Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry http://www.gailperry.com Nonprofit Fundraising Consultant | Board Development | Keynote Speaker Sat, 01 Aug 2015 19:01:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How a Smart Fundraising Plan Can Transform Your Fundraising AND Save Your Butt http://www.gailperry.com/2015/07/how-a-smart-fundraising-plan-can-transform-your-fundraising-and-save-your-butt/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/07/how-a-smart-fundraising-plan-can-transform-your-fundraising-and-save-your-butt/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 15:37:38 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=18173 It’s that time again. It’s fundraising planning time. The fiscal year closed on June 30. And I bet you are working now on your detailed operational  fundraising plans for the coming year. Why not take time right now to create a complete Fundraising Plan that can catapult your fundraising to new heights – one that […]

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It’s that time again. It’s fundraising planning time.

Want to spend your time in reactive or proactive mode?

The fiscal year closed on June 30.

And I bet you are working now on your detailed operational  fundraising plans for the coming year.

Why not take time right now to create a complete Fundraising Plan that can catapult your fundraising to new heights – one that can even transform your results?

Why not step back right now and lay plans to upgrade all your various fundraising programs.

I’d love to help you create a Transformational Fundraising and Solicitation Plan for 2015-16.

I’m giving two webinars to help you put together a killer Fundraising Plan to upgrade all your various fundraising programs and bring in major money for 2015-16.

(INSIDERS Subscribers: These webinars are included in your membership.)

How Your Fundraising Plan can Save Your Butt AND Transform Your Fundraising Results:

A good plan helps you lead and not to follow the crisis of the moment.

1. You know where to focus your time and energy.

How do you know what to do and when to do it?

How do you know how to deploy your terribly scarce resources of time and money?

You’ve got to have a guide – before you start – of what you are going to do when – and what results you expect to create.

If you have a calendar, a timetable, agreed-upon strategies — then you can “work your plan.”

This takes the guessing game out of fundraising.

  • Otherwise – you’ll waste your good resources of time, energy and funding. And you won’t get the results you want.

2. You can stay out of crisis mode.

Don’t you just love a crisis?

Aren’t you dying for some drama to add spice to your day?

A good plan sets up the dominos so they’ll fall down smoothly.

I’m not!

A good fundraising plan lets you work smoothly and coolly.

You – and your team – can keep your heads as you work your plan methodically.

It just makes life flow easier.

It lets you breathe.

  • Otherwise, you may end up in crisis after crisis, wallowing and hoping that something will pan out successfully.

3. You can control the flow of work in your office.

With a good plan, you can time your major fundraising programs so they don’t overlap each other.

A good plan keeps you from being buried in work.

You can make sure that the gala is not happening at the same time as your annual appeal.

Or that your major donor event doesn’t overlap with an important conference.

You have the time to plan ahead so that each fundraising strategy can get done with excellence (and without crisis.)

  • Otherwise: havoc may reign in your office.

4. You have protection from your board’s fundraising idea of the month.

We’ve all been there.

An well-meaning board member gets fired-up over some strange new fundraising idea. And she’s convinced that this, THIS, will save your organization.

What do you do?

Well, you calmly bring out your Fundraising Plan – one that everyone signed off on months ago.

And you say,

“If we do this new idea/strategy, what in fundraising program shall we give up?  We don’t have the manpower to do it all.

Usually, cooler heads will prevail. And everyone will understand the wisdom of keeping with the current plan.

  • Otherwise, you are at the mercy of the idea of the week. And you’re stuck.

5. You can shift from reactive to proactive.

Your plan also keeps you from being buffeted around by what’s happening around you.

You don’t have be REACTING all the time.

A good plan gives you flexibility and time to deal with roadblocks and breakdowns.

Instead, you are PROACTIVE.

You have everything in place so that your plan is effective, efficient and will bring in the donors and the money you need.

Whew. I can just feel everybody around you relaxing.

  • Otherwise, rush around, lose sleep, create tension, and lose your quality of life.

6.  You can build confidence in your fundraising program.

When people above you have confidence in you and your plan, they will leave you alone and let you do your work.

And they will smile when they see you because you are exuding confidence.

Enough said.

  • Otherwise, if they don’t have confidence in you, they will meddle with your plans and your program. They’ll institute weird metrics to measure you by. Don’t let this happen to you.

7. You will raise tons more money.

Clearly, a solid plan will help you raise more money.

A good plan gives you confidence.

You have time to do the work required to court major donors.

And you’ll be organized to plan a profitable gala, to develop a sequenced year-end fundraising campaign, and to get your web site working smoothly.

You even have time to take a vacation or two.

If you want to create your own killer plan that will take  you where you want to go, join me in August for my two important workshops:

Create a Transformational Fundraising and Solicitation Plan for 2015-16.

Check it out here. I hope you can join me!

BOTTOM LINE:

Have a wonderful summer. Take some time off.

And create that Plan.

It will protect you and it will make your life smoother and happier!

And you’ll raise a lot more money!

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How to Run Successful Capital Campaigns: An Interview with Amy Eisenstein http://www.gailperry.com/2015/07/capital-campaigns-interview-amy-eisenstein/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/07/capital-campaigns-interview-amy-eisenstein/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 16:27:26 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=18072 Is your organization looking to raise more money this year? Do you want to learn the steps to meet your fundraising goals? If so, then you are in luck. Amy Eisenstein from Tri Point Fundraising and I recently spoke about the key steps in preparing for a successful capital campaign. You can find our introduction to the basics of […]

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Gail Perry's interview on capital campaigns.

Is your organization looking to raise more money this year? Do you want to learn the steps to meet your fundraising goals? If so, then you are in luck.

Amy Eisenstein from Tri Point Fundraising and I recently spoke about the key steps in preparing for a successful capital campaign. You can find our introduction to the basics of capital campaign fundraising in the video below.

To discover the true secrets of capital campaign success please visit Capital Campaign Magic, a joint project between Andrea Kihlstedt and I where you will receive newsletters, webinars, and coaching that provide the building blocks to your success.

In the video interview you will learn:

  • Whether an organization is ready to start a capital campaign
  • The value of feasibility studies and how to get around them
  • 3 objectives to keep in mind when meeting major donors
  • How to develop and rate your prospect list
  • How to get your board to open the door to prospects
 gail

 

Bottom Line:

If you are just getting started, never fear! Start with these steps:

  • Go for your goal with great vigor
  • Have a clear, feasible and compelling vision that is supported by your board and community
  • Use a donor pyramid to run the numbers
  • Have your first 5 to 10 donors be top level gifts to get you half way to your goal

Two questions to ask yourself and your organization’s leaders before beginning a capital campaign:

  1. Can we raise this money?
  2. Where do we think it may come from? (Know your top donors.)

 

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22 Power Questions to Ask Your Major Gift and Capital Campaign Donors http://www.gailperry.com/2015/07/22-power-questions-to-ask-your-major-gift-and-capital-campaign-donors/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/07/22-power-questions-to-ask-your-major-gift-and-capital-campaign-donors/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 13:55:50 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=18061 Are you planning a major gifts or capital campaign? If so, you had better get to know your donors well before you ask them for a gift! Today I’m running a guest post by my colleague Andrea Kihlstedt. She wrote the book on Capital Campaign fundraising. We’ve partnered on CapitalCampaignMagic.com – where you’ll find terrific capital campaign […]

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Are you planning a major gifts or capital campaign?question mark2

If so, you had better get to know your donors well before you ask them for a gift!

Today I’m running a guest post by my colleague Andrea Kihlstedt. She wrote the book on Capital Campaign fundraising.

We’ve partnered on CapitalCampaignMagic.com – where you’ll find terrific capital campaign how-to’s and advice.

Andrea and I are offering a free webinar July 28th on a very hot topic:

Free Webinar: How to Engage Top Prospects for Your Capital Campaign

We just announced the webinar this week and we already have over 450 registrants- so if you’re interested come on and register now, because it will fill up. :)  And yup, it will be recorded!

Here’s Andrea’s post:

The most important thing to remember about major gift and capital campaign fundraising is:

The success of  your campaign depends less on how well you ask for gifts and more on whether you’ve built strong relationships with your donors.

Remember — at their core, capital campaigns are simply good, solid major gift fundraising.

There’s a big difference though between a major gifts program and a capital campaign.

A great major gift program sets up relationships with large donors over the long haul.

A capital campaign, on the other hand, is urgent and time-limited and pushes you to strengthen those donor relationships now!

Flip the Model: Get to Know Donors First

Many people think that the best way to get to know donors is to make an appointment with them to tell them about their project.

Instead, flip the model — before telling them about your project, you ask them about themselves.

For a successful campaign, you will have to engage your major gift prospects, connecting with them more fully than ever.

And while you may think that the best way to do that is by telling your donors about your project, really, the best way to do that is to ask them questions about themselves and listen to their answers.

22 Power Questions to Ask Your Donors

To get you started, I’ve selected a list of twenty-two great questions that you can use to get your donors talking about the things that interest and motivate them.

This happy couple would probably love to tell you about their philanthropic priorities!

This happy couple would probably love to tell you about their philanthropic priorities!

Use these questions to get to know your donors before you start telling them about your project.

This list is complied from questions suggested by Gail and by our colleagues Jerry Panas and Rory Green, also known for her wonderful and hilarious blog Fundraiser Grrl.

Questions About the Donor

  1. Where were you born?
  2. How did you get where you are today?
  3. What were the most important lessons you learned from your parents?
  4. If you won the lottery, how would you spend your time?
  5. What are you most proud of?

Donors love to talk about themselves. They’d love to tell you about their career, their kids, where they’ve lived, and how they got to where they are.

It’s like saying to someone “tell me your story.” It’s such an easy way to start off with someone.

Questions Asking for Advice

  1. What do you think about ______?
  2. Please give me your guidance on ______?
  3. Can we brainstorm this idea?
  4. What do you think I (we) should do?
  5. How would you handle this?
  6. Tell me more about that.  (Not a question, I know. But powerful anyway.)

You probably know that we are big on Advice Visits. Remember, you honor your donor by asking for their input.

I like to ask them about fundraising strategy in particular: How can we make this happen? Who should be involved? Where do you think the money might come from?

Questions About Giving

  1. What shapes your giving?
  2. What are your top three giving priorities?
  3. Why do you give to our organization?
  4. What do you think about our organization?
  5. Which of our programs do you find most compelling?
  6. What do you think of our plans?
  7. Are you ready to talk about supporting this project?
  8. What do you feel is the right decision for you?
  9. Who else should I be talking to?
  10. Would you consider making a gift of $______ to this project?
  11. What haven’t I asked that I should?

These are the questions most people are afraid to bring up – but donors will actually tell you directly if you just ask! You’d be surprised what you can ask about with a smile on your face.

In fact many donors love chatting with people about their philanthropy and their passions!

Fun — an Added Bonus

Use your donor meetings to ask questions, and you’ll find that your donor visits become much more engaging and fun.

And don’t forget our FREE webinar next week: How to Engage Top Prospects for Your Capital Campaign

The more you focus on getting to know your donors and helping them figure out what they’d like to do through their gift, the less asking for gifts feels like begging.

Which of the 22 questions above strike you as ones you’ll definitely ask your donors and why?

Leave a comment and let us know YOUR favorite power questions to ask!

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How to Turn Regular Donors into Monthly Donors http://www.gailperry.com/2015/07/how-to-turn-regular-donors-into-monthly-donors/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/07/how-to-turn-regular-donors-into-monthly-donors/#comments Fri, 17 Jul 2015 14:30:27 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=17995 Monthly giving is one of the great pots of gold for you and your cause. It’s one of the best ways to grow more funding from your current donors, instead of having to beat the bushes for new donors all the time. Don’t forget that monthly giving is also a happy experience for your donors. […]

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Monthly giving is one of the great pots of gold for you and your cause.

It’s one of the best ways to grow more funding from your current donors, instead of having to beat the bushes for new donors all the time.

Don’t forget that monthly giving is also a happy experience for your donors.

I personally am a monthly donor to several nonprofits.

And I feel glad and contented to know that I am such a die-hard supporter of these special causes.

I see all those contributions coming out of my account every month. It doesn’t worry me at all. Instead,  it makes me feel deeply connected to something more important than my little life.

So while I am using words like profit, pot of gold, and money in this post, it doesn’t mean that the donors feel used and manipulated.

Just the opposite.

These people love you and your cause.

Your monthly donors are your pot of gold because they are your most loyal backers.

And you can’t change the world without them standing right alongside you!

And they give more too.

When one of your donors switches to monthly gifts, they often give at least 3 times more.

Just think, if 10% of your regular donors became monthly donors, how much money would that mean for your important cause?

I’ve written a lot about monthly giving: my 20 Best Practices here; and my 18 Tips here.

Check them out and let’s get to work!

Erica Waasdorp, Monthly Giving Guru

Erica Waasdorp, Monthly Giving Guru

Erica Waasdorp, monthly giving guru, presented a webinar for us yesterday where she shared 49 different ways and examples of HOW to make a monthly giving ask.

If you missed the webinar, you can still get the entire presentation including valuable recordings and powerpoint here. 

Who are your top monthly donor prospects?

Erica says that they are your smaller donors. People who are giving under $100.

Those are the people to ask, and ask often.

But ask lovingly!

Monthly giving leads to better donor retention.

Look at this chart from the Blackbaud Sustainer Benchmarking Study.

It’s comparing overall retention of donors making single gifts to donors making sustaining gifts:monthly blackbaud chart

  • Consecutive donors for two years straight  –  single gift only –  retention was 50%.
  • Sustaining gifts only – retention was 64%.
  • Both sustaining and single gifts –  retention of 84%!

So HOW do you convert these wonderful single donors?

Send special targeted appeals asking regular donors to become monthly donors.

This is clearly the best way to convert your one-time donors.

Send a special targeted appeal like this one.

Send a special targeted appeal like this one.

Ask. “Invite.”

Make it obvious. Make it almost ubiquitous.

All your donors should know about the monthly giving club. The title of it should be familiar to them.

And they should know that it’s a great way to dive in and get more involved with your cause.

Remember, never make it about the money.

A “loving” monthly donor ask is always connected to your WORK.

Talk about what you can do and how the donors can change the world with you.

Use a challenge or matching gift to encourage monthly donors.

Try this: “Your monthly gifts will be matched one-for-one.”Screenshot 2015-07-17 08.19.47

Or

T’he Challenge: 300 New HopeBuilders by February 28″

I love matching challenges because they usually have a deadline.

Nothing like that urgency to move someone to act NOW.

Put a monthly giving ask on your home page.

Put a monthly giving program ask right smack on the landing page of your website – just like this:Screenshot 2015-07-17 08.03.49

It’s easy to see. It’s inviting.

This box directly connects the reader to your work and invites her to get involved as a monthly donor.

This is good fundraising.

It’s not pushy.

It’s direct, urgent and does the good work of connecting the donor and helping hungry kids.

Can you possibly ask for a monthly gift in the thank you message?

I am generally absolutely against this practice.

It reeks of bad manners and pushiness.

And last week’s guest post by Erica Waasdorp – who suggested this practice – received a lot of pushback from some smart, experienced fundraisers in the comments.

BUT

Erica may have persuaded me otherwise.Screenshot 2015-07-17 08.09.22

There IS a way, perhaps, to ask in a “loving” way, right after an initial gift.

Take a look at this pop-up light box that appears after I make an online gift.

I personally don’t find it offensive at all.

I think it’s because it feels like an “invitation” to become even more involved. And I don’t think a donor would be offended.

So, maybe, if you practice good manners AND make it feel like a loving invitation, you can get away with this!

How many monthly donors do YOU have? And what’s your experience?

Let us know with a comment!

 

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How to Promote and Close Monthly Giving In Your Fundraising Appeal Letters http://www.gailperry.com/2015/07/how-to-promote-and-close-monthly-giving-in-your-fundraising-appeal-letters/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/07/how-to-promote-and-close-monthly-giving-in-your-fundraising-appeal-letters/#comments Fri, 10 Jul 2015 01:11:54 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=17861 Can you pull in new monthly giving donors from your regular appeal letters? Yes, you really can. It’s actually quite easy to generate new monthly donors via your regular direct mail fundraising program. Today we have a Guest Post from Erica Waasdorp, Monthly Giving guru. Erica Waasdorp is an international consultant, trainer and speaker with deep direct […]

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erica3

Erica Waasdorp, Monthly Giving Guru

Can you pull in new monthly giving donors from your regular appeal letters? Yes, you really can. It’s actually quite easy to generate new monthly donors via your regular direct mail fundraising program.

Today we have a Guest Post from Erica Waasdorp, Monthly Giving guru.

Erica Waasdorp is an international consultant, trainer and speaker with deep direct response experience.  She’s author of Monthly Giving, The Sleeping Giant, an excellent guide to setup a profitable monthly giving program. Erica has directed acquisition, monthly giving, major-donor and planned-giving programs in seven countries: US, Canada, UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Australia and South Africa for the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Her upgrade strategy for the monthly giving program in the UK won IFAW and their telemarketing agency the Gold UK DMA award and the Gold FEDMA Award in 1998.

Erica recently gave an Advanced Monthly Giving Presentation for us:

Advanced Monthly Giving: How to Develop, Manage, and Execute Sustainable Monthly Giving for Your Non Profit 

If you’d like to create or upgrade your own monthly giving program with 49 examples of how to ask and close monthly gifts clink the above title link.

These ladies could be your next monthly donors!

These ladies could be your next monthly donors!

Here’s Erica’s guest post:

The two rules for closing monthly gifts via mail: 

1. Ask the right donors

2. Ask the right way

So who are the right donors, you might ask? The most likely monthly giving prospects are are donors who just gave! They can be existing donors, but even new donors who just gave for the first time.

The most likely monthly giving prospects are the ones who just gave.

They are also donors who gave less than $100. They are not your big check writers. Timing is crucial. They are enthusiastic right now, just after they have given. They have given their support to your cause. They’re happy! Now’s the time to ask them to either join your monthly donor program or for that second gift.

Senior Man Using Laptop --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Thank you mail — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Ask for a monthly gift in the right way – even in a thank you letter!

If you ask the right way, you’ll be able to convert new donors as soon as they join your organization. Here’s an example of the approach to use, right in the thank you letter:

Thank you so much for your gift of xx$xx to [name of organization]!

[Focus on why the gift is important for you and the impact it’s making on the people/animals/mission you serve].

That’s why I’d like to invite you to join a privileged group of special supporters, called [name of program].

[Focus on benefits and ease of program for donor]

Note, the benefits should really focus on the donor, how easy it is for them, how they can donate even smaller amounts, convenient. Then include a paragraph on how important it is to the mission you serve that the funds come in on an ongoing basis and that you can count on it. Print the text in large letters so it even looks easy and convenient from just looking at the appeal.

Where to make the monthly giving ask?

Include the option of monthly giving first on the reply form and add this option:

Make a one time donation.

Not everybody may be ready to join your monthly donor program but you will still receive donations.

I have seen response rates of 1.5 to 2% of donors joining the monthly donor program and response rates of 4 to 5% of donors making a one time gift in the thank you letter.

Consider doing a simple variation of this letter and send it to donors who just donated to your direct mail appeal.

What do you have to lose by starting to ask your donors to join your monthly donor program early?

They’ll stay with you a lot longer if you do!

Don’t forget to get Erica’s presentation if you want more help.

You can find out more and purchase the $49 webinar recordings here.

 

 

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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, […]

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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.

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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 […]

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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!

 

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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 […]

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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.

Mary Craig Tennille, of Excalibur Direct

Mary Craig Tennille, of Excalibur Direct

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

Treat them like the human resources they are.

And here’s another back office tip from your friendly local mail house:

#1 Strategy for your DataBase: clean up your data so you can segment your mailings.

Mary Craig Tennille, VP of Excalibur Direct says her top tip is to

Just think, then you could send messaging to your donors that was really, truly relevant! 

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

 

 

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#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 […]

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 […]

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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:

 

 

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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. […]

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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.

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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 […]

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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!

 

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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 – […]

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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.

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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!

 

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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 […]

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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!  

 

 

 

 

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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 […]

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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!

 

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