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A dear and respected friend of mine leveraged a pandemic layoff to leave a fairly toxic corporate culture to pursue a new way of living that was more fulfilling. I was curious about his new passion for regenerative agriculture and asked for recommendations for learning more. The film Kiss the Ground provided me with a launching pad for a new way of seeing the world - not just relative to agriculture, but regeneratively, as a whole. This led me to learn about regenerative economies, business models, and leadership strategies.

The pandemic has been tremendously hard for many people. Myself included. Add to that the intersecting crises we are facing - ecological, economic, and social - and things can quickly feel overwhelming. I have found that the regenerative business community offers a hopeful alternative to “business as usual” and inspiring strategies for a better future for our work, society, and the planet.

Our work at Phillinnova has always been to facilitate better collaboration between stakeholders and to ensure an outcome-focused approach to creating social...

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This year of isolation has led me on a journey of innovative exploring. I’m not going to lie, the loss of travel in my life felt nearly impossible. New places and new experiences would have to wait, so I focused a lot on new learning. My racial identity, white supremacy, and regenerative ag-business-leadership practices are a few of the topics I dove into. I’m grateful for the path that unfurled in front of me and I will continue this journey past the pandemic.

Another focus of my curiosity that has had a profound impact on my work are the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This year of inward contemplation has resulted in a renewed global interest. My area of study in college was international human rights. I wanted to be a human rights activist when I grew up. I guess, I still do! So I have been thinking a lot about how to better align with and contribute to these critical goals that build a more peaceful and prosperous world.

I reflected on the work of some of...

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What is revolutionary philanthropy?

You will notice a change with Philinnova. For the last few years, I've shared tips, tools, and strategies to better connect with your stakeholders through everyday philanthropy.

I've been inspired during this time of radical change - environmental and political - to shift the focus from everyday to revolutionary philanthropy. I believe it is time to build a new, innovative model of philanthropy and service. One that is built on true collaboration and shared power with the individuals and communities that we serve.

Revolutionary Philanthropy examines the organizational structure, systems, and processes to ensure that they are working to dismantle the systems of injustice, rather than unconsciously supporting them.

Revolutionary Philanthropy ensures that ALL stakeholder voices are reflected in the programs, services, and messaging of the organization.

Revolutionary Philanthropy is incorporating curiosity,...

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Hello friends! As many of you know, I am passionate about empowering people to take action and create the change they want to see in the world. Creating collaboration around causes that serve others lights me up. We are at a point in time, where the divisions that separate us seem to be amplified. The focus seems to be on our differences instead of what unites us. I'd like to empower you all to change that.

I invite you to intentionally choose another perspective. A perspective of connection, building community and collaboration around equity and the service of others.

Never was there a better time to get really clear about what matters to you, and find others that share that same passion. Here are three ways to explore collaboration and collective impact:

  1. Choose to surround yourself with people who care about creating the change you wish to see. On an individual level, this is about being really intentional about the organizations that you give your time and money to. You get to choose the community organizations that you support and...
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A new decade is upon us! I don't know about you, but I am excited for a new year full of new opportunities! Fundraising trends come and go, but one thing always remains the same. Our objective is to build more meaningful relationships with our donors. Here are a few tips to kick-off your strategy for fundraising in 2020:

  1. Engage all stakeholders. If you know me, you know that my mantra is “Fundraising is everyone’s responsibility.” That does NOT mean that everyone is asking for money. What it does mean is that everyone is invested in the success of the organization’s fundraising strategy. That means every stakeholder is actively advocating for your organization in their personal and professional networks – sharing social media, appeals and event invitations. Tip: Meet with your board members and volunteers once per quarter to touch base and ask what role they would like to play in fundraising.
  1. Invest in the tools you need to get more efficient. There are SO many tools...
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Did you know that developing a dedicated & strategic campaign to engage donors can lead to an increase of 70% in year-end giving? Now is the time to get laser-focused on connecting with your stakeholders. It's not too late! Nearly 1/3 of annual giving occurs in December. Here are three tips to help you maximize your year-end giving campaign:

Get Creative. In addition to the tried and true techniques you've always use, try adding in some new channels or modes of communication. Personal fundraising pages, videos, and text to donate tools can help connect to more of your donors in a way they haven't experienced before. Giving is fun! The ask should be too!

Be Consistent. Your donors are busy. They will receive a lot of requests over the next few months. Implementing a consistent campaign of impact statements, testimonials and case studies will help them connect emotionally to the impact they are creating through their investment.

Collaborate. Engage your stakeholders in your end-of-year strategy. Your...

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Although we’ve never met, I consider Penelope Burke a mentor. Her research on donor-focused fundraising is comprehensive and validates the three tenants of my fundraising philosophy:

  1. Everything we do is about the donor’s experience.
  2. Fundraising is everyone’s responsibility.
  3. Treat every donor like a major donor.

Donors are not dollars. They are people. People who want to make a difference with their contribution of time, passion and money. Until you connect with your donors as philanthropists, you will not maximize your impact.

In my last blog post, I explored ways to use technology to connect with and create relationships with new donors. Today let’s talk more about cultivation and how to nurture relationships with individuals, organizations, and businesses that share a passion for your mission. A solid cultivation plan is critical to your long-term fundraising strategy.

There are two key elements to cultivation: communication and engagement.

By sharing information, images and impact statements with your new prospective...

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Technology can help us connect with new and existing donors around the world! We have the ability to easily communicate with new audiences, sharing impact statements, testimonials, and case studies. This broad sharing of information is essential to successful fundraising!

I led a strategy session this weekend with a board of directors eager to help spread the word about the wonderful work of the organization they were serving. They were excited about talking about the impact that they were helping to create in the world. The question was, "How do we move past our inner circle of friends and family and connect with more people that have a passion for the mission?"

When we get stuck on who to reach out to next, this simple exercise can help us get out of our own way!

Often when we begin to explore who might be new connections for our organization, we start to insert assumptions. "I will be bothering them." or "They don't have the capacity to give." and my favorite..."I don't know what to say!"

Sharing your "WHY" is the...

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You’ve done your homework and have identified some potential corporate partners that align with your organizational values, share a passion for your mission and have a product or service that is marketable to your stakeholders. Now what? How do you connect with these potential partners in a genuine way?

A warm introduction to a contact in the company can be much more effective than a cold call. The goal is to develop long-term, win/win affiliations. How do you begin? By getting curious and engaging in honest, organic conversations about creating mutually beneficial partnerships. Both organizations must know, like and trust the other to create long-lasting investment.

LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for opening doors to building relationships with corporate partners. A quick search of the company and its employees allows you to see connections you might have. Encourage your board members to search their networks as well. This is a wonderful way to engage them in the development process. Don’t worry if the employee at your potential partner company isn’t the...

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The most effective corporate partnerships - which in the context of fundraising means the most lucrative - are those that are mutually beneficial. Both the not-for-profit and for-profit businesses are invested in the success of the other.

Are you truly invested in the success of your corporate partners?

There are SO many benefits for both organizations when a true partnership is forged.

Here are just a few...

For-Profit Benefits:

  1. Increased sales
  2. Increased employee engagement
  3. Decreased employee turnover
  4. Increased Visibility
  5. Recognition for the good they do in the world

Not-for-Profit Benefits:

  1. Increased funding
  2. Expanded donor base
  3. Professional development for employees
  4. Increased visibility
  5. New volunteers and/or board members

How are you helping your corporate partners achieve these benefits?

A few ideas...

  • Get your partners in front of your...
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I participated in an Instagram Masterclass today to better understand how to use the platform for marketing. KellyAnne Zielinski, Founder of Self Leadership Global shared her perspective of social media marketing that absolutely shifted my mindset on digital marketing. Here's what she said..."Our social media platforms are our little corner of the internet where we get to make a difference."

This SO resonated with me. My sales philosophy is, and has always been, contribution first and I'd much prefer to connect with people in person. But digital platforms allow me to connect with more people in more places! Rather than focusing on the "sales" aspect of social media, I choose to use these digital platforms to share information, connect people and build relationships with others that share my passion for social impact and the greater good. I have found that a contribution first model results in the connections that lead to contracted work.

This social media...

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Did you know that 65% of new donors never make a second gift? And after five appeals we are down to only 10% retention. This has a tremendous effect on our ability to generate a consistent flow of revenue for our nonprofit organizations.

Why are we losing so many donors who were inspired enough to give a first-time gift? The answer is simple. We aren't giving them what they need! Donors desire three things after giving an initial gift and before giving a second. When we provide these three things, we move them from one time donors to engaged, committed investors in our organizations.

Research indicates that the following three actions highly influence a donors inclination to give a second gift:

  • A prompt and genuine thank you for each gift - regardless of the value.
  • Assigning the donation to a specific project or program.
  • Informing the donors about how their gift created impact - specific to the assigned project or program.

When these three activities take place PRIOR to a second...

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Although fundraising and development go hand-in-hand, they are not one and the same. Each supports the other in building sustainable revenue for nonprofit and social impact organizations.

How are they different? When talking about funding nonprofits, we primarily use the word fundraising. But most of work falls in the development category. Here is an easy way to discern the difference:

fundraising = transactional

development = relational

Fundraising describes an activity that is transactional in nature. The focus is on immediate solicitation - The ‘ask’ or as I like to say, The Invitation.

Development on the other hand, is the building and nurturing of life-long relationships between the donor and the organization that results in revenue through donations AND advocacy in the community on your organization’s behalf. These relationships are cultivated and nurtured based on education, curiosity and attentive stewardship AND include solicitation - but on the donor’s timeline.

This...

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When you chose to become a leader in the nonprofit sector, you chose to take a stand. You made the decision to courageously fight for a cause that you are passionate about and work for the greater good. This time of year, you are working tirelessly to bring in as much revenue as possible in order to create as much social impact as possible.

Phillinnova's Soulful Development Strategy not only refers to a strategic plan for raising more funds, but also to your personal development as the leader of your organization.

As we mentioned in our last article Giving for the Greater Good, 31% of annual donations are made in December. This translates into a VERY busy month for you and your staff. Factoring in self-care positively impacts your organization's bottom line.

How are you keeping your cup full so that you can truly serve others? Are you practicing the self-care that is critical to creating an environment of success for your team?

Here are a few tips to help you stay merry and bright this holiday season:

CELEBRATE!...

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Tis the season of giving…and spending! You, my friend, can create change through your gift giving. You have tremendous power in your pocketbook. By choosing products and services from social enterprises or businesses that support nonprofits you are choosing to help change the world - one gift at a time! By aligning with social impact businesses, you encourage other businesses to consider their social responsibility. You truly can drive change by who you choose to purchase from.

Did you know...

  • Nearly 9 in 10 Americans (89%) would switch brands to one that is associated with a good cause, given similar price and quality
  • A majority (79%) of consumers continue to seek out products that are socially or environmentally responsible.

This is a band-wagon you want to jump on!

I’ve put together a few examples of organizations that I support and who are supporting our vibrant nonprofit industry. Consider EXPANDING your gift giving this year and...

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