Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry http://www.gailperry.com Nonprofit Fundraising Consultant | Board Development | Keynote Speaker Sat, 31 Jan 2015 19:29:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How to Get Your Current Donors to Give You 40% More http://www.gailperry.com/2015/01/get-current-donors-give-40/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/01/get-current-donors-give-40/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 16:43:13 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=16666 What would it look like if you raised 40% more from your current donors? Let’s run the numbers: What if you are raising right now – say, $100k a year –  and it comes from a group of about 700 donors. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could raise $140k from those same 700 donors? […]

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figure holding heart

Your current donors will put their money where their heart is!

What would it look like if you raised 40% more from your current donors?

Let’s run the numbers:

What if you are raising right now – say, $100k a year –  and it comes from a group of about 700 donors.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could raise $140k from those same 700 donors?

Or what if are you raising right now $1,000,000 – and it comes from 2000 donors each year.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could bring in $1,400,00 without a whole lot of extra work?

I like that math, don’t you?

So let’s make that happen for you!

Your current donors are where the real money is.

We all know that it is far easier to raise MORE from your current donors than it is to bust your butt to bring in new donors.

In fact, research studies show that it takes-7-12% more effort, time and money to bring in a new donor than it does to raise more from a current donor.

So this is a no-brainer, right?

(Tell your board members to stop focusing on finding new donors, ok? Point them in this direction instead!)

Master fundraising guru Roger Craver gave an amazing presentation to my INSIDERS this week – and he detailed this data and bowled me over.

He said:

You have less than 2% chance of a gift from a brand new donor who doesn’t know you.

You’ve got a 20-40% chance of a gift from a lapsed donor, and a 60-70% chance of a gift from an active donor.

So now we know why we are focusing here, right?

How to Get Your Current Donors to Give You 40% More?

Here’s how:

Call your donors to say thank you within 48 hours of the gift.

Just think how happy your donors would be to hear from you!

Just think how happy your donors would be to hear from you!

We are finding that the SPEED of your thank you matters far more than you think.

The best possible thing you can do is pick up the phone immediately when you get a gift.  And call the donor.

Sure, it’s nice if board members will do this job of phone calling donors.

But unless they will do it QUICKLY, I say go ahead and do it yourself.

Roger says:

The mere act of phone calling – even if you leave a message – hugely impacts your donor’s future gifts!

Remember, I am big on phone calls to donors - even if you might call it old-fashioned technology.

Why? Because phone calling is highly personal, a great tool for connecting and engaging.

AND you can get important unfiltered feedback immediately from your donor.

So what does it take to pull this off?

It is not so simple as picking up the phone!

I think it takes something deeper – an organization-wide commitment to devote time and energy to current donors.

You need a serious commitment to Donor Services. You need to designate someone to be in charge of this urgently important area.

If you do this you’ll have greater donor retention and less attrition.

That also means you’ll have greater Donor Loyalty – which is what my INSIDERS are learning in our webinar series right now.

You’ll have more money flowing in the door, and you’ll have to work MUCH LESS HARD to bring it in.

It’s really up to you and your organization – whether you get the most out of your fundraising program.

Roger says:

YOU and your org directly determine whether donors stay or leave you!

You’re much more in control of how much money your donors give you . . . than you think!

BOTTOM LINE:

How are phone calls working for you?

Who is doing them? What kind of results are you seeing?

What’s your experience like?

Leave us a comment and let us know!

 

 

 

 

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How Fundraising is Turning into “Fund Marketing” http://www.gailperry.com/2015/01/fundraising-turning-fund-marketing/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/01/fundraising-turning-fund-marketing/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 15:20:28 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=16654 Are you using any of the new communications tools in your fundraising? There’s now an amazing array of tools, formats, strategies out there for us. New and Innovative Tools All these new and innovative ways we can use to tell our story, connect with our donors, keep them engaged with our cause, and ask for […]

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Are you using any of the new communications tools in your fundraising?

There’s now an amazing array of tools, formats, strategies out there for us.

New and Innovative Tools

All these new and innovative ways we can use to tell our story, connect with our donors, keep them engaged with our cause, and ask for money!

Not only that, but we have hard data about what types of communications our donors respond to.

We know what makes a potential donor open an envelope or not. What makes her read an email newsletter, or not. Or want to give again, or not.

We know exactly:

  • What donors react to on web pages.
  • How to turn a newsletter from one that makes $1400 to one that makes $42,000.
  • What types of images and pictures work best.
  • How to design and lay out a direct mail appeal for max impact.
  • What fonts work best.
  • How to shape a call to action.

We know a lot more about messaging too these days. We know:

  • How to start off a direct mail appeal letter.
  • What to say on our website donation page, and what not to say.
  • How to frame an appeal for maximum impact on a donor.

We know that “real words” are more engaging than “jargon.”  Why say “impact our programs” when you can say “help children learn to read?”

What do all these strategies and tactics have in common?

These strategies merge the “fundraising” function and the “marketing/communications” function.

Every day, fundraisers worry about which message to choose; how to shape the message, what words to use, how many words to use, which words and phrases to avoid.

All of this could be included in a communications function called “copywriting.”

So, my friend, if you want to be successful as a fundraiser, you need to also have a working knowledge of messaging, copywriting, good design and layout. You might even need a smattering knowledge of photography and videography.

You could say that these skills fall into the communications and marketing arena.

So if you want to be successful at fundraising, you gotta master some marketing skills.

There’s Plenty of BAD Marketing!

Last week when I asserted that marketing and branding can kill fundraising, some of my smart nonprofit communications friends took issue.

Let me make myself clear: BAD marketing and RIGID branding can subvert fundraising.

What does bad marketing and rigid branding look like?

Communications that:

  • Are organization-focused, not donor-focused (staff profiles for example)
  • Are beautifully designed but difficult to read
  • Too wordy
  • Promote board members or the CEO instead of donors and your work
  • Talk about the gala instead of the kids we’ve helped this year
  • Full of statistics and data and short on pictures
  • Too formal and lofty
  • Use jargon like “programs” “services” and “underserved”
  • Are all about the branding, the look and the right colors  . . . and thereby convey nothing
  • Are completely missing the all-important “Call to Action”

Let’s not waste our time and energy with bad marketing.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a marketing and/or communications staff with skilled professionals, their expertise can often help you.

One nonprofit marketing professional I know says that so often, fundraisers “ruin” letters and other copy by inserting jargon, adding “flowery,” unnecessary words or making changes upon changes.  Don’t be one of those folks, ok?

But all fundraisers need to learn these skills!

Here’s how to learn to do Fund Marketing correctly:

Follow the smartest nonprofit communications people out there.

There are plenty of experts out there who have mastered Fund Marketing. You should follow them all AND study their stuff. Take their classes too!

Take the time to learn how to shape and deliver a message well.

Ask if your marketing and communications colleagues follow any of the experts listed above.  That’s a great way to open a line of communication.

See if you can focus your organization’s full resources and skill sets to create the most toward powerful coordinated message around “WHY” our organization’s work is important.

I’ll guarantee that you’ll raise a lot more money.

What do you think? Leave a comment and tell me!

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How Marketing and Branding can Kill Your Fundraising http://www.gailperry.com/2015/01/marketing-branding-can-kill-fundraising/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/01/marketing-branding-can-kill-fundraising/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 16:00:34 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=16619 WHY do you have marketing, communications and branding for your organization?  It’s important to ask these questions: WHY does marketing exist? What is the purpose of our newsletter? What is the purpose of our website? What is our branding supposed to do for us? Too often I see that marketing, branding and communications vehicles go […]

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WHY do you have marketing, communications and branding for your organization? announce bullhorn

It’s important to ask these questions:

  • WHY does marketing exist?
  • What is the purpose of our newsletter?
  • What is the purpose of our website?
  • What is our branding supposed to do for us?

Too often I see that marketing, branding and communications vehicles go down the wrong street. They take on a life of their own – in the wrong direction!

They forget WHAT they are supposed to be accomplishing for the organization.

They become fancy and self-indulgent priorities for the organization, and no thought goes into WHY we are doing this. And WHY are we spending so very much money – for WHAT?

Marketing needs to be a function of fundraising, and not the other way around.

Marketing and all your organizational communications need to SERVE fundraising.

And what is your fundraising message about? It’s about the good work you do in the world. It’s about WHY your work is so important.  It’s about the people you serve and how you are changing lives.

And this also should be the message of your newsletter – your branding – your communications and your website. Any direction away from this – is in my opinion, a wasted effort and a terribly wasted opportunity.

The Trouble with Marketing

Take a look at what fundraising guru John Lepp at the Agents for Good agency had to say about marketing in his post “The Problem with Marketing.”

He says that marketing is all about the organization’s identity: me me, me:

The problem with marketing is that it is run by marketers—people who believe that the needs of their charity come before those of the people the charity requires in order to function. (Yes, I’m talking about donors here. Surprise!)

Their logo, their impressive branding style guide created by a fancy advertising agency, their mission statement, their marketing and communications department—these all take priority over the act of talking with other loving humans.

Commercial-style branding is all about itself – not about the donor.

Some marketing takes your organization the WRONG WAY.

By focusing internally on your own organization you are wasting scarce resources on blowing your own horn, and you are missing the boat.

Traditional marketing and branding often focus internally: “How great we are. What a terrific track record we have. And by the way here is a picture of our board chair and our CEO who are such cool, smart people. ” (wrong!)

“Marketing” is NOT donor-centered.

Don’t just take my word. Take a look at what leading fundraising strategists have been saying for years:

Jeff Brooks: How to Kill Your Fundraising? His answer: Investing in branding.

Sean Triner: Two Great Ways to Destroy Your Fundraising: He says that

“Branding is not about big ads, prescriptive fonts and cool logos – it is about how the charity behaves; what it feels like to be helped by them, to help them and to be thanked by them.

Brand is not about how a charity ‘looks’ . . .  it is about how people experience that charity.

The best branded charities tell fantastic stories brilliantly and use fundraising advertising activities (like online, direct mail, phone calls, direct response TV and events) to position themselves.  Good fundraising is good branding.

Communications/marketing/branding MUST integrate and align with fundraising strategy.

If you are going to spend all that money – make sure that the investment and the effort actually serve your organization.

I see too many expensive, self-promoting newsletters from nonprofits that are focused internally – new staff, new board members, what we are up to.

Ask yourself this: Who gets the newsletter? Your donors? What do THEY want to read about?

Your newsletter can be a phenomenal fundraising tool – a profit center, even. But most nonprofits are wasting the opportunity by blathering on about themselves.

Separate silos of marketing and fundraising will hurt you.

When you have separate departments for marketing/communications and fundraising – you have two groups of people who will have sometimes opposing goals.

If marketing is to talk about how great your organization is, and fundraising is trying to talk about how great the donors and the work is, then you have a problem.

I’m going to let my friend John Lepp have the last word in this post:

Marketing has become the bubble wrap that many charities surround themselves with, all in the name of professionalism and profit.

It has very little to do with the work we, as fundraisers and charities, MUST do.

BOTTOM LINE: Do You Agree?  Or Not?

Leave me a comment and let me know!

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7 Steps to Fundraising Success in 2015: Strategic Tips for Your Board and CEO http://www.gailperry.com/2015/01/7-steps-to-fundraising-success-in-2015/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/01/7-steps-to-fundraising-success-in-2015/#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 17:27:13 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=16558 The new year is a great time to take stock of your fundraising strategy. Here are my strategic tips for board members and CEOs. These will help build a well-oiled fundraising machine inside your organization – something we all want! Join me for a special webinar on this exact topic on Jan. 13, especially designed […]

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The new year is a great time to take stock of your fundraising strategy.Jigsaw_pieces-300x230

Here are my strategic tips for board members and CEOs.

These will help build a well-oiled fundraising machine inside your organization – something we all want!

Join me for a special webinar on this exact topic on Jan. 13, especially designed for high-level nonprofit leaders, board members and CEO’s.

We’ll discuss all the points in this blog. I’ll give you a practical overview of what you need for successful fundraising in 2015. It’s only $9, so do join us!

Find out about the webinar here. 

1. Go After the Easy Money This Year.

Where is the easy money in fundraising today?

It’s with your entire base of CURRENT donors. These are the folks who are often ignored as you search for NEW donors.

The easy money is getting your current donors to renew their gifts – and make bigger gifts.

Maybe even converting them to monthly donors.

How do you develop your current donors into life-time donors? Read on!

2. Focus on Donor Loyalty to Build a Sustainable Program that Brings In Consistent Cash Flow.

retention

We will hear directly from master guru Roger Craver on his new book “Retention Fundraising.”

What do I mean by donor loyalty? It’s those current donors again!

What’s your nonprofit doing to “love on” those current donors?? Are you like many other nonprofits, and simply forgetting about them once you’ve sent out a thank you letter?

You can take specific steps to engage your current donors. It’s easily accomplished.

You want your donors to like you so much that they will put your organization at the top of their “favorites” list.

Our INSIDERS will be getting key donor retention strategies from some of the leading donor loyalty experts next month:

  • International guru Roger Craver himself (of the famous Agitator blog) will make a rare appearance to share his world-class presentation that packed the house at the Intl Fundraising Congress in Amsterdam.

Find out about what’s up for my INSIDERS here in 2015 and join. 

3. Watch Your ROI.

Take a careful look at the relative profitability of your various fundraising strategies.

You can expect a measurable ROI from investing in your fundraising program.

You can expect a measurable ROI from investing in your fundraising program.

You should know that your events are the least profitable way to spend the time of fundraising staff.

Events are the most difficult way to raise money.

Educating your leaders about ROI is a great way to help them understand how to make smart investments in fundraising.

ROI is a business term that most board members are comfortable with.

The ROI of Major Gifts is very high. And we know that the ROI of fundraising events is LOW.

Alas. This makes me very sad, because too many events are a waste of time and energy. (You can quote me on that one!)

But many smart fundraising staffers can’t get to the Major Gifts visits because they are forced to spend all their time on events. Time to educate our leaders on this one!

4. Invest in Major Gifts and Planned Gifts.

Clearly we all know these fundraising strategies are what brings in the big money.

Major and planned gifts are where the big money is!

Major and planned gifts are where the big money is!

These are the most profitable places to spend your resources of time, energy and money.

This year, I’m personally training the INSIDERS on all aspects of major gifts – from identifying prospects, to getting the door open and the soft skills of cultivating them, to making the BIG ask.

These are sophisticated skills EVERYONE in fundraising needs! I hope you can join us.

I’m also excited to bring to the INSIDERS this year one of the freshest new writers in Planned Giving today, Claire Meyerhoff. She’ll be showing our INSIDERS the fast and easy ways to bring in planned gifts. Don’t miss! :)

5. Work to Build an Internal Culture of Philanthropy that will Support Fundraising.

How do we get internal support for fundraising?

I'm sharing how to create the most engaging and inspiring board retreat ever!

I’m sharing how to create the most engaging and inspiring board retreat ever!

Well it takes education and time. You have to educate your colleagues and leaders about how fundraising really works.

When people don’t understand fundraising, then they typically make up terrible, fearful myths about how awful it is.

Educating people lowers the fear and actually enables them to happily support the fundraising effort.

Everyone in your organization should know their personal elevator speech and why they care. Focus them on Friendmaking and they will relax about fundraising. :)

This year for the INSIDERS I’ll be sharing my internationally popular format for a board retreat on fundraising. It’s the first time I’ve ever, ever revealed my methodology, powerpoints and handouts.

I can’t wait to equip my INSIDERS with this powerful training tool that awakens board members hearts and minds and puts them happily to work in fundraising.

Our membership sale for the INSIDERS ends Jan 15, do join us now and save some $$!

6. Invest in Infrastructure.

Infrastructure is what will create a well-oiled fundraising machine for your nonprofit. (Yay!)

Clean up your database. (How’s that for a New Year’s Resolution?!)

Make your back office folks feel like an important part of the team.

Make sure everyone who answers the phone is: a) cheerful, and b) can respond properly to a donor’s questions.

Get agreement on how your office will do certain things – policies and processes will make everyone more comfortable and everything will run more smoothly.

Agree on your fundraising calendar, schedules and who does what. THIS is what will bring you relief when things get busy!

This high quality image can touch a donor's heart. From Charity:water.

7. Invest time and money in videos and high quality photos to share your message.

Fundraising just may be turning into something else called “fund-marketing.”

You may have a killer message but it’s the way you broadcast your message that matters most. It’s in your marketing skills.

Do you have lousy photos? Or are your photos so great that they can make a donor’s heart open by just viewing the image??

And it’s time to develop your video skills. There are so many wonderful ways to use videos to spread the word, thank donors and engage them in your work!

BOTTOM LINE:

1. Share this with your leaders to create a helpful discussion about fundraising strategy.

2. Consider joining the INSIDERS if you think we can help you boost your fundraising!

Find out about the INSIDERS and join here. 

3. Consider joining my $9 Webinar on this topic on January 13.

Gail’s Roadmap to Fundraising Success in 2015:  For Board Members, CEO’s and Development Staff – Register here. 

Onward to a new, prosperous year, my friend!

 

 

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New Year’s Resolutions for Board Members http://www.gailperry.com/2015/01/2015-new-years-resolutions-for-board-members/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/01/2015-new-years-resolutions-for-board-members/#comments Thu, 01 Jan 2015 18:42:58 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=16537 It’s the New Year – and it’s a great time to make smart resolutions for the future! I’d like to offer this list as a suggestion for your board members. It’s a perennial favorite with my readers – I update and republish it each year. You might find that these ideas will open up some […]

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It’s the New Year – and it’s a great time to make smart resolutions for the future!

snoopy think bigI’d like to offer this list as a suggestion for your board members.

It’s a perennial favorite with my readers – I update and republish it each year.

You might find that these ideas will open up some interesting discussions – about expectations, attitudes and actions needed from ALL board members.

Join me for a high level overview of how fundraising really works today – and what you need to achieve fundraising success in 2015.

My next webinar on January 13 is just for you: “Roadmap to Fundraising Success in 2015: For Board Members, CEO’s and Development Staff.” Find out all about it here. 

If you want to understand the most profitable strategies that will bring in long-term, sustainable cash flow in 2015, do join me!

Here’s my suggested list of New Year’s Resolutions for Board Members – 2015:

1.    I will encourage everyone to think big.

I know that thinking small will not get us where we want to go.
We are not going to change the world, save the environment, feed the hungry, change our community, find a cure – by thinking just small thoughts.
So I will think big.
I understand that there is great power in a big, wildly exciting vision.
Because a big juicy vision will help attract people – and financial resources – to our cause.

Like Donald Trump said:

“If you are going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big!

2.  I will have a bias towards action.

Knowing that my organization needs more than talk out of board members, I will focus on positive actions that I can take.

I refuse to be one of those board members who thinks their job is simply to come to meetings and just offer an opinion.

I will ask the staff what they need our board members to actually DO this month, this quarter, this year.

I will put my money where my mouth is and support my nonprofit.

Taking action will be more fun and will create much better results!

3.  I resolve to understand the numbers.

I promise to spend some time understanding the data about how we raise money and how we spend it.

I want to learn more about where our money really goes.

I’m interested in learning about my organization’s fundraising plan and our funding/business model.

Like Tom Peters said,

‘Without data, I’m just another person with an opinion.”

I want to know more about my role as a fiduciary guardian of our nonprofit.

4.     I will support our fundraising program.

Knowing that fundraising is not just about asking for money, I want to understand my various fundraising responsibilities as a board member.

I’ll do what I can to help bring in resources.

I’ll find a personal role to play that will support our fundraising. 

I will help create an organizational culture that will support philanthropy .

I’m interested in educating myself about fundraising – how it works today and what works best for us. 

I won’t suggest a new fundraising idea or project without first understanding its potential impact on our staffing and volunteer resources.

5.     I will be optimistic, no matter what!

I will be the board member who believes in abundance, and sees the glass half full.

Knowing that negativity is self-defeating, I will discourage everyone from handwringing and naysaying.

I know that negativity wipes out all our energy and passion.

I resolve to be the board member who has the point of view of abundance rather than scarcity.

And I hope to influence the rest of my fellow board members.

I will encourage a positive, can-do attitude  - because THAT is what can change the world.

6.  I will go back to my vision again and again.

I know that my vision will keep me excited, focused, passionate, and results-oriented.

So I will stay focused on what’s possible.

If any of our board members feel jaded or bored, I’ll encourage them to remember why they really care about this cause and our organization.

I’ll do my best to keep the fires of passion and energy burning brightly.

7.     I will dare to challenge the status quo.

Knowing that change is hard for all organizations, including ours  – I will be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things.

I will encourage my fellow board members to be willing to let go – no matter how threatening change is.

“If change is happening on the outside faster than on the inside, the end is near.” Jack Welch

I will remember Jack Welch:

“If the change is happening outside the organization faster than it is on the inside, the end is near.”

I resolve to be willing to ask, “Why are we doing this?”

8.     I will make my own proud, personal gift to support my organization.

AND I will encourage the other board members to give.

I understand that If we don’t put our money where our mouth is, we have absolutely no credibility.

I resolve to set an example by giving cheerfully and generously.

9.     I will support the staff.

Understanding that an acknowledged staff is a more productive staff, I will ask the staff how I can best support them. 

Understanding that they carry enormous responsibility on their shoulders, I will support paying them competitive salaries.

I will not ask the staff to overwork themselves, or sacrifice their personal lives in the name of our cause.

I resolve to return their phone calls.  And respond to their e-mails.  And help out.

10. I will be a “sneezer” and advocate for our cause wherever I go.

Knowing that Ideas can be contagious and spread among people like viruses— I will practice my elevator speech when I meet a potential supporter.

Above all, I want to create an epidemic of buzz about my organization all around.

I resolve to be a terrific personal advocate for our organization and our cause. And I”ll have fun doing it!

Bottom Line:

I don’t want to mess around as a board member.

I certainly don’t want to waste my time in meaningless meetings and committees.

I want to make my service on the board meaningful.

I want to make a real difference in the world!

Let’s all get on board and make it happen in 2015!

If you’d like to reprint this article in your newsletter or distribute it to your board members, that would be terrific! But please link and attribute to this site.

Please ADD YOUR OWN resolution below with your comment!

 

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The Most Important Fundraising Strategies: Blog Highlights of 2014! http://www.gailperry.com/2014/12/important-fundraising-strategies-blog-highlights-2014/ http://www.gailperry.com/2014/12/important-fundraising-strategies-blog-highlights-2014/#comments Sat, 27 Dec 2014 20:31:32 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=16478 For some fun holiday reading for you – here are the most popular blog posts of 2014. These posts are the ones that resonated the most with our Fired-Up Fundraising community. Be sure to check them out. They are PACKED with ACTIONABLE strategies that can help you raise the most money in the least amount […]

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For some fun holiday reading for you – here are the most popular blog posts of 2014.important-98442_1280

These posts are the ones that resonated the most with our Fired-Up Fundraising community.

Be sure to check them out.

They are PACKED with ACTIONABLE strategies that can help you raise the most money in the least amount of time.

Here we go:

1. Top 10 Major Donor Trends for 2014-15 

This was by far the most-read post with over 11k page views.

Trend articles are always a top favorite with our community.

2. An Appeal Letter Makeover: From “Organization-Centered” to “Donor-Centered” 

This one helped many people get their appeal letters set up properly.  (I think I need to do some clinics on fundraising letter writing in 2015!)

3. How to Craft a Killer Thank You Letter 

This nuts and bolts post shared a step-by-step approach to the all-important thank you letter.

Watch for my update on this one early in 2015!

4. Strengthen Your Fundraising Appeal With the “MPI” Formula 

My new MPI formula helps simplify the ask and tie it directly to impact.

5. Try Asking Donors for Feedback so They’ll Love You Even More

I was glad to see this one so high.

This post shared the right way to do a Donor Survey – a smart strategy you’ll want to employ in the new year.

For board members:

You know that board members are a speciality of mine.

These two important posts flew around the world and into the in-boxes of many board members this year:

6. What Every Board Member Needs to Know About Fundraising

This is written for you to send directly to your own board. It will generate a healthy discussion and new buy-in for fundraising.

7. Help Board Members Understand that Fundraising is Everybody’s Job

Rounding out the last three are some posts that got a lot of attention from your colleagues:

8. 5 Ideas That Will Make Asking Much Easier and More Successful

This post lays out an important framework for 21st Century Fundraising.

Here’s where we are all headed! Or, should I say – we all NEED to be headed!

9Is There a Crisis in Fundraising Leadership? 

This was my personal favorite of the year.

With over 45 comments, it is the beginning of an important conversation among fundraisers and their leaders.

Don’t miss this one. I’d love to know what you think!

10. Phone Calls to Donors = Highly Profitable Fundraising 

Singing the praises of OLD technology – the phone!

It’s a highly personal, cost effective and very lucrative fundraising tool.

Don’t miss these important posts – they’ll help boost your fundraising totals in 2015!

 

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Holiday Survival Guide: 5 Tips for Surviving and Enjoying the Holidays http://www.gailperry.com/2014/12/holiday-survival-guide-5-tips-surviving-enjoying-holidays/ http://www.gailperry.com/2014/12/holiday-survival-guide-5-tips-surviving-enjoying-holidays/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 16:08:59 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=16464 Yes, the holidays can be wild! So very much to do! Here are my own favorite tips for not only surviving but really enjoying the holidays. Your #1 Job is to Protect Your OWN Good Energy YOU are the most important person of all during these holidays (shocker)! Your family needs you. Your organization needs […]

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Yes, the holidays can be wild!iStock_000014229117Medium

So very much to do!

Here are my own favorite tips for not only surviving but really enjoying the holidays.

Your #1 Job is to Protect Your OWN Good Energy

YOU are the most important person of all during these holidays (shocker)!

Your family needs you. Your organization needs you.

And how does everyone need you to be?

They need you to be happy and calm – because it makes them feel better.

If your energy is positive and you are enjoying life – you’ll be a better fundraiser. a better colleague, and a better partner to those you love.

So today let’s practice letting go a bit.  Let’s take a deep breath, and find something to enjoy:

1. Cut back your “Must Do” list.

Don’t ya just love that To Do List?  And. . . take it from me. . . . it’s too long!

I think we all assume too much responsibility for everything.

Can you take a couple of monkeys off your back?

Can you take a couple of monkeys off your back?

You don’t really have to be responsible for a fabulous holiday, for all the year-end gifts, for everyone’s happiness.

What will really happen anyway if you don’t give the teacher the perfect present? Or the cookies never get baked?

So let go of some of the stuff on that to-do list. I bet no one will EVEN notice! : )

2. Perfection is not your goal.

We all wanna do a terrific job – for our donors – for our families. And we just can’t do everything!

In fact, it’s simply not possible to get it all done. (Is it now?)

But you know what, my party will happen tomorrow night whether the upstairs bathroom is perfectly arranged or not. Whether the porch is really clean or not – the party will go on and no-one will pay any attention.

I am getting philosophical right now about what is possible to accomplish. And I’m letting go of the rest!

So give yourself a break and let go of the “perfection” ideal!

3. Punt the ball.

What do I mean by “punt?”  It’s an American football term.

When the team punts, they kick the ball to the other team and let THEM control it for a while.

I love the metaphor of punting.

And I love even more the idea of turning a job over to SOMEONE else. 

Who can pick up one of your jobs? Can you call in reinforcements?

Turn a job over to someone else and take a breath.

4. Do something that nurtures you.

Maybe it’s taking time for a pedicure, or finding some relaxing time with your friends.

What do you do to take good care of yourself?  

Maybe it’s a hot bath, maybe it’s a yoga class. Maybe it’s sleeping in!

Perhaps it’s setting limits on what you will and will not try to tackle.

But this time of year – give yourself a break.

Go ahead and indulge yourself a tiny bit.

5. Find a silent moment.

Sometimes in the middle of hubbub and noise, it’s wonderful simply to stop and appreciate the moment.

Being mindful of what you are doing can bring such gifts.

All of a sudden, you are aware of the joy and happiness and sheer life energy around you.

Give it a try!

Sometimes when I am having my big holiday party every year – I stop and look around and simply ENJOY all the noisy, happy people in my house.  And I feel a spark of joy and happiness. It is so wonderful.

Take a break, pull back and savor what is going on around you.

BOTTOM LINE:

What are YOUR holiday Survival Tips? Leave a comment and let us all know!!

 

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Subject Lines for Your Last-Minute Email Appeals (knock them off) http://www.gailperry.com/2014/12/subject-lines-last-minute-email-appeals/ http://www.gailperry.com/2014/12/subject-lines-last-minute-email-appeals/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 15:33:53 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=16422 Are your email appeals ready and lined up for the last week of the year? It’s not too late to tweak them and sharpen up your ask. Remember, as much as 10% of your ENTIRE ANNUAL giving will be coming in the last 3 days of the year. Better be ready! What’s the first step […]

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Are your email appeals ready and lined up for the last week of the year?

Courtesy of Network for Good

Courtesy of Network for Good

It’s not too late to tweak them and sharpen up your ask.

Remember, as much as 10% of your ENTIRE ANNUAL giving will be coming in the last 3 days of the year.

Better be ready!

What’s the first step to raising money online?

Especially here during the last busy days of the year?

It’s getting your email opened by your wonderful donor.

What makes an email get opened or not?

It’s the subject line.

If your subject line is boring, you can pretty much kiss your well-crafted email good-by.

My own subject lines for my newsletter are usually snappy and cheerful. They often dangle something interesting in front of the reader.

I’ll actually share with you my deep dark subject line secret. Shhhhhh!  I adapt my best subject lines from the cover of Oprah Magazine!

Courtesy of Blackbaud

Word Cloud of 2013 Year-End Subject Lines Courtesy of Blackbaud

For example, when my newsletter used the following subject lines, my web site actually FROZE because everyone clicked all at once to read these posts:

Don’t be a Fundraising Dinosaur: 5 New Ideas to Adopt Right Now!

22 Ideas to Make 2011 Your Best Fundraising Year Yet

Create Killer Subject Lines for Your Last Minute Appeals

So what makes a great fundraising email subject line that will have a high open rate?

It’s something that is intriguing enough so that the reader will open.

There’s energy and cheerfulness.

I think curiosity also plays a big role in getting folks to open.

Courtesy of Bloomerang and Pursuant

Courtesy of Bloomerang and Pursuant

You want to tease the first part of your story and then the reader has to open the email in order to find out the rest of the story.

And for last-minute emails – there’s a huge amount of urgency.

That’s what you want to play on at the very end of the year.

Choose The Subject Line Words Carefully!

Each word in your subject can either turn off readers or make them eager to read.

Check out this list of words from Mailchimp that nonprofits often use that actually REDUCE open rates!

Read their great article: Choose Your Words Wisely.

These words have a negative open rate!

These words have a negative open rate!

Studying the art of the subject line might be a good New Year’s Resolution for you!

Consider Using a Symbol In Your Subject Line

Scott McLaughlin at Blackbaud says that a strategically located symbol – like this black heart black-heart – can increase your open rate.

Personally, I’m seeing more commercial emails using symbols to stand out in a crowded inbox.  Aren’t you?

The credit monitoring agency Experian found that “subject lines with symbols had a higher unique open rate in 56% of brands they analyzed.”

So consider giving a symbol a try.

Just be sure it fits with your organization’s brand and image!

Knock off These Subject Lines for Your Last Minute Email Appeals

I’m grateful for the very smart Scott McLaughlin at Blackbaud for his annual compilation of last minute email subject lines.

You should read his entire article here - it contains all the subject lines he saw during the entire month of December 2013.:

Which ones do you like the best?

I’ve highlighted my personal favorites.

Leave a comment and let us know your pick!

Only hours left to give in 2013

Take one last action in 2013

Hours left to meet our match deadline

Last call: deadline’s just a few hours away

What will you do before midnight?

We can’t do it WITHOUT YOU!

This is it

No more time- help us now

Hours left- but still short of our goal

Almost out of time

It’s not too late to help!

Today is the last day

Last chance: give my midnight tonight

One last thing

A gentle but urgent nudge – please give today!

A great way to end 2014

Less than 24 hours to double your gift

Don’t let 2014 end without being a part of this

Last Day: We Need You

Double your impact and help save lives

Help us improve more lives in 2014

Make change possible

At this very moment

5 minutes can change lives

BOTTOM LINE:

Be sure to craft some killer emails and have them in your donors’ inboxes the last three days of the year.

Leave a comment and tell me which ones are YOUR favorites!

Gail

 

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One Thing You Can and Must Do to Boost Your Year-End Fundraising Totals http://www.gailperry.com/2014/12/one-thing-can-must-boost-year-end-fundraising-totals/ http://www.gailperry.com/2014/12/one-thing-can-must-boost-year-end-fundraising-totals/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 16:34:30 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=16366 Just think, 30% of your entire annual giving will occur in December.  AND 10% of your entire annual giving is about to come in the door the last 3 days of this month. So do I have your attention? Who is going to get your donors’ dollars? Here is one thing that you simply must […]

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Just think, 30% of your entire annual giving will occur in December. 

AND 10% of your entire annual giving is about to come in the door the last 3 days of this month.giving-or-lending-money-1024x680

So do I have your attention?

Who is going to get your donors’ dollars?

Here is one thing that you simply must do.

It will make SURE these dollars come in the door to YOU and not to the other wonderful nonprofit down the street.

Key Tip: Send a followup appeal letter to everyone who has not yet responded.

Direct mail guru Mal Warwick told me once that the followup appeal letter alone can boost your overall return by 15-25%.

Run the numbers and see if that doesn’t get your attention.

Large or small – you need to implement this strategy.

You may be a small organization, and you think it’s too much trouble to get this second mailing out.

Why don’t you calculate how much an additional 20% would be – and then reconsider your decision!

Lots of money is out there for smart nonprofits this month.

Lots of money is out there for smart nonprofits this month.

You may be a large organization, and you are focusing on your email appeals instead.

Think again! Your donors will receive your direct mail reminder and then go to your website to give.

They NEED that reminder in a separate channel from email.

My rules for a great followup appeal:

1. Shorter and briefer than your first appeal.

This is a quick reminder.

That’s all.

You are cheerful, but very very intentional!

2. Repeats the themes, the look, the layout, the images of your first appeals.

Consistency is key.

The letter is merely echoing what you’ve already laid out.

You are reinforcing your previous appeals.

3. Has a P.S. that asks again.

The PS needs to connect with the impact, as in:

“Please send your gift now to help preserve the lovely woodlands of our state.

4.  Has a reply envelope and card.

Remember Direct Mail Rule #1: “Make it easy for your donor to give.”

Be sure to link the donor's gift with the good they are doing in the world.

Be sure to link the donor’s gift with the good they are doing in the world.

Make sure that reply envelope and card are readily available to your donor!

The followup letter sounds like this:

“We haven’t heard from you yet! The kids are all hoping to be able to go to camp next summer – and you can send a lucky kid to camp!. . . .

Or

“We haven’t heard from you yet! Our ballerinas are practicing for next year’s performances, but they need your help to perform on stage. . . .

Or

“We haven’t heard from you yet! The desperately sick people in Africa don’t want to give up hope. Your gift will help them. . . . .

How to frame the ask in a donor-centered way:

What you are doing is connecting the donor directly with the good that he or she will be able to do in the world.

You are not asking for money for your wonderful organization, mind you.

Instead, you’re asking the donor to give to the kids, or the art, or the sick or whoever you serve.

You need to REMOVE yourself and your organization as the barrier between the work and the donor!

BOTTOM LINE:

Send out your followup “reminder to give” letter.

And let me know how you do!

Here’s to your amazing year-end fundraising success!

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The One Mistake that Hurts Fundraising the Most http://www.gailperry.com/2014/11/one-mistake-hurts-fundraising/ http://www.gailperry.com/2014/11/one-mistake-hurts-fundraising/#comments Fri, 28 Nov 2014 16:38:27 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=16313 What is keeping you from raising the most money possible? Could it be that your own approach is holding you back? I have an idea for you – YOU might just be your own worst enemy. : ) This idea will help you make your job easier, more fun, and more successful. Your #1 Mistake? […]

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What is keeping you from raising the most money possible?kid-calling-you-out-soccer-200x300

Could it be that your own approach is holding you back?

I have an idea for you – YOU might just be your own worst enemy. : )

This idea will help you make your job easier, more fun, and more successful.

Your #1 Mistake? Doing too much by yourself.

We all work so hard,  because our cause is so very important.

There are people and issues that depend on us.

Every single day, we are helping to make our world a better, safer, kinder, healthier and more beautiful place to live.

Here’s what I”d like to see you do:

Can you share the wealth and create a bigger fundraising team?

I know, I know –

You have already dragged all the people you can get hold of into helping with fundraising.

But think with me a minute.

There are TONS of fundraising jobs that don’t involve soliciting.

Tons of jobs that other wonderful people might be willing to do for the cause.

Remember my #1 Fundraising Motto? “When in doubt throw a party!”

Don't put the entire fundraising monkey on your own back!

Don’t put the entire fundraising monkey on your own back!

That really means “make it fun!”

That means if you lighten up and make it fun for people, they will often be glad to pitch in.

After all, who doesn’t want to have a good time with friends and colleagues – especially when you are serving a cause that is really important to you.

Why not create some “fun” fundraising jobs?

Who can you pull in to help?

First of all,  there are your colleagues. Perhaps they can help?

There are board members – at least some of them might be interested?

And what about the wonderful people who volunteer at your agency? Maybe some of them would enjoy some new jobs too.

Here are my ideas on how to share the fundraising wealth and get some help!

1. Ask them to write cheerful happy messages on holiday cards that you send to donors.

Tip:  Make your holiday cards meaningful.  Make them charming.

Make them warm, fuzzy and touching to your donors.

Show your donors some love in the holiday season.

Show your donors some love in the holiday season.

Or don’t send them at all, ok?

2. They can help with a “thank you” phonathon to your donors.

Tip: I call these “thankathons.” And they are one of your most powerful weapons.

Why? Because getting thank you phone calls makes your donors HAPPY! :)

And if your donors are feeling happy and connected to you, they’ll give more.

Example: I read recently about a local business whose employees would volunteer at a local charity.

Guess what their job was! Calling donors to say thank you!

3. They can help write thank you notes to donors.

Tip: Handwritten thank you notes are a lovely addition to your communications to your donors.

I bet there are some people around who would love to write some warm, loving notes to donors.

Example: I heard once of a group of older ladies who met each week at a local charity.

They had a pizza lunch -AND they all wrote thank you notes. They had fun and camaraderie too!

4. They can help with a mid-December phonathon to lapsed donors.

Tip: Remember that your #1 fundraising strategy for the year-end is to renew every single person who gave in 2013 but who has not given in 2014.

Board members tell me that asking for a renewed gift is the easiest ask of all for them.

Try this!

5. They can help host a holiday social to honor your donors.

Tip: Include your donors in your holiday social plans.

It may not be too late to organize a special thank you event for donors.

I bet you are arranging a holiday social for your board members right now – why not include some important donors?

 6. They can forward your year-end email solicitation appeals to their friends with a personal e-note.

Tip: You’re crafting these emails anyway, correct?

I bet staff, board members and volunteers – even some of your donors would be happy to personally endorse the email and forward it to their friends.

I love this idea. Give it a try!

BOTTOM LINE:

Please don’t leave the monkey entirely on your own back. Life’s too short!

Involve others in some fun fundraising activities – and you’ll suddenly have a bigger team, broader reach, and more money in the door.

Just be sure to make it FUN for everyone!

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My #1 Year-End Fundraising Tip that Will Bring in the Most Money http://www.gailperry.com/2014/11/1-year-end-fundraising-tip-will-bring-highest-dollar-return/ http://www.gailperry.com/2014/11/1-year-end-fundraising-tip-will-bring-highest-dollar-return/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 15:59:23 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=16263 Year-end is a terribly busy time for you, I know. There is actually one important step you can do pretty easily.  And it can be highly profitable to your annual fund bottom line. And we all want that, don’t we? This simple tactic can make the largest difference in your year-end fundraising results. So if […]

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Year-end is a terribly busy time for you, I know.dec-31-calendar

There is actually one important step you can do pretty easily.  And it can be highly profitable to your annual fund bottom line.

And we all want that, don’t we?

This simple tactic can make the largest difference in your year-end fundraising results.

So if you could do just one thing in the next 5-6 weeks – here’s what I recommend:

Make sure your largest donors from 2013 renew their gifts before the end of 2014.

Here’s what to do:

1. Pull a report of all donors who gave in 2013 but who have not given yet in 2014.

2. Sort the report by highest gift so you can see who the largest donors are who have not yet renewed their gift.

3. Add up all the money that came in last year that has not quite yet come in this year.

4. You will probably faint after seeing the dollar amount – so pick yourself up off the floor at this point! :)

Here’s where you want to focus.

These dollars will be relatively easy to raise.

Why? Because they are simply renewals- these lovely people have already voted with their wallets that they are on your support team.

5. Now, let’s craft a quick and dirty strategy to go after these wonderful people who are hanging in the balance.

Your donors would probably love to hear from you!

Your donors would probably love to hear from you!

Be sure they are asked AGAIN to renew their gift.

These donors are important to your cause. You should be in touch with them anyway, right?

What can you pull off here at the end of the year? There are lots of things you could consider:

1. Staff can make phone calls to your largest lapsed donors.

Why not pick up the phone, call them and tell them you are thinking of them here at the end of the year.

Give them a brief update if they are interested.

Tell them you hope they will be renewing their support. Ask then to share with you again why they believe in your cause.

Share with them your goals for 2015, and invite them to help make these wonderful things happen in your community.

  • Use the MPI Formula – mention a dollar amount (money) that will fund a project, and then share the impact that the gift will make.

2. Organize a board member phonathon to lapsed donors asking them to renew.

elderly lady on the phone

Your more elderly donors might just love for you to call them.

Board members tell me that asking donors to renew their gifts is the easiest ask to make.

They are much more comfortable with this type of ask than you might think.

Be sure to give them training, though. Role playing exercises are fun and give them important practice.

  • AND, of course make it FUN for your board members so they will all pitch in!

3. Send very, very personalized letters to your largest donors.

It’s certainly not too late to create some warm, personal appeal letters to your largest donors.

Even if they have been asked earlier this fall -and especially if they’ve been asked – you should followup personally with them.

Just say, you noticed that they have not yet renewed their support. Use the MPI Formula to remind them HOW they can help change the world with their gift.

  • I think following up with these donors is simply good manners, myself.

4. Make in-person visits to the top 10 donors who have not yet renewed their gift.

Face to face visits with your donors are the best possible fundraising strategy.

During your visit, lay out your plans for next year and ask them to join with you to make these wonderful things happen.

Find out what their hot buttons are and what their questions are.

This kind of thank you gift can seriously touch your donor's heart.

This kind of thank you gift can seriously touch your donor’s heart.

Make sure they do most of the talking during your visit.

  • If you do, they’ll talk themselves into making the gift!

5. Send a special holiday greeting to them.

It can be a video from someone your organization has helped.

It could be homemade cookies or sweets.

It could be a warm and fuzzy thank you gift or message.

Sending holiday greetings to your donors reminds them that you care about them as people.

Don’t be all about the money – then they will feel like ATMs and all will be lost.

  • In this season of gratitude and giving, be sure you spread some special cheer to your major donors.

 BOTTOM LINE

There is a huge amount of money on the table RIGHT NOW for you and your cause.

And it’s all from your donors who need to renew their gifts.

This is the easiest money to raise ever. Focus here and you’ll see happy dollar results!

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

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You Are Doing the Most Important Job in the World http://www.gailperry.com/2014/11/important-job-world/ http://www.gailperry.com/2014/11/important-job-world/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 15:00:17 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=16243 What is YOUR role in the word of philanthropy?  In honor of National Philanthropy Day, we are stepping back and looking at ourselves and our work. You are making it happen day after day, my friend. Whether you are a board member, CEO or fundraising staff, you are doing such important work. You may not […]

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What is YOUR role in the word of philanthropy? superwoman board member

In honor of National Philanthropy Day, we are stepping back and looking at ourselves and our work.

You are making it happen day after day, my friend.

Whether you are a board member, CEO or fundraising staff, you are doing such important work.

You may not have the support you need from your team or leaders — or enough resources to do good fundraising.

But you are still plugging away, creating such good in the world.

I just have to tell you how much I personally appreciate what you are doing.

There are plenty of people out there in the world who you touch. You are appreciated more than you know!

So here’s my encouragement:

Sometimes you just have to push back!

Sometimes you just have to push back!

Go for it!

You are probably one of the most dedicated people you know.

You’ve been wearing the monkey on your back for a long time, and you know it.

You have one of the most important jobs on earth – bringing in the resources to make the world a better place.

Never forget that!

Take a stand.

Draw a line in the sand about what you are willing to do and what you won’t do.

Confront people who block you, who mock you, or who try to hold you back.

Push back.

Create risk. And accept risk. What do you really have to lose?

Why not tell people that they can’t have it both ways.

They can’t have this new sexy fundraising strategy that they have just thought up and still get the major gifts you need in the door.

Never be satisfied with the status quo.

You know and I both know that status quo is not acceptable. It’s deadly and deadening.

Status quo is much loved by those who want to make everyone comfortable.

But it subverts the change we need to bring to the world.

Be part of the solution.

Neutrality is not an option. You are either a part of the solution or a part of the problem.

Take a minute and watch this moving and remarkably inspirational closing plenary address by Kumi Naidoo (Executive Director, Greenpeace International) at the International Fundraising Congress last month.

Know that you are not alone. Remember the ethical responsibility we all share to work for the common good.

Work the big ideas.

Find donors who only want big ideas. This is where the energy and power is – in the big ideas that shift everything.

Get out to the field, recharge, and see those big ideas in action!

Create positive energy.

Be a source of optimism for those around you.

Optimism is the energy that can change the world.

Optimism is the energy that can change the world.

Your donors will feel your positive attitude.

Your colleagues will appreciate it. And you’ll change the world faster.

You’ll be operating from spirit .  .  .  not ego.

Have some fun.

People want to have fun.

Your donors, your staff, and your family – all want to have some fun.

Remember my #1 fundraising motto: “When in doubt throw a party!”

When you are having fun, you attract more people and donors to your cause. Everything becomes easier.

Take excellent care of yourself.

The better your self-care – the more good energy you can share with everyone. Insist on taking your vacation. Close up your computer on the weekends.

Have more fun, and you'll raise more money!

Have more fun, and you’ll raise more money!

Set an example for others. (Call me if you have second thoughts about this!)

Create a team.

You can’t do it by yourself.

Keeping the monkey only on your own back won’t change the world. (Neither will working yourself to death.)

Pull your team together and set shared goals so you can create shared successes.

Build a support community for yourself.

Fundraising can be a lonely job.

You need the support of your colleagues and friends in our field – whether they are on the other side of the world or next door.

Remember that’s what AFP is for!

(We all hang out on Twitter too for some fun, sharing and support!)

Find the leader in the mirror.

Let’s not wait for leaders to change. The world needs YOU right now! Philanthropy and fundraising really need more leaders. And that means you.

WE really are the safety net of society.  Perhaps WE are the heroes.

This is your moment.

We fundraisers have the priviledge of doing our work. We have the knowledge and we have the skills.

At the International Fundraising Congress last month, Kumi Naidoo (Executive Director, Greenpeace International) called on us to act and act now.

Sure, there are days when we all have self doubt.  But the world would be an incredibly worse place — a much more pessimistic place — without you, my friend.

What will you do with the rest of your life?

Your days? your hours? Will you waste them in a place where you feel stuck? Where you are blocked?

Or are you going to listen to that very true inner voice that knows exactly where you should be and what you should be doing?

This entire post is my call to action to you.

I’m here to support you. I’m here to show you that there can be a better way.

I’m here to remind you that you already know the answers.  And you know what to do. The world needs you – really!

Rock on, my friend!

Life’s short and the world is calling to us!

COMMENTS?

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Planning a Capital Campaign? How to Get Major Donors Involved Early On http://www.gailperry.com/2014/11/planning-capital-campaign-get-major-donors-involved-early/ http://www.gailperry.com/2014/11/planning-capital-campaign-get-major-donors-involved-early/#comments Fri, 07 Nov 2014 15:05:05 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=16197 Planning a capital campaign or a major new initiative? When do you start talking to major donors? Here’s everybody’s first (and most important) question: Do we wait till our strategic plan is fully thought through and laid out? Should we wait till the sketches, footprints and budgets are all complete for our hoped-for new buildings […]

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Planning a capital campaign or a major new initiative?

When do you start talking to major donors?

Here’s everybody’s first (and most important) question:TwoPeopleTalking-300x240

Do we wait till our strategic plan is fully thought through and laid out?

Should we wait till the sketches, footprints and budgets are all complete for our hoped-for new buildings – and THEN go to our donors?

My answer is a VERY big “NO!”

Don’t wait!

Engage your major donors NOW in your strategic visioning conversations!

The time to go see your hoped-for major donors is very early on – when these ideas are just simmering around in your head as a happy future vision.

Why?

Because the VISION stage of everything is the most exciting stage of all.

It’s the moment of your greatest power. It’s where all the energy is.

people figures speaking

Your major donor prospects might have lots to say about your plans.

It’s also where the fun is!

  • “Shall we do this?
  • “Or shall we do that?
  • “Could we pull it off?
  • “Who would need to be involved?
  • “What would it take?

This is all fun stuff.

Don’t forget that this early process of thinking through your organization’s exciting future is a unique opportunity to engage your donors.

It’s a magic time for you.

You are living in a place of possibilities — considering new paths to take.

What better time to be sharing your ideas with your donors!

Don’t put your hoped-for major donors in a protected silo while you have all the creative fun.

Free Webinar: How to Start Planning for Big Money and Your Capital Campaign NOW

Would you like some extra help laying the groundwork for big money and capital campaign in your future?

Then join Andrea Khilstedt and me for our FREE Webinar November 11 at noon ET:  How to Start Planning for Big Money and Your Capital Campaign NOW.

And yes, it will be recorded for you!

Martin Luther King didn't say "I have a strategic plan."

Martin Luther King didn’t say “I have a strategic plan.”

Martin Luther King didn’t say, “I have a strategic plan.”

Instead he said, “I have a dream.”

And it was his dream – his vision – that captured the imagination, AND the participation of millions of Americans – and the rest of the world.

Invite your donors in!

Inviting a prospective major donor to be involved in helping to shape your vision is the highest compliment you can give him or her.

It gets the donor in on the ground floor.

She feels like she’s in the know.

She’s in the inner circle.

She’s been asked for her opinion and her input.

As fundraising consultants, we ask donors all the time how they feel about projects, how they feel about prospective campaigns, and what their thinking is on how to raise the money.

It surprises me that so many nonprofits are reluctant to have these kinds of conversations with their potential major donors.

Because you can’t possibly cultivate a donor – or ask for a gift – without discussing these issues!

But leadership is often reluctant to involve donors early.

Your leaders are saying “we can’t go to the major donors without everything lined up.  It will make us look bad if we don’t have all the answers to their questions.”

They want to have the new plan completely thought out and finished up. And only then are they comfortable engaging leadership donors in conversations about the plan.

Here’s a question we recently received on our Capital Campaign Magic site.

The future is where the fun is!

The future is where the fun is!

When should we start our campaign and engage our donors relative to the strategic planning process?

Here’s our answer: You probably should ALREADY be discussing your plans with your lead donors!

Cultivate Prospective Donors by Involving Them in Campaign Planning

There’s no better way to cultivate prospective donors than by involving them in your early planning.

It’s the first step in a full scale cultivation plan for a major gift:

  • You want to get their curiosity up.
  • You want to let them have some fun brainstorming with you about the right way to go.
  • You want to get their buy-in early.

Easy to Get Your Foot in the Door with Donors

It’s so easy to get in the door with prospective donors during the planning phase. Why?

Because you are not asking for anything but their advice and best ideas. You’re honoring your donors by asking them to help you think through your plans.

3 Steps to Engage Your Major Donors Early On

1. Make a list of the 25 people whose commitments will be critical to the success of your campaign.

2. Brainstorm the various ways you might involve them in your planning.

Consider inviting them to participate in a planning meeting, serve on the Campaign Planning Committee, or review a draft of the plan, be part of a focus group, or simply give you advice and information about the community.

3. Next, develop a plan for involving those top 25 folks.

You don’t want The Ask or a Feasibility Study interview to be the first time they learn about your project.

Bottom Line:

Getting your major donor prospects thinking, talking and planning with you just about assures their buy-in into the campaign.

Smart fundraisers start here with them – at the VERY BEGINNING!

And don’t forget to join our FREE WEBINAR next week!

What do you think? What’s your experience? Leave a comment and let me know!

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Phone Calls to Donors = Highly Profitable Fundraising http://www.gailperry.com/2014/10/phone-calls-donors-can-highly-profitable/ http://www.gailperry.com/2014/10/phone-calls-donors-can-highly-profitable/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 14:24:15 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=16160 Are you afraid of the phone? It can be scary to pick up the phone to call a donor or a potential donor! Especially when it’s so much easier to keep your polite distance and send a letter or an email solicitation. But stop a minute and think about your donors: Could it be that […]

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Are you afraid of the phone?

It can be scary to pick up the phone to call a donor or a potential donor!elderley-lady-on-phone

Especially when it’s so much easier to keep your polite distance and send a letter or an email solicitation.

But stop a minute and think about your donors:

Could it be that people are happy to talk to you on the phone?

Might they be happy to have actual human engagement?

But people hate getting phone calls, right?

“Actually, if the call is done right, then they are grateful to hear from you and you can’t get them off the phone!”

People don’t want BAD direct mail or BAD email.  They don’t want BAD phone calls either.

At the International Fundraising Conference in Amsterdam, I was fascinated by a blazing defense of the phone from Simon Scriver of Total Fundraising@TotalFR on twitter and blogging at changefundraising.com.

This post summarizes his very practical recommendations.  I hope they will jolt you to re-think your fundraising strategies. I’m actually quoting directly from his terrific presentation here.

“Face to face and phone will always do much better than online and mail fundraising.”

What? Could this be true? I know that face to face is the most effective way, but phone too?

Why you should consider the phone:

  • It’s relatively cheap. (Hurray for low-cost fundraising tools).phone
  • It can be very personal to the donor. (And that’s lovely, isn’t it?)
  • It supports every other medium – can boost direct mail response quickly.
  • It’s scalable: if you only have 4 donors – you can call them every month. If you have 400 you can easily reach them. If you have 4000 or 40000, you can amass armies of volunteers to call them.
  • Anyone can do them! Volunteers, staff, even donors can call other donors.

Look at all these important uses of phone calls:

WELCOME CALLS: Say thank you! Every single donor should be thanked on the phone if at all possible!

REACTIVATION CALLS:   Ask a lapsed donor to renew their pledge. Why not?

UPGRADE CALLS:  Ask a donor to give or pledge more because of an important new initiative.

phone girs on phone frown

Don’t be nervous about calling your donors on the phone!

CONVERSION CALLS: Call event attendees and ask them to become monthly donors.

Simon also shared what we can expect to raise if we used a smart phone calling strategy.

If you called your entire donor base. . . on average,

1 in 4 donors would give you more!

So if 25% of your donor base is 1000 donors, and all gave $25.00 more, then you’d have an additional $25k.

If 25% of your donor base is 5000 donors, and each of them gave $50 more, that would be 250k.

Run the numbers and see if they don’t get your attention?!

If you called all your lapsed donors,

19% would say YES!

Simon said that 50% won’t answer, 27% will say no and 19% will say yes.

Now, run those numbers and you’ll see how much money you are leaving on the table by not calling.

If you called event attendees and asked them to become monthly donors, 8% would say yes.

25% would say no and 67% would be not be able to contact.

It can even be fun to call your donors on the phone!

It can even be fun to call your donors on the phone!

Welcome calls to new donors boost retention by 30%.

Are you ready to pick up the phone yet?

Here are some smart guidelines for planning your calls.

  • Use the donor’s name right off. Confirm who you are speaking with.
  • Be personal. You are not talking from a canned script.
  • Identify yourself and your role.
  • LISTEN – Listening will tell you what to say next.
  • Let them see your phone number so they know who is calling. Your more passionate supporters are more likely to pick up the phone.

What does a good phone call look like?

You ask leading questions where the answer is “YES.”

  • You are concerned about this cause correct?  YES

    I bet your donor would LOVE to hear from you and would be ready to give more if you asked!

    I bet your donor would LOVE to hear from you and would be ready to give more if you asked!

  • And you are making monthly gifts right now?   YES
  • Would you like to consider xx more a month?  YES

What to say on a phone call – words and phrases to use:

Hi, I’m xxxx, calling on behalf of xx organization.

Do you have time for a quick talk?

First of all we want to give you a huge thank you for your (gifts, volunteering, attending event) with us.

It’s awesome that you are doing this. (AFFIRMATION OF THE DONOR)

Do you mind my asking what was it that led you to make the donation in the first place? (GETTING DONOR FEEDBACK)

You may remember reading about xxx project that you helped fund.

Thanks to people like yourself, we were able to xxxx, and now here’s the impact of this xxxx.

What we are doing today – is a phone campaign so we can tackle this next important project.

We are asking people to increase their gift by xx amount and then they can help create xxxxx impact or reach xxxxx people.

Most people are giving in this range of $xxx to $xxxx. How much would you like to give?

Simon says that if you mention $75, they’ll give higher than that.

If you mention $120 they’ll give $135.

BOTTOM LINE:

Direct calls to donors can be an amazing fundraising tool. They can raise serious money for you and your cause.

Try these strategies. Are you willing to do this?

Leave me a comment and let me know!

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Is There a Crisis in Fundraising Leadership? http://www.gailperry.com/2014/10/crisis-fundraising-leadership/ http://www.gailperry.com/2014/10/crisis-fundraising-leadership/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 13:27:09 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=16124 How do we attract, develop and retain good fundraisers? At last week’s International Fundraising Congress, many of us were transfixed by a provocative conversation about “The Emerging Fundraising Leadership Challenge.” International fundraising guru Tony Elischer, managing director of Think Consulting Solutions, and 5 dynamic women:  Rory Green,  Maria Ros Jernberg,  Joanne Warner,  Elise Ledsinger, and  Lucy Gower led the conversation. (By the way, […]

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How do we attract, develop and retain good fundraisers?young_leaders_stock

At last week’s International Fundraising Congress, many of us were transfixed by a provocative conversation about “The Emerging Fundraising Leadership Challenge.

International fundraising guru Tony Elischer, managing director of Think Consulting Solutions, and 5 dynamic women:  Rory Green,  Maria Ros Jernberg,  Joanne Warner,  Elise Ledsinger, and  Lucy Gower led the conversation.

(By the way, if you have not discovered Rory Green’s hilarious Fundraiser Grrl Tumbler feed, go there right now and subscribe for some much-needed laughs!)

The presenters bemoaned what it’s like for emerging fundraising leaders who are looking for a bright future.

How do we spot, train and develop young talented  – and especially tech-savvy –  fundraisers?

Is fundraising leadership “pale, stale and male?”

Do you agree? Let’s talk about the “stale” part of the above sentence.

Everything is changing about fundraising today. (You’re probably tired of hearing me say to you, “fundraising has changed.”)

Our industry is being blown apart by new technology and new ideas.

Our industry is being blown apart by new technology tools.

Our industry is being blown apart by new technology tools.

The way we communicate is changing drastically.

What donors expect and respond to is very different.

So the stale ideas that are prevalent in so many boardrooms and executive suites are clearly not going to take us where we need to go.

And stale ideas are not going to keep talented fundraisers around.

31% of fundraisers left their jobs because of an “old-school culture of fundraising.”

What’s the old school culture look like?

  • It’s when the president of a college tells me “I don’t know whether to believe my staff.” (This has happened to me more than once!)
  • It’s when the board members think they know more about fundraising than staff does.
  • It’s when your leaders aren’t willing to try out anything new – just sticking with the same old stale fundraising efforts year after year.
  • It’s when a toxic culture squashes young fundraisers’ ideas and dreams.

Penelope Burk found that 40% of fundraisers said that conflicting opinions  on HOW to raise the money was making them leave their jobs. 

Try a “Risk” or “New Strategies” Fund as part of your development budget.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you had a budget item for new technology or to try out new ideas?

Remember, this small pool of money will very likely pay itself back before you know it!

Does your organization have a "stuck in the past" attitude toward fundraising?

Does your organization have a “stuck in the past” attitude toward fundraising?

I like fundraisers who say “give me one dollar and I’ll give you $4 back within two years.”

That’s what a risk fund can help support.

This way you won’t have to deal with the perennial, “We don’t have it in the budget.”

If you have an innovative culture, your staff feels supported to try out new technologies.

And you’ll probably emerge on top in a few years too.

Could it be that the leaders of charities do not appreciate fundraising or talented fundraisers?

Whoa! They don’t appreciate fundraising?  And/or they don’t appreciate “internal fundraising competence?”

Could it be that there is something “fundamentally wrong with the internal culture of many organizations,” in that fundraisers, and particularly talented young women fundraisers —  are not respected, appropriately rewarded or listened to?

(I have to say, what else is new here?)

The presenters called the situation “shameful at every level.”

If you want to be successful, fundraising needs to be integrated into every aspect of your organization.

Everyone needs to understand fundraising and their role in supporting donors and the overall fundraising effort.

I’ll be writing and speaking more in the coming months about how to develop a stronger culture of philanthropy at your organization.

Screen shot from the Fundraisergrrl tumbler feed!

Screen shot from the Fundraisergrrl tumbler feed! Our go-to place for humor!

Can you create a culture in your organization that inspires risk and change?

  • Can you make employees feel important and valued?
  • Can you set a good example of work-life balance?
  • Can you create a culture that values the work fundraisers do?
  • Can you make your employees feel safe and supported?

Do you want to keep your best young talent?

Then make sure you appreciate and recognize “the skills and insights of the next generation of leaders.”

I’m willing to bet our sector could do a much better job than we are doing.

Finding and cultivating new talent has got to be a priority to help lead us to a powerful and productive future.

If you agree, leave a comment!

BOTTOM LINE:

So come on everybody – let’s make a pledge to the new ‘Grow it, Be it, Value it’ Campaign.

Join the movement to value talent, invest in the next generation, be open to change, look for and nurture new fundraisers coming up in the ranks!

Read all about the Leadership Crisis in Fundraising here. It’s worth your time but it might make you angry!

Give me a comment! Do you agree or NOT?

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