Your ‘Donate Now” button is not enough

After years of internal struggles with managers, marketers and IT departments, development teams have finally succeeded in achieving nearly universal placement of online donation buttons on nonprofit websites.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that online donation buttons are just one link in the chain of donor engagement, and for many organizations, the other links are still weak or non-existent.

A recent study by Merrigan & Co. investigated online fundraising communication practices of 30 Kansas City nonprofits of all sizes and identified a number of missed opportunities.

Chief among these was failure to take full advantage of the chance an online donation provides to move donors to deeper levels of engagement. Specifically, the report recommends not stopping communications with simply acknowledging the gift.

“This is your chance to put …

Collaboration with Wide Awake Films based on shared passion for telling compelling stories

I first met Wide Awake Films co-founders Ed Leydecker and Shane Seley in 2013 in connection with a client project for the Friends of Arrow Rock. The Friends were seeking to make a documentary about artist George Caleb Bingham, Arrow Rock’s favorite son. I searched nationwide for the best film company for this project, thinking we would probably have to look to Hollywood or New York City to get the level of quality we wanted. I was delighted to discover the best was right here in Kansas City.

What initially captured my attention was WAF’s experience in historical recreations. We did not just want a bunch of talking heads and cameras panning over still photographs. Bingham, my client and our benefactor who is funding the project deserved more. …

Steve Named Outstanding Fundraising Professional

Steve has been named the 2013 Outstanding Fundraising Professional by the Mid-America Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. He was nominated by the Friends of Arrow Rock. The award will be presented at the National Philanthropy Day celebration. Read more.

Four Business Lessons I Learned in the Great Recession

Four years ago, world financial markets were in turmoil and the economy plunged into a recession that it is only slowly recovering from. It was a great time to start my new consulting practice. 

Not really. But I did learn some important lessons and, while it may sound counter-intuitive, my consulting practice is probably stronger today than it would have been if I had launched it when times were good. Some of these lessons seem broadly applicable, so I’d like to share a few in this post.

1. Cash is key to survival. I had some savings when I first began and thought it would be plenty until I could start generating a living wage off of my business. I was wrong. I should have …

Steve to present Nuggets from 990s at AFP’s Issues & Answers

Steve will give a presentation entitled “Nuggets from 990s: Researching Foundations to Enhance Your Grant Proposals” on September 12. The Mid-America Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals is hosting the talk at its monthly Issues & Answers meeting. Click here for more information.