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In the wake of last week's election results, we have been witnessing, with respect and awe, the extraordinary commitment of our fellow nonprofits to rededicate themselves to fighting for tolerance and justice, even in the face of increasingly daunting resistance.

We at Cause Effective share their dedication to an America with a place for all at the table, and pledge to help in the struggle to create and maintain the society we want to live within. 
We stand shoulder-to-shoulder, ready to help those on the frontlines, and those behind the scenes, with all the expertise and resources we can bring to bear.

In solidarity for the challenges ahead,

The Team at Cause Effective    
Every five years, like clockwork, nonprofits approach a "milestone anniversary" - marking 5, 10, 20, or even 75 or 150 years of service to the community. Whatever the number, nonprofits often wake up belatedly to realize its possibilities and end up scrambling to pull together a public celebration. Maybe, if someone has the foresight, they place an "anniversary logo" in everyone's signature line.

We think anniversaries are too important an opportunity to waste. In that spirit we offer these guidelines, wherever you are in your anniversary cycle, to make the most of your anniversary campaign.
Think Big

Where do you want to head - way into the future? Anniversaries offer the chance to position your course not just for this year but for the long-term.

What are some big, juicy goals that would really set you up to meet the big opportunities (or challenges) you see coming down the pike? Adding another 10 major donors to your roster? Forming an Advisory Council of key individuals who could help you change policies that affect your constituents? Reinvigorating your board into a well-organized powerhouse of governing partners? All this, and more, can be achieved through the power of an anniversary.

The first step is to ask: "Where do we want to be at the end of our anniversary period to set us up to do our work successfully for the next 5 - or 10 - or 20 years?" The next question is: "How can we use our anniversary to be put the pieces in place to achieve those long-term goals?" Then turn the answers into powerful anniversary objectives to share with your entire team.

Set goals that require everyone to stretch. If not in an anniversary year, when?
Make a Wish List

Anniversaries lend themselves to making connections ordinarily out of reach. Partly that's because they offer a clear "why now" deadline for attention and action.

Think outside the box to identify resources that could help you reach your goals, monetary and otherwise (such as skills, contacts, expertise, in-kind, opening doors). Then, make a list of who might have access to each of these resources or who might know folks with access, and start flexing those networking muscles - your own and the team you've gathered around you.

Don't leave anything - or any potential connection - on the table!
Recruit a Wide Circle of Ambassadors

To achieve transformative anniversary goals, you're going to need a squadron of folks reaching out on your behalf, and they're going to have to know what to say. You don't want them making it up on the spot!

Capture the case for your organization - its programs, impact, achievements and the need that remains - and keep editing till it sings. Make sure your ambassadors: volunteers, committee members, board and staff - can articulate the case with enthusiasm and clarity. Then call on them to invite people in to share your journey.

People will often agree to support an anniversary effort who might ordinarily turn you down, because
it feels like a more finite commitment. (Of course, you hope they'll become so inspired, and impressed by seeing you up close, that they'll stay involved - and some will.)
Tie the Pieces Together

Create a theme that's larger than any one activity, that speaks of where the agency is headed. What is your core message? Anniversaries are a great chance to redefine, in the public's mind, why you matter - for the past, the present, and especially in the future.

Use your anniversary to re-think (internally) and re-message (externally) where your organization is headed and the impact you plan to achieve. Whether you're a year or just a month out from your anniversary, seize the opportunity to take stock and plan out-of-the-ordinary strategies to move your cause forward.
It's Never Too Late

Finally, remember that nobody but you cares about the date on your incorporation papers. Anniversaries are a state of mind. There's nothing wrong with celebrating "25 years of supporting Harlem entrepreneurship" - in your 26th year.
Tales of Anniversary Success:  Brooklyn Historical Society

Founded in 1863, Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) is a nationally recognized urban center dedicated to preserving and encouraging the study of Brooklyn's extraordinary 400-year history. Located in Brooklyn Heights, BHS is a cultural hub for civic dialogue, thoughtful engagement and community outreach.

BHS came to Cause Effective in advance of its 150th anniversary to design a campaign focused on raising visibility through high quality programming, and establishing a cash reserve to give the organization more breathing room and greater ability to bring compelling exhibitions, education programs, and public programs to a growing Brooklyn.

Cause Effective worked closely with a board and staff task force to set far-reaching anniversary goals and mobilize all of BHS's resources behind a 36-month campaign. Staff mounted a series of ambitious public programs, while BHS Trustees took the lead in bold anniversary-inspired fundraising.

The lasting results, according to BHS President Deborah Schwartz, have been twofold. Having a healthy cash reserve has meant that " we went from a scary accounts payable to one that was standard for a well-run business; and our conversations with the Board finance committee went from how to pay the bills to investing in the institution." But even more transformative was the institution's increased public profile as a result of the anniversary campaign, according to Schwartz: " This institution was a bit of a backwater and it isn't anymore. Now, BHS is a go-to place for people who care about Brooklyn history as well as Brooklyn's future."

In retrospect, mused Schwartz, " the visibility we gained through the anniversary helped us raise more money and get a bigger audience" - setting them up for a robust post-anniversary renaissance in a flourishing Brooklyn.
Cause Effective Can Help

Want some assistance in thinking through your anniversary options? Drop us a line - we'd be happy to help you think through the process.

And when you're ready - we're here to help you design an anniversary campaign that truly takes your nonprofit to the next level.

Judy Levine 
Executive Director  
Cause Effective Around Town
Board opportunity, blog posts...and more! 
Looking To Recruit New Board Members?

Tap into a pool of well-qualified board members through a Board matching program newly offered in New York City by Cause Effective's strategic partner the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business.

Alumni Board Connect matches nonprofits with Chicago Booth alumni, diverse in age and ethnicity, who are interested in board service. Cause Effective has served as a training resource to help these alumni be "fundraising ready." The deadline to apply is November 18th.

Apply HERE!
From the Cause Effective Blog:
All Together Now:

It provides a rallying cry for "Why Now."

A"We're All In This Together" peer motivator.

A deadline -- so helpful as a "Get Off Your Chair and Get Going" procrastination-buster

But it doesn't help delineate the "Why Us" -- the unique value that helps your nonprofit combat appeal fatigue and capture donor attention.

Which you need, to help your nonprofit stand out in a crowded sea of appeals all landing on the same day from a host of nonprofits -- all using #GivingTuesday as the same rallying cry, peer motivator, and procrastination buster.

It's the "Too Much Of A Good Thing" phenomenon. How do we stand out from the crowd on #GivingTuesday?
From the Cause Effective Blog:
Oxymoron: Relaxing In The Office

I've been trying a new discipline -- relaxing without being officially on vacation.

Quite a concept, in the fundraising arena where stress is a constant companion.

So I started thinking about one of the 80/20 rules -- the one that posits: schedule no more than 80% of your time because 20% will be added just through day-to-day interactions.

Maybe we should even make that a 65/35 rule of thumb. But in the nonprofit world right now, where every division is understaffed and we're all carrying a 150% workload, that's pretty hard to do.[more]
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For almost 35 years, Cause Effective has strengthened the nonprofit sector by increasing the capacity of more than 5,000 nonprofits to build sustainable communities of supporters.  We provide carefully tailored counsel to help nonprofits diversify funding, raise more money from individuals, activate boards of directors, and get the greatest value from anniversaries and special events so they can achieve long-term, community-based change.

To learn more, please visit www.causeeffective.org.