Posted by & filed under Marketing/Communications, Opinion, Stewardship/Donor Relations, Volunteers.

Marc Ralsky, Director, Community and Donor Development
Ontario SPCA

“We paid our dues from back in the day.”

“I am 10 or 20 years into my career.”group-conversation

“I don’t have to talk to donors or see them or call them.”

“We can just shoot them an email.”

My sense is a lot of us in the sector have forgotten some of the basic components of making a connection and raising money:

  • Talking to people in the flesh, or a novel approach – on the phone!
  • Writing a handwritten note (have you seen your handwriting lately?)
  • Speaking to a donor or potential donor face-to-face, even if we are not the major gift officer or planned gift lead

We have all embraced the digital age – integrating this, integrating that, adding SEO and SEM to optimize and measure clicks and visits. We have multi-channel campaigns that are supported by social media, emails, maybe some telemarketing and then followed up by a reminder email or two. We have organizational websites that rarely link to people – though some in the sector have now added a “Click here to speak to a live person!” – a new experience!

Of course digital fundraising and all its associated activities provide us with great tactics that work. They raise money efficiently and effectively. I know they do – my team has won international integrated marketing awards. So, am I contradicting myself? No. But I realized there is a piece that was missing.

It ‘clicked’ for me during a visioning session with our vendors in a meeting before the holiday break. We came up with a key value in the animal welfare sector: the human-animal bond.  It got me thinking while walking my dogs before work on these past cold dark mornings: What about the human to human bond? What are we doing with that in our nonprofit charitable sector? Where did it go?

We rarely hear about our sector holding events that are not fundraising events anymore – events that plainly are designed so people can talk to others with interest in the same cause. Instead we invite our stakeholders to join a Facebook page or a private password protected microsite where people can download materials to read about their cause of interest, alone in their own space. We have removed the human bond obtained through direct in-person interaction.

I recently suggested the idea of holding education open house events in one of our centres that wants to re-invigorate its connection to the surrounding community. The response I received was WOW – what a great idea! They will come to us? Yes, I thought, just like they did before. Remember when people called into to charities asking for educational brochures to learn about various diseases and treatments? I think it’s now called inbound marketing…

We all attend conferences or breakfast meetings and more than 75% of the sessions talk about creating a relationship with your donors. Usually, the presentations focus on how to email them or get them to like and share your social media page. We spend more time at conferences with like-minded colleagues then we probably do talking to and mingling with donors and stakeholders at all levels of our organizations. And yet, we have somehow decided that it is no longer efficient to meet and interact with our donors in person.

People love people. Our worst fear as humans is being alone or feeling like we are the only one with a specific problem or interest. We like affinity groups! How about making strong in-person connections with people and keeping them on file longer?

My challenge to our sector is this: let’s get back to basics. Let’s integrate some real human to human bond back into our integrated inbound marketing strategies. Imagine what will happen if we do all the digital channels and add in some real opportunities to talk to our donors, stakeholders, clients and the public. Try chatting about why your charity was originally established and how the work you do is made possible each day. Think about the opportunities that will present themselves when people meet and find others who have the same issues or challenges or likes. Doors will open. People will see the faces behind the names and endless emails and texts they receive from us.

As our moms told us: Try it, you will like it!

Ralsky_MarcMarc Ralsky is Director, Community and Donor Development at Ontario SPCA. He is a seasoned fundraiser with close to 20 years experience working with organizations and volunteer groups to achieve successful outcomes.His practical streetwise common sense approach to peer to peer, event management and fundraising in general allows him to innovatively offer knowledge and experience to develop insights and recommendations that will help not for profit and volunteer groups to achieve measurable growth.

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 Special Events, Stewardship/Donor Relations, Volunteers.

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JOCELYN FLANAGAN
President and CEO, e=mc2 events

As the need for fundraising occurs with greater frequency, so too does the need for unique fundraising strategies. We have gained an appreciation that – when it comes to fundraising, we need to be doing more than just asking people to reach into their pockets. Guests are attending event after event and they need to understand the difference from one to the next.

We’ve identified the three ‘e’s’ of fundraising to help generate the maximum revenues and impact. None of the “e”s are new concepts, but we have noticed that when we can find ways to combine them all at the same time, the impact is significant.

  1. Emote – When we can create an emotional connection to the organization, guests are substantially more likely to want to contribute.  It is important to understand the audience and draw on their emotions – by testimonials, impactful stories, visuals of successes of the organization, etc. It is important to think about what might resonate with each audience member and why. Read more »

Posted by & filed under Board of Directors, Congress, Volunteers.

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KAREN WILLSON, CFRE

Senior Vice President & Partner, KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.)

The core responsibility of the fundraising team in any charity, large or small, is to bring in more dollars so that the mission of their organization can be both maintained and hopefully enhanced.

We often think that our biggest challenge is finding those major donors.  Where are they?  The recent information from Revenue Canada has confirmed that although more money is being given to charity (post 2008-09), fewer Canadians are making these kinds of gifts.  In the past, 80% of the giving came from about 20% of the population.  But now the numbers  show that close to 90% of the giving is coming from approximately 10% of the population. Read more »