impact planning solutions, inc. (individuals making personal achievement challenging themselves)

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bay shore, new york 11706

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  • How to segment your email list, and why
    Monday Oct 17, 2016

    It feels like it was yesterday when I wrote a post for this blog titled “It’s August. Time to start planning for year end!” Now it’s October, and it’s time to dive in and iron out the important details of your campaign strategy.

    One of the most important of those details is segmentation—how to break down your supporter list into distinct groups based on...well, we’ll get to that in a minute. While the cost of direct mail tends to force nonprofits to think closely about how they segment donors offline, too many nonprofits are still emailing the same content to their full list or based on very simple categories (e.g., donors vs. nondonors).

    Given the expectation most people have for personalized content online, not to mention all the evidence out there from the ecommerce world showing how personalization drives revenue, segmentation is an essential element of any successful online fundraising strategy. But because more segmentation also means a higher burden on staff time, it’s important to carefully consider what you can handle and understand how different segmentation strategies can benefit your fundraising program.

    Here are three segmentation strategies to consider implementing for your year-end campaign:

    1. By giving history

    By separating donors from nondonors, you will be able to tell your donors just how important they are, a key tactic for driving loyalty and increasing donor retention.

    But taking a more granular approach to segmenting by giving history can have a much more immediate impact, driving more and higher levels of giving this holiday season. By analyzing the levels your donors tend to give at, you can organize donors into low-, mid-, and high-level groups and provide them with appropriate gift strings. For example, if you find that a third of your donors give between $250 and $1,000, you will encourage more donors to maintain or increase their giving levels by presenting them with a gift string that starts at $250. If your CRM allows, you could even present each donor with a gift string that dynamically populates based on their individual giving history.

    Another important benefit of giving-history segmentation is the ability to break out active donors (typically defined as constituents whose last gift was within the past 36 months) from lapsed donors. Lapsed donors should generally receive gift strings that set the bar for re-entry into the active donor pool at relatively low values. But targeted messaging to this group can also provide an immediate bump to your campaign. Generally donors who stopped giving for more than three years have disengaged from your cause to a certain degree, and may need an even harder push than someone who just hasn’t made the decision to make their first gift yet. Sending lapsed donors subject lines along the lines of “We haven’t heard from you in a while” or even “Do you still care about our cause?” will drive higher unsubscribe rates--but it will also get the attention you need to re-engage lapsed supporters and drive more donations.

    2. By relationship

    Depending on the data your organization has, you can segment your list based on constituents’ relationships to your nonprofit (e.g., donor, volunteer, advocate, program participant) or by their relationships to your cause (e.g., parents of a child with a rare disease vs. friends of families affected by that disease).  

    Segmenting by relationship is a longer term strategy—not that many supporters are going to give today just because you refer to their volunteer activity or address them as a caregiver. But it has been clearly shown in ecommerce that consistently communicating to constituents based on their shopping and browsing history helps to drive sales and foster longer customer relationships. Over time, regularly acknowledging your constituents’ relationships to your nonprofit or cause will help your supporters see themselves in your work, understand that you value and know something about their personal experience—and build the loyalty and appreciation needed to generate gifts and increase your donors’ lifetime value.

    3. By interest

    Not everyone joins your list or donates because they are inspired by your overall mission. Sometimes people donate to a food bank because they care about disadvantaged children, not because hunger is their issue, or to an education nonprofit specifically because they are passionate about arts education.

    If you take all of these supporters and send them the same messages, which often won’t touch on or give enough prominence to the issues they care about, you risk losing relevance—and dollars.

    Like segmentation by relationship, interest segmentation—based on initiatives constituents gave to or signed petitions about, or issues they told you they care about in a survey—is a long term strategy. Using this approach, you can provide supporters with content that highlights the specific issues they care about and makes clear how those issues fit into your overall mission. Over time, this will keep supporters engaged and build loyalty.

    How do you segment your list? Let us know what tactics segmentation has allowed you to try and what they’ve helped you achieve! Also, if you’re struggling to figure out who’s going to write all of these messages, my recent blog on that topic might be useful, too.

    Source: BigDuck smart communications for nonprofits
  • Neighborhood Is Star-Spangled on Flag Day, and Every Day
    By COREY KILGANNON - Tuesday Jun 13, 2017

    Gerald Goldman, 94, a retired Marine who served in World War II, has made hundreds of wooden flags for friends, neighbors and local stores.

    Source: NYT > Home Page
  • Inside Wealth: At Last, Jeff Bezos Offers a Hint of His Philanthropic Plans
    By ROBERT FRANK - Thursday Jun 15, 2017

    People have wondered if the Amazon chief was waiting until retirement to make a big charitable splash. In a tweet, he solicited ideas from the public.

    Source: NYT > Home Page
  • New Technology Platforms Brings Together Foundations, Nonprofits for More Impactful Outcomes
    By Nhu Te - Thursday Jun 15, 2017

    When it comes to a nonprofit organization’s mission, relationships are important. It is imperative for nonprofits to use everything at their disposal to reach their mission’s goals. It’s a known fact that technology is constantly evolving. It’s easy to think of technology and relationships as two separate entities, but what if we melded the two together to achieve “the bigger picture”?…

    The post New Technology Platforms Brings Together Foundations, Nonprofits for More Impactful Outcomes appeared first on NonProfit PRO.

    Source: Tactical Leadership Strategy for the Modern NonProfit
  • The High Value of Your Nonprofit’s Values
    Wednesday Jan 25, 2017

    I was delighted to participate as a steering committee in the Brooklyn Community Foundation’s inaugural Spark Prize, an exciting new grantmaking initiative. I was truly impressed with how the Foundation integrated its values into every aspect of this project and leveraged them as a strategic decision-making tool in the grant review process, so I asked their fabulous DIrector of Communications, Liane Stegmaier, to write about it.  - Sarah Durham

    This month, Brooklyn Community Foundation marks the third anniversary of Brooklyn Insights—an extensive Brooklyn-wide community engagement project launched shortly after our President Cecilia Clarke joined the Foundation, which ultimately produced a bold grantmaking strategy that has since garnered national recognition.

    And coincidentally, on this anniversary we are announcing the recipients of our new Spark Prize—one of the Foundation’s highest-profile grantmaking efforts to date, awarding 5 outstanding Brooklyn nonprofits with no-strings-attached grants of $100,000 each in recognition of their service to Brooklyn, commitment to equity and justice, strong organizational values, and dynamic vision for the future.

    While we’re often asked about the major themes surfaced through our 1,000-plus Brooklyn Insights’ community conversations, the core grantmaking strategies we’ve since focused on, or our new institution-wide Racial Justice Lens—in this blog, we’re going to focus on the set of values that emerged during Brooklyn Insights that not only helped the Foundation determine our new direction, but continue to guide us and inform new initiatives like the Spark Prize.

    Of course, we knew three years ago that creating a community-led strategy might also lead us to change our mission statement and vision. But what we didn’t fully appreciate at the time was that while mission and vision are critical for moving us forward, strong institutional values are necessary to define who we are as an institution and how we hold ourselves accountable to these pursuits each and every day.

    Over the six months of listening to Brooklynites tell us about the challenges they faced in their communities, the opportunities they saw for change, and the roles we as their Community Foundation could play, we also heard loud and clear a call for us to be a different kind of institution: one that wears its values on its sleeve, keeps the doors open, and always positions community voices at the fore of its work.

    This call led us to articulate five new values for Brooklyn Community Foundation:

    • Courage. We believe in fearlessly identifying barriers to change and we fight for solutions that help overcome injustice.

    • Creativity. We believe that the power of imagination is greater than the challenges we face. We celebrate what works. We pursue the new. We learn as much from failure as we do from success.

    • Honesty. We are committed to being open and trustworthy in all we do and seek partners who share our values.

    • Collaboration. We believe in creating solutions together, harnessing the diversity of Brooklyn, and partnering with the community to spark change and produce results.

    • Respect. We believe in every resident’s dignity and basic human rights, and honor diversity of race, gender and background.

    We’ve come to refer to these values at every test in our decision-making, we talk about them in our Board meetings, staff meetings, and annual staff reviews, and they’ve informed our ongoing racial justice and equity trainings.

    And with the new Spark Prize, we are spotlighting the importance of strong values, and celebrating 5 Brooklyn nonprofits for their exemplary values-driven work. The first-ever recipients of the Spark Prize are Audre Lorde Project, Common Justice, Make the Road New York, MoCADA, and Neighbors Together.

    A committee of approximately 30 Brooklyn civic, business and philanthropic leaders (including Big Duck’s own Sarah Durham!) selected the 5 organizations from an applicant pool of over 150. They were chosen on the basis of a 1,000 word essay, followed by in person interviews where each spoke to the role their values play in their organization and how they align with the Foundation’s values.

    In their application, Audre Lorde Project stated that their values are rooted in transparency, wellness, transformation, cultural work and coalition building. “Collaboration with other social justice organizations is central to ALP’s intersectional, movement-building work.”

    Make the Road wrote that their values are why their 19,000+ members shape all of their campaigns: “Our youth challenge oppression by naming the disparate treatment of black and brown, LGBTQ and immigrant young people …. Their passionate advocacy has resulted in huge movement victories.”

    MoCADA isa museum founded on principles of justice, equity, and inclusion….courage, creativity and collaboration are the key elements of our mission, vision and values.”

    Neighbors Together’s work isgrounded in our belief in the dignity and potential of each person to be a vital part of creating a more just society” and its members have the courage “to fight for real and lasting solutions to overcome injustice.”

    And last but not least, Common Justice highlighted each of their values in their application—demonstrating a deep connection between their values and the unique nature of their healing work between victims and perpetrators of violence:

    • Accountability. We are responsible for our actions, our words, our power, and our impacts. We know that accountability affirms the dignity and humanity both of those responsible and of those harmed, and we hold ourselves to the same high standards to which we hold others. 

    • Transparency. We are transparent about our actions, our intentions, our options, and our decisions. We communicate with clarity and consistency with those impacted by what we do. 

    • Transformation. We believe in the potential of all human beings to transform, heal, grow, change, and be resilient. We believe we all deserve individuals, communities, and institutions that support us in being our best selves. 

    • Respect. We believe in the inherent worth, importance, rights, culture, and strengths of all people, and work to reflect and honor that in the way we behave toward others. 

    • Purpose. We uphold the responsibilities and boundaries of our work because we are ambitious, hopeful, and outcomes-driven. 

    These 5 values send a powerful message, and are a primary reason Common Justice is receiving the Spark Prize in our inaugural year.

    As nonprofit communicators, we are all very familiar with the adage “Show, Don’t Tell.”

    Mission tells us what you do; values show who you are.


    Source: BigDuck smart communications for nonprofits
  • North Shore Medical Center Receives $5 Million Gift
    By (Matt Sinclair) - Sunday Jun 4, 2017

    The gift from Arthur J. Epstein will support North Shore's plan to build a $207 million behavioral health center in Salem, Massachusetts....

    Source: Philanthropy News Digest (PND)
  • Not Your Mother’s Jersey Shore
    By JILL P. CAPUZZO - Friday Jun 16, 2017

    Five years after Hurricane Sandy destroyed communities along the shore, some towns have used the rebuilding process as a time to reinvent themselves.

    Source: NYT > Home Page
  • Mid-Level Donors = Low Hanging Fruit?
    By Gail Perry - Friday Apr 7, 2017

    Mid-Level Donors.

    We're all talking about these lovely folks in your data base who are already giving significantly - and the potential they offer.

    But what to do with them, when you are already practically burdened by too much to do??

    Today, here's a clear 5-step plan upgrade your mid-donors and take them to new giving heights.

    We'll follow the basic, fundamental principles of fundraising:

    • Know who to ask.
    • Know their interest in what you do.
    • Have a compelling case for your work.
    • Make an ask for a specific amount.
    • Meaningful acknowledgement and appreciation of their support.

    And we'll apply these fundamentals to the “middle donors” in your database who have capacity to give more.

    Here are five steps to start transforming your mid-level donors into major gift donors.

    1. Good Data and Segmentation.

    All good fundraising starts or stops here - with your data.

    You need good reports and information about donors in your database records.

    If you can’t create reports and segment your donors by first gift, last gift, largest gift, and cumulative giving, stop what you are doing today and fix your data management (Email us, we can help).

    WHO are your mid-level donors?

    Look on your reports for where your donors tend to group. It could be $100-$200, $500-$1,000, or higher.

    Identify your mid-donor range and start reviewing your lists for capacity.

    Look for:

    • Cumulative giving (Indicates level of commitment to the organization)
    • Largest gift (for example, $100 every year but 4 years ago gave $1,200)
    • Other simple research to ID giving potential:
      • Gifts to other organizations
      • Political giving (
      • Home value (

    One of the best investments you can make is to bring in a create a college intern or a volunteer to help research donors.

    I’ve done this multiple times and they discovered invaluable information that was so helpful.

    2. Know Your Mid-Level Donors.

    Try these steps:

    • Start with the top donors - the highest identified capacity.
    • Work your way down the list.
    • Set aside time every week for calls and meetings to say thank you.
    • Ask them: “Why do you support our organization?”

    This simple question will start to tell you how to move your $100 donor to $1,000, your $500 donor to $5,000, and up. Maybe use a volunteer to make thank you phone calls to them.

    Be sure to record the info a donor shares in their database record.

    That information gives you the basis create a solicitation plan - either one-on-one cultivation, or an upgrade appeal letter.

    You choose.

    But do make a plan for each capacity donor that will lead to a either an in-person or an appeal Ask.

    3. Ask Organizational Questions

    Before you create a plan to upgrade middle donors, ask these important questions internally:

    • What would our organization do with additional revenue?
    • What mission objectives will be achieved?
    • How will it appeal to the reasons donors have shared about why they support our organization?

    The answers to these questions will guide all of your communications and all the upgrade appeals you send to middle donors.

    Of course, you must be specific when ask for an upgrade.

    So you let donors know what your organization wants to accomplish, how much it will cost, and how their gift at a certain level will make a difference. 

    4. Create a Project Plan for Mid-Level Donors.

    Now you have:

    • Data that outlines your mid-donor potential,
    • Feedback from the donors themselves,
    • Some research on your top identified prospects.

    NOW . . . . . it’s time for a PLAN.

    It's time to start treating your middle donors like major donors and upgrade their giving.

    A basic plan for ANY Mid-Level Donor Program.

    1. Assign top mid-level prospects for one-on-one cultivation and solicitation.

    2. Review your data often on your mid-donor segments. (there's always "juicy" potential there!)

    3. Send customized communications and upgrade appeals. Send them to segmented donor groups based on steps 2 and 3 above.

    4. Create a new mid-level donor recognition program, or expand your existing giving society to include these donors. Then it's easy to give them special communications, recognition at events, include them in special publications and on website, etc.

    5. Find a Matching Gift to help launch your mid-donor program.  A matching gift is easy to solicit.  Donors love seeing their gift multiplied!

    5. Work the Plan and Manage Your Time.

    Prioritize time for you and your team to execute your mid-donor plan.

    To stay organized, I create a weekly work plan that includes the priority tasks to execute all annual development plan activities that must be done.

    Anything else that needs to get done that week will have to fit in the open time, or it gets moved back. (You can do this, right??)

    Don’t let the busy get in the way of the necessary.

    Keep an eye on use of staff time and ROI for your middle donor efforts.

    If you can create and effectively manage this kind of plan, it can have a major impact on what your organization can achieve overall.

    You'll develop closer relationships and retention of these important middle donors.

    AND you'll expand your major gift prospect pipeline and gifts.

    Bottom Line: What is your middle donor success story? Let us hear what’s worked for you.

    Need help planning and implementing a mid-level donor program? Email us, we can help.

    This is a guest post by our new fabulous new Fired-Up Fundraising colleague, Dan Bruer.

    Dan Bruer has over 18 years experience in fundraising and nonprofit management, developing and leading comprehensive fundraising programs and capital campaigns for regional and national non-profit organizations and universities, including University of Missouri-Columbia, UNC-Chapel Hill, American Red Cross, and major national conservation organizations. He specializes in major gift and midlevel donor programs. We are thrilled to welcome him to our team.

    The post Mid-Level Donors = Low Hanging Fruit? appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

    Source: Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry