Nonprofit Leadership: why your consultant relationships go bad, and how to make them better

This week I am responding to a blind proposal.

I hate proposals, especially blind ones.

They are the worst way to get new clients. The very act of submitting to an RFP means that the needs of the organization with the money trumps the needs of the provider. It assumes the “have” and “have not” relationship of scarcity — that I as a provider of service will sacrifice my own needs for the needs of the client because I want the money.

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Maryanne Dersch
Nonprofit Management: Everyone needs a coach, including you

When I started my own business, I knew two things for sure.

  1. I was tired of writing proposals and plans.

  2. I didn’t want to go it alone.

How could package and sell what I knew in a way that was energy rich for me (so no proposals or plans!) and of value to my clients. The models around me were all hourly-based, and I knew if I was trading time for money, there would never be enough time.

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Maryanne Dersch
Nonprofit Marketing: Stories — the most effective, least expensive way to market your organization

The most effective way, and inexpensive, to market your nonprofit is to share stories. Stories create credibility and energy around your organization, a “buzz” because people are talking about you. They key to telling stories is to understand what a story is, how to cultivate it and how it can create more action and energy around your nonprofit.

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Nonprofit fundraising: I know you are a giver, but are you a receiver?

In the last few days I got two unexpected gifts. One, a Stanley Cup championship T-Shirt from my friend Sonja who owns a t-shirt company, and a beautiful necklace from a colleague, Jennifer. Jennifer sent me a necklace in the MAIL with a handwritten note! The note said she loves my passion for my work and wanted me to know. Sonja brought the t-shirt by my house on her way to the championship parade so I would have it to wear for that day (and what a day it was!). I told my husband: what joy it is to receive these awesome gifts!

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Nonprofit Marketing: how much is too much fundraising content on your website?

I got asked a great question and I want to share it.

A colleague said they were developing a website and there was tension between fundraising and marketing over fundraising content and , program content. The fundraisers wanted every page to have a testimonial and an ask, and the marketing people thought that was too much, considering that some of the content was very focused on the families they serve.

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Maryanne Dersch
Nonprofit Marketing: Years of messaging struggles gone in a day — a case study

“It’s just not sexy.”

That’s what Robin Phillips, chief executive officer of Child Care Aware of Missouri, told me about their messaging. For organizations that advocate and support those who provide direct services, the story is often hard to tell. I get it. Sometimes it is hard to find the "sexy”….that emotional pull that breaks through, gets attention and attracts you to new donors when your work is policy, advocacy, and systems change.

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Maryanne Dersch
Nonprofit Fundraising: how to find interested donors at events

It’s trivia season in St. Louis and I have something to teach you about how to be a better fundraiser when you have big events like this. Today’s topic is how to understand the relationship of commitment and compliance, along with how to identify it, so you find prospective donors at your events.

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