For Whom the Bell Tolls: Major Gifts Officers Will Lose Their Jobs in 2 Years

Unless… they reinvent themselves.

I know this sounds harsh. But check out Seth Godin’s Tried and false where he bluntly tells the truth about the tried and true: “In times of change… most of the tried is in fact, false. False because what used to work, doesn’t, at least not any longer.”

You may have been the best major gift officer on the planet five years ago.  But that was then. This is now. The buying/giving market has fundamentally changed. And, yes, the culprit is the digital revolution. That’s how revolutions work. It’s truly the end of business as usual.

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4 Crucial Steps to Develop a Donor Retention System

When you ask a fundraiser what the most difficult part of their job is, chances are you’ll get one of two answers – acquiring donors or retaining donors. Any fundraising organization is bound to come up against these problems at some point. But here’s the thing that is often overlooked – if you do a better job retaining donors, you can spend less time and money trying to acquire new donors.

Could this be the secret formula for fundraising success? Well, not entirely. But it’s a solid start.

Donor retention can seem elusive for many non-profits. It’s frustrating to pull up your annual reports to find out that you’ve only had 50% of last year’s donors make a gift again this year. Sometimes, it can even feel like a personal defeat.

If you’re working on the annual giving side of development, keep track of thousands of donors is nearly impossible. Your database can quickly become your archenemy. Having the highly personal relationships that major gift officers have with donors is a novel pipe dream.

But what if it was possible to scale this concept to create a system that retains donors?

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What’s the ‘Oh Goody!’ Rule of Email Appeals, and Why Do You Need It?

Cat exulting. Hooray!
Oh Goody! I got email from Top Cat.

Chances are good that when you open your email box a majority of the messages are of little interest to you. You don’t know who they’re from, they look like junk, or they’re coming from someone who doesn’t interest you enough to compel you to open their message.  If you have time, maybe you will.  If you don’t, maybe you’ll hit “delete.”

You don’t want your e-appeal to wind up in the trash heap. To avoid this, you need to use the ‘Oh Goody’ Rule.

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Why You May Not Have Time for an Email Campaign

Jumping on the bed
Are you giving yourself time to sleep on it and channel your superhero?

I was playing around on Mashable yesterday and happened on The Key to More Successful Email Campaigns: Time.  Since I recently offered you Top 10 Tips for Successful Nonprofit E-Appeals (and the big 11th is coming on Monday – you’ve still got time to guess what it is and win a free e-appeal review!), I thought I’d share this with you as a nice complement.

It’s something that should be a no-brainer; but, as Pooh describes it, sometimes we all can be “a Bear of No Brain at All.” How can we be the Best Bear in all the World?

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7 Ways to Build Rapport with Donors Using Creative ‘Thank You’s

To build authentic rapport with folks you must show them you care.  And the simplest way to demonstrate affection is through a heartfelt ‘Thank You.’ It can be in person, in writing, over the phone, through a text, via video or any which way you choose.

The key is to begin with thank you, and make it personal and prompt.

Here’s a personal example.  Recently my son found he’d have an unexpected layover in San Francisco.  I jumped at the opportunity to join him for dinner, though it meant cancelling plans with my friends.  The next morning, as he was getting on the plane, he texted them: “Thanks for changing your plans so I could see my Mom. I appreciate it.”  You may be thinking ‘no big deal.’ But it IS a big deal. He showed my friends he saw their flexibility as a gift. And someone (who?) taught him to always send a thank you for a gift. My friends were touched. Mama was proud.

Look for the hidden gifts and thank folks for them. (Click to Tweet) My friends gave me and my son a hidden gift. I’m guessing your donors do this too. They remember to send in a matching gift form. They agree to make a few phone calls. They send you their alma mater’s newsletter as a sample. All these things are worthy of acknowledgment.  Send great thank you letters for cash donations too, of course. But endeavor to touch your supporters whenever and wherever you can.

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