Susan Orr

Recent Posts

5 Daily Habits of Effective Volunteer Managers

Posted by Susan Orr on August 15, 2018

According to the Corporation for National & Community Service, people who volunteer are twice as likely to donate to a nonprofit organization compared to those who don’t volunteer. Volunteers not only ensure that programs run smoothly but they are also potential community ambassadors and donors for your organization.

Volunteer coordinators directly interact with these important individuals, so how they manage and interact with volunteers is also integral to the charity’s success. Below are 5 daily habits that volunteer managers should adopt to create an effective volunteer program.

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Topics: Volunteer Management

Nonprofit Data Diaries Part 1: Communication and Solicitation

Posted by Susan Orr on July 11, 2018

We hear a lot about Big Data and how it has transformed the way we live, from deciding which ads we see to finding cures that may save our lives. There’s no doubt about its power to influence and inform.

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Topics: Database Governance

Online Giving in Capital Campaigns

Posted by Susan Orr on May 23, 2018

When you think of capital campaigns, you probably focus on major gifts. After all, those are what will propel you to your goal. It would be quite unusual to receive a major campaign gift online. However, online fundraising in your capital campaign can be an effective way to acquire and retain new donors.

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Topics: Campaign Management, Online Donation, Donor Retention, Fundraising Basics

Reflections on my Capital Campaign Volunteer Experience

Posted by Susan Orr on March 19, 2018

I have been a volunteer on at least eight capital campaigns over the past 25 years. On some I was a working co-chair; on several I was an “honorary” co-chair; on some I was part of the campaign cabinet. I have been to countless cocktail receptions, dinners, briefings. I have squired many a prospect around on site visits. I have participated in myriad meetings with potential and actual donors.  I have vetted hundreds of names on prospect lists.

Most of these campaigns were successful in reaching their goal. One was not. Some were lots of fun. Some were frustrating.  All came with the rewards of helping secure major gifts for an important cause, being part of a hard-working team, and, perhaps most rewarding, watching other donors light up at the idea of making a major commitment to something they love.

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Topics: Volunteer Management, Campaign Management

How to Involve Your Volunteers in Capital Campaign Fundraising

Posted by Susan Orr on March 12, 2018

Capital campaigns typically follow the 80/20 rule: 80% of the money comes from the top 20% of the donors. This means that the key to success for your capital campaign is securing those major gifts that fill in the top tiers in your gift range chart. These major gift donors are those who believe in your cause and your ability to make a difference, have the capacity to make a large gift, and have a connection to someone within your organization.

Fundraising with major donors is largely achieved through personal relationships and conversations between the donor, a volunteer, and the leadership team. Below are some helpful steps to securing large donations through capital campaign fundraising.

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Topics: Campaign Management, Volunteer Management, Fundraising Basics

Year End Giving: How to Request Donations from Important Donors

Posted by Susan Orr on October 9, 2017

The end of the year is fast approaching and, as I’m sure you’re aware, nearly a third of all annual giving happens in December and 12% of all giving happens in the last 3 days of the year, so this is an important time for any nonprofit organization.

You’re probably in the middle of planning your year end giving push. Perhaps you’ve already designed and printed your direct mail piece and are starting to segment your donor list. Every donor on your list is valuable, but during this time of year, it’s important to pay special attention to three segments of donors: major donors, your board, and other special friends.

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Topics: Donor Retention, Fundraising Basics

Nonprofit Overhead: A Dangerous Success Metric

Posted by Susan Orr on September 15, 2017

The other morning, while driving to work and listening to the radio, I found myself yelling at an NPR reporter. Not a very productive way to express my opinion, I admit. The reporter was interviewing a Red Cross spokesman on the topic of overhead expenses for the nonprofit organization, asking about the percentage of each Red Cross donation that goes directly to provide services to disaster victims. NPR’s reporter pushed the representative to admit that they spend more than 10% on overhead, presenting this claim as if it was a moral outrage.

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Topics: Insider

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