Posts

Fundraising's Not About Money (Shocker!)

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Have I confused you already?Guess what - after almost…

112 Tips to Help You Raise More Money by Mail

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Here's a guide that can help your direct mail fundraising appeals…

Three Rules for Successful Advice Visits

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Advice Visits are my GOLDEN KEY to opening any donor or potential donor's heart to my cause.

I wrote about Advice Visits in my newsletter this week. (if you are not a subscriber, you can sign up here.)

I have used Advice Visits time and time again. They are based on the old adage:

"If you want money, ask for advice.

If you want advice, ask for money."

Rule One: Make Sure You Are Interesting, Not Boring
As you tell your person about your cause and seek his advice, you should be watching carefully for his reaction.

If your prospect seems to not be very interested in your cause, then you should not drag on.. If you are perceived as boring or droning on and on, you will never be welcomed back!

The kiss of death for any fundraiser is to be boring. You are the one listening, not talking!

What's the Goal of Your Fundraising Visit?

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One of my favorite blogs (For Impact) is talking today about making fundraising calls.

I hear so many times how excited my friends are when they manage to actually get the appointment.

In their excitement, they forget about planning the details of the visit.

I remember years ago when I was a beginning fundraiser at Duke University. I was walking down the street with the VP for Development at Duke. He was going to accompany me on a fundraising visit.

I was pretty excited but also nervous because he was the head honcho. And I will never forget what he asked me: "what are your goals for this visit?"

How Board Members are Helping the Boys and Girls Club Make Their Year-End Goals

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I'm just back from the Northeast Leadership Conference of the Boys and Girls Club of America where I spoke yesterday afternoon at their Regional Leadership Conference. IMG_0117(Love those BGCA folks!)Here's what Dovie Prather, the Senior Director of Development Club Resources for BGCA Northeast Region, shared with me about their year-end fundraising strategies.(That's Dovie in the picture right here along with Glen Staron, Vice President, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Northeast Region, and me.)Dovie spends her time coaching board volunteers and staff in the various Boys and Girls Clubs in her region - from Maine to Maryland. She has worked with her share of reluctant board members who don't want to go on fundraising calls.But the staff needs the board members to help if they are going to make their goals.And face-to-face visits are a key part of her year-end fundraising strategy recommendations for her Boys and Girls Clubs.She's counting on those one-on-one calls for $1k or more with key supporters to help the Clubs meet their goals. (See my earlier blog post on Focusing on Individuals to Make Your Year-End Goals). We all know that we can count on individuals this fall far more than we can count on our foundation and corporate supporters.But most of her board members think they won't be successful in face-to-face visits. And she doesn't really want to send the board members out alone anyway.So here's her solution:

Prevent Donor Attrition and Keep Your Donors

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Simone Joyeaux, one of the great fundraising gurus of all time, this morning for the Telesummit on Fall 09 Fundraising Strategies.When I asked Simone to comment on the difficult giving environment for this fall, she said it was really a "wake-up call" to us. Fundraisers have been able to get away with poor fundraising practices in the past because of a booming economy and plenty of donors. But now, when donors are cutting back, our bad habits are coming home to roost.Simone mentioned several bad habits and poor practices that are driving away donors. In fact, she noted that two out of three first-time donors DON'T make another gift! And that we are in a "donor retention crisis" right now with so many of our current donors slipping away because of bad fundraising habits.Did you know that it costs up to 10 times more to secure a NEW DONOR than it does to retain a CURRENT donor? So where do you think we should be spending our time, energy and our focus?Donors think we are treating them like "ATM machines," says Simone. When we go to them for money, money, money, they resent it and reward us by dropping off.

Is Fundraising a Lonely Business?

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It's a lonely time out there with lots of my fundraising colleagues. Especially with this being just about the toughest fundraising environment any of us have ever seen.Being a staff fundraiser has always been a lonely business.(And consulting can be pretty lonely too!)This is the time we need to rally our colleagues, our board members our CEO and have give them all a dose of old-fashioned optimism.iStock_000005667780XSmallHere you are, bravely working for your cause with passion in your heart, trying to create new friends and donors for your wonderful cause.And you have to deal with recalcitrant board members who just can't find the courage to do what you do everyday. And you may have a CEO who also is unsure about fundraising and who won't "do right" as we say in the south.You may have unsupportive colleagues who are jealous that you get to go to all the events and travel around to see donors. If you're part of a large development operation with lots of other fundraisers, they may be competitive and view you as a potential threat.Mix all this in with a major recession, donor reluctance, and a sinking stock market, and it sure is hard to keep morale up sometimes!

The Future of Nonprofit Marketing: "Hyperlocal, Hyperspecialized, Hyperrelevant"

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It was August, and that meant time to create our dreaded Annual Report. I was working on one of my least favorite projects as a Development Director. I was worried that the content was pretty deadly, with the standard "Letter from the Chair" and pie charts of expenditures.Creating this and the rest of our publications was a painful, lengthy process. I also knew that no one would read it if it were boring.What to say and how to say it? This is the perennial challenge of nonprofit fundraisers. And we usually don't do a very good job in our attempts at "messaging."head-clickme2This morning I was reading marketing guru Seth Godin's blog and, as usual, he nailed this issue. He said this is where marketing is heading:"Big companies, non-profits and even candidates will discover (the best communications are) hyperlocal, hyperspecialized, hyperrelevant . . . this is where we are going."What he means is that people (donors) want to receive messages from their favorite nonprofits that are "anticipated, personal and relevant." And if the nonprofit marketing communication they are receiving fits these criteria, then they'll read it.If your letters, reports, brochures, invitations are not "anticipated, personal and relevant," then you are not going to be heard or read or paid attention to.How do we make our communications "hyperlocal?" By referring to something that is going on locally. Or that the reader is currently involved in.How about "hyperspecialized" - what does that look like? It means that the folks who attended your auction get special communications about how well the auction did and what you did with the funds raised.How about "hyperrelevant?" It means that donors who gave to help teach prison inmates to read get updates about that particular program.This is a tall order for nonprofit organizations with few fundraising resources. But focusing on your current donors, and sending them relevant information that they are actually interested in, can keep them involved and coming back for more.And that's the basis of our holy grail - a sustainable fundraising program, full of repeat donors who are enthusaistic and passionate advocates for your cause.

Are You at the Top of Your Donors' Priority List?

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Are our donors sticking with their giving commitments in the…