Archive for December, 2011
As I look forward to 2012, I do think it’s a valuable exercise to both look back at the past several years, and forward as the non-profit community continues to deal with a huge number of challenges, including an economy that’s slowly recovering and as always, ways to fulfill their respective missions. There are a number of valuable lessons that I think many non-profits can benefit from, which can be considered “oldies but goodies,” just because it’s not the latest and greatest technique, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work.
- Saying Thank You
In my Seven Keys to CFC Success, the 7th (and most important) key is “Say Thank You Early and Often,” and as basic as this principle is, I’m surprised by how many non-profits don’t do it, or don’t do it well. It’s important to do it, and it can be done in a number of ways, including a personal note, a phone call, or in person. As many experts have said, the more the thank you is personalized, and the more the donor knows how their gift will be used, the better.
- Face Time Counts
This is an old sales adage, but the reason that it’s still around is that it’s true. Even if your main method of communication is e-mail, or other electronic means, work on finding ways to have opportunities for you to have face to face communication with your donors, your supporters, as well as your colleagues in the non-profit community.
- The Sky is Not Falling
Chicken Little had it wrong, although from much of the media it would be hard to prove this. One specific example I’m going to highlight is all the angst that was expressed about the IRS revocation of non-profit status. First, the purpose made sense, to clean up the IRS registration rolls that had literally thousands of inactive non-profits still being reported as active. In March of 2010 in comments section of philanthropy .com article I forecast that there number of defunct non-profits would be 250,000. (http://philanthropy.com/blogs/government-and-politics/number-of-charitiesfoundations-passes-12-million/21832). In June, 2011 when the IRS released the actual number of charities that had their status revoked, the total was 275,000, as reported by Guidestar. Other forecasters had predicted that as many as 375,000 charities would have their status revoked, so I am going to say that my analysis was pretty accurate. (http://www2.guidestar.org/rxg/update-nonprofit-report/nonprofit-resource-center-automatic-revocation-of-tax-exempt-status.aspx. Now there may have been a few legitimate non-profits that were decertified, but the law was originally passed in 2006, so I’m not really sympathetic to the idea that they didn’t know it was coming. More accurate data is better for everyone, including the non-profit community.
- Workplace Giving is Not Dead
For a combination of reasons, including the “Face Time Counts” adage, workplace giving is still a viable source of revenue for many non-profits. In terms of actual giving, if the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) were a foundation, it would be the 10th largest foundation in the US.
- One Sentence Summary of all Diet Books:
“Eat less, exercise more.”
I will be following these recommendations myself in the coming New Year and let me conclude by saying Thank You to my readers, to clients, to my professional colleagues, and to my wife and family for all of their support.
Happy New Year Everyone!
The CFC Coach
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