Emma Lewzey, CFRE, Senior Major Gifts Officer, St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation
If you work in a small or mid-size shop, there is a clear path to stability and sustainability for your organization. You need to focus on the right donors: individual donors. Now, don’t get me wrong – corporate gifts, special events, and foundation grants can all play an important role in a balanced and diversified fundraising program.
The reality is that individual donors give the vast majority of philanthropic gifts – here in Canada, the latest available stats show that 71% of donations come from individuals, followed by foundations at 16%, and corporations at 11%. If you are like most small to mid-size organizations you and/or your team are probably spread pretty thin – you’re wearing multiple hats, and have a diverse range of responsibilities in your portfolio. And chances are, you’re not spending 71% of your fundraising time and resources focusing on individuals. Read more »
Claire Kerr, Director of Digital Philanthropy, Artez Interactive
Many nonprofit organizations are closely measuring online activity across their websites and donation forms… And with good reason! Tools like Google Analytics can be more useful than user surveys when we want accurate information about what our donors and supporters are really doing online.
When diving into your own numbers, have you noticed the difference between web traffic from laptops or PCs, and mobile traffic from smartphones and tablets? At Artez Interactive, we track fundraising activity for millions of visitors to charity and nonprofit donation pages every year. We’ve noticed that for most organizations, the peak time of day for online donations is between 9am – 11am.
What’s driving this pattern? A few things! Donors are responding to email solicitations in their inboxes and logging onto social sites like Facebook at the start of the day; often while at work. It makes sense that charities and nonprofits would see a spike in donations during this period. Read more »
Alan Clayton, Director, Clayton Burnett Ltd.
If it doesn’t, I’m leaving.
Human emotions are complicated and infinite in their variety and combinations. I was asked recently by a journalist ‘Does guilt have a place in fundraising?’ I asked her, ‘please define guilt.’ When she failed to do so, I politely declined the interview. Of course guilt has a place in fundraising as does every emotion that anyone is capable of experiencing and transmitting.
‘Guilt’ is only a hair’s breadth away from ‘pity,’ which in itself is only a razor’s width away from ‘compassion.’ Only a judgmental fool would try and define the difference and preach to us which of our emotions is acceptable and which is not. What I feel as guilt, you may feel as compassion and someone else may feel as religious duty. We are all right.
For fundraising to succeed, and for donors to have the experience of it they deserve, a gamut of emotions is involved. The donor journey is a repeating loop of:
• ‘Reward’ emotion.
• ‘Need’ emotion.
• (rational pause to check out the facts.)
The power of the need emotion is the cause of much controversy, of course. It’s a debate we should have widely in our sector. I look forward to it. Read more »
Bernie Colterman, Managing Partner
Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing
As the competition for philanthropic dollars increases, more and more nonprofit organizations are looking at sponsorship as an alternate revenue source to more traditional fundraising methods. However, the transition to the marketing-based approach that is required for sponsorship-driven revenue is not easy for many organizations because it requires a mind-set that is radically different from traditional models. Some of these challenges include:
- Working with large numbers of stakeholders who do not understand sponsorship and how it is different from the philanthropic environment;
- Establishing “fair market value” for organizational assets;
- Unrealistic expectations of what revenue can be expected (and when) from various opportunities;
- Limited internal expertise to market and deliver the program; and,
- A “business-oriented” culture that is typically not in line with the entrepreneurial approach required to market, negotiate and deliver on sponsorship agreements. Read more »
Trevor Zimmer, CFRE
Major Gifts Communications Specialist,
The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation
A $250M donation is a pretty big deal, especially for a small college like Centre College, in Danville, Ky. They recently made a lot of waves for this donation, but unfortunately it was for the wrong reason. Apparently the donation was contingent on a “significant capital market event”, that being $3.4 billion loan deal involving a large privately held company that provides software and services to car dealers. When the deal did not happen the gift that was promised, faded away.
The problem is, the College had made the gift public already. One lesson here is that perhaps it is better to hold off on making announcements on large gifts until they are actually in the bank. Of course we trust donors and their pledges, but often the financial markets rule, and those are things that cannot be trusted. I wonder if someone at the College lobbied to not announce it, and was overruled by a higher up? Read more »
Judith Nichols, Ph.D., CFRE
Author, Consultant, New Directions in Philanthropy
Looking for new donors? Trying to hold on to the donors you have? Understanding who’s in your donor pool – or who should be – is the first step to growing a larger, more loyal group of supporters.
Fundraisers are beginning to recognize the need to market differently to audiences with different backgrounds using demographics and psychographics to uncover similarities and differences among potential donors:
– Demographics: Demographics are sets of characteristics about people that relate to their behavior as consumers. Age, sex, race, marital status, education and income are used most frequently.
– Psychographics: These are measures of attitudes, values or lifestyles. They are the entire constellation of a person’s attitudes, beliefs, opinions, hopes, fears, prejudices, needs, desires and aspirations that, taken together, govern how he/she behaves. This, in turn, finds holistic expression in a lifestyle. Read more »
Jennifer Auten, Resource Development Communications Amnesty International
I’m the first to admit that fundraising often doesn’t make sense to me. As a professed perfectionist with a Communications background, I tend to get excited about slick-looking, brief creative. In other words, it’s a good thing I’m not responsible for our Direct Mail program.
Fundraising laughs in the face of our assumptions. Here we are in this so-called paperless digital age, attached to smart phones that we rarely use as phones, and yet, where do we find our new donors? On the street, at their doors, in their mailboxes and (gasp!) on the phone. Read more »
KAREN OSBORNE, President, The Osborne Group
You’re really busy. You’re making final calls, visits and appeals as you try to bring in as many end-of-the-year gifts as possible. Of course, you sent out holiday cards. There are often office parties to go to as well. Whew. I know it’s a lot but I have one more “must do” to add to your list.
Provide meaningful, personal, WOW stewardship to donors, volunteers and internal partners.
Stewardship is more than well wishes. It’s more than thank you. It is sharing the impact of ALL of the gifts of time, talent, treasure, and introductions your peers, volunteers and donors provided. It is connecting them directly to the mission in personal ways. And for those special people who gave so much of themselves, it is making them say, “Wow, I truly feel appreciated and valued above and beyond anything I expected.”
- Take a colleague out for coffee to let her know how much she contributed to the year’s outstanding results even though she is not a direct fundraiser.
- Give your CEO and chair of the board a list of donors to call to say, “Thank you again for (fill in specifics and tie it to outcomes and impact).”
- Interview a beneficiary and film it using your smartphone. Email it to a donor with a note that says, “You helped make this happen. Thank you again for all you do for the people we serve.”
Make a list of all of the “personal capital” (human, intellectual, expertise, networks and financial) a volunteer contributed down one side of a piece of paper, and then the difference that was made as a result on the other side. Drop by or call and share the wonderful list.
Remember to make your stewardship:
~ Meaningful to the donor, colleague or volunteer
~ And focused on IMPACT
Everyone feels good when they know that (a) they made and difference and (b) someone noticed.
Karen is the President of The Osborne Group, Inc., an international management and training consultancy focused on NGO capacity building; all aspects of fund development including campaign planning and implementation; opinion research including donor satisfaction surveys and feasibility studies; and organizational management including board development and strategic planning. Follow Karen on Twitter @kareneosborne. Visit www.theosbornegroup.com for free podcasts, blog posts, webinars, videos and tools.
Chief Mind, Ahern Communications Ink.
Elevator Speech? Ride to Nowhere. It’s the wrong answer to a great question.
You know the premise. You’re on an elevator with someone else. And in the course of a short ride, you explain your nonprofit’s work so well that you convince your listener to embrace your cause.
To steal a line from Aaron Sorkin, “What could possibly go wrong?”
Well, for one thing, the conceit suggests an attentive audience. I.e., the other person shuts up and listens. Read more »
Consultant, Fundraising & Digital Communication, Norwegian Cancer Society
So, I keep hearing people speak about digital fundraising with a bit of fear in their voice. It’s this new thing, a thing that we don’t really know how to deal with. And we keep expecting it to raise loads of money, and yet it really doesn’t, and we can’t quite figure out why, and then everyone get’s frustrated. I think we’re overcomplicating things. In my opinion, digital fundraising is the exact same thing that we have been doing forever, just adapted to new channels.
If you look at it, what are the elements of classical fundraising?
• Telling a story
• Making an ask
• Using emotions
• Being the solution to a defined problem
• A well crafted response channel Read more »