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2020 Impact Giving Tuesday Donations

Giving back is an amazing feeling! Especially this year, with so many people around the world struggling, Impact is proud to continue our tradition of making a donation in the name of every member of our staff. Each Impact team member has selected a nonprofit organization to receive their #GivingTuesday donation.

Here are our #GivingTuesday picks this year:

Heather: I am so excited this #GivingTuesday to donate to my little hometown library, Fletcher Memorial Library. Libraries are magical places filled with books and magazines that transport us to other worlds. This was even more important during the pandemic, when they shared resources curbside and distributed materials throughout the community. With their usual fundraising events cancelled, they have been reaching out for grants and private donations to fill in the loss. And on a personal note, I worked there from ages 13-20 as their children’s librarian.

Kathy: The District of Columbia has lost nearly 60,000 private sector jobs this year, and low-wage, Black and Brown workers have been hardest hit. I’m donating to The ONE DC Black Workers & Wellness Center. This member-led community and wellness space in Anacostia builds racial and economic justice through popular education, direct action, the incubation of economic alternatives to low-wage work, and artistic expression. In partnership with the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, the Center also provides low-wage workers with free legal advice on employment matters.

Jamie: I chose The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).. They are the nation’s leading voice on mental health, working to educate, advocate, listen, and lead to improve the lives of people with mental illness and their loved ones. While 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. lives with a mental health condition, we know that in reality, 5 out of every 5 of us are likely affected by someone we know, live with, work with, or care about who is dealing with mental illness. Especially during such a challenging year, remember to be kind to yourself and others. We often don’t know what others are going through.

Jen: I was recently fortunate to tour the renovated Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in downtown D.C. and was awed by how the space is redefining what a library means in today’s world. It’s truly a community center, with facilities that include everything from a tutoring and digital literacy center to an audio recording studio and 3D printing lab. Libraries are one of the last bastions of the brick-and-mortar “public square,” and the inclusivity and intentionality in the redesigned space makes it clear that it is genuinely for everyone. I am giving to the D.C. Public Library Foundation so that other library spaces can proceed on this path, and that these critical public spaces remain available long after the pandemic has ended.

Julie: Miriam’s Kitchen has been there for our D.C. neighbors experiencing homelessness throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Miriam’s is a literal lifeline, providing healthy meals and holistic case management services—while advocating for policies to eventually end the homelessness crisis in our community. And I can tell you firsthand that their kitchen is an incredibly fun place to volunteer!

Onyi: I chose St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital because they are dedicated to providing the best care for children battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing, or food. Helping children who are sick is deeply rewarding.

Meg: I am choosing Capital Area Food Bank for my Giving Tuesday donation. During this challenging year, people need help everywhere and with almost everything. But access to healthy food underlies so many of these needs. Capital Area Food Bank developed innovative ways to serve our D.C. community—following COVID-safe protocols all while facing an overwhelming increase in need of their services. I’m glad to do what I can to help.

Kim: The organization I selected is UNCF. Without their help, college would be out of the reach for many Black households. Both of my parents attended Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and I followed in their footsteps. The financial assistance we received made it possible to obtain a college degree which opened the door to meaningful careers. UNCF gives financial support to 37 historically Black colleges and universities, providing opportunity for many students to continue their education and earn a college degree.

Hannah: In honor of my pandemic puppy, I’ve chosen the Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA. They rescued my boy, Finley, from a North Carolina high-kill shelter and adopting him was the best decision I’ve made. He has been a source of joy, comfort, and entertainment during this especially difficult year.




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It’s almost time. Are you ready for #GivingTuesday?

Giving Tuesday is an annual day of giving held on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Following traditional days of spending, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is focused on giving back. As we say goodbye to a difficult year, let’s come together and give back to those in need on December 1st.

  1. Plan, plan plan. Instead of asking for donations on this seemingly random day, going dark for a few weeks, and then beginning your year-end campaign, use this existing giving day to kick-start year-end fundraising. Send a few emails in the days leading up to Giving Tuesday to prime your donors. On December 1st, increase the frequency of your emails and social media posts. And don’t forget to thank your supporters after the day passes.
  2. Testing 1-2-3. This may sound obvious, but I’ve stumbled across way too many giving sites that are not optimized for phones. So, plan in advance. Pick a few people on your team to visit your giving page on their various devices. Have them complete the donor experience from start to finish by making a donation of $5. This way, you can calmly make adjustments to your website ahead of time, if needed. You will be grateful, and your IT Team will really thank you.
  3. Be visual and concise. Social media posts with images are proven to receive more engagement. So, stick to what works. With so many posts to filter through on Giving Tuesday, create graphics with concise messaging to help your organization cut through the noise. If your giving site has a long URL, consider shortening it using an app like
  4. Get witty. With so many organizations competing for visibility on social media on this single day, come up with a clever and distinct hashtag. To get even more social media presence, encourage your followers to use your desired hashtag in posts about why they support your cause. This way, your most loyal donors are doing some of your marketing work for you.
  5. Lead by example. Consider looking outwards and making a donation to a partner organization or cause. Visit our blog next week to see which causes the Impact team is supporting on #GivingTuesday!

By – Jamie Sargent


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‘Tis the Season to be Thankful

Just like many of you, the Impact team is going on month eight of working remotely. When we left our desks back in March, it was hard to imagine we would still be working from our homes all these months later. It has been challenging at times and we really miss each other—and our clients. But during this season of thanks, we wanted to reflect on what we’ve learned to appreciate about working from home.

  1. Rocking a COVID-casual outfit during the workday. Nothing feels better than getting to wear comfy sweatpants or leggings every day!
  2. That espresso machine is finally earning its keep. Some of us have children to teach while working at the same time, and caffeine has never been more important.
  3. Our furry co-workers. By providing us comfort and reminding us to take some breaks away from the screen, Finley, Lavinia, Lucille, and Roxanne have shown themselves to be amazing colleagues.
  4. Extra time in the morning. The new shorter commute from our bedrooms to our home offices gives us more time to enjoy some extra sleep or more time with a good book.
  5. Neighbors. When you stay home for days and weeks on end, it gives you a chance to get to know the people who live right next door. . . and some of them are pretty cool.
  6. No need to pack a lunch. Staying home for work means access to the kitchen all day long. Our at-home lunches can be much more interesting than the quick microwave meals we keep at the office!

-By Hannah Summers


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Silver and Gold . . . Impact Wins Two MAXIS

We’re proud to share that Impact won a Gold MAXI award for our work with World Wildlife Fund on their Partners in Conservation mid-level program. This beautiful, high-touch invitation package achieved a 30% increase in response rate and inspired five people to join the $10,000 level.

Our renewal campaign for the National Geographic Society’s Grosvenor Council combined direct mail and telemarketing to double response rate and bring home a Silver MAXI. We love partnering with these outstanding organizations!

Congratulations to all the 2020 DMAW MAXI award winners!



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Holiday Baking…Yum!!!

Our clients are so creative—not just when it comes to fundraising, but also in the kitchen. If you’re looking for something new to add to your holiday table, try one of these fab recipes. How sweet it is!

Andrea Bieling from EMILY’s List shared this delightful recipe for a tasty treat for the holidays.


Apple Crisp
3 or 4 medium apples, peeled, cored & sliced
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup oats
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 375. Grease square 8″ pan. Place apple slices in pan in two
layers. Mix remaining ingredients with a pastry blender. Sprinkle over
apples. Bake 25 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is brown.

For all you chocolate lovers, here’s a delicious recipe from Kent Anderson at the League of Conservation Donors.

Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake from the Food Network’s Marcela Valladolid

Kent says: For dark beer lovers, chocolate lovers, and everyone in between, this cake is simply amazing. It smells amazing while you heat the beer, butter, and chocolate together, and it smells great while you cook it. I make it several times a year, and it’s one of my most requested recipes.

You can find the recipe here.

Kent also provided a few words of wisdom:

– Do not underestimate the importance of greasing and powdering the Bundt pan so the cake comes come out easily and cleanly. It’s hard to go overboard on this.
– Find the darkest, dreamiest stout you can think of. I love the ones brewed with coffee, chocolate, or licorice or those that have a great woody taste from being barrel aged.

– I usually skip the powdered sugar for garnish and use sour cream for the glaze instead of crema.
– Beware of the batter! This is by far the best cake batter I’ve ever tasted, and it’s SO rich you might not have room for cake after. You’ve been warned!


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Donor-Advised Funds: Tips to Move DAF Money to Your Charity

They are the best of funds. They are the worst of funds. But either way, they are here to stay.

Donor-advised funds are embraced by donors and often maligned by the non-profit industry for hoarding money intended for charitable purposes. Love them or hate them, they are a big player in the world of philanthropy. Over $130 billionearmarked for charitable giving is currently held in donor-advised funds.

Recently, Jack Doyle presented a webinar for The Nonprofit Alliance on how to help your donors mobilize the money in their donor-advised funds to affect change. He had some practical and novel ideas, especially for year-end appeals.

  1. First and foremost, utilize digital channels to the greatest extent possible. Nearly all DAF grants are initiated online, so make it easy for your donors to act quickly. Have a DAF widget on your site and drive donors there – especially on Giving Tuesday. (We love MarketSmart’s dafwidget—it is the most comprehensive and very easy for donors to use.)
  2. Know and acknowledge the source of your donors’ gifts. When a donor regularly gives from a DAF, acknowledge that in your appeals and on the reply device. Create a special DAF version of your appeal for this segment and leave out the tax-deduction language that may be in your other versions.
  3. Know the tax laws. Make sure that you acknowledge a DAF gift appropriately. Mention the name of the fund; don’t mention tax-deductibility.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask for larger amounts. The most popular first gift amounts from a DAF are $100, $200, $300, $500 and $1,000. Most funds have minimum grant amounts. But many donors with DAFs have the capacity to give more—and the funds are in their account. So, don’t be afraid to ask for bigger gifts from these donors.

And one bonus tip for next year:

Ask for two gifts at once. Twenty percent of DAF grants are scheduled in advance. In your mid-year appeal, suggest your DAF donors make an immediate gift AND schedule their year-end gift to take one thing off their holiday to-do list.

-By Meg Roberts


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“Discomfort is at the root of all growth and learning; welcome it as much as you can”.

-Tema Okun





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Asking is a Form of Stewardship

Back in October, fundraisers around the world gathered virtually for the two-day Nonprofit Storytelling Conference. As we continued to work in uncharted territory, every speaker sparked new ideas on ways to end this year strongly and begin the new year energized.

Steven Screen’s perspective on asking donors for gifts really stuck with me after the conference: “Asking is a form of stewardship.”

When developing annual fundraising calendars, we make an effort to m an appropriate balance of solicitation and stewardship touches with our donors. The two have always been separate in my mind, but Screen connecting the two made me look at them differently. Donors want to be asked for help. They are passionate about your organization’s mission and the work being done, so they want to be part of making a difference.

We tend to let our fear of drowning donors in too many appeals and communications lead us to ask less. But we should always be sending the message to our donors that they are needed. Screen helped us think of giving as a river, not a pond. We tend to sit in front of donors and reach in every now and then and pull out what we can. Instead, we should think of it as a river – by consistently flowing giving opportunities past donors, they will give more often and in turn increase retention rates.

It doesn’t always need to be a hard ask, but donors should always feel like they are needed. Even if a donor is not able to give at that moment, they will still feel good knowing that you asked for their support. By not asking donors for their help, we’re sending the message that they’re not needed. Giving is a generous act, and we don’t want to rob our donors of the opportunity to do something generous.

-By Hannah Summers


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Tactical Tips: The Hidden Tricks of Microsoft Word

Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking. That blasted paperclip cartoon from the 1990s (his name, I believe, was Clippy) is back with another quote-bubble tip on how to use your word processor.

But you’d be surprised at how many secret tricks Microsoft Word has these days that, in the absence of Clippy, most people aren’t aware of.

Insert Comment. The first one is common practice for students, writers, and editors — though many others may not know it. And that’s the “Insert Comment” feature. At Impact, we rely on this daily to share feedback on copy throughout the internal review process — and then again when receiving comments from clients on our work.

1. Track Changes. It does what it says – it keeps track of what you’re changing. If my colleague is tinkering with copy I wrote, I want to see what she’s changed — both to ensure it meets the needs of the project, and to learn from her edits. Here too, this will be old hat for folx who work often in collaborative writing/reviewing environments. (Don’t want to see the mess? Use “Hide Ink” to make the screen less crowded.)

2. Compare Documents. Forget to use the Track Changes tool? Yeah, it happens to the best of us. For when you need to see what’s changed from one revision to the next — without going word-by-word to spot the differences — use the Compare Documents tool (in the Review menu) to show what’s shifted.

3. Readability Statistics. This one’s not as easy to find. If you go to your Spelling & Grammar menu, you’ll see a checkbox for “show readability statistics.” Click this, and when you’ve cycled through all of your spelling and grammar issues, Word will give you a report (based on the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level test and Flesch Reading Ease test) of how readable your copy is, approximately what grade level it corresponds to, and how much passive voice you use in the document.

4. Accessibility Checker. This quick scan will search for things like images, which should have alternative text for screen-readers and other accessibility tools.

 5. Researcher. Wait, what?! MS Word can do my research now? Yep. There’s an embedded search engine in the program (powered by Bing, so if you’re used to Google, your mileage may vary). Your results appear right there in the sidebar. For the person who prefers to work clean and not have a web browser open with a bazillion tabs while they write (I’m not that gal), this could come in handy.