On will makers are everywhere you lo these days. From FreeWill, Rocket Lawyer, Trust & Will and GivingDocs to the comprehensive LegacyPlanner, it feels like everyone is offering their own version. And sometimes it seems like they all just appeared overnight, too. But the truth is, the industry has been around for decades — both…Details
How can I make the biggest impact on the future?
Have you ever wondered how major donors think about philanthropy?
To a large extent, they think about it the same way as anyone else. They just have more money.
It’s good to remember major donors are, first and foremost, just people.
And like all human beings, they are on a continual quest for meaning. It’s the existential search to be all that one can be.
And you can help them!
You (as executive management, development staff or board member) are a facilitator of philanthropy. Your organization exists, in part, to facilitate your donor’s quest for meaning and teach the joy of giving. To do this effectively, you must be attuned to your donors. And, since the wealthy have the ability to make a larger impact when it comes to furthering your mission, you especially must be attuned to these folks.
NOTE: I am not suggesting you eschew small gift fundraising. All gifts are important, and some of your smaller donors will likely engage in other critically important ways as well. They may become ambassadors, advocates, inlfuencers, volunteers and even legacy donors. You never want to put all your eggs in one basket. At the same time, it’s smart to develop a strategy to unlock giving from those who have potential to make transformative gifts.
6 Things that May Trigger Major Gift Philanthropy
In the past I’ve looked at six major donor philanthropic triggers. You need to know about these things, because if you can key into any of them you’ll have a strong basis for pursuing a major gift from the prospect whom you’re approaching:
- They feel economically secure.
- They are in a reflective phase of life.
- They’ve demonstrated a desire to build a closer connection with your cause and community.
- They are looking for meaning and a sense of purpose.
- They are seeking autonomy.
- They are seeking to identify themselves as the person they want to see reflected in the mirror.
Today I’d like to review six more things you should be on the lookout for; then I’ll suggest four strategies to help you enter into your prospective donors’ worlds so you can make a win/win match – one that will help your major donors simultaneously help your cause and themselves.
Coincidentally, I found a back issue of Lifestyles Magazine from 2008 (yes, I’m a bit of a hoarder) and was struck by some of what the publication had to say—a veritable peek inside the minds of major donors. There’s a clue right in the way Lifestyles (now out of publication) describes their mission (highlights are mine):Details
From time to time, I host guest posts from professionals with niche expertise. There are just some things others know a lot more about than do I, especially when it comes to technology. Today’s article is one of those, from someone who really understands the ins and outs of text messaging and fundraising. Here’s what he has to say.
Nonprofits today face many challenges.
You do too! You’re busy and overworked, and the prospect of adding a new channel to your plate is daunting. But what if texting is a strategy that can help your nonprofit overcome some of the problems causing you stress?
- Are people not paying attention to your messaging? People read texts.
- Are your email numbers declining? Text messaging stats are rising.
- Do you need to make things simpler? Texting is as basic as it gets.
You can future-proof your nonprofit by embracing text messaging. Everything is going mobile, and putting a strong texting strategy in place puts you at the center of the action.
Here are 10 reasons why your nonprofit should use text messaging:
1. It’s Where People Are
Watches, phones, tablets, and more—so many people have them, and not only do they have them, they take them everywhere. These little devices have invaded our lives.
- 97% of American professionals are within 3 feet of their mobile devices 24 hours a day.
- 89% check their phones within the first 10 minutes of waking up.
- 75% take their devices to the bathroom, sometimes even falling asleep with them.
- 69% have texted someone in the same room as them.
- People look at their phone 144 times a day.
- 35% said if they could only have one, they’d rather keep their cell phone than their car!
People are on devices, so reach them on a device. After all, a classic marketing mantra is “if you want to reach people, go where they are.” And texting is the best way to do that:
Just look at the open rates: 90-95% for texting vs. 30-35% for email.
To do: Generally, more than half of web traffic is from mobile devices. In a mobile world, you need a mobile-first strategy. To persuade yourself and your leadership you should really prioritize this, take a look at your website’s analytics and compare mobile to desktop traffic. It’s time to reach people where they’re at.
Here comes my occasional “Do’s vs. Don’ts” feature, where I share with you something arriving in my mailbox that seems a good ‘teaching opportunity.’
Today we’re going to review a fundraising campaign thank you email.
It’s very simple, which is why I’ve selected it. Because simple can be deceptive. So much so, in fact, that putting it together may seem unworthy of a strategic approach. Gosh darn it — we had a successful campaign and now we’re simply closing the loop and letting our community know it was a success. How much time investment is merited here, really? Come on! Just the fact we’re sending this is good, right?
Wrong. Alas, as the old adage goes, anything worth doing is worth doing well. Otherwise, you might inadvertently create an unintended consequence.
You may think I’m picking nits. Perhaps. But if you’ve got nits, they’re pretty uncomfortable. And that’s how this email made me feel. Except… for the parts that didn’t make me feel that way. This email is a melange of do’s and don’ts.
We’ll take a look at the various elements; then assess what works/doesn’t work.
There’s (1) a subject line, (2) the email itself, and (3) what happens if/when you click through and are transported to the donation landing page.
I’ll ask you some questions.
- Would you open this email?
- If yes, why?
- If no, why?
- What looks good about the email?
- What looks not so good about the email?
- Would it inspire you to click through?
- If yes, why?
- If no, why not?
- Once you click through, would you be inspired to take action?
- If yes, why?
- If no, why not?
First, I’d like you to think about your answers and jot them down.
Second, I’ll tell you what I think.
Third, if you disagree with me please let me know in the comments below.
Really take the time to notice what you like and don’t like.
I promise you’ll learn a LOT more this way. We learn best by doing.
Seriously, I mean it.
Let’s begin at the beginning.
“We did it!”
This may help: Take three minutes and jot down your answers to the first three questions on a piece of paper or your screen. I want to know if what was in the subject headline would have caused you to open the email or hit ‘delete.’ If you’d open it, why?
Okay. Ready to learn what I think thus far, and also see what else we’re working with?
Does this Email Say “Open Me?”Details
Ready to declare your independence from the pandemic of overloaditis?
It’s a highly contagious epidemic, from which no one is immune.
Are you showing any symptoms?
Consider which of the following are true for you:
I feel like:
- I’m working all the time, but not getting that much accomplished.
- I’m working on 10 projects at once, but none get finished.
- My ‘to-do’ list never gets completed.
- I’m in meetings all day and don’t have time to work.
- I bring my laptop to meetings and pretend to take notes while surfing the web.
- I’m answering email all day and don’t have time to work.
- I answer email during conference calls and in meetings.
- I have less and less time to plan, not to mention free time.
- I have less and less time to learn, not to mention creative time.
- I can never get to things quickly enough.
- I sit down at my computer and end up doing something different than I planned.
- I am eating lunch at my desk, mired in my virtual inbox.
- I make calls while driving, and even send the occasional text, even though I know I shouldn’t.
- Vacation? What’s that?
If you checked off three or more, you’ve got the disease. 8 or more, we need to rush you to an unplugged vacation. All of the above, you need a sabbatical!
But let’s look at what else you can do to give yourself some needed relief. Right now.
- First, don’t be ashamed of this disease. You’re not alone. One study puts the number of people reporting feeling burned out at their current job at 77%!
- Second, don’t let yourself become like the proverbial boiling frog. The reason I began this article with a list of overload symptoms is to help you become aware of the signs before, bit by bit, they gradually take over your life.
- Third, begin to address the symptoms. Try to take a view from the balcony and see what your personal modus operandi looks like from up there. Productive? Effective? A good use of your time? If you were advising someone else behaving as you do, what counsel would you offer?
There’s a cure.
And what better time than Independence Day (if you’re in the U.S.A. — otherwise, any day is a good day) to set yourself free?
Seriously, don’t just read this list and toss it aside for later. If you’re overloaded, later seldom comes. Right?
Commit to doing just one of the 11 strategies below in the coming week . Personally, I suggest beginning with #1; most of us fool ourselves on this one. I also really like #2; see if you can do that over the next week or so. And #4 is a really good project to put on your calendar this week for some date in the coming month, making a commitment to decluttering.
Or pick your favorite!Details
I’m a huge Seth Godin fan, always in awe of the plethora of wisdom he manages to pack into one pithy post. I save them up, building a collection I can draw upon for inspiration as life, personal and professional, pushes in.
Recently I looked back at What’s in the box? The point of the post is to make us question our quest for perfection and all the needless worrying we put into imagining everything that can possibly go wrong. Godin encourages us to worry less; just open the box and see what’s in it. Good to consider. Yet this presumes there’s a filled box to be opened.
When we’re in reactive or firefighter mode, we must open the box. The contents must be dealt with, generally with some urgency. So, definitely, perfectionism gets in the way. There’s simply no time for it! But, what about when we’re in proactive mode, building our own projects?
A Greater Challenge Than Opening the Box
Filling and delivering it! This means coming up with useful, delightful, meaningful content your recipient will consider a true gift. Once you’ve got a nicely filled box — a good gift — it’s time to deliver so the donor’s “feel good” can begin. Alas, this is where the concept of “done enough” vs. “overdone” can rear its ugly head.
Imagine This: You plan to send some cookies to your college sophomore. You make a batch of gorgeous macarons. Then you worry they’re too fancy. The next day, before putting them in a shipping box, you decide to add some chocolate chip since they’re ‘safe’. The next day you decide, as long as you’re bothering to ship these, you’ll add some brownies and oatmeal because then there’s some to share with roommates. The next day you realize it’s almost Valentine’s Day, so they’ll probably expect some heart-shaped sugar cookies. Now you’re getting into the “project-ness” of this endeavor, and decide you’ll make a few more kinds so it’ll be a really spectacular presentation! Great fun, yes… but, what has happened to the macarons by the end of the week?
The Old Stuff Gets Stale
While it’s true sometimes things are not ready for prime time, the reverse is also true.Details
You are if your modus operandi is fire fighter.
Because, let’s be real, you’re mostly putting out fires set by other people.
It may make you feel like a hero, but it’s not the best way to approach your job on a daily basis. Let me explain by asking you to answer these questions:
- Do you find yourself spending most of your time responding to other people’s crises?
- Is your day consumed with disruptive activities?
- Do you answer email all day long?
- Do you immediately respond to texts and voicemail?
- Are you constantly reacting, with little time left for acting?
If so, you (and most likely your co-workers too) are probably not doing the important preventive work that must be done so these urgent fires don’t break out.
Prevent vs. Fight
Anyone can fight a fire; “Only YOU can prevent [forest] fires.”
So, get out of the trees for a minute, take a perch at the top of a hill, and get a panoramic birds-eye view of your organization’s forest. Look for the places where danger lurks and fires might break out. For example (this is a non-exclusive list), it could be the way:Details
When You Can’t Get Up Close And Personal, How Do You Build Relationships With Folks Online?
Are you Linking In?
If not, it’s time to take a new look at this social platform to appreciate it for the beneficial research and relationship-building strategy it can be for you.
I find it to be a highly under-utilized tool when it comes to building your nonprofit brand, establishing authority and credibility, researching and recruiting new volunteers, donors and employees, and building stronger relationships with your current constituents.
Today we’re going to talk about how to use LinkedIn to uncover new donor prospects and build donor relationships.
Not too much. Just four no-nonsense strategies.
To begin, let’s look at two connection models:Details
The single most important lesson I ever learned.
Begin with the why.
If you don’t, you’re likely to work very hard and not achieve much of value.
Because you didn’t begin your endeavor by asking yourself:
“What’s the value in this work upon which I’m about to embark?”
“Why am I doing this?”
This may be the most powerful strategy in your entire toolbox.
So simple. So basic. So fundamental.
Yet it’s a step we tend to overlook.
The often-overlooked steps.
Humans are funny creatures.
Monkey see, monkey do.
Monkey be told what to do, monkey do.
We’re driven instinctually, by biology, to survive.
Don’t eat the berries no one else is eating. We take what appears to be the safest course.
It generally works in the short term. There must be a reason.
Sometimes, however, there is no reason.
There’s just habit.
Or the reason isn’t a good one.
Answering the why question requires two elements: knowing what and who something is for. Let’s begin with the what.Details
If you’ve never read management and marketing guru Peter Drucker, you must. I fell in love with him early on in my nonprofit career, and still regularly draw upon his wisdom. It hasn’t aged; he was ahead of his time, and remains a worthy sage for ours.
Perhaps the most important thing I learned from Drucker was you must begin with the “why” question. What is your purpose?
“It is defined by the want the customer satisfies when she buys a product or service.”
You want to think about your purpose both broadly and narrowly. But not so broadly as to only be talking about your category. The fact you’re a human services agency, school, arts organization or environmental charity does not answer the question: “What would happen if you ceased to exist?”
Most founders do not wake up one day with the epiphany “I want to start a nonprofit.” They have more explicit goals related to solving specific problems. “I want to provide homeless people with access to showers.” “I want to offer equine therapy to kids with disabilities.” “I want to find a cure for this degenerative disease my kid has.” And so on.
If a customer has no soap to buy, they can’t get clean. If a homeless person has no shower or toilet available, they can’t get clean. Whether the business is for- or non-profit, the sought-after impact is cleanliness – and all the ways being clean makes people feel, think and behave. Goals that answer the “why” question are focused on impact. People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.
Know your existential why — the meaningful impact you want to make — in order to build a plan to reach that goal.
A goal worth meeting is one other people share. Find out:Details