trip as “not much of a problem.”

The magnitude of the disaster didn’t fully hit him until he arrived back in Washington, D.C. “I usually don’t tend to watch a tremendous amount of television coverage of these events -- with the tsunami and 9/11, I wasn’t tuned in 24/7 like a lot of people,” he explained. “But I took a few days off and watched it with my wife. I’ve been to New Orleans many times, I love jazz, and this was just totally devastating.”

You can read the rest of this article over on our website.

Arab American Philanthropy On The Rise

Philanthropy among Arab Americans is increasing, according to a report in New America Media; and The Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP) is a big part of that increase.  The Dearborn, Mich.-based group, which is a project of the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS), is the first national giving program in the Arab American community.  This doesn't mean that philanthropy is a foreign subject to this group, however.  The article notes that charity is something that has long been stressed by the Arab culture.  For example, there is an Islamic tradition known as Zakat, that requires followers to set aside a portion of their income for those in need.

Nonprofits like ACCESS, which was formed in 2005, have been very important for the Arab community in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.  They have sought to fight the negative perception of Islam that some Americans had after the deadly attacks.  Kate Casa, director of communications at ACCESS, says that many in her community were reluctant to participate in public philanthropy for fear of being accused of supporting extremist groups.  To combat this fear, ACCESS has created a system of transparency.

To read the full article, including details on the organizations that received CAAP grants, head on over to New America Media.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Breaking News: CDR Fundraising Group Sold

The NonProfit Times has just learned that CDR Fundraising Group has been sold to direct marketing entrepreneur James Moore.  Terms of the deal were not disclosed at this writing, though sources told NPT that CDR's net revenue was about $9 million.

Geoffrey W. Peters, president and CEO of CDR, will remain in that role, the company announced.  Peters wrote the following in a memo to clients:

"The company itself will continue to operate as usual -- with the same name, the same staff, the same values and in the same fashion as previously.  I will remain president and CEO of CDR. We truly don't expect any changes in the way in which we operate, except that we may have some new opportunities to provide additional services to our clients that we could not offer before."
Read more about the sale of CDR at the NPT website.

Monday, August 29, 2011

9/11 Widows Join Nonprofit For Families Of Fallen Soldiers

Those who lost loved ones on 9/11 might know about the pain of loss more than anyone.  That's why it should be of no surprise that two of the board members of the newly created Massachusetts Military Heroes Funds are 9/11 widows.  The published a report on these two individuals, Christie Coombs and Cindy McGinty, and why they decided to join the organization, which is dedicated to providing support to families who have lost loved ones to war.  The group relies on private donations, and also receives a percentage of revenue from the sale of United We Stand licence plates.

In the story, Coombs said she felt it was natural for her and other 9/11 families to be involved in this project, when the office of the late Senator Ted Kennedy approached her and other families to create the organization in 2009.  Combs lost her husband Jeff, who was aboard the flight which crashed into the World Trade Center back on the fateful September day.  She said her experience dealing with loss motivated her to do something good for other families.  McGinty, the other 9/11 widow on the board, lost her husband Mike, who worked in the Twin Towers.

With the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaching, it's good to read stories like this. We would also like to remind you that the September 1st issue of The NonProfit Times will feature a Special Report on the anniversary, so keep an eye out on our site for that.  You can read the rest of the story on these two widows on

Management Tip: Timing Your Communications With Strategy

Did everyone stay safe during Hurricane Irene this weekend?  We didn't get much damage here at the office, though it looks like there was some flooding. 

Today's weekly nonprofit management tip deals with communications.  Timing your organization's communications plans can be very tricky.  How are you supposed to know how much correspondence is too much?  This tip, bought to you by the good folks at Idealware, will answer this question for you:

Different communications tools work in different time frames. For example, it’s not practical to send out more than a few direct mail pieces during the course of a year, while email is more of a monthly or weekly communication stream.

Facebook or blogs are weekly, or a couple of times a week, but you can easily post to Twitter several times a day. Photo and video sites, on the other hand, are not particularly timing-specific. You could post weekly or more frequently, if you wanted to, but you could also simply post photos or videos when you have them.

According to the nonprofit technology experts at Idealware in Portland, Maine, depending on your campaign, you might want to choose a mix of channels that are relatively similar in timing, or one that uses channels with completely different time frames.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to encourage people to attend your conference in two months, channels with different timing could reinforce each other -- for example, you could send out an introductory direct mail, follow it up with several emails spaced out over that time period, create a blog focusing on all the great content and speakers, and use Twitter to try to get the word out to folks in the topic area (and potentially get some press), according to Idealware.

Remember, however, that the channels that allow you to post frequently generally come with the expectation that you will post frequently. It’s not enough to post to Twitter several times a day in the heat of a campaign, abandon it for months, and then pick it up again the next time you need it. That’s not how people use Twitter, and they may well stop following you. The same is true of Facebook or blogs. It’s important to establish a baseline frequency (close to what people would expect) and stick with it.

Want to read more tips like this?  Head over to our Management Tips page.