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ANNUAL REPORTS, do you need one?…the answer is a big YES…but where to start? We did the research for you and consolidated a handy checklist of best practices, along with some case studies highlighting nonprofits doing it right — all around Annual Report planning in a 3–5 minute read. Don’t worry about downloading a 20+ page document, we don’t like to read that much either. We like free, quick, and easy ideas to get your wheels spinning.

Remember, if you need some extra hands to support, we’re here. CauseEngine helps organizations prioritize their efforts and focus on impact through storytelling to captivate your audiences — the perfect ingredient for this Annual Report recipe! …

Q&A : Mackenzie Padell in preparation 2018 AMPLIFY Sessions

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“Being a military spouse is hard. I am always humbled and honored to be around other spouses who are charting their own course regardless of obstacles the military can create in progressing individual and career goals.”

Mackenzie Padell, Co-Founder & CXO of CauseEngine

What is your connection to AMPLIFY and what compelled you to get involved in this workshop for career- minded and driven military spouses like yourself?

I have had the privilege of being a mentor with AMPLIFY for the last several Hampton Roads events. I became involved through regular interactions with Amanda Patterson Crowe, Director of Military Spouse Professional Network at the local VB co-working space.

As an Entrepreneur what has been your biggest success/triumph or failure? What was the lesson here.

My biggest success is surrounding myself with awesome people (my CE family!). I fail at something almost daily. …

Don’t fall into the “forever scrolling” newsletter trap. Be pointed and direct.

Did you know 17% of Americans change their email every 6 months, 30% every year!? *

Meanwhile, our Sales lead has had his hotmail address since 1997. Go figure…

What does that mean for you? It means stay in touch with your constituents to make sure a shift in email doesn’t have your messages lost in the wind. You need to stay top of mind and top of inbox with your readers, so if there’s a change, they’re reminded to opt-in again for more of your great content.

Even more importantly, make sure your CONTENT is succinct, on-point and relevant to your readers.

We’ve compiled some best practices as you begin planning out this year’s newsletter cadence:

1. Do you know your audience

  • Who are they?: …

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We’ve been talking about branding services this week, and want to highlight one of our own — Marine Raider Foundation.

Marine Raider Foundation’s small staff sought guidance to execute a total rebrand of the organization and help solve several other challenges that come with wearing too many hats.

They hired CauseEngine and we thoughtfully got to work. Our goals were to give the brand a facelift and prepare it for the future while paying homage to a WWII legacy.

Our Pros outlined and spearheaded a drastic repositioning of the brand so it would more effectively deliver its programs and market those services to its community. This plan updated the Foundation’s communications, marketing and cultivation / stewardship strategies to better tell the story of the organization and its work. …

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All the tricks to retain new and existing supporters in 2018

According to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project’s annual Fundraising Effectiveness Report; the donor retention rate nationally in 2017 was 45%; meaning 1-in-2 of your donors will not donate again in 2018. Let that sink in — 1 out of every 2 donors — gone.

If only there was a silver bullet; a simple solution to raise donor retention rates…Oh wait, there is — THANK YOUR DONORS PROPERLY!

CauseEngine has over 100+ vetted, curated Pros across fundraising, marketing, branding, web, creative and much more to aid nonprofits like yours. We asked our top Pro Fundraisers to create a simple cheat sheet so you can kick off 2018 the right way — and we’re including 2 sample “Thank You” letters written by our team for your team to steal! …

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Regardless of your politics or how you feel about it - the tax reform bill is signed and about to take effect. It's important to understand the immediate impacts on your organization - both the positives and negatives.

We’ll show you how to capitalize on the changes NOW to boost your current end-of-year push and plan for the evolving charitable giving landscape in 2018 and beyond.

Gather 2018 Gifts By The End Of 2017 — Make The “Ask” Now

What you need to know — The new bill doubles the standard deduction for individuals meaning when an individual uses the standard deduction they also lose the ability to itemize a charitable deduction.

What this means for you — Many potential donors will lose their charitable incentive, especially when tied to end-of-year giving. The Tax Policy Center estimates the number of Americans who will itemize will decrease from about one-third to only 5% meaning if non-itemizers donate $100 to charity, there is ZERO impact on their taxes. …

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It’s been an exciting few months here at CauseEngine and I’m proud to give you an update on what we’ve been up to.

On a side note, I’m also going to start publishing curated content about strategy, fundraising, marketing, operations, and innovation. Look for it in email (subscribe in the footer) and through LinkedIn.


  1. What started out as a hypothesis about delivering on-demand project based work for nonprofits has evolved over the last couple of years. Although the CauseEngine platform is still operational, we’re currently in the process of reimagining the technology as an exciting solution for another critical business problem. …

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I was recently asked to reflect on how the Marine Corps prepared me for starting a business. Intuitively it’s an easy question for me to answer so long as I don’t have to communicate it to anyone else. The Marine Corps Leadership Principles and Traits I learned are so ingrained in me at this point that I don’t even think about them. Whether it’s gems like “know yourself and seek self-improvement” to “be technically and tactically proficient,” or simple traits like integrity, initiative, judgment, and dependability, the Marine Corps simply does an amazing job of setting the bar and demanding you live above it. …

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Bottom Line Up Front: Giving Season is crucial for the sustainability of nonprofit organizations.

This time last year, I was both stressed and excited about the end of year. Like many nonprofits, we took in the vast majority of our revenue during the last few months of the year. According to a National Center for Charitable Statistics report, donors said they gave almost a quarter of their annual total between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day (with high net-worth donors giving 42.7% in the same time frame). In 2012, half of the surveyed nonprofits (50.5%) said they received the majority of their contributions between October and December. …



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