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

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.

Congress is a fantastic opportunity to brush up your skills so you can develop the strategic, meaningful programs you need to build better relationships with those donors who can make the most powerful difference.

Here are a few of my top picks for the fundraiser to wants to improve their individual giving chops – small shop or large!

The Latest on Gifts in Wills from Across the Ocean – Monday, November 18, 2013 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Bequests are the most likely type of gift to prove transformational for your small organization. The average size of a bequest in Canada is $30,000 – a significant gift by anyone’s standards.Paul Farthing will be sharing some of the best examples of legacy marketing from the UK and elsewhere in Europe, so there will be sure to be a ton of great ideas for you to borrow. 

Mid-Level Donors – Hidden Gems – Tuesday, November 19, 2013 11:00 am – 12:00 pm 
If you haven’t begun building a mid-level donor program yet, time to put it on the top of your to do list. This session shares a practical, volunteer-driven model used by Casey House, and includes a full toolkit of proven-effective materials (and who doesn’t love leaving Congress with a toolkit or two?). 

The Donor’s Journey – Not Yours! – Monday, November 18, 2013 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm 
Repeat after me: Fundraising is not about you and your organization. Fundraising is about your donors. Simone Joyaux is one of my favourite speakers, and she’ll be talking about how to create extraordinary experiences to bring donors closer and nurture loyalty.

Finally, don’t miss a visit to one of my favourite resources at Congress – the Bookstore! I share five of my favourite tried and true reads here – all of them will give you practical ideas for improving your work with individual donors.

What sessions are you most looking forward to? Do you have any additions to my individual donor focused book recommendations? Leave me a comment below – looking forward to seeing you at Congress!

elewzeyEmma Lewzey is a proud Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) with a deep commitment to working towards social change. In 2009 she received an AFP Toronto Philanthropy Award for Excellence in Fundraising ­ Outstanding Small Organization on behalf of The Redwood, a safe haven for women and kids fleeing abuse. You can find her on Twitter @EmmaLewzey.

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