The number one villain in the way of good decisions

first_imgOne of the worst things we can do when making decisions is to frame them too narrowly. This can lead us to the wrong thought process – and false choices.As Dan Heath puts it in his new book, “The first villain of decision making, narrow framing, is the tendency to define our choices too narrowly, to see them in binary terms. We ask, ‘Should I break up with my partner or not?’ instead of ‘What are the ways I could make this relationship better?’ We ask ourselves, ‘Should I buy a new car or not?’ instead of ‘What’s the best way I could spend some money to make my family better off?’”Or – to put this in nonprofit terms – we ask, “Should we have an event or not? Should we blog or not? Should we get rid of that board member or not?”Dan’s new book Decisive is all about this kind of problem. Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work provides practical ways to beat narrow framing and other villains of decision making. Here are two of his tips (and I quote):1. Consider opportunity cost. If you are considering an investment of time or money, ask yourself, “What is the next best way I could spend this time/money?” If you can’t come up with any other combination that seems enticing, you should feel more confident that you’re making the right investment. 2. Multitrack your options. Always try to think AND not OR. Can you avoid choosing among your options and try several at once? For instance, if you’re deciding whether to invest time in Spanish lessons or ballroom dancing classes, do both for a while until one of them “wins.” Or, rather than hire one employee out of three candidates, could you give all three a 2-week consulting project so that you can compare their work on a real-world assignment?For more tips, join a free Network for Good webinar with Dan today at 1 pm Eastern. Register here.PS for fun, here is one of Dan’s great teaching videos on giving better presentations. It draws on his book, Made to Stick.last_img read more

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Free webinar: Turn first-time donors into repeat givers

first_imgHow many of your first-time donors go on to give again? What kind of impact would it have on your fundraising if you could retain more donors each year? We’ve asked two of the best fundraising experts to share their secrets. Join our free webinar on Tuesday, September 24 at 1pm EDT to learn from Jay Love and Tom Ahern as they show you how to create a communication plan that will help you retain more donors and raise more money. Register here.If you’d like to see more long-term benefits from your year-end fundraising and donor acquisition efforts, you do not want to miss this session.Turn First-Time Donors Into Repeat DonorsTuesday, September 24th 2013 1 pm EDTlast_img

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How the Benefit Concert is Shaping Philanthropy

first_imgMusic has been one of the most powerful ways causes, celebrities, and communities can connect to raise money for serious issues. We recently caught up with Art Taylor, president of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, who shared his insight on why these events can be so successful for nonprofits of all sizes.Legacy of Aid: August is the Anniversary of the Benefit ConcertFor over forty years, the benefit concert has served as one of the most popular, easily recognizable forms of aid for charitable organizations. It all started back in August 1971 when George Harrison called a few friends—Ringo, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, to name a few—to play at the world’s first benefit concert. The Concert for Bangladesh played from Madison Square Garden with ticket and recording sales helping to raise $18 million. These stars likely didn’t realize they were forever changing charitable giving in time of a disaster. Concerts are now a popular vehicle for causes around the world to raise visibility and funds—often targeting a younger crowd or introducing their campaign to an audience not yet familiar with it. “Music is a universal pleasure that cuts across cultures and backgrounds,” says H. Art Taylor, president of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. “Music is a unifying experience—it’s a natural choice for charities to turn to benefit concerts as a means to raise funds.” Star power can play a big role but doesn’t always spell success. In the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, Wyclef Jean’s charity, Yele Haiti, came under scrutiny about its finances. This controversy underscores the importance for charities to make sure they are fully transparent and accountable before implementing a benefit concert which can attract a lot of media attention. And star power isn’t the only way to go. Charities across the country have seen great success with smaller scale benefit concerts ranging from high school bands to regional bands. The principles and watch-outs apply regardless of your headliner. 7 Do’s and Don’ts when planning a benefit concert for your organization:1. Know your partners. If you are co-hosting the benefit concert with another charity, take a moment to investigate them by pulling their report at Give.org. Don’t assume it is well managed just because it has a 501(c)(3) charitable tax exempt status. 2. Pay attention to regulations. Make sure any state regulatory requirements have been met, including verifying your ability to solicit. 3. Check tax deductibility disclosures.If the benefit concert tickets are sold in a charitable fundraising context, seek out a tax advisor to find out about tax deductibility disclosures that may need to be made. 4. Beware of cheaters. Take reasonable measures to reduce ticket scalping. Examples might be: limiting the number of tickets sold to a single purchaser and ensuring computer safeguards are in place to avoid someone “snatching” all the tickets as soon as they are made available. 5. Practice your FAQ.Make sure answers are readily available for reasonable questions about your mission, target amounts to be raised, and how collected funds will be used. 6. Be clear. If the intention is to collect funds restricted for a specific purpose (i.e., disaster relief) make sure that all charity participants agree to this restriction and are able to carry out this work as soon as possible.7. Be transparent about finances. Share information on the total amount collected, the cost to hold the concert, and how much went to the cause. Post this information on the charity’s and concert’s websites. The Future of Benefit Concerts“Charity benefit concerts will continue to play a role in generating funds and advocating issues,” says Taylor. “Large events work well in times of major crisis or when a big star has a personal stake in a cause. Smaller, targeted local events can be successful as well.”Whether packing a large event venue or a local concert hall, organizers should be creative and coordinate effectively to ensure that benefit concerts are a useful tool for raising awareness and charitable dollars. A benefit with local bands and resources combined with a coordinated effort between multiple nonprofits may be a good option for some charities. Whether large or small, however, the expense and coordination efforts for events can be prohibitive and should be considered carefully in terms of the investment of time and resources. Often charities will measure ROI through funds raised as well as impact to the audience. For more helpful tips on nonprofit collaboration, including information on accreditation, visit the BBB Wise Giving Alliance at Give.org. For advice on planning a successful fundraising event, download Network for Good’s guide to Hosting Your Most Fabulous Fundraising Event Ever.last_img read more

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Social Media Content Is Sitting Right in Front of You

first_imgContent for your social media channels is sitting right in front of you. Really! Your website, donor appeals, and newsletters are just waiting to be translated into a Facebook post, tweet, or YouTube video. Repurposing content can take some time, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll start thinking of ideas to feed your social channels in your sleep. To help get your creative juices flowing, here are some quick tips and content ideas for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: Try experimenting with videos and picture slideshows. Quick tips: Do share candid images. Don’t share stock photos. Ideas for posts: Quick tips: Don’t be afraid to retweet. Share content that is relevant to your audience. Repurpose a success story from an appeal letter. Do some research on hashtags. Does your issue area or local community have a hashtag? Post images of your team prepping for an event. Ideas for posts: Twitter Quick tips: Invite people to join your email list. Think visual. Studies show that posts with images perform much better than posts without. Post a photo from an past year’s event for #tbt (Throwback Thursday). Which posts have done well in the past? Try to repeat what works well but with a fresh twist. Facebook Share opinion pieces from your staff or experts from your issue area. Even more than on Twitter, hashtags can help you connect with new audiences. Share stats from your annual report. Instagram Don’t be afraid to be fun. Organizations are made up of people, and your Facebook fans know that. Step outside the box every once in a while and let your personality shine. Create an image of your mission statement. (We like Canva for projects like this.) Share a photo of your volunteers in action. Post pics of the thank you notes your organization sends (or receives). Live tweet an event, rally, or staff luncheon. Share a glimpse into the day-to-day life of staff, clients, and volunteers. Remind everyone what a $25 donation will accomplish. Ideas for posts: Follow back. You can’t have a conversation if you aren’t following your followers. Get more ideas (101, in fact!) for social media posts by downloading 101 Social Media Posts and watching our archived webinar The Art of Social Media, with social media expert and author Guy Kawasaki. And if you aren’t following us on our favorite social channels, what are you waiting for? TwitterFacebookInstagramlast_img read more

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A New View of Grant Resources

first_imgA truly sustainable funding model is the holy grail of nonprofits. A great way to achieve that goal is by making sure you have a diversified revenue stream that includes individual donations, fees for service, and grant funding. A healthy organization can stack up these funding sources for a strong foundation that supports their mission. Grant seekers ask us for lots of advice, so we chatted with Cynthia Adams, president and CEO of GrantStation and a longtime friend of Network for Good, about a new way of approaching grant funding, including a recently launched resource called the PathFinder.NFG: Cynthia, what have you found to be the biggest hurdle for nonprofits looking to secure grants?Cynthia Adams: Actually, there are three significant hurdles. First you have to thoroughly identify what you need the funding for, which isn’t as simple as it sounds! Second, you have to identify the right grant makers to approach for the funding. And third, you need the skills to develop and write compelling grant requests.Most organizations are familiar with the tried-and-true grant makers, but what are some overlooked sources of grant funding?CA: I am very fond of looking outside the box when identifying potential funders for a project. For example, I like to look at national and international associations. These groups, especially those associations representing companies that manufacture goods, can often be fabulous sources of support. The Toy Industry Association offers literally thousands of donated toys via the Toy Industry Foundation.What do you recommend to organizations that don’t have someone on staff who can take on researching, applying for, and managing grants? Does this require a full-time person?CA: It depends on the size of the organization and the number of grant proposals you expect to submit. At GrantStation, we’ve just launched a new free resource called the PathFinder. It includes tons of resources in a searchable database to help everyone from novices to the most experienced individual in the areas of grant research, grant writing, and grant management.We talk a lot about storytelling and reporting on impact for individual donors. Where does this fit in with grant funding?CA: Storytelling is an integral part of the grant-writing process. You want to engage the person reviewing your proposal right off the bat, so opening your request with a true-life story is a great way to do that. I often include a case study or “story” in the statement of need as well.What’s the smartest way for fundraisers to combine grant funding with making the most of gifts from individual donors?CA: I had this rule of thumb when I was working as a development director for nonprofits: I would use any significant gift from an individual to leverage any grant proposal I was working on. So, if someone came by and made a $1,000 gift, and I was working on a proposal to upgrade all the office equipment, website, etc., I would ask that donor if I could use their gift to help leverage the grant. It worked for me!Thank you so much, Cynthia, for sharing your insights on new ways to approach grant funding. For more help with expanding your funding base with grants, download our archived webinar with Cynthia Adams, Getting Started with Grants: How to Make Your Requests Shine.last_img read more

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#GivingTuesday Success with a Staff of One: Q&A with CASS

first_imgWhat surprised you the most about #GivingTuesday? Because I experience and witness street harassment in Washington, DC, I can see the immediate importance of CASS’ mission. CASS mobilizes the community, through online and offline activism, to end public sexual harassment and assault in the DC metropolitan area. The campaign caught my eye and I was inspired to donate to it on #GivingTuesday. After I became a donor, I was delighted to receive some of the best post-donation communication ever! CASS has become one of my favorite nonprofit customers that we serve in DC. Thank you, Zosia, for sharing these details with us! If you want to put on a great #GivingTuesday campaign in 2015, we can help. Sign up to get Network for Good’s #GivingTuesday resources sent directly to your inbox. ZS: We started reaching out to donors four weeks in advance with soft touches via email. A week or two before, we gave all of them a call and asked folks to pledge. During the campaign, we reached out via email and social media. Afterward, everyone who donated received a special thank you email and a handwritten card. Zosia Sztykowski: We set a very ambitious goal for our end-of year-campaign—triple what we had done in the previous year—and based on our experience, we knew we’d have to get a strong start on #GivingTuesday for that to work. #GivingTuesday and New Year’s Eve are always the best giving days for us. Last year, Network for Good customer Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS) had a great #GivingTuesday campaign and won our prize for Best Social Campaign. The organization raised more than $17,000, came in fourth on our leaderboard for number of donors, and exceeded its original goal by 43%. ZS: We’re planning to reach out to more big donors way in advance to build a lot of momentum for #GivingTuesday. ZS: Yup, just one—me! Needless to say, I had some pretty serious tunnel vision going in late November/early December. But our volunteers are one of our strongest assets. They get the word out and solicit people in their networks. Every time we run a campaign like this, we don’t just reach multiples of our dollar goal, we also multiply the length our donor list, and I think this is directly attributable to our grassroots strategy. If a volunteer team is well organized and engaged—trained, prepared with all the materials they need, and knowledgeable about the organization and its fiscal needs—then they will follow through. Better yet, they’ll make it fun. It’s really about starting a conversation with volunteers that continues throughout the process. Because CASS had such great success on #GivingTuesday 2014, I wanted to do a Q&A with Zosia Sztykowski, the nonprofit’s executive director, to find out how they put together an amazing campaign with just one paid staff member.center_img How did you plan and set goals? ZS: Plan, plan, plan. Read about others’ successful strategies. Get your emails and your social media materials ready well in advance. Know that you’ll need all hands on deck on #GivingTuesday. Have a schedule—but be prepared to throw it out the window if you come up with a better idea at the last minute. How did you manage it all with very few paid staff members? CASS only has one paid staff member, right? And how did you make sure volunteers followed through with their commitments to help make it great? What is the number one piece of advice you would give to nonprofits doing #GivingTuesday for the first time? What will you differently this year? ZS: It’s amazing how generous everyone is even when every other organization is asking for donations at the same time. There’s something very touching about that. It really is a day about giving in the broad sense of the word. In 2014, we managed to quadruple what we raised in 2013 on #GivingTuesday because of this generosity. How did you reach out to donors before, during, and after?last_img read more

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Understanding the Flow of Reproductive Health Knowledge in Ethiopia

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on June 1, 2012June 21, 2017Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)K4Health recently published a needs assessment and network mapping of family planning and reproductive health information in Ethiopia. The overall goal of the assessment was to gain a better understanding of the accessibility and flow of information relating to family planning and reproductive health among key actors in Ethiopia.In Ethiopia, K4Health sought to explore the current family planning/reproductive health (FP/RH) knowledge management system; examine information flows and barriers at different levels of the health system; and identify areas to strengthen health information sharing and use. Using a novel, participatory approach (Net-Map) yielded a highly visual presentation of the data that identifies key FP/RH actors in Ethiopia, explores the nature of relationships among the actors, and examines the level of influence of the different actors with regard to reproductive health information exchange. Using the Net-Map approach, the researchers were able to identify bottle necks to information flow and opportunities to improve that flow across health system levels in Ethiopia.This body of research aimed to determine how to better meet health care professionals’ dynamic information needs so that they can provide better health care to the populations they serve. In Ethiopia, reproductive health indicators can be improved through better health information exchange. This report provides important recommendations that can help get the right information delivered to health care professionals when they need it and can help enhance the quality of health care programs countrywide.Read the full assessment here.Share this:last_img read more

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Rethinking Family Planning in China

first_imgPosted on July 6, 2012June 21, 2017Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Family planning laws in China, particularly the one child policy, are being challenged by high profile scholars and other individuals this week. The Wall Street Journal‘s China Realtime Report explains the issue and why we are seeing increased activism surrounding family planning in China:A group of 15 prominent Chinese scholars issued a open letter [in Chinese] on Thursday calling for a rethink of country’s family-planning laws, arguing that the law in its present form is incompatible with China’s increasing respect for human rights and need for sustainable economic development.It was the second open call for reform of the one-child policy this week, and comes less than a month after the shocking story of a seven-months pregnant woman forced undergo an abortion ignited a firestorm of anger online.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

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PLOS Medicine Editorial Spotlights Access to Health Information as Central to Human Right to Health

first_imgPosted on May 2, 2013March 13, 2017By: Sarah Blake, MHTF consultantClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)In an editorial published this week in PLOS Medicine, the editors discuss the critical need for improved health information, particularly clear, accessible reference materials that enable health care providers to put the best evidence into practice and bolster health care in low and middle income countries. In their discussion of the critical need for high quality reference and educational materials, the authors single out the issue of postpartum hemorrhage.From the editorial: It is in the poorest settings where basic health information may prove most valuable. For example, postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) is a leading cause of maternal death worldwide; yet despite being recommended by the WHO and other professional bodies, active management of the third stage of labor to prevent PPH was found to be correctly used in only 0.5% to 32% of observed deliveries in seven developing countries . Worryingly, six of the seven countries were found to have multiple guidelines and conflicting recommendations for active management of the third stage of labor.The authors go on to point out that while important sources of knowledge, expanding dissemination of the sort of evidence published in medical journals alone is not sufficient. Instead, the most critical resources may be those that translate evidence into forms that can be readily applied:Medical journals remain a key part of the knowledge translation process, almost exclusively dealing with the final stages of knowledge creation (primary research), distillation (systematic reviews and guidelines), and commentary (editorializing and contextualizing by experts) via peer review and finally dissemination. Although making research openly available to be both read and reused is an essential step toward a vision of wider access to healthcare knowledge, disseminating information on its own is not enough to ensure evidence is used in decision-making. In many settings it is access to secondary reference and educational materials based on the best available evidence that is severely lacking yet probably more crucial for clinical practice than the most recent observational study or clinical trial findings.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

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