Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Naughty and Nice List

I've never been one to hold my tongue and at this time of Hannukah, Christmas and other holidays, I can't make an exception here. I've recently received some communications that make my heart sing and others that truly deserve a lump of coal. Many of you always ask me for examples of nonprofits that are nailing donor relations, and I love exposing others who are far from best practice. So here you go, ho ho ho! My Naughty and Nice list this 2014 season! I'll be back blogging after the holidays and a much needed break, until then may your season be merry and bright.

Sugarplums and Delights Go to:

Charity: Water for this amazing email about why they give and also these social media posts telling donor stories click on the image to lead you to the magic:

Candy Canes as well to Kalamazoo College, I received a great email from them with an impact report that was simply phenomenal, check it out:

 Then, it links to an amazing piece called "The Journey of a Gift" WOW. Absolutely Phenomenal. I will be continuing my giving to Kalamazoo. Kudos and Light to them!

Finally on my Nice list is Whitworth University, who I've been humbled enough to work with for the past two years. Their donor relations and fundraising program is inspired and gratitude centered. From their "Gratituesdays" on Social Media to the President and his Cabinet spending part of their retreat calling donors to say thank you to the amazing message below, they're doing it right folks. Not just good, but great and inspired! Their attitude of gratitude is infectious and positively radient!

My Naughty List and Lumps of Coal to the Following:

St. Jude's Children's Hospital: For offering a Christmas ornament for a monthly gift. We all know that tchotckes decrease giving, also, what if I'm not Christian? Do I have this from my menorah? Come on, we can do better, can't we? Stale, Chewy year old candy canes to them for this

Heifer International: for the worst and most solicitations humanly possible:
I gave a gift to them online as a part of #GivingTuesday, as a result since December 2nd, I have received more than 11 solicitations. 11 solicitations and one thank you email that also had an ask in it- THIS IS NO GOOD FOLKS! In addition, this email sent me over the edge: The subject line was the word "done"

Wait, Jinny, this email is completely about YOU and not ME. It's selfish and horrible and just all out wrong. I don't think I've ever been so insulted by an email before. I think Tom Ahern would be boiling and the number of times that Jinny talks about herself and shames me for not having finished my holiday shopping yet. SIGH. This is all about shopping and not about their mission, about the impact of my gift or anything relevant to me. Kudos to you Heifer International for having the ABSOLUTE worst, most GRINCH-LIKE solicitation ever. Two lumps of coal for you (or maybe it should be bunny poop).

So what do you think?
I hope you all have seen something this holiday season that has inspired you, I'm so happy to report that my list of additional nice organizations includes many many more. But the ones that are naughty are so close to Veruca Salt it's not funny anymore. Send me your holiday greetings, appeals and let's discuss how and why these things happen, nominate an organization below and send me a sample of their work and let's keep the discussion moving. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

WADITWA Disease- "We've Always Done It That Way"

Nonprofit organizations seem to be diametrically opposed to change. My friend Mary always says that one of our greatest problems we face as a profession is overcoming the resistance of our organizations to change.

 Let's face it, many of us are solidly stuck in the 1980s when it comes to change management. I've written about my change management theory called shaking the snowglobe before here.

But how do we overcome the obstacle of tradition in our profession and allow for progress? We ourselves must be fearless in the pursuit of evaluating what is currently working, pushing for best in class programs and making a future for ourselves and our donors. Let's face it, most of our donors work in industries that have fully embraced the new millennium and beyond. Yet when they interact with us, they are driven back into the stone age by being respectful to our "traditions". To this I say, there has to be a better way.

One challenge is that being a risk taker in a traditional environment isn't always rewarded or applauded, but when it happens and when we embrace calculated risk and change, the results can be remarkable. Charity:Water is a great example of a non profit that embraces the new, different and challenges the status quo and they've been very successful doing it.

I find it ironic that nonprofit organizations' missions are tied directly to changing the world they're in, yet they resist change at every turn (cue Alanis Morrisette here). Is it because we lack the resources to affect change? Nope, not a good excuse. Is it because our leadership is risk adverse? Not necessarily, when I come in as a consultant I find leadership most welcoming to new ideas have sound reasoning behind them. So what is it that gives us the WADITWA disease?   

Is a cultural shift in nonprofits that difficult? I don't think so. Is now not the right time? Nope, carpe diem! Let's together stop making, accepting and allowing excuses to get in the way of fantastic progress. I'm here to help, provide resources and challenge your status quo. Join me as we venture forth bravely to banish WADITWA and all that comes with it. We must be the torchbearers for change from within our organizations.

What are your thoughts? What challenges do you face?


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The 2014 #GivingTuesday Challenge

Once again, I decided to challenge my self to stretch my philanthropic potential and to give to different organizations on #GivingTuesday. I have tracked my online giving experiences with 28 organizations here in this spreadsheet for you all to see. I tracked things like frustration level, online receipts, mobile compatibility and other factors and I have to tell you that while the results are better than 2012 and 2013, the world of online giving can be a scary place. There are some organizations that have clearly invested in their online giving sites and others in which the experience was like being teleported back to 1994.  It looks like we still have a long way to go. But the interactions on Twitter were much better this year. 

A word of note here, I was INUNDATED with  solicitations yesterday. And sadly, mere hours after I gave to Oxfam, SOME in DC and Heifer International, they RE-SOLICITED me on the same day. I am completely offended and turned off by this behavior, especially since I received 3 solicitations from Heifer urging me to give before the day was over when I had given at 7am that morning. Someone needs to do a better job of pulling their data. It will be next to impossible for me to give to those organizations again since obviously my first contribution wasn't enough for them.

I received 56 solicitations via email in one day. One of them was from 20/20/20, a non profit that promised me that when I responded to their solicitation and gave, I would NEVER BE ASKED AGAIN. Broken Promise. SMH.