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

17 Years of Being My Own Boss: One Woman’s story

As we draw close to the end of the summer of small voices series (the final post will be next week) I’m excited to share one woman’s story of entrepreneurial success.

Linda Gatten Buttler is the president and owner of Butler Consulting, Inc where she has been helping organizations target grant seeking, fundraising, training and management since 1994.  She has also gone out of her way to show me the “entrepreneurial ropes”  during Low Hanging Fruit Communications first year–for which I am extremely grateful.

Welcome, Linda!

It all started with purchasing a shopping center. After eight years of capacity building, organizational developing and revamping board and staff members at a dying family service agency, we were a team prepared to conduct a successful capital campaign.

As the Executive Director, I was challenged to administer, supervise, fundraise, create, mentor, monitor, market, counsel and lead (are we having fun yet?). With a little help from our friends, we were able to position the family service agency as a well-deserved recipient of a large, anonymous gift from an “angel” (what every campaign needs, right?). This individual’s campaign donation enabled us to purchase a shopping center with monthly income from a non-profit health clinic and a pizza business (what fantastic marriages!) that insured sustainability.

This campaign turned out to be my  “swan song”, as upon its completion  a “higher power” delivered a message encouraging me  to continue serving and assisting others through my gifts–but not as a traditional non-profit employee. Continue reading

How to Shoot your Nonprofit in the Foot


Is this what's standing between you and your supporters?

I’m taking two friends to see a show at a local theatre this weekend.  They are both theatre fans who recently graduated so it seemed like a good gift.

While we have settled on a date and time, I do not have tickets.

I tried to get tickets.  I went to the website, cringed at the $4 per ticket “convenience” fee for ordering on-line or via the phone but attempted the on-line route anyway–the site was down.

According to the website, the box office was open that afternoon so I got in my car and drove downtown–only to be told the box office was not open–but I could come back that evening to get tickets. . . .

So now, I’m just crossing my fingers and hoping the show won’t be sold out and I can buy our tickets the night of the show.

The really crappy part

Unless you are me, this story is not sad because of the hour I spent trying (and failing) to get tickets. Continue reading

In Social Media, Perfect is the Enemy of the Good

Tropical Hinchinbrook Island from Cardwell, no...

A lovely example of somewhere I did not go this week

Some of you may have noticed this post is late.

It’s not because I’ve been vacationing on a tropical island. In fact, I spend more time on this week’s blog post than I have in quite some time.

The idea was a good one– Why blogging is awesome and more nonprofits should do it.

I’ve never written about blogging here so it’s definitely not an over-done topic, and it’s useful because blogs are an under-utilized resource for most nonprofits*.

Should have been a slam-dunk.

And yet, after 16 or so hours of writing, rewriting and maybe a bit of pouting, I still didn’t have anything worth publishing.

For reasons that are not yet clear to me this seemingly easy post was just NOT. GOING. TO. HAPPEN. Continue reading

My Website has a Secret

I need to tell you a secret about my website.

I don’t pay for hosting (Instead, I pay $12 per year to redirect my domain name).  If I have technical difficulties or, God forbid, the site gets hacked, really smart web professionals work on fixing it immediately–sometimes before I realize there is a problem.  Those same people work year around to make sure the security of my site is such that downtime is very, very rare.

I pay these people nothing for their work. Continue reading