Maeve’s Top 5 & Happy 4-Year Anniversary, What Gives!

Happy 4-Year Anniversary!Wow… another year gone.

I am so proud to be going into my fifth year writing and editing this blog. For me, it’s been four years of learning, growing, tweaking, improving, reflecting, and feeling inspired.

I hope you have felt inspired, too!

MAEVE'S

To celebrate, I wanted to list my Top 5 Posts. They are in no particular order, and I used no criteria to choose them. Most of them have been more popular among readers, but what they have in common is that I’m proud to have written – or posted – them.

Enjoy! And thanks for making these 4 years so great!

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Young Alumni Fundraising - Part I (2)

5 Ways to Involve Young People In Your Organization

Although #whatgiveswednesdays was a short-lived series of posts about young constituents and how we can engage them and inspire them to give, it still had a lot of gems including this post. In fact, the whole point of this post was to summarize some of the learnings from the series. Check it out for a quick, concise read!

Customizationvs.Personalization

Customization vs. Personalization

You know why I love this post so much? Because John Lepp liked it! When someone I respect likes what I write, it makes me feel especially good about it. It may sound silly, but it’s not. I enjoy the process of writing this blog every week, but of course I write it because I hope it’s valuable to my fellow fundraisers. So I feel proud about this post because it resonated with John Lepp. It’s all about the difference between customizing (i.e. mail merge) and personalizing (i.e. taking the time to handwrite a thank you note to a donor). Key distinction, and a post I look back on with pride.

Prospect Management at a Cocktail Party for Introverted Fundraisers

Prospect Management at a Cocktail Party for Introverted Fundraisers

One of my most important discoveries as an introvert and a fundraiser is that those things are not mutually exclusive. When I first got into the field, I thought I had a disadvantage as an introvert, but I realized that wasn’t true. Being an introverted fundraiser is a great advantage… but you sometimes need survival tips when it comes to cocktail parties. Check out this post for some of my main tips, for example take breaks.

8 fundraising lessons I learned from Beyoncé

Guest Post: 8 Fundraising Lessons I Learned From Beyoncé

I had to include a Rory Green post in here because she’s written more guest posts for this blog than anyone, and the majority of the most popular posts of all time on this blog are Rory’s. I love this post because I love fundraising, I love Beyoncé, and I love Rory Green. She makes content so fun with gifs and snappy, effective messages. If you haven’t read this one already, do!

How to leave with #donorlove

How to Leave with #DonorLove

And lastly, this post. Beyond my love of working with the great concept of #donorlove, I felt it was really important to talk about leaving a job and how to do it gracefully, and in a way that shows love to your donors, instead of abandonment… which too often happens. The way we leave an organization should be a reflection of how we spent our time there… especially from the donors point of view. I’m very proud of this post.

So there you have it! Thanks for an awesome four years, readers! Onto the next one!

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Written by Maeve Strathy


Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in fundraising for over eight years. Click here to learn more about Maeve.

Connect with Maeve via:
Twitter | LinkedIn | Email

Fundraisers & This Little Piggy

Fundraisers & this little piggy

Let me start this post with a cliché: fundraisers are storytellers.

“Wow, Maeve! Tell us something we don’t know!”

You’re right. We all know the best fundraisers are storytellers. We’re embracing that. We’re all recognizing the power of stories in engaging donors in our causes and showing them the power of philanthropy.

So how come the dollars aren’t pouring in?

Well, it’s not good enough to say we’re storytellers. They have to be the right stories. And they have to be told the right way.

So what are we doing wrong?

I’ll tell you one thing: we’re acting too much like the last piggy.

“Huh?”

Yes! You heard me right!

This little piggy went to the market

This little piggy stayed home

This little piggy had roast beef

This little piggy had none

And this little piggy went WEE WEE WEE all the way home

Fundraisers are the last piggy.

The one saying WEE WEE WEE.

We are doing this. We are achieving this.

We. We. WE!

It’s not about us. It’s about them.

It’s not about we. It’s about YOU!

You being the donor.

How are we ever going to show donors the power of their philanthropy if we keep telling them about the great things WE are doing?

We have to inspire donors by telling stories about themTheir impact. What they achieve.

Want to see what I mean? Want to see the power of those kinds of stories in action?

Here’s a recent example: Prime Minister Trudeau’s victory speech on October 19th.

I was following the conversation on Twitter on this momentous occasion and my fundraising friends were all saying the same thing: Prime Minister Trudeau is so donor-centric!

Watch this clip to see what I mean.

Are you noticing it? Here’s an extra clip to bring the idea home.

It’s the most powerful word in fundraising: YOU.

Prime Minister Trudeau was telling a story; not just to his donors, but to supporters, voters, and all Canadians. The story wasn’t about his success or the party’s success; it was about what YOU made happen.

Let’s all make sure that’s the story we’re telling our donors, too.

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Written by Maeve Strathy


Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in fundraising for over eight years. Click here to learn more about Maeve.

Connect with Maeve via:
Twitter | LinkedIn | Email

Guest Post: Three Resources All Fundraising Writers NEED to Know About

3 resources all fundraising writers NEED to know about

#1: Vanessa Chase – the Storytelling Non-profit

Vanessa Chase is one of my go-to resources on story telling. Her newsletter and blog are a treasure trove of tips and case studies. The section of her website dedicated to copy writing is amazing. Check it out here.

“Put your audience in the action from the start. Ideally, we want to connect with our audience as quickly as possible. This increases the likelihood that they will stay engaged with the story through to the end.” – Vanessa Chase

#2: SOFII

If you aren’t  a regular SOFII reader you should be! SOFII, the brain child of Ken Burnett, is an online collection of fundraising appeals combined with insider information on how the appeal did. It is a huge source of inspiration for me! Here are a few of my favourites:

#3. Tom Ahern

Almost everything I know about writing fundraising copy, I learned from Tom Ahern. His books are amazing, and worth a read – but he also has a fantastic section on his website of real-life appeals he has written – with his insider’s comments on what makes it great.

BONUS: Webinar: Creating a Case for Support that ignites passionate commitment(with Denny Young, Wednesday November 18th, 12:00 pm Eastern )

Are you inspiring your community to take action or treating donors and prospects like wallets? Supporters want to join the cause. They want evidence that you share their determination to make the world a better place. They want proof that your organization can realize their dreams.

Does your Case for Support make that connection, or is it just another boring plea for money?

You have a choice: make a grab for dollars or create friends for life. Which Case will you write?

In this webinar you will learn to create a Case for Support that builds loyal relationships among donors, prospective donors, volunteers, and staff.

Highlighting the well-tested research and experience of some of the world’s best Case writers, Denny will provide you with a step-by-step approach that results in committed support.

 You will learn how to:

  • Engage immediate interest by using the power of one story
  • Successfully balance logic and emotion to inform and inspire
  • Create urgency using statistics that clarify rather than confuse
  • Achieve maximum response by tailoring the call to action to audience segments

Sign up now!

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Written by Rory Green

rory

 

Rory is a Senior Development Officer by day, and FundraiserGrrl by night. As a major gifts fundraiser, she connects donors with an opportunity to invest in a better future. FundraiserGrrrl is a blog about her cheeky observations about life in fundraising.

Connect with Rory via:
Twitter

 

Guest Post: 5 reasons we LOVE Cathy Barrick… and you should, too!

5 reasons we LOVE Cathy Barrick (a.k.a. @savinggrace)...and you should too!

Have you heard the news? Cathy Barrick, CEO of Alzheimer Society of Toronto, is coming to the #DonorLove Rendezvous. Here are five reasons why Cathy is an amazing fundraiser, and an even more amazing human being.

She puts donors front and centre.

We all know it, we all feel it. Donors are at the core of our business. But, from time to time, we let budgets and goals creep into our thoughts and determine our actions. We get wrapped up in how great our charities are, without consideration for the incredible people who make it all possible. We don’t have time to make that phone call, or write that letter. We sometimes let it go just a little too long before we thank our donors.

For Cathy, donors really are at the heart of it all. Cathy is in the business of people, first and foremost. A long-time social worker, fundraising is a natural fit for her. She seeks to understand what motivates each individual person she meets, and it’s her mission to make donors feel amazing.

Cathy’s own philosophy of #DonorLove is to express gratitude for donors thoughtfully and genuinely. Cathy lives by this mantra by finding authentic touch points, with a sprinkle of surprise and delight. She appreciates the value of each gift, from each donor, and she makes sure they know it.

She’s an amazing leader.

To achieve her vision of an organization that embraces #DonorLove, Cathy is building a thoughtful, donor-centred team from all corners of the office – so much so she has signed her entire team up for the #DonorLove Rendezvous!

Growing #DonorLove from the inside out takes time, that is true, but it is time that Cathy is willing to invest. In a sector so often plagued by bad leadership – it’s refreshing and inspiring to see Cathy’s commitment to her team.

She’s a Pisces.

Pisces are compassionate, adaptable, accepting, devoted and imaginative.

She has a super cute cat.

cat1 cat2

 

 

Look at that face!!

She truly cares.

When Cathy isn’t working hard at her day job, she volunteers with seniors. She’s one of those kind, caring people who seem to have endless love to give. She says her role at the Alzheimer’s society is her “dream job”.

Cathy is exactly what is right about this industry. She sees ways to be better, and makes it happen by being an attentive and curious donor-lover. To her, fundraising is not about money. It’s about connecting incredible people to causes they are passionate about. It’s about solving real problems and meeting real needs. Money is just the tool.

Amen, Cathy!

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Are you someone who truly cares about donors?

Do you want to spend a day with like-minded fundraisers, having great conversations, learning and sharing?

Do you want the chance to add amazing people like Cathy to your tribe?

Well then check out the #DonorLove Rendezvous.

It’s not a conference, it’s a meeting of the minds. On Wednesday, May 11, 2016, we want you to join us in Toronto for a day of dynamic discussion, energizing conversations, inspiration, passion, and fun!

Registration is open! For a very limited time, you can register for $99. I highly encourage you to register ASAP because this is going to sell out!

Visit www.donorlove.ca now to learn more and register today!

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Written by Tayler Halonen

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 5.49.19 AM

Tayler is new on the fundraising scene. She discovered a love for making people feel good at a young age, and she is thrilled to grow that passion in her work as a donor-loving fundraiser. In addition to philanthropy, Tayler is enthusiastic about animals, books, food, and health.

Connect with Tayler via:
Twitter

Guest Post: 10 Things Fundraisers Should Know About Upgrading Donors

10 Things Fundraisers Should Know About

Upgrading donors is an essential part of your nonprofit’s fundraising program. Or at least it should be.

But the upgrade process isn’t just about asking all your donors for more money. Check out these tips to more strategically upgrade your donors:

  1. Upgrading begins at the point of acquisition. But not all donors can be persuaded to upgrade. The lower their initial gift (i.e. $15-$18 range), the more difficult it can be to upgrade a donor. For this reason, make sure you test your acquisition ask string (the gift amounts you’re asking people to give) at least once a year. You want to bring donors on at the highest average gift without negatively impacting your response rates. If you can acquire a high volume of donors at a better than $20 average gift, you’ll have a very good chance at upgrading them in the future.
  2. Build a rock solid thank you process. Want donors to give more generously?  Show them they matter by: a) promptly and genuinely thanking them for their past gift(s), b) sharing compelling stories about what their gifts have accomplished, and c) proving you’ve done what you said you’d do with their gifts. Getting this right will inspire donor loyalty and increase the likelihood that donors will upgrade when you present them with the next compelling opportunity.
  3. Have a big vision. Getting donors to increase their giving isn’t easy. You can’t expect a donor who gives $25 to provide hot meals at a shelter to give $2,500 just to provide more meals. Donors substantially increase giving because you inspire them to think and act big. That’s why middle and major donor programs often take advantage of offer bundles (where you combine a number of tangible program needs into one larger fundraising offer), special project campaigns and capital campaigns. These initiatives are tied to a larger vision than simply solving today’s problem. And they make upgrading donors so much easier.
  4. Remember that upgrading can come in small packages. It sounds counterintuitive, but hear me out on this. It’s great to get a $50 donor to upgrade to making $150 gifts. But don’t overlook that donor who gave $25 last year but gave you five $25 gifts this year. That’s an upgrade too. However, chances are your current segmentation and reporting systems aren’t set up to identify that type of upgrade. Check your reports and segmentation to make sure you’re identifying these people as well. If cultivated correctly, they can add a lot of income to your organization, both now and in the future (hint: they make GREAT planned gift prospects).
  5. Increase the relationship and they’ll upgrade. Donors are human beings. They give for many reasons, but they continue giving and increase their giving because you make them feel validated and appreciated for their contributions. This is a given for major donors. But you’d be amazed at how big of an impact this can have on your middle donors and even the upper end of your regular donor file. Write them special handwritten notes, call them, invite them to your shop for a tour or out for coffee. These steps will deepen their relationship with your organization, and provide them with more positive experiences.  And the next time you make an ask – even a stretch – they’ll be more likely to respond with a yes.
  6. Invest in a quality high dollar direct mail program. You might be tempted to just mail your standard package to every donor and vary only the ask amounts. That’s a mistake. Effective high dollar direct mail is much different; it’s less tactical, more relational. This is where you’ll see longer letters, live stamps, true handwriting, and even FedEx and UPS overnight packages, which work very well to upgrade donors.
  7. Say thank you more frequently. Engage your board to make thank you calls and write handwritten thank you notes to donors on a regular basis.  You can even make it a standard part of each board meeting. Do this several times throughout the year, prior to when you’ll be making your most important asks.
  8. Embrace telemarketing. You might personally hate telemarketing, but it is a great tool for upgrading donors. Telemarketing allows you to build personal relationships through conversation, allows donors to feel like you’ve heard them (both the positive and negative), and gives you time to tell more of your story in a highly personalized way than direct mail or e-mail.  You’ll also be able to reach more people on your file who aren’t necessarily responsive to other channels like mail.
  9. Host strategic cultivation events. If you’re trying to upgrade $20 donors to the $50 level, you probably don’t need to host cultivation events. But if you have a good group of $500 donors that you’re trying to upgrade to the $1,500 – $5,000 level, events are a great tool. The best events tend to have the feeling of exclusivity and access, of these donors being “insiders”, and having the opportunity to be the first to know/invest in something special. These cultivation events will deepen engagement around your donors’ passions and show them how very important they are to your cause.
  10. Upgrade through integration. Some of the most successful middle donor upgrade campaigns I’ve ever worked on have utilized an integrated direct mail, telemarketing, e-mail, video and face-to-face strategy. Integration helps you increase the frequency of your touch points, communicate the same message in different and increasingly compelling ways, and to leverage each channel to increase overall response.

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Want to learn more? I’m hosting a webinar that Andrew’s presenting called – Maximizing the Middle: Strategies and Tactics for Increasing Middle Donor Income.

In this session Andrew Olsen, CFRE, will share the demographic and psychographic differences that make middle donors unique. You’ll learn the best (and worst) ways to engage these donors to deepen their commitment (and giving!) to your organization, AND we’ll look at three case studies to see the specific tactics other nonprofits have used to increase middle donor giving by as much as 400%.

This webinar is now sold out! Click here to buy a copy of the recording! You’re not going to want to miss out on this knowledge!

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This blog was originally posted on Andrew Olsen’s Blog Fundraising Fundamentals.

Andrew Olsen
Andrew Olsen, CFRE, is Vice President, Client Services at Russ Reid – an Omnicom ad agency serving the nonprofit sector. Click here to read Andrew’s full bio.

Connect with Andrew via:
Twitter

5 things I learned at Laurier

5 things I learned at Laurier

As some of you may know, I’m starting a new career adventure, and on July 24th I worked my last day at Wilfrid Laurier University. Like when I left my job before Laurier, it was bittersweet saying goodbye to such a great work experience. And, also like when I finished my last job, I think it’s important to reflect on some of the lessons I learned in my time at Laurier, so here we go!

Mid-Level Giving has OODLES of potential
I hope you know by now that my focus while at Laurier was on mid-level giving, which we called Leadership Giving. The program had been in its infancy when I started, and I had the opportunity to further build and formalize the program. I was so lucky to have that opportunity! Mid-level giving is this funny area of fundraising that hasn’t been fully established yet. At Laurier, I was part of the Annual Giving team, which I think made a lot of sense, but I also had a lot in common with the major gifts team, so I was like the awkward middle child, not totally sure of where I fit in. But, over time the program made more and more sense to me, and became a really happy hybrid of both annual and major giving at the university. And it has so much potential! Not only in filling the pipeline between annual and major gifts, but in giving generous mid-level donors the best donor experience they can possibly get. That only ever does good things for fundraising!

Booking meetings is the hardest part
One of the more major giving-y components of the mid-level giving program at Laurier was face-to-face meetings with donors, which I loved (see: “I LOVE DONORS!”), and which also had – unsurprisingly – the highest ROI (pardon the corporate speak) for the program. That said, booking meetings is hard! I thought the meeting itself would be the hard part, but it’s not; it’s getting the meeting in the first place! I definitely learned some tips and tricks along the way (future blog post for sure!), but that was a big lesson for me.

I love analysis!
I love how a job can teach you what you don’t want to do and also what you LOVE doing! Laurier taught me that I love analyzing programs. When asked what I was most excited about with my program when I started, I said “completing a full fiscal year” so that I could actually look at the program and see what was working and what wasn’t. Once I finished that first full fiscal year, I absolutely loved the process of poring over the data and figuring out what it meant, and how the program should operate moving forward based on that. I think in my new job, I’m going to be able to enjoy that kind of work a lot!

The people make the experience
We all have our good days and bad days at work, but what tends to matter most is who we work with and who we can celebrate the good days – and talk through the bad days – with. I worked with INCREDIBLE people at Laurier; from colleagues who became lifelong friends to mentors who I idolized (and sometimes both at the same time). That’s one of the most bitter parts about leaving: not seeing those incredible people everyday. Fortunately I plan to keep them close in my network, and I’ll never forget what I learned from them.

I LOVE DONORS!
Finally: the donors. Oh, the donors! I sent many of them goodbye notes in my last week, but they were really love notes. Aside from the great people I worked with, the donors are the ones I’ll miss most. They were so inspiring, so kind, so generous, and all so amazing to talk to. Some made me cry, some made me laugh, and all of them made my day! I remember leaving a donor meeting, bounding up the stairs to my office, and one of my good friends Sharline exclaimed, “You look so happy! Where’d you come from?” And I proudly said, “A meeting with a donor!”. As fundraisers, working with donors is something we’re so fortunate to do, and my work at Laurier made that clear to me in a major way.

So that’s it! On to the next adventure! Thank you, Laurier!

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Written by Maeve Strathy


Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in fundraising for over eight years. Click here to learn more about Maeve.

Connect with Maeve via:
Twitter | LinkedIn | Email

Guest Post: What Can Starbucks Teach Us About Fundraising?

 

What can Starbucks teach us about (1)

Today as I got my morning cappuccino, I noticed Starbucks is running a huge promotion – centred on buying beans, K-cups, syrups, cups and taking the Starbucks experience home.

Why would they do this? Isn’t the whole concept of drinking coffee at home Starbucks’ competition? Don’t they want me in their stores?

It’s because Starbucks has figured out something many charities haven’t tapped into yet: When you like something, you like doing it in different ways, and at different times.

I love going to Starbucks in the morning. I love chatting with the barista about my day as I grab my cappuccino. But I also love a cup of coffee in the office, a quick K-cup jolt in between staff meetings. I love a cup of decaf at 8 pm, enjoyed in my pajamas, on my couch. Having options makes me drink more coffee, not less.

If Starbucks was run like a charity, this promotion might not have happened. The director of In-Store Sales would be at the throat of the Director of K-Cup sales. “Those are MY customers, they come in the store every day – they get to know the baristas! It’s about relationships! K-Cups are a dumb fad you millennial idiot”… “No! In-store sales are dead! Convenience is the thing! K-Cups are the way of the future! MY customers want convenience, you dinosaur.”

As funny as that is, it is a sad reality for many charities – with annual giving, events, major gifts and planned giving all fighting over donors. “You can’t talk to event participants about monthly giving!” “Hey planned giving, back off my mid-level donors, you’re making them uncomfortable.” “Get out of here major gifts, no one invited you, you glory hog.”

It makes me sick.

When did we start thinking of this as a competition?

When did we become so entitled?

When did we start thinking we owned our donors? Like they are our property?

They are not YOUR donors, you are THEIR charity.

That means you have a responsibility to put aside the egos and the silos, and do what is best for the DONOR. You need to trust each other enough to help one another, and to make smart decisions about how to offer your donor the chance to give and be involved in all the ways THEY choose.

Because if your donors love your cause – the way I love coffee – they are going to choose to give in different ways, at different times and in different amounts.  Good customer service means you make sure those options and choices are there – when THEY want them.

Do you want to:

  • Understand how to overcome internal silos within your own organizations
  • See how four different organizations are leading the way in breaking down silos, driving integration, and thinking differently about their fundraising programs
  • Learn different strategies that you can incorporate into your own work to help address silo challenges in your own organizations

Then sign up for this webinar today: Breaking Down Silos: Great Ideas that Drive Integration & Results!

Out of the box creative is more than just a crazy concept from your Creative Director – creative innovation can help you connect with new audiences, help cement your relationships with the donors you already have and drive increased results. See how informed strategy and inspiring creative helps you to innovate and truly integrate channels and messages that resonate with your target audiences. See how you can break down internal silos and drive results for your own organization!

Seats are limited! SIGN UP NOW!

This post originally appeared on the GoodWorks Co Blog.

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Written by Rory Green

rory

 

Rory is a Senior Development Officer by day, and FundraiserGrrl by night. As a major gifts fundraiser, she connects donors with an opportunity to invest in a better future. FundraiserGrrrl is a blog about her cheeky observations about life in fundraising.

Connect with Rory via:
Twitter

 

 

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**SPONSORED POST** Email maeve@whatgivesphilanthropy.com for more information about advertising on www.whatgivesphilanthropy.com.

It’s time to talk about #DonorLove

Untitled design (6)

You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been writing and tweeting a lot about #DonorLove lately. It all started when Rory Green told me she was coming to Toronto for work and that she’d love to stop in to Kitchener-Waterloo and “do something with me”. When Rory asks to do something with you, you say “yes” first and ask “what?” later. After some brainstorming, we asked the Agents of Good, Jen Love and John Lepp, to join us for a morning session on #DonorLove. We wanted to present on how to show #donorlove to your donors, whether you were communicating with 20 individuals at any given time, or 2000! 50+ people crammed into our venue in Kitchener and the session was fantastic. We realized we had something here…

Now, what is donor love? (I’m going to stop using the hashtag for now.) A lot of people think first of stewardship, and that’s a huge part of it. To me, donor love is a lens us fundraisers need to look through to ensure our donors are at the heart of what we do. Another commonly used word for this is donor-centric. Program staff at charities will focus on the cause and the work of our organization; we need to focus on the donors.

What can donor love look like? The opportunities are limitless! For me, it could be about taking the time to write a handwritten thank you note to accompany a tax receipt rather than run a mail merge and print out a bunch of identical, impersonal thank you letters. It could be a phone call out of the blue to a donor to say thank you for a gift they made last year. It’s dozens of small touch points that make your donors feel great; that make your donors love being donors.

Why donor love? We all know how critical donor retention is, especially these days. Our old bag of tricks is no longer effective, and we need to work harder than ever before to make our donors feel valued and willing to continue directing their philanthropy towards our cause. We have to show them love like they’ve never felt before and show them that we can’t do what we do without them, because the truth is… we can’t.

Donor satisfaction is oft talked about, but I haven’t heard of anyone who’s getting it totally right. It’s time for a serious discussion about this. It’s time for a meeting of the minds. It’s time for…

The #DonorLove Rendezvous!

Join passionate, inspiring, and creative fundraisers like yourself on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 for a day-long conversation about #DonorLove in Toronto, Ontario Canada.

Visit www.donorlove.ca today for more information, and to register with a $99 limited-time super early bird registration rate.

I can’t wait to see you there!

~~

Written by Maeve Strathy


Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in fundraising for over eight years. Click here to learn more about Maeve.

Connect with Maeve via:
Twitter | LinkedIn | Email

Guest Post: Storytelling and the Next Generation of Donors

Storytelling & the Next Generation of

As fundraising professionals, we face a constant challenge – we need to raise money. Right now, many organizations are starting to wonder how generational transitions will affect fundraising. In other words – as Millennials start to donate more, how will their preferences influence our fundraising programs?

Should we be using Snapchat? Will email still work for us? How will we get ahold of Millennials since none of them have landlines?

Perhaps some of these questions sound familiar to you. Up until last October, I would have said that you were right to think about these questions. But then I attended bbCON and Chuck Longfield shared a piece of data that rocked my world.

The average age of a new donor in 2014 was 51. That’s right, 51!

It makes sense of you think about it. Someone in the earlier 50s likely has more disposable income than say someone in their late 30s. Thus at 51, a person might be looking to become a first time donor to an organization.

How does this information influence our fundraising strategies to acquire Millennial donors?

You don’t need to abandon your plan to acquire Millennial donors. You do however need to be prepared to play the long game. Organizations should strategically focuses on engagement, so that when that donor is able to make a gift your organization will likely be top of mind.

Engagement is kind of a tricky word. The key to making the most of it is to define the various stages of engagement someone can have with your organization. In other words, how does someone go from not knowing who you are to being a loyal donor?

In the instance of Millennial donors, this likely won’t happen in one fell swoop. It is prudent to figure out what the various stages of the relationship are leading up to that donor making a gift. Then the task of moving them between those stages.

Unlike older generations of donors, Millennials have a desire to understand their impact, to feel like they are part of something meaningful, and contribute to a reputable organization that speaks their language. One way that non-profits can achieve all three of these things is by cultivating relationships through communications, and specifically by telling stories.

Stories naturally demonstrate impact in a tangible way and when they are told well, they make the reader feel like the hero. During a recent project I worked on with a client, we did extensive content analysis to understand the differences between Millennial, Gen Y and Boomer donors. What we found was that Millennial donors tend to respond best to stories that are inspiring and have a positive vision for the future. These stories don’t try to guilt the reader into donating, nor do they sound “doom and gloom.” As we analyzed the stories that Boomers responded to, what we found basically the opposite.

What’s the key takeaway from all this? Engaging Millennials through fundraising and communications requires a big shift in messaging. Look at your appeals over time. What are the messages that come through? How have your donors responded? What was their demographic? Use these questions to do your own content analysis to find the right message that will resonate with Millennial donors.

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Written by Vanessa Chase

VanessaChase15Apr2014-5-3198824182-O copy
Vanessa Chase is the President of The Storytelling Non-Profit – a consulting group that specializes in helping non-profits raise more money through communications. You can find out more about her and non-profit storytelling on her blog.

 

Guest Post: What is “loverizing”?

what is loverizing-

Loverizing means reflecting on the emotional journey between you and your beloved. Yes, your donors!

What was that first meeting of your new love like? Was it flowers and chocolate? Intense conversations about the things that mean the most to you both?

What happened next?

During the second and third dates—what stories did you share? Did she stare deeply in your eyes and nod along and share her own angst, frustration, desire to help out—or did she check her Facebook?

When was the last time you brought her flowers? Just because…

When is it time to go steady? What signs does she give you that she is ready for a longer commitment?

As time passes, does it seem like the love and respect you have for one another grow and go deeper? How do you know that you share the same core, personal values?

Are you ready to take the walk down the aisle and spend the rest of your days together—‘til death do you part?

Are you still following along?

Good donor care is a romance, a courtship. It is a conversation, a dialogue.

Folks, this is no longer about ROI, process and report writing.

Loving your donors is a lot like loving the other humans in your life. It takes time, respect, surprise and delight, adventure and love.

Hopefully you can join us, Agent John and Agent Jen, on May 13th, to talk about “loverizing” your donors. We will discuss the 6 key principles of donor love, with a specific activity you can use right now to put it into action. And then we’ll share integrated campaigns that you can steal today to raise more money tomorrow.

Hope you can join us, Lovers! Click here to register for the webinar – How to Loverize your Donors with Direct Response: Secrets to Boost your Revenue.

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Written by John Lepp & Jen Love


John and Jen are the Agents of Good.

Connect with John & Jen via:
@johnlepp | @agentjenlove | Web

 
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