Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry http://www.gailperry.com Nonprofit Fundraising Consultant | Board Development | Keynote Speaker Fri, 28 Aug 2015 13:56:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 To Create a Plan that Is Truly Transformational – Ask These Questions http://www.gailperry.com/2015/08/to-create-a-plan-that-is-truly-transformational-ask-these-questions/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/08/to-create-a-plan-that-is-truly-transformational-ask-these-questions/#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 13:35:55 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=18265 Do you want to raise the kind of money that not only funds your mission — but also actually transforms your organization? What does it really take to pull off something like this? Why do some organizations tackle huge goals and aspire to incredible heights?   And others are content with just limping along, aspiring […]

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Do you want to raise the kind of money that not only funds your mission — but also actually transforms if it's to be it's up to meyour organization?

What does it really take to pull off something like this?

Why do some organizations tackle huge goals and aspire to incredible heights?  

And others are content with just limping along, aspiring for only small, incremental increases in revenue?

I sometimes wonder why so many nonprofits are content with being small-time.

I actually think it is a failure of organizational vision. And possibly commitment.

Because transformational results ARE possible.

Here’s what you have to do IF you want to make the leap from good to great fundraising.

Your leaders need to ask themselves these questions:

1. Do we want to set aggressive, even breath-taking goals?

Frankly, I find that an aggressive goal can be an amazing motivator.

Aggressive goals force everybody to think differently.

They set you up for a big, determined effort. They motivate the troops too!

Huge transformational goals draw energy to your cause and make things happen.

2. Can we ask the cage-rattling questions?

Most organizations are pretty set in their ways.

Everybody — staff and board — are in their comfort zone and they don’t want to disturb themselves.

Nobody wants to rattle any cages for sure.

Contentment leads to stasis; lack of innovation; and a stale, pat approach to your nonprofit’s work.

3. Are we willing to tackle sacred cows within our organization?

Where are the sacred cows in your organization?

Sacred cows may "dump" on you!

Sacred cows may “dump” on you!

Worn-out fundraising strategies that are protected by a powerful volunteer or board member?

The CEO’s personal preference for email over direct mail? (Whoops!)

Protecting sacred cows means you are wasting your organization’s wildly precious resources of time, energy and money.

4. Can we encourage risk-taking?

An atmosphere where failures are punished is a scene where no one is willing to try something new and innovative.

The fundraising blogosphere is full recently of railings against fear of failure. 

Do you stick to the safe situations and habits always?

Failure is OK. Consider Silicon Valley’s “Fail fast, fail often” approach.

5. Are we willing to make decisions based on facts rather than our own personal preferences?

You’ve heard me rail against this one many times.

Please, can we look at the data and the research to understand WHY one fundraising strategy should be used or not?

I’ve had it with decision-makers who complain about how they can’t stand phone calls or direct mail or email. But these strategies WORK!

Create your fundraising plans based on what is proven to work – and you’ll achieve great results.

6. Are we willing to set ONLY fundraising goals that have a plan to carry them out?

This is a perennial problem.

Does your organization plan by looking backwards or forwards?

Does your organization plan by looking backwards or forwards?

An organization wants more out of fundraising but doesn’t want to commit the resources to make it happen.

Or a nonprofit sets a wildly aggressive fundraising goal with no plan or strategy that will set up success.

It’s impossible to achieve great results without a detailed, calendared plan and strategy.

If you missed my Create a Transformational Fundraising and Solicitation Plan for 2015-16 workshops, you can still purchase the entire package of handouts (104 pages), recordings and powerpoints here. 

7. Can our entire organization embrace the idea that donors are important to our mission and that we honor them?

When an organization does this, then ALL IS POSSIBLE.

This is what a true culture of philanthropy is — when every single person in the organization embraces their donors as important, valued, and worthy of attention and honor.

Your leaders may be embarrassed about fundraising, but they CAN get excited about your donors.

An organization-wide commitment to your donors will lead you to transformational fundraising results. 

8. Can our entire organization embrace our fundraising revenue goals and own them?

Clearly this is essential if you want to tackle mega results.don't wait the time wil never be just right

It takes every single person in the organization — from the folks answering the phones, to the CEO, to the board.

What would it be like if every one of these people all worked together on a plan that they supported?

Again, this is how you achieve transformational results! 

9. Are we willing to invest more in fundraising?

Clearly again, if you invest more in fundraising you will get huge results.

What idea seems impossible but — if executed well — could transform your organization?

What will this take from everyone to make it happen? What is each person committed to create?

Invest more in fundraising, and you’ll see an exponential return!

Bottom line

These seem like huge questions to think about. That’s because THEY ARE HUGE.

But if your leaders can tackle all these, you’ll be on your way to AMAZING RESULTS that can TRANSFORM your fundraising.

What do you think? What are the sacred cows that keep your organization stuck???

Leave me a comment and let me know!

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Is Your Organization Aiming for the Fundraising Bull’s Eye? http://www.gailperry.com/2015/08/is-your-organization-aiming-for-the-fundraising-bulls-eye/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/08/is-your-organization-aiming-for-the-fundraising-bulls-eye/#comments Fri, 14 Aug 2015 15:46:14 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=18223 Have you heard about the latest fundraising dart game?  It’s called “Aim for the Fundraising Bull’s Eye.” It’s the game of searching, searching for the fundraising strategy that will finally pay off. The problem is – that it’s a guessing game. When you have to guess your way to increased fundraising contributions and gifts – […]

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Have you heard about the latest fundraising dart game?  It’s called “Aim for the Fundraising Bull’s Eye.”Bull's Eye Fundraising

It’s the game of searching, searching for the fundraising strategy that will finally pay off.

The problem is – that it’s a guessing game.

When you have to guess your way to increased fundraising contributions and gifts – it’s doubtful that you’ll actually hit the bulls eye.  

Let’s see where your organization stacks up in the “Aim for The Fundraising Bull’s Eye” game.  :)

Let’s see how efficient and effective your own fundraising program, strategies and tactics are.

Outer Ring Fundraising

When your darts keep hitting the outer ring, I hate to tell you, but you are clearly in a “Hit or Miss” situation.

Your “strategy” — if you can call it that — is all over the place.  Just like these old darts.

And your fundraising is floundering as a result.

  • Your organization sets fundraising goals in a vacuum, based on various people’s personal opinions and preferences. (“I can’t stand direct mail!”) There’s no smart input from analytics or experienced staff.
  • Your board is detached and disengaged. They are uncomfortable with the idea of fundraising – which they equate with “asking for money.”  Since they think fundraising is distasteful, they won’t help in any way.
  • Your organization’s leadership is also nervous about fundraising – so there’s a distant relationship with fundraising staff. They don’t know whether to believe you or not. :(
  • Your organization’s donors think they are personally treated like ATMs. Not a great recipe for long-term relationships!

Inner Ring Fundraising

You are moving toward the bull’s eye on the dart board. Your plan is a work in progress.

  • You’re getting more internal people involved in the discussion, so fundraising goals reflect the input and needs of all departments.
  • Your board is more engaged. They’ve made giving commitments, and they understand the importance of opening doors and making connections with their active and affluent friends.
  • Leadership gives fundraising staff a voice at the table. They listen so that the fundraising aspect of all programs is considered from the get-go. No one is coming at you at the 11th hour to fund a program you weren’t a part of from the start.
  • You’re thanking your donors. Quickly and with feeling. That’s good. They are beginning to feel like they are not exactly one-night stands as far as your organization is concerned.

Bull’s Eye Fundraising

There’s a strong culture of philanthropy within your organization.

    • In the fundraising department, all channels are working together.
    • Messaging is consistent.
    • Direct mail folks aren’t afraid to turn “their” names over to major gifts, and major gifts regularly funnels names to planned giving.
    • Programs, marketing and communications, fundraising are all working collaboratively.
    • Innovation and taking chances on new strategies are welcomed and supported.
    • The lines of communication with leadership are open and flowing; your CEO is engaged with donors and supporting your team’s goals at all times.

Your board is totally on board.

    • They’re engaged and excited about your mission – ready to take action and go to work.
    • They are happy to engage with donors.
    • They GIVE! Big and regularly.
    • They make introductions and use their connections to open doors.
    • They understand fundraising and are willing to be part of it (in ways that include asking but other ways as well).

Your donors are happy.

  • Some are engaged in deep relationships with your organization.
  • You meet them and communicate with them where they are.
  • You speak a donor-centered language.
  • You bless them with the opportunity to give, rather than trying to hit them with a hello and run away with their money.

And a bonus sign that you’re in the bull’s-eye?

  • You’re raising money.
  • Awesome amounts of money. Mega-amounts. More money than you ever thought possible.
  • All because you have a well-structured fundraising plan.

If you hit the bull’s-eye — GREAT! And congratulations!

But even if your dart ricocheted off the target, took off someone’s ear and flattened a tire in the parking lot, you can turn things around.

It all starts with a plan that everyone agrees on.

A solid fundraising plan:

  • Lets you focus your time and energy.
  • Lets you control the flow of work in your office.
  • Protects you from your leadership’s fundraising “idea of the month.”
  • Allows you to be proactive rather than reactive.
  • Allows you to build confidence in your fundraising program.

So what’s your plan for 2015-16 and beyond? Leave me a comment and tell me about it.

Or plan to join me for Part Two of my “Create a Cultivation and Solicitation Plan for 2015-16” workshops on August 20.

Also, you can still get the recordings and full handouts of Part One: “Infrastructure: The 10 Factors that Can Transform Your Fundraising.”

Find out more here and plan to join us on August 20.

 

 

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The Dark Side of Fundraising When You Don’t Have a Plan http://www.gailperry.com/2015/08/the-dark-side-of-fundraising-when-you-dont-have-a-plan/ http://www.gailperry.com/2015/08/the-dark-side-of-fundraising-when-you-dont-have-a-plan/#comments Fri, 07 Aug 2015 15:44:23 +0000 http://www.gailperry.com/?p=18211 Come stroll with me through The Dark Side. This is what happens when your organization doesn’t have the proper elements in place for fundraising. There’s no way you can get good results from your fundraising strategies. (Don’t worry — I promise to lead you back to the light!) Communications Deep in the heart of The […]

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Come stroll with me through The Dark Side.dark side

This is what happens when your organization doesn’t have the proper elements in place for fundraising.

There’s no way you can get good results from your fundraising strategies. (Don’t worry — I promise to lead you back to the light!)

Communications

Deep in the heart of The Dark Side is the Valley of Inconsistent Messages.

It’s a nice place to visit — because it’s sorta funky and offbeat. There are materials, brochures, web messages, appeal letters – all saying different things.

And they point you in many different directions. It’s an easy place to get lost in.

There’s no call to action! And there’s no exit sign. You really are lost!

In the Dark Side, nobody understands: 

How well you tell your story has EVERYTHING to do with how much money you raise!

This is the dark side of fundraising experience. 

Board involvement

Your board is really important. They make sure your organization is on the right fundraising path – or not!

egyptian statues

Is this your board?

But what if your board members stick their heads in the sand and refuse to look at the data?

It’s a sure sign of trouble when your board members:

  • poo-poo innovation in the name of tradition
  • don’t support your organization enough to be (major) donors themselves
  • insert their own “fundraising idea of the month” and distract you from the real work

Nobody understands:

You are heading for the Dark when leaders say, “Forget the professional practices, we want to run fundraising based on our own personal opinions and preferences.”

This is the dark side of fundraising experience: When your board members want to throw a party?

Fundraising Budget

When the denizens of The Dark Side get together for a little fun, one of their favorite parlor games is called “Raising More Money Without Spending More Money.”

The goal is to up your fundraising goals without investing in proper resources for staffing, infrastructure, materials, expertise etc.

The prize is a big ol’ cup of frustration and fundraising shortfalls.

Do you have to beg for resources?

Do you have to beg for resources?

Nobody understands:

If you invest more money in your fundraising program, you’ll raise so very much more money.

Internal Culture of Philanthropy

When you visit the Dark Side, you’ll find organizations that give lip service to fundraising.

But really, underneath it all, most of the staff and leaders of your organization think fundraising is “dirty work.”

They foist responsibility for fundraising on a few beleaguered staffers, while bad-mouthing raising money behind the scenes.

Nobody understands:

When the entire organization embraces donors and philanthropy as vitally important, then revenue zooms up.

Website

Do you hear that quiet crumbling sound?

That’s a potential donor fleeing your web site because she had to fight her way through a long, intimidating donation page.

The longer it takes to close the transaction, the closer you get to falling through into The Dark Side.

(Note: There’s a special zip tube to The Dark Side for organizations that make people print and mail a donation form along with a check.)

Nobody understands:

That you need to make your online donation process fast, easy and simple.

Leadership

One particularly creepy corner of the Dark Side is filled with darn good fundraisers whose talent and intentions are overlooked or stymied by leadership.

It’s a scary place that just reeks of frustration, when your bosses:

  • Set fundraising goals that are completely unrealistic.
  • Pile additional duties on fundraisers that take them AWAY from fundraising.

Nobody understands:

True leadership means trusting people, and giving them the tools and freedom they need to get the job done.

Infrastructure

That CRM system that nobody knows how to operate?

The bulky, expensive data base that takes forever to pull reports from?

It’s killing your fundraising.

Inefficiency is the fuel that keeps the keeps The Dark Side — well — dark.

Nobody understands:

Infrastructure is the key to creating a well-oiled fundraising machine for your nonprofit.

Social Media

Your boss just told you to come up with a way to raise a million dollars on “the Facebook” next year. #yourescrewed #DarkSideproblems

Or the Board from the Dark Side thinks you can just pull off a major crowdfunding campaign using dated messaging and technology.

Nobody understands:

Crowdfunding success requires tons of online supporters and rabid volunteers who will spread the word.

Staffing

Unless your fundraising team is well staffed and managed, your donors probably aren’t being treated as well as they should be — that, my friend, is the darkest of the dark, and reason enough to get your stuff together.

And a lack of basic fundraising skills among key development staff!

 

Nobody understands:

Investments in fundraising are important — especially when it comes to staff!

 

KEEP YOU OUT OF THE DARK SIDE!

But I did promise to lead you back to the light. Here’s how.

Join me for two important workshops in August and I’ll help you create a Transformational Fundraising and Solicitation Plan for 2015-16 that will:

Dramatically increase profitability and revenue;

Expand your reach with new supporters;

Develop the infrastructure for long term sustainable fundraising cash flow;

The Dark Side of Fundraising is a scary place.

Pretty bleak, huh?

How about sharing your own experience?

What’s your Dark Side look like? :)

Leave a comment and let me know. Or email me privately and we can commiserate!

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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.

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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:

 

 

 

 

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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 […]

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

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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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