I Get By With a Little Help From AI: 4 Ways to Use ChatGPT in Your Fundraising 

By Mariah Hickey, CFRE, Senior Consultant

With stress and burnout as the leading causes for nonprofit staff turnover, organizations are looking to AI to lighten their fundraising workloads. Are you wondering how to tap into this new resource, too? Senior Consultant Mariah Hickey shares 4 easy ways to use ChatGPT in your fundraising practice. 

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The Philanthropic Paradox in Donor Communication: Change is the only constant, with ONE big exception

By JoAnn Yoshimoto (CFRE 2000-2021), Senior Consultant

The explosion of online communications channels, expanding new technologies and a younger population is a reality to be reckoned with. Add to those trends the new and exciting fundraising results from online giving, and the projected $8.8 trillion transfer of wealth by 2027, and it’s easy to leap to the conclusion that the wave to catch and surf to the land of opportunity is digital. However, let’s look closely at compelling opportunities, documented results and stated donor preferences before we take the plunge.

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Uncharted Waters: Simple Steps for Strategic Planning

By Sharon Tiknis, Executive Vice President & East Division Manager and Lieve Buzard, Senior Client Service Associate

“The only thing that is constant is change.”

― Heraclitus.

Today organizations face new challenges posed by technology, economic trends and uncertain regulatory environments. How can nonprofit leadership rise to meet these demands? Just as the captain of a ship doesn’t look to the waves in order to navigate, your organization is well-steered by strategic thinking.

A strategic plan can transform your organization from surviving to thriving under the guiding star of a strategic plan. Without a clear vision or strategic objective, it will be difficult to generate volunteer enthusiasm and energy for the work necessary to make the weeks, months and years ahead a success.

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Effective Donor Communication Strategies During COVID-19

Moderator: Brenda B. Asare, President and CEO, Alford Group

Panelists:

  • Alyssa Conrardy, President and Co-founder, Prosper Strategies
  • Cara Gosse, Vice President of Communications and Development, Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin
  • Kathy Schaeffer, Kathy Schaeffer Consulting, LLC

COVID-19: Four lessons learned in crisis management

By Mary Kaufman-Cranney, CFRE, Vice President

As seasoned fundraising consultants at Alford Group, we can say there’s never been anything like COVID-19. However, we have helped our clients through many crises over our 40-year history and the lessons we’ve learned can be applied to today’s challenges.

Since the outbreak hit, my colleagues and I have been working around the clock with clients who are scrambling to transition to this new virtual reality, all while trying to maintain fundraising momentum. This crisis is affecting organizations in a wide variety of ways. Some organizations are experiencing a survival crisis, others are working to raise the additional funds needed to match the increase in demand for their services, and others are pulling out all the stops to not skip a beat as they move forward with their campaigns.

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COVID-19 Stimulus Bill Includes Charitable Giving Incentives: What This Means for Donors

By Jennifer Shin, MBA, CFRE, Consultant – LinkedIn

Over the past few weeks, we’ve held our breath as Congress worked to pass a $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act or “stimulus package”) on Friday, March 20, 2020. While the enduring impact of COVID-19 and the reach of this package is not yet known, nonprofits across the sector are looking to this bill to find answers in its many provisions, from forgivable emergency loan programs to direct cash infusions.

Meanwhile, nonprofits have focused on communicating to their supporters at all levels as they’ve had to make very difficult decisions and invited philanthropists to join them in finding solutions. Please check out the message by Alford Group’s President and CEO Brenda Asare that outlines ways some organizations have leaned in and facilitated deep and meaningful conversations around the community.

Now, let’s take a focused look at the varying charitable giving incentives for individuals and what this means for donors. Continue reading “COVID-19 Stimulus Bill Includes Charitable Giving Incentives: What This Means for Donors”

A New Philanthropic Landscape: Navigate confidently through COVID-19

A Message from Brenda B. Asare, President and CEO, Alford Group

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has created unexpected challenges and new daily realities for your organization. While this is uncharted territory for all of us, we know that the need for your services and programs continues and Alford Group stands ready to be your partner through this difficult time.

One reality that is not new is that Americans are generous – in good times and bad. That history of generosity has enabled us to weather challenges and come through difficult times stronger.

In recent meetings with many organizations we are helping clients navigate and create strategic approaches to meet increased demands for services, pivot on special events and engage with donors in meaningful ways. Over the past 40 years, Alford Group has helped our clients navigate through national crisis, economic downturns and organizational challenges.

The most important thing to remember is that your donors and volunteers care about you and your mission. They want to know how they can help your organization. Here are some proactive steps – and specific strategies being implemented by our clients – to consider.

Continue reading “A New Philanthropic Landscape: Navigate confidently through COVID-19”

2020 Census: Nonprofits Step Up to the Challenge

By Amy Hines, Senior Vice President

It’s hard to believe that 10 years have passed since the last census and it’s more important than ever to make sure everyone is counted. Nonprofit organizations have a major stake in ensuring that the right level of funding is budgeted based on the results of this census.

“There are serious concerns that children under five years old may be missed, as well as other vulnerable populations who were undercounted in the last census conducted in 2010,” says Brenda B. Asare, President of Alford Group. “A lot is at stake for the next decade and we need our trusted community leaders and nonprofit organizations to help spread the word.”

The Census Impacts Us All

The constitution requires the U.S. government to count the number of people living in the country every 10 years, which directly impacts how much federal funding is allocated based on population. This data informs an estimated $675 billion in federal funding to state agencies and nonprofits across the country to provide:

Continue reading “2020 Census: Nonprofits Step Up to the Challenge”

Five Tips: Engage Your Board in Major Gifts Fundraising

Practical Ideas and Tools

By Mary Kaufman-Cranney, CFRE, Vice President

While presenting at a recent AFP lunch meeting, I asked the audience, “How many of you have at least a few board members engaged in your major gift fundraising efforts?” Not to my surprise, only a handful of the more than 100 fundraisers in the room raised their hands. Then I asked, “How many of your board members are passionate about your mission?” As you would imagine, everyone in the room raised their hand! So, how do we turn that passion into fundraising action? Here are a handful of tips and tools to get results: Continue reading “Five Tips: Engage Your Board in Major Gifts Fundraising”

Three Failings in Forming and Sustaining Partnerships

The secret to a successful corporate/social sector partnership is for each partner to be simultaneously self-centered and other-focused. In this video post, Diane Knoepke talks about the three ways we are failing to live up to what we know about what makes these partnerships work.

Multiply Your Impact: Enlist Key Donors to Create a Meaningful Stewardship Plan

By Wendy Hatch, CFRE, Vice President and JoAnn Yoshimoto, CFRE, Senior Consultant

Don’t we all agree that the most precious things in life are worthy of our best attention, effort and care? In the fundraising world, the most precious “things” are our donors and their philanthropic dollars.

Who among us has the luxury of a daily schedule that is just waiting to be filled with new ideas and activities? Nobody that we know! So let’s take 15 minutes – only one percent of our day – to ponder ways to work smarter and multiply the impact of our efforts, and benefit the most precious “things” – our donors!

How do you make sure that your donor stewardship is intentional, timely and effective? You need to plan for it! Wonderful ideas for individual stewardship activities, timelines and plans abound on the internet, so we aren’t going to reiterate them here. The idea we are offering is a strategy for multiplying the impact of your stewardship planning process by also using it as an engagement opportunity for key donors, staff and board members. Continue reading “Multiply Your Impact: Enlist Key Donors to Create a Meaningful Stewardship Plan”

Break on Through to the Other Sides: Unpacking Power Dynamics Between Funders and Funded

By Diane Knoepke, Vice President, Alford Group

If you’re working in the social sector, you’ve probably said – or at least heard – things like this in discussions of the dynamics between grantmakers and grantseekers:

“We want this to be valuable for both sides of the equation.”

“I’ve sat on both sides of the table.”

“We need to understand how things work on the other side.”

Perhaps this “both sides” idea is a misnomer. At least that is what I walked away thinking after moderating two dynamic panels of funders and their nonprofit partners at Friday’s “Straight Talk: Unpacking the Power Dynamic between Grantseekers and Grantmakers” event, hosted by Chicago Women in Philanthropy. When we think of partners in funding relationships as the “asker” and the “asked,” we are missing a lot of dimensions to the power dynamics present in these relationships. Continue reading “Break on Through to the Other Sides: Unpacking Power Dynamics Between Funders and Funded”