Here’s a great post from Marc Pitman, aka The Fundraising Coach.  Today, Marc manages to draw a very apt comparison between non-profit fundraising and a Waldorf Salad!

Marc also has a great new post on his site, entitled “How trade shows are like fundraising”, which you should check out.

Marc is a great friend of Step by Step Fundraising.  I hope you take the opportunity to get to know him as we have!

Oh, if you are inclined to Tweet, you can follow @marcapitman.  Thanks, Marc!

Fundraising is like a Waldorf Salad

Forrest Gump could have said,

Momma always said, ‘Fundraising’s like a Waldorf Salad. You gotta mix it up to get the right taste.’

He didn’t, but he could have. :)

A couple weeks ago, I blogged about email fundraising tips learned from my work on my upcoming class reunion.

Another thing we’ve relearned this spring is: mix it up.

All too often, people seem to approach fundraising as defined by the tool:

  • direct-mail fundraising
  • email fundraising
  • social media fundraising
  • face-to-face fundraising

While there is value in studying each approach, it’s important to remember to use all approaches for your campaign.

Not creating more work, just varying communication

It’s not necessarily that we need to create more material. One of the best ways to be more efficient with your communication is to “repurpose” what you write. If you send a letter, you can:

  • use that wording on a web page
  • post the link to that web page on Twitter, Facebook, and even on the “news section” of your official site
  • follow up with a phone call that is reinforcing the letter’s message
  • refer to that letter in face-to-face communication

For example, our committee has reunion information up both on the school’s official site and on a Facebook page. Not a lot of “new” content. Most of the Facebook posts are scanned images from the class yearbook. But having reunion information is incredibly important. Check out these statistics from a recent email:

  • Email 65% open rate on email: That’s more than twice the “best” open rates in a recent report on email open rates! Clearly people are interested in the class, or at least curious enough to open the email. More people opened the email than went to either web page. So clearly, email is an important part of our class’ communication mix.
  • 3 x’s as many people clicked through to the FB page vs the school’s page: Three times as many! If we’d only had information on the school’s site, we’d be sunk. People just wouldn’t go. But having a FB page is a comfortable place for people to get the information. They can’t register for reunion there, nor can they make a contribution to the class gift, so we have those links available. But by coming to the FB page and reconnecting with the class and the school, they’re that much closer to doing both.

And in our experience, phone calls are more effective for actually raising money for the class gift. But the emails, letters, and web presence helps prepare the way. And most of those contacted by phone are going online to make the gift.

Fundraising is like a Waldorf salad

Like the ingredients in a Waldorf Salad, each of the tools will be distinct and separate, but you’ve got to mix them up together to make the delicious dish.

Intellectually, we know this. But look back at your calendar. How much time in the last month did you spend on each type of fundraising? Or did you mix it up? Or did you fall into the habit of just approaching people by phone or email?

This week, I challenge you to mix it up. Choose to experiment with a fundraising ingredient you don’t use as frequently

If you look at your calendar and realize you’re not asking enough, check out Fundraising Kick. It’s a weekly email designed specifically to give you the kick you need to get out their fundraising!

Posted on 27 May 2011

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