Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry http://www.gailperry.com Nonprofit Fundraising Consultant | Board Development | Keynote Speaker Fri, 03 Jul 2015 10:50:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Rebranding Your Nonprofit? 6 Steps to be Sure Your Rebranding Sticks http://www.gailperry.com/2015/07/rebranding-your-nonprofit-6-steps-to-be-sure-your-rebranding-sticks/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/07/rebranding-your-nonprofit-6-steps-to-be-sure-your-rebranding-sticks/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 10:50:51 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=17785 Can rebranding actually help you raise more money, retain more donors, and communicate more clearly? Can it help you get your message out to the right people, and recruit new members, clients or audiences? The answer is “of course” – IF you do it correctly! Rebranding even has side benefits – like strengthening internal culture, […]

The post Rebranding Your Nonprofit? 6 Steps to be Sure Your Rebranding Sticks appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
Can rebranding actually help you raise more money, retain more donors, and communicate more clearly?80_635_400_glue_main

Can it help you get your message out to the right people, and recruit new members, clients or audiences?

The answer is “of course” – IF you do it correctly!

Rebranding even has side benefits – like strengthening internal culture, improving staff commitment and confidence, and even (for some organizations) recruiting better board members. (!)

Today we have a guest post from one of the smartest nonprofit communicators in our sector: Sarah Durham, President of Big Duck in New York City.  

Sarah will be presenting a webinar for my INSIDERS on July 9,  The Rebranding Effect: How Rebranding Can Dramatically Help Your Ability to Communicate and Raise MoneySarah-Durham

Sarah’s amazing research into the benefits of rebranding have carried her around the world, presenting at international conferences.

You can download her ebook about the research here. I highly recommend sharing it with your board and leadership!

Here’s Sarah’s guest post:

How to make sure your rebranding is as successful as possible.

Before your nonprofit rebrands, consider the timing and sequence that will help you do it right.

How will the changes you make connect back to your vision and mission?

How will you bring that new brand to life?

In my webinar, “Surviving the Rebrand (and living to tell the tale)”—which you can watch online any time here—I mapped out these six steps:

1. Have a clear organizational strategy.

Clarity around your mission and values, who your audiences are, what actions you want them to take… that’s actually the stuff of strategic planning, which should happen upstream of rebranding.

Big Duck’s ebook The Rebrand Effect explains how fifty-one percent of the 351 nonprofits polled said that strategic planning was the most influential thing moving their rebranding process forward.

The more your board and your staff are aligned and clear about the mission, the more likely it is that your rebrand is going to reflect it.

2. Get buy-in.

Branding isn’t just about a logo change or messaging update.

It impacts the culture of how your organization works together, so making sure people are onboard and understand why you’re doing it is important.

In particular, consider bringing the people who aren’t convinced that the branding process is going to be helpful together, and have some frank discussions about it.

Try putting all your materials in one place, and really look at them not from your own point of view, but from your audiences’ point of view.

  • What messages are you sending?
  • What do these materials say about your organization?
  • Are you communicating consistently?

Often, people who’ve been resistent to making changes see why it might help when they take a step back.

3. Start with a clear communication strategy.

You don’t want to leave the harbor unless you’re clear where you’re sailing the ship, right?

You need a clear communication strategy if you want your rebranding to succeed!

You need a clear communication strategy if you want your rebranding to succeed!

Having a communication strategy means making sure what you want to communicate is clearly defined, ideally before you start making changes.

That sounds really simple and obvious.

But you’d be surprised how many organizations that rebrand jump right in to messaging or a logo redesign without stopping to ask the question,

“What does this have to communicate?”

Branding, ultimately, is about reputation awareness, reputation shaping, and reputation management.

If you don’t have a clear sense of how you’re perceived now,
it’s very hard to know if you should actually make a change.

Many nonprofits require research to get a clearer picture of this area and to set a viable communications strategy.

If you haven’t done any in a while, consider talking to both your internal and your external stakeholders to get a sense of how you’re perceived.

  • What’s your organization known for?
  • What’s the reputation that you currently have?

4. Ok, now you can rebrand.

Rebranding your nonprofit might include changing your name, your logo, your tagline, developing key messages, writing an elevator pitch, rewriting your vision, mission, value statements.

It might even mean changing how you manage communications, or how departments collaborate, all in the name of working together to communicate “on message.”

5. Bake it in.

Your staff and board will need simple tools they can use to communicate on brand consistently.

Typically, we suggest a simple brand guide (including both visuals and messaging) and a training or two.

Ideally, all new staff receive the guide and training as part of their onboarding.

6. Start campaigning.

Your rebrand isn’t really done until your website is updated, your social media adapted, and more.

Once that’s in place, use your new brand in a year-end fundraising appeal, or perhaps launch a recruitment campaign to get new clients to come in for programs or services.

Remember, campaigning is really where we start to move people up that engagement ladder.

BOTTOM LINE:

Updating your brand can have a very positive organization-wide impact, that spills over into everything you do.

If you are careful, invest the time and energy up front, these benefits can be yours!

The post Rebranding Your Nonprofit? 6 Steps to be Sure Your Rebranding Sticks appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
http://www.gailperry.com/2015/07/rebranding-your-nonprofit-6-steps-to-be-sure-your-rebranding-sticks/feed/ 0
How to Write a Fundraising Appeal — Make Your Donor The Hero http://www.gailperry.com/2015/07/how-to-write-a-fundraising-appeal/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/07/how-to-write-a-fundraising-appeal/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 16:24:23 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=17727 You are planning those fall appeals right now, during the summer months. And it’s time to start thinking about how you’ll construct your appeal. Please Don’t Make Your Letter the Same Old Ask I hope you are not planning to start out with a happy list of your wonderful organization’s achievements. Will you brag about recent […]

The post How to Write a Fundraising Appeal — Make Your Donor The Hero appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
superman

You are planning those fall appeals right now, during the summer months.
And it’s time to start thinking about how you’ll construct your appeal.

Please Don’t Make Your Letter the Same Old Ask

I hope you are not planning to start out with a happy list of your wonderful organization’s achievements. Will you brag about recent awards? (Hope not!) Will you want to start with a recap of all the amazing things your nonprofit has done this past year? (Hope not!) Will you talk about your upcoming 25th anniversary? (Hint, nobody is interested in that!)

OK, it’s time to fess up…conceit

Bragging is the NORM of Most Fundraising Campaigns, But Bragging Won’t Help You Raise More Money

In case you aren’t sure what bragging is, here’s what it looks like:

  • 1,850 children were served 68,450 XXX at 55 sites in 7 counties during the 2013-14 school year. (nix the passive voice! This could be a really exciting sentence, but it is negated by all the numbers.)
  • Since 1961 well over 450,000 homeless and hurting individuals were offered hope and life-changing help by XXX. (More passive voice – a serious no-no)
  • For 25 years, the XXX center has provided and supported significant and relevant experiences in the arts for the youth in our community. (passive and boring)

Instead Of Bragging, Make Your Donor the Hero of Your Story

You probably know that I’m writing this summer about the Top 10 Fundraising Strategies to Raise More Money this year. “Make your donor the hero” should be one of your top strategies. (Credit to the amazing Tom Ahern for this phrase.)

It’s so hard to get this right, but so important that you do. What you want to do is tell a story. And show how the donor can make everything right.

Examples of How to Make Your Donor The Hero

  • If you are a garden, say in your appeal letter that the donors are bringing the love of nature to the whole community.
  • If you are a crisis shelter, talk about how your donors are extending a loving hand to people in serious trouble.
  • If you are a school,  say that your donors are bringing the special extras that help kids learn faster.
  • If you are a sports organization, say that your donors are helping young people develop new skills and confidence that will help them succeed in life.

In short, give your donors credit for what your organization does.

Here’s an example of a terrific donor-centered invitation to give on the Raleigh Rescue Mission’s online donation page:
Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 10.20.58 PM

photo credit: raleighrescue.org

This is the way to tie the donor’s own personal gift directly to the work. The donor is becoming part of the solution. They make it clear how a gift from just one individual will make a big difference. And when I visit the Raleigh Rescue Mission’s website, here’s the headline:

raleigh

This is amazing because it is so rare to see a nonprofit with a web landing page that speaks directly to visitors. This headline is big, it’s eye-catching, and it invites me in to take action and get involved. It talks about actions that I can take as an individual person to make things better in my own community. Notice that this site is NOT a recitation of successes, awards, history or number of people served. No bragging. Love it!

BOTTOM LINE:

  1. Words are so important! All you have to work with are words, pictures and layout.
  2. Choose the right words.
  3. Don’t get stuck in what your boss or your board want.
  4. Be creative.
  5. Speak directly to the donor in no-nonsense language.
  6. Make your donors the heroes and give them credit for everything!

Need help?

If you want some help crafting a donor centered appeal letter, I can help! 

Also, on September 10, the amazing John Lepp and Jen Love will present a Donor-Centered Appeal Letter Workshop for us – more details to come!

Comments please!

 

The post How to Write a Fundraising Appeal — Make Your Donor The Hero appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
http://www.gailperry.com/2015/07/how-to-write-a-fundraising-appeal/feed/ 0
#1 Strategy for Fundraising Appeals This Year: Make Your Donor the Hero http://www.gailperry.com/2015/06/1-strategy-for-fundraising-appeals-this-year-make-your-donor-the-hero/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/06/1-strategy-for-fundraising-appeals-this-year-make-your-donor-the-hero/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 14:58:03 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=17711 You are planning those fall appeals right now, during the summer months. And it’s time to start thinking about how you’ll construct your appeal. Please don’t make it the same old series of appeal letters. Please don’t make your letter the same old ask. I hope you are not planning to start out with a […]

The post #1 Strategy for Fundraising Appeals This Year: Make Your Donor the Hero appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
You are planning those fall appeals right now, during the summer months.superman

And it’s time to start thinking about how you’ll construct your appeal.

Please don’t make it the same old series of appeal letters.

Please don’t make your letter the same old ask.

I hope you are not planning to start out with a happy list of your wonderful organization’s achievements.

Will you brag about recent awards? (Hope not!)

Will you want to start with a recap of all the amazing things your nonprofit has done this past year? (Hope not!)

Will you talk about your upcoming 25th anniversary? (Hint, nobody is interested in that!)

OK, it’s time to fess up.

It’s time to admit that bragging is the NORM of most fundraising campaigns.

In case you aren’t sure what bragging is, here’s what it looks like:

  • 1,850 children were served 68,450 xxx at 55 sites in 7 counties during the 2013-14 school year. (nix the passive voice! This could be a really exciting sentence, but it is negated by all the numbers.)
  • Since 1961, XXX has offered hope and life-changing help to well over 450,000 homeless and hurting individuals. (More passive voice – a serious no-no.)
  • For 25 years, the xxxx center has provided and supported significant and relevant experiences in the arts for the youth in our community. (passive voice yet again, and boring too.)

Make Your Donor the Hero of Your Own Story

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 9.32.39 AM

Love this invitation to get involved from the Raleigh Rescue Mission!

You probably know that I’m writing this summer about the Top 10 Fundraising Strategies to Raise More Money this year.

“Make your donor the hero” should be one of your top strategies. (Credit to the amazing Tom Ahern for this phrase.)

It’s so hard to get this right.

What you want to do is tell a story.

And show how the donor can make everything right.

Here’s how to make your donor a hero:

  • If you are a garden, say in your appeal letter that the donors are bringing the love of nature to the whole community.
  • If you are a crisis shelter, talk about how your donors are extending a loving hand to people in serious trouble.
  • If you are a school,  say that your donors are bringing the special extras that help kids learn faster.
  • If you are a sports organization, say that your donors are helping young people develop new skills and confidence that will help them succeed in life.

In short, give your donors credit for what your organization does.

Here’s a terrific donor-centered invitation to give on the Raleigh Rescue Mission’s online donation page:Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 9.33.10 AM

This is the way to tie the donor’s own personal gift directly to the work.

The donor is becoming part of the solution.

They make it clear how a gift from just one individual will make a big difference.

And when I visit the Raleigh Rescue Mission’s website, here’s the headline:

“3 things YOU can do to help Raleigh’s homeless right now!”

This is amazing. It’s so rare to see a nonprofit with a web landing page that speaks directly to visitors.

This headline is big, it’s eye-catching, and it invites me in to take action and get involved.

It talks about actions that I can take as an individual person to make things better in my own community.

This site is NOT a recitation of successes, awards, history or # of people served. No bragging. Love it!

BOTTOM LINE:

Words are so important! All you have to work with are words, pictures and layout.

Choose the right ones.

Don’t get stuck in what your boss or your board want.

Be creative.

Speak directly to the donor in no-nonsense language.

Make your donors the heroes and give them credit for everything!

Need help?

If you want some help crafting a donor centered appeal letter, I can help you this way.

Also, on September 10, the amazing John Lepp and Jen Love will present a Donor-Centered Appeal Letter Workshop for us – more details to come!

Comments please!

 

 

The post #1 Strategy for Fundraising Appeals This Year: Make Your Donor the Hero appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
http://www.gailperry.com/2015/06/1-strategy-for-fundraising-appeals-this-year-make-your-donor-the-hero/feed/ 0
Top 10 Fundraising Strategies To Raise More Money This Year http://www.gailperry.com/2015/06/top-10-fundraising-strategies-to-raise-more-money-this-year/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/06/top-10-fundraising-strategies-to-raise-more-money-this-year/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2015 17:23:20 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=17658 Creating your annual fundraising plan can be confusing with all the advice, new strategies and fundraising tools out there. To help you, I am cutting through all the noise to give you my annual list of specific, actionable strategies for you to focus on to have the most profitable fundraising year yet. Here’s what all the fundraising […]

The post Top 10 Fundraising Strategies To Raise More Money This Year appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
Creating your annual fundraising plan can be confusing with all the advice, new strategies and fundraising tools out there.

To help you, I am cutting through all the noise to give you my annual list of specific, actionable strategies for you to focus on to have the most profitable fundraising year yet.

Here’s what all the fundraising gurus are recommending.

Most of these are very simple. They don’t take a lot of time or energy.

But making some small changes now can yield huge financial results for you in the future.  Yes!

#1 Fundraising Strategy for the Year: Build Up Your Donor Loyalty

trendsInfographic 1 out of 4 first donors renews

Only 64% of your current donors are renewing, and only 23% of your NEW donors. Infographic courtesy of Bloomerang.

Donor retention is your place of greatest fundraising opportunity.

Just think how much money you could raise if you could increase the number of people renewing their gifts each year!

Here’s what it takes from you:

  • Create an organization-wide commitment to donors.
  • Focus on the post-gift “Donor Experience.”
  • Adopt “Donor Love” as a primary fundraising strategy.

Donor Retention is not a buzzword, it’s a lifestyle,” says Lynne Wester, our favorite Donor Guru.

#1 Event Strategy: A Well Designed “Fund A Need”

Sherry-Truhlar-Virginia-Auctioneer-Yellow-Dress-225X300

Sherry Truhlar, auctioneer. Check out her blog!

“If you can focus guests’ attention, incorporating a thoughtfully crafted Fund a Need is the easiest way to add bottom-line revenue to an event and new donors to the donor roles,” says our go-to auction expert Sherry Trular.

Here’s how to create a well-designed “fund a need.”

  • Top notch auctioneer skills
  • Right message
  • Single item or cause
  • Offer different pledge levels
  • Start with highest level
  • Make the bids public

#1 Strategy for Major Gifts: Commit to XX Visits Each Month

Try drawing a line in the sand.

Commit to a certain number of visits with major donor prospects each month.

You can’t help but raise tons more money. :)donation form fav

#1 Strategy for Website & Donation Page- Simplify Your Donation Form

Take a look at the “Designed” form to the right.

It’s simple and clean.

And appealing.

The more boxes you add, then the more complex it looks to your donors.

And the more you’ll drive your donors away.

#1 Social Media Strategy – Targeted Facebook Ads

One of our favorite go-to social media experts is Derrick Feldman.

He’s also our the Millennial fundraising expert. derrick feldman

He’s recommending this interesting Facebook strategy:

  1. Buy a Facebook ad
  2. Target your existing Facebook followers
  3. Invite them to raise $ for a special event, holiday, or even Giving Tuesday.
  4. Direct them to your site where they can sign up for peer fundraising and receive a toolkit with images and messages to use to raise support.

What a fabulous idea!

#1 Strategy for Your Board and CEO – Train/educate them on what good fundraising looks like today.

Here’s what board members really need to know:

  • The sustainable money is in repeat donors.
  • The big money is in major gifts.
  • Increase your fundraising budget, and you’ll raise more money.
  • Different fundraising strategies have different paybacks.
  • Success requires an internal culture that understands and supports fundraising.

#1 Strategy for Planned Giving – Ask Engaging Questions About Their Will

Claire Meyerhoff, our PG Marketing Guru, says to ask engaging questions that make the donor think:
claire m

Instead of telling your donor:

“Remember General Hospital in your will.

Try an engaging question like:

“Is General Hospital in your will?

Claire says:

You’re engaging your donor with a question and triggering a more lively thought process. “Is it in my will? Really? Do I have a will?” People put the hospital in their will? ”

By begging a question, you’re guiding the reader towards some kind of answer, and maybe the answer will be….”Yes.”

#1 Strategy for Front and Back Office Staff: Appreciate, Train and Support Them

Remember, we have an astonishing level of staff turnover in fundraising.

And your organization takes a huge financial hit when a staff fundraiser leaves.

So how to avoid debilitating turnover? How to get the most out of your staff?

Treat them like the human resources they are.

john lepp

John Lepp of Agents for Good nails the right way to approach our donors.

#1 Strategy for Fundraising Appeals: Make Your Donor the Hero

Tom Ahern is always saying “make the donor the hero of your story.” But I see very few people getting this right!

Here’s John Lepp’s advice:

  • “Say thank you until your donor tells you to stop,
  • Find and share all of the things they make possible,
  • Put their picture on a wall in your office and
  • Never, ever, EVER forget that those amazing and blessed humans make your work possible.

#1 Strategy for Messaging and Newsletters: Tell Stories About A Person You’ve Helped

Shanon Doolittle, founder of the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference says:

“An amazing story starts with a person. One character your donor can root for and get invested in. That’s where the magic of emotional connection happens.

shanon doolittle

Shanon Doolittle – Donor Happiness Coach

It gives your donor an opportunity to deeply engage with someone else, to identify with them, and feel for them.

That character will become the reason why your donor will care about the story that you’re telling.”

BONUS strategy:

#1 OLD Strategy I’d Revitalize: The Phone

Here’s what Simon Scriver (our go-to phone expert) has to say about the phone:

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

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

WANT MORE HELP?

Want more detail on these specific strategies that will help you raise the most money ever this year?

You can purchase my entire hour-long training, jam-packed with content, tips and strategies to substantially increase your funding right now – complete with slides and recordings here:

Gail’s Webinar, PPT and Recordings on:

Top 10 Fundraising Strategies to Help You Raise More Money This Year

 

 

The post Top 10 Fundraising Strategies To Raise More Money This Year appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
http://www.gailperry.com/2015/06/top-10-fundraising-strategies-to-raise-more-money-this-year/feed/ 5
#1 Tip to Create a Donor-Centered Appeal Letter http://www.gailperry.com/2015/06/1-tip-to-create-a-donor-centered-appeal-letter/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/06/1-tip-to-create-a-donor-centered-appeal-letter/#comments Fri, 12 Jun 2015 15:35:07 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=17603 Appeal letters are the bread and butter of nonprofit fundraising. Whether the appeal goes via email or direct mail, you still need a solid, heartfelt ask in front of your donors. It’s a fundamental part of every single fundraising program. So being able to nail a terrific appeal letter is absolutely essential. Everybody’s talking about […]

The post #1 Tip to Create a Donor-Centered Appeal Letter appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
Appeal letters are the bread and butter of nonprofit fundraising.you button

Whether the appeal goes via email or direct mail, you still need a solid, heartfelt ask in front of your donors. It’s a fundamental part of every single fundraising program.

So being able to nail a terrific appeal letter is absolutely essential.

Everybody’s talking about donor-centered fundraising, but in my opinion, very few nonprofits are getting it right.

I hate to say it but I see some well-intentioned crap coming from some of my favorite nonprofits. :(

But listen, I will say right now — that it is really, really hard to get donor-centered right!

I think it’s because we feel like we have to justify our ask, to build credibility with our donor.

But there is a way to ask that can penetrate your donor’s heart. And there’s a way to ask that can put your donor to sleep! (Which one do you choose?)

The Key to a Donor-Centered Appeal Letter:

Connect the Donor Directly to Your Organization’s Work

Stop talking (bragging) about yourself and your wonderful organization.

Stop taking credit for the change you create in the world. Instead give the donor the credit.

Change the focus.

Tell your donor that THEY are going to change the world, not you.

Talking about your nonprofit is “self-centered.”  Talking about your work out in the world, and connecting your donor’s gift directly to your work is “donor-centered.”

What do I mean?

Going from Self-Centered to Donor-Centered

Here’s a “self-centered” ask:

“Your renewed annual support is needed to help us fight for a strong, vibrant democracy.

Here’s the same ask in donor-centered language:

Your renewed annual support will help fight for a strong vibrant democracy.

 

Self-centered ask: 

“Your gift of xxxx will help us educate and empower millions of citizens.

Donor-centered ask version: 

“Your gift of xxx will help educate and empower millions of citizens.

Harvey McKinnon, the brilliant direct mail guru, wrote me and suggested THIS line instead of the one that I offered above. See what you think. Don’t you just love it?:

“Your gift of xxx will help educate and empower millions of citizens.  Unless it’s $20 million it won’t help millions,  but it could help one person.

 

Self-centered ask:

Your gift will help us continue our contribution of great art to this community.

Donor-centered ask version:

Your gift will help bring great art to our very own community.

 

Self centered ask:

Your support is necessary to our ministry of providing care for those less fortunate and will make an impact on those in need in our community.

Donor-centered ask version:

Your support helps minister directly to those less fortunate. Your generous gift extends a loving hand to those in need in our community.

So what exactly am I doing, and how am I doing this?

Remove the organization as the intermediary between the donor and your results.

Get rid of yourself as a focus in the letter. Get rid of the “us” and “we” stuff.

Instead, help the donor feel directly connected to your own results. Use “you” and your.”

In the latter example, instead of having the ministry be the provider of care, instead the donor is asked to provide the care.

in this example, the donor gets to extend a loving hand, instead of the organization extending its hand.

Can you get this right? YES you can!

I’ll warn you that it’s really difficult. Your organization’s leaders want to brag a bit. They want to take credit for their hard work. And they deserve credit – just not in appeal letters!

Revamp your next appeal letter with these donor-centered strategies in mind:

  • Show your donor directly how and why their gift will make a difference.
  • Be passionate and wear your heart on your sleeve when writing to donors.
  • Use plain, powerful language that grips your donors’ hearts.
  • And tell your donor exactly how her money will be used.

BOTTOM LINE:

Donor-centered is quite difficult to nail.

But it is required if you are going to really tap your donor’s true potential!

Join my webinar on June 16: Top 10 Strategies to Raise More Money in 2015-16!

I’ll share my hand-picked Top 10 Strategies you need to focus on for extraordinary fundraising results this year.

It will be a list of proven strategies from all the gurus that will help you get the results you want from fundraising. (YES!)

Join us to discover how to take your fundraising program to the next level, and bring in the generous funding your cause needs.

You can find out more and register for the webinar here.

Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 1.37.31 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The post #1 Tip to Create a Donor-Centered Appeal Letter appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
http://www.gailperry.com/2015/06/1-tip-to-create-a-donor-centered-appeal-letter/feed/ 0
Top Fundraising Strategy to Raise More Money in the Coming Year http://www.gailperry.com/2015/06/top-fundraising-strategy-to-raise-more-money-next-year/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/06/top-fundraising-strategy-to-raise-more-money-next-year/#comments Fri, 05 Jun 2015 15:16:59 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=17517 Today I am sharing the #1 Strategy that you really need to implement for 2015-16 where the easy money is for your wonderful nonprofit. Build Up Your Donor Loyalty Here’s how you create and nurture a whole cadre — an entire bandwagon, even — of raving fans and donors who just LOVE your organization and […]

The post Top Fundraising Strategy to Raise More Money in the Coming Year appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
Today I am sharing the #1 Strategy that you really need to implement for 2015-16 where the easy money is for your wonderful nonprofit.golden key

Build Up Your Donor Loyalty

Here’s how you create and nurture a whole cadre — an entire bandwagon, even — of raving fans and donors who just LOVE your organization and would do anything in the world for you.

Wow.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have that kind of rabid base of supporters? Bet you could change the world a lot faster if you had donors like that!

All the pundits and gurus  – Roger Craver, Lisa Sargent, Pam Grow, John Lepp, Jay Love, Lynne Wester, etc  – we are all also saying the same thing:

Donor Retention Is Your Place of Greatest Fundraising Opportunity.

WHY is building donor loyalty such a profitable strategy?

Because it’s one of the most cost effective fundraising strategies around. And it’s simple.

It’s even fun – because it focuses on cheerfully connecting with your donors instead of asking for money all the time.

If you spent time and energy on your wonderful donors, if you could show them such a totally lovely experience — then they would brag about you, spread the word, jump on your bandwagon, and even bring their friends to your cause.

They would love giving you money over and over, too.

Then you would not HAVE to emphasize the ask so much.

This is a Sea-Change Shift in Your Fundraising Philosophy and Strategy

It’s a huge deal.

Renewing donors is the easy part of fundraising.

We all know that it’s much, much easier to get a current donor to renew than it is to secure a brand new donor. #fundraisingnobrainer!

But alas, we are failing to renew our very special, fabulous, generous current donors!!

We are actually failing quite miserably.

And because of our sloppy attempts to communicate and thank them, they are abandoning us. We’re even pushing them away. 

Our donors are slipping away, like the proverbial leaky bucket.

Are you losing your current donors like a leaky bucket?

Roger Craver says we are losing our donors just like a leaky bucket!

Across the nonprofit sector, nearly 6 out of 10 donors do not give again in the next year. YUCK.

What’s YOUR donor renewal rate? Dare I ask?

And check out your brand new donors.

These are the ones you are working the hardest to bring in the door.

Only about 30% of them are likely to renew their gift. (What kind of business could survive with customer retention stats like that?)

So here is the money you are leaving on the table.

You May Not Even Know How Much $$ is Just Flowing Through Your Fingers

Not convinced? Then try this and shoot me an email when you finish.

  1. Pull a report from your database of the donors who gave in calendar year 2013 but who did not give in 2014.
  2. Add up the money that these donors were giving – money that didn’t get renewed.
  3. When you see the total that walked out the door, you’ll probably faint.
  4. Then pick yourself up and take donor loyalty seriously.:)

So how do you build up your donor loyalty?

What you want to do is focus on the experience your donors are getting from your organization. Check out Roger Craver and Giles Peagram’s sage advice on the donor experience. 

And you need to thank them in amazing ways. Download Pamela Grow’s Thank You Letter Template here for some quick guidance!

20 Ideas To Garner Donor Loyalty and Raise More Money

  1. Organization-wide commitment.

Get everybody on board – from the from the front desk to the CEO – to adopt donors as a HUGE high priority.

  1.  Tell better stories.

Send your donors fabulous, emotional stories about how they are helping make your important work happen.

  1. Give your donors credit for the work that YOUR organization is doing.

This is what donor-centered really means. Remove your organization as the intermediary between your donor and the wonderful results you achieve.

  1. Thank your donors over and over!

John Lepp says “say thank you until your donors tell you to stop.”

Remember the old fundraising axiom: “Find 7 ways to thank your donors and they will give again.”

  1. Ask your donors their opinion.

It’s so easy to survey your donors.

Check out Pam Grow’s story about the amazing donor survey she received.

And Lynne Wester’s sample donor survey here. And Mary Cahalane’s survey here.

  1. Try creative thank you’s like:

    This kind of thank you can make your donor’s day!

Fun hand-written or drawn thank you notes.

  1. Thank donors via social media.

Lori Jacobwith says “Hold a special Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or some other social media “Thank a Donor” day, week, or month. (I love this!)

  1. Host a focus group of donors.

Bring donors together to share their experiences and give you feedback.

I once facilitated a focus group for the NC Symphony – and the donors loved it!

9. Have board members hand write thank you notes.

Bring note cards to your next board meeting and take a few minutes for them to pen personal notes.

10. Ditch your “Donor Appreciation Event.” (Yawn)

Instead have a fun cookout, or throw porch party honoring all your donors.

  1. Recognize long-time donors.

Based on how long they have been giving, not their gift amount, says Tom Ahern.

  1. Celebrate holidays with your donors:

Send them Valentines, Thanksgiving cards, April Fools notes – you get the idea!  (have some fun!)l

  1. Send them videos of your work in the field.

You could even stream live videos for them. (!)

Nothing would make your donor feel closer to the cause!

  1. Hold a Thankathon for your donors.

This post shows you exactly how Benevon organizes thankathons.

  1. Have your board members make thank you phone calls.

It’s a great way to introduce your board members to fundraising. AND donors will give substantially more when they get a phone call thank you!

  1. Tell them over and over about all the wonderful things in the world THEY are making possible.

Tom Ahern says “make your donor the hero!” Send your donors special newsletters like these from Sandy Rees.

  1. Give them special “donors only” events.

Like tours, briefings, conference calls. And yes, parties!

  1. Make personal thank you visits.

What an easy and nice way to connect deeply with an important donor!

  1. Send them a thank you very very very quickly. And it needs to be perfect. 

Steven Shattuck of Bloomerang says that “Over half of donors lapse because of poor appreciation; gift acknowledgements that are slow to arrive . . .

  1. Make your thank you’s gushy, personal, emotional.

Write to them like you are just thrilled to receive their money. Which you are, of course.

BOTTOM LINE:

Are YOU ready for an organization-wide shift in how you treat your donors?

Let me know YOUR favorite ways to LOVE your donors with a comment below:

 

 

The post Top Fundraising Strategy to Raise More Money in the Coming Year appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
http://www.gailperry.com/2015/06/top-fundraising-strategy-to-raise-more-money-next-year/feed/ 4
Is Your Back Office Staff Supporting or Undercutting Major Gift Fundraising? http://www.gailperry.com/2015/05/is-your-back-office-staff-supporting-or-undercutting-major-gift-fundraising/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/05/is-your-back-office-staff-supporting-or-undercutting-major-gift-fundraising/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 14:52:19 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=17457 Back when I was a hard-working staff fundraiser, I had a dollar goal that was so big, it was scary. Like you probably do. My job required me to be out of the office a lot. I was out in front of people as much as possible – whether they were volunteers, donors and prospects. […]

The post Is Your Back Office Staff Supporting or Undercutting Major Gift Fundraising? appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
Back when I was a hard-working staff fundraiser, I had a dollar goal that was so big, it was scary.

business team formed of young businessmen and businesswomen standing over a white background with reflections

Like you probably do.

My job required me to be out of the office a lot.

I was out in front of people as much as possible – whether they were volunteers, donors and prospects.

That was the only way I could move high-dollar prospects forward so they would eventually make major gifts.

Spending time in the office at my desk almost felt wasted, because I wasn’t making “moves” with my prospects.

But the strangest thing would happen when I left the office for a visit with a major gift prospect.

The back office staffers would start muttering under their breath.

They would roll their eyes.

Snide comments from the fundraising back office staff.

This group of women who had desk jobs would grump and make snide comments to each other that I could hear.

Stuff in a certain tone of voice, like:

“Oh, yeah, right, what were YOU doing at lunch?

Or

“That sure was a long visit you just had.”

Their attitude was: How dare this co-worker of theirs (ME) get away with spending so much time away from my desk?

Yuck.  How did it make me feel?

Offices with a team spirit raise LOTS more money!

Offices with a team spirit raise LOTS more money!

It was debilitating and demoralizing to the entire major gifts effort.

This sniping behind my back was nothing but COLD WATER on my motivation and my energy.

Fundraisers need support, not cuts and critiques from other women in the office. (and yes, it always came from women.)

Have you ever felt that not everyone in your office cares if you make your goal or not?

And YOU may not realize how this dark backwater of office crap is sucking you dry.

It’s hard enough to be an outside fundraiser, calling on people all the time.  Lots of people find it completely scary.

It takes lots of cheerful aggressiveness and motivation.

You need all the support you can get.

I realized this was a bigger issue in my next job in fundraising, when I found that the SAME THING was happening all over again.

That was when I realized that this phenomenon was in LOTS OF OFFICES.

It’s undermining fundraising efforts in many organizations.

These days, I am all over the country – and the world – presenting workshops and speeches about fundraising.

I’m starting to comment about this particular issue to my audiences.

Don't let this happen to you or your colleagues. Office politics can suck you dry!

Don’t let this happen to you or your colleagues. Office politics can suck you dry!

You know what happens? Half of the entire room of fundraisers will nod their heads and say YES, this is happening to me too.

OMG!

This is more pervasive than we realize.

You don’t need to feel alone. Fundraising has got to be a team sport if you are going to be successful.

(That’s one of the reasons I write this blog – to support you and fundraisers just like you!)

How do you make it stop?

1. Go to your boss.

You can go to your boss and say “this has got to stop.”

But this strategy might backfire and you’ll have alienated your colleagues forever.

2. Educate your boss.

You can go to your boss and make sure he or she understands that if you are going to close major gifts, you need to be encouraged to get out of the office.

(Let’s hope your boss understands that it is your job to be out of the office.

If not, you DO have a serious problem!)

3. Build a team.

You can put on your “teambuilding” hat and try to pull people together cheerfully in your office.

Maybe stage some social time together.

4. Acknowledge your colleagues.

You can acknowledge the back office staff for their contributions to fundraising success.

Maybe stage a fun award ceremony and give funny awards to people for their contributions.

5. Share your activity goals.

In a staff meeting, you can tell everyone that your goal for the month is xx number of outside visits and you’d appreciate it if they would shoo you out of the office.

That way they understand that there’s a serious goal you have to meet.

6. Educate everyone.

You can help everyone in the office understand the various jobs of each person on the team, and how they do what they do.

You could ask them all what YOU could do to support them. (!)

BOTTOM LINE:

 

This stuff is happening everywhere. How do YOU deal with it?

What’s YOUR experience?

How about leaving a comment and let’s get a discussion going:

 

 

 

 

The post Is Your Back Office Staff Supporting or Undercutting Major Gift Fundraising? appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
http://www.gailperry.com/2015/05/is-your-back-office-staff-supporting-or-undercutting-major-gift-fundraising/feed/ 20
This Tip Makes Asking for a Gift Much Easier and More Successful http://www.gailperry.com/2015/05/this-tip-makes-asking-for-a-gift-much-easier-and-more-successful/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/05/this-tip-makes-asking-for-a-gift-much-easier-and-more-successful/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 00:20:44 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=17441 It’s the scariest moment in fundraising. It’s when you sit down with a prospective donor. You look them in the eye. And you ask for a gift. What would happen if you turned the conversation over to your donor? It could be quite different! Here is a high-impact approach suggested by the very smart Andrea […]

The post This Tip Makes Asking for a Gift Much Easier and More Successful appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
It’s the scariest moment in fundraising.yes

It’s when you sit down with a prospective donor.

You look them in the eye.

And you ask for a gift.

What would happen if you turned the conversation over to your donor?

It could be quite different!

Here is a high-impact approach suggested by the very smart Andrea Kihlstedt, one of the masters of our business.

Andrea lays out six simple steps to secure a wonderfully generous gift from your donor.

And it’s step number 3 that is so revolutionary to me!

ALL of these steps engage your donor deeply. They let your donor take the lead.

Six steps to a perfect, conversation that ends in a gift the donor WANTS to give: 

1. Settle down and get in sync.

You can chat about fun and social things for a while to relax both of you.

Don't make your ask feel like a sumo confrontation!

Don’t make your ask feel like a sumo confrontation!

In the south, where I live, the small talk can go on for some time.

And you can’t rush this step – especially if your donor is enjoying herself!

2. Confirm why we are here.

I think it is good manners to open up the conversation by confirming what you are up to:

“We’re here today to chat with you about our new project and to discuss your interest in joining the campaign at some level.

You are not YET asking – instead you are asking for permission to discuss it.

3. Here’s the GOLDEN TIP: Turn the conversation over to your donor by saying:

“Tell us why you are so interested in our cause.”

Here are other ways to say it:

“You’ve been involved with us a long time, we’d love to know why you are involved.

“You know, you’ ve been so loyal to this effort – how did you come to believe so deeply in this issue?

“Tell us a little more about you. What is it that first drew you to our organization?”

You are turning your focus directly to your donor.

You’re asking your donor to present your case for support from HER perspective.

So you don’t have to make such a big presentation, instead she does it for you.

And how very elegant and appropriate to ask this question!

Again, it’s good manners. And it gives the donor some level of control over what’s being discussed.

Best of all, your donor is sharing with you what she deeply believes in, and what part of your project she cares about most. 

And you didn’t have to do the work.

Your goal is to find out where your donor's interests are.

Your goal is to find out where your donor’s interests are.

4. Make the ask based on your donor’s personal values and her specific interest.

“You’ve told me you are interested in this – and maybe this is what you’d like to do?”

“It sounds like you may be interested in supporting our xxx  program.

“Here’s a something that might interest you.”

BINGO… you’ve greatly increased the chances that she’ll say yes.

Step 5. Explore with your donor. Get specific.

Figure out what needs to be done next in order to firm up a gift.

“Well would you like to make this gift now or later?

“Would you like to meet the person who heads up our program?

“Do you need to visit with your financial advisor?”

Step 6. Confirm: Confirm the plan and clarify the next steps.

In this final this step, you tie it all down and specify what comes next.

“Ok, then we’ve decided that I’ll bring the head of the program over to meet you next week. And in the meantime, you’ll be checking with your financial advisors.”

BOTTOM LINE:

This simple 6-step model works remarkably well as long as you frame what you want in the context of the other person’s desires.

What are your favorite asking strategies? Share some tips with a comment below!

 

The post This Tip Makes Asking for a Gift Much Easier and More Successful appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
http://www.gailperry.com/2015/05/this-tip-makes-asking-for-a-gift-much-easier-and-more-successful/feed/ 4
Love Song to My Major Gift Prospect List! http://www.gailperry.com/2015/05/love-song-to-my-major-gift-prospect-list/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/05/love-song-to-my-major-gift-prospect-list/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 13:05:24 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=17417 I’m admitting it. I am warped. Maybe it’s weird or something but I just love major gift donors. And I love the hunt to find them. I love deep reconnaissance, finding out what’s in a prospective donor’s heart and mind. I love hearing their story. And I just love figuring out how – just how – […]

The post Love Song to My Major Gift Prospect List! appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
I’m admitting it. I am warped.asian

Maybe it’s weird or something but I just love major gift donors.

And I love the hunt to find them.

I love deep reconnaissance, finding out what’s in a prospective donor’s heart and mind.

I love hearing their story.

And I just love figuring out how – just how – can I develop the donor to become as passionate about my cause as I am.

It’s just so much fun!

So clearly I must be warped?

What I love most of all is my Top Prospect List of Major Gift Donors!

Why?

Because in one place, here is THE list of folks who have the potential to change the world at my organization.

target

Your Major Gift Top Prospect List helps you FOCUS your attention in the right place.

My Top Prospect List tells me tons of juicy information on one simple sheet of paper.

I can see – in one glance – exactly what I have to work with.

It’s a happy compilation of the wonderful people who just might make really big investments in my cause.

It tells me how much financial potential from major gifts might be available to my organization. (nice!)

It’s my portfolio.

It’s my work plan.

It’s my work LIFE in a way for the next few months.

It’s also an exciting place of possibility and vision – because it represents what’s really possible for my wonderful nonprofit.

I love to rate and rank the names of potential donors on my list – over and over.

For example, I’m constantly asking myself things like this:

  • Is this executive really a potential million dollar prospect?  Or should we focus more on a smaller gift from him?
  • Might this lovely older lady be our big investor? I know she loves our cause. What can I do to make her even happier with us?
  • Should we approach this foundation again so soon? One of their board members is on our team and can help us. What could they give?

When I was a staff fundraiser I used to be thinking about my top prospects ALL THE TIME.

I’d be saying to myself, what can I do today to make them love us even more????

You need to be thinking about YOUR top prospects all the time too!

You need to know WHO they are.

You need to constantly evaluate them for their giving ability and their interest level.

Women own more of the nation's wealth than men. Don't forget them as major gift prospects!

Women own more of the nation’s wealth than men. Don’t forget them as major gift prospects!

Why?

Your Major Gift Top Prospect List helps you set priorities for your time.

It can be really confusing to work on major gifts.

For one thing, where do you start? How do you choose where to focus?

Before I set up a firm prospect list that had ratings and priorities next to people’s names, I would feel confused.

I didn’t know what to do first.

But once I organized my Prospect List, I had a ROAD MAP to success. YES!

I knew where to start, who to focus on and why I should invest so much time with them.

Your Top Prospect List will take the fuzziness out of the major gift fundraising process. (and make your boss happy.)

My boss, the Dean of the Business School, would sometimes wonder if I was just out there socializing around.

Before he and I developed our Top Prospect List, we felt that sometimes we were just shooting from the hip.

We were GUESSING at who to see and when to see them.

Then we did the HARD WORK of analyzing our true potential, and ranking potential donors for their financial capacity and their interest level.

After, we had a fabulous guide that we consulted and revised regularly.

It became our GAME PLAN.

We had a list that told us who was important, who we should see first, and who we should leave on the back burner.

And my boss knew, when I was out of the office, that I was spending my time at its highest productivity.

AND, he knew how much money we were working on raising, and how far we were from closing the bigger gifts.

BOTTOM LINE

Your Prospect List is your essential tool for raising major money for your organization.

Keep it fresh and keep it alive. Use it regularly and you’ll raise more money!

How are YOU doing with your own prospect list?

Leave a comment and let me know!

 

The post Love Song to My Major Gift Prospect List! appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
http://www.gailperry.com/2015/05/love-song-to-my-major-gift-prospect-list/feed/ 2
My $5 Million Capital Campaign Ask that BOMBED http://www.gailperry.com/2015/05/my-5-million-capital-campaign-ask-that-bombed/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/05/my-5-million-capital-campaign-ask-that-bombed/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 06:49:33 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=17395 I wish you could have been there. . . . It was a hot summer day in Virginia. I was seated in a small conference room, with one of Virginia’s top business kingpins. There the successful businessman sat —  so smart and so together – at the head of the table. And we all lined […]

The post My $5 Million Capital Campaign Ask that BOMBED appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
I wish you could have been there. . . .bombed

It was a hot summer day in Virginia.

I was seated in a small conference room, with one of Virginia’s top business kingpins.

There the successful businessman sat —  so smart and so together – at the head of the table.

And we all lined up on the other side of the table:

  • the President of a fabulous local college,
  • the wonderful Chair of our capital campaign,
  • the successful businessman’s right hand lady,
  • and me – consultant to the College.

And we were there to make a $5 million solicitation.

We were going to ask him to name one of the schools at the college.

Oh yes, we had rehearsed!

We had even practiced! Twice, even.

I was so smart that I had scripted every single thing we said.

We timed our conversation down to the minute – who would say what, and when they would say it.

It was like a performance.

Or, maybe it was more like a sales presentation.

We were so organized, and so proud of ourselves.

I had even memorized my part so that I could pull it off perfectly.

Only we had forgotten a few big things. 

Here’s what went wrong:

1. We didn’t have any private conversations with the donor ahead of the big solicitation.

There was no way to know if he was really excited about the idea – or not.

We had to work thru his right hand lady who was the gatekeeper.

She was on our volunteer team, and we had to trust her to do the warm up.

What would I do differently now?

I’d manage somehow — someway — to find out about his temperament.

I would manage to chat up the donor somehow at an event. I’d be charming and make his acquaintance:

  • I’d ask him to tell me about his family’s involvement in the college.
  • I’d ask him to tell me the story of taking his business public.
  • I’d remark about his right hand lady’s involvement and much we liked her.
  • I’d ask him about the legacy he wanted to leave in the region where he was so successful.

I’d hope that might establish grounds for me to chat with him more and find out his interest in a large naming opportunity.

2. The room itself was awkward and uncomfortable.

I read a study recently that said people were more generous and open to new ideas if they were seated in comfortable chairs.

Well . . . . this wildly successful company had a reputation for sparse amenities.

The owner prided himself on a no-frills office.

So our room itself did not lend itself to relaxation, jovial conversation and great visionary thinking.

Alas.

What would I do differently now?

I’d do everything I could to change the location!

I’d find a place where he was comfortable.

But a place that had comfortable chairs!!

3. We overly scripted the solicitation.

In our nervousness about the whole thing, we clung to our previously assigned roles.

We stuck to the script for dear life.

Everything was completely programmed. I think maybe we threw up a “wall of words.”

There wasn’t any room for HIM TO TALK.

What would I do differently now?

I’d plan for every time we mentioned a topic, to pause and wait for him to fill in the quiet space.

I’d create conversation at every opportunity.

 4. We didn’t plan to allow for conversation.

Somewhere we had forgotten to make this into a conversation.

We didn’t think to ask him to talk to US.

We just wanted to talk to him. :(

What would I do differently now? 

I would walk in with my group, and before we had said a word, I’d turn the conversation over to him.

I’d ask him to tell us WHY he cares so much about that small local college.

I’d let HIM present the case for support to US, not the other way around.

That way, our meeting would get off on the right foot.

Step-by-step through this big ask, I would pause and encourage his feedback.

THEN  — after much conversation taking lots of tie — we’d probably emerge with a nice commitment.

BOTTOM LINE

Don’t throw up a “wall of words” at your donor.

Be sure you do smart reconnaissance before you make the visit.

Warm your donor up as much as possible, and . . .

listen Your Way to the Gift!  

 

 

 

 

The post My $5 Million Capital Campaign Ask that BOMBED appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
http://www.gailperry.com/2015/05/my-5-million-capital-campaign-ask-that-bombed/feed/ 4
How to Warm Up Your Donors for Big Major Gift Asks http://www.gailperry.com/2015/04/how-to-warm-up-your-donors-for-big-major-gift-asks/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/04/how-to-warm-up-your-donors-for-big-major-gift-asks/#comments Fri, 01 May 2015 02:03:06 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=17368 Donors are people just like we are. They don’t want to be surprised by a solicitation. If you have a close relationship with your donor, then you’ll want to lay careful groundwork to prepare her. And you’ll want to do this well before you bring in a delegation to sit down with her for a […]

The post How to Warm Up Your Donors for Big Major Gift Asks appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
Donors are people just like we are.for post

They don’t want to be surprised by a solicitation.

If you have a close relationship with your donor, then you’ll want to lay careful groundwork to prepare her.

And you’ll want to do this well before you bring in a delegation to sit down with her for a formal discussion.

You should always let her know what is coming, so she will be ready to discuss a gift.

Here are some easy and polite ways to ask for permission for an “ask discussion:”

Our CEO and board chair would like to come chat with you about the project we’ve been discussing. Would you like to meet with them?”

Or:

We’ve always dreamed of naming our new wing after your late husband, who founded our organization. Is that something you might like to discuss?

Or:

I know how much you care about the ballet. We’d love to get together with you and brainstorm about how you could be even more involved!

Or:

You are really one of our true believers in this cause. We’d love to tell you about the Founders Circle and see if you might like to join!

Or:

We’d like to sit down with you and your family and give you an update of the endowment your father set up 20 years ago. Is that something you might like to do?

Or:

May we come chat with you how we could partner together in the future?

Always ask for permission to discuss a major gift!

When I was a staff fundraiser for UNC-Chapel Hill, I would literally ask my board members if they were ready.

I’d say:

In major gifts fundraising, the relationship is more important than the ask.

In major gifts fundraising, the relationship is more important than the ask.

“You’ve been so involved! I’m wondering if you are ready to discuss your campaign gift? The dean would like to come see you.”

Once, I was having dinner in New York City with one of our million dollar prospects. I asked him if he was ready.

My donor said: “How much are they going to ask me for?

I took a deep breath and said, “I think they are planning to ask for you for a million.”

He sat silently for a while, playing with his fork.

And then he said, “Tell them to come next year, not this year.”

Now, was this good major gift fundraising?

YES! Because it prevented anyone from being embarrassed.

He didn’t have to say “NO” to the Dean.

And the dean didn’t go ask and come away empty handed.

We made everybody look good and the donor was pleased that he was not put in an awkward situation.

3 great reasons WHY you should gently prepare your donor for a major gift ask:

1. You’ll find out if the time is right.

We all know that timing is everything.

It needs to be the right time for your donor to discuss something big.

There could be illness or a divorce in the family. Or the time could be just right – they could be selling off assets – or receiving an inheritance.

If you can let her know an ask is coming, then she can gently say “not this year” or “be sure to bring xxxx person.”

She might even tell you that she would like to get to know your CEO better before she discusses an investment. That’s useful info!

2. You are more likely to get a yes if your donor is prepared.

If you tell her that your CEO would like to chat with her about the campaign,  she will start thinking about her commitment.

Then you’ll be more able to have a substantial conversation with her.

If she is not ready to discuss it, then she simply won’t be willing to meet. And you’re dead in the water.

3. It’s good manners too.

It’s how you would like to be treated.

People don’t like to be surprised by a solicitation.

Have you attended a formal luncheon that turned out to be an “ask event” and nobody told you it was coming?  YUCK!

BOTTOM LINE:

This is the right thing to do.

People need time to think about big gifts.

Warm them up well, and they will be more generous.

How do YOU warm up your donors for a big ask?

Let us know with a comment below!

 

The post How to Warm Up Your Donors for Big Major Gift Asks appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
http://www.gailperry.com/2015/04/how-to-warm-up-your-donors-for-big-major-gift-asks/feed/ 5
Building an Internal Culture of Philanthropy to Support Major Gifts Takes Time and Effort! http://www.gailperry.com/2015/04/building-an-internal-culture-of-philanthropy-to-support-major-gifts-takes-time-and-effort/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/04/building-an-internal-culture-of-philanthropy-to-support-major-gifts-takes-time-and-effort/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 01:22:23 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=17329 Consider THIS provocative idea:    If your organization does not embrace a healthy culture of philanthropy, your organization will NOT SURVIVE outside the next decade. Does that get your attention? Here’s why: The donor landscape is rapidly changing. And fundraising is changing too. Today’s major gifts donors are expecting different things from nonprofits. So if […]

The post Building an Internal Culture of Philanthropy to Support Major Gifts Takes Time and Effort! appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
Consider THIS provocative idea:   sign hope next exit

If your organization does not embrace a healthy culture of philanthropy, your organization will NOT SURVIVE outside the next decade.

Does that get your attention?

Here’s why: The donor landscape is rapidly changing.

And fundraising is changing too.

Today’s major gifts donors are expecting different things from nonprofits.

So if you cannot turn your organization’s eyes toward understanding your donor’s needs and desires…you will not make it.

How do we build a culture of philanthropy inside our own organizations?

You and I both know that it doesn’t happen overnight.

Today we have another guest post from the brilliant Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels of the Veritus Group, authors of the award-winning Passionate Giving blog. (You need to subscribe!)

Jeff writes:

women try to do everything

Most development offices are “under resourced.” That means everyone is trying to more than humanely possible!

“A few months ago I was speaking to a group of development professionals at a conference about Building a Culture of Philanthropy.

It was if the group was a massive balloon and I was the pin that popped it.

Folks all of a sudden talked freely about how hard it was to work at their organizations.

They had story after story of impossible leaders, bad board of directors, terrible relationships with program people and no sense of camaraderie with their co-workers.

Many were just flat beaten down.

I kept thinking,

“Imagine how their donors are being cultivated and stewarded when the fundraisers have lost faith in their own organizations.”

My response to them was not to lose faith.

Building a culture of philanthropy that will support major gifts fundraising takes time.

It’s about patience and persistence.  Just like cultivating your donors.

A $1MM gift doesn’t happen overnight; neither does changing an organization’s understanding of the role of philanthropy.

But, I also presented a picture of what an organization can look like if they have a  strong culture of philanthropy.

Take a look:

1.  Every new staff or board member is educated on the role the donor plays in the organization.

This means from the janitor all the way to the CEO.

Fundraising is a lonely job. That's why you need your organization's full support!

Fundraising is a lonely job. That’s why you need your organization’s full support!

2. All staff meetings have discussions about donors.

Too many staff meetings are just focused on “what you do” and metrics.

Stories about donors need to be told at staff meetings so everyone understands how important donors are in carrying out the mission.

3.  Program folks understand they will work with development to meet, talk and ask donors for gifts.

Yep, development and program actually become friends and communicate freely with one another and earn each other’s trust.

4.  Development staff will work in the program to understand exactly what it is they do.

This means getting your hands dirty and stepping into the shoes of those who do the work you are trying to raise money for.

As a development professional you need to be broken by the work so you can effectively communicate that to the donor.

5. Over half of the President or CEO’s time is devoted to cultivating donors either onsite or wherever the donor is.

This says that your leader embracing fundraising and is willing to boldly ask and convey his vision to donors.

It’s critical that leadership embrace this concept or your organization will sink fast.

6.  All board members are required to spend time working with program and development staff.

This allows the board member to truly understand what is going on inside your organization and how they are critical to its success.

7.  The organization creates multiple opportunities for staff, board and donors to engage together during the year.

This creates understanding and more importantly trust with one another.

Lack of trust always seems to come up with talking about the barriers to having a meaningful relationship between program and development.

8. Development staff is constantly communicating to the rest of the organization about how they are engaging donors.

I don’t know what it is, but Richard and I don’t see development staff and MGO’s doing a very good job talking about their donors and where they are in building that relationship.

This can lead to a ton of confusion and miscommunication about how donors are being cultivated.

Everyone in development should know who is doing what and what is going out to all donors.

Yes, this can all be attainable with your organization.

And, it starts with you.

But, it will take effort, patience and persistence to get there…and ultimately everyone to get aboard the bus to create a strong culture of philanthropy.

It won’t happen overnight, but if you believe passionately in your mission, then working toward this vision is worth it, right?

Jeff Schreifels

 Do you have a culture of philanthropy at YOUR organization? What are your challenges?

 

 

The post Building an Internal Culture of Philanthropy to Support Major Gifts Takes Time and Effort! appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
http://www.gailperry.com/2015/04/building-an-internal-culture-of-philanthropy-to-support-major-gifts-takes-time-and-effort/feed/ 1
Donor-Centered Moves Management: Systematic Cultivation for Your Major Gifts Prospects http://www.gailperry.com/2015/04/donor-centered-moves-management-systematic-cultivation-for-your-major-gifts-prospects/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/04/donor-centered-moves-management-systematic-cultivation-for-your-major-gifts-prospects/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 13:31:23 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=17313 Do you want more major donors? You can have them! Here’s a great tool for building those important relationships with top prospects over time. And we all know that is what will result in the big gift. Today, guest blogger Claire Axelrad of the award-winning Clairification.com blog joins us to discuss Moves Management. What’s Moves […]

The post Donor-Centered Moves Management: Systematic Cultivation for Your Major Gifts Prospects appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
Do you want more major donors?Jigsaw_pieces-300x230

You can have them!

Here’s a great tool for building those important relationships with top prospects over time.

And we all know that is what will result in the big gift.

Today, guest blogger Claire Axelrad of the award-winning Clairification.com blog joins us to discuss Moves Management.

What’s Moves Management?

It’s a major donor cultivation approach to plan, make and keep track of a targeted number of “moves” or “touches” per year to major gift prospects.

Each “move” is targeted to move your prospect along a relationship continuum – from awareness… to interest… to involvement… to investment — depending upon where they currently are in relationship to your nonprofit.

When sufficient “moves” have been made, the culmination is your request for a gift/increased gift.

One person, assigned as the Moves Manager, assures that all moves are coordinated and the solicitation occurs at the appropriate time.

The goal of all this work is getting your major donors to feel:

  1. I’m loyal to this charity.
  2. This is my favorite charity.
  3. I’m a committed donor.

Sounds good, right?

Major donor cultivation is a team contact sport.

You really want to have several people connecting with your donor over the months (or years) leading up to the ask.

WHy? No one individual is right to be matched with every prospect.

Moves management helps you lay out specific steps to bring your prospect closer and closer.

Moves management helps you lay out specific steps to bring your prospect closer and closer.

Because of course you don’t want donors’ only interaction with your organization to be a hands-off institutional one.

That’s not the emotional connection we’re talking about and the one that will lead to a successful ask.

People who personify and represent your nonprofit can and should be involved with donors. (Just be sure they are well briefed!)

And simply “connecting” with your donors isn’t enough, either.

Donors need to LOVE you to make a significant commitment to your organization.

But YOU’RE gonna have to get them to that point.

Think about what’s actually going on when a donor says “Yes!” to a major gift solicitation.

They’re actually saying “I love you.”

They’re making an active commitment to you, your organization and your cause.

What gets them to the point where they’re ready to make this commitment?

YOU DO!

Your job is to create a climate for donors to fall in love with your cause.

You’ve got to be pro-active to create this climate.

You can get them there with a board member’s coffee invitation, a tour conducted by a program staffer, and culminating with a face-to-face with the executive director.

In between there will be a number of thoughtfully planned ‘touches’ orchestrated by the development director or major gifts officer.

Everything is done according to a plan.

Your job is to make your donors fall in love with your cause.

Your job is to make your donors fall in love with your cause.

So how do you do it?

First you develop a large list of possible ‘high-touch,’ ‘medium-touch’ and ‘low-touch’ cultivation ‘moves’ to incorporate into your major donor-investor prospect’s individualized plan.

You’ll have some standard moves you use again and again.

A move only “counts,” however, if it’s executed according to a donor-centered plan that’s personalized for each donor.

In other words, a mass mailing of holiday cards is not moves management.

Then you draw from this list to develop your tailored plan for each top prospect in your major donor prospect portfolio.

With each move you make, ask yourself:

  • How is this bringing me closer to asking for a gift?
  • What did I learn that will help me secure a gift?
  • Did I find out what motivates my prospect to be philanthropic?
  • Did I find out what they love most about my organization?
  • What does it make sense to do next?

Caution: Moves management is not a one-size-fits-all approach! It’s custom tailored — for major donors only—who are the top 20% who give you 80-90% of your philanthropy.

It’s not something you do TO the prospect.

And it’s not something you do when the spirit moves you.

It’s a deliberate, focused set of actions that all build on each other to create close relationship, a happy donor, and a lovely generous major gift to your nonprofit.

How systematic do you get with your donor cultivation?

Do YOU use the moves management system?

Leave a comment and let us know!

 

The post Donor-Centered Moves Management: Systematic Cultivation for Your Major Gifts Prospects appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
http://www.gailperry.com/2015/04/donor-centered-moves-management-systematic-cultivation-for-your-major-gifts-prospects/feed/ 2
How to Get Off the Dang Fundraising Treadmill http://www.gailperry.com/2015/04/how-to-get-off-the-dang-fundraising-treadmill/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/04/how-to-get-off-the-dang-fundraising-treadmill/#comments Fri, 10 Apr 2015 16:47:22 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=17305 I wish you could have been there. It was a chilly winter day. I was in a large back room of a big office building, meeting with the board of a top-notch local nonprofit. This savvy board had gathered with me for a fundraising retreat/workshop. I was interviewing the Development Director — in front of […]

The post How to Get Off the Dang Fundraising Treadmill appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
I wish you could have been there.article-1165935-042F4620000005DC-936_468x300

It was a chilly winter day. I was in a large back room of a big office building, meeting with the board of a top-notch local nonprofit.

This savvy board had gathered with me for a fundraising retreat/workshop.

I was interviewing the Development Director — in front of the board — about the organization’s fundraising program.

(I always like for the board to hear directly from the staff about their fundraising challenges and opportunities.)

Then I asked her the golden question.

This is the question that makes board members sit up on the edge of their seats and listen closely:

“How much money do you think is out there RIGHT NOW for your organization . . . but you don’t have the time or resources to go after it?

Without hesitating for a second, she said: “$300,000.”

Well, you could have heard a pin drop.

There were even a couple of audible gasps among the board members.

This woman knew EXACTLY how much she wasn’t able to pursue. . . . NOT because it didn’t exist but because she was stuck doing events and admin work when she could have been out of the office working with large donors.

Then a board member in the very back of the room piped up: “I think it’s closer to $500,000.”

That’s how much money this organization was leaving on the table.

It was enough to make you weep.

How much money is your organization leaving on the table each year?

How much money is your organization leaving on the table each year?

Even with a fundraiser who was smart, dedicated, and hardworking.

This is the biggest fundraising challenge for everyone – you know it and I know it.

You have GOT to find a way to free your staff and yourself up to go after those major gifts.

It is the ONLY, only, only way to get off the dang fundraising treadmill.

If you don’t ever focus on major donors, you’re just putting out fires.

Dealing with routine admin crap, instead of connecting with major donors.

Raising hundreds when you could be raising thousands (or more).

If you don’t tackle and master major gift fundraising, it’s unlikely your organization will ever grow.

It’s that simple.

It’s also that complicated.

These ideas may help:

— Hang with me to learn how easy and fun major gift fundraising can be

— Look for ways to free up your time

— Say “no” more often.

— Explore how to fund an admin or tech support person that will free up your time, and

— Get coaching and training to improve your major gift skills.

By the way, do you want to know what happened after the board retreat?

The wise, business-oriented board members hired a part-time admin person for the development director the very NEXT WEEK.

They wanted to put their well-paid and skilled fundraiser to work at her highest and best use.

It’s good old human resources 101 – to deploy staff resources at the right place.

My advice to get off the Fundraising Treadmill:

If you’re a frustrated fundraiser, commit EVERYTHING you’ve got to finding the support and resources you need so you can raise the money that’s out there.

Maybe it’s better software. Maybe it’s a part-time admin. Maybe it’s my major gifts coaching program.

Whatever it is, it’s going to be worth literally every penny, because it’s gonna lead straight  to more major gifts.)

If you’re that fundraiser’s boss or other decision maker, decide to stop being inadvertently penny-wise and pound-foolish.

Resolve that you’ll do whatever it takes to set your fundraisers up to bring in those major gifts.

Don’t leave hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars on the table for your wonderful cause!

Major Gifts vs “Other Priorities?”

I got a shock recently when I discovered that some fundraiser’s bosses had vetoed their participation in my major gift coaching, citing “other priorities” and “budgetary concerns.”

The fundraisers were sssoooooo disappointed. I felt for them.

That’s the kind of shortsighted thinking that will keep you and your organization ON the treadmill.

What software, coaching, admin, or other support do you think would make a difference to YOUR major gifts program?

I’d love to know! Let’s create a discussion!

Leave a comment and tell me.

 

The post How to Get Off the Dang Fundraising Treadmill appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
http://www.gailperry.com/2015/04/how-to-get-off-the-dang-fundraising-treadmill/feed/ 13
32 Ideas From #AFPFC That’ll Make You A Smarter, Happier Fundraiser in 2015 http://www.gailperry.com/2015/04/32-ideas-from-afpfc-thatll-make-you-a-smarter-happier-fundraiser-in-2015/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/04/32-ideas-from-afpfc-thatll-make-you-a-smarter-happier-fundraiser-in-2015/#comments Fri, 03 Apr 2015 14:09:10 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=17239 The AFP Conference in Baltimore this week was the best ever! Here are some of my favorite tweets from the conference, from some of the smartest presenters. Some are inspirational and some are just plain old cutting edge, including wonderful quotes about fundraising from Seth Godin and Whoopi Goldberg. A big thanks to Rory Green […]

The post 32 Ideas From #AFPFC That’ll Make You A Smarter, Happier Fundraiser in 2015 appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
Ideas from AFPFCThe AFP Conference in Baltimore this week was the best ever! Here are some of my favorite tweets from the conference, from some of the smartest presenters.

Some are inspirational and some are just plain old cutting edge, including wonderful quotes about fundraising from Seth Godin and Whoopi Goldberg.

A big thanks to Rory Green @roryjmgreen, who created images with quotes from the conference that took the twitter sphere by storm!

By the way, you need to follow Rory’s hilarious tumblr feed: Fundraiser Grrl. 

Leave a comment and let me know which of these nuggets you like best!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The post 32 Ideas From #AFPFC That’ll Make You A Smarter, Happier Fundraiser in 2015 appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

]]>
http://www.gailperry.com/2015/04/32-ideas-from-afpfc-thatll-make-you-a-smarter-happier-fundraiser-in-2015/feed/ 14