Last year I attended the International School of Fundraising in England. It was an excellent event. Here are some of the notes from the event, I hope that you find them useful.
Morton Blackwell (Wednesday, March 27, 2013)
Building Strong Donor Relations
- You need money to pay the rent if you want to change the world.
- Government money has a corrupting element to it; don’t accept money from the government.
- You must do more than merely ask for money. Asking and asking and asking for money alienates donors. Our goal with donors should be to become as personable as possible with our individual donors.
- People tend to give to people rather than organizations.
- Prospect donations are from first-time donors.
- House file donations are from recurring donors.
- The people most likely to give a gift are those who have already donated to our cause. The second most likely donors are those who have given to similar organizations. The third most likely donors are those who give to conservative causes.
- Our success is establishing personal relationships with our donors determines whether or not they make future gifts (and similar amounts).
- One of the most important priorities for an organization that is donor-sustained is taking care of our donors! Pepperdine seems to do a really good job with this.
- High volume/low dollar donations VS. Low volume/high dollar donations – which is better?
- Poor personal relationships lead to few donations in the future.
- The first step after receiving a donation is to give the donor PROMPT and GENEROUS thanks. This is absolutely vital to continued successful relationships:
o Thank you notes should be personalized.
o Thank you notes should specify the amount of the gift.
o The leader of the organization should send hand-written notes of thanks.
o Thank you notes should not be sent late, and they should not be impersonal.
o Thank you notes should be sent within 48 hours.
o Telephone calls of thanks should also accompany written notes of thanks. Donors enjoy calls of thanks after they have just given to something. This is way better than telemarketing.
o Personal visits can build the strongest of relationships with donors. After a large gift, donors should be personally acknowledged in a special way.
o Prioritize the level of thanks that should be given to donors: personal letters to small donors, calls and letters to mid-range donors, personal visits to large donors.
o When giving notes of thanks, brag on the donor, not what the organization is accomplishing. However, it is okay to use stories (and sometimes numbers) to show the impact of their donation).
- Large donors often start out as small donors. Treat every donor well.
- Blackwell’s rule of donor communications: in the majority of times you contact your donors during the year, DO NOT ask for money. Over the course of the year, strive to make 3-4 times more informational communication than donation solicitation communication. We want our donors to be interested and curious with each contact. We don’t want them anticipating that we’ll always be asking for money.
- Twenty-one types of informational communication:
o Letters of thanks from individuals who have benefitted from the organization/donor’s contribution
o Extra letters of thanks from additional staff members
o Personal letters from staff members (photos of weddings, grandkids, etc.)
o Mailing of interesting newspaper clippings
o Mailing of a publication or news release from our organization
o Mailing of a donor newsletter (quarterly, semi-annually, monthly)
o Feature of a donor
o Notice about an appearance of special interest (upcoming TV program, web broadcast, etc.)
o Notice of a recent speech and excerpt
o Notice of an accomplishment of the organization
o Information about an important record (milestones, etc.)
o Copy of an upcoming event schedule
o An invitation to attend an event (People like to be invited, and they love to meet with the students they are helping—when a donor attends an event or visits a facility, they almost always upgrade their gift)
o An invitation to participate in a conference call with a prominent guest speaker, or web-conference call
o Surveys sent to donors about their opinions regarding the priorities of the organization
o Send financial reports and audits
o Christmas cards, birthday cards, sympathy cards, etc. Sending flowers or attending the funeral is also important.
o Send something that is unique to the donor, such as an artifact that you know they would appreciate
- Good fundraisers are good listeners. Listening allows us to gather the information we need about our donors and then allows us to customize what we say so that it will best resonate with their interests and passions.
- NEVER write to our donors and say “all of you.” It is impersonal; always say, “you.”
- Let our donors know that we are thinking personally about them. Donors respond more to how we act toward them than what we do programmatically.
- Morton has a side hobby as a beekeeper. Each Christmas he sends jars of honeys to his donors with a personal, chatty letter and thanks for their support. This has grown to sending 12,000 jars of honey. Morton also asked for recipes that use honey, and he included an envelope for them to return with their recipes. He got more checks than recipes! The next year he printed the book and sent an envelope for donors to request the printed recipe book. More people sent in checks than requested recipe books.
- The Leadership Institute only does direct mail to their higher-level donors.
- Don’t send prospect letters to active donors.
- Ways to personally involve donors:
o Have donors meet staff members
o Have donors participate in an event
o Ask donors to volunteer for an event
o Interview a donor in a video we are producing
o Ask donors for advice on any matter
o Ask donors to write letters to their friends about the services and programs we offer
o Ask donors to request that their friends send donations
o Ask donors to give a speech at an event
Bruce Eberle—Eberle Associates (Wednesday, March 27, 2013)
The Philosophy of Direct Mail Fund Raising
- If we understand the “whys?” of fundraising, it can be a lot simpler.
- The people who understand the mechanics behind what they are doing—be it professional golfers or concert pianists—are the most successful.
- The Apostle Paul was the first direct mail fundraiser (letter to Corinth in AD 56). Paul began his letter with “Brothers and Sisters” (an intimate way that shows the close relationship between Paul and his recipients), and he then updates on what has been going on and affirms the integrity of his use of their gifts. Paul then praised the Christians whom he was soliciting and shares how he has bragged on them in Macedonia. Paul finally made a straightforward “ask.” Most fundraisers fail because they avoid the straightforward “ask.”
o Paul provides
- An emotional testimonial
- Strengthened his relationship
- Anticipates their questions (e.g., “what will be done with the gifts?”)
- Wrote plainly (not flowery or intellectually)
- Confirmed his integrity
- Based his appeal for support solely on the relationship he had built with his brothers and sisters in Christ
- An appeal from the heart (genuine, not manipulative)
- Every fund appeal should be based on the foundational principles of relationship and clear communication that is passionate and urgent.
- Donors want to be thought of as partners with us in the mission. When they see themselves in this role, they give.
- There is only 45% that a first-time donor will make a gift, but a 75% that they will give a second-time gift.
- Donors desire
o To be listened to
o To have their advice valued
o To be appreciated
o To be loved
o To be our friend
o To be a partner
- Honesty is our most powerful tool. This requires sharing both the good news and the bad news. Personal problems in the family, financial set-backs, etc. are okay to share, because donors want to know.
- Who Really Cares by Arthur C. Brooks defines donor profiles:
o Most donors are 55 years and up
o People who turn 65 are the ones who are usually most compelled to give
o Charitable appeals are better received by females; political appeals are better received by males
o The best donors are the ones who already believe in our cause (already members of the choir)
o They have discretionary income
o The most generous givers are people who are poor but religious
o Volunteers are good donors
o Learned value of giving from parents
o Have a conservative lifestyle and ideals
- A prospective donor is someone who already has a relationship with us, someone who is committed to our cause, and someone who is comfortable with donating via our specified fund-raising channel.
- Successful fundraising is all about
- The best fundraisers are children (or college students?).
- Humans crave close relationships with people who are trustworthy.
- Show personal interest by
o Being sincere
o Being personal
o Providing candid, honest, and frequent communications
o Show a willingness to answer all questions no matter how long the letter or conversation
- Show donors your consideration by
o Seeking the donor’s opinion or advice
o Providing an opportunity to participate on a level other than donating
o Thanking donors rapidly
o Giving them personal access into my life (cell phone number, personal updates)
- Fundraising is simply ADVERTISING and SALES.
- Four steps to fundraising:
o Attention (get the donor’s attention, get in the door and capture the donor’s attention with the problem)
o Challenge (what is the problem that needs to be solved?)
o Solution (what are we doing to solve the problem, and how is it unique?)
o Close (seal the deal, especially in an urgent manner)
- My role as a fundraiser is to provide an opportunity for someone to donate to a cause they already believe in.
- Donor acquisition
o Identify potential donors
- Partner donors
o Embrace them
o Trust them
o Love them
o Encourage them to take more ownership in the organization
o Ask for their advice and counsel
- Ask for Eberle’s Nonprofit Direct Mail Fund Raising book.
- Fundraising is simply about advertising.
Rick Hendrix—Clear Word Communications Group (Wednesday, March 27, 2013)
Direct Mail Ingredients: Building a Housefile Strategy
- Who are we as an organization?
o What type of organization are we?
o What is our purpose?
o Are we broad-based or narrowly-focused?
- Direct mail is not a good way to educate people about our vision or organization.
- Direct mail solicitations should outline a clear problem, solution, and opportunity that the donor can engage with.
- What is our topic?
o Is it emotional?
o Is it motivational?
o Does it have a clear problem, solution, and opportunity?
- Our copy:
o Is our copy written according to best practices in direct mail (e.g., longer letters work better than shorter letters)
o Is it compelling?
o Is it emotional?
o Does it clearly convey the problem, solution, and opportunity for the donor?
- Mailing lists:
o Are there identifiable lists of potential donors available to mail?
o Can we get access to these lists?
o Are the lists comprised of previous donors to similar causes?
o Are the lists direct mail generated?
- Signer of the letter:
o Is he/she well-known?
o If not, does the signer have a compelling signer?
o If not well-known or does not have a compelling story, does the signer have a distinguished title?
o Matching grant
o Multiple reply envelopes
o High dollar
o Dollar Bill
o Front-end premium (including a book or small gift to the donor) – this is to guilt people into giving, but they often don’t become very good donors. Yucky technique L
o Back-end premium (sending something after a donation)
o Express packaging
- Rankings of ingredients:
o You (type of organization)
- Housefile strategies:
o The first goal with a new donor is a second gift (a one-time giver has a 30% to 40% chance of giving again, but a second-time donor is much, much more likely to give again)
- RFM—recency (when was the last time?), frequency (how often?), and monetary (how much?)
o The most important factor in predicting future gifts is RECENCY.
- Instead of mailing information to everyone at the same time, select the donors that have given most recently or the higher-level gifts.
- The important thing about thank you letters is that people sense that whatever they received is not what other people received.
- It is a good idea to have a new member’s guide for first-time donors (a letter from the organization’s leader, a publication that is for new members, anything to help people feel a sense of belonging with the organization)
- Types of housefile mailings:
o Matching grant
o Annual appeal
o Membership renewal
o Multiple reply envelopes
o Special project
o Year-end appeal
o Lapsed donor appeals that are aimed specifically at past donors who have not given recently
o Giving clubs (monthly donors)
- Cultivate relationships with donors via
o Personal visits
- It is a wise strategy to base the ask value (i.e., the amount of money we are asking for) on what the donor has given before. It’s not wise to ask $1,000 givers to give $20, or vice verse.
- Key statistics to watch:
o Response rate (number of donors/number of mailings)
o Average gift (total amount given/number of donors)
o Annual renewal rate
Q & A Panel (Wednesday, March 27, 2013)
- The best way to learn about donating is to donate yourself!
- When the economy goes down, generosity goes up. The most important thing is a generous heart, not necessarily the amount of money an organization has. Actually, when people see that things are really bad, they are even more inclined to give because they want to make a difference.
Jose Antonio Ureta (Wednesday, March 27, 2013)
Monthly Giving Plans
- The more donors give, the more they are engaged with the cause. Thus, monthly givers are important because they are the active soldiers in the battle.
- Antione Vaccaro: “Giving to a cause is a militant gesture that increases the donor’s engagement to it.”
- A typical occasional donor gives 1 ½ times per year and donates roughly $30 annually. A monthly donor gives $240 year. Monthly donors also give occasional amounts.
- An occasional donor remains an average of 4 years as a donor. A monthly donor remains an average of eight years.
- Monthly donors give 18x more money to a cause!
- Acquiring monthly donors:
o Direct mail
- Speed is the key (send thank you notes as soon as a first-time giver provides a gift, or you could try a welcome package as well)
- Special monthly giving invitation to appeal to existing donors (this is stronger, but it is more expensive)
- Newly reactivated lapsed donors
- Testimonials from existing monthly donors
Mathias von Gersdorff (Wednesday, March 27, 2013)
Important Considerations: Informational Mailings and Newsletters
- Newsletter packages should include the newsletter + payment device + return envelope
- 7% of recipients read the newsletters they receive. Hmm…this means that we should not have a lot of text in the newsletter. Use more subtitles, graphics, and short blips of text, bolded statements, photographs, etc.
- The main purpose of sending a newsletter is so that people can see that we’re active. Although only 7% of people read our newsletters, everyone will still receive them and see that we’re moving forward and making progress by God’s grace. Donors also need to see that we are engaged with current issues and understand what’s going on in the world. For CaCHE, this means being engaged with recent higher education articles and changes.
- The most important thing about a newsletter is its existence, not its quality. At the end of the day, newsletters don’t really matter, but the important thing is that they’re being sent out.
- Newsletters on their own are weak. They pay for themselves, but they don’t really raise money for the cause. Organizations need more than newsletters to raise money.
- Remember that the 7% who read the newsletters are our most committed supporters, so the content still matters, but not so much in terms of broad engagement. For CaCHE, we still need good content.
- How to write a newsletter—MISE:
o M – Mad (get people mad about an issue in the world)
o I – Inform (tell people what’s going on in the world)
o S – Self (tell people what we’re doing to change the issue)
o E – Encourage (build people up with the affirmation that they are changing the world)
Jose Antonio Ureta (Wednesday, March 27, 2013)
Legal and Tax Status Issues
- Getting incorporated is important to avoid personal liability
- Copyright our name and logo
- Make it clear who has the right to vote and make decisions
- Keep our minutes book up to date
- The Board needs to sign off on all relevant contracts, payments, acquisitions
- Set some type of low monetary ceiling about what the leader (CEO) can spend.
- Avoid conflicts of interest:
o Hiring employees or contractor services (don’t just hire family)
o Rental of premises
o Buying or selling of goods
- Only refund real out-of-pocket expenses that have receipts to back them up.
Silvio (Wednesday, March 27, 2013)
Direct Mail Strategies
- Direct mail can work in any country or culture
o Study your country
o Adapt the rules
o Make a plan
o Follow the rules
- We are not going to win because we have good motives, but because we can mobilize our people.
- Asking for financial support increases response. Some appeal should be strong, and some soft.
- Attention grabbing tools include books, stickers, and membership cards
- Brochures, news clippings, and endorsement letters bring credibility
- It is probably a good idea to only do mailings to people who have donated in the past 18 months.
- Planned giving programs are when donors place you in their wills.
- Maintain your housefile schedule no matter what.
- Treat the donor as a personal friend.
Conversation with Bob Chartuk
- Continue building the foundation.
- Create a professional image on our website, Facebook, and Twitter.
- Buy a domain name from GoDaddy for our email addresses
- Get Constant Contact and use to send regular email updates.
- Build relationships with donors.
Ron Nehring—Frontline Strategies and Media (Wednesday, March 27, 2013)
Candidate and Political Party Fundraising: A Primer
- Politics is 75% relationships, and 25% everything else.
- Institutions don’t have relationships. People inside institutions have relationships (e.g., “The White House doesn’t want something; someone in the White House wants something.”).
- Personal credibility is built upon
o Institutional credibility
- Eight rookie mistakes to avoid as a candidate or party official (or representative)
o Loner equals loser. Don’t attend events alone or come across as someone who is doing it alone.
o Don’t wear flag ties.
o Don’t use cheap pens. People pay attention to what we’re writing with.
o FREE OFFER business cards (vistaprint)
o Wear tailored clothing that fits properly and looks professional
o Replace old shoes too!
o Wear a light colored shirt underneath your suit coat
o Don’t use gmail as an email account on our business cards
- Institutional Credibility is built upon
o Personal credibility of people involved
o Past performance of the institution (previous successes of the institution)
o Presentation – not just text, but graphics too
- Our ability to raise money is closely linked to
o Personal relationships
o Personal credibility
o Institutional credibility
- Charities operate on sustained giving
- Online fundraising programs are typically for small givers.
- Mid-level sustained giving events must be
o Sequential—ongoing series in each market
o Local—aimed at current and potential sustained giving donors in the market. Local donor leaders should be part of the program.
o Social—reception format with food and 50% social time
o Substantial—provide “insider” information
o Special—high quality venue and presentation by a VIP (good venues might comp part of the price because they know you’ll be drawing a lot of wealthy individuals)
o Consequential—provide a call to action and invitation to join the team
- Maintain donor files on potential and current donors
o Biographical information
- Personal history, age, business background
o Political background
- Partisan activity and history, sympathies
o Giving history
o Key relationship
o Special subjects
- Volatile topics to avoid, special interests
- Organization: building the capacity winning
o Leadership—focused, driven
o Culture—inviting and positive
- Infrastructure: Assets to empower people
o Information—proper tracking of donor files
o Physical—Headquarters with suitable equipment
o People—leaders, fundraising staff, advocates
- Communications: internal and external
o Donors are the ones constantly looking at our website
- We evaluate candidates on the basis of their philosophy/ideas, their personal narrative, and their competence.
- Get ready for fundraising by
o Having a compelling narrative—what’s our story?
o Storyboard—visual and text that tell the story
o Presentations—video, PPT, handouts
o Online presence—website, social media
o Budget—how much do we need and how is it allocated?
- Personal relationships determine how much money we will have for our cause. Personal relationships are built upon trust, compatibility, and mutuality.
- Cause—is the cause compatible with the donor’s interests>
- Timing of the ask—is this the right time in the person’s life to ask for a donation?
- Ten steps to booting up fundraising efforts
o Define vision and mission
o Create positive culture in the organization
o Develop our narrative—what’s our story?
o Develop our storyboard (the pictures, visuals, graphics) that help to tell the story
o Develop our presentation and the mediums used for it
o Develop our website and social media presence
o Develop our budget (and no one believes a budget with a zero at the end)
o Establish our direct response program
o Especially a major donor solicitation program
- Eleven tasks to be conducting every month
o Conduct sustained giving
o Plan upcoming donor events
o Constantly update the donor database (addresses, formal titles to use)
o Follow up with prospects who attended the events
o Build the prospect list (always look for new prospective donors)
o Continue updating the website and social media
o Major donor phone calls and meetings
o Send donor updates
o Ongoing solicitation by direct mail
o Continual engagement with donors through communication (informational, not donation-related)
- Recommended reading
o Never Eat Alone
o Righteous Mind (people act first on intuition, second on reason)
o Courage and Consequence (Chapter 4)
- Email Ron@ronnehring.com for the PDF of the PPT.
Brian Davis (Thursday, March 28, 2013)
An Online Advertising Crash Course for Fundraisers
- We can’t do too much ahead of our donors technologically. If the donors don’t know how to use the technology, then we are essentially wasting our time.
- Online fundraising is about telling a good story. Give donors a sense of the story and help them buy into it. Our social media person needs to be a storyteller.
- Be a better archer—draw people closer to the target of giving.
- Critical questions:
o What is success for our organization?
o What is our metric for defining success? How do we know we’re winning?
o What are the baby steps toward success, and how do we define success for each of these baby steps?
- Return on investment should also be measured along with cost per acquisition for each donor.
- The housefile is free money because we don’t have to pay anything to acquire these names.
- Lose the battle but win the war—it’s okay to lose money on particular elements of fundraising if it serves the purpose of helping your broader goals (building a housefile, etc.).
- It’s extremely valuable to test different web pages and strategies—we can use data to figure out what’s working best.
- We also need to be able to react quickly to peoples’ responses to text, pictures, etc.
- Don’t be afraid to try things that seem like they won’t work.
- Email is still king—keep building a bigger list.
- Acquire people creatively—think about the ways we can engage people in the cause through asking for their opinions. Sending books and signing petitions are also good strategies for acquiring email addresses for potential donors. However, the deepest purpose is to keep people informed and care for them.
- Keep cultivating the donors—bringing them into the vision, motivating them, etc.
- Recurring gifts are one of the best things for organizations. They cost organizations nothing because the org. doesn’t have to pay to acquire donors.
- Email really, really works. Don’t forget this!
- The quality of the names on our email list is crucial. We don’t want quantity.
- Salesforce.com gives free licenses to non-profits.
- Emails should be as long as they need to be—there’s no formula. Urgency and a hook are important, though.
- Banner ads are not necessarily good for fundraising, but they work well for branding and other things.
- The most successful banners are often very unattractive—they capture peoples’ attention.
- Click-through rates on banners are incredibly low—a tenth of a percentage point or less. Rarely more.
- Google Adwords are great. They are sponsored results that pop up on a Google search. You can test different ads and their efficacy. Think about/pray about linking with Conservatives or Christians at Google who can help us.
- Facebook ads can be paid for by impression or paid upfront. Facebook also allows you to add your email contacts and search for email contacts who are on Facebook. You can then target ads to these people, or send messages to this group of people.
- Email is still the best method J
- Be sure to continue removing old email addresses, lest we get flagged for having too many bounce back emails.
- Organizations can also link with larger organizations that have large email lists. The large organization can be paid a fee for the service of sending out our email under their email address.
- IF we have data about the demographics of the people in our email database, we can customize our email to their profiles.
- Facebook is best for acquiring and engaging people, for drawing them in, but not necessarily for fundraising.
- Excel pivot tables are the best for analyzing data about which emails are best received, which pictures work, etc.
Morton Blackwell (Thursday, March 28, 2013)
Case Study about Letter-Writing
- Letters to donors need to be as personal as possible. Don’t be afraid to share personal information (or “insider” information). Also, be sure to personalize it to the recipient as much as possible (use the recipient’s name and “you” often).
- Avoid using “we” because it sets up an opposition between the organization and the recipients. Use “I” as a personal reference to the writer.
- Avoid using the word “need” for financial constraints. It’s a turn-off and people hear it all the time. They get tired of it.
- People remember the stories we tell. The stories create a picture in peoples’ minds.
- Remind people of the values and vision that we share. List the specific things that unite us in this cause.
- Always create a sense of urgency in relation to giving.
- Also show people what benefits will be derived from their gift (e.g., matching grant, continuation of good work).
- Sharing names of well-known figures can be helpful, but be careful that it doesn’t turn into pride or sounding star-studded.
- Vary the paragraph lengths of letters. Generally no more than 5 lines in a paragraph.
- People are most likely to read the opening line of a letter and the P.S. line.
- All studies have shown that Seraph type (with “feet” at the bottom of letters) is easier to read than sans-Seraph type.
Stephen Clouse (Thursday, March 28, 2013)
- 96% of our money is coming from 4% of our donors (general statistic).
- Capital campaigns can dramatically increase donations.
- Leadership drives the big gifts. If people don’t trust the leadership, they won’t give.
- The second quality donors are looking for is innovation. Are we sitting on the cusp of something that could revolutionize people’s lives if only the resources were available?
- Don’t see the world through my eyes. Try to think of things from the transformational donor’s perspective.
- What is a feasibility study? Going out to visit our top 20 donors in order to assess their response to our proposed plan. This is donor research.
- People with money don’t show it. This could be a powerful moment in history the older generation came from a time of greater economic prosperity, and the younger generation is passionate and active for justice.
- People want to give, but they need a compelling cause to give to. “Make no small plans. They have no power to stir men’s souls.” Always place the goal a little higher than seems possible.
- Capital campaigns give people an opportunity to attach their name to something. Could we use this power to name local pilot programs?
- Continuously build the case to our network—make the vision plain and compelling.
- Victor Hugo—“The power of an idea whose time has come.” This is what we need to convey to donors.
- There is something about connecting with others who are admired, because donors like it when you’re connected to people they respect.
- David McCullough—this generation is historically illiterate.
- Capital campaigns are built upon authority.
- There is something about connecting with well-known individuals who are admired by others—donors like it when you connect to people they respect.
- Capital campaigns are built upon authenticity.
- Develop a prospectus or action plan consisting of the following:
o Executive summary (problem, solution, opportunity) – page 1
o Vision of the organization – page 2
o Challenges – pages 3 & 4
o Innovative solutions – pages 5 & 6
Tim Evans (Thursday, March 28, 2013)
- In working with corporate organizations, I have to bridge the psychological divide by speaking in terms of numbers and outcomes.
- Tim Evans’s cycle of success:
o 1/3 of time spent on fundraising (relationships, presentation preparation, etc.)
o 1/3 of time spent on doing the actual work of the organization
o 1/3 of time spent feeding back the work (packaging what I do in a way that tells the story of how hard we’re working)
- I am in the business of creating an alternative intellectual movement.
- Don’t communicate with paragraphs only; use numbers and pictures.
- Be upfront with corporate donors about what we want.
- Find strategic overlaps in vision and leverage these to ask for money from corporations.
- Videos move people to give.
- Corporations require hard numbers.
- Go to work building the case for how our cause benefits human flourishing.
- Approach relevant corporate executives, send a media packet, and invite them to a nice restaurant. Think creatively about how to engage the donors who could really make a difference in seeing the vision realized!
Justin Murff (Thursday, March, 2013)
Foundations and Grant Writing
- Digital grassroots
- Getting into a foundation means building relationships. There needs to be genuine personal and corporate relationships. Know the foundation officers.
- SRG – Humanitarian foundation
- Foundations give money to vision. Have a compelling vision for foundations to give to.
- Foundations need to see a 3-way return on investment: a win for the foundation, a win for our organization, and a win for the constituents.
- We can have interns research foundations for us. A research profile includes:
o Contact information
o Assets, income
o Board members
o Funding interests
o Grant recipients
o Average grant amount
- Foundation resources:
o Guidestar connects the dots for non-profits.
o The Chronicle of Philanthropy is another helpful resource.
o European Foundations Org./Association
o International Association for Non-Profits
- Don’t cold call foundations. Get to know the foundation officers.
- Listen—find out what drives foundations and what their interests are.
- If possible, let the foundation ask YOU for a proposal. This happens because of relationships.
- Letters of inquiry are requests for permission to write a grant proposal and submit it to them.
- Network with people who know the program officers at foundations.
- Be brief but optimistic in inquiry letters.
- Letters of Intent:
o What need or opportunity are we seeking to meet?
o What is our project plan for meeting this need?
o What are our long-term goals and what lasting impact do we hope to see?
o What are our near-term objectives and how will we measure them?
o With whom will we collaborate or partner?
o What does our organization need to complete the project?
- 1-2 pages
- Linking statement in the first line of the letter
- Description of our organization
- The problem being addressed and our solution
- Summary of project: 1-2 pages
- Contact information
- A line of thanks!
- 1. Find NGOs that have a similar vision. 2. Determine which foundations are supporting them. 3. Make the connections
- Elements of a proposal:
o Executive summary (elevator pitch)—1 page or less
o Introduction—several paragraphs
o Statement of the problem—1 or 2 pages
o Program description and goals/objectives—1 to 3 pages
o Evaluation—several paragraphs
o Budget—1 page
- Executive summaries should capture:
o The problem
o The solution
o Our qualifications
o Mission statement
o Brief history of our organization (year founded, location)
o Brief summary of recent accomplishments relevant to the proposed project
- Statement of the problem:
o Be specific and explain the context
o Who will be affected?
o Who will benefit?
o Who is hurt is we do nothing?
o Why is the project urgent or important right now?
- Program description:
o Describe our solution
o Explain the goals of the project
o List several objectives
o List strategies and tactics
o Quantitative data:
- Web hits or email subscribers
- People served
o Qualitative data
o Salaries and benefits
Miguel Moreno (Thursday, March 28, 2013)
- Look at getting the guide Funding for International and Foreign Programs ($39.95 on Amazon for the PDF).
- OPPORTUNITIES lead to TRENDS AND OBSERVATIONS, which lead to INSTITUTIONAL CONTEXT, INTER-INSTITUTIONAL CONTEXT, AND GLOBAL CONTEXT, which leads to RESOURCES/PROCESSES/MEDIA, and finally lands on HUMAN RESOURCES COMPETENCIES.
Justin Murff—CBNI (Friday, March 29, 2013)
Grassroots Social Media
- Traditional media talks to people. Social media facilitates two-way dialogue.
- FredCavazza.net is a great way to learn more about social media.
- The big three social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, and GooglePlus.
- There are different types of social media mediums, including tablets, smartphones, desktops/laptops, and other connected devices.
- There are different social media purposes, including publishing (tumblr, etc.) sharing (vimeo, flickr, etc.), playing (zynga, playdom), networking (Linkedin, etc.), buying (tripadvisor, hunch), and localization (yelp, foursquare, etc.). At the center of all these platforms are Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter.
- There are more people in the world today with cell phones than tooth brushes!
- 88% of all Internet users in the U.K. are using social media.
- 90% Chileans are on Facebook!
- Think about which social networking platforms work the best for our work (Facebook vs. Google Plus—think about which one has the highest user rate in a given country).
- If Twitter were its own country, it would be the 12th largest in the world
- Linkedin has 161 million members, and it is particularly important for political candidates because it shows your resume.
- The average visitor spends 15 minutes per day on YouTube.
- 60% of bloggers are between 25 and 44 years old.
- Organizations that are targeting women need to use Pinterest because this is a huge site fro women. Pinterest has the highest rate of referral traffic to other websites. The power of pinterest is its visual appeal and use of pictures.
- Google Plus is the place for college students and young adults. 2/3 of Google Plus users are males.
- The average user spends 405 minutes per month on Facebook.
- The average Facebook demographic is middle-aged mothers.
- We need to have someone on our team whose sole purpose is social media.
- Digital grassroots social networking:
o Join groups
o Make friends
o Post comments
o Connections with traffic
- All social media should be easy to act, forward, and respond.
- Social media lessons learned:
o Start early
o Build to scale (have the appropriate number of social media staff)
o Innovate where necessary, do everything else incrementally better
o Make it easy to find, forward, and act
o Pick where you want to play (which social media sites will we use?)
o Channel your online enthusiasm into specific targeted activities that further the campaign’s goals
o Integrate online advocacy into every element of our campaign (include all of our social media sites on printed materials, business cards, email signatures, etc.)
- Trust + accountability = relationship
- Social media is about relationships
- Ask Justin for the PPT!
Kevin Gentry (Friday, March 29, 2013)
Game Plan for Major Gift Fundraising
- A major contribution is one that makes the donor feel like it’s a considerable gift that they are giving to your organization.
- If someone gives $100 as a first-time donation, they are likely to give much, much more in the future if they are captured by the organization’s mission. Larger gifts should be a huge signal to the organization that there is something more that might emerge from the donor relationship.
- The goal should almost always be to move first-time givers to a higher level of giving. Roughly half of the first-time givers will provide a second contribution. Out of the 50% of second-time givers, 80-90% will give a third time. The challenge is that we don’t know who those 50% of second-time givers will be.
- Effectiveness is what people look for when they donate toward a cause. Surveys show that donors today are more serious about the return on their investment. They want to know that what they are donating toward has made a difference.
- Donators want to make a difference, just like us.
- Our best donors are just like us. The donor is using their talents to build a business and give a portion of what they earn to make a difference in the world in a way that is compelling to them. The donor cannot necessarily do the work we are doing (they don’t have the time, skill sets, etc.) to end trafficking, provide affordable college education, etc., but they will give to causes that promote their passions so that they can see their legacy spread.
- It is unethical to tell the donors what we think they want to hear. Don’t be donor-driven. It doesn’t really matter how many donors you have if you’re not making a difference for your cause.
- Donors don’t like it when organizations are critical of other groups.
- Donors are overwhelmingly business people. They understand what it means to start small, to be underappreciated, to work hard, to have a vision and a dream.
- Consistency and commitment over time are the two key ingredients for being successful in the non-profit world.
- Moves management is a strategy that sees every interaction with a donor as being a strategic move toward receiving a major gift from them.
- We can demonstrate effectiveness through newsletters and giving credit to the donors for being able to make that work happen. Emphasize that the progress we are making is because of the donors’ support.
- If someone increases their gift amount, be sure to increase the amount of thanks that they receive.
- Donor visits need to be done with a strategy. Make it a goal to find out the interests of the donors.
- Large gifts from donors are all about relationships and approaching fund-raising as a partnership. The donors have the resources for the work, and we as the organization have the skills, vision, and capacity to carry out the work.
- Email Kevin.email@example.com to get on his email updates.
Stephen Clouse (Friday, March 29, 2013)
- If we see, hear, and write something, we learn it better.
- People who are successful in closing the deal are the ones who love something rather than just know it.
- Likeability is a huge factor when people are deciding whom they will buy from, whom they will vote for, whom they will give to, etc.
- Favorable or unfavorable ratings determine who will follow you and support you.
- FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real
- The first person that a major donor or contact will judge is the person they are talking to (ME!), not necessarily the organization.
- Amygdala—this is the part of the brain that we use to make emotional judgments.
- If we don’t first build rapport with someone, they won’t really listen or trust us.
- It is vital to focus on the one or two distinct points or our organization instead of the weaknesses or uncertainties.
- I want to pre-plan my communication in 50 words or less. Distill my message into a few key facts
- Great presentations establish a need, present a solution, and invite people to act.
- If we haven’t established a need and presented a solution that’s significant enough to be a game changer, then we aren’t in a position to ask for something.
- Big donors are inspired by innovative projects…something that is right there that they can help people grasp.
- Never ask for the gift from the donor until we’ve developed a budget. Sometimes it helps to have a table of what donors’ gifts can accomplish.
- CaCHE Mission: Equipping churches to provide accessible, discipleship-driven higher education to students with the least access…Building bridges to transform the face of global higher education
- It’s always best to have a volunteer accompany you during a presentation. The volunteer (or staff member) should be someone that the donor respects (someone of their age group, someone in their field, etc.).
Morton Blackwell (Friday, March 29, 2013)
Proven Fund-raising Strategies
- Morten has been challenging people to use his famous foolproof fund-raising formula (follows the rules of children asking their parents) for the last fifty years. No one has ever reported that it hasn’t worked!
o STAGE ONE: Make a complete budget for the program (this can be for the entire organization, or the specific project we are seeking to fund; it is probably helpful to have both, but we’re likely to raise more if we have an annual budget)
- Draft the budget so that an outsider can understand the line items (e.g., don’t just write “training,” but write “training by sending someone to a conference,” etc.)
- Organize the budget by category (we should have a total for each category, and then a total of all categories at the end)
- Don’t make the budget more than one page
- Include all of the appropriate expenditures for the project and annual budget
o STAGE TWO: Make a list of people who are the most likely to make substantial contributions to our cause. Get our key people together and have a brainstorming session, then list the potential donors we already know and others that we can potentially get in touch with (well-known donors, friends who can recommend potential donors, etc.). Don’t spend more than a few days on this initial list of prospects.
- Designate two people to visit potential donors and ask for a contribution.
- Potential donors can also be identified through
- Conservative leaders who know donors
- Conservative professors who know donors
o STAGE THREE: Meet with the potential donors.
- Be upfront about the topic we’re working on and our desire to get feedback from the prospective donor about the issue we’re working on.
- Arrive slightly ahead of time (a few minutes, but not 30 minutes early!)
- Dress a little bit better than the average person they are likely to be seeing. Don’t overdress with designer clothing, but dress respectfully.
- Talented people are successful in solicitation, so send out people with confidence and competence.
- Donors respond best to intelligent people with a friendly demeanor.
- When you arrive at the donors, describe where you’re coming from and the ideological issues you are wrestling with. Ask the donor to identify their philosophical ideas on the matter.
- Share the publicity or progress of the organization that shows how the mission of the organization is being accomplished.
- Steps: exchange philosophical fides (build common philosophical ground), pull out the budget, ask if the donor has any questions about the budget (is anything unclear to them?), specify any areas of blessing (volunteers, donated office space, etc.), then with a pleasant facial expression say, “We were hoping you’d be able to help us financially to meet this budget.” Wait silently until they respond, even if it’s 30 seconds!
o STAGE FOUR: Respond to their response
- They will tell us an amount they will contribute.
- They will tell us that they cannot give.
- They will ask us how much we want them to give. With this response, it is far less uncomfortable to give a dollar amount when we are asked. Donors rarely give more than you ask for, but they will often give less.
- If they say that they can’t give until later (when their stock dividend check arrives, etc.), ask if they would like you to return later at a convenient time.
o STAGE FIVE: Ask the donor if they can suggest others whom you might visit to meet the organization’s financial needs. New donors will often give you the names of other prospective donors.
- Carefully write down everything they tell you about the prospective donor. It is embarrassing to go back to the recent donor and re-ask them for names.
- After the donor has given you their list of names, ask them if they can think of any more names.
- Encourage the donor to phone or write their friends who they suggest as potential donors. Also ask for a copy of the letter (or cc) so that you know when the letter has been sent and can follow up.
o STAGE SIX: Immediately after the visit concludes, make any important notes: interests of the donor, number of children they have, anything significant pictures you noticed in their office, upcoming events, etc.
- Send a thank you note right away.
o STAGE SEVEN: Reprioritize the list of potential donors.
- Move people around on the list in order of importance, significant leads, etc.
o STAGE EIGHT: Build strong donor relations by keeping the donors informed and staying in contact through personal contact and letting them know that you’re thinking about them.
- If asked, many people will gladly give funds to support organizations that promote conservative values.
- Milton Friedman: “Some things you do for money, but some things you do for fun.”
- To achieve anything significant, you need time, talent, and treasure (money).
- Learn how to be creative in the ways we thank our donors. Hand-crafted things from the heart go a long way in building strong relationships. Remember the story of the life-time pass for the little old lady:
o When Morton was a boy, some of the young school children wanted to build a football field. A little old lady gave $500, and one of the schoolchildren drew a creative “lifetime pass” for the old lady to attend all the games. She was obviously flattered and did attend some of the games. Later, she ended up donating ten acres of land and a substantial financial gift to build a stadium for the school. All because of a little hand-drawn certificate that a child created.
- The amount of money you can raise through face-to-face solicitation is only limited by the amount of time and human resource capacity.
- The most successful insurance agent is the one who most persuasively asks the greatest number of potential customers.
Kevin Gentry (Friday, March 29, 2013)
- The problem-solution framework
o Problems need to be conveyed in a way that has urgency and that connects to issues that are relevant to peoples’ lives. Be sure to include the negative consequences of the problem.
o Solutions need to be identified in a way that captures the step-by-step approach that our organization will take. Solutions need to capture our credibility, and credibility can be established by 1). Past accomplishments, 2). Endorsements from others who are credible, or 3). A detailed plan for how the solution will be established.
o The third element in this framework is showing our credibility and efficacy to make an impact on this problem.
- Mega gifts are always accompanied with credibility. The donor needs to be assured that our work is credible.
- Donors generally don’t want to give more than 15% of the total budget. This sometimes requires cobbling together major gifts.
- Scarcity is a big motivator in persuasion, or at least a perception of scarcity. A perception of scarcity is created when something will only be available for a short time. Deadlines create this sense of scarcity.
- Scarcity is not always a good technique in fundraising because it doesn’t do anything for the donor. It’s all about helping the organization make its deadline.
- A better approach is to create a list of all the benefits that the donor will derive from giving. Then weave these benefits into the presentation.
- Think of fundraising as recruiting a team of investors to help us accomplish this mission. Share stories of our donors, or donor profiles. Maybe a donor community could be created through Facebook or Google Plus.
- One of the most important elements of marketing is that it wears out in the boardroom long before it does on the showroom floor.
- Build repetition into every fundraising plan. People have to hear a slogan multiple times for it to sink in and resonate.
- Try creating a donor survey that fishes for their deepest-held values, priorities, etc. We could get some powerful information about what really drives our donors and what they value.
- “Make no small plans. They have no power to stir men’s souls.” People get excited about big ideas. That is the power of mega gift fundraising and capital campaigns. And that is why it is also easier to raise a $10,000,000 gift than a $10,000 gift.
- You will capture the excitement of other people when you show them how they can leave a legacy and have an impact on the world through their gifts and involvement.
- Most of the constraints we face are self-imposed. The donor isn’t creating the firewall, but our lack of attractiveness in what we’re trying to do (because we don’t project the confidence, the friendliness, etc.).
- The bottom line is this: the money is there. If we can package our cause in a way that is attractive to donors, people will give. This does not mean that we cater to what the donors want to hear, but we share our vision in a way that is compelling to the donors.
Bruce and Kathy Eberle (Friday, March 29, 2013)
Keys to Conducting Effective Fund Raising Events
- Never just stick with direct mail fund raising, but experiment with every channel that works for our organization. Various fund raising opportunities include:
o Direct mail
o Personal solicitation (major gifts)
o Deferred giving
o Special events
- Some special event opportunities include (but not limited to these):
o Gala events
- Stevensoninc.com provides a list of over 100 different special events.
- To select the right special event, ask these questions:
o Will the right people want to attend this event?
o How much money will it cost?
o How many volunteers will I need?
o How much time will it take to plan?
o Is this the best use of my time and resources for raising money?
o Will my high dollar donors want to participate in this event?
o Will VIPs (i.e., celebrities, well-known figures) be willing to participate in this event?
- How to find a celebrity:
o Spend your political capital (social capital, social contacts)
o Look in your own backyard
o Think outside the box
- Radio show hosts
o Ask one celebrity to ask another celebrity
o Ask major donors to make introductions
- How to maximize the impact of the celebrity at our event:
o Have them meet with the major donors
o Give them a prominent role at the event
o Publicize the fact that they will be at the event well in advance
o Have them sign the invitation to the event
o Ask them how they would like to participate
- What are VIPs looking for?
o To raise their own visibility
o To support causes they believe in
o To associate with a credible and trustworthy group
- Why should major donors come?
o To have an opportunity to associate with peers
o To advance a cause they believe in
o To connect with celebrities
o To participate in an event that is
o To receive opportunities for recognition
o To have an opportunity to show off their wealth
- Thinking can sometimes prevent momentum (Tom Watson).
- Inertia can cause delays in launches, missed deadlines, and poor results.
- “Don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good.” – Morton Blackwell
- Momentum means having a big vision
- Special events build momentum by
o Creating stronger institutional loyalty
o Building credibility
o Building the financial base
- Plan for success if you want to achieve success. Here’s the checklist:
o What special event will you put on?
o When will you put it on?
o How will people know about it?
o Where will it occur?
o If it is an auction, what items will be auctioned?
o How much do we hope to raise?
o Who do we want to attend?
o How will we persuade the target audience to attend?
- Having a respected peer invite the prospective invitees
o Who’s going to run it?
- If you plan an annual special event, plan to hold it during the same time each year.
- At the special event, it is vital to treat the high bidders very, very well.
- Special event fundraisers need to begin with the capacity that the organization is able to expend. If you can only do a special event for 75 people, then start there!
- How to find great auction items:
o Start early
o Find items that the invitees cannot obtain anywhere else—the more unique the items, the better
o Put together a committee of creative individuals
o Items should be unique – “experience” items are popular
o Low or no cost to the organization
o Ask for supporters to donate items
o If you have to pay, make sure the cost is underwritten prior to the event
o Auction some items multiple times
- Some auction items will need to be purchased for the auctions. You can’t get by any other way.
- Auction ideas include:
o Paris cooking adventure
o 2-night stay at a bed and breakfast
o Activity (dinner, hunting, etc.) with a celebrity
o British phone booth
o Flowers for one year
- Check out www.winspireme.com for packages that not-for-profits can use at their fundraising events. Underwriters can pay for these packages.
- Additional things to think about during auctions include:
o The auctioneer and spotters
- Be sure to evaluate the success of the auction, as well as celebrate the success of the event with the volunteers and contributors.
- Also be sure to thank the underwriters and contributors.
- Special events are scalable, raise public visibility, creates excitement among the organizational team, strengthens donor participation and ownership, and brings in new donors.
- Special events add revenue.
Q & A Panel (Friday, March 29, 2013)
Rick Hendrix, Stephen Clouse, Kevin Gentry, Bruce and Kathy Eberle, Morton Blackwell, Ron Nehring, Justin Murff, Silvio
- Sometimes it is smarter to build a broad base of small donors so that more people are invested in the initiative.
- When deciding who should be doing the fund raising (leadership of the organization vs. a designated development team), it is important to take into consideration how the strengths of the people in the organization can be best utilized. There really isn’t a set formula for how much time should be devoted to fund raising. If the organization leader’s strengths are in relationship-building and charismatically inspiring people with the vision, then that leader should be more heavily focused on building relationships with donors. But if the organization leader’s strengths are in writing, training, or something else that is not directly tied to fund raising, then others should more heavily take on the responsibility for fund raising.
- The leader of the organization will always have a role to play in engaging potential and current donors, but depending on the strengths of the leader, the specific donation tasks can be delegated to others on the team.
- In order to be successful, you have to maintain great focus.
- When you are successful at one thing, it provides the latitude for getting involved in other things.
- Don’t think in terms of “cultivating” donor relations, but think in terms of “loving donors.”
- Have some type of premium that is offered to monthly donors—make them feel like a special part of the team.
- Provide more entry points for monthly donors.
- Dramatically increase the amount of communication the organization has with its donors. Make it clear to the donors that they are receiving this special communication because they are part of an exclusive club of donors.