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 »
President and CEO, TrojanOne Ltd.
Many of the organizations I work with have a beautiful bar of invaluable gold deep inside.
Most of them don’t know where it is. Some know, but they have hidden it away. Others don’t understand its value. Very few do a great job of displaying it.
What is this bar of gold? It’s the equity your organization has to offer to stakeholders. Not just to sponsors, but to volunteers, media, influencers, government officials, foundations, etc., etc.
Equity? Do I mean share price? Stock value? Yes, but not literally. Your equity is the value proposition that you have to offer. What does your organization stand for? How does it contribute to society? How are you making the world a better place? What value can you offer me as a donor, participant, sponsor, or staff person? Read more »
LAURA FREDRICKS, JD
President, Laura Fredricks, LLC
Collaboration… it sounds so simple but as we get so entrenched in our daily lives to focus on rising trends, raising money, managing our leadership, volunteers, committees and staff, we often want to “just do it ourselves.” But we all know the results if that happens, we dig deeper in our silos and when we surface we don’t feel much satisfaction and in fact if feels pretty empty.
This is why I created the Congress session How to Successfully Involve the Leadership and Volunteers with the ASK. It would be far easier to do the ASK by yourself or with your staff then take the time to work with people who may or may not want to ask for money. I have found a way to “streamline your time and efforts so that you will WANT to involve, no more importantly INSPIRE them to help you. I have tested my simple and fun ways to engage them and I hope you will join me as we share these new concepts together. Read more »
Leah Eustace, CFRE
Principal and Managing Partner, Good Works
Here are my top eight tips for getting the most out of your Congress experience…using twitter!
- You don’t have to be on Twitter to follow the conversation. Congress has its own hashtag (#afpcongress) and the conversation is already heating up. What’s a hashtag? It’s basically a way of labeling tweets so that they can be easily found. Starting now, add Monitter as a tab on your web browser. Type “afpcongress” in the search bar and, voila, you’re monitoring the conversation. For those twitter pros out there, you can also add #afpcongress as a separate column in Hootsuite and Tweetdeck.
- See an #afpcongress tweet that begs a question? Does someone have a point of view that you disagree with? Don’t be shy, just jump in and join the conversation. Read more »
Alice L. Ferris, MBA, ACFRE
Founding Partner, GoalBusters LLC
Many well intentioned fundraisers have made a cultural misstep: you schedule a major event on a religious holiday, pick a menu that features food that is culturally taboo, or you make an assumption about someone’s beliefs only to find out the hard way that you are very, very wrong. So how can you navigate cultural traditions, norms and unwritten rules when you are not a member of a certain group, yet you need to work with the group for fundraising?
- Think about things you have in common with individuals within the community.
When we meet someone new, if you’re good at getting to know people, you immediately start to try to find things that you have in common. But isn’t it interesting, that when you consider groups of people, suddenly it becomes easier to find things you don’t share? Try to find common values and interests with that person. Not only will this help with building respect for a potential donor’s values, but also works to develop relationships that are critical to the fundraising process. Read more »