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Does your Board need term limits?
900 500 Gabby Wallin

Written by Sheryl Soukup, CFRE, President, Soukup Strategic Solutions. It is best practice in nonprofit governance to have term limits. Our experience as consultants has been that many of the most severe problems have come from Board members who have stayed too long as well as other factors that good bylaws can address. One of the…

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Using government grants to make purchases for your nonprofit
900 500 Gabby Wallin

Written by Sheryl Soukup, CFRE, President, Soukup Strategic Solutions. Question: We want to apply for a government grant and want to make sure we are ready. We have created a project budget, and we are working on a purchasing plan. When using government grants, do we have to use approved vendors, or can we purchase from…

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Jump Starting Your Nonprofit’s Fundraising
900 500 Gabby Wallin

Written by Sheryl Soukup, CFRE, President, Soukup Strategic Solutions. Question: As a new nonprofit, we need some help jump starting our fundraising. How do we get started?  Answer: This is essential for any new nonprofit – you must fundraise, right? That’s how you get the funding you will need to accomplish your mission and operate your…

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Best Practices for Prospect Research
660 371 Maria Breston

Nonprofit organizations conduct prospect research to identify new donors or find hidden gems within their own database through the use of prospect research software. Prospect research tools can identify donors and prospects who have a special affinity for your mission, a propensity to make philanthropic gifts, and the capacity to make a major gift. While…

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Successful Grant Writing: Establish a Relationship
560 315 Maria Breston

If you want to improve your chances of winning a grant, then you will have to break out your building blocks. Your relationship building blocks that is. One of the most helpful measures you can take to increase your odds is establishing a relationship with the funder before submitting your proposal. Though it may not always be…

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7 Tips for Board Retreat Success
1024 576 Gabby Wallin

Don’t stress about your upcoming Board Retreat. These 7 tips will help you prepare and create an enjoyable and valuable retreat for everyone involved. Gather input before the retreat. You can do this through surveys, stakeholder meetings, staff meetings, focus groups, and one-to-one interviews. Before the retreat, gather data on community needs. Consider whether you…

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Ignite Successful Board Collaboration
660 371 Gabby Wallin

Question: How can we engage Board members in fundraising when their previous role was ensuring compliance with regulations? Answer: This is an important question because the nonprofit Board’s role is not only to provide governance and strategic direction. Resource development is a crucial component of Board service. Board members commit to providing the organization with…

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5 Tips to Diversify Your Donor Base
660 371 Maria Breston

Individuals with the capacity and desire to make major gifts are as diverse as our population is. According to Statista, about 14 percent of millionaires are people of color, and that percentage is likely to grow as the nation’s demographics continue to change. Many nonprofits are missing out on the chance to attract more donors…

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Great Fundraisers are Created, Not Recruited
1024 576 Maria Breston

One of the primary responsibilities of a nonprofit Board is to ensure that adequate resources are available to accomplish the mission. Ensuring resources includes ensuring the organization has the funding needed to carry out its mission. Thus, ensuring resources typically includes raising money for the nonprofit. The responsibility for fundraising is one that Board members…

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Break Through and Diversify your Revenue Streams
1024 576 Maria Breston

Question: We have been stuck at the same level of income for the past three years and can’t seem to break through. What can we do to break through and raise more? Answer: by Sheryl Soukup, CFRE, President, Soukup Strategic Solutions. There are many ways to raise more money. However, the main thing to consider when you…

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The Benefits of AFP Membership
1024 576 Maria Breston

I’ve just come back from Planet Philanthropy, and I’m all jazzed up. This is the annual conference for the Florida chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). The event was so worthwhile! I learned new things, discovered new technology, had really great face-time with members of our team (we typically work remotely, so this…

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the Dance of Donor Cultivation
Podcast Highlight: The Cultivation Dance
1024 576 Maria Breston

This month, the creators of IMPACTability®: The Nonprofit Leaders’ Podcast would like to spotlight one of their most popular episodes dedicated to fundraising: “The Cultivation Dance” with guest Christine Rahill, Impact Coach and Consultant at Soukup Strategic Solutions. She shares helpful insight and practical tips on donor cultivation. Discover the moves to make and the…

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Key Take-aways from AFP ICON 2022
1024 576 Maria Breston

I just returned from the annual international conference of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, known as AFP ICON, and I want to share with you my biggest takeaways. First and foremost, I cannot overstate the value of getting away from day-to-day work by attending a conference. Your attendance can help you get away from the…

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Let's Get Some Publicity
Podcast Highlight: Let’s Get Some Publicity
1024 576 Maria Breston

The creators of IMPACTability®: The Nonprofit Leaders Podcast would like to spotlight one of their most successful episodes to date: “Let’s Get Some Publicity” with guest, Kimberly Lohman-Clapp. She has been a television and radio news anchor, winner of five Emmys, two Edward R. Murrow Awards for journalistic excellence, and several AP Broadcaster Awards. Many…

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nonprofit Board fundraising
10 Tips to Better Engage Board Members in Fundraising
1024 576 Maria Breston

Written by Christine Rahill, Impact Coach Resource development is a crucial component of Board service. Board members each commit to ensuring the organization has the resources to thrive, and fundraising is a major part. A culture of enthusiasm for nonprofit Board fundraising is important to provide the organization with the resources it needs to pursue…

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the donor cultivation process
The 4 “R”s of Donor Cultivation
1024 576 Maria Breston

Written by Christine Rahill, Impact Coach Donor cultivation is an important part of the fundraising cycle because, if it’s effective, it will increase fundraising revenues for your organization. During the cultivation process, the fundraiser builds relationships with target prospects and donors to engage them with the organization. The cultivation process is in preparation to make…

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Podcast Highlight - Major Gifts with Dr. Lou Traina
Podcast Highlight: Major Gifts with Dr. Lou Traina
1024 576 Maria Breston

The creators of IMPACTability®: The Nonprofit Leaders Podcast would like to spotlight one of their most successful episodes to date: “Major Gifts, the Difference Maker” with guest Dr. Lou Traina, CFRM. Major gifts are the largest donations a nonprofit receives, but how does a nonprofit determine what a “major gift” is for them? How does…

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Horror Stories from the Trenches - Why Grant Writers Need to Communicate with Program Directors
Horror Stories from the Trenches: Why Grant Writers Need to Communicate with Program Directors
1024 576 Maria Breston

It takes a lot of work for a nonprofit to seek a grant, execute the program it funds, and report on the impact. If you neglect critical steps in any of these stages, you can end up with a grant project you cannot successfully implement. With decades of experience working in nonprofits, our staff witnessed…

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online fundraising tips
Online Fundraising for Nonprofits: 9 Best Practices to Help You Raise More
1024 576 Maria Breston

Whether you’ve been fundraising for a while or are just getting started, online fundraising is more important than ever. Online fundraising grew 21% in 2020, which is more than a 32% increase from the previous three years. As you fundraise more and more, you’ll learn more about your nonprofit’s donors and how to tailor your…

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Videos for Nonprofits
Show, Don’t Just Tell: Creating Videos for Nonprofits
1024 576 Maria Breston

Joe Turner Ah, social media. At least once a day, we page through our feeds to see who is posting what, what’s going on this weekend, and did you see the picture of her new baby? Think about the act of paging through Facebook or Instagram. Most of us blitz through our feeds because we don’t…

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Coaching for Executive Directors
Show Your Executive Director Some Love by Investing in a Coach
1024 576 Maria Breston

Sheryl Soukup, CFRE I want to talk about a special person in many of our lives—an Executive Director. Executive Directors of nonprofit organizations give so much and extend so much good to the world. Yet they are often stretched thin without enough support. Often, there isn’t anyone to share their unique struggles with–who truly understands…

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nonprofit press releases, nonprofit PR,
May We Get Some Attention Please? How to Get a Nonprofit Press Release Picked Up
1024 576 Maria Breston

Joe Turner “We’re having our annual (insert the name of your next event), and we need the media to cover it. Does anyone know (insert name of favorite news anchor) at channel (insert local TV station)? How do we get our nonprofit press release picked up?” Sound familiar? It happens all too often. You’re doing…

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Visual story telling social media marketing strategy for nonprofits
Visual Storytelling: A Powerful Social Media Strategy for Nonprofits
1024 576 Maria Breston

In the past few years, the nonprofit world has embraced the potential of social media to garner more support and increase the visibility of an organization, but many still search for a more impactful social media marketing strategy for nonprofits. Social media is an excellent marketing tool for nonprofits for a variety of reasons, but…

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Fundraising Tips
5 Last-Minute Tips for Year-End Fundraising 
560 315 Maria Breston

Sheryl Soukup, CFREPresident First, I want to wish you and your family the happiest of holidays. May you have joy, love, and togetherness. Second, I want to provide encouragement to nonprofits about their year-end fundraising. It’s not too late! According to a study by Network for Good, 12% of all giving occurs in the last…

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Board stewardship and fundraising
Board Stewardship: Conversations to Light a Fire Within
560 315 Maria Breston

We are concluding our series of interviews with Dr. Lou Traina, CFRM, on the fundraising cycle: from identification, qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and, in this article, stewardship. Lou is a Major Gift expert with an illustrious career raising millions of dollars for nonprofits and building strong relationships in the philanthropic community. JoAnn Lawrence:  I think about stewardship…

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Nonprofit podcast and nonprofit coaching program launch
Our Podcast and Nonprofit Coaching Program Launches!
560 315 Maria Breston

On November 1st, 2021, Soukup Strategic Solutions launched IMPACTability™. IMPACTability™ is a nonprofit coaching and training program to help leaders nationwide build fundraising and nonprofit management skills. In addition to the IMPACTability™ coaching program, Soukup Strategic Solutions has just released a new weekly podcast. IMPACTability™: The Nonprofit Leaders’ Podcast offers advice to nonprofit professionals on how…

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Five Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Grant Writing
560 315 Maria Breston

By Riley Randolph, Grants Manager Contrary to popular belief, I didn’t wake up on a cold November morning during my undergrad and realize that I wanted to be a grant writer. I come from the land of Communications and Marketing, but the fulfilling nature of grant writing drew me in with ease. So now that…

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Board Member Orientation: Key to Their Success
560 315 Maria Breston

By Sheryl Soukup, CFRE, President of Soukup Strategic Solutions You found a great Board member, Alice – she fills in gaps where you have needs, and she is excited and ready to get started. What now? Don’t let Alice’s enthusiasm as a new Board member wane. Once Alice is elected to her new position, quickly…

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Use Your Donor Management System to Take Fundraising to the Next Level
700 400 Maria Breston

We want to let you in on a secret that will help take your nonprofit’s fundraising to the next level. You may have heard it before; you may have avoided it before… a donor management system. Gone are the days of tracking gifts in multiple spreadsheets, writing letters one-by-one, and trying to recall your last…

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Solicitation in Nonprofit fundraising
Tips to Make “an Ask” Like a Fundraising Pro
840 472 Maria Breston

This is the time of year we celebrate Halloween, and in that spirit, we talked with fundraising expert Dr. Lou Traina, CFRM, about solicitation–because it is typically the scariest thing for fundraisers to do! Lou shares his top tips to take the scariness out of solicitation and help you make “the ask” like a fundraising…

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Demystifying Grant Budgets
560 315 Maria Breston

Teresa Stohs, Director of Grant Services Think of a funnel, going from broad to narrow. The types of budgets that grant applications request are like that. You will be asked to go from the very broad—your entire organization’s budget—to the more focused budgets, such as a program budget and a project budget within a program.…

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No thank you SPAM: 10 Tips to Keep Newsletters out of the SPAM Folder
1000 600 Maria Breston

JoAnn Lawrence, Fundraising, Marketing and Communications Specialist Email newsletters are a low-cost tool for nonprofits to keep in contact with their constituents, share news, and seek donations, but are newsletters as effective in 2021 as they once were? You bet! According to research by Litmus, email newsletters have a $36 return on investment for every…

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The Why Behind DEI: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
1000 600 Maria Breston

Riley Randolph One of the most prevalent conversations circling the nonprofit sector is the impact of the pandemic on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) around the country. Right behind COVID-19, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is the leading topic among a vast majority of funders. The most recent U.S. census report shows nearly 40% of the population…

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The Magic of Major Gifts and the Fundraising Cycle
560 315 Maria Breston

Dr. Lou Traina and JoAnn Lawrence All nonprofit organizations either have a major gifts program or hope to have one in the future, but what stops fundraisers from going after large donations today? Perhaps fundraisers don’t know where to begin, and getting numerous major gifts just seems like magic – magic other fundraisers have. Don’t…

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The Key to a Powerful Case Statement
560 315 Maria Breston

Dr. Lou Traina and JoAnn Lawrence In this interview with fundraising expert, Dr. Lou Traina, we take a deep look at donor acquisition and major gifts. The following section of the interview discusses what makes a case statement a powerful fundraising instrument. A case statement is a tool that nonprofits often use when asking for a contribution.…

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Top Tips to Find Funding through Grant Research
560 315 Maria Breston

By Susan Blankenship Grants are integral to the funding strategies of many nonprofits. Finding grants that fit your specific circumstances is a critical step in successfully obtaining funding. Yet, we know that grants do not comprise most nonprofit funding. Therein lies the rub. Nonprofits need to balance where to expend their assets in searching for…

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How to use Text Fundraising to Raise More
1024 683 Maria Breston

Text fundraising is a great alternative to traditional fundraising. Not only do text messages have fantastic open and response rates, your donors likely have their phones with them wherever they go. According to 99 Firms, the average open rate for text message marketing campaigns is 98%, compared to a 20% open rate for email marketing…

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Want to Attract New Donors? Do Your Research
560 315 Maria Breston

While fundraising can be a rewarding experience, it can also be a challenge, especially when trying to attract new donors. We sat down with one of the top fundraisers in and around Naples, Florida, Dr. Lou Traina, to get his take on donor acquisition. He has served in public and private nonprofit enterprises in southwest…

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Tips to Skyrocket Your Social Media: Hint: Your Staff is Your Secret Weapon
560 315 Maria Breston

Today, social media is a necessity for businesses of all kinds, including nonprofit organizations, but simply having a presence on a platform is not enough. The number of followers and the level of engagement per post (whether it be likes, comments, saves, shares or sends) sends a signal to our brain and helps us decide…

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Social Media Tips for Nonprofit Organizations
560 315 Maria Breston

Social media is an excellent free or low-cost way to increase brand awareness and connect with donors and the people you serve. Your social media presence is worth investing time in, but there are ways to save time and increase the power of your posts. These tips will help whether your nonprofit organization is just…

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Preserve Your Zen Plan Ahead and Communicate Requirements Early
560 315 Maria Breston

One of the greatest favors you can do for yourself as you lay the groundwork of a successful grant application is to run an initial assessment of what information is required for submission. An early examination of the required information will put you in a position to avoid any last-minute scrambling just days—or even hours—from…

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Successful Grant Writing: Proofread throughout the writing process
560 315 Maria Breston

Everyone knows what proofreading is. Simply put, proofreading is that fresh coat of paint at the end of your project, that final layer of polish you apply to ensure there are no glaring mistakes in your work. Right? Maybe not… Of course, you absolutely want to give your work a careful final reading before submitting…

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Successful Grant Writing: Research
560 315 Maria Breston

The evaluation of a potential grant opportunity can often be accompanied by its own set of challenges, and sometimes, as with any project, getting started presents the greatest hurdle. The good news is that every grant application can—and should—start at precisely the same point: researching the funder. Comprehensive, thorough, heavy-duty research into a funder creates…

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The Science and Art of Raising Major Gifts
560 315 Maria Breston

More than a few years back I was invited to pursue an Adult Education doctorate degree in the first cohort class piloted by Columbia University-Teachers College. The department selected 24 candidates who had a minimum of 5 years in an executive level position in one of 12 separate industries that served the adult learner. The…

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Social Media: A Nonprofit’s Best Friend
395 222 Maria Breston

In the nonprofit world, as with most businesses today, the smaller the staff, the more hats those staffers wear. As you look at the many tasks your staff undertakes, there is usually someone who has been charged with social media, perhaps reluctantly. Everyone knows what social media is, but becoming a social media guru can…

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Grant Tip – More Than a Fresh Coat of Paint
423 238 Maria Breston

Everyone knows what proofreading is. Simply put, proofreading is that fresh coat of paint at the end of your project, that final layer of polish you apply to ensure there are no glaring mistakes in your work. Right? Maybe not… Of course, you absolutely want to give your work a careful final reading before submitting…

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