What if we said “Give Where Most Moved” instead? No one likes to be scolded. Yet most nonprofits make a practice of regularly admonishing supporters to give “where most needed.” You probably think this is a good thing. After all, it gives you the greatest flexibility. Right? Wrong. Think again. You’ll have a lot …Details
As a fundraising professional, relationship building with donors is an ongoing process and communication is an important part of that process. Stories are a great communications tool that you can use to tell donors about their impact in a tangible and easy to understand manner.
Storytelling seems to be everywhere these days. Non-profits are actively trying to use stories to engage their current and new donors. Is your non-profit trying to tap into the power of stories? Perhaps it’s been a positive experience for your organization. But maybe you have faced some challenges.
One of the biggest challenges with storytelling is being able to tell a great story. A story that really stands out from the pack and resonates with your donor audience. A story that, ultimately, compels action.
Today I want to share with you 7 rules for telling a better non-profit story.Details
Children crave sugar, cars want gasoline, and nonprofits need money to operate at full capacity. While moms bake their children cookies and drivers give their cars all the fuel they need, nonprofits have donors to keep them running. Nonprofits need all the dollars they can get, which is why increasing fundraising from matching gifts is such a crucial endeavor.Details
I came across this Stanford research study in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, and I have to say I’m surprised.
The article claims there’s an “empathy gap” between men and women. Because of this, it advises emphasizing how the prospective male donor will benefit from their philanthropy, rather than highlighting the impact of their philanthropy on the beneficiary.
I’m not certain the right take-away from this research is to smother men with “hard” factual data and women with “soft” emotional stories.
Because I’ve read study after study that show the heart trumps the mind – and stories out-pull data — every time.Details
One of my secret pleasures is watching the show “Chopped” show on the Food Network. Today I watched an episode that just had me bawling at the end. It was the most heartwarming show I’ve ever seen. And it reminded me of why all of you do the work that you do in the social benefit sector.
So please allow me to share.
I don’t know if I can adequately convey the pathos I felt, but if you’ve had a chance to see this episode I would strongly recommend it. It will make you feel very good. At the same time, it will make you understand — even more than ever — how much work there is to be done.Details
Stop Making Me — and Your Readers — Work
If reading your appeal seems like hard work to me, than why should I bother? I work all day! If reading your appeal seems like a struggle for comprehension, then what’s the point? I struggle to understand stuff all day.
My brain needs a rest.
Even more, my brain would enjoy a treat. Something that lights up my pleasure centers and makes me feel good.
Does your appeal do that for your would-be donors? Or does it require them to put in great effort to get through it?
Reading may be a breeze for you. But it’s not for everybody. Lots and lots of folks suffer from a range of “reading processing disorders” that make it difficult for them to plow through a bunch of dense text.Details
How did your #GivingTuesday go? I’m hoping it was a great success from your perspective, but what about your donor’s perspective? What can you do to assure your donors feel like the heroes they are for making your mission possible?
Right off the bat, make sure you have a robust gratitude program in place. Thank them. Then thank them again. All through the year. The more consistently you practice gratitude, the better. If you don’t have a documented donor acknowledgment program in place, now’s the time to begin.
Whatever you do, don’t just stuff your “#GivingTuesday donors into your database, send out automated receipts, smack your lips and count up the results to report to your board. Really, truly make sure these folks feel thanked for having done something selfless and special.
Then, next year…Details
In a recent Clairification post I told you I collect fundraising appeals. I suggested you do so as well. When you’ve got a nice little bunch, get together with your team and evaluate them. Figure out together what makes them work. There are some neat little tricks I’ve learned over my 30+ year career that…Details
I decided to write this post due to the number of times nonprofits ask me “How often should we mail to our donors?” The corollary question is “How often can we ask people to give?”
Well… if there was one quick answer I wouldn’t have needed to write a whole article. I’d just have given you a headline with a definitive response!
I know you want a definite answer.
And I could give you one. But it wouldn’t be the truth. Because the truth is different for every nonprofit. And the truth will even be different for your nonprofit at different points in your life cycle.
There are two definitive things I can tell you:Details
I’m a collector. I collect red and white kitchen memorabilia, flour sifters, tablecloths and fundraising appeals. I also tell my clients to become collectors (but just of the last item on my list!). I ask them to collect only appeals that demand their attention and cause them to give. After all, isn’t that the true measure of a fundraising appeal’s effectiveness?
I encourage them to ask everyone in their organization (other staff, board members, volunteers) to share winning appeals with them. Then I ask them to share the successful appeals with their team and endeavor to tease out what it is about these appeals the recipients find so irresistible.
Figure out what works; then copy it! After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
This is a great exercise for you and your team, and over the next several posts I’m going to suggest some things I find common to the most successful fundraising appeals. Ask these questions of the successful appeals you’re reviewing. Let’s begin!Details