5 Questions for Pamela Grow

This is a continuing series of 5 Questions for experts from across the nonprofit sector:

Author, coach, copy-writer, nonprofit marketing consultant and political junkie, Pamela Grow is the author of “Five Days to Foundation Grants” and the creator of Simple Development Systems, the only online coaching program created for the overwhelmed fundraiser in the one-person marketing and development shop. Subscribe to her weekly enews, The Grow Report at pamelagrow.com.

1. What do you think smaller nonprofits learned the most from this most recent recession?
Small nonprofit organizations have always struggled with limited resources but in our current economy it’s even worse. I like to think in order to truly compete and thrive nonprofits have learned the importance of telling their story, of understanding and using multichannel communications in a way that engages, rather than broadcasts, and of the importance of making their donors feel genuinely appreciated and connected to their mission.

2. What is #smNPchat and how can it help nonprofit professionals?
Glad that you asked! I created the “small nonprofit chat” (hashtag #smNPchat) to provide fundamental answers to “small shop” fundraisers on how to compete with the Walmarts of the nonprofit world. #smNPchat is all about increasing impact, not necessarily about theory. We’ve got real organizations sharing fabulous examples of what’s working right now in social media, direct mail, online and more. Join us every other Friday at noon ET!

3. How has the Internet changed how organizations give and receive grants?
Organizations seeking grants have far more resources available to research prospective funders. From the easy availability of accessing foundation’s 990 tax returns to utilizing Blackbaud’s Nozasearch and other foundation search engines, it’s easier than ever to find prospective foundation funders. Social media is another boon to the grantseeker. More and more we’re seeing progressive foundations and their staff using Twitter. What a fabulous opportunity for both to engage! When done well, social media can be an amazing communications tool between funders and grantees. From a grant-maker’s perspective, the first thing a foundation will look at when they’re reviewing your grant proposal is your organization’s website – get it in order!

4. What is one thing nonprofits should stop doing and one thing they should start doing immediately?
Nonprofits need to stop scattering their resources and focus, focus, focus on implementing sound donor-centric fundraising with an emphasis on consistent communications and stewardship. Take control of your website, learn how to create an email autoresponder to increase your engagement, implement monthly giving, learn how to really work Facebook. Create your plan and work your systems and don’t let yourself veer off track with every bright and shiny new object that comes along.

5. 5 years from now we’re all going to look back and say ___________?
In the end, understanding how to be donor-focused trumps all else. Figuring out your organization’s ideal donor – what motivates them to give and become involved – engaging with them via social media, email and direct mail, and adopting a genuine attitude of gratitude are all key to long-term funding.