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Be Clairaudient to Make Your Nonprofit Donors Happy

Ever hear of “A.Word.A.Day” with Anu Garg?  I hadn’t. Until a friend recently shared with me that day’s word. She said, “this one’s all about you!” The word?

Clairaudience.

It’s a perfect word for fundraisers, because it’s precisely what you must do – a skill you absolutely must have – if you’re to succeed with sustainable fundraising.

It means the ability to hear what is in people’s hearts and minds. 

It’s a lot like clairvoyance, but it brings in the audience perception. It’s the ability to “hear” what is inaudible — by getting a read on what folks are thinking and feeling on the inside. Despite what they may reveal on the outside.

Guess who is good at this?

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How to Rock Donor Thank You Calls

6 Keys to Rock Thank You Calls and Retain More Donors

You’ve got to make donor retention more of a priority. It’s one of the top five things your nonprofit must do to survive and thrive in today’s competitive nonprofit marketplace.

Research shows the average nonprofit in the U.S. loses 77% of donors after the first gift!!!!!

To make matters worse, the probability that a donor will make five consecutive gifts is only 10-15%. These numbers are just not sustainable for most organizations. By the time you’ve added a new donor most of your previous new donors are out the door.

Allow that to sink in a moment.

Do you know what your donor retention rate is? If you do, there’s hope for you to improve it. Read on. If you don’t, you don’t even know there’s something that needs fixing!

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#GivingTuesday or Gratitude Tuesday? Choose How You'll Roll

GivingTuesday2015Did you participate in #GivingTuesday last year? I’m hoping it was a great success from your perspective, but what about your donor’s perspective?

What did you do to assure your donors felt like the heroes they are for making your mission possible? What can you do?

What about thinking about what’s called #GivingTuesday a bit differently?

What if, instead of asking donors to give to you, you decided to use this occasion to give to them?

Embrace Gratitude on Tuesday December 1st!

What if you and your organization do the giving? Are you grateful to your donors for making your mission possible? Show them.

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1 Big Donor Retention Secret: Giving is Not Always its Own Reward

What are you doing to give your donor the meaning s/he seeks?
What are you doing to give your donors the meaning they seek?

Donor needs vary and evolve, depending on where they are in their own life cycle and their life cycle with your nonprofit. Do you ever wonder how you might help them meet their needs? How you might reward them for giving?  You should — if you want to keep them as donors.

You may be familiar with Maslow’s “Theory of Human Motivation” where he breaks needs for human development and contentment down into steps that form a pyramid. Maslow suggests the basic human needs such as food, shelter, and sleep are required before you can pursue higher needs such as security, love and belonging, esteem and the need for self-actualization.

Sadly, just giving to charity doesn’t necessarily meet these higher-level needs. Donors may give out of guilt, fear, peer pressure (which doesn’t feel so good). Some give to be praised (meets esteem need, but only if you praise them). Some give to be accepted by peers (meets love & belonging need, but only if you offer opportunities to connect and feel loved)… and so forth. You see, giving is not always it’s own reward.

To create life-long donors imposes on your charity the obligation to do something proactive to fulfill your donor’s highest level needs.

Donors, like all human beings, are on a continual quest for meaning. It’s the existential search to be all that one can be. To feel self-actualized.

In non-psychological or theoretical terms, at the self-actualization pinnacle donors just feel darn good. They carry around a warm glow, representing the realization of their potential and inner peace.

This feeling is very powerful – and we human beings naturally seek it out. It’s one of reasons why even very poor give outsized proportions of their income to charity.

Another way to describe this is the search for meaning in life. For most people, meaning is deeply intertwined with community connections. Victor Frankl in his famous chronicle on the search for meaning wrote: love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Humans want to feel a sense of connection and a sense of purpose to life. Giving (time, money, and energy) is a central way that we strive to find meaning.

If your nonprofit doesn’t complete the exchange circuit for donors, their search for meaning gets cut short.

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4 Things Clothing Upcycling Can Teach Nonprofits about Donor Retention

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Stop discarding clothes (letting donors lapse); Treasure them (renew and upgrade).

I know this may sound silly, but I sometimes like to think of my donors as clothing.

Huh?

Well, shopping is one of my favorite activities so I think about clothing a lot. I think about the many ways I can use it, repurpose it, mix and match it, show it off and even share it with friends and family. I treasure my clothing, and have a great deal of difficulty letting go of any of it (yes, my closet is stuffed to the gills)!

So, how are donors like clothing?

  • They cover a lot of basic needs.
  • They keep you (aka your nonprofit) warm and cozy.
  • They enable you to get through different seasons.
  • They help you look good.
  • They help you show off your brand and strut your stuff.
  • They attract others to you.
  • They are a big part of the story of your life.
  • And you should have a lot of trouble letting go of them.

Unfortunately, most nonprofits are much too cavalier about letting go. It’s expensive. It’s a waste of time. It’s completely irresponsible if you care about your nonprofit’s future – so I want you to STOP IT!

4 Ways to Cherish and Hold on to Donors

  1. Stop Discarding Donors; Treasure Them
  2. Meaningfully Thank Donors; Do it a Lot
  3. Show Impact with Stories and Compelling Images
  4. Build the Relationship

In Part 1 of this article I’ll discuss the first two ways. The second two ways will be covered in Part 2.

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5 Ways to Revolutionize Your Nonprofit Culture to Stop Losing Donors

Do you have a "top service" donor-centered culture? If not, you're losing donors you could keep. Time for a revolution!
Do you have a “best service” donor-centered culture? If not, you’re losing donors you could keep. Time for a revolution!

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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Heed Maya Angelou to Retain More Donors

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

― Maya Angelou

Respected American author, poet, dancer, actress, singer and civil rights spokesperson, Maya Angelou, knows a thing or two about what makes people tick.

And when you’re endeavoring to keep more of your supporters, this is exactly what you must know too.

The Big Secret

Make people feel good. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Simple, yes? Common sense, yes?

And yet, how many of you actively practice this in your daily life at work?

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6 Secrets to Getting Your Donor Thank You Out in 48 Hours

Did you get my gift? Why haven't I heard from you yet?
Did you get my gift? Why haven’t I heard from you yet? Is this how you run the rest of your business?

In my work with nonprofits, especially the small to medium-sized ones (but sometimes the big ones too!) there’s one question many of you struggle with:

Gosh dang it! How on earth do you develop a system that assures thank you’s really get out in 48 hours?

The good news is: You’re not alone.  The even better news is: I’m going to give you the answer to your question.

HERE’S THE BIGGEST SECRET:

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