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Ideas from AFPFC

32 Ideas From #AFPFC That'll Make You A Smarter, Happier Fundraiser in 2015

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The AFP Conference in Baltimore this week was the best ever!…

How Fundraising is Turning into "Fund Marketing"

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Are you using the new marketing and communications tools…

My #1 Year-End Fundraising Tip that Will Bring in the Most Money

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Here my favorite fundraising tip that can boost your year-end…

112 Tips to Raise More Money by Mail

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Direct mail is a major workhorse for all nonprofits. And regardless…

Top 10 Ways to Screw up Your Year-End Fundraising Campaign

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There's nothing more important this fall than your year-end fundraising…

Average Gift Size to Haiti is Smaller Than Other Disasters - What That Means to Us

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The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported this week that some international relief organizations said their average gift size to help the Haiti crisis is smaller than after the tsunamis in 2004. The good news is that the number of gifts went up even if the size of the gift was down.iStock_000011708698XSmallFor example, (and I'm quoting from the Chronicle article here:)
In the first 10 weekdays after the earthquake in Haiti, Mercy Corps received 61,505 contributions, compared with 49,561 donations during the same period after the tsunamis. But the average size of the Haiti gifts was $109, compared with $208 for the tsunami gifts.

A Great Ask Event Ruined by a Slow Thank You

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A friend and client sent me this email last week:"I am a…

Top 10 Things Donors Want from Your Nonprofit's Web Site

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Did you know that most donors check out your web site before…

Where's the Emotional Hook in Your Year-End Fundraising Campaign?

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We all talk about the need for a visual and emotional "hook"…

7 Way to Strengthen Your Year-End Fundraising Appeals

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Here's a guest post from a smart colleague of mine: Amy Eisenstein. In her newsletter today, she gave us 7 ways to strengthen our end of year fundraising appeals. (Check out her webiste: Tri-Point Resources; she has lots of great information and an excellent newsletter.) Here's a dynamite list of things you don't want to forget!Amy says:2"I spoke to a group of almost 50 fundraisers this morning, from a variety of non-profits in Wilmington, DE, and only a quarter of them had started drafting their year-end appeal!If you are like so many others who haven't started your annual appeal letter, what are you waiting for? Time is running out.You can't be late with your appeal this year, because people with limited resources are going to give to the first organizations that come knocking.1. Create a timeline and work backwards. When do you want appeal letters to land in mailboxes? Early November is ideal, but anytime before Thanksgiving will do. December is late! The mail house will need a week, as will the printer. You probably need a week to write the letter, and a week for board members and others to write personal notes. (That's a total of 4 weeks.)2. Contact vendors (printer and mail house) and get quotes. Select your vendor and discuss timelines with them. Make sure they can work under your deadlines and understand the urgent nature of your appeal.3. Develop a concept and write your letter. Include personal stories, client quotes, and photos, when appropriate. This is your opportunity to tell your supporters what you accomplished this year, and who you have helped. They should feel the tug at their heartstrings!4. Create a Business Reply Envelope (BRE) Don't send your appeal without one of these. Start saving ones you get in the mail as samples for next year. The reply envelope is another place to tell your story, such as your mission or more quotes. Ask for specific amounts, such as $25, $50, $100 and Other. Remember to collect donor information for your database, including address, phone number, and email address.5. Personalize, personalize, personalize. - Segment your list. Can you send different letters to board members, donors, non-donors, and lapsed donors? - Always use Dear Amy, not Dear Friend. - Ask board members, staff, and volunteers to write personal notes to people they know (and those they don't). - If you can handwrite envelopes to your largest donors, you should.6. Use "live" first class postage. This is not the time to use your bulk mail permit or postage meter.If the envelope doesn't get opened, it doesn't matter how good your appeal is. Don't let your appeal end up in the trash before being opened. First class stamps and handwritten envelopes exponentially increase your open rate.7. Follow Up - Before the appeal is mailed, write generic thank you letters. Have a system for how they will get out, as fast as possible. - Implement a thank you calling system. Ask board members to help make thank you calls.A thoughtful thank you goes a long way in securing the next gift. Stand out this year as an organization that is extraordinarily grateful for the donations you receive!

The Magic Secret to a Dynamite Fundraising Letter

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I bet you are starting to receive year-end appeal letters like…

Three Strategies That Will Engage Women Donors' Hearts and Their Wallets

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I'm wildly interested in what Margaret May Damen had to say about appealing to women donors in her 09 Year-End Strategies Telesummit interview with me last week. iStock_000006752189XSmallAfter years on the big-time university fundraising scene, I know all too well how so many development folks focus waaaaay too much on the men. I know I used to do it too.But now, take a look at her statistics: According to the Harvard Business Review, 84% of all women make ALL the financial decisions in their households. My oh my. Too many development officers are missing the boat if they are talking to men.Here are Margaret May Damen's top three strategies to engage women donors' hearts AND their pocketbooks.
  1. Gather a group of top women donors across generational divides. Ask themiStock_000000258399XSmall for their best ideas on how to succeed with your mission. And ask them to be the pebble in the pond. To go out there and tell the story of what our organization is doing. Ask them to increase their gifts by 10-20% - not for a dollar goal but for a specific need. And then ask them to go out and ask two or three other women for the same thing.
2. In your next newsletter - put a photo or a testimonial in it from a female donor. There are TOO MANY photos of men in our materials - and it matters to women! Why are they being left out?3. Call your female donors and ask them outright - for a specific need, not a general goal: "Our students need meals - with another $100 from you we can buy 20 more meals. Can we count on you?"