Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry http://www.gailperry.com Nonprofit Fundraising Consultant | Board Development | Keynote Speaker Fri, 17 Apr 2015 13:31:23 +0000 en-US hourly 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 […]

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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!

 

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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 […]

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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.

 

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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 […]

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Drive Major Donors Away and Kill Off Your Major Gifts Program http://www.gailperry.com/2015/03/how-to-drive-major-donors-away-and-kill-off-your-major-gift-program/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/03/how-to-drive-major-donors-away-and-kill-off-your-major-gift-program/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 12:45:56 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=17201 Hint: Your donor says to you, “I’m not an ATM.” Have you ever had the sense that your major gift prospects are fleeing from you? Do they turn down your invitations for events, tours, even private VIP get-togethers? Do they refuse to see you with comments as: “You don’t need to spend time with me!” […]

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Hint: Your donor says to you, “I’m not an ATM.”

Have you ever had the sense that your major gift prospects are fleeing from you?

Disapproval

Do they turn down your invitations for events, tours, even private VIP get-togethers?

Do they refuse to see you with comments as:

“You don’t need to spend time with me!”

Or

“I’m too busy – call me in two months.”

“What happened?” you are thinking to yourself.

“What did I do, or say?”

Hint: Do they ever say to you, “I feel like an ATM for your organization and I’m tired of it.”

The donor says “I am not an ATM.”

This is a huge warning sign.

When you make your major gifts prospects feel like ATMs, do you know what you are doing?

You are making it all about the MONEY.

When you make it all about the money, donors can find it to be an affront. Particularly major gift prospects.

Especially if you dive right into a solicitation on the very first visit.

They are offended, and perceive you as too pushy and aggressive.

So what do you do?

Instead, ask your major gifts prospect for something besides money.

Ask your donor for “help” or “advice” or “their best thinking.”

In doing so, you LISTEN to them.

When you listen to them, you honor them with your undivided attention. And you are asking them for something besides money.

Don't make your donors feel like ATMs!!

Don’t make your donors feel like ATMs!!

They actually have much more to offer you in addition to money.

You do NOT subject them to a boring presentation. (PLEASE!)

Remember: when you meet with a major donor, THEY expect to do the talking.

You have my sympathies! I know it can be hard to contain your enthusiasm!

An experienced fundraiser is ALL ABOUT the donor.

He can control any natural tendency to blather endlessly. He does not monopolize the conversation.

He can sit silently, assessing the donor’s body language, and watch for cues of greater interest.

He can ask leading questions.

He finds out his donor’s hot buttons.

He also is getting his donor’s BEST thinking about such issues as fundraising strategy and other major gift prospects.

He may get guidance – and even help – on how to pull in other important people to back your project,  and how to gain more attention and visibility for your project within your donor’s network.

He also leaves with a followup next step – so he can forge a strong relationship with his donor.

You honor your major gift prospect by asking her for something in addition to money: her help.

Otherwise, you’ll always be making her feel that all you want from her is her money.

And that is a clammy feeling if you are a donor.

So if your donor EVER says “I’m not an ATM,” you have a very clear indication of what has gone wrong.

It’s time to back off and engage with them differently.

After a bit of time it will be appropriate to ask them again – you’ll be able to tell.

Pressured by your boss to ask for money on the first visit? I’ll answer that one later – and I DO have a strategy to offer!

BOTTOM LINE

Asking too often will dig your own grave as a fundraiser. Asking for more than just money will take you very, very far!

Have YOU ever had a donor say to you “I”m not an ATM?”

What did YOU do? Share it for us – I’d love to know!

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Your Major Gift Fundraising Questions – Answered! http://www.gailperry.com/2015/03/your-major-gift-fundraising-questions-answered/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/03/your-major-gift-fundraising-questions-answered/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 13:53:14 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=17168 Q: Should we include a major gift prospect in our email blasts which include asks? Yes, but you should personalize these appeals, acknowledging your prospect’s relationship with your cause, if at all possible. It’s a mistake to remove your prospect from all your communications – including appeals. Why? Because it may take months to prep […]

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Q: Should we include a major gift prospect in our email blasts which include asks?

Yes, but you should personalize these appeals, acknowledging your prospect’s relationship with your cause, if at all possible.Hope-this-works-233x300

It’s a mistake to remove your prospect from all your communications – including appeals.

Why? Because it may take months to prep them for a really big ask- and they need those small fundraising and connecting touches all along.

Once, one of our major gift prospects said to me. “Why don’t you all ever ask me for money? It’s weird, and I’d like to give a little something right now!”

That was my lesson learned!

Q: Should the Executive Director go on major gift cultivation visits with me?

Actually I’d like to see you visit with the donor first by yourself. This helps you start developing a personal friendship with him or her.

Once you have established your own relationship with your prospect, then bring your ED in to meet them as a second step in the prospect’s cultivation.

So make it a one- two punch. First you. Then the next step is to meet your ED.

You want step-by-step moves with your prospect.  Introducing her to someone higher up on the ladder, so to speak, is a time-honored strategy.

Q: When someone cheerfully declines your invitation to get involved, how do you best keep them loosely in the loop?

Ok you have several strategies here:

1. See if you can keep snooping and find out the area they are really interested in. If you can discover their hot button, try inviting them to something related to their personal interest.

2. Just keep them on the invitation list or keep circling back with them once every month or two – ever so nicely and cheerfully.

3. Try getting a board member to open the door to them.

4. At some point, you may have to simply “bless and release” them.

Q: With multiple people in your development department, should just one person do major gifts or can you spread that through the department?

You can do it both ways, depending on the reliability and savviness of your staff members.

Are they comfortable in front of major donors? Can they handle themselves and the relationship? Can you count on them?

If so, then each person might be able to handle a few prospect assignments depending on their work load.

If you allocated 5 prospects each out to 5 people then you have 25 prospects being covered, and that works well.

Q: What’s your tool for keeping notes on your major gift donors? Do you have a form or just use a database?

When I’m in a meeting with donors, I’m scribbling on paper. When I get back to the office, I file a formal Call Report in the database system.

BOTH are essential. You MUST have your paper trail and track your work.

Q: How do you get your board to understand the importance of being seen around town? I simply can’t afford to attend all the events on my own.

1. Can you afford one event a month? Sometimes the Chamber’s Business After Hours events are low cost. There are civic events, city festivals, First Fridays, gallery openings – all manner of gatherings going on in your town all the time. Choose some of them.

2. Keep at it with your board.  Remind them that you need to be out and about nurturing relationships and that’s where you “run into” prospects.

3. Explain the importance of having close ties with the people who allocate your city’s resources. There’s the old saying: “If you are not at the table, then you are probably on the menu!”

Q: What if the volunteer (board member) you bring tends to monopolize the conversation with your major gift prospect?

Ohhh boy, this happens all the time. This is because your volunteer doesn’t understand the purpose of the visit. I bet your well-meaning volunteer thinks he or she is supposed to 1. do the talking and 2. make a presentation.

WRONG!

Give them these articles of mine to read:

The Fundraiser’s Kiss of Death: Talking Too Much

How to Get the Most Out of a Major Gift Visit!

Q: Do you take notes in meetings or after?

I personally like to take notes as I go. I think the donor is flattered if you furiously write down their words.

Makes them feel important, AND you want to use the donor’s OWN WORDS when you solicit their gift.

Q: Gail, can you speak to emailing instead of calling to get a meeting?

I would try both. Some donors prefer email and some prefer calling.

Personally it’s MUCH easier to get up with me via email than it is with the phone.

Everybody’s different. Try Facebook, too, with some donors.

Q: Is it okay to take in a small gift on first visit? Candy … ?

Well, personally I am a sucker for dark chocolate. :)

But I am not so sure that a gift works in the first visit – really depends on what it is.

I’d rather bring something that reflects my organization’s work.

Q: How important it is to actively engage major donors in projects? For example to do something in an organization?

It’s extremely important. A recent Bank of America High Net Worth Donor Study found that wealthy donors who volunteered gave much more.

Donors who volunteered over 100 hours last year gave their organizations an average of $78k (compared to an average gift of $39k for those who volunteered less.)

Q: When you talk about long term relationship, are you talking months, years?

I am talking about years and years and years, including even a bequest.

Donors live a long time and they have something called “Lifetime Giving Value.”

Q: How do you work with an ED who thinks he’s a good fundraiser, but does the opposite of everything you just said?

Oh boy, this happens a lot! First of all, I’m sorry!

Some EDs are impossible. When they are a complete boor, you try to keep them away from donors.

Or you can try the psychological approach: get them to come up with their specific objectives (find out this, this and this) for the meeting. Then help your ED think through how best to accomplish the objectives (i.e. asking questions and listening.)

You can try giving them some of my articles and drill into their head that if they do more than 50% of the talking, then they are dead.

Q: One of my donors said to reach out in a specific month to discuss renewing their gift. I reached out via email however have not heard back. How can I attempt to reach out again without seeming too aggressive?

Gosh, this is a toughie. I’d just keep cheerfully circling back – “You wanted me to get back in touch with you so I thought I’d just touch base and see how you were. … ”

Q: Gail, so when we first ask for a meeting, is it better not to say that we will ask them for money and just focus on fundraising strategy / program.

Yes it is much better. You don’t want to ask them in the first meeting. That’s awkward and presumptuous – you don’t know much about their level of interest  or what their hot buttons are.

So the first visit should be to introduce them to your cause and see what they are interested in. And engage them in conversation about various aspects of your work. (What do you think of . .. . What are your impressions of . . . )

Q: How do you end a phone call or meeting when you can tell that the donor is not in a good mood or is uninterested?

Great question! In these two situations, it’s best to cut off the bleeding and simply get out the door.

Invent a reason to leave quickly. (“Oh gosh, I have just gotten a text from xxx and I really need to run!”)

Say nicely, “Thank you so much, I really must go now.” How can they argue with that?

Q: As a man, I don’t think it is appropriate for a hello kiss with a female prospect – thoughts? Open to feedback!

Oh goodness, I agree. Formality is always preferred.

Let your donor make the first step toward the kiss and let’s just hope it is an “air kiss!”

BOTTOM LINE:

There are many nuances to major donor fundraising – all these questions are typical – and you SHOULD be asking them.

And remember, if you want to raise serious money in major gifts,  you might be interested in my 6- month Step-by-Step Major Gifts Coaching program that starts on April 8.

I’ll be answering even more questions next week – keep them coming, ok?

 

 

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5 (Very Simple) Steps to Build a Major Gifts Program from the Ground Up http://www.gailperry.com/2015/03/5-very-simple-steps-to-build-a-major-gifts-program-from-the-ground-up/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/03/5-very-simple-steps-to-build-a-major-gifts-program-from-the-ground-up/#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2015 14:14:58 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=17107 Major gifts are the “big win” in fundraising. All nonprofits hope for the large gifts that help fund important programs and solidify your financial base. We all know that the return on your investment of time and energy is much higher in major gifts than in other types of fundraising. Then why don’t all organizations […]

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Major gifts are the “big win” in fundraising.
building blocks1

All nonprofits hope for the large gifts that help fund important programs and solidify your financial base.

We all know that the return on your investment of time and energy is much higher in major gifts than in other types of fundraising.

Then why don’t all organizations press forward with a major gifts program?

It’s because the time and effort to develop a major gifts effort is more than many organizations can spare.

People tell me they are nervous about approaching major donors. Or they don’t think they have the prospects.

Sometimes the biggest roadblock is simply getting an appointment. Others say they have serious difficulty making the ask.

I feel their pain! I’ve been there too. And I can say that major gift fundraising is not for the fainthearted.

People struggle for all these reasons and more. That’s why I’ve  created a new major gifts coaching program – to give smart fundraisers they support they need to bring in the big gifts.

You can find all about major gift coaching here.

Go ahead and schedule a private strategy session with me if you have questions and we can talk about whether this is a good fit for you and your organization. I’d love to help you!

5 Very Simple Steps to Major Gifts

Here’s a great — very simple — step-by-step guide to create and implement a successful major gifts program for your organization.

Whether you are large or small, you can follow this simple blueprint:

Step One: Develop a Major Gifts Team

Major gift fundraising is a team sport, not a solo one.

If you are trying to do this all by yourself, you’re making it much harder than it needs to be.

A team helps expand your contacts and bring in new information to the process.

  •  Enlist your CEO and selected board leaders
  •  Show them how much potential money is out there
  •  Create clear jobs for everyone: identifying, strategizing, opening doors, hosting cultivation events, soliciting
  •  Set clear goals
  •  Meet with your team often to maintain momentum

Step Two: Create and Maintain a Master List of Major Gift Prospects

Your prospect list is your fundamental tool for your major gifts program.

Choose a smaller number of potential donors and work them thoroughly.

Rate them on their interest level in your cause and their financial capacity.

  •  Start with the donors you have
  •  Size up their potential
  •  Review your prospect list with other donors – do your research.
  •  Track your Major Prospect List in excel or your donor database.
  •  Prioritize them and set next steps

Step Three: Work With Major Donor Prospects One at a Time

Don’t rush the relationship — you are exploring and getting to know your prospects.

Make them close friends of the organization through frequent contact.

Spend the face time needed to develop your relationship.

  •  Create an individualized cultivation plan for each person
  •  Create trust by doing what you say you’ll do
  •  Listen deeply to your donor
  •  Develop each relationship with the long term in mind
  •  Track and measure each step you take

Step Four: Create a Personalized Asking Approach for Each Major Donor Prospect

Don’t rush to the ask! You can only ask when the donor is ready.

If you spend careful time cultivating a warm relationship with your donor, then the ask will take care of itself.

You need to show your donor how YOUR opportunity matches your donor’s vision.

  •  Get ready carefully
  •  Make your project exciting and compelling
  •  Be able to SELL your case with enthusiasm
  •  Test to see if your donor is ready
  •  Learn as much as possible about your donor’s interests, values and vision for a better world.

Step Five: Make the Ask

The ask is really seamless if you do a super job developing your relationship, listening to your donor, and warming her up.

It is just a continuation of the process, and your donor will say to you “how can I help?”

  •  Make the ask into a conversation
  •  Don’t low ball your donor – ask for the stretch gift if they are ready
  •  Let your donor do 50% of the talking in an ask visit
  •  Make your project into an “opportunity”
  •  Add urgency: Explain why the donor should give right now
  • Follow up! An ask is not an ask without followup!

What are your biggest challenges making your own major gifts program wildly successful?

Can you share them below with a comment?

The post 5 (Very Simple) Steps to Build a Major Gifts Program from the Ground Up appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

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How to Get the Most Out of a Major Gift Visit! http://www.gailperry.com/2015/03/how-to-get-the-most-out-of-a-major-gift-visit/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/03/how-to-get-the-most-out-of-a-major-gift-visit/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 15:26:58 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=17051 You finally have the meeting with Mr. Big. What’s next? What do you do? What do you say? It can be tough to keep your eyes on the prize when you get in front of your best major donor prospects. And it’s easy to get distracted and go the wrong direction! And let’s not forget: […]

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Prospective DonorYou finally have the meeting with Mr. Big. What’s next?

What do you do? What do you say?

It can be tough to keep your eyes on the prize when you get in front of your best major donor prospects.

And it’s easy to get distracted and go the wrong direction!

And let’s not forget:

Your real goal is NOT money.

It’s NOT to make a presentation either.

In your first real visit to this donor, you’re after something way more important.

What you really want: a warm, friendly relationship.

So what’s that mean, anyway?

It means that after this visit, your prospect just might respond to your emails. And he might answer your calls.

May she’ll be willing to come to an event, or take a tour.

Maybe even make a gift. (YES!)

develop a relationshipLeisurely conversation will tell you so very much information!

But let’s not rush things during this first “date” with your prospect.

Instead, let’s just take things slowly. If you can do that, you’ll create something MUCH longer lasting.

Another free major gifts webinar!

I’m having yet another free webinar next week on this mysterious area called major gifts:  Skyrocket Your Fundraising With a Systematic Major Gift Program.

If you’d like to establish a major gifts program for your organization that can systematically bring in the big funding you need, then join me on March 11.

I’ll give you an overview of how any organization, any size, can close large gifts from donors who really care. DO JOIN ME!

Find out more and register for the FREE major gifts webinar here

Now back to our conversation about visiting major donors: here are THE three things you want out of every single major donor visit you make:

1. You want to establish a lasting, engaged relationship.

You have a long list of things you’d like from this prospective donor. You’d like to be able to ask her for advice. Or about other potential donors.

You want her opinion of new events or initiatives.

You want her to tell you what other people in town are saying about your organization. You want to find out what it will take for her to make a gift.

In other words, you want her to become a friend to your organization.

This kind of long term productive relationship is worth a LOT to an organization. You want plenty of community leaders feeling friendly to you. Right?

2.  You want to find out where your major gift prospect stands.

Another important goal for your visit is to find out your prospect’s disposition toward you and your cause.

Finding out what’s in your donor’s heart – that’s the first step toward a gift!

Perhaps he’s a former donor—does he still feel close to your organization?

heart centered fundraising

Perhaps she’s brand new to the community—could she become interested in your cause? Could she be helpful?

If a couple are potential donors, then you’ll be trying to gauge their level of interest so you can bring them even closer.

This is why you should listen so much during a donor visit!

You REALLY want to know what’s going on in your prospect’s mind.

And the only way to find out what you really need to grow the relationship is to get them to talk.

Many people think their job is to make a presentation.  Or bring the prospect “up to date.”

But this may or may not be a good idea. Hint: It’s only a good idea if the prospect WANTS this info.

If you’re watching her reaction to you, you’ll know right away if she does (or not).

 3.  You want a next step with your major gift prospect.

Why is the next step so important?

Because you won’t have a long term relationship with your donor without it!

develop a relationship You’ve got to figure out your next step with your prospect!

Don’t leave the visit until you have an idea for follow-up. That’s the most important objective of all!

You’re always looking for what you can do NEXT to encourage your prospect’s interest.

Can you find a reason to circle back to them, so you keep the communication coming?

Did you find out what they were interested in, so you can follow up?

Did they ask a question that you couldn’t answer?

Great! Now you have a reason to follow-up.

Want to know exactly how to make a successful visit on a major gift prospect?

Make sure to listen to the recording of my free webinar that 3000 people attended: How to Make a SUPER Successful Call on A Major Donor Prospect

Let me know what you think!

 

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The #1 Secret of Raising Lots of Money? Face Time With Major Gift Donors http://www.gailperry.com/2015/02/the-1-secret-of-raising-lots-of-money-face-time-with-major-gift-donors/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/02/the-1-secret-of-raising-lots-of-money-face-time-with-major-gift-donors/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 13:58:42 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=17016 Don’t we love closing big major gifts!  And we all know that is where smart fundraisers should be spending their time. But it can be really tough to get out of your office. And that’s a problem when you’re trying to raise serious money. After all, to get to know your donors, you’ve got to […]

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Don’t we love closing big major gifts!  And we all know that is where smart fundraisers should be spending their time.coffee

But it can be really tough to get out of your office. And that’s a problem when you’re trying to raise serious money.

After all, to get to know your donors, you’ve got to spend time with them. It’s that simple (and that complicated).

My free webinar this week on “How to Make a Successful Call on a Major Gift Prospect” maxed out at 1000 attendees within hours, so I scheduled a second one, which also maxed out!

I’m presenting it again Thursday March 5 (you can find out more and register here). I think EVERYBODY – your ED, your board chair and all your fundraising staff NEED this training!

I’m also launching my brand new Step-by-Step Major Gift Coaching Intensive this month to give you the training, structure, and accountability you need to make your calls and close those major gifts. I’m being deluged with questions and applications and hope you’ll join us!

“You Can’t Raise Money In Your Office!”

That is what Ayda Sanver, a very smart consultant colleague of mine once told me.

I hear ALL the time from my colleagues that they’re just not getting out and meeting with their donors … even though they know it’s so important.

Your face-to-face calls are probably THE missing ingredient when it comes to implementing a successful fundraising plan.

Let’s face it: How else can you forge a deep relationship?

How else can you learn more about the donor’s interests?

How else can you listen, listen your way to the major gift? :)

If you consider the true Lifetime Value of a major donor to your organization, it might be easier to justify getting out there and visiting with them.

WHY is it so hard to get out of the office?

Immediate priorities keep pulling at you. And they take you pretty much nowhere.

Yes, you’ve got your letters to go out, newsletter to craft, meetings to attend, reports to write. There’s the gala committee, the board meeting, the grant report, the stewardship report. And it all has to be done.

Alas. None of that will help you raise the big money you need.

Here’s a step-by-step plan for getting out of the office and making those major gift calls:

1. Set a firm goal for the # of major gift visits you’ll make each month.

Draw a line in the sand. Make a commitment to yourself and your organization.

Commit to making a certain number of visits each month. Is it 12, 8, or 20 visits? (If you’re not a CEO, I recommend making a minimum of 12.)

You’ll never get ANYWHERE without setting this important goal.

2. Enlist internal support to help you get out of the office.

Tell all your co-workers about your goal, and ask them to push you out of the office. You’ve got to have that internal support.

Sometimes non-fundraising staff will raise their eyebrows when we head out for a lunch meeting. (I sometimes used to sense subtle disapproval from some co-workers when I was a staffer.)

That stuff has GOT to stop! Enlist your boss or the ED. It’s up to your bosses to make sure that everyone in the organization supports fundraising.

So be sure everyone knows what your job is and why it’s important for you to get out there.

3. Make your goal for these major gift visits a big deal.

Talk about your goal and the calls you are making.  Get your CEO behind you. Get your board behind you.

Tell everyone that your goal is to make a certain number of visits with major gift prospects each month. Ask for their help.

4. Just do it.

Draw a line in the sand and make a personal commitment.

I send out my Friday newsletter come hell or high water. (Or hurricanes!) I just do it.

No matter what’s going on in my life or business, this newsletter comes out.

And it has made all the difference in the world – to my thinking – to my marketing – to my professional development.

What could YOU accomplish if you had a lot of major prospects under cultivation?

How much more money could you raise? I bet you could bring in a LOT OF FUNDING! :)

Bottom line:

Here’s your motto: “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.”

Make the commitment.

The dollars will follow!

Don’t forget to join my free webinar on Thursday March 5: “How to Make a Successful Call on a Major Gift Prospect”  (you can find out more and register here).

Question to you:

How often are you out of the office?  How many calls do you try to make each month?

Leave me a comment and let me know!

 

 

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The Fundraiser’s Kiss of Death: Talking Too Much http://www.gailperry.com/2015/02/the-fundraisers-kiss-of-death-talking-too-much-2/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/02/the-fundraisers-kiss-of-death-talking-too-much-2/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 16:56:24 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=16929 What’s the kiss of death for every fundraiser? What’s THE best way to turn your donor off? And what can you do to make sure your donor never, ever wants to see you again? What can this awful experience be? It’s when you are guilty of being boring. Ok…. step aside for a minute, and […]

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What’s the kiss of death for every fundraiser?

Don’t talk too much: it’s the kiss of death!

What’s THE best way to turn your donor off?

And what can you do to make sure your donor never, ever wants to see you again?

What can this awful experience be?

It’s when you are guilty of being boring.

Ok…. step aside for a minute, and put yourself in your donors’  shoes.

Remember your own experiences when you have been trapped with boring people?

What were they like?

Can you remember this?  How long has it been since you were stuck, stuck, stuck in a meeting with someone you could not escape?

Were you longing for a WAY OUT?  Were you desperate to GET AWAY?

Stuck in the purgatory of a hopelessly boring meeting. . . ugh!

Soooooo, do you want your donor to feel like that when YOU are visiting HER?

Guess not, if you want to forge a happy relationship with her!

Here’s the fundamental question:

What’s the best way to be boring? . . . .It’s when you talk too much.

If you talk too much, you’re guaranteed to make your donor’s eyes glaze over.

You’re guaranteed to bore her to tears.

You’re probably even guaranteed to make her wish she’d never agree to meet with you!

The last thing you want is for her to wish you’d just get up and leave.

YOU may think you’re being interesting . . . . .but SHE may think you are droning on and on.

Warning: Talk too much . . . at your own risk!

Too many nonprofit leaders – CEO’s, development directors and board volunteers alike – are guilty of the “talking problem.”

Everyone thinks they need a presentation that can “sell” your donor on the cause.

Everybody thinks they need a “pitch.”

You don’t need a pitch. You need to listen to your donor instead.

Why are listening skills more important than presentation skills?

Because in fundraising, we have to follow our donor’s lead.

We always try to bring our donors out.

How DO you make a super successful call on a major donor prospect?

If you want my secrets to creating SUPER successful visits with major donor prospects, join me Thursday March 5 from 2-3pm.

I’ll be sharing with you my personal strategies that helped me get in the door with million dollar prospects, develop warm relationships with them, and successfully close high dollar gifts.

Click here to register: FREE WEBINAR: How to Make a Super Successful Call on a Major Donor Prospect

It’s far more important to listen than it is to talk.

As major gift fundraisers, we pay very close attention to what is on our donor’s mind, so that we can find out where she stands.

If we want to develop her interest, then we have to know where her hot buttons are.

If we want a warm relationship, then we need to know what is important to her, what her values are, and WHY she is so interested in our cause.

If we have this information, we can probably engage her deeply, get her involved, create a happy long term relationship, and develop some wonderfully generous gifts.

Without this information you are pretty much at a dead end.

If you are doing more than 50% of the talking, then you’re dead.

In fact, I personally prefer to do only about 25% of the talking.

I’m so well trained as a fundraiser that I get a bit nervous if I find that I’m talking too much to a donor.

I”m much more comfortable when she is holding forth.

Then I can just relax, watch, gauge and listen.

I think that self-awareness, self-control and a light touch should be very highly prized skills for major gift fundraisers.

BOTTOM LINE: Make this your fundraising motto: “Listen Your Way to the Gift.”

The donor will show you the way.

But only if you can control yourself.  Only if you can hold back.

And I just KNOW you can do it!

Was this story helpful?

Let me know with a comment!

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16 Ways to Get a Meeting With Your Major Gift Prospect http://www.gailperry.com/2015/02/16-ways-get-meeting-major-gift-prospect/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/02/16-ways-get-meeting-major-gift-prospect/#comments Fri, 13 Feb 2015 17:01:32 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=16774 Hurray! You have a major gift prospect who seems to be a great fit!  And, you are trying to figure out how to get to know her so you can get her more involved. But now what? What should you say when you pick up the phone or email your prospect? What will help you […]

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Hurray! You have a major gift prospect who seems to be a great fit! sb10061714d-001

And, you are trying to figure out how to get to know her so you can get her more involved.

But now what?

What should you say when you pick up the phone or email your prospect?

What will help you get your foot in the door? What will make your prospect more likely to want to meet?

There aren’t really any “magic words” that are guaranteed to make any major gift prospect sit up and take notice.

But there are ways that can pique their interest, and incline them to say “yes” to a meeting.

For example, if you’ve followed me at all you already know that my all-time, favorite way to get in the door is to ask for an Advice Visit.

I’ve written extensively about Advice Visits– you’ll find more details here, here, and here.

You should always smile into the phone when you ask for a visit!

You should always smile into the phone when you ask for a visit!

Why do Advice Visits work so well?

It’s because your prospective donor will expect to do the talking – not you. (Which is perfect, as far as I’m concerned! Let the donor do ALL the talking if you can.)

  • Your prospect also feels complimented that you want her advice.
  • She even feels a bit honored when you come to her and ask for her input and help.

And no one really listens to anybody these days anyway, do you think?

We fundraisers can set ourselves apart with our donors by simply listening deeply and carefully. You’ll find out everything you need to know!

16 Ways to Get A Meeting With Your Major Gift Prospect

So here’s a list of my favorite one-liners to get in the door!

Advice Visits:

This list is when you already know someone and you are trying to get them more involved.

1. “Can I run something by you?”

This is one of my favorites. It has a casual feel.

And you are teasing your prospect about the topic – and she will be curious!

Your donor may be thrilled to see you again.

Your donor may be thrilled to see you again.

2. “I have a new project up my sleeve and I’d love to get your advice about it.”

Again, your donor will probably say yes because he wants to know what you are up to!

And YOU want to hear what your donor thinks!

 3. “I’d like to get some input from you about . . .

Your donor will say yes because she WANTS to give you advice.

She knows a lot about your cause or your community and wants to offer it.

4. “We want to get your take on something we are working on.”

Again, the element of curiosity is what will incline your donor to say yes.

AND based on this request, the donor realizes that she will not be getting solicited in this meeting, so she may lower her guard and accept the meeting.

5. “Can I brainstorm with you about . . .”

People love to brainstorm. It’s almost always fun to do.

This fundraiser is showing up as charming and likable, don't you think?

This fundraiser is showing up as charming and likable, don’t you think?

Your donor will say to himself “this sounds like fun!”

 6. “I’d like to get your advice on . . . and would love your help with it.”

You have a specific issue.

Your prospect has the expertise to help you solve it. Everyone wins!

7. “We are trying to figure out a way to do xxxx. I’d love to get your input!”

Sometimes your donor has an aspect or angle on a problem that you haven’t thought about.

Try asking about fundraising strategy, or how to get support in the community for your project.

8. “Get your ideas on a new initiative we are thinking of launching.”

This is a huge teaser for your prospect. He WANTS to know what you are up to.

It’s easy to get the meeting when you ask this!

9. “We’d like your input on a project we’re planning.”

Again, you’re appealing to your prospect’s expertise. You’re reminding him that he’s an important part of your team.

10. “I’d like to give you a sneak peak at our plan for X.”

This is huge. Major gift prospects LOVE to have the inside scoop.

This just may be the easiest and best way EVER to get in the door!

11. I’ll be in your area can I drop by?

This has some urgency about it because you are not in your donor’s area often.

Having only a short window of time to make the visit will encourage the donor to say yes.

Thank You Visit:

12. We want to thank you personally for your gift and share with you more about the project you are helping to fund.

I can’t think of a more welcome meeting.

Donors REALLY like to be updated on projects that they are helping to fund. You can’t go wrong with this!

13. Drop off a little thank you present.

Donors LOVE to be thanked!

Remember my motto: “Find Seven Ways to Thank Your Donor and She’ll Give Again!”

“Get To Know You As a Donor” Visit

These last three strategies are from one of the smartest major gift fundraisers I know, Eli Jordfald, at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Eli spends an afternoon every couple of weeks, in her office on the phone, making “discovery calls” to potential donors.

Here are her brilliant strategies to get the appointment:

14. “I’d love to hear why you chose to give.

Now, who would say no to this?

15. “Would you be willing to have coffee with me, I’d love to understand your story.

She is asking with exquisite politeness and charm. Hard to say no!

16. “Mr. Jones, you’ve been a donor all these years. My job is to know our patrons.

This is amazingly smooth. Love love love this one!

BOTTOM LINE

Give these one-liners a try. And let me know how you do!

Leave a comment and share your OWN favorite below:

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How to Make Your Donors Happy With a Valentine! http://www.gailperry.com/2015/02/make-donors-happy-valentine/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/02/make-donors-happy-valentine/#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 16:29:29 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=16704 Valentine’s Day: What a great opportunity to show your donors some love! A charming, thoughtful valentine can be your next “move” with your major donors. Why is a valentine such a great fundraising tool?  It can be A super easy way to delight your donors. A touching way to say thank you. A thoughtful gesture […]

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valentine-candyValentine’s Day: What a great opportunity to show your donors some love!

A charming, thoughtful valentine can be your next “move” with your major donors.

Why is a valentine such a great fundraising tool?  It can be

  • A super easy way to delight your donors.
  • A touching way to say thank you.
  • A thoughtful gesture that deeply connects donors with your work.

AND:

A valentine can remind your donors how special YOU think THEY are.

I can’t think of an easier fundraising tool than a valentine.

Why do I call it a fundraising tool?  You are NOT asking for money with this valentine.

But you ARE touching your donors, reminding them of their interest in your cause, letting them know the wonderful impact they are making in the world.

And that’s FABULOUS fundraising, if you ask me.

A thoughtful valentine perfectly sets your donors up for their next gift.

You may already have sent them a warm personal thank you note right after their gift.

You also may have called them on the phone to say thanks.

But don’t for a minute think that’s all you should do!

valentine to donor

Donor Valentine shared with us from Ligia Peña, M.Sc., CFRE

Donor Love is the huge new trend in fundraising.

First we talked about how to treat our donors like Friends.

Then we started suggesting that we treat our donors like Family.

And now all the fundraising pundits are holding out the idea of “Donor Love.”

You need to “love on” your donors. :)

Maybe you could treat your donors like the verrrrry special friends that they are.

Find 7 ways to thank your donor and she’ll give again.

Here are some (whacky) ideas for Donor Love Valentines:

1. Traditional card:

Donor gets valentine card from staff with sweet personal note.

2. Card:

Donor gets valentine card from board member with note.

valentine3. Card:

Valentine card comes from someone your organization has helped.

4. Video:

Donor gets a video of some of your organization’s work (smiling people, ok?) with a love song in the background.

5. Hand made card:

Donor gets valentine created and signed by some of the kids (or people) she has helped. Animal charity – maybe a paw print. Arts organization: try a cool art design crafted by an artist.

6. Singing telegram:

This is perfect for arts organizations who may have some singers who’d love to visit donors and sing a jingle, pop song or an aria.

7: Balloons:

I’m such a fan of balloons. They are festive, inexpensive and playful. How about getting a delivery van for the day and go around and give all your favorite donors a red or white balloon to thank them.

valentine candies8: Party:

Why not invite your donors to a little get-together- and ask them to wear red!

9: Gift:

Create a little token that represents your work, wrap it up beautifully and deliver to your donors as a valentine.

10: Email:

You can send emails to ALL your donors with a charming image or photo. OR imbed a video in the email and simply say thanks, you are wonderful!

11: Chocolate:

We can’t forget chocolate! That’s an easy one to deliver.

12: Flowers:

And don’t forget flowers! Especially your lady donors.

They don’t have to be extravagant, just thoughtful. Maybe a potted plant with a flower?

BOTTOM LINE:

I can’t think of a better way to “romance” your donors.

How are YOU using valentine’s day to send your donors some love?

Share your own ideas with a comment below!

 

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How to Get Your Current Donors to Give You 40% More http://www.gailperry.com/2015/01/get-current-donors-give-40/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/01/get-current-donors-give-40/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 16:43:13 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=16666 What would it look like if you raised 40% more from your current donors? Let’s run the numbers: What if you are raising right now – say, $100k a year –  and it comes from a group of about 700 donors. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could raise $140k from those same 700 donors? […]

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figure holding heart

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

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

Let’s run the numbers:

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

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

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

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

I like that math, don’t you?

So let’s make that happen for you!

Your current donors are where the real money is.

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

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

So this is a no-brainer, right?

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

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

He said:

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

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

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

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

Here’s how:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roger says:

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

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

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

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

So what does it take to pull this off?

It is not so simple as picking up the phone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roger says:

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

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

BOTTOM LINE:

How are phone calls working for you?

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

What’s your experience like?

Leave us a comment and let us know!

 

 

 

 

The post How to Get Your Current Donors to Give You 40% More appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

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How Fundraising is Turning into “Fund Marketing” http://www.gailperry.com/2015/01/fundraising-turning-fund-marketing/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/01/fundraising-turning-fund-marketing/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 15:20:28 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=16654 Are you using the new marketing and communications tools to support your fundraising? There’s now an amazing array of techniques, formats, strategies out there for us. New and Innovative Tools We have more ways than ever to tell our story, connect with our donors, keep them engaged with our cause, and ask for money! Not […]

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This image - all by itself - makes the case for CharityWater.com.

This image – all by itself – makes the case for CharityWater.com.

Are you using the new marketing and communications tools to support your fundraising?

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

New and Innovative Tools

We have more ways than ever to tell our story, connect with our donors, keep them engaged with our cause, and ask for money!

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

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

We know exactly:

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

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

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

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

What do all these strategies and tactics have in common?

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

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

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

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

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

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

There’s Plenty of BAD Marketing!

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

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

What does bad marketing and rigid branding look like?

Communications that:

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

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

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

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

But all fundraisers need to learn these skills!

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

Follow the smartest nonprofit communications people out there.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s important to ask these questions:

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

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

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

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

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

Marketing and all your organizational communications need to SERVE fundraising.

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

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

The Trouble with Marketing

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

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

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

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

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

Some marketing takes your organization the WRONG WAY.

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

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

“Marketing” is NOT donor-centered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Separate silos of marketing and fundraising will hurt you.

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

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

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

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

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

BOTTOM LINE: Do You Agree?  Or Not?

Leave me a comment and let me know!

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

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

Here are my strategic tips for board members and CEOs.

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

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

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

Find out about the webinar here. 

1. Go After the Easy Money This Year.

Where is the easy money in fundraising today?

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

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

Maybe even converting them to monthly donors.

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

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

retention

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Watch Your ROI.

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

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

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

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

Events are the most difficult way to raise money.

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

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

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

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

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

4. Invest in Major Gifts and Planned Gifts.

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

Major and planned gifts are where the big money is!

Major and planned gifts are where the big money is!

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

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

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

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

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

How do we get internal support for fundraising?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Invest in Infrastructure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BOTTOM LINE:

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

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

Find out about the INSIDERS and join here. 

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

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

Onward to a new, prosperous year, my friend!

 

 

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