What’s is a Name?

I have been receiving too many (in this case, one is too many) of work emails addressed to the wrong name. Most of the emails were addressed to Beth, but one was even addressed to Brittany.

For those of you who don’t know, my name is Bethany. I have nothing against the actual name Beth, just that it is not my name, and I have never gone by Beth.

What's in a Name? No one likes to be called by the wrong name, so are you asking your donors and supporters what name they preferred to be called?

Last week I hit a wall and wrote the following rant on Facebook: What's in a Name? No one likes to be called by the wrong name, so are you asking your donors and supporters what name they preferred to be called? I had already complained to my husband several evenings about this problem. He had even offered to send out an employee-wide email informing everyone my name is Bethany. Note: I wrote it on my personal Facebook profile because I am not friends with the offenders. I felt like it was a safe place to let off a little steam.

The above rant got more engagement than 95% of my posts. This issue hit home with so many people I am thinking of starting a support group of all of us who suffer from being called the wrong name over and over.

You may be asking yourself, “What does this have to do with nonprofits?” I am glad you asked.

If this issue is important to my friends on Facebook, I am guessing it is important to your nonprofit’s donors and supporters as well.

No one likes to be called by the wrong name, even if we do respond it. I know I personally would rather be asked my name a couple of times than be called by the wrong name.

Easy steps to learning and remembering donors/supporters’ names:

  • Ask your donors and supporters what name they preferred to be called when you first meet them or when they fill out a form on your website.
  • Make note of their preference. It might be their first name, a shortened version of it, or maybe even Mr., Mrs., or Ms. and their last name.
  • Use the preferred name the next time you see them or when you address an email to them. Get comfortable using it.
  • When filling out grant applications, be sure to double-check the name and spelling of the grant maker.

By using the name a donor/supporter prefers, you are showing them you care about them and what their requests. A name is a fairly simple thing, but it can do wonders in securing support.

Your Turn: What name do you prefer to be called?

Lifesaving Party Campaign for Valentine’s Day

Preemptive Love Coalition, a nonprofit providing lifesaving heart surgeries for Iraqi children in pursuit of peace, this Valentine’s Day is inviting its supporters to throw lifesaving parties. Hosts will be given what they need by Preemptive Love to gather their friends and throw a party to raise money for lifesaving surgeries. $250 provides one lifesaving surgery.

Lifesaving Party Campaign for Valentine's Day

Preemptive Love is a nonprofit organization I keep up with.  And when I received the email about this campaign, I was intrigued. I personally do not celebrate Valentine’s Day. In high school, I called the holiday Forced Romance Day, and that still sums up my feelings on it. (Read more here.) But I am not against adding some meaning to the day by participating in a campaign like Preemptive Love’s.

How do your supporters feel about Valentine’s Day? Do they wish they had a way to add more meaning to the day?

How can you frame the campaign around love?

Your turn: Has your nonprofit ever ran a campaign for Valentine’s Day? How was it received? 

Be sure to:

7 Ethical Gift Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Generally this blog is geared towards grant writing and social media for nonprofit organizations. But with Valentine’s Day coming up, I want to interrupt the previous scheduled programming to tell you about 7 ethical gift ideas for Valentine’s Day.
7 Ethical Gift Ideas for Valentine's Day
As people who work and volunteer in the nonprofit sector, I assume you have a heart for improving lives. It is the theme that accompanies the nonprofit sector. It is certainly why I chose to make my career in the nonprofit sector.
Well, there are also many social businesses which are also in the business of helping improve lives, and I think they deserve our support especially on very commercially driven holidays.

Show those you love how much you care by giving gifts that help improve lives.

So here are 7 ethical gift ideas for Valentine’s Day: 
  1. 31 Bits Box of 5 Valentines – 31 Bits is jewelry made out of recycled paper by impoverished Ugandan artisans. This limited edition gift pack includes 5 Valentines that say “I LOVE YOU TO BITS”, 5 Bracelets in the Valentines colors shown, and 5 cloth bags.
  2. Gadanke Couple Journals - Gadanke journals are American-made journals to help you capture your story. There are several journals just right for couples. And they are made from 77% recycled content.
  3. ecocentric mom Organic Tagua Heart Bracelet  – This one-of-a-kind bracelet has been handcrafted from a Tagua Tree Nut which has the same appearance, density and feel of animal ivory without causing any harm to animals or the South American Rainforests where it is harvested and gathered. The colors are dyed using certified organic vegetable dyes from Italy.
  4. Equal Exchange Organic Chocolate Hearts – These organic, ethically produced chocolates are perfect for everyone you want to wish Happy Valentine’s Day.
  5. Divine Chocolate Heart of Gold Gift Set – This gift set is perfect for the chocolate lover in your life.
  6. YumEarth Organic candy (not chocolate) – Looking for candy that is not chocolate, look no further. YumEarth treats are made with all-natural ingredients, no artificial colors or artificial dyes, no gluten, no peanuts, and no tree-nuts, just award-winning taste.
  7. Make something yourself – Who doesn’t love a homemade gift?
For more ideas: check out the Art of Simple’s Ethical Shopping Guide 
So, What ethical gifts will you be giving this Valentine’s Day? 

3 Benefits to Participating in a Photo-A-Day Challenge

Before I purchased my first iPhone, I carried a digital camera around with everywhere I went. I always wanted to have it with me to capture the moment. You just never know when you will want to save a moment forever.
So when Kivi Miller at Nonprofit Marketing Guide posted the first Nonprofit Communicator’s photo challenge in October 2014, I was completely onboard. Kivi created another challenge to start off the new year.  Read about it on Nonprofit Communicators Photo-A-Day Challenge. These are the  prompts for this month.
Prompts for Nonprofit Communicators Pic Challenge
The keys of a Photo Challenge are:
  • Prompts – Someone gives photo prompts for a set time-frame (like a month).
  • Participants – Participants post a photo based on a prompt. The photo does not have to be taken on that day. If you have a post picture that fits the prompt perfectly, use it.
  • Hashtag – Everyone uses the same hashtag so participants can see other participants’ photos.
3 Benefits of Participating in a Photo-A-Day Challenge
In participating this second time, I have noticed three benefits:
  • Creativity: The prompts help provide a spark of creativity each day. I find myself waking up thinking about how I want to capture the prompt for the day.
  • Networking: Because we are all using the same hashtag, I see who else is participating in the photo challenge. Through these, I have made a few friends from other nonprofit communicators.
  • Inspiration: Seeing what other nonprofit communicators post give me inspiration to what I could post both personally and for nonprofits’ social media account.
If you have not participated in a photo challenge, I highly encourage you to do so. After trying, if it’s not for you, fine, but you won’t know until you try.
Have you participated in a photo challenge? Why or Why not? 

How To Guide To Twitter Chats

Every week I participate in a Twitter Chat called #GrantChat. This chat happens every Tuesday at noon EST on your Twitter account. Through this chat, I have made new friends, learned best practices, and obtained valuable resources all while having fun discussing a topic I am quite passionate about, grants!
How To Guide to Twitter Chats
I am going to share with you some basics about Twitter Chats. I hope you will find the information helpful and consider joining a Twitter chat or tow.

Twitter Chat Basics

What is a Twitter Chat? 
A Twitter chat is when a group of Twitter users meet up on Twitter (or Twitter chat platform) at a pre-determined time to discuss a certain topic using a hashtag for each tweet contributed to the topic.
Why participate in a Twitter Chat?
  • Twitter chats are a great way to network with other individuals interested and/or working in your profession or hobby.
  • Twitter chats provide an easy, cheap way to learn more about your profession, a hobby, or other interesting topic.
  • Twitter chat participates are generally generous with their knowledge and resources.
How to find Twitter Chats to participate in? 
  • Reading tweets of those you follow – Often those hosting or participating in a Twitter Chat will tweet about the chat.
  • For nonprofits, three chats I recommend are #GrantChat (Tuesdays at noon EST), #FundChat (Wednesdays at noon EST), and #FoundationChat (Fridays at 2pm, currently only once a month).
  • Chat Salad is a place to find chats that are happening now or in the near future.
  • Tweet Reports also keeps up a list of Twitter Chats.
  • Twubs has an easy to read list.

Twitter Chat Tips: 

You can do this by including A1, A2, A3, etc corresponding to each question in the chat. Many chats number their questions with Q1, Q2, Q3, etc making it easy for you to keep up.

Twitter Chat Tools 
There are some great tools to make following and participating in a Twitter Chat much easier.

Each tool is great. Experiment with which one you fits your needs the best.

More information on Twitter and Twitter Chats
Your turn: Have you ever participated in a Twitter Chat? 

funding the future