It’s almost Halloween, and a great time to think about how not to scare your donors away; rather, give them treats that will keep ‘em coming back year after year! Here are links to articles you may find helpful.
Plus, as usual, you’ll find a cauldron full of free resources – downloadable templates, webinars, cheat sheets, and more. Take some time to continue your professional growth and education. It will make you stronger, I promise. Share with others on your staff too; there’s something for everyone!
Click-it: Upgrading Gifts Through Your Year-End Campaign. This article on the Smart Annual Giving blog is a reminder that by neglecting to ask a donor at the right time for an upgraded gift, you not only loses money for your mission; you also do your donor a disservice. Here are 5 tips to incorporate an upgrade strategy into your campaign.
Click-it: Dr. Strangecopy or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Writing for Fundraising. Having a bit of writer’s block? Clear your head by reading this post from Sheena Greer. She’ll tell you how to learn to love writing for fundraising. One tip (of many) I like: Work yourself up. Get emotional when you’re writing.
Scroll to the very bottom for more help with Year End Annual Fundraising ‘To-Do’s
Major Gifts Fundraising
Click-it: A Day in the Life of a Great MGO. Once again, the Veritus Group delivers great advice on major donor fundraising strategies. One of my favorites is: “write out 5 thank you notes to donors” the first thing when you arrive in the office. Also, “ three to four lunches a week with different donors” to get to know about them and their passions.
Watch for: Halloween Nonprofit Blog Carnival: MAJOR GIFTS TRICKS or TREATS – How Do You Get and Sustain Major Gifts? — coming on October 31st.
Click-it: How to Convert Event Attendees into Donors: Q & A. Recently Zach Hagopian of Accelevents interviewed me on this topic. I confess to a love/hate relationship with events, the “hate” part being the fact that they can be huge time suck unless you incorporate strategies to convert your event attendees into donors. Events should be part of a continuum; not a one-shot deal. They should exist within a relationship-building context. You should always think in terms of “What’s next?”
Integrated Donor-Centered Content Marketing
Click-it: Beware the 3-Verb Fumble in your writing. Thank you Jeff Brooks for this reminder. This is a mistake I see nonprofits make when writing mission statements and taglines. All. The. Time.
Click-it: 5 Ways to Develop your Content Marketing Calendar. This is a useful overview from Holly Chessman on Maximize Social Business. It will help you set goals, integrate marketing with fundraising, and bring you some sanity.
Click-it: 40 Percent of Marketers Will Use Data to Enhance Customer Experience by 2018. The Convince & Convert blog is one of my favorite marketing resources, even though it’s not explicitly oriented towards nonprofits. If you’re in the market for a new donor database or CRM, read this and look carefully before you leap. Integration of all data within your organization is increasingly essential if you want to offer donors the personalized experience they’re coming to expect. Yes, even from nonprofits.
Click-it: 5 Ways to Tell Your Story So People Actually Care. From Ed Heil on the B2C blog comes this simple and true article about the purpose of storytelling, and how to make your stories resonate. I tried to pick a top point, but each one is worth reading.
Online Social Fundraising
Click-it: 12 Not-So-Great Realities About Nonprofits and Social Media. Here’s a sobering piece from Nonprofit Tech for Good – a reminder that chasing shiny objects can be a real distraction. This is not to say you don’t need to do online social fundraising, including social media. It means you need to do so carefully, within the context of an integrated strategic development plan.
Click-it: 15 Tactics To Boost Twitter Engagement Backed By Research. You may have great content, but not enough folks are opening it. Learn how to increase your chances with these tips on the Co-Schedule blog from Halle Klingman. My faves for small to medium-size nonprofits: ##1, 2, 6, 8, 10, 11.
Click-it: 7 irresistibly clickable email subject lines. This comes from the My Emma blog. It’s not targeted to nonprofits, but I’ll bet you can use these tips to get more of your emails opened! The point here, of course, is to think carefully about your email subject lines as you approach end-of-year fundraising.
Click-it: Top 4 Examples of Effective Social Media Strategies for Nonprofit Organizations. Neil Patel put together some great examples on the Inc. blog, including a list of suggestions that can help you improve your nonprofit’s online marketing.
Click-it: How to know if your potential donor opened your cold email. This is a nifty trick, and it’s free for up to 200 notifications/month. Comes from Maher Arar of Cause Square.
Food for Thought
Click-it: I Review Hundreds Of Cover Letters—Here’s What I Instantly Reject. If you’re in the market for a new job, check this out on the Fast Company blog. From hiring many people over the years, I can confirm that your cover letter is very, very important. By the way, I also offer nonprofit career coaching, beginning with a generously discounted “Hour of Power.”
FREE LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES/RESOURCES
Annual Fundraising Appeal
Click-it to Register: Anatomy of an Annual Appeal: Create Your Compelling Fundraising Offer [Free Webinar October 26]. Your appeal letter should be an “offer” to join you in something amazing and transformative. Learn how to create this compelling offer by joining me on the 4 Good network for one of my most popular webinars. Register here!
Click-it: Prospecting Secrets to Building a Major Donor Program [Free Webinar on YouTube] Veteran development practitioner, Armando Zumaya, talks about what it takes to build a major gifts program from the ground up: prospect research, how to work with your board and volunteers, best approach methods, designing cultivation, using events and more.
Click-it: Move a First-Time Donor to a Major Donor [Free Webinar on YouTube]. This is a gem I found for you from Rachel Muir, CFRE on the Bloomerang website. You’ll learn performance metrics to help you work smarter, upgrade donors and manage your portfolio efficiently. Leran how to build a portfolio and prioritize major gift prospects, and apply cultivation plans to a calendar to stay organized and upgrade donors.
Click-it: What’s Your Data Plan – Using Analytics to Drive Fundraising Success [Free Webinar on YouTube]
Click-it: Predictive Analytics in Nonprofit Fundraising [Free Webinar on YouTube] This is a more sophisticated and very stimulating look at the topic, presented by Josh Birkholz, Author of Fundraising Analytics.
Click-it: What is Predictive Analytics [Free Webinar on YouTube]. A definition and all the basics presented by Brad Hill.
Click-it: Fundraising Report Card [Free downloadable tool]. If you’re clueless as to how your donors are performing (are you retaining them? Upgrading them?) get this free tool you can use to get a handle on how you’re doing. Thanks to Zach Shefska of MarketSmart for cluing me in to this resource.
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS – October Nonprofit Blog Carnival: Major Gifts Tricks + Treats
This month’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival, which I’m delighted to be hosting, is TRICKS or TREATS – How Do You Get and Sustain Major Gifts? Do you have a story that needs to be told? TRICKS that work? TREATS you’ve used? If you blog, write up a post with tips, tools, tales, tricks or treats— anything you like WITCH fits the topic of major gifts fundraising. Feel free to DRESS UP a past post if you’ve written something recently that fits the bill. Holiday-themed posts get special credit! Email your permalink to firstname.lastname@example.org by this Thursday, 10/24.
Need More Help with Year-End Fundraising?
Grab my Year-End Fundraising Solution Kit – To-Do’s and Checklists. My newly expanded and revised edition is a 63-page-long, step-by-step comprehensive road map to effective year-end fundraising. After working 30+ years in the trenches, I can vouch for this stuff. It’s tried and true! Get your “To-Do’s” here. Not satisfied? All Clairification products come with a 30-day, no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee. You truly can’t lose!