We talk a lot in fundraising circles about inspiring people to give. Inspiration is a funny thing, however. Will we give if we’re inspired by hope or fear? Can you even call fear inspiring? Hmmn… Let’s leave those two questions aside for the moment (we’ll get back to them), and address that which I…Details
I’m offering a new feature of “Do’s vs. Don’ts.” I’ll run it occasionally, as ‘teaching opportunities’ arise. Please let me know if you find it useful!
Okay, let’s begin with today’s timely spring email example. Do you think it’s a “Do” or a “Don’t?”
What’s wrong/right with this picture? **
I’ll tell you my own thoughts in a moment. But first…
Think it through yourself because you’ll likely get more out of this if you do.
Seriously, I mean it. We learn best by doing.
Take five minutes and jot down your answers to the following questions on a piece of paper or your screen.Details
You know this when it comes to your personal life (surely you can hear your Mama’s voice in your ear). You certainly know this when it comes to political correctness (surely you know the words to avoid, at all costs). You even know this when it comes to your professional life (surely you take pains to avoid certain acronyms and jargon).
Well… guess what?
Words matter when it comes to fundraising too!
When asking people for a charitable gift, choose your words with care.
Which Fundraising Ask Word Works Best?
Here are some common ‘ask’ words:
- Pitch in
- Chip in
- Leave a legacy
I have strong favorites, as you may be able to infer from the words I’ve boldfaced.
Let me tell you why.Details
The inimitable Seth Godin recently posted some wisdom I want to share, because it applies directly to how you must ‘sell’ your nonprofit if you hope to inspire folks to join with you to solve the problems you address.
As is always the case with Godin, it is succinct. It’s also both common-sense and deeply insightful — critically so — when you take a moment to dig in a little. It relates to one of the most critical elements of any fundraising appeal:
You see, folks won’t give to you simply because you exist. Or because you’re nonprofit. Or because you’re ‘do-gooders.’
They won’t even give to you because you claim you’re addressing important issues or resolving a significant problem.
It takes more than that to capture people’s imaginations and inspire philanthropy.
The problem has to be vital, and the solving of it relevant, to them.
There are at least nine different ways in which a problem will capture a donor’s attention.Details
Dear Vu, I found your recently penned article titled “Why nonprofit staff should not be asked to donate to the organizations they work for” thought-proving and see it touched a nerve, engendering a lot of commentary, pro and con. I found the article and the commentary stimulating, hence this open letter. I respectfully disagree with…Details
You’ve still got time to sprinkle a little magic into your year-end fundraising!
Consider each of these seven words a magic potion unto themselves.
The more of these words you use, the more powerful a spell your appeal will cast.
Each of these packs a bigger persuasive punch than you might imagine.
Let’s take a closer look at how this works.Details
Are you framing your ask as an “annual appeal” or as “we only ask once a year?”
A growing body of research in psychology and behavioral economics shows how you frame your ask can have a big difference in your fundraising results.
Much of this has to do with how people mentally account for all consumer ‘purchases,’ including charitable giving.
Researchers have found people don’t treat all of their money (or time, effort or other resources) as if they have one big pool of it. Rather, they have separate mental accounts. When they spend resources they keep track of that expenditure based on the mental account it came from.
This has significant fundraising implications, so it’s important to delve further into this mental accounting principle.Details
The biggest fundraising time of the year for most nonprofits inexorably approaches.
It can be stressful.
Don’t succumb to the stress. You’ve got this!
Perhaps you can’t do everything you’d like to do this year, but you can do some things.
Here are 12 strategies for you to consider. Each will pack a big punch.
Some you can do on your own. Some will require support from technical and/or marketing staff.
Here’s the thing: Often it’s the little things that count. That pack a surprising wallop.
So don’t save all your energy for writing your appeal. Help your appeal along by putting some of the dozen suggestions that follow into effect. Even just one or two will make a difference.
Let’s get started…Details
The absolute worst thing you can do the day after #GivingTuesday is nothing.
As tempting as it is to let out a sigh of relief that it’s over, resist that temptation.
It’s not time to relax yet.
Nothing comes of nothing.
And a huge part of your goal with #GivingTuesday should be to strengthen your bonds with donors. That’s the real something you’re after.
It’s not just about the money you raise today.
Your goal with any fundraising strategy is to retain and, ultimately, upgrade these transactional donors. The name of the game in the business of sustainable fundraising is lifetime donor value. [Here’s a great book on the topic: Building Donor Loyalty: The Fundraiser’s Guide to Increasing Lifetime Value.]
Treat #GivingTuesday as a Special Event
Like it or not #GivingTuesday is a ‘special event.’(And I don’t really like it, which is why I recommend #GratitudeTuesday as an alternative).You likely put a fair amount of planning, resources and time into this event, involving the attention of more than one staffer and/or volunteer. And it sucks time away from almost everything else in the week(s) leading up to it.
It can be a real drain.
Your job is to put a stopper in that drain so all your hard work doesn’t simply swirl down the drain and disappear. That’s like working super hard to create a delicious soup you simmer over the stove for hours, maybe even days, and then you take one little taste before you pour it out and start all over again with a new one. Endless work. And no one really gets to enjoy the meal.Details
I’ve long been an advocate of turning the tables on #GivingTuesday and using the “giving” part of the day to give to donors rather than add yet one more ask from them in an already crowded solicitation season.
#GivingTuesday is one of those things that sounds good on paper, but in actual implementation it can be less than ideal.
Because it comes smack dab in the middle of most folks’ annual campaigns. So there’s often little time to do it right. And it can suck your energy and focus away from other critically important year-end fundraising efforts.
I’ve got a better choice for you.
Flip the idea and rather than asking folks to make a symbolic gift to you, why don’t you make a heartfelt gift to them?Details