Transactional Nonprofit Work vs. Transformational Donor-Led Progress

Transactional Nonprofit Work vs. Transformational Donor-Led Progress

Greg Warner of Market Smart writes a lot about the difference between “work” and “progress.” I appreciate the distinction, both professionally and personally. I think you can use this notion, so I’m going to recommend some of his articles to you and also suggest a way to extend this idea to your nonprofit fundraising.

Warner notes in Why You Should Never Get a Job and Go to Work: “work” is tedious and negative; “progress” is inspiring and positive.

This is about being intentional about where you’re going.

It’s somewhat about perception and desitnation, but I’d argue it’s largely about the journey.

Your journey. Your donor’s journey.

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Adopt a Gratitude Culture: 5 Ways to Stop Losing Donors

It’s common for retail businesses to adopt the mantra: “The customer is always right.” But when’s the last time you heard “The donor is always right?” Too often, the opposite is true.

I hear a lot of complaining about donors. They should do this (e.g., give because it’s the ‘right’ thing to do; be compliant and not make us work so hard); they shouldn’t do that (e.g., give any way other than ‘unrestricted’; require reports that take us hours to complete). I don’t hear enough of “What can we do to delight our donors today?”

What can you do to delight your donors?

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Psychology of Securing Lasting Nonprofit Donor Commitments

I recently happened on an article by Otis Fulton and Katrina VanHuss of Turnkey, Trump Buyer’s Remorse? Not Likely…. It relates to one of Robert Cialdini’s principles of influence and persuasion: “commitment and consistency.”

The main point is this:

Once we make a decision, and strongly attach ourselves to an idea by agreeing orally or in writing, it’s more likely we’ll stick with that decision than change our minds.

Because we are wired to want to be consistent.

That to which we commit becomes congruent with our self image.

What does this mean for you as a fundraiser?

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I am grateful

How to Cultivate Awe, Gratitude and Altruism to Boost Nonprofit Fundraising

I’m a huge fan of the Greater Good Science Center at U.C. Berkeley, and often apply their research to nonprofit fundraising and marketing.  A recent article really struck me: How to Find Your Purpose in Life.

Over my 30 years of practice as an in-house development professional, the fundamental thing I learned is this:

You serve your donors every bit as much as they serve your organization’s mission.

Please allow that to sink in.

You have a mission. A purpose. Donors can help you get there.

Your donors are looking for purpose. You can help them find it.

It’s a symbiotic relationship.  And you have a role in fostering that relationship.  What is that role?

Your job is to facilitate your donor’s philanthropic journey. Their journey to discover their purpose.

So what’s this really all about?

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How Positive Feedback Boosts Nonprofit Fundraising

Recognition. Appreciation. Acknowledgment. Gratitude.

Psychologists, sociologists, philosophers, economists and historians have often studied and documented this phenomenon. It’s part of our quest for meaning and connection.

  • Darwin talked about “survival of the most loving.” Communities who took care of each other were the “fit” ones.  Similarly, those members most sensitive to group feedback survived. It’s difficult to make it alone.
  • Maslow talked about the need for love, community, esteem and self-actualized identification with a higher purpose.
  • Psychologist Matthew Lieberman, in “Social, Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect,” writes about how MRI scans reflect that our brains are hard-wired to respond to positive recognition from others.

I like the way

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8 Top Ways to Send Nonprofit Donors Love on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day offers the perfect opportunity for donor stewardship!

And you’ve still got time to send a little love your donors’ way.

Why might this be something for you to consider, amidst all the other “to-do’s” on your plate?

If you don’t do a lot more donor loving, you’re going to do a lot more donor losing.

I hope by now you know donor retention is the name of the game. It costs so much more to acquire a new donor than to keep an existing one. Yet too few nonprofits have serious, intentional donor stewardship programs in place. Because of that, on average, nonprofits lose nearly 8 out of 10 first-time donors and close to 6 out of 10 of all donors.

Don’t be one of those organizations whose donors only hear from you when you want something from them.

Be generous, and show them how much their support means to you. Do this frequently, like it’s part of breathing for you.

They love you, and show you.

You love them, and show them.

You’ll be amazed at how a little love can go a long way.

There are 364 other days each year on which you can fundraise.

This year why not dedicate Valentine’s Day to giving, not asking? Think about those donors for whom you’d like to show some special love, because they showed you some. Show them you noticed!

If you can’t send valentines to every donor, pick a segment or two. It could be:

  • Major donors.
  • Monthly donors.
  • Donors who’ve given faithfully for five years or more.
  • Donors who increased their giving this year.
  • First-time donors of $100+.
  • Donors who also volunteer.
  • Board and committee members.
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Thankful for Thanksgiving

Thanks(for)giving

Thankful for ThanksgivingThis Thursday folks in the United States will celebrate what I consider to be the social benefit sector holiday of the year: Thanksgiving!

Just think about what it means.  Literally, it’s a day for giving thanks for our blessings.

Who do you count among yours?

I know when we go around the table at my family Thanksgiving, saying what we’re grateful for this year, most folks respond with a people-based answer. Sure, they’re happy about the feast in front of them. But they’re most grateful for caring friends. For loving family. For being together and sharing the warmth of good company.

Who are you grateful to at your organization?

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4 Nonprofit Strategies to Build Donor Trust & Lasting Relationships

Trust is the foundation of all lasting relationships.

If you don’t build trust, or if somehow you manage to destroy it, you’re going to lose your donor.

Sadly, this happens more often than not.  By now you’re likely familiar with the stats on donor retention from the Fundraising Effectiveness Project.  Only 23% of first-time donors renew. Only 46% of all donors, new plus ongoing, renew.

If you want to improve on these retention rates (and you definitely can!), I’m going to suggest you develop a plan to build trust.

Trust is built not simply by what you say, but by what you do.  Not just once, but consistently over time.

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customer experience

6 Ways to Create a Superior Nonprofit Donor Experience

customer experience

Are you aware that one of the hottest things in for-profit management over the past 5 – 10 years or so is “customer experience?” There’s an entire industry that’s grown up around it.

It’s something that goes beyond customer service.

Customer service is to an outbound marketing world what customer experience is to an inbound marketing world. The former you do to your constituents; the latter you do with them.

You may be asking why this is important.

Post digital revolution, nonprofits must adapt to the realities of inbound marketing. The way people find and engage with you in a constantly connected, networked marketplace has changed. Your constituencies crave interaction. And meaning. And, gosh darn it, they want you to make them feel good!

They want a full-bore, positive experience with you.

Fail to deliver?  They’ll go elsewhere. 

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