Take Time for You

This is Jenny. You really want to hang out with her.

The nonprofit life can be a fulfilling one, but it’s also hard.  When resources are scarce, it seems fiscally responsible to put off buying the tools you need to do the job right for “just one more year.”  It seems impossible to hire another employee when, by staying late every night, you do manage to (mostly) get the work done.   Sometimes it even feels noble to ignore your personal needs in order to serve the greater good.

The problem is when you make the “sacrifice” choice every time, eventually you get to a place where you have nothing left to give.  When that happens you, and your organization, suffer.  

Here’s an opportunity to make a different choice.  My dear friend, Jenny Mitchell, is leading her first Mastermind Group.  It takes place over Google Hangouts, so you don’t have to leave your office, she’s only taking the first four people who sign up, so your time will be spent working on specific solutions to your real-world issues, not generalizing about what works for organizations nothing like yours.  I’ve worked one-on-one with Jenny (often over Google Hangouts) for several years and she’s perfect for this kind of work–kind, thoughtful, experienced, open-hearted, and fun.  This blog post isn’t long enough for me to tell you all the ways that hanging out with Jenny and the amazing people she is sure to attract will make your work (and your life) better.

Seriously, go sign-up right now.

Rethinking Donor Thank You Gifts

Project 365 #263: 200911 Kept Under Wraps...

Image by comedy_nose via Flickr

You love your donors, right?  You can’t do your work without their support and you want to make sure they know it.  It’s only natural that you’d like to show your appreciation in a tangible way.

The spirit of that desire is absolutely appropriate, and yet. . .

Will you ever use all the address labels you’ve been sent by nonprofit organizations hoping to woo you onto their donor list?  Do you need the pocket change some organizations send trying to guilt you into a gift?

Even when the gifts are not total crap–do they do what they are meant to do?  Does your collection of $100 tote bags make you feel like an NPR insider?

I didn’t think so. Continue reading

4 (more) lessons from a successful Kickstarter Campaign

Kick starter

Get it?

As you might have gathered from the relative lack of activity here in the past couple of weeks,  my head has been somewhere else.   Specifically, it’s been over here in Kickstarter land.

I’m happy to report that the effort paid off, and as of last week, Mach 30 successfully met its fundraising goal.  More importantly (for you at least) we learned 4 more Kickstarter lessons since my last post.


A good campaign generates more than money

A sprout in a lightbulb.

Image via Wikipedia

Like most people, we found our way to Kickstarter because we had a project and needed money.  We were pleased to discover our backers and potential backers had a lot more than just cash to offer. Continue reading

3 Lessons from my first Kickstarter Campaign

Late last month the rest of the Mach 30 board and I launched our first Kickstarter campaign.

Since the goal of the campaign is  to create a SourceForge for Open Source Hardware and I don’t expect there are a ton of open source hardware folks hanging out here* I’m going to skip the “give us money part.”

On the other hand, almost all of you are interested in how to fund the work that drives you, so I’ll focus on the three big lessons we learned from our first attempt at a Kickstarter campaign–as well as a bonus lesson that applies to successful projects of all kinds. Continue reading

An Affiliate Marketing Lesson for Nonprofts: Make New Friends and Keep the Old


No matter how noble your cause, SPAM is not the answer

If you’ve hung out here for a while, you know how I feel about e-mailing people without getting permission. (It’s bad.) I bet you can also guess how I feel about buying, renting and even trading mailing lists from other organizations. (it’s really bad).

I do, however, get why nonprofits do it.  Buying, renting, or trading mailing lists is fast, easy, affordable and (sometimes) effective, but the short-term gains lead to unpleasant consequences in the long-term.

One of your organization’s most valuable assets  is the relationships you’ve built with your donors.  They know you, they trust you and they have enough faith in you to support you financially.  Every time you sell or trade their contact information you erode that trust. Continue reading