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This article was originally posted on the Americans for the Arts ARTSBlog on October 10, 2014:

Ever come back from a conference inspired, energized, and ready to unleash your brilliant ideas on your colleagues? You’re cruising along on a creative high until you hear, “That’s a good idea BUT…” followed by the reasons why it can’t be done.

When yours truly was a young worker bee, I heard some reasons that made head/desk contact a regular occurrence:

“We don’t need a blog. Nobody reads those. They are just vanity projects for people with big egos.” – executive director of a large nonprofit

“Why on earth would we ever want to post anything on YouTube?” - marketing director at a federal agency

More likely, though, you’ll hear something like, “I’d love to but we just can’t spare the money/time/staff for that.” If you want to avoid the quick, early death of your idea, getting the go ahead from the authorizers in your organization will be your first challenge.

Read the rest at the ARTSblog >

Tagged in: Guest Post Management

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Maybe it’s because I read some tech-leaning blogs but in recent years I’ve come across the terms user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design more frequently. These terms are often discussed in relation to usability of websites, apps and other software.

When I saw this blog post by Jakob Nielsen, !0 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design, it struck me that so much of fundraising is about managing the “user” experience. Even though his original post is almost 20 years old, it still has relevant applications to much more than just software.

So here is my list of fundraising analogies for each of Nielsen’s 10 heuristics:


1. Visibility of system status

Send donation acknowledgments within 48 hours. It’s mind-boggling that so many organizations still don’t do this at all much less in a timely fashion.


2. Match between system and real world

Are you asking people to make fiscal year-end gifts? Most donors don’t think that way and have no idea what you are talking about or why it’s important. Give folks another compelling reason to donate because this one ain’t.


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Finding Out What Are Your VIPs Are Up To
Not happy with Google Alerts? Take a look at Newsle as another way to find out when your donors and prospects get in the news. This could be a very useful addition to your relationship-building toolbox.

Giving Tuesday 2014
The next Giving Tuesday isn’t until December 2 but it’s not too early to make your plan. The Knight Foundation has a handy Giving Day Playbook that covers planning, outreach, logistics, follow-up and assessment.

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