Monthly Archives: December 2014

crafty goodness

Handmade craftiness is one of my favorite things.  This video blog post for a crafty gift topper is just awesome!

Not exactly the typical content you’d expect to find here at the APRA Greater Houston blog, but I’m about to take a little break.  See you back here in January!!


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Fundraising predictions for 2015 and beyond

Pursuant recently published a white paper titled ‘Four trends that will change the nonprofit landscape by 2020.’  When I saw the title, I definitely had to download it.  Click here to read the full article by Curt Swindoll, Executive VP, Strategy at Pursuant.  Here are the highlights:




Mr. Swindoll includes a discussion in each section outlining things your organization can start doing now to keep abreast of the predicted trends.


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Design guidelines for building infographics

As our constituent information becomes more complex and we find ourselves attempting to generate meaningful reports that include dissections of geography, donor segment, engagement level, wealth, lifetime value, giving history, communication channel, etc., the resulting information is muddled and difficult to interpret.

How can we decide what we should be doing if we don’t fully appreciate our constituents’ actions in the correct context?

Infographics are an advanced form of data visualization that help readers digest large amounts of complex information.


Edahn Small, creative director at the Hypothesis Group recently published this article outlining five principles to keep in mind when designing an infographic.

As our colleagues continue to seek to understand more about the complex layers of information in our data bases, visual communication methods are the best approach for those of us attempting to deliver that understanding.  While there is nothing formulaic or simple about infographics, those of us attempting to adopt this style of communication are always looking for pointers. So click on the image above to read Edahn Small’s article.


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Bookmark this – Houston real estate development deals

This incredibly awesome interactive map highlights current real estate development projects throughout Houston.  A savvy prospect researcher would not find it difficult to discover the developers who are behind the big deals.


Here’s a quick example of one of the construction projects highlighted.

A huge thanks to APRA-GH member & friend Will Elliott for sharing this information!


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Contribute to M+R’s annual nonprofit benchmarking study

If your organization would like to participate in M+R’s nonprofit metrics benchmarking study, now in its 9th year, sign up!  Just click the image below to access their sign-up webpage.



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3 ways to prioritize constituents

This blog post appeared originally in August on the old blog, but it was one of the reader favorites, so I thought it might be a good idea to publish the content again on our new platform.  Here are 3 calculations that can be useful for filtering or prioritizing constituents before examining at the individual level.  Courtesy of Fundraising Success.

calculationsIf you’d like to share a formula that you use, let me know!!



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Collecting big data in the arts

Dinner with a colleague who works in the performing arts sector last week made me keenly aware of their serious commitment to harness math-based strategies to continuously identify candidates for philanthropic involvement from their audience base.  Then just today I read this article in the WSJ about art museums collecting and analyzing patron behavioral data while the visitors engage with the exhibits.


This gives museums information to make all sorts of business decisions for curators to modify exhibits according to true demand, visit patterns or time of day.

Some museums offer services via a smart phone app and can collect additional information that helps inform a broader range of patron demographic information.

Of course, having information is of little consequence if it doesn’t serve to inform any direct actions, but today’s art sector is striving to create a fulfilling, engaging experience.  Knowing who’s in the audience is key.

Click on either of the images to read the article.


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Bookmark this – 11 survey tools for nonprofits is a great website to keep tucked inside the Resources folder on your Favorites list.  As I was browsing through Techsoup not so long ago I saw this article outlining some great information about survey tools.  The article (authored by is over 2 years old, so the costs reflected may not still be current, but it is a good summary starting point for anyone attempting to evaluate survey tool options.  The tools are organized into 3 categories.

The 11 tools are listed below, but to navigate to the original article, just click on the picture.

First category – basic survey functionality

1.   SurveyMonkey

2.   Zoomerang

3.   SurveyGizmo

4.   PollDaddy

Second category – inexpensive solutions bundled with other product/solutions

5.   Constant Contact

6.   FormSite

7.   Moodle

Third category – advanced survey packages

8.   Qualtrics

9.   QuestionPro

10. LimeSurvey

11.  Key Survey



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Just a little holiday cheer

you know what they say about all work and no play.  So just for today, sharing my favorite Christmas song of the year.


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Maximizing communications impact through segmentation

According to a survey conducted in 2014 by Bloomerang and the Nonprofit Marketing Guide (infographic results shown  below) nonprofits either approach segmenting aggressively or not at all.

So why segment?  Here are a few easy answers–

  1. Send more finely crafted communications to a particular audience (alumni, parents of current students, donors over the age of 68, constituents who donated to last year’s GivingTuesday campaign, etc.)
  2. Save money on postage.  If your budget permits only 10,000 pieces of mail, segmenting can help narrow the recipient pool to better align the audience with the messaging content.
  3. Deliver information in accordance with your constituent’s preferences (by channel and frequency).

This article discusses relevant findings from the survey and ways to apply these findings to improve fundraising effectiveness.



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