Posted by & filed under Board of Directors, Leadership/Management, Major/Planned Gifts, Marketing/Communications.

Amy Eisenstein, MPA, ACFRE

Consultant, Tri Point Fundraising 

Are you as happy as you could be at work? Do you have good work habits? Think of how much more you could accomplish (and raise) if you adopt a few proven strategies to not only to survive, but to thrive at your organization.

photo credit: Mykl Roventine via photopin cc

.         photo credit: Mykl Roventine

Two Key Strategies

There are two strategies that will help you lead a happier life AND excel at raising major gifts. Two birds with one stone.

  1. Think Happy Thoughts
  2. Build Better Habits

.Happiness, Habits, and Major Gift Fundraising, one of my sessions at Congress, covers these key strategies.

1. Think Happy Thoughts

It has been well documented that meaningful work, happiness, and productivity are all interconnected. In other words — if you’re doing meaningful work you’ll be happier, and if you’re happier you’ll be more productive. But as you know — perhaps even from your current job — sometimes even the most meaningful work can be stressful, tedious, and discouraging.

The good news for us is that a study called the Happiness at Work Survey showed that people who work in caregiving or direct service are 75% more likely to be happy. That includes a lot of people in the nonprofit sector. Of course, as fundraisers, we’re not always on the front lines, but we’re pretty close. So how can we change to make ourselves as happy as the people on the front lines?

  • It starts with positive thinking

I am a true believer in the power of positive thinking. If you think you can, you can. I assure you, this is not a case of “wishful thinking” — there’s actually science behind it. So, what if when we’re asking for a major gift, we expect the best, instead of assuming the worst? How might you act differently if you expected the very best?

  • Happier people are more generous

Another reason to “Think Happy Thoughts” is that happy people give more to charity. That’s pretty important information for you to have as a fundraiser. Harvard Business School produced a working paper called Feeling Good About Giving, which showed: “Happier people give more and giving makes people happier.” Incredible! The more you give, the happier you are, and the happier you are, the more you give. How awesome is that? And doesn’t it make sense that happy people would want to be around other happy people? So if you’re happy, it’s more likely that your donors will want to be around you. That’s pretty important for major gift fundraising.

2. Build Better Habits

According to current research, in order to break an old habit and create a new one, you need to find a reward to help you feel happy about whatever you’re trying to create as your new habit.

  • Make a habit of meeting with donors

One of the bad habits many development directors have is working from their desks, instead of being out, meeting with donors. How can you have relationships with your donors from behind your desk? You may feel stuck at your desk and overwhelmed with work. But being stuck at your desk is only a habit or work pattern — and it can be broken. Once your make getting out and meeting with donors on a regular basis a top priority — that will become your habit. It’s not easy, but the long-term payoff is huge.

  • Properly train your board members

Another bad habit your organization may have is recruiting and training board members without any expectation of fundraising. It’s something I run into all the time. It makes me sad when board members haven’t been recruited properly or trained, and then are expected to raise funds. So if one of your organization’s bad habits is recruiting board members without the expectation of fundraising, or not providing your board members with ongoing fundraising training, I strongly encourage you to replace your bad habits. Change the culture of your board and organization by starting to recruit and train your board members properly. Download this board member expectation form from my website.

  • Reinforcing your good habits

As I mentioned, in order to eliminate bad habits and reinforce good habits you need to reward yourself. So, after you get out and meet with your donors or recruit a new board member with a good understanding of their roles and responsibilities, what can you do to reward yourself and reinforce the new habit? It doesn’t have to be big: It can be a walk around the block, listening to your favorite song or even dancing around the office. Of course, we’ll go into much more depth at Congress, so I hope to see you there.

You’ll find more super-useful tips for becoming a better fundraiser and building a better board in my complementary eBooks Simple Things You’re NOT Doing to Raise More Money and 6 Essential Secrets for Board Retreats that Work.

Best wishes for your fundraising success!

Amy Eisenstein, ACFRE, is a respected author, speaker, and fundraising consultant, as well as the owner of Tri Point Fundraising, a full-service nonprofit consulting firm. Her specialty is simplifying the fundraising process for her followers and clients. She will be presenting at Congress 2014 in Toronto.

Posted by & filed under Major/Planned Gifts, Marketing/Communications, Stewardship/Donor Relations.

David Kravinchuk

Chief Advice Dispenser, Fundraising Pharmacy

There is one powerfully simple way you can instantly begin creating healthy, effective and rewarding long-term donor relationships:

Ensure your donors can easily find the name, phone number and email address of a real live person that can help them with an enquiry, complaint, compliment or even a donation. Then invite them to use this information.  Invite them to call, email or pop by. For any reason.

Does your charity direct donors to call a toll-free or auto-attendant line instead of a real person who can help?  Or do you invite donors to email info@charitymeh.com on your Planned Giving webpages?  If so, this is what you are really saying to donors desperately trying to connect to a human being at your organization.

Does your charity direct donors to call a toll-free or auto-attendant line instead of a real person who can help? Or do you invite donors to email info@charitymeh.com on your Planned Giving webpages? If so, this is what you are really saying to donors desperately trying to connect to a human being at your organization.

Next, make sure this information is everywhere your donors’ eyes are… thank you letters, direct mail reply/donation forms, annual report, newsletter, brochures and on every single page of your website.

Why?

  • Donors won’t just figure it out.
  • It speaks volumes that your organization is thoughtful and takes donor relationships seriously.
  • Most donors will never call, email or pop in, but there’s a comfort and trust factor knowing that they can.
  • You will create a culture shift to focus on donor needs and service.
  • You will build loyalty and loyal donors are incredibly valuable (monthly, midmost and bequest donors usually start as loyal donors).

The simplicity of this gesture belies its power. It can deliver millions to your organization long term.

Take a few minutes now and find the places you can make this change quickly and easily. Then take a few more minutes tomorrow to make sure it happens. You’ll be prepared to really maximize that massive effort you’re putting into your fundraising this busy holiday season.

It’s an incredibly effective way you can show your donors the respect and love they deserve.

Passionate about prescribing annual giving and bequest marketing solutions, David opened Fundraising Pharmacy to dispense name-brand advice (at generic prices!) for Canadian charities including United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters, The MS Society of Canada, The Sunshine Foundation of Canada and Community Living Toronto. Earlier, David was the Senior Philanthropic Counsel at Good Works where he was responsible for a legacy marketing client roster that included Red Cross, UNHCR and Canadian Cancer Society. Follow David on Twitter  @DavidKravinchuk and join his session on annual giving at Congress 2014 in Toronto.

 

Posted by & filed under Case Study, Leadership/Management, Major/Planned Gifts, Marketing/Communications, Stewardship/Donor Relations.

Karen Willson, CFRE, Senior VP & Partner, KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.) 

Heather Hurst, President & CEO, Humber River Hospital Foundation

Yes, this was the situation for Humber River Hospital, when the Campaign started in 2011. Heather and I have been ‘joined at the hip’ to create the winning strategy and have been continually adapting our planning as the Campaign progress.

Due to the magnitude of the new hospital initiative, the private sector goal was pre-established as $225 Million. At KCI, we are aware that Hospital Foundations are being put in the challenging position of having to strive for larger and larger goals based on project costs, rather than on  their own readiness in relation to such factors as strength of their prospect base, availability of volunteers, clarity of case, etc. This intensifies the pressure between the Hospitals and their Foundations. The Hospitals require the flow of funds at certain dates, yet the Foundations’ are dependent on the ability of their volunteers to reach out to philanthropists and, the decision-making process of their donors. KCI is seeing this as a common trend in the Hospital sector (see Philanthropic Trends for more information).

              photo credit: Rusty Russ via photopin cc

Due to the strength of the Case i.e.: 1) the first hospital to be built in Ontario in 25 years; 2) the level of technology that would be incorporated to improve healthcare; and 3) the attention on the patient experience, with the support of my Foundation Board – we rose to this challenge. Karen and I knew we were working with a team of committed volunteer leaders, had secured a $10 Million lead gift and had an exciting case. The new hospital would definitely be ‘revolutionizing healthcare’ in this Province.

We created a traditional gift range chart with a lead gift of $50 Million, built our Top 100 prospect list, recruited our volunteers and marched forward with a sense of enthusiasm and optimism.

A new donor stepped up to support his physician and was so thrilled that the new hospital would be putting Humber River on the map that he joined our campaign cabinet. The Italian community is coming together with group gifts that they hope will inspire others to give. Hospital front-line staff have come forward to donate because they know they will be making a difference to patient care… in fact Environmental Services at all three sites have a 100% donation record!

Our team of Foundation staff is 20 strong. We have divided the Campaign activity into a number of pillars (Catchment Area, Downtown Core, Family Campaign, etc.) and have aligned our team members (both staff and volunteers) to these particular areas. Our goal in aligning staff in this manner is to make sure that the team not only feels a sense of accomplishment but, has fun along the way.

Advice to our colleagues in leading campaigns where a goal is pre-determined is as follows:

  • Set the course of action with the Hospital Leadership and Hospital Board being actively involved
  • Do not assume that the Hospital’s Leadership understands how the fundraising process works….educate, educate and educate
  • Set up regular communications lines between the Hospital and Foundation. We hold quarterly meetings with the Chair of the Hospital Board, Hospital CEO and Chair of Foundation Board (with both of us)
  • Be sympathetic and understanding of the pressures of Hospital leadership as they work to complete this project ‘on budget and on time’.

We are now closing in on $70 Million and have extensive call activity in the pipeline.  When the doors open in October 2015, this Foundation will have taken every step to help the hospital in securing the $225 Million needed.

We will keep you posted on our progress!

KWAs Senior Vice President at KCI, Karen Willson provides strategic direction and project supervision to her clients. This high level of professionalism and expertise was evident in her supervision of the University of Waterloo’s $260 million capital campaign, which exceeded its goal by $353 million. Karen recently worked with Habitat for Humanity Canada, and is currently providing counsel to Humber River Hospital, Women’s College Hospital, Camp Oochigeas and the Elizabeth Fry Society.

HHHeather Hurst has been in the nonprofit sector for 25 years. Heather is now the President and CEO of the Humber River Hospital Foundation and is responsible for the planning and execution of the $225M Capital Campaign for HRH’s new digital hospital. Prior to joining HRH in 2011, Heather was the President and CEO for 7 years at West Park Healthcare Centre and Vice-President of Development and Campaign Director at St. Michaels Hospital Foundation for over 6 years.

 

Posted by & filed under Congress, Major/Planned Gifts, Marketing/Communications, Speakers, Stewardship/Donor Relations.

Rory Green – Associate Director, Advancement, Faculty of Applied Science 

Simon Fraser University

A good conversation with a donor has almost nothing to do with what you say.

What matters most is how you listen.

photo credit: niclindh

I have been on countless donor meetings, accompanied by an eager major gifts officer who has so much to say about their organization – they pitch all areas of their non-profit’s mission at lightning speed, and leave the donor a bit dizzy – and quite often completely disinterested.

I want to let you in on a secret: major gifts isn’t about being able to make a great pitch, it’s about asking great questions and listening really well.

Major gifts officers need to be able to have great conversations with donors. Conversations about hopes, values and beliefs. The key to taking a conversation to a more meaningful level is to build likability, rapport and trust. As fundraisers, we need to be experts at creating rapport – and creating it quickly. Here are some ways you can listen better – that have been proven to build trust fast.

Match Tone: Listen to the tone and speed of the donor’s voice. Do your best to, naturally, match them in tempo, volume and pitch. I’m not telling you to do a fake accent, or impression of them – just be aware of the sound and cadence of their voice and make subtle adjustments.

Affirm and Acknowledge: We need verbal and non-verbal cues we are being heard. Small nods, and “mmhmms” give us permission to continue sharing. Often as we are listening to our donor, our mind begins to race ahead to what we want to say next. Don’t do that! Stay in the moment and focus on hearing what is being said.

Smile: Early on in my major gifts career, I realized I had an awful listening face. When someone is talking to me, I can scrunch my brow – and almost scowl. I look angry, even when I’m not! So, as Tyra Banks wold say, I’ve worked a lot on “smiling with my eyes”. Try asking for feedback on your listening face from family and friends, and when you’re trying to build rapport be sure to smile!

Mirror Body Language: Again, this should be done subtly – but pay attention to how the person you are speaking to is positioned. Are they leaning forward? Back? How is their posture? Mirroring body language puts the person you are talking to at ease, and helps them to feel relaxed.

Synchronize Breath: This is an odd tip, but there is a good amount of research behind this. Try to match the breathing of the person you are having a conversation with, it creates a strong subconscious sense of commonality.

These tricks sound basic, but they are incredibly effective. Try it out yourself. Spend as much time learning about how to be a good listener as you spend learning about your mission and programs.

Want to learn more? Or better yet – have the chance to practice these tips and get live feedback? Come to Congress this November and check out my workshop “Meaningful Conversations (That Raise More Money)”.

Happy Listening!

 

Rory Green has been in the philanthropic sector for over eight years and is currently the Associate Director, Advancement for the Faculty of Applied Science at Simon Fraser University. Rory has also worked in major and corporate giving at BCIT and the Canadian Cancer Society. In her spare time Rory is the founder and editor of Fundraiser Grrl, the fundraising community’s go-to source for comic relief . She will be presenting at Congress 2014 in Toronto.

 

Posted by & filed under Congress, Leadership/Management, Major/Planned Gifts, Marketing/Communications, Speakers.

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 »

Posted by & filed under Congress, Major/Planned Gifts, Metrics, Speakers.

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CHAD GOBEL

President, Gobel Group

Do you know your ten most important numbers to becoming a top advancement producer? We call them your Key Metrics for Major Gifts. In this blog, we’ll help you identify your metrics and put you on a path to closing more and larger major gifts. So how do you identify your Key Metrics? Let’s start with the first number you need to know.

1. What is your annual goal?

Have you established an annual goal for how much money you expect to raise this year in major gifts? If you have, great… if you haven’t, here is a technique for creating your goal?

The most effective approach to goal-setting is to base your number on your pipeline, not a pre-determined amount based on your level or role. Begin the goal-setting process by reviewing your pipeline to identify a realistic but aggressive goal for dollars raised (cash and pledges) for your next year. In particular, you should look at prospects in a Solicited or Ready to Solicit status, and perhaps those in Cultivation or Stewardship status that will be ready for an ask in the next year. From this review, you will be able to identify those prospects who will be asked for a gift in the next year and the anticipated amount of each gift. This becomes the basis for your goal for dollars raised.

For the purpose of this blog, let’s use $100,000 as a goal for dollars raised. Read more »