What Are Some Characteristics of Diverse Donors?

Nonprofit donors from diversity backgrounds share common characteristics. Below are a few to help expand your nonprofit’s donor base:

  • First-generation wealth
  • Wealth from entrepreneurial enterprises in specific industries
  • Live in multiple worlds/cultures
  • Participate in multiple networks
  • Bi-culturally fluent
  • Most often prefer causes that impact their own communities
  • Rarely limit giving to their own community
  • Reluctant to commit to long-term charitable planning
  • Identified person (staff, volunteer, board member, participant/recipient of services) associated with the nonprofit and its cause or beneficiaries and passionately committed to issues
  • Has participated in nonprofits for some time and serves on board or advisory committee or on a gala or event committee
  • Major gift was followed by a sequence of increased financial commitments over time


Your nonprofit, faith-based organization, or government agency can achieve greater capacity when you participate in The INS Group webinars. Visit our website for the latest lineup.



Posted in Capacity Building, Communications, Donors, Fund Development, Fundraising, Marketing/Public Relations, Nonprofit Management, Strategic Planning

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Why Every Board Needs at Least One Millennial

Millennials have been skewered in the media as selfish, lazy, and apathetic. In 2013, Time magazine declared them as the “Me Me Me” generation.

Yet Millennials—defined as individuals born between 1980 and 1996, or those 20-36 years old today—have unique perspectives and skillsets to contribute to nonprofit organizations.

Here are three reasons why you should consider inviting at least one Millennial to join your Board of Directors:

1. Diverse perspectives. Marcus Morrow, 35, a Board member for Achievement Academy of Durham and Durham People’s Alliance, warns that ageism is bad for organizational sustainability. “Boards made up of a single, collective perspective tend to approach problems and situations in a myopic manner,” he says. He suggests that Board members work to recruit from beyond their own peer groups and consider individuals with different backgrounds and experiences.

2. In-demand skillsets. Millennials often have skillsets—cultivated both professionally and socially—that are must-haves in the modern workplace. From expertise in social marketing to data mining to crowdsourcing, Millennials are adept at leveraging their everyday experiences and enthusiasm into tangible wins for professional and organizational gain.

3. Big hearts (and wallets). Despite their reputation as living off of Mom and Dad, Millennials are significant philanthropic contributors. The 2014 Millennial Impact Report from the Case Foundation found that 87% of Millennials donated money to a charitable cause in the prior year. In addition, nearly half had volunteered their time or skills to a charity in the previous month. As Millennials age and increase their personal wealth, there’s no doubt that they will become formidable influencers and contributors within the nonprofit sector.

Learn more board-development solutions when you join in The INS Group webinars. Check our website for the latest schedule.

Posted in Board Development, Capacity Building, Communications, Donors, Fund Development, Fundraising, Nonprofit Management

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Philanthropy in the Latino Community: How and Why They Give


New research shows that people within the Latino community are increasingly turning to philanthropy to provide support. Want to expand your donor reach in this market? Here’s how and why they give:

Why Latinos Give:

  • Emergency and financial assistance to family and “Como familia” in U.S. and abroad
  • Religion
  • Family-related issues, children/youth, elderly
  • Community rights and economic opportunities
  • Scholarship funds, education, youth development
  • Cultural heritage or preservation and the arts
  • Healthcare and human services
  • Disaster relief in home / ancestral countries

How Latinos Give:

  • Family and friends
  • Church
  • Mutual assistance associations
  • Civic associations, chambers of commerce
  • Business and professional organizations
  • Hispanic/Latino civil-rights and social-justice organizations
  • Hispanic/Latino Community Development Corporations, community funds
  • Mainstream nonprofits that address Hispanic/Latino needs

Gain more capacity-building insights when you participate in The INS Group webinars. Check our website for the latest schedule.


Posted in Capacity Building, Communications, Donors, Fund Development, Fundraising, Marketing/Public Relations, Nonprofit Management, Strategic Planning

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Rethinking Site Visits

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” –Confucius

ins_digitalYour organization has great collaterals for sharing its impact—a vibrant annual report, videos, program profiles on social media, and maybe even an impact page on your website.

But are you bringing visitors to see and experience your organization’s work?

Site visits are an important way to help the public, volunteers, and current and potential funders understand your nonprofit’s impact. Relationship building often begins with a phone call, but site visits are a powerful opportunity for supporters to connect with your mission and the individuals you serve. Here are a few tips for planning and implementing successful site visits:

1. Determine your goals and audience. Are you celebrating a new program? Do you want to reconnect with longtime funders? Do you wish the general public knew more about your nonprofit’s work? Determine 3-5 fundraising and marketing goals your organization has for the next fiscal year and then identify program opportunities that will allow visitors to connect with your organization’s work.

When creating a guest list, think broadly. What companies or groups are interested in the areas in which your organization works? Are there city or county officials that would want to know more about your nonprofit and its accomplishments? Don’t be afraid to invite individuals or groups with whom you have little or no prior relationship. If you operate programs in partnership with other organizations, tap into their networks and brainstorm potential visitors. Don’t be afraid to make site visits a joint effort!

2. Create a formal event with an informal feel. Take the time to develop a well-planned, thoughtful event. Create a graphic and email invitations or send invitations in the mail. When possible, align your visit with a national celebration (National Summer Learning Day, National Children’s Book Week). Limit visits to a maximum of 1.5 hours and share an agenda with visitors beforehand. Offer refreshments when possible and send people home with “swag” or a small gift. Everyone has busy schedules; these touches show that you respect people’s time and appreciate their interest.

On the day of the site visit, try to put visitors at ease. Avoid overly formal professional clothing and limit presentations with slides. Too often, presentations feel one-sided and stiff. Instead, do what you can to encourage a conversation about your organization’s work. Arrange chairs in a circle, ask guests what they know about your nonprofit, and encourage questions. Invite staff members and the individuals you serve to share stories about your organization’s work and the impact they have seen or experienced. This last approach is a tremendous way to connect with visitors and allow them to learn about your work from people with whom normally they might never interact.

3. Let visitors see or do the work themselves. Site visits are a unique opportunity for visitors to directly experience your work and see its benefits. Drop in on a gardening class with kids and encourage visitors to ask children what they are learning. Bring visitors to your warehouse and have them speak with dedicated volunteers who are loading boxes of food for families. Do whatever you can to make visitors feel like they are a part of the process and have seen your mission in action.

4. Notify program staff of site visits. Bring your program staff into the loop well before site visits. Let them know the number of visitors that are coming, encourage them to wear clothing with your organization’s logo, and share any expectations you may have. After the visit, quickly debrief with staff to see what went well and what you can do better next time.

5. Protect the privacy of individuals you serve. Sometimes visitors like to take photos on their cell phones. On the day of your visit, inform visitors about any safeguarding or media policies your organization may have. Discourage visitors from taking photos on their own—it’s important for staff members and the people you serve to have a say in how their images are taken and used. (Be especially careful with minors; be sure to have parents/guardians sign a photo release, and have the courtesy to ask children if they would like to be photographed.) When possible, get signed photo releases from program staff and participants in advance and have Communications staff take photos that you can share later with visitors.

6. Follow up with a thank you. Send visitors a simple thank you email or note for spending time with your organization and encourage them to visit again. Provide a link for them to sign up for your newsletter and social media channels, and let them know that you plan to keep in touch. Site visits are about relationship building and providing a glimpse into your organization’s work. Don’t forget this critical step!

Want to learn more innovative nonprofit solutions? Join The INS Group’s “Ready, Set, Prioritize: The Fundamentals of Strategic Planning” webinar on May 10, 2017 (2 – 3 pm ET). Click here to register.

Posted in Capacity Building, Communications, Donors, Nonprofit Management

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Philanthropy in the African American Community: How and Why They Give

The face of philanthropy is rapidly changing to become as ethnically, culturally, and socioeconomically diverse as our country’s population – and demographic trends show that communities of color are giving at increasing rates and levels. Aligned with the goals of the founder of Black History Month Carter G. Woodson (shown), greater attention is now being paid to the contributions of Black Americans by nonprofits. Here’s what you need to know.

Why African Americans Give:

  • Emergency and immediate assistance to friends and family
  • Religion
  • Education and scholarships
  • Youth programs (at-risk youth)
  • Civil rights
  • Human services
  • Healthcare and research
  • Community and economic development

How African Americans Give:

  • Direct giving through families and friends
  • Black churches
  • Mutual aid societies
  • Fraternities, sororities, and social or civic groups
  • Historically black colleges, scholarship funds
  • African-American civil-rights organizations
  • Community human services organizations
  • Black federated campaigns 

Want to learn more innovative nonprofit solutions? Join The INS Group’s “Ready, Set, Prioritize: The Fundamentals of Strategic Planning” webinar on May 10, 2017 (2 – 3 pm ET). Click here to register.

Posted in Capacity Building, Communications, Fund Development, Fundraising, Nonprofit Management

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Are You Following These 6 Nonprofit Communications Strategies?

  1. wisperingKnow your audience. Take the time to learn their interests and forms of communications, and then tailor your strategy to communicate using those venues.


  1. Have a clear call to action. This includes a clear message and “elevator” pitch.


  1. Connect with your target audiences emotionally. Through the use of focus groups or surveys, find out what motivates your donors to give.


  1. Talk about solutions to needs – give hope!


  1. Be consistent with your language. Your taglines, position statement, talking points, and elevator pitch should employ similar messaging.


  1. Be consistent with your mechanisms. Your organization’s website, emails, social-media accounts, and speeches should have the same “look and feel.”


Find out more about creating an effective communications strategy by contacting The INS Group.


Posted in Capacity Building, Communications, Donors, Marketing/Public Relations, Nonprofit Management, Uncategorized

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How to Motivate Donors to Continue to Give?



Donors of all types are increasingly demand information about what you are working to achieve and how you will know if you succeed. Here are some best practices to help you fully inform donors of your organization’s strategy to help you motivate and inspire them to continue to give:

  • Share multiple types of data, such as the number of people served, the type and quality of services provided, and other measurable outcomes and impact metrics.
  • Demonstrate how you’re building organizational capacity. Funders, for example, are increasingly interested in organizations that leverage resources, collaborate with other groups, and build their organizational capacities. They are increasingly interested in funding successful programs that can be replicated, so implement a digital communications plan in order to communicate impact, news, and making asks.
  • Target messages to your different donor segments. This can be accomplished by balancing and combining different forms of communication for different purposes, using email, snail mail, and social-media.

Want to learn more about The INS Group’s fund development and other services? Please visit http://theinsgroup.com/consulting-services/.

Posted in Capacity Building, Communications, Donors, Fundraising, Nonprofit Management, Strategic Planning

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The Nuts & Bolts of Building Your Resources Capacity

nutsandbolts2Organizations seeking to develop their resources capacity can take heart in knowing that resources are everywhere. How you identify and use them is what makes the difference. Successful resource development does not necessarily require doing more. Instead, it means being more strategic, thoughtful, and deliberate. Below are the five “I’s” of resource development, distilled from the Georgia Center for Nonprofits, and questions to ask to help build your capacity.

Identify: Who are potential supporters? How will your organization track their engagement? What system(s) and process(es) should be implemented to maintain and manage good records of past and current donors?

Inform: What, how, and when do you inform potential supporters about advancing your organization’s mission and how you are making a difference? What stories can you share to inform about your cause? What communications channels will you use and how will you manage those channels?

Involve: What volunteer opportunities should you offer to involve potential supporters? What do you need to communicate to potential supporters after their volunteerism to ensure “money follows their time?”

Invest: Are you communicating to potential donors that time, talent, and treasure are all important ways to invest? How do you move time and talent donors to treasure donors?

Impact: Are you tracking all of your board members’ and other volunteers’ time, talent, and treasure to show the impact and to encourage more? Are you communicating to each donor – “your gift of time and/or talent and/or treasure made this impact on our organization and/or community?”

For more capacity-building strategic advice, please contact us at The INS Group http://theinsgroup.com/consulting-services.

Posted in Capacity Building, Donors, Fund Development, Fundraising, Nonprofit Management, Uncategorized

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Top Trends in Nonprofit Giving



In the fast-paced nonprofit sector, organizations that stay on top of the latest giving opportunities will come out on top. Here are a few notable trends:


  • Donors will have ability to control how they receive communications based on personal preferences and interests.
  • Improvements in communications technology will allow nonprofits to connect with donors seeking specific information about the impact of a gift.
  • Organizations will allocate communication and marketing resources according to donor preference, rather than making assumptions.
  • “One-click giving” and other impulse-gifting technologies will gain in popularity.
  • Organizations that provide small, impulsive gifting opportunities will be better positioned to strengthen relationships with donors.
  • Donors will provide smaller gifts but will give several times over the course of the year.
  • Donors will continue to drive smaller gifts toward projects where tangible results can be demonstrated.

Gain more capacity-building insights when you participate in The INS Group webinars. Check our website for the latest schedule.



Posted in Capacity Building, Donors, Fundraising, Marketing/Public Relations, Nonprofit Management

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Grant Writing: The Most Commonly Requested Attachments



When applying for a grant, funders will often ask for specific attachments. Read the guidelines carefully and only send what has been requested. Funders may ask for the following to help shed more light on your organization.

  •  Audited financial statement
  • R.S. Determination Letter
  • Board roster
  • Project budget
  • Organizational budget
  • Letters of support or endorsement
  • Resumes
  • Job descriptions
  • Brochures
  • News clippings
  • Annual report

Learn more innovative nonprofit solutions. Join The INS Group’s free “Grant Writing Made Simple” webinar series on Dec. 15 from 2 pm – 3:30 pm ET. Register here.

Posted in Capacity Building, Fund Development, Grant Research, Grant Writing

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