Tag Archive | "donor development"

Why Don’t They Care? By Kirsten Bullock

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I’d like to welcome back Kirsten Bullock to Step By Step Fundraising.  Kirsten is a CFRE consultant, trainer and coach who works with leaders of non-profit organizations and ministries to bring professionalism, excellence and effectiveness to their board and fundraising efforts.

She earned her designation as a Certified Fund Raising Executive in 2002. Kirsten is currently serving as president elect of the Association for Fundraising Professionals Greater Louisville Chapter. She is an AFP Master Trainer, compiles ‘Kirsten’s Fundraising Headlines’ Blog, authors the ‘Growing Your Donors’ blog and is a contributor for SOFII (The Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration).

Kirsten holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and a Master’s of Business Administration. When not working to equip and empower people in the nonprofit sector, Kirsten sculpts, is attempting to learn to speak Danish and enjoys living in the Highlands in Louisville, Kentucky.

 

Why Don’t They Care?

I remember thinking, ‘why don’t they care?’ as I was working towards my social work degree. My classmates would come back from their internships and share about people living in poverty, in houses with gaping holes in the roof, ceiling and floor. Learning tips from those who had been in the field a long time. Things like: make sure you go early in the day before the trouble makers wake up. Avoid sitting on anything with cushions (to avoid lice and bugs). If you must sit on a cushion, sit as far forward as possible.

And all around me there were people who seemed to just not care. Have you ever gotten frustrated because others just don’t seem to care about the work you are doing?

Let me help you with a little tip: it’s not that they don’t care. It’s more typical that they just don’t know. And here’s a bonus tip: you can educate them – in fact, it’s your job to educate them.

Not in a way that’s abrasive or condescending. Not by accusing or yelling or thinking less of them. But, by simply sharing your story in a way that helps them catch up.

As part of your ‘case statement’ you should include some information about the community needs that are being addressed as a result of your work. This will include some background information about how the issue started becoming a concern, what impact it is having in your community and statistics to back up what you’ve said. This helps build you and your organization as the experts and it provides back-up information to help educate people who do not have personal experience with the issue you address. In addition, this provides information for your advocates to share and should help simplify your messaging.

Here’s an overview of what your case statement should include:

1)      Needs Statement – talk about the needs of the community you’re serving (this is NOT about your organization)

2)      Program Information – share about how will your program address the needs outlined in the first section and how will it operate

3)      Agency Information – provide information about why your organization is best suited to address this issue (this could be expertise that the organization has or the leadership of the organization has

4)      Cost – provide an overview of what it will cost to implement this program

Those are just a few thoughts to help you get started. Would you like more information about case statements and building excitement around what you do? Click here to learn more about a free webinar I’m offering on August 16th at 7pm.

Nonprofits: Create “customer pathways” to build loyalty, by Gayle Thorseon

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Gayle Thorsen (pictured at left) is back with another great article to share with us here at Step By Step Fundraising!  Over the past year, Gayle has been kind enough to share with us her recent articles from her blog ImpactMax.  Today she has one for us about time saving advice for those of us working in the non-profit field.

Gayle has been in the nonprofit communications world for more than 25 years, the last 12 as the communications head for two large foundations:The Minneapolis Foundation and The McKnight Foundation.

Take a few minutes to visit ImpactMax and read all the terrific articles Gayle has posted there. It will be time very well spent!  Thanks, Gayle!

Nonprofits: Create “customer pathways” to build loyalty

Recently, I was sent a free copy of You’ve Got to Have Heart, a book about how to achieve success in the nonprofit sector by Cass Wheeler, longtime CEO of The American Heart Association (AHA).  I went right to the “Big Brass Bands” chapter on marketing.

Wheeler talks a lot about AHA’s growing customer focus, both the methods it employs to understand customer needs and how it uses that information in designing programs and communications.

One of his ideas in particular struck me as relevant to communicators—the recommendation that nonprofits consciously create “customer pathways” to make it easy for people to deepen their relationship with the organization.

The example he shares is AHA exploring how an initial contact—like a Web site visit—can be turned into call to a call center, which can then turn into participation in a Heart Walk, which can then turn into a lifelong relationship and possible donations.

Think about how your supporters typically come into first contact with your organization. Is it through your Web site, another Web site, a social networking site, an ad, a newsletter, attendance at an event? (If it’s your Web site, track analytics to find out which pages they land on most. In the age of search engines, they can zoom right into a subsection and never hit your homepage.)

Then think about the next step you’d like those new supporters to take to get more involved with your organization. (Don’t necessarily leap to donation, you’re building a long-term relationship here. Put their interests, needs, and comfort level first.) Do you want them to sign up for a newsletter, add their name to a mailing list, get more information on your cause or organization, visit your Web site, call with a question, sign up for your Facebook fan page?

How can you intentionally prime your initial contact points to encourage new supporters to take those next steps?

  • Do you need to add an enewsletter sign up to your most popular Web pages?
  • Should you feature an information line phone number in your newsletter?
  • Do you need to promote your Web site more in your printed pieces?
  • Do you need to add a social network widget to your enewsletter?
  • Do you need to create a tailored landing page for the link from your social network page or the link from a charity hub Web site?

Make it easy for them to get to know you better, in ways that are meaningful to them. This is an offer of friendship, not just a sales pitch. Provide them with simple ways to satisfy their need to be connected to a worthy cause that has personal significance, and to learn how they can support that cause with their social and financial capital.

Now, go even further. What would you like them to do after that—participate in an event, become a volunteer, refer their friends, comment on your blog, contribute content to your communications, raise awareness or funds through their social networks, provide a testimonial, donate money?

Create clear, convenient paths for them to move forward, making sure at every touch point they have a satisfying, consistent experience. Seek their feedback, answer their questions immediately and honestly, don’t be stingy with thank you’s, and remember the power of even small incentives. When they sign up for your enewsletter, offer them a free, short, well done, up-to-the-minute report on something they might be interested in related to your work. And in that report, offer them a link to your institutional blog or Web site as a way to keep up with other news and events. Maybe you can offer them free or discounted entry to an event or conference if they refer 5 friends.

The best way to start creating customer pathways is with a simple segmentation of your potential supporters—so you can develop paths specific to each major segment. That assumes you’ve done research on those segments and have a good idea of their preferences, needs, and interests. Getting back to the book, the American Heart Association has identified six major customer market segments and assigned staff to each. These staff are responsible for creating customer profiles through data gathering and annual surveys, then creating loyalty action plans. The goal—verysatisfied customers.

Not every nonprofit can undertake that level of commitment to finding out what supporters want and need, but there are free or inexpensive ways to gather that information. I’ve suggested several in a past post.

Don’t be satisfied with just putting a big donate button on your homepage. (Yes, you should have a big donate button on your homepage.) Think creatively about how to integrate all your points of communication in ways that encourage your newest supporters to become your lifelong friends.

4 Simple Steps to Asking Individuals for Donations, by Amy Eisenstein

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Greetings!  Today, I have another terrific guest article to share with you.  This time, author of 50 Asks in 50 Weeks and certified fundraising consultant Amy Eisenstein, (pictured at left) has been kind enough to share one of her recent blog posts with us.

If you’ve never visited Amy’s site, TriPointFundraising, I highly suggest that you take a few minutes, when you’re done reading this piece, to click on over.  She has a wealth of useful information for people actively engaged in raising money for non-profits.

I want to thank Amy for her generosity in sharing this very valuable information about fundraising with us.  I hope you enjoy this post and get to know Amy better! ~ Jim Berigan

 

4 Simple Steps to Asking Individuals for Donations

Do you include face-to-face fundraising to ask individuals for donations as an integral part of your annual fund campaign?

Now, I’m not talking about going door-to-door or sitting in front of a grocery store with a can. I’m talking aboutindividual fundraising. If you don’t know how to do individual fundraising or if you are just getting started, this post is for you.

Asking individuals for donations for your annual fund, not via email or traditional snail mail, but personally, is the most effective way to increase your annual fund (if you’re not already doing so).

Face-to-Face Asking for Donations

Here’s a quick “to do” list to get you started.

1. Identify prospective donors.

Use your database to identify your best donors. Ideally, you’ll want a list of your top 25 donors (one time gifts and cumulative giving).

2. Cultivate your top prospects.

Get to know your donors in a personal and meaningful way: cultivate your prospects and building lasting relationships. Start with your top 10 list and visit them at their home or office this fall. Ask open ended questions and find out why they give to your organization and what would make them want to keep giving. Find out if they would like to be more involved by volunteering.

3. Ask for a gift.

This is the most important step. Schedule a time with your top 10 prospects and ask for a specific amount for your annual fund. For example, “I hope you will consider supporting the after school program by making a donation in the rage of $1,000.” Do not skip this step.

4. Say thank you. Repeatedly.

Once you receive a gift, it’s important to thank your donors. Call them up, send an email, mail a letter. Once is never enough.

You won’t want to miss an AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) webinar called, Face-to-Face Basics: Integrating Individuals into Your Development Plan. I’ve done a lot of webinars over the last several years, but I’m confident that this is going to be the best webinar yet! If you only ever attend one of my webinars, THIS is the one to attend. You’ll learn ALL of the ins and outs of starting a face-to-face fundraising program.

What are the challenges you face with face-to-face fundraising? What are the reasons you can’t seem to get started? I’d love to hear about your challenges in the comments.

Finding a Few Good Prospects, by Kirsten Bullock

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Finding a Few Good Prospects

“Where do we find prospects?” is a question I often get asked.

As is often the case with good questions, I have to respond with another question: What if, in five years, your organization was fully funded? What would your organization look like?

More importantly, what would your community look like? Would there be no hungry children in your community? Would every person have access to high quality healthcare? Would your community be continuously finding new and creative ways to integrate new people in to the fabric of the community? Would violence in schools be just a story about something that happened in the past?

Stop focusing on your organization and start focusing on that impact. And then start finding people who want to partner with you to help make that a reality. The level of people’s participating will vary, but whether they volunteer, donate money or help raise awareness about your organization, they are really partnering with you to accomplish that goal.

So back to the question, where do you find those people?

You’re probably already running into them. And once you change how you talk about your organization, ahem, your mission, people who are interested will begin to show up. Chances are, they’re already showing up and you’re not capturing their contact information to follow-up with them.

Over the last week, I’ve spoken with three different organizations who are regularly speaking about what they do out in the community. None of them have been providing an easy way for people to sign up to get information on an ongoing basis. So one simple tip that will help you to identify future donors is to have either a sign-up sheet that you pass around the room or response cards that you ask people to fill out on the spot. That way you can add them to your email list (you do have a regular email communication that you send out – don’t you?).

Not sure what to include in that email communication? Or are you feeling like it would be too much work? It doesn’t need to be. A simple 2-4 paragraph communication – with information that the reader would find interesting / helpful is all that is needed. And there are several email companies like MailChimp and ConstantContact that make it really easy to create the communications and manage your email lists.

Not sure how this increases donations? Here’s the background theory – getting permission to contact people is the first step to getting a gift. Will it happen overnight? No. Will it take an investment of time? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely! Think about it. Would you rather have a one-time donor or someone who is really interested in and passionate about your organization?

I’d love to talk with you more about your challenges and opportunities. Please send me an email at kirsten@growingyourdonors.com so that we can schedule a time to visit by phone.

Kirsten Bullock, CFRE is a consultant, trainer and coach who works with leaders of non-profit organizations and ministries to bring professionalism, excellence and effectiveness to their board and fundraising efforts. She earned her designation as a Certified Fund Raising Executive in 2002. Kirsten is currently serving as president elect of the Association forFundraising Professionals Greater Louisville Chapter. She is an AFP Master Trainer, compiles ‘Kirsten’s Fundraising Headlines’ Blog, authors the ‘Growing Your Donors’ blog and is a contributor for SOFII (The Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration). Kirsten holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and a Master’s of Business Administration. When not working to equip and empower people in the nonprofit sector, Kirsten sculpts, is attempting to learn to speak Danish and enjoys living in the Highlands in Louisville, Kentucky.