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The Future of Fundraising: AI and Capital Campaigns

Capital campaigns already have game-changing possibilities for nonprofits. With a successful campaign, your organization can secure the large-scale support it needs to make new investments that will push your mission forward for years to come.

But it’s the digital age—how can you use technology to drive your capital campaign’s results even further? We recommend artificial intelligence.

With solid capital campaign strategies coupled with AI technology, the sky’s the limit. AI can help any nonprofit fundraise and engage donors in smarter, more targeted, and more proactive ways. If you’re already investing time and resources into planning a capital campaign, it’s worthwhile to explore all of your options. Many nonprofits hire consultants or extra development staff during their campaigns, so it may also be the right time to expand your tech stack with AI.

Let’s walk through how AI works and, more importantly, its potential benefits for the different stages of your capital campaign.

How It Works

Artificial intelligence is a relatively new trend in the nonprofit landscape, so there are a lot of misconceptions about it floating around. The key point to remember is that AI technology allows you to use your data to make proactive predictions about future donor behavior. 

AI for nonprofits works by studying your nonprofit’s data on past donor interactions and finding complex patterns and relationships over time. From there, AI software trains predictive algorithmic models that can chart out likely future behaviors. These models generate individualized predictive scores and ranks that tell you how likely each donor will be to take a target action.

In practice, you can use AI to predict any number of specific donor actions. For example, nonprofits use AI tools to predict the likelihood that donors will:

  • Give to a direct mail appeal right now
  • Join a regular giving program if asked
  • Lapse out of a regular giving program
  • Be interested in upgrading their recurring donation amount
  • Give a mid-level gift
  • Give a major gift or leave a gift in their will

Making these kinds of predictions accurately with traditional data analysis and segmentation is practically impossible, not to mention incredibly time-consuming. AI tools give you easy-to-use predictive metrics. Simply sort your donors by their likelihood to take your target action and go from there. 

How to Use AI in a Capital Campaign

AI can be extremely useful in day-to-day fundraising contexts, but it can also give your capital campaign strategies the boosts they need to succeed. More targeted outreach and appeals will increase your team’s effectiveness and your campaign’s all-around ROI.

Here are a few examples of how you can put AI to use during different stages of your campaign:

During the Quiet Phase

AI-driven predictions can change how your organization approaches prospecting before and during a capital campaign’s quiet phase.

The ability to predict which of your existing donors would be likely to give the equivalent of a major or mid-level gift can give your team a significant head start. Easily sorted likelihood scores mean you can build initial prospect lists in just minutes—no need to spend hours combing through your CRM to find prospects ready to make a new or larger gift.

Of course, you’ll still want to conduct more extensive prospect research to guide your conversations and to identify others outside of your existing donor base, but the time saved is a major benefit in and of itself. This lets your development team focus more on building relationships and preparing for asks rather than on studying your data to find their first prospects. 

By cross-referencing the donors identified using AI with your existing prospect list, you can also identify the ‘top’ priorities for outreach, as well as any donors who are already connected with your cause who you should look into further.

During the Public Phase

When you take your campaign public with broader announcements, events, and fundraising appeals, AI can help you raise more, better target your outreach, and save more time for your team. It’s especially helpful in two key ways:

  • Building mailing lists for appeals. Predictive scores can tell you exactly who’d be receptive to a direct mail appeal at any given time. This will help you save time creating segmented mailing lists and money that would’ve otherwise been spent on printing and sending campaign materials. Plus, you can determine who’d be likely to make the largest gifts in response to a direct mail appeal, meaning you can send your more expensive campaign brochures, custom messages, or other “high-value packs” just to them to maximize returns. 
  • Supporting additional public phase goals. If you’ll be building additional goals into your campaign’s public phase (for instance, boosting enrollment in your recurring giving program), AI can help there, too. As you lay out your public phase outreach strategies, AI-generated predictions about who’s likely to churn, join your program, or increase their giving level can directly shape the messages you send. This means you can easily accomplish two goals at once—securing public phase donations while also reducing churn or boosting enrollment in your giving program—without needing to build a complicated new strategy from scratch.

The overarching idea is that broad messages and appeals are tricky (cast too wide a net and you’ll waste time and money; cast too small of one and you’ll miss out on donations). Targeted lists built with AI predictions can bring your public phase a new level of focus and efficiency.

Broader Long-Term Benefits

Once your capital campaign wraps up, AI can generate even more value for your mission. Consider these long-term benefits:

  • Well-timed follow-up communication. With AI showing you exactly who’s ready for an appeal or other message, you can drastically simplify both post-campaign follow-up and ongoing appeals over the long run.
  • Stronger relationships over time. Perfectly-timed appeals and messages can lead to stronger relationships. The right re-engagement messages can help you stay on donors’ minds without bombarding them with blanket appeals.
  • Reduced technical silos and complexities. Silos can seriously slow down your nonprofit’s campaigns. AI eliminates the need for complicated data analysis and segmentation so anyone on your fundraising or development teams can quickly find the right donors they need to contact. 
  • Reliable stewardship streams. As mentioned above, AI can show you the donors who’ll be likely to make major or mid-level donations. With this advance notice, you can proactively engage those individuals to start growing your relationships. 
  • Clearer real-time insights into your performance. A clear idea of how many donors would be receptive to appeals and of your giving program’s churn risks give you deep insights into your performance. This added visibility makes it easier to make the case to your board for new campaigns, marketing strategies, and tech investments.

AI predictions are constantly updated as your organization generates new engagement data, meaning they become increasingly accurate and useful over time. Compounded over several years, this value is immense. 


The bottom line is that AI helps nonprofits be proactive with their fundraising and donor engagement strategies. Without data-driven predictions, you have to rely on vague assumptions to react to opportunities and challenges as they arise. 

In the digital age, there’s no need to stick with what’s kind of worked in the past. New technology can help you raise more support more efficiently.

This is particularly valuable in the context of time- and resource-intensive undertakings like capital campaigns. When the stakes are high and every dollar matters, tools like artificial intelligence can play a major role in ensuring you reach and exceed your goals.

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Post-Event Donor Recognition: 5 Ways to Thank Attendees

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way so many organizations interact with their donors, supporters, and volunteers. Where possible, we hope you’ve been able to successfully transition to online and hybrid programming to help meet your fundraising goals.

Speaking of fundraising goals, what the pandemic likely hasn’t changed is your organization’s need for support from your community. If anything, this need may have increased over the past couple of years. 

Holding events—virtual or otherwise—is one of the most time-tested ways to hit those fundraising targets, bring your community together, and spread awareness for your projects and initiatives. But are you making the most of your events? Are you doing everything you can to secure ongoing support from those who attend? 

If you’re not appropriately thanking your attendees for their time and support, the answer is no. Showing appreciation for your supporters’ attendance through thoughtful thank-yous is essential to keeping them engaged with your organization. 

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 5 ways you can thank attendees to your events. Here’s what we’ll suggest: 

  1. Prompt email, text, or call 
  2. Recognition displays for your highest-impact donors 
  3. Thoughtful gifts
  4. Another invitation 
  5. Handwritten notes 

Making sure your supporters feel noticed for their participation—no matter how big or small—will leave the best possible impression and encourage them to keep coming back. That means more engagement, more awareness for your mission, and ultimately, more donations! Let’s dive in. 

1. Prompt email, text, or call

This is the “no-brainer” of event thank-you strategies. Regardless of the exact approach you choose to take to thank your attendees, it should always involve this basic step. 

If one of your supporters won an item at your hybrid auction, donated during your fundraising livestream, or otherwise contributed to your cause while attending your event, they should receive an immediate communication in the form of text or an email confirming their donation. 

Even if they didn’t contribute monetarily to your cause, you should still thank them for attending using this method. Choose one or more of the following: 

  • Emails are easy to automate, customizable, and have plenty of room for additional materials, like links to your website and social media accounts. 
  • Texts are personal, informal, and most likely to be read quickly. Automated texts are easy to implement and feel more intimate than mass emails. 
  • Phone calls are the most personal of the three. If calling every attendee is unrealistic, consider reserving calls for those who made higher-impact donations.  

No matter which method(s) from this list that you choose, make sure the thank-you goes out quickly, preferably the day after your event or, for automated emails, immediately after their donation. This way, you can reinforce their connection to your organization while you’re likely still on their minds. 

A best practice for email, text, or phone call thank-yous is to always include a prompt for further engagement, whether it’s an option to subscribe to your newsletter, a link to your volunteer opportunities page, or a flyer for your next event. (Or, in the case of phone calls, information on how to access these materials online.) For the best results, make sure all of these resources are user-friendly.

Something else to consider including in this type of thank-you is a survey or interview about your event. After all, your attendees may be sitting on valuable feedback about your event that could help you improve your programming going forward. 

2. Recognition displays for your highest-impact donors 

When you’re reviewing how your event performed, keep an eye out for those attendees who had a large impact on the event—specifically, look for supporters who may have contributed significantly to your fundraising goal. 

Identifying the attendees who bought a big-ticket item at your virtual auction or made a large donation is an important first step to thanking them appropriately and securing their support into the future. 

One way to make sure they feel noticed and appreciated is to honor them by including their names on a donor recognition display. 

Donor recognition displays are permanent installations commonly found on walls or in lobbies of buildings that are designed to recognize an organization’s major donors for their contributions.

While recognition displays are commonly associated with large-scale fundraisers and capital campaigns, there are smaller-scale options, too—for example, digital recognition displays are becoming increasingly popular. 

3. Thoughtful gifts

Who doesn’t love receiving gifts in the mail? A surefire way to make your event attendees feel appreciated is with a small token of your gratitude. Here are some fun ideas for possible goodies to help you say “thanks” to your attendees: 

  • T-shirts
  • Keychains
  • Mugs
  • Water bottles
  • Calendars 
  • Tote bags
  • Hats
  • Umbrellas
  • Blankets 

It shouldn’t be too difficult to get some of these items customized with your organization’s name and logo. That way, not only would your gifts make great thank-yous, but also effective marketing tools! 

Consider combining several gifts to make goody bags or gift baskets for your more engaged supporters, or select more luxury items to appropriately recognize higher levels of participation or donation. Some examples of higher-tier gifts could be silk scarves, leather goods, or food baskets. 

It may seem counterintuitive to spend valuable dollars on saying thank you for event attendance, but rest assured: it’s an investment for your organization’s future. You want your supporters to keep participating and spreading awareness about your mission. They’re more likely to stay engaged if they feel appreciated! 

4. Another invitation

An invitation to another of your organization’s events allows you to kill two birds with one stone. 

Your supporters feel appreciated and special, and you get to continue promoting awareness of your cause at another event! 

Whether you’re planning a silent auction, livestream fundraiser, or in-person gala (sometime in the future!), your previous event attendees are a precious group to market to. Plus, while you’re still on their minds right after your last event is an ideal time to tell them about your next plans! 

You could also consider offering exclusive appreciation events for your attendees, like luncheons, dinners, or unique experiences. For example:

  • An animal rescue shelter might offer an invitation to a “puppy play day” to thank its supporters. 
  • An aquarium might give a behind-the-scenes tour.
  • A nonprofit in the education sector might host a Q&A session with a well-known scholar. 

One-of-a-kind perks like these add value to your supporters’ lives and provide them with a tangible return on their investment—even if they just invested their time. Even casual virtual happy hours and community discussions with organization leaders can be meaningful ways to show attendees that you value their engagement. Get creative to come up with the perfect appreciation event for your unique audience and mission.

5. Handwritten notes

Writing thank-you notes by hand shows your supporters you value them enough to sit down with pen and paper and thank them the old-fashioned way. Because this option is more personal and intimate than other methods of communication, it will feel more meaningful to your attendees. If they perceive that you’re investing time and effort in honor of them, they’ll feel more inclined to help your cause in the future. 

Still, this level of personalization comes with a cost. Handwritten notes can be extremely time-consuming, even more so than phone calls. If you’re committed to using this option, start early and consider soliciting help from volunteers. You could even bring your volunteers together for a note-writing session with food and music (or a virtual-friendly alternative) to make the task more appealing. And then be sure to thank your volunteers in turn! 

If a handwritten note for every attendee is unrealistic even with help from volunteers, consider reserving this option for more engaged supporters, i.e. those who purchased or donated during your event. If that still represents too large a group, limit it to a manageable number of top-tier givers. 


With these options, you can more strategically thank your supporters for attending one of your events, virtual and in-person alike. While it may be tempting to reserve recognition for those who contribute monetarily to your cause, showing appreciation for all of your supporters whenever possible is a wise investment. Event attendees who feel appreciated for their time are more likely to have a positive impression of your organization, which means they’re more likely to continue participating. 

Regardless of which strategies you end up using, don’t forget to continue to follow up, even after your official thank-you. Although it can be difficult to figure out what type of messaging to send your supporters and when, establishing an effective rhythm for supporter communications is essential to holding their interest, solidifying their support, and growing their engagement over time. 

Thanking your event attendees for their time and commitment to your cause shows your appreciation, strengthens your relationship with them, and makes it more likely they’ll continue contributing to your mission. Be sure not to neglect this important area of supporter retention! 

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4 Fundraising Best Practices for Raising Money Effectively

Fundraising is the backbone of any successful nonprofit. It’s what allows your organization to continue to help people and make a difference in the world. If your fundraising efforts are lacking in any area, you won’t be able to efficiently complete your goals on schedule. 

That’s why effective fundraising practices are so critical—by giving your organization a greater fundraising boost, you can keep your nonprofit afloat and continue working toward your mission. Whether you’re looking to refresh your fundraising ideas or reinforce ongoing campaigns, it’s never a bad idea to assess your progress and check if you’re adhering to current fundraising best practices.

At NXUnite, we stay up-to-date on the latest trends and ideas in the fundraising field to help nonprofits maximize their fundraising capacity. We’ve compiled a list of four top tips for raising money more effectively:

  1. Choose high-ROI fundraising campaigns
  2. Promote upcoming fundraisers with direct mail
  3. Advertise matching gift opportunities
  4. Keep donors updated with campaign progress

Fundraising is more than just earning donations—it’s about meeting supporters where they are and developing relationships to secure ongoing support. These tips will help you make the most of your campaigns this year while fostering relationships in the process. Let’s jump in!

1. Choose high-ROI fundraising campaigns

Nonprofits usually operate with tight budgets and don’t want to spend too much funding on soliciting donations. Plus, as a nonprofit professional, you want to prove to your board that the funds you put into carrying out fundraising activities are justified because of the value they create for your nonprofit. Therefore, search for fundraising campaigns that have the highest return on investment (ROI). Some fundraising ideas with a high ROI include: 

Product fundraisers

Product fundraisers such as popcorn, face-mask, and discount card fundraisers are all fun and unique ideas to help your organization raise more. With these fundraisers, you offer supporters something valuable (or delicious!) in exchange for their donations. 

Direct mail

Although digital marketing and fundraising channels are gaining traction, direct mail continues to be the greatest source of individual donations in the U.S. Individual donations account for about 70% of total giving, representing roughly $309.66 billion in 2019. 

In the fast-paced, frenzied virtual realm, it’s easy for your nonprofit to get lost in the fray and for supporters to miss your message amid all the other online interactions. However, with direct mail appeals, you can speak directly to supporters without the interference of other notifications. You can share compelling stories that appeal to their emotions and influence them to give to your mission. 

Additional ideas

In addition to product fundraisers and direct mail appeals, there are also a number of other ways to garner critical support for your campaigns. Other tried-and-true fundraising ideas include virtual a-thon-style events where people are challenged to walk, bike, or run a certain distance and raise donations throughout the challenge. 

Further, virtual events and experiences such as classes, concerts, or trivia nights can be productive fundraisers as well. These are higher-ROI events because they take place virtually which lowers event overhead costs but engage supporters in an activity or challenge that generates greater fundraising support all the same. 

With these high-ROI options, you can revamp your fundraising practices this year and raise more for your organization.

2. Promote upcoming fundraisers with direct mail

Direct mail is successfully used by nonprofits to not only solicit direct donations but also get the word out about other fundraising opportunities. 

For example, say you decide to host a product fundraiser, selling face masks with your organization’s logo. You can send out direct mailings encouraging recipients to check out your online store and purchase your custom branded face mask to support your organization.

In these letters, be sure to fully describe the purpose of your fundraisers and what the money raised will support. If your organization is planning to launch a new after-school gardening program for kids, for instance, you should describe your fundraising goals and how you’ll use the donations to purchase garden supplies and set up an outdoor pavilion space for kids to learn in a socially distanced environment. 

These specific descriptions help make your fundraisers more real and urgent for supporters and give them a greater understanding of your overall nonprofit mission. 

In your direct mailers, you can even place a QR code on your letters to direct readers to your online store to make it as easy as possible for them to get involved. This way, you can use these tangible, physical letters to supplement and enhance your digital fundraising strategy. By using these platforms in tandem, you reinforce your message without overwhelming supporters. 

3. Advertise matching gift opportunities

In corporate matching gift programs, companies match donations made by their employees to eligible nonprofits. An estimated $4-$7 billion goes unclaimed in matching gifts every year, making this a largely untapped fundraising source for many nonprofits and other fundraising organizations. 

To take advantage of matching gift opportunities, promote these programs to your supporters. Ensure your donors are aware of the opportunities and empowered to check if their own companies offer these programs by sharing information across your direct mail messages, website, social media, and email newsletters. To get started, Double the Donation offers a matching gift database you can embed on your website that allows supporters to search if their companies offer matching gifts. 

This type of fundraising revenue not only brings in a large number of funds for your organization, but it improves your donors’ experience as well. Supporters will be amazed that their initial donations can have an even greater impact on your mission than they realized. 

4. Keep donors updated with campaign progress

Donors want and deserve to know how your fundraising campaign is coming along. They’re not only interested in learning about your organization and your activities, but also want to ensure their investment in your organization was worth it. Donors use this assessment to decide if they should continue to give their support in the future, so you should keep donors updated on your fundraising progress in a few different ways:

  • A fundraising thermometer: A fundraising thermometer is an easy and free way to keep supporters informed on how close your nonprofit is to reaching its fundraising goal. You can type in your target amount and the amount you’ve raised so far to create an updated thermometer. Frequently share your thermometer across your website and social media pages to remind supporters to give and celebrate your progress so far.
  • Your nonprofit database: Your nonprofit database system contains supporter information like donor names, contact information, and giving history. You can use this information to reach out to donors and share progress about the specific campaign they gave to. 
  • Your marketing platforms: Keep supporters informed about your progress across all your marketing channels—including your direct mail letters, website, social media pages, and email lists. Taking a multi-channel approach ensures you can speak to all supporters and properly inform them about your nonprofit’s activities. 

Keeping donors updated on your fundraising progress shows supporters that they’re more than just a number to your organization. They’ve donated some of their hard-earned money to you, and you’ll show your respect and appreciation for their gift by keeping them in the loop.


Your nonprofit’s approach to fundraising doesn’t have to be complicated. By reaffirming your commitment to donor relationships and choosing campaigns with the greatest returns, you can maintain and even boost your fundraising efforts for long-lasting, continuous success. Happy fundraising!

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The Top 4 Governance Mistakes that Nonprofit Boards Make

An effective board of directors plays a critical role in helping your nonprofit strive toward its mission. They provide much-needed guidance and insight for strategic planning and fundraising that helps to keep your team on the right track. But all too often, nonprofit boards underperform—even those that are strong-willed and have a passion for your mission. While mistakes are only human nature, there are some situations that can be detrimental to your mission.

Nonprofits commonly experience several governance mistakes made by their boards but aren’t quite sure how to avoid them. From failing to understand basic responsibilities to poor documentation that opens the organization up to legal issues, there are major missteps to avoid. Otherwise, you’ll spend time rectifying these problems that could be spent on making progress with your mission.

On the other hand, when governance is done right from the beginning, your board’s performance can be drastically enhanced by ensuring they’re efficient and well-informed. Making sure they’re backed by sufficient resources and knowledge can convey that you value their experience and this consideration can motivate them to make informed decisions, putting them (and your organization) on the path to success.

To help you identify these challenges within your own organization, we’ll review four leading governance issues and uncover suggestions for resolving them:

  1. Selecting board members without sufficient care
  2. Neglecting to educate and inform directors
  3. Failing to embrace board diversity
  4. Poor documentation of decisions and actions

Understanding these challenges upfront can help you create a plan for avoiding them in the first place, rather than rectifying them after they’ve occurred. Let’s dive in.

Mistake #1: Selecting Board Members without Sufficient Care

Good governance starts with selecting board members who are passionate about your mission and possess admirable qualities, such as knowledge about your community backed by a strong desire for service. Often, we select friends, relatives, and business associates, because we believe they’ll share our same vision, support our views, and make meetings bearable (maybe even enjoyable). And sometimes it’s just because we can’t find anyone else to fill the position.

Other times, we select board members who are wealthy and influential, because we believe they’ll contribute substantial amounts to our mission and connect us to other influential and wealthy people. While this may seem like a good idea, you’ll want to be certain that your board of directors is composed of individuals who are going to attend meetings, provide real oversight, and govern using their own independent and well-informed judgment.

The board recruitment process is a heavy but necessary process. After all, these individuals are responsible for putting your nonprofit on the right path, so taking care in selecting the right board members is crucial. You’ll want to look for individuals who possess the following qualities:

  • Proactivity: The greatest board members readily react to challenges and aren’t afraid to ask the hard questions. They proactively strive toward positive change and stay on task to see it through.
  • Passion: Board members must possess a passion for your cause in order to be true change agents and to fuel your work. 
  • Knowledge: Board members must be well-acquainted with your organization and mission. Look for those who have previously served on a similar board or who have been employed at a similar organization.
  • Time-Oriented: Board members should have sufficient time to fulfill the role’s duties. Ambitious individuals have the tendency to overcommit, and the best intentions won’t go very far if they simply don’t have the time to contribute.

Just as understanding your potential donors and ambassadors helps to strengthen your fundraising strategies, defining your ideal board member will help locate and appeal to the right individuals for the job. 

Keeping the pipeline full of exceptional candidates is a never-ending job. So long as you remain persistent and specific with your preferred qualifications, you’ll locate passionate leaders who possess sufficient qualities for putting your nonprofit on the path to success.

Mistake #2: Neglecting to Educate and Inform Directors

Nonprofits often run into the issue of board members not fully understanding their responsibilities. Directors who regularly fail to meet their legal duties of care and responsibility can hinder progress and prevent the organization from reaching its goals.

It’s up to the president, chair, executive director, and really each individual board member to hold one another accountable and correct this lack of understanding. While education and accountability are ongoing commitments, there are a few practices you can implement in your existing processes:

  • Set up an orientation process. When bringing aboard new directors, consider hosting an orientation meeting where you walk through each role’s responsibilities and open the floor for questions. You might also choose to disperse a binder full of information they need like board agreements, organization bylaws, contact information, past budgets, previous meeting minutes, and a list of committees. This will allow new members to get acclimated quickly.
  • Delegate tasks in a clear manner. Have a system in place for assigning tasks as soon as they’re delegated. That way, everyone knows who should be doing what and by when. Ensure your board software allows you to create, assign, and manage action items during and between meetings. Individual board members and administrators should be able to track the status of various tasks and projects to make sure they don’t fall through the cracks.
  • Keep in regular contact with the board. Productivity should occur outside of the boardroom to make steady progress as an organization. Your board portal will aid greatly in the communication process, keeping you in direct contact with board members and helping to steward strong, collaborative relationships. This way, you can keep them fully informed and quickly solicit feedback and direction to resolve any issues that arise.

Ineffective directors can pose major problems for nonprofits. Rectifying the situation as quickly as possible allows the board to fill knowledge gaps and make more informed decisions. If you’re unsure of where your board currently stands, have the board conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis. This will help identify those gaps and create an action plan for moving forward.

Mistake #3: Failing to Embrace Board Diversity

Typically, an organization’s initial board is made up of friends and trusted advisors of the nonprofit’s founder. Over time, these individuals may reach out to their networks to fill vacancies as they arise. While this is certainly a smart move for brand new nonprofits, it becomes a problem when your board consists solely of people who went to the same schools, belong to the same clubs, and live in the same neighborhoods.

Think of it this way: if your board is chock-full of CFO-level executives, your finances may be in order, but other operational areas may fall by the wayside, like marketing and volunteer management. Instead, you need a group of individuals who possess varying skills to cover each area of your organization.

Boards greatly benefit from a diverse mix of leadership. A variety of valuable perspectives and experiences in the boardroom can help your team think outside the box and arrive at conclusions they might not otherwise reach.

Here are a few facets of board diversity to consider:

  • Race, ethnicity, and religion
  • Gender and sexual orientation
  • Geographic location
  • Professional skills and experience
  • Education level
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Physical and cognitive abilities

A diverse board is a thriving board! If all board members come from similar backgrounds, it’s time to diversify your pool of participants. Keep your eyes peeled for varying skills, experiences, and backgrounds that would add valuable perspectives to the board.

While law, accounting, and fundraising skills are obvious necessities, mission-related skills are also important. For instance, a domestic violence shelter may recruit a social worker or a policy expert, whereas an educational organization might recruit a retired school administrator or teacher.

Mistake #4: Poor Documentation of Decisions and Actions

In its meetings, your board has highly-focused conversations where it makes decisions that impact the health and vitality of your organization. Accurately documenting these discussions and actions in your meeting minutes is crucial—especially since your board has legal liability.

Some organizations adopt minutes that are complete and lengthy virtual transcriptions of their meetings. Conversely, some organizations only document actions without any mention of the process or deliberations, or worse, they don’t document anything. Instead of going with one of these extremes, work to find a more appropriate balance.

Documenting every discussion verbatim could create even greater exposure for liability and can make it very unlikely that anyone on your team will take the time to review the minutes for inaccuracies. On the other hand, only documenting actions (or nothing at all) can leave individuals confused later as to why certain decisions were made. 

When developing your approach to minute-taking, we suggest the following best practices:

  • Use a template. By creating an outline in advance, taking minutes becomes incredibly straightforward and ensures notes are taken on every discussion item. The easiest strategy is to use your board meeting agenda as a template.
  • Designate a minute-taker. Usually part of the secretary’s duties, the same person should take minutes at every meeting. This allows them to familiarize themselves with the process and produce stronger, clearer minutes over time.
  • Write objectively. Especially with controversial issues or contentious votes, your minutes-taker should summarize debates and stick to the facts. To reinforce this, ask a third-party who isn’t privy to any confidential information (like a staff member) to read the minutes.
  • Include pertinent information. Your minutes should be detailed enough that someone can decipher key decisions a few months down the line. When recording these decisions, be sure to include who attended and when the meeting took place. Plus, make note of any important discussions regarding the decision and a record of motions, seconds, and whether or not the motion passed.
  • Proofread and share. Once you’ve wrapped up your meeting and put the final touches on your minutes, take one last pass at it and review for any errors. Once ready, use your board software to disperse them so that board members can quickly reference them and follow up appropriately.

Remember, your minutes serve as an official record of your meetings. Both overly-detailed and scant board minutes can open up the board to liability issues. 

According to this resource, you should “aim to create board meeting minutes that are specific enough to capture the board’s focus and decisions, but not so sparse that you can’t decipher what actually occurred during the meeting a few months down the line.” In turn, you’ll develop engaging minutes with the right amount of detail.


Quality governance can truly accelerate your team’s impact on the community. Keep your eyes peeled for these common mistakes and pitfalls within your own organization. Otherwise, failing to address these governance issues early on can prevent major issues later. 

It all starts with selecting the right board members and continues through effective communication and documentation. By setting the groundwork early, every task your board takes on will be more efficient and well-informed. Your nonprofit and community will see and experience the benefits of your healthy nonprofit board governance practices. Good luck!

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5 Tips for Stewarding Facebook Fundraiser Participants

For some nonprofits, Facebook fundraising seems like an ineffective effort. Because the platform provides limited information about the users that launch fundraisers and those who donate to them, it can be challenging to actually steward the participants of these efforts for long-term donor relationships.

However, seeing as Facebook fundraising has raised $3 billion+ for nonprofits through the efforts of 45 million+ fundraiser participants, the platform can hardly be ignored. Nonprofit supporters are active on Facebook and if your nonprofit chooses not to steward them, you’re leaving valuable relationships on the table.

We’ve compiled a few of those best practices into tips that your organization can incorporate into your next social media campaign. Explore our tips for stewarding Facebook fundraiser participants through the following points:

Before we dive into our top tips for stewarding Facebook fundraiser participants, let’s walk through a quick overview of Facebook fundraising in general. This ensures that we’re all working from the same foundation before moving forward.

Overview of Facebook Fundraising

Facebook fundraising encompasses a variety of tools that empower nonprofit supporters to raise money for or donate to their favorite charities directly through the popular social network.

Most often, this is done through Facebook fundraisers. These are essentially peer-to-peer fundraisers, except rather than raising funds through a peer-to-peer platform, the funds are raised using Facebook’s fundraising tools. These fundraisers are initiated by Facebook users and generally follow this process:

  1. A user chooses to conduct a Facebook fundraiser.
  2. Using Facebook’s fundraising tools, they designate a beneficiary (your nonprofit) and write a personalized message to accompany the effort.
  3. They share the fundraiser with their friends, family, and acquaintances directly on the Facebook Timeline.
  4. The user’s Facebook friends donate to the fundraiser, and these donations are routed to your nonprofit.

There are a variety of scenarios in which these fundraisers can be conducted. For example, a Facebook user can “donate their birthday” and raise donations for your nonprofit on their special day. Or, you could hold a virtual peer-to-peer fundraising event where event participants raise donations through individual Facebook fundraisers.

When it comes to Facebook fundraiser “participants,” we’re generally referring to two main groups: the users who start fundraisers and the donors who give to them.

Due to Facebook’s privacy policies, there is limited information available about these two groups.  However, there are methods that your team can use to connect with these participants and begin building life-long relationships.

Continue reading to learn how.

5 Tips to Steward Facebook Fundraiser Participants

1. Thank each user that started a fundraiser on your behalf.

Let’s begin with tips to steward the users who start fundraisers on behalf of your nonprofit. Because they’re raising funds for your nonprofit, you can be confident that they already have some existing knowledge or interest in your organization. But, that doesn’t mean you can sit back, relax, and simply benefit from their efforts!

Our first tip is to send a personalized thank you to the user who started the fundraiser. We recommend thanking each and every user that starts a fundraiser— either directly as a comment on their campaign, or on their Facebook page itself.

You can discover these fundraising campaigns by navigating to your nonprofit’s profile, accessing the “Fundraising” section, and using the newly unveiled Sort & Filter tool.

Sort and filter the fundraisers by creation date and status. Then, send thank-yous to the most recently created fundraisers that are active and ongoing! By doing so, each user knows that you are aware of and appreciate their effort. Plus, this initial communication can be the perfect segway into our next tip.

2. Communicate with the user throughout their campaign.

As with any other fundraising effort, a user can’t simply share the fundraiser with their Facebook friends once and call it a day. If they don’t actively promote the effort, they run the risk of having a zero-dollar fundraiser, something that has negative impacts for your nonprofit and the supporter alike.

Communicating with users who start fundraisers throughout their campaign provides an opportunity to share tips, tricks, and other motivators that drive the campaign further.

This could be as simple as telling the supporter that they can reach out to your team for tips and advice to help power their campaign to success. Share an email address when you send your initial thank-you and be prepared for questions!

Or, it could mean that you communicate with the fundraiser via Facebook Messenger, sharing tips, encouragement, and advice to help the user fundraise successfully.

Staying in touch for the duration of their fundraising campaigns is a great way to communicate clearly and show users that you’re invested in their success.

3. Use Facebook fundraising groups to create a community.

As we briefly mentioned earlier, Facebook fundraising has expanded beyond one-off, supporter-initiated campaigns. In fact, the social network is now the perfect platform to host virtual peer-to-peer fundraising events.

Just as with any other virtual peer-to-peer event, your supporters sign up to raise funds from their peers. But, instead of equipping them with personal fundraising pages via a separate peer-to-peer platform, the participants create Facebook fundraisers to seek donations from their peers.

With a non-virtual peer-to-peer event, these supporters would participate in a “challenge” aspect at the culmination of the event. This could be a 5k race, a walk-a-thon, or even a reading challenge! How can you replicate that atmosphere with a virtual event, where supporters complete the final challenge independently?

Use Facebook groups to create a community. 

Create a Facebook group dedicated to the fundraising event and invite all participants to join. Encourage them to network with one another, share fundraising tips and ideas, and maybe even their training regimen if there is a physical challenge (like the aforementioned 5k race) involved.

This strategy not only creates a community for participants to engage with one another, similar to the in-person events, but also empowers your team to monitor the group’s messaging and be sure your nonprofit’s branding is maintained.

4. Make the most of any donor contact information provided.

One of the challenges of Facebook fundraising is that the platform’s privacy policies can drastically limit the information available about donors to Facebook fundraisers. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t connect with and steward those donors for continued support beyond the campaign they donated to!

There are a variety of ways that you can connect, thank, and share information with Facebook fundraising donors, like posting a thank you to the fundraiser organizer’s wall.

However, we’re going to focus on one strategy — making the most of the donor contact information provided.

If your nonprofit registers for Facebook’s fundraising tools and signs up for Facebook Payments, you may be able to access the contact information of some of your Facebook donors. This isn’t guaranteed, as this information is only available if the donor opts-in to share it. However, when available, we recommend reaching out to those donors after you receive their donations with a personalized thank-you note.

A great donor thank-you letter not only shows your appreciation but also increases the chances that the donor gives again in the future!

5. Share additional resources for future engagement.

So far, we’ve stressed the importance of thanking Facebook fundraiser participants. That’s a crucial first step in stewarding these participants and lays the foundation for a long-term relationship between them and your organization.

Note how we said that it’s a first step. Effective donor stewardship is an ongoing process that continually draws donors closer to your organization and encourages repeat giving in the future.

That brings us to our final tip:

Share additional resources to encourage fundraiser participants to continue engaging with your organization.

There are a few ways to do this. For example, while thanking donors, direct them to your nonprofit’s website with links to educational resources and volunteer opportunities. Or, you could utilize Facebook’s ad retargeting tools to share future fundraising opportunities with Facebook users who have already engaged with your nonprofit on the platform. With these strategies, you’ll engage Facebook fundraiser participants beyond the initial campaign they engaged with.


When you consider the above tips, they can be boiled down to two main efforts: thanking participants and providing opportunities for engagement.

One of the main complaints that nonprofits have about Facebook fundraising is that it’s hard to connect with and engage participants for the long run. However, as we’ve seen, there are a variety of ways to steward Facebook fundraiser participants during the campaign and well beyond!