impact stories blog

#WednesdayWisdom: Spread Love

“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”

– Mother Teresa

Happy Valentine’s Day from the Impact Team! We hope you’re feeling the love today – and showing your donors how much you love them.


Photo credit: © liz west Used under a Creative Commons (CC-BY-2.0) license.

Tagged , , |

#WednesdayWisdom: We are each other’s harvest

“We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.”― Gwendolyn Brooks




Photo credit: © Camdiluv !* Used under a Creative Commons (CC-BY-2.0) license.


Tagged , , |

What the New Tax Law Means for Your Donors

Some sobering insights from AFP about the tax law changes—with an interesting twist for mid-level fundraising: 

1) The threshold to be able to take advantage of the charitable deduction has increased. Research from the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that nearly 30 million taxpayers will no longer itemize their taxes and will instead use the standard deduction. That change could eliminate nearly $100 billion in itemized contributions.

2) Research by the Tax Policy Center, and from The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and Independent Sector, estimates the drop in giving will be in the $12 – 20 billion range annually. (Ouch!)

3) Mid-level donors may be facing the most complicated decisions. Donors who give from several hundred dollars, to donors in the $1,000 – $5,000 range, may very well have been itemizers in 2017. But in 2018, all of the tax law changes may lead them to take the doubled standard deduction. On the other hand, they may end up with more discretionary income to donate in 2018. What to do? Ask these mid-level donors why they give, show them lots of love, and demonstrate tangible ways their support is making a difference.

Read AFP’s full report here: How to Approach Fundraising in 2018

– Posted by Kathy Swayze, CFRE, @impactkathy


Photo credit: © MoneyBlogNewz Used under a Creative Commons (CC-BY-2.0) license.

Tagged , , |

#WordsOfWisdomWednesday: Purpose

“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”

-Helen Keller

Tagged , , |

What we owe humanity

“If you’re in the luckiest one percent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 percent.”

– Warren Buffett



Photo credit: © dlands333 Used under a Creative Commons (CC-BY-2.0) license.



Tagged , , , |

It Takes Two to Tango: 5 Tips for Engaging Your Donor’s Partner

You love your donor and they love your organization. But what about your donor’s partner? What have you done to help them become enthusiastic about your mission? Here are few quick tips to show your donors’ partners some love.

It takes two to tango. In a relationship both parties are part of the decision making process—especially when it comes to financial decisions, like donations. You may receive larger gifts or more frequent gifts if both people are on board and well-educated about your mission.

Both deserve recognition. Say goodbye to referring to your donors as Mr. and Mrs. Shawn Carter. Make sure you honor the donation they made with both of their names— “thank you to Mr. Shawn Carter and Mrs. Beyoncé Knowles-Carter for your donation.” The details make a difference!

Be inclusive. As an extension of the point above, always use inclusive language. Know your donors and learn how they feel comfortable being referred to in public or in a letter. Speak in terms that appeal to both partners so both feel welcome and called to donate to your cause.

Think long, long term. If both partners are engaged, they will be more likely to donate to your cause for a longer period of time. For example, women are more likely to remain loyal to a charity, giving more consistently over a longer period of time. Also, women outlive men, so if there is a female partner in the relationship, she is more likely to have ultimate control of planned gifts.

Make sure your board is diverse. This tip will help on many levels, but in this instance think about how one partner will feel if he or she isn’t represented on your board. Everyone wants his or her voice heard.

It’s worth your time to get to know both peas in the (donor) pod.

Photo credit: © Kevin Johnston Used under a Creative Commons (CC-BY-2.0) license.




Tagged , , , |

#WordsOfWisdomWednesday: Our Responsibility

“We are responsible for the world in which we find ourselves, if only because we are the only sentient force which can change it.” – James Baldwin




Photo credit: ©  Basheer Tome  Used under a Creative Commons (CC-BY-2.0) license.

Tagged , , , |

Want a Raise? Start Marketing Planned Giving!

Do you want to be a rock star in your organization? To add more value and raise more dollars to fuel your mission? You can!

Join Impact’s own Kathy Swayze and Meg Roberts on DMFA’s planned giving marketing webinar tomorrow, January 17th, at 2pm EST. You will learn how to help your organization capture its share of the multi-trillion dollar transfer of wealth that is predicted over the next couple decades.

Where will these trillions of dollars come from?  The answer is clear: from YOUR direct mail donors—and research shows it won’t decrease their annual giving at all! We’ll cover how your direct marketing and planned giving teams can work together to promote planned gifts—and share amazing examples from organizations that are already succeeding.

Here are just a few of the key practices we’ll be covering:

  • Discussing common goals with your colleagues
  • Making room for appeals in your marketing calendar by identifying key audiences
  • —Identifying stewardship pieces that can be customized for annual and planned giving donors
  • Personalizing your appeals to show donors you know them

To learn all this and much more, sign up here:

Photo credit: © Purple Slog Used under a Creative Commons (CC-BY-2.0) license.

Tagged , , |

8 Tips for Communicating Impact to Your Donors

Many of us scurried to make our charitable contributions in the final days of 2017. Who did you decide to give to… and what do communications have to do with it? Based on my own giving, I would say a lot.

The organizations I support are the ones that communicate with me about the impact we’re making together:

  • They provide me with information about their accomplishments through print and digital newsletters;
  • They deliver valuable content on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram;
  • They alert me when my voice is needed to move a piece of legislation or end a nefarious corporate practice;
  • And they tell me how my dollars are making a difference.

One local charity I used to support very generously sent me their year-end fundraising letter. I realized that I had not received ANY communication from them all year, except a special giving day email. I don’t know what they’ve been up to. Are they growing? Are they serving more people? What kind of an impact have they had on our community? No idea.

So, you guessed it—that letter went straight into the recycling bin.

Another charity I love always sends me a special Year in Review report. It’s a simple, 4- page, newsletter-style piece that discusses projects in countries around the world. It includes wonderful photos showing their important work. When I read that report and look at the faces of the people I have helped, I’m inspired to do more—and the credit card or checkbook comes out!

So as 2018 begins, here are 8 quick ideas that can help you do a better job of reporting back to your donors on the impact of their giving this year:

  1. Add a success story buckslip to your acknowledgment packages.
  2. Send an email with a link to a newspaper article that mentions your organization, saying, “Just thought you would like to see this news.”
  3. Create a Year in Review report for 2017 (it’s not too late!) to mail out to your very best donors and email to the full file.
  4. When you have a big accomplishment to tout, place thank you calls to your top donors letting them know, “you made this happen.” If you can’t afford to outsource this, consider a staff thank-a-thon where each staff person is given five donors to call.
  5. Send a highly personalized letter from the CEO, providing a warm, insider update to your very best donors.
  6. Add a “Your Dollars at Work” section to your existing newsletters to show donors what you are doing with their money.
  7. Video is hot. Why not showcase your talented staff (doctors, teachers, social workers, people in the field…) through short Q&A video interviews that you can share on social media? They don’t have to be polished—just authentic. Make sure the person being interviewed gives a “thank you” shout out to donors.
  8. Interview donors and write up their stories for use on your website and in publications. Allow them to explain in their own words why supporting your organization matters to them.

Happy New Year to all our readers and may your donor communications prosper and be plentiful in 2018!

Photo credit: © Paul Downey Used under a Creative Commons (CC-BY-2.0) license.

Tagged , , , , , , |

#WordsOfWisdomWednesday: Truth is the Most Powerful Tool

“What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.” -Oprah Winfrey





Photo credit: © Tim Abbott Used under a Creative Commons (CC-BY-2.0) license.

Tagged , , , , , |