Ruthellen Rubin
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Consulting for Nonprofits and Philanthropies


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    Prospective donors are bombarded with messages. To get through this deluge of information, we have to stand out in the crowd with . . . . .
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We offer the expertise, resources and personalized attention to help your nonprofit organization realize its full potential. Our team also works with philanthropies to help build strong partnerships.

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The Nonprofit Blog

4 comments - Last on 01/28/2010

Text: $27 million and counting...

Nonprofit bloggers around the world are adding new tags and keywords to their entries:  mobile giving, text donations, cells phones for philanthropy, etc.  Mobile Giving has smashed all prior records with $27 million raised in $5 and $10 donations in the first week after Haiti's devastating earthquake. 

Joanne Fritz published an excellent Blog post on Monday, stating 4 Reasons Why all the stars were aligned for this new technology to make history:  1. Use of mobile phones has reached a critical threshold; 2. Mobile Giving was ready; 3.  Red Cross was ready; and 4. The Red Cross marketing campaign is over the top effective.  Be sure to read her post for some great insight. 

Mobile Giving does have its critics who say that $5 and $10 gifts are "small potatoes" and it doesn't offer the opportunities for the relationship building that is crucial to sustainable fundraising.  And, I don't totally disagree.  However, texting as a quick and easy vehicle to give is here to stay for now and every charitable organization should watch it closely and consider ways they can "make it easy" for people to help.  

What do you think?

P.S.  Kudos to the wireless phone carriers:  Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and others for stepping up to advance "verified" donations pledged through texting immediately.  Normally this transfer of funds can take one to three months however these companies are doing their part to get aid to Haiti ASAP.  Read more about it at MSNBC where you can also see the latest  list of fourteen major charities accepting text donations.

Add a Comment

The ease of giving via cellphones as we've seen with the Haitian diaster helps raise awareness that each of us can make a difference.. Sustainability of the tech giver is important; I'm confident we'll see strategies evolve that help convert these initial and early givers into more committed giving. 


I think that mobile donations has a place in the future of fundraising. Although it may not be the optimum tool in building donor relations, it can play an important role for certain types of nonprofits, particularly those social services organizations that are first responders to/aid givers for major catastrophic events like 9/11, Tsunamis,  Hurricane Katrina and, of course the Haiti earthquake. If there's an easy, accessible channel that enables folks to engage and participate in giving, at ANY $ level, it's a good thing in my book!


Making donating easy for people is key. The people that are using texting as a form of giving aren't going to make a donation more than $20 for the most part. In my humble opinion this donor wants to give a little bit to many different organizations, and will do so if you reach them by being cutting edge with the ask or the cause.

I think that many people gave to Haiti because a $5 or $10 donation was manageable. People want to help but they don't always know how...give them the how and they will contribute.

 


I believe that mobile donations are here to stay - and I think it's a good thing! It reaches the younger, texting generation who wouldn't otherwise be inclined to send in a check or pick up a phone - and the contributions are at a level they can afford. As for the "over the top" marketing of the Red Cross, I strongly disagree. As a volunteer since 9/11, I have worked - like so many other volunteers and staff - very closely with the media. In the NYC area we respond to an average of 8 disasters a day and provide shelter, food and clothing to families who would have none of those were it not for the Red Cross. In addition, we serve hot drinks in the winter and water in the summer to the first responders at these disasters. The media know all too well what we do and if the Red Cross gets a lot of air time it is because they know we are always there when there's a need. We are our own PR. No one organization is perfect in what they do but the Red Cross is always working at improving and looking for ways to better serve their clients. They spend far less time at marketing than you may think! I am very proud to be a volunteer and very proud of the work we do!


Career Changers Welcome

There is a groundswell of talent entering the nonprofit sector. 

Perhaps it is a function of the economy; as many qualified professionals have been "motivated" to look for new work. At the same time, government continues to step back from oversight of our social services and the work of the third sector is becoming vital to society. Nonprofit salaries are gradually rising to meet the level of the business sector. Last week in my fundraising class at NYU, one-third of my thirty students were "career changers" -- professionals anxious to shore up their skill set to help prepare for a job in the nonprofit sector. Not surprising, most had come from various marketing jobs - a perfect training ground for future fundraisers and grantmakers. Welcome "career changers"! We need your talent, your energy and your interest in helping to fortify and professionalize the imporatnt work of the nonprofit sector.

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Haiti: Disaster App

Less than 24 hours after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, the Red Cross has raised over one million dollars through $10 instant texting! Whoa. Just as 9-11 launched Internet fundraising and Katrina honed online giving, the Haiti 7.0 is going to put “Text-Giving” on the radar for charitable organizations. This vehicle may seem unconventional, but remember, polio was essentially cured by the greatest collection of dimes of all time – The March of Dimes!

Most disaster giving comes in the first six days following an event. There is a visceral reaction to the devastation and often the ability to “do something” helps release us from the pictures on television and the sense of helplessness they provoke. Many of us will join the text-giving revolution in the next few days, but remember - it’s only $5 or $10. As the dust clears and you are able to see which organizations are doing what to help the over three million affected Haitians, consider making a meaningful contribution to the effort.

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2 comments - Last on 01/25/2010

Invest in Your Professional Fundraiser

Small and mid-size nonprofit organizations are beginning to get it:  Fundraising is a proactive, professional initiative and its success is directly related to the investment in time and talent.  A trained, committed and enthusiastic professional fundraiser can turn your strategic plan into an action plan; motivate your board of directors to commit to a 12-month fund development initiative; and engage your major donors, year-round, in meaningful ways.  Oh yes - and raise more money for your mission.

Make 2010 the year to invest in your fundraiser: 

  • Encourage his/her professional development and interaction with colleagues
  • Ask your fundraiser to access resources (donor management system, website, budget)
  • Consider time management challenges in terms of the “return on investment”

NYU’s Winter Intensive  offers some great opportunities for your fundraising staff to gain new skills and connect with other professionals and experts in the field. Check out my course on January 14th. 

If 2010 is the year your organization is bringing a professional fundraiser on staff for the first time, be sure to get professional advice when hiring.  There is a cadre of trained professionals out there who understand the link between personal cultivation and stewardship of donors and the miracles of modern technology to put the whole package together. 

Add a Comment

I just finished this course, it was fantastic. I really great way for newbies and professionals to get updated on all of the latest and greatest fundraising tactics as well as how to "train" your board of directors. Thanks!


I took Ruthellen's 1/14/10 class on Annual Giving to update me on current trends.  It was fantastic!  I immediately used what I learned on Mobile/Text Giving the following day for a non-"disaster app".  The idea was extremely well received!  Marissa


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4 comments - Last on 01/28/2010

Text: $27 million and counting...

 Read more...
 

Career Changers Welcome

 Read more...
 

Haiti: Disaster App

 Read more...
 

2 comments - Last on 01/25/2010

Invest in Your Professional Fundraiser

 Read more...
 


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