Guest Post: Disarming Yourself in Corporate Fundraising – Part 2: HOW?

Disarming yourself in corporate fundraising (3)

Do you remember where we left off last week? I was telling you about my mentor who had a 70% close rate on all of her sponsorship proposals, so early in my career I sat down with her to learn about good sponsorship packages and what they entailed. After asking all about word count, design, spacing, and more, she said to me: “You still haven’t asked me a thing about good sponsorship packages.”

My mentor went on to tell me that to her, the package was incidental – a pure formality. She never submits a proposal of any kind without her prospect’s explicit approval and permission to do so. Because she worked with the person and built trust, the proposal was used only to justify the expense to the finance department, or to champion internally, and never contained any filler.

The Conclusion

Let’s skip right to it! When you meet your prospects for the first time, I challenge you to bring absolutely nothing with you at all! Not even a pen and paper or iPad? Nope! I challenge you to have a real conversation with a real person all about them, and then use your memory to recall important facts.

Warning: This will feel uncomfortable at first (and forever), your boss will think you’re crazy, and your prospects will too… and this is a good thing.

If a prospect asks you for a package, instead ask them for a five-minute phone call or a 15-minute cup of coffee to get a better sense of their needs before you submit something.

In other words, tell your prospect “no!” and get a sense as to what they like to fund, their target demographic and their sponsorship goals. If your event, program or charity doesn’t fit those goals, don’t submit a proposal! If your prospect doesn’t have five minutes for a call, they aren’t going to spend 20 minutes reading your proposal and they aren’t really a prospect and you should move on.

I can feel you squirming at the thought of this… wait until you try it! Am I really saying not to shotgun blast your proposals to every company you can think of and that when they ask you to give them a proposal that you say no? That’s exactly what I’m saying!

How can I commit to such sacrilege? Simple. When you blindly send out proposals you are using a direct mail strategy, and direct mail gets a 2% response rate, if you’re lucky. If you need 20 sponsors for an event then you need to send out 2000 proposals! Now think of the last time you got your anchor major donor from a direct mail campaign. Pretty rare right? Chances are you won’t get your title sponsors from a direct mail campaign either!

People buy from People, not Proposals

The closest thing I see to custom proposals is the inclusion of a statement like this at the bottom of the package: “We also do custom packages so let us know if you want to have a conversation.” This puts the responsibility on the prospect to figure out that you can help them reach their goals, which is never a good thing. It also assumes that people read your entire package, which is not a safe assumption.

Let’s do Some A/B Testing!

Don’t take my word for it; try it for yourself! Instead of jumping in with both feet, segment your prospects and set aside 10% of your list to use this approach with. Do a biweekly checking to compare success rate, average sponsorship dollars and “sponsorship per hour invested” and see which method is right for you and your organization.

I think you’ll like what you start seeing.

What works for you with corporate fundraising? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Happy corporate fundraising!

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Written by Chris Baylis

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Chris is a fundraising professional with expertise in cause marketing, sponsorship and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Chris has managed both national and local campaigns and is a board member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals in Ottawa.

Connect with Chris via:
The Sponsorship Collective | Twitter | LinkedIn

Guest Post: Disarming Yourself in Corporate Fundraising – Part 1: WHY?

Disarming yourself in corporate fundraising (2)

Maeve and I talked a lot about the commonalities between corporate fundraising and individual giving and so while this two-part series has a corporate fundraiser in mind, I bet that the major gift fundraiser in each of us will enjoy it too.

These two posts are all about the biggest psychological crutch that we use in corporate fundraising. For those of you who follow my blog at The Sponsorship Collective, you know that I believe passionately in a relationship-based approach to corporate fundraising and how using a sponsorship package is a barrier to those relationships. I would (and often do) argue that the sponsorship package is a barrier to good fundraising, so let’s explore why people use proposals, one-pagers, leave-behinds and any other name used to describe the opposite of going to a sponsor visit with nothing in hand.

The Art of Deliberate Distraction

Think about the last time you handed someone a proposal, what did they do? They turned their attention away from you to the package in front of them and you probably tried to talk to them while they did it. Guess what? They absorbed nothing from your proposal or from what you told them and the second you walked out the door, they recycled what you gave them.

So you drove, flew, walked all the way to meet your prospect to hand them something you could have e-mailed them? If someone agreed to meet you in person, it’s because they see value in human interaction and want to know who they are considering working with. So why is it that virtually every fundraiser I know brings proposals and one-pagers with them to prospecting meetings? I think something deeper is happening here. I think that we believe if a prospect is reading a proposal and judging it, they aren’t judging us and saying no to us. The proposal then, is not a sales tool but a subtle self-protection tool!

If that’s true then that means going to a meeting with nothing in hand forces your prospect to judge you as a person, and you have to describe to them what you want from them. By going with nothing in hand you change the dynamic and make it about people and about relationships. Sound scary? Good! Use that to keep you sharp and make sure you know your stuff!

Sometimes Sponsors Ask for One!

Armchair psychology lesson number two is that “send me a proposal” is code for “no thank you!” Just as you giving them a proposal means that they aren’t rejecting you personally, getting you to send them a proposal means that they can tell you any of the following without guilt:

  • I shared it with the team and they declined
  • We have already spent our CSR/sponsorship/community investment dollars this fiscal
  • We have moved away from gala/event/program sponsorship
  • I will let you know if I/we have interest

The proposal is a crutch for both sides of the partnership – the fundraiser feels protected and so does the prospect.

When I first started in fundraising I had a mentor who boasted a 70% close rate on all of her proposals. I sat down with her for two hours one day and asked her questions about her approach. All of my questions were about word count, design, spacing, call to action, levels and all of the things that make up a “good” sponsorship package. After two hours I thanked my mentor for her time and got up to leave, at which point she said, “You still haven’t asked me a thing about good sponsorship packages.”

Do you want to find out what she told me, and what I’ve learned in my own work? Tune in next week for Part 2: HOW? You know why us corporate fundraisers need to disarm ourselves, so wait a week and I’ll show you how we do it.

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Written by Chris Baylis

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Chris is a fundraising professional with expertise in cause marketing, sponsorship and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Chris has managed both national and local campaigns and is a board member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals in Ottawa.

Connect with Chris via:
The Sponsorship Collective | Twitter | LinkedIn

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

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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: The Dark Knights of Fundraising

The Dark Knights

Fundraising is at a crossroads. We are constantly in search of the next ice bucket challenge, and yet the industry remains hostage to old schools of thought. Why? Because they work. Direct mail continues to drive organization revenue, and an alternative to face-to-face major gift fundraising with a similar ROI is hard to imagine. For all the stories of organizations empowering communities, there are many more of charities behaving badly and lacking innovation.

“He’s the hero we need but not the one we deserve.” Commissioner James Gordon delivered this line in one of the closing scenes of “The Dark Knight”. He was speaking about Gotham’s need for a public defender; someone willing to sacrifice everything to bring Gotham back to the glory it once held.

Gotham had descended into a city of ill repute, where criminals, the mob, and super villains terrorized citizens. The city and its public offices were filled with corruption, and the atmosphere degraded the sense of trust the city had in itself, and in the relationships between its citizens.

Batman was born from the need to battle the fear plaguing the city and its citizens. During the day, he strengthened the city from his position at Wayne Enterprises, donating millions in corporate and personal finances to address the root causes of Gotham’s degradation. Gotham got its first taste of light in years, and Batman’s actions emboldened its citizens to start standing up to crime and corruption.

Batman was an innovation of necessity; a sign things had deteriorated so deeply a masked vigilante was required. But things didn’t start out this way in Gotham; it was a slow descent into darkness… much like donation rates in Canada.

Our sector is filled with wonderful, passionate people, going above and beyond in pursuit of philanthropy. They are the silent warriors doing what they have to in order to establish their careers, whether it’s volunteering their way into contracts, accepting positions with a long commute, or giving themselves completely to the causes they support. Yet some of these individuals, the ones with the passion to change the course of an organization, are left on the outside. Because they are less qualified? No. It’s because they think differently.

These passionate people are ready to use new ideas that build upon best practice in order to innovate! And it is those who bring forward these new ideas that lead the development of best practice. They do it behind the scenes and out of the public spotlight. They change the culture gradually. They don’t expect recognition because they are excited about the process.

They are the Dark Knights of Fundraising.

What does a Fundraising Dark Knight look like?

  1. They are not afraid to look like the villain. Innovation will always be challenged because people are afraid of change. Dark Knights stand up against the status quo and take the unpopular stance so they can affect change and drive their organization forward.
  2. They know it’s darkest before the dawn. Change comes with fear, doubt, and uncertainty. The best businesses embrace the darkness because although the future is uncertain and mistakes will be made, those organizations that lead into the void will find the light faster and brighter than those afraid to take the first step.
  3. They utilize their entire utility belt. Batman’s utility belt is more than batarangs and smoke bombs. It’s full of tools so Batman can be prepared for any situation. Similarly, organizations should use everything in their utility belts to strengthen operations, whether it’s through interdepartmental collaboration, maximizing the potential of their database, or telling stories of the lives changed because of their work.
  4. They have close-knit allies. Even Batman needed help, whether it was Jim Gordon, Catwoman, Robin, or ordinary citizens. Batman, even when painted as the villain, still developed a passionate base of support willing to defend his reputation – and support Gotham with him.
  5. They are early adopters. Batman found a new piece of technology, used it, and through use, innovated. Solutions are found through trial and error not repeated use. Batman experienced, then adapted to fit his needs.

Now it’s your turn.    

“You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become a villain.”

Let’s not let best practice become that villain.

We could all use a little more Batman in our fundraising.

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Written by JJ Sandler

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JJ is the consummate volunteer and a passionate community builder. Click here to read more about him.

Connect with JJ via:
Twitter | LinkedIn

Guest Post: Not Your Momma’s Fundraising — The New Must Have Skill for Fundraisers

Not Your Momma's Fundraising - The New

Graduation season is in full swing, and with it comes an endless parade of advice (solicited and unsolicited) for grads entering the workforce.

For fundraisers, much of this advice centers on relationship building and the art of conversation. Good skills to master for aspiring fundraisers, to be sure.

But in our connected society, there’s an often overlooked skill that can help the new generation of fundraisers conquer the brave new world of online fundraising.

That skill? Data-crunching.

Check out this SlideShare presentation from WeDidIt that explores this new, in-demand skill, and what actions fundraisers can take to be P.D.D.D. (“Pretty Damn Data-Driven”).

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Written by Andrew Littlefield

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Andrew is a marketer and nonprofit fan for WeDidIt, a startup based in Brooklyn, New York dedicated to helping nonprofits raise more money and reach new donors.

Connect with Andrew via:
Twitter |  WeDidIt Blog

Guest Post: The Efficient “Chief Everything Officer”

the efficient -chief everything officer-

Are you the “Chief Everything Officer” at your nonprofit? Are you in charge of fundraising, communications, event planning, grant writing and public relations?  I feel your pain! Once upon a time, so was I.

What can you do to keep yourself from burning out and share the work?

Here’s what worked for me:

  1. Recruit a small army of volunteers – You might already have a volunteer who is passionate about your organization’s work who would gladly help you proofread copy, stuff envelopes, make phone calls, or do a number of tasks to lessen your load. Delegate whatever you can!
  2. Involve your board members – if you have board members that are retired professionals, often they are happy to help with anything, you just have to ask!
  3. Get organized – prioritize tasks weekly, or even daily.  Block out chunks of uninterrupted time to accomplish the top items, then move down the list.  Haven’t called your top donor once since the last gift two months ago? Set aside every Friday morning to make donor phone calls for one hour.  Take that list of your top 20 donors and keep it by your phone!

It CAN be done!

Wishing you abundance and success!

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Written by Ayda Sanver, MBA, CFRE

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Ayda runs Ayda Sanver Consulting, LLC, and she is also the author of “Tag, You’re IT – Now Raise Us Some Money”.

Connect with Ayda via:
Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

Guest Post: 3 Things Every Fundraiser Should Know About Planned Giving

3 things every #fundraiser should know

  1. 1.5 Million Canadians have left a gift to a charity in their will. Planned giving is growing as a more and more accepted and celebrated way for donors to make a difference in the causes they care about.
  2. Bequest giving is one of the biggest revenue growth opportunities in today’s philanthropic market! In the U.S., only 22 percent of people over the age of 30 reportedly say they have been asked to leave a gift in their will. The numbers are similar in Canada! Not enough charities are talking to their donors about planned giving.
  3. You don’t have to be rich to make a big impact with a planned gift! Many large planned gift donations can come from donors who don’t have the capacity to make a major gift while they are alive. Your annual donors are a great place to uncover transformational planned gifts.

If you really care about your cause, and your donor’s desire to make a lasting impact in your work, then you need to make sure you are talking to them about planned giving.

But how?

Well, that’s exactly what Fraser Green is going to tell you in his upcoming webinar: 32 Proven Legacy Gift Persuasion Tips. This webinar is all about planned giving secrets to raise more money.

Fraser Green has been exploring the mind of the legacy donor since 2003. He knows how they give. He knows when they give. And – most importantly – he knows WHY they give. And now he’s going to share his best tips with you.

In just one hour, Fraser will share 32 practical tips that will allow you to say the right things the right ways to persuade your donors to leave you gifts in their wills. If you miss this webinar, you’re leaving money on the table!

Sign up today to take advantage of this special deal! Only $24.99!

Register here: https://attendee.gototraining.com/r/3365735201266896897

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Written by Rory Green

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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.

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

Guest Post: Five Must-Haves for Online Fundraising Success

Almost every nonprofit organization has embraced the Internet to help spread awareness for their cause, gain supporters, and raise money through online donations. When looking at the online fundraising campaigns that achieve the greatest success, they seem to include five critical elements.

  1. Enhance Digital Efforts & Go Mobile
    People are spending a greater amount of time online each year. In fact, over 11 billion searches are conducted each month on Google alone. Just like any business with an online presence, your organization not only needs a website, but it should include some important elements: simple, clear messaging, easy navigation, and, with more than 80% of internet users also using a smart phone, mobile optimization is key. By using fundraising software, such as DoJiggy, you can easily build a mobile-optimized fundraising website to manage all details for your fundraising event including: registration & ticket sales, collecting online donations, progress tracking and reporting.
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  2. Pay More Attention to Social Media
    Today more than 55% of Americans have social media profiles presenting a unique opportunity for the non-profit sector. Social media gives nonprofits an easy way to reach out to their donors, build and nurture relationships, and communicate news and updates. Facebook and Twitter are staples in the non-profit world. But remember it’s not just being present…it’s engaging. Don’t just post about your own charity, but find other organizations doing similar things and help them spread the word – retweet, share their posts, and chances are they’ll return the favor. Don’t forget about other networks that are rapidly growing, like Instagram and Pinterest which give you a unique opportunity to share visual imagery and attract more people to your cause. LinkedIn and Google Plus are also great ways to connect with other communities and talk to your peers.

  3. Communication Tactics to Engage with Different Generations
    When thinking about communication efforts, be sure to consider how your message will reach different generations. Some older donors may prefer letters sent in the mail, email newsletter updates, or personal phone calls. Keep in mind that in just a few short years, Millennials will make up the largest portion of the workforce, thus controlling a large portion of funds, and therefore will be critical to your fundraising success.  This generation relies heavily on the information they find on the Internet. They engage via social channels so be sure to have a presence here and give them the tools they need to share. They also look for organizations to be open and transparent, so including testimonials could be a nice tactic.pic2
  4. Free Online Resources for Participants
    In this day and age where information is so accessible, people are always looking online for help. By offering helpful fundraising resources to your supporters, you not only show them you care, but you can actually help them perform better – which results in greater success for your charity. Offer fundraising check-lists and timelines to help them plan. Offer tips for soliciting donations or sample donation request letters. Post short videos that explain more about the cause and give them sample pitches to use so they are prepared when they seek donations. You can even offer some stock images for people to use in their social posts or sample “tweets” for them to simply copy and paste when sharing your message.
  5. Analyze Metrics & Make Improvements
    Evaluation has always been an important part of any fundraising campaign. Yet, finding actual statistics used to be much more of a challenge. People distributed surveys or estimated attendance for events. Today data is easier to come by than ever before. Using tracking and analytics tools, like those included with DoJiggy’s fundraising software, allow your organization to better understand your donors and the results of your fundraising efforts. Did more donations come in from email campaigns, social sharing, from sponsor sites or blog posts? You can also use data to find out what your prospects are interested in. By looking at Social media, you can see which posts get the most engagement, likes, and clicks. Use this information to help with your future branding and messaging.

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Written by Kari Kiel

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Kari Kiel is the Marketing Director at DoJiggy – a company that’s been providing affordable, easy-to-use online fundraising software solutions for nonprofits, schools, churches & community organizations for more than a decade. www.DoJiggy.com

 

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

Guest Post: 11 things I learned about fundraising/philanthropy when I fell into the field temporarily

11 things I learned about fundraising-philanthropy when I fell into the field temporarily

  1. There are people who actually enjoy asking others for money

  1. Fundraisers WANT to help people help others

  1. There is an art form to fundraising

  1. Prospect researchers remember EVERYTHING about donors

  1. Apparently, the most successful solicitations are long, story-based letters sent in the mail… who knew?

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  1. Non-profits are desperately trying to figure out young donors

  1. Every donor communication needs to have an ask

  1. Scholarships, research, etc.… all the great work non-profits do for communities doesn’t just happen out of thin air. There are teams of people working hard everyday to help people achieve their goals

  1. There are major debates about seemingly minor word choices in solicitations

  1. Who needs Christmas when December 31 is the best fundraising day of all year!

  1. Fundraisers really really like what they do!

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Written by Kimberly Elworthy

VR6X0087_1Kimberly is a communications specialist, and recently worked in fundraising and alumni relations for 18 months. She is currently on the Board of Directors for the Grand River Film Festival. (Click here for more).

Connect with Kimberly via:
Twitter | LinkedIn