Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Want Better Fundraising Results? Build Better Relationships.

  • Are you ready to make a significant change in the way that you communicate, cultivate and collaborate with donors this year?  
  • Want tips on how to get closer to your donors?
  • Ready to lose those 10 extra pounds?  (OK, just checking to see if you're paying attention.)
Start the New Year off right, by joining my friend - the fabulous Katya Andresen - and me for a FREE webinar on Tuesday, January 11 at 1:00 EST called How Strong Relationships Can Increase Fundraising Results in 2011.

Katya will review findings from Network for Good's landmark Online Giving Study.  (For a sneak peak, check out my review of the study here.)  We'll also be talking about the Lost Art of Donor Engagement.  Hopefully you'll get some good ideas on how you can reinvigorate your fundraising in 2011 by building strong relationships.

A formal description of the webinar is below.  Register now!


How Strong Relationships Can Increase Fundraising Results in 2011

Network for Good's landmark Online Giving Study examined nearly $400M in donations to 66,470 different nonprofits to identify trends in online giving across nonprofits' websites, donations portals and social networks.  The key finding?  It's all about relationships! 

Join Katya Andresen from Network for Good and Jocelyn Harmon from Care2 as they discuss nonprofit online outreach and fundraising in 2011.  In addition to presenting the study's findings, they'll address:
  • How to strengthen relationships with your current donors
  • Ways to identify and cultivate new supporters
  • Where (and when) to focus your online activities

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Seth Godin on Why It's Bad to Run Your Nonprofit Like a Business

Watch this.  It will only take 4 minutes out of your day.
  • Are you in business to feed an institution or solve a real problem?
  • Do you have opportunities to innovate and thus, sometimes fail miserably at work?
  • Are you ready and willing to go out of business once your issue is solved?
  • Do you often collaborate with other nonprofits because doing so is the best way to achieve a shared vision?
Interesting food for thought.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Oxfam Collection

I LOVE this end of year campaign by Oxfam America.  Check it out for yourself.

What are you doing to create, fun, engaging appeals this holiday season?


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The 4 Forever Facts About Fundraising

It's that time of year when predictions abound. Top 10 lists are on everyone's lips.  Whether it's improving work/life balance, getting over your ex or losing weight, it seems there's a prediction for how everything will or won't change next year.  Even my barista is giving me advice on the economy.  He warned me away from giving him a tip.

"You'll want to keep those pennies in your pocket," he said.  "Things aren't looking good out here.  Better to set something aside for Christmas."

But really, no one knows what's going to happen today, let alone tomorrow.  So, I'm eschewing my list of predictions for 2011. Instead, I'm serving up the four "forever facts" about fundraising. Enjoy!

1. Fundraising is a peer-to-peer sport

Remember those thermometers from the United Way campaigns? Every time a new department or individual gave money the "mercury" would rise closer to the top. As annoying as those were, they actually worked. Why? We all like to know that we're not alone, and conversely, no one wants to be the ONLY ONE who didn't give. Call it groupthink; call it shallow. But people want social proof that others donate too. They also want the reassurance and good feelings that come with knowing that they are part of the club.

What does this mean for you as a fundraiser? Continue to recognize your donors publicly. (Unless, of course, they have asked to remain anonymous.)  Also, encourage donors to share their stories with their friends and family members. This will help you bring new folks into the fold. You can do this online via some great peer-to-peer fundraising tools.

2. Fundraising is not a one-night stand

You've met your goals. Actually, you've exceeded them. Your boss is really happy because you've managed to accomplish so much in a down economy. Here's the rub. You're stewardship stinks. In fact, you don't even have a plan for keeping your newly minted fans in the fold. You're a one-trick pony. Someone forgot to send out the thank-yous.

Fundraising is about being in it for the long haul. It's more akin to a marriage than a one-night stand. Spend as much money (or more) on cultivating your current donors, i.e., the folks who already love you, as you do acquiring new leads.



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Get Ready! Year-End is No Joke for Nonprofits.

My husband and I are ready to make our year-end donations.  We are pouring over hundreds of mail pieces and gift catalogs we’ve stored up over the past few months. We’re also paying more attention to current email solicitations.  The result of our research and discussion will be 2 – 3 major gifts and some smaller gifts in honor of friends and families.

The good news is we’re not alone. 

According to 2010 Holiday Giving: Research and Insights into the Most Charitable Time of the Year by Convio and Edge Research, seventy-four (74) percent of adults plan to give this holiday season a total of $48 billion in donations. This includes $6 billion from online donations, an increase of more than 30% over last year.   

With cash like this at stake, nonprofits (that means you!) need to get ready, and fast! Year-end is no joke for charitable organizations.  Some nonprofits are projected to raise 30 – 40% of their entire budgets in the final 4 weeks of the year!

Here are Convio’s tips for getting ready to capitalize on the generosity of consumers around the holiday season.  My advice is also sprinkled in!

  • Use all your channels.  Year-end is NOT a time to be operating in silos.  Donors don’t care if you work for the online, telemarketing, or direct mail department.  Instead of being channel-centric, be donor-centric.  In short, put the egos aside, fire on all cylinders and provide your donors with myriad ways to give.  This will help you attract more cash!  According to the Convio study, “72% of donors say that they will give through two or more channels.”  
  • Ask for big gifts online.  Repeat after me.  “Online is not just for small-dollar gifts.”  Don’t underestimate your donors.  Instead, be sure to provide ask strings that allow for and encourage “major,” i.e. $500, $1,000 gifts.  According to the Convio study, “high-dollar donors are as likely to give online (25% vs. 21% overall).  Online donors also intend to donate more than the average holiday giver ($378 vs. $281.).” For more information on cashing in on major gifts online, read The Wired Wealthy: Using the Internet to Connect with Middle and Major Donors by Convio, Edge Research and SeaChange Strategies.
  •  Be emotional.   Be sure to include photos in your appeals and write copy that is compelling and emotional. Regardless of what channels you use, crappy copy is crappy copy.  Thus, it’s critical to invest the time and effort to tell the most compelling stories about your work.  This means LOSING THE STATISTICS and instead, telling one story (per email) about an individual or furry friend who has benefitted from your work.  According to the Convio’s research, “donors say they are moved by appeals that focus on humans, animals or places in need of help.” 
  • Don’t call in sick on December 28th, 29th, 30th or 31st According to Marc Cannon, VP of Services for Convio, “In reviewing giving data and patterns for 2009, we found that response rates for email sent on December 28th, 29th, 30th and 31st of 2009 were virtually equivalent. The data shows that reaching out to people driven by the year-end deadline is effective at any point in the last four days of the year. In short, don’t give up on year-end too early.  Also, be sure to send your appeals during office hours; people give at work.  In fact, try to be in the in-box first thing in the morning when folks are still enjoying that first cup of coffee.
Want more tactical advice on what you can do NOW to get ready for year-end?  Register today for Care2’s FREE webinar – The Procrastinator’s Guide to 2010 Year-End Fundraising on December 9th from 2:00 – 3:00pm.

Good luck!