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, Crowdfunding, Marketing/Communications, Social Media, Speakers, Stewardship/Donor Relations, Volunteers.

Robert C. Osborne, Jr., Principal, The Osborne Group, Inc.

crowd

If you go to any crowdfunding platform and search past the featured projects on the home page you’ll see that many, if not most of these projects are well behind in their goals. Sometimes it is because the project

isn’t a very compelling one, sometimes it is because the media associated with project isn’t very well done, and sometimes it’s because the rewards aren’t well thought out. But I would argue that in almost all cases the real underlying reason for lack of success is a lack of planning.

Here are some tips for successful crowdfunding:

If you build it they will NOT come – If you simply throw up a crowd funding project on IndieGoGo or some other crowdfunding website and hope that people will stumble across it and give, you are in for disappointment. This pretty much never happens. You need to drive people to your project and this takes a little thought and planning.

Think through your mediaHaving good pictures and video for your crowdfunding campaign is critical. Take the time to think through what your messages are. Remember that you want to talk about future impact. What will be different in the world tomorrow because I gave money to your project today? Read more »

Posted by & filed under Congress, Leadership/Management, Speakers.

.

Simone P. Joyaux, ACFRE, Principal, Joyaux Associates

canaryinthecoalmine

Toronto colleague Cathy Mann says: “I think fundraising is the canary in the coal mine for the organization.”

Brilliant!

If fundraising isn’t going well, what does that say? Maybe the fundraiser doesn’t know the body of knowledge. Maybe the chief executive doesn’t listen to the fundraiser. Maybe the board and its members are lost in space when it comes to fund development. Maybe the quality of your program isn’t what it used to be.

Most fundraising problems are not really fundraising problems. They are problems elsewhere in the institution. But those problems elsewhere do impact fundraising. For example, unhelpful board members are a recruitment and performance problem. And sometimes a chicken problem… because the organization won’t fire lousy board members. Read more »

Posted by & filed under Congress, Corporate/Sponsorship, Leadership/Management, Marketing/Communications, Speakers.

Bernie Colterman, Managing Partnereducate-your-employees

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 »

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, Diversity, Marketing/Communications, Speakers, Stewardship/Donor Relations.

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 »

Posted by & filed under Career Development, Congress, Leadership/Management, Speakers.

Elischer_Tony

Tony Elischer, FinstF (Cert)

Managing Director, THINK Consulting Solutions

I have been coming to the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter Congress now for over seventeen years and continue to prioritise my invitations in my  speaking and travel schedules, but why?

I clearly recall meeting a leading American fundraiser many years ago who declared that “America had basically invented philanthropy and fundraising”. “Excuse me”, I thought, “Shouldn’t we recognise that philanthropy is pretty universal and perhaps has a little more ownership, if not history, in Europe?” On the fundraising call I think I must concede as America did pretty much invent the foundations of what we now know as professional fundraising.

When I started in fundraising, over thirty years ago, I was told to look to America for cutting edge fundraising practice, innovation and inspiration. This I did as an enthusiastic young fundraiser and I learnt a lot. However, since those days the world has changed and now we look around the world to different reference points for insights, learnings and inspiration. So what do we look to Canada for? I hear you ask. Read more »

Posted by & filed under Career Development, Social Media, Speakers.

.

Julia Silvestri Wong

Client Success Manager,  Artez Interactive Inc.

Fear – such a small word but it holds so much power.

Fundraisers are fearless, right? You have to be able to walk into the office of the CEO at TD Bank asking for a cool million to upgrade the gym so that the “street kids” can play basketball after school; or  – stand up in front of your Board of Directors and justify why you spent 21% of the budget on fundraising expenses this year. We muster up the confidence of all of those who went before us, put our heads down, and get our jobs done. It’s just the way fundraisers roll.

But what happens when the fear creeps in? When your idea for a great fundraising campaign is given the green light by the Big Boss and now you have to run with it; or you’ve been called up to the big leagues to share your quirky little presentation on social media and fundraising? Why do we become so paralyzed by fear when the stakes are so high personally?

Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. When we are emotionally invested in something the fear of putting ourselves out there and failing feels very dangerous and painful.

One of my favourite parts in my upcoming AFP Fundraising Day session, Excuse me, did you say social media budget?, is at the very end when we talk about being confident, bold, humble, and fun. When you put those four elements into your work and your life there is no room for fear.

Because let’s face it: fear is nothing compared to that feeling of putting yourself out there and succeeding.

Julia Silvestri Wong is a Client Success Manager at Artez Interactive Inc.  She will be presenting: “Excuse Me, Did You Say Social Media Budget?” at Fundraising Day 2013. You can connect with Julia on Twitter @PinksheepTo or LinkedIn Julia.Silvestri.


Posted by & filed under Data Management, Metrics, Speakers.

.

Jody Dailey, CFRE, Associate Executive Director, Advancement Services, Ryerson University and Len Gamache, CFRE.

Data Security vs. Data Collection

“Big Data” seems to be all the buzz these days, but what does it mean for our development programs?

Many organizations are using reams of information that they have collected over the past number of years to make strategic decisions and predict outcomes. The growing viewpoint seems to be: “Keep everything because you don’t know when you might need it”.

But we were fortunate to hear a presentation recently from Kirk Bailey, Chief Information Security Officer, University of Washington. He detailed what keeps him up at night. Not least of which is the fact that 70 countries have active cyber-infiltration programs and his job is to monitor activity to ensure they don’t get access to any data systems at his university. His advice was loud and clear — store and use only the data you need and no more!

So what’s an organization to do with these two conflicting views of the world? Here is some practical advice… Read more »

Posted by & filed under Career Development, Speakers.

Amy Wilkinson

.

AMY WILKINSON
Director, Community Giving
Centre for Addiction & Mental Health (CAMH) Foundation

One of my staff recently called me her mentor. First off, I think I am too young to be a mentor. Or at least I like to think I am too young. Secondly, I feel I have so much to learn about our shared profession of fundraising that I couldn’t possibly be someone’s role model.

But it got me thinking. What did the me of 10 or 15 years ago aspire to be? Have my aspirations changed over time? Am I there yet?

I didn’t start out to be in fundraising. It sort of found me. But even though I had a few false starts early in my career, I can’t say that my aspirations are any different than when I first entered the workforce to what they are now. Read more »