What Motivates You?


My post from back in July titled, “What’s Your Why?” discussed the need to clearly communicate your organization’s impact in your case for support. We all know that our donors need to understand how their investment in our mission will change/save lives. The truth, after all, is that…


Today I want to ask you a related question? What is your personal motivation?

Let’s face it. This is the time of year when things seem to ramp up across the board. There are year-end giving strategies, annual reports that need to be produced, budgeting for the next fiscal year, staff reviews, maybe even a fall event to execute. And, while that’s a pretty hefty load to carry, I’m sure I missed a few key items on your to-do list as well. Our attention and our energies are being pulled in multiple directions and, at times, it may start to feel overwhelming.

So, in the midst of all of the demands that are being placed on your time and attention over the next several months, now seems like the perfect time for a check-in to remind ourselves of our personal “WHY?” What is the thing (or things) that inspire you to get out of bed to do this work every day?

  • Is it the children that you are helping to find a forever home or shelter from the streets?
  • Is it your grateful patients or the families who have the benefit of hospice during unbearably trying times?
  • Is it the music, theatre or dance programs that your company creates, which in turn inspire people throughout your community?
  • Is it the dedicated educators or program people who are relentless in delivering on your mission?

For me, it is having the opportunity to help my clients advance their goals and it’s working with folks who, every day, are shaping a better future for my boys and the world they will inherit.


Regardless of what your inner driver is, I have found that giving yourself a chance to focus on “your why” and recalling the impact you are helping to make happen will inspire you to carry on – even when the mountain of work before you appears somewhat daunting. Thanks for all that YOU do to change the world we live in!

by: David Gee, Associate Vice President, HUB Philanthropic Solutions


What’s Your Why?


Are you currently developing or refining your case for support? Maybe you are preparing for a capital campaign or defining the case for a major gift initiative. If you have recently completed a new strategic plan or finished crafting your development plan, you may be revisiting and updating the overarching case for your organization.

(By the way, for some great ideas on successful development plans, check out my colleague Susan’s post from a few weeks back, Does Your Organization Have a Development Plan?)

Two of my current clients are in the process of developing their case for support in advance of an upcoming capital campaign. For each, the identified campaign priorities come from of a recently completed strategic plan so there is a high degree of confidence in their merit and a solid rationale for the actions to be taken. However, the most crucial element in making the case for each is answering, “the Why?”

Or, as a donor we were testing the priorities with said recently, “And the impact will be… what, exactly?”

While it is still absolutely true that people give to people – not to organizations or to projects – it is also 100% accurate to say that without clear and meaningful impact, donors will look elsewhere with their philanthropic investments. Think about that for a second.

Today’s donors have access to more information and, quite frankly, to more charitable organizations than ever before. At the same time, donors are more sophisticated and/or discerning about where and how they want to invest in making the world a better place.

The days of donors making significant gifts simply because they know you and “you do good work” are over. They want to know what impact their investment will have in the lives of the people you serve, on the environment or in our communities. It is really no different than when making a financial investment in the market. In that instance the impact they are seeking is having their money grow and, in your case, they need to understand how their money will change and/or save lives.


So, no matter what you are looking to raise funds for, whether it’s to support scholarships, restore an historic building, expand programming or whatever your goals may be, the case that will grab your donors’ attention and compel them to action is the one that offers a compelling vision for the impact their investment in your good work will have. Make it abundantly clear to them how their philanthropic support is going to help alleviate a problem they care about solving and I promise you, the next step you’ll need to take will be drafting a great letter of gratitude.

If you want to send me an example of an inspiring case for support that you and your team have created, I’ll compile the ones we receive and share them in a future post.

by: David Gee, Associate Vice President, HUB Philanthropic Solutions

Show, Don’t Tell: Why Your Nonprofit Needs Data Visualization Tools


You’ve seen them all over the interwebs. You run into them as you’re scrolling through your feed on Facebook, as you’re checking your Twitter updates, as you’re looking for remodeling ideas on Pinterest.

They’re infographics, and they’re everywhere. But more importantly for nonprofits: infographics (and other data visualization tools) are not a passing trend. It’s time you add them to your fundraising toolbox.

Infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data, or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly. Other data visualization tools—like charts, graphs, pictograms, gauges, dashboards, etc.—similarly present data in a pictorial or graphic format.

Why should you care?

Infographics and other data visualization tools:

  • Combine appeals to logic and emotions (a critical element of getting and keeping donors)
  • Engage 66% of all people who are visual learners
  • Register much more quickly with readers than narrative: visual cues are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text
  • Are visually intriguing and motivational
  • Give the reader’s eye a place to rest (especially when incorporated with appropriate amounts of white space)
  • Improve document readability
  • Can be published and packaged in multiple ways, making it a multipurpose tool

That last bullet point may be the most critical: data visualization tools can be used anywhere—social media, websites, cases for support, annual reports, and even grant proposals.

So, how do you create infographics and other tools?

As a nonprofit pro, my default response is use something free! And there are some high-quality, free tools available, like Easel.lyCanvaInfogr.am, and Piktochart. I’ve used them all, and they’re intuitive, provide lots of layouts and options (even at the free level), and are user-friendly for those of us who don’t have graphic design backgrounds.

If you have the resources to hire a professional graphic designer or illustrator, do it. They are amazing professionals who can help you step up your game in developing compelling fundraising collateral. And you may be surprised to find a graphic designer in your area who specializes in nonprofit work – I know I was! They’re out there, and some of them are even willing to volunteer.

by: Heather Stombaugh, Grants Consultant,  HUB Philanthropic Solutions