Wednesday, October 11, 2017

posted by
John Couleur
Special Projects Consultant, Sputnik Moment

Nonprofit organizations have become sophisticated marketers using techniques like targeted campaigns and engagement (nurture) tracks to build strong, sustainable relationships with potential supporters.

Why then, do they still limit their effectiveness by using antiquated systems for the data so important to making these marketing tools effective?

We all have experience with the challenges presented by these systems.

1. Similar data is in different places

I want to put together a mailing list for my big annual event. I pull last year’s invite list from my mass email tool. Then I find the list of “day ofs” that I don’t have but my event coordinator (hopefully) stored in an Excel spreadsheet. I put the two together, hoping that I didn’t miss anyone because they weren’t in last year’s emailing, or that I don’t send two (or more) invites to my spam-sensitive donors.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

posted by
Mark Hager
Associate Professor  ASU School of Community Resources and Development

On June 28, 1914, political assassins killed Austria’s archduke and his wife, leading to the Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia and the beginnings of war across Europe.  The United States was drawn into the war in the spring of 1917. On October 3, to raise money for the war, the U.S. passed the War Revenue Act of 1917, substantially increasing taxes on the wealthiest taxpayers.  The new flat tax of 1915 gave way to a light progressive tax in 1916, paving the way for a steep progressive tax in 1917.  Households earning $2 million or more paid 2 percent in income tax in 1915, but were paying 67 percent by 1917. The war effort was thereby funded by wealthy families.

To provide some relief for these steep rates, the federal government provided ways for households to reduce their taxable income. The War Revenue Act introduced and codified what we know today as the charitable deduction. Details have been altered and clarified over the past 97 years, but the central mechanism is the same. The charitable deduction is a vital nexus between the general public, the nonprofit organizations they support, and government policy. It is a basic feature of the charitable sector in the United States.

Monday, September 25, 2017

posted by
Mark Hager
Associate Professor  ASU School of Community Resources and Development

I’m not sure it’s possible to write this blog post without looking like a grammar Nazi, but I’m going to give it a whirl. Should be interesting, anyway.

This post is about the way people write the word nonprofit. Or non-profit. Or sometimes I even see non profit. Maybe these alternate spellings are all the same to you, and that’s fine. But for some people, the way you write this word says something about you. In the extreme case, if you do it the “wrong” way you might not get that grant, or that job, or that meeting. It might just matter that much. You never know who is on the other side of your writing or what they are thinking. 

Before I wind my way to my point, let me give a couple examples of how the words we use signal whether we are in with the cool kids or outside in the cold. The first one goes back about 3,000 years, when the armies of Gilead beat back the invading Ephramites. As told in the 12th chapter of the “Book of Judges” in the Christian bible, the Ephramites tried to blend in with the locals as they were fleeing the country. How do you sort out the bad guys? The Gilead soldiers had learned that the Ephramites had a hard time pronouncing some Hebrew words, including one that described the grain-bearing part of a plant stalk: shibboleth (שִׁבֹּלֶת‎). So, as people were crossing out of Gilead, army checkpoints asked each person to pronounce the word shibboleth. Say it like a Gileadite, and you can pass. Say it like an Ephramite and your carcass got dumped in the river. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

posted by
Melanie Nathan
Digital Marketing Entrepreneur

Let’s face it, Most nonprofit organizations probably don’t know how to focus on stellar marketing efforts. They mostly get their goals achieved through fundraising events and word of mouth.

 There are many benefits that a nonprofit can gain from an effective online marketing strategy though. In order to create a marketing strategy, nonprofits need only analyze how for-profit online businesses are competing.

 In doing this, nonprofits can learn valuable information that can help their organizations get more volunteers, donations, advocates and other forms of support they need for their important work.

Here are five hand-picked examples of service and product based businesses, in some not-so-exciting industries, that are setting the bar extremely high with their online marketing efforts:


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

posted by
Chris Giarratana
Digital Strategy Consultant

Designing a site for a nonprofit organization is one of the most important steps in establishing an online presence. An effective nonprofit website can build a strong brand, drive more donors to your site, and increase your volunteer recruitment efforts. However, many nonprofits fail to develop a strong online presence because they fail to build a useful website. 

One of the first things I notice about  nonprofit websites is that many  fail to produce a feeling of urgency around the issue, provoke an emotional reaction in the customer, establish the organization's capability to cover the matter and inspire the visitor to take immediate actions and accept contributions throughout the site.

The bottom line is that your nonprofit organization is competing with large for-profit companies and other nonprofit organizations for attention and resources from your target audience. 

Let’s take a look at the top three things that your nonprofit needs in order to have a robust website that will help  drive your organization’s goals and fulfill your organization’s mission!

Monday, August 28, 2017

posted by
Natalia Winberry
Spring 2017 Graduate Alumna, ASU Master of Nonprofit Leadership & Management 

As organizations serving public interests, nonprofits answer to the voices of multiple stakeholders. The complex accountability relationships facing nonprofit organizations include responsibilities to donors, clients, community partners, staff members and volunteers. Under pressure from multiple stakeholders, nonprofits tend to prioritize accountability to donors, foundations and governments over accountability to clients and the populations served by the organization (Ebrahim, 2003). However, by seeking out the voices of the people they serve, nonprofit organizations can embrace their responsibilities and improve their organizations.

By improving downward accountability, defined as accountability to the populations nonprofits serve, organizations can meet their obligations to clients and others affected by the services and programs of a nonprofit (Ebrahim, 2003). Nonprofit organizations have a responsibility to embrace client perspectives, as serving clients often represents a primary purpose for many nonprofits (Twersky, Buchanan, & Threlfall, 2013). Improving downward accountability benefits nonprofits by empowering the individuals they serve, improving the legitimacy of the organization, and enhancing organizational effectiveness (Mercelis, Wellens & Jegers, 2016; Twersky et al., 2013). Even as different stakeholders demand their share of responsiveness from the organization, improving organizational effectiveness should appeal to most nonprofit stakeholders.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

posted by
Stanford Prescott
Spring 2017 Graduate Alumnus, ASU Master of Nonprofit Leadership & Management 

On Feb. 21, 2017, the transportation company Uber debuted a new self-driving car program in Tempe, Arizona. As of this writing, customers can now request a ride in one of these self-driving cars.  Uber is not the only company debuting this newest innovation- Waymo, a Google subsidiary, and General Motors are both testing their own self-driving cars in the Phoenix area. Self-driving cars are not science fiction; they are a reality on Arizona roads today and will only continue to become more prevalent as technology reaches its full potential.

 Self-driving cars are perhaps the most visible element of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” a term used to by some scholars to refer to the rapidly increasing use of automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence (AI) over the next two decades (Schwab, 2016). The Fourth Industrial Revolution will disrupt the US and world economy by simultaneously creating new economic growth and large-scale unemployment. Automation has the potential to reduce costs, increase productivity, and increase demand for some occupations, such as computer programmers. Yet, automation will replace millions of American jobs, leaving workers such as taxi or truck drivers out of work. “Rapid and accelerating digitization is likely to bring economic rather than environmental disruption, stemming from the fact that as computers get more powerful, companies have less need for some kinds of workers. Technological progress is going to leave behind some people, perhaps even a lot of people, as it races ahead” (Brynjolfsson and McAfee, 10-11).

Monday, July 31, 2017

Roeckner headshot

posted by
Alexis Roeckner
Spring 2017 Graduate Alumna, ASU Master of Nonprofit Leadership & Management 

Nonprofit organizations are among the strongest bridges that connect global problems with solutions. The world needs effective organizations to carry out programs that are beneficial to society.  

While devotion to a cause will lift the wings of a solution, an organization must guide and oversee its growth if it is to ever take flight. In other words, the effectiveness of the charitable work ultimately falls to how the nonprofit is governed.

The question then turns to this: how can nonprofits structure their governance based on their organizational and lifecycle needs? Research has shown that organizational competence, or lack thereof, is linked to board of director performance (Brown & Iverson, 2004, p. 378) (Brown, 2005, p. 330) (Bradshaw, 2009, p. 62). Challenging as it may seem, the payoff that comes from structuring governance according to organizational and lifecycle needs is well worth the time and effort.

The strength of the nonprofit sector lies within the ability to channel passion into effective action and the ability to use governance as a tool to ensure long-lasting change. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Dargus headshot

posted by
Christy Dargus
Spring 2017 Graduate Alumna,
ASU Master of Nonprofit Leadership & Management

There is a glaring lack of diversity within the nonprofit sector and philanthropic community that harms not only minority communities but nonprofit institutions themselves. Research shows people from diverse groups create novel solutions, introduce different thinking patterns and increase performance, creativity and innovation within an organization (Chandler, 2016).  

Defining how an organization thinks about diversity is a critical starting point because it can be used to describe differences of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, economic standing, and physical or developmental disability within a group of people. Racial diversity within the nonprofit sector is becoming increasingly important as evidenced by the prediction that by the year 2042, minorities will overtake the majority population in the United States (D5, 2015). This reality is contrasted against the statistics of the philanthropic community and the nonprofit sector in general which remains mostly white: as 79 percent of the foundation workforce and 91percent of the CEOs and Presidents identify as white (see figure below) (D5, 2015). The traditional power dynamics created between philanthropy, nonprofit organizations and the community beneficiaries of the nonprofit work is imbalanced. Such that, philanthropy holds the greatest reward power and nonprofits assert more control over the communities they serve (Spilka, Figueredo & Kioukis, 2014). The question  then is how to harness the energy and resources of philanthropy to balance the power within the sector and promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Christopher Chappell headshot

posted by
Christopher Chappell
Spring 2017 Graduate Alumnus, ASU Master of Nonprofit Leadership & Management 

In order to have long term fiscal sustainability, nonprofits must be considering future generations as potential donors and supporters.  Baby Boomers and Generation X have fiscally supported nonprofits for decades, now Millennials are the next generation that must be courted.  They have a different approach and outlook on life than previous generations, as such traditional marketing and fundraising techniques will be less effective.  It is crucial for nonprofit organizations to understand what motivates this generation and to add millennial strategy to their marketing plans.  Nonprofits must stay on top of social media trends and create engaging experiences for millennials in order to capture their loyalty.  According to a PEW Research Poll, millennials now make up the majority of the US labor force.  (PEW, 2015) As time goes on, this generation will accumulate more wealth and become increasingly more critical for nonprofits to pursue as a revenue source.  In a 2012 report, the National Chamber Foundation cited that Millennials have approximately “$200 billion of direct purchasing power and $500 billion of indirect spending.”  The study then goes on to claim that “With Millennials’ peak buying power still decades away, marketers would do well to establish relationships with this consumer force.” (National Chamber Foundation, 2012)  


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