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August 2014

Money for Our Movements: A Social Justice Fundraising Conference

Money for Our Movements Postcard

Over 650 attendees came together for an amazing weekend full of inspiration, learning and growth. We are deeply grateful to everyone who contributed to the success of this year's conference—thank you for your participation and support!

Please check out photos, workshop handouts and the program book here.

And please share your feedback if you haven't already—thank you!

Social Justice Fundraiser Brown Bags

Would you like to connect with other social justice fundraisers in your area to share resources and build community?

We're supporting the formation of more groups like the ones that have been meeting in the Bay Area. Please complete this form and we'll connect you with other folks in your area interested in getting together. Thank you!

How to Empower Your Nonprofit Fundraising Strategies with the Wonderful World of Data

By Heather Yandow, Third Space Studio

I get these kinds of question all the time: "How much money should I be raising from individual donors?" or "Do you think I can raise $50,000 from individuals next year?"


Those are hard questions with many answers that depend on many factors.

To make answering those types of questions a little easier to answer, I started working to create a set of metrics for small and mighty organizations—those with revenues under $2 million. Over the past three years, this data has helped draw a picture of individual donor fundraising.

This year's report can be found here.

This work has also shined a light on the data practices of small nonprofits. Many struggle to find the time to collect and use their data. It's easy to see how collecting fundraising data can help improve your fundraising program, but sometimes it is hard to make collecting and using data a priority in an already full day.

Here are three tips to help make it easier for you to explore the wonderful world of data:

1. Start small. Don't think you need to collect ALL THE DATA. If you've read the report, you may be a little overwhelmed by the kinds of data you could be collecting. If you are new to the data game, start with tracking just a few key metrics like number of donors, number of new donors, and average gift. Also consider the reports built into your database. (You are using a database, right?)

2. Get the most juice for your squeeze, the most bang for your buck or, to be more formal, maximize your return on investment. Figure out what data has the most impact on your fundraising program and start there. Are you struggling with keeping donors year after year? Take a closer look at your retention rate by type of donors (volunteers, activists, major donors) or by channel (online, direct mail, events). Are you considering moving from direct mail to online only? Try an experiment with a subset of your donors and track the results. Click here to download a simple worksheet to design and track your experiments.

3. Make it easy for Future You. Whatever data you collect, be sure to write down how you found it. A year from now, you may not remember if lapsed members meant someone hadn't given in one year or two—or if you counted people who bought tickets to your special event as donors. Be sure to capture those distinctions, including how you tricked your database into giving you the data you wanted, in a safe place so that Future You can calculate the data in the same way next time around.

If you are interested in fundraising and data, be part of next year's Individual Donor Benchmark project.

Visit http://www.thirdspacestudio.com/countmein/ to sign up!

GIFT's Consultant Corner

Meaningful Evidence Logo

The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of GIFT, Grassroots Fundraising Journal or Kim Klein.

Do It with Science! Demonstrate Your Value with the Scientific Method
You + Science = More Funding

by Dr. Bernadette Wright of Meaningful Evidence, LLC


Funders, like government and foundation grant-makers, are demanding "scientific" evidence of project effectiveness. I recently came across a student guide from the American Chemical Society on the important but often overlooked parts of a scientific argument.

Other places like Science Buddies show somewhat different but similar steps in the scientific method. Using a scientific approach to show your value can help you avoid missing out on funding because of "not enough evidence." Plus, making your case scientifically can help you improve your effectiveness, increase your credibility, and benefit more people.

The scientific method:
1) Questions. Natural scientists ask questions like, "How do atoms work?" Social scientists and social change-makers address questions of how best to help people be healthier, save the environment, or end inequalities.

2) Evidence. The first step to answering your questions is to gather the evidence that's already known. Useful sources include studies of related efforts and conversations with stakeholders, experts, and leaders in the field.

3) Model. Next, use the facts you've gathered to create a model. Scientists use models to detail how phenomena occur, like how atoms are structured. A visual model, like a diagram, logic model, or strategic knowledge map helps leaders to show how their activities work to achieve their goals. Leaders should update their models as they modify and improve their programs.

4) Claim. The claim (the set of hypotheses or the theory) is what your model says will happen. For over a century, scientists made multiple claims about the nature of atoms (e.g., that they were solid spheres or that their parts were mixed together inside like "plum pudding"). When your organization claims it has a better answer, you're competing against those who claim that your hard work is not worthwhile or that their solution is better.

5) Experimentation. Experimentation is how you test your claims. The results support or refute them and add new evidence to your model. In 1911, Ernest Rutherford tested the "Plum Pudding" theory of atoms by shooting alpha particles at gold foil and analyzing the effects (the "Gold Foil Experiment"). Organizations are experimenting whenever they try a new way of doing things. Your evidence is your data about what effects you are having, whether you are having the effects you thought, and why or why not.

6) Explanation. A scientific explanation links the claim, evidence, and model. Science advances by providing better explanations that are valid in the world (outside the experiment). Organizations need to convince people that their way is the best choice to get the support they need to succeed.

7) Communication. Communicating your results to customers, the public, and researchers helps others and increases your impact. If your scientifically-obtained evidence proves you have a better mousetrap, you will survive the naysayers and counter-claimers and will have earned your place in the market.

To your success! Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.

In This Issue

Photos, Workshop Handouts & more from Money for Our Movements »

Connect with Local Social Justice Fundraisers »

Empower Your Nonprofit Fundraising Strategies with Data by Heather Yandow of Third Space Studio»

Consultant Corner: Do It with Science! by Dr. Bernadette Wright of Meaningful Evidence, LLC »

Social Justice Fundraising Jobs »

DonateHelp us bring resources to more social justice fundraisers like you! »

Like us on Facebook

DonorPerfect SoftwareGROW Fundraising Success With DonorPerfect Fundraising Software »


NeonCRM empowers organizations to raise more money, while helping your staff manage day-to-day processes more efficiently. The all-in-one database enables nonprofits to have their most important information in one system, accessible from any internet connection. Online forms integrate with any website, auto feed to NeonCRM, and allow for real-time processing and recurring payment scheduling. Learn more about NeonCRM »

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Donor Management Software »

Design Action CollectiveDesign Action Collective provides graphic design and web development services to advance social justice movements. Services are provided on a sliding scale to accommodate all budgets. designaction.org »


Train Your Board (and Everyone Else) to Raise Money

Train Your Board (and Everyone Else) to Raise Money

A Cookbook of Easy-to-Use Fundraising Exercises

by Andrea Kihlstedt and Andy Robinson (160 pp., $24.95+ shipping, quantity discounts available) 

Tapping an expert team of fundraising trainers across the United States, Andrea Kihlstedt and Andy Robinson have produced an extraordinary how-to book of easy-to-use fundraising exercises for boards of all sizes. Some activities are as short as 15 minutes, others take an hour. And everything you need to conduct any of the 51 exercises – step-by-step instructions, handouts, even questions to pose to the group – is included in the book.

See the Table of Contents

More Information

Social Justice Fundraising Jobs

We offer social justice groups free space on our website for fundraising-related job postings. Please check out our submission guidelines.

Greater San Francisco Bay Area

Bay Area Open Space Council~Development Coordinator

California Environmental Justice Alliance~Fund Development Manager (1/2 time, Oakland or Los Angeles)

Los Angeles, CA

Girls on the Run of Los Angeles County~Development Director


Interfaith Worker Justice~Grants Manager & Executive Director


Mountain Association for Community Economic Development~Development Associate


National Network of Abortion Funds~Community Mobilization Manager (location flexible), Access Network Organizer (Texas) & Communications and Development Associate (Boston)

Grassroots International~Executive Director

New York

North Star Fund~Deputy Director of Resources and Strategy

Brandworkers~Operations Coordinator

North Carolina

ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation~Director of Philanthropy


Progressive Technology Project~Development & Communications Specialist


Rethinking Schools~Director of Development & Operations

Washington, DC

Center for Community Change~Data Analyst & Immigration Campaign Manager


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