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Lift Up Your Nonprofit Donors with Their Olympic Moment

The Olympic torch. The lyrics remembered from a Whitney Houston song sung at the 1988 Olympics Opening Ceremonies.  Chills ran down my spine.  The hairs stood straight on my neck.  Cheesy, I know.  But it got to me.

We all yearn for that one moment where we step outside our daily, mundane lives and exceed our wildest expectations.  When we’re bigger than ourselves.

We can’t all be gold medal athletes, but we can all be gold medal philanthropists. And gold medal philanthropy facilitators.

The Olympics lifts us up.  At its best, philanthropy does this as well.  It inspires us.  It engages us fully.  It’s addictive when done right.

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Your Secret to Mindblowing Fundraising – Improve Donor Retention Just 10%

Imagine what it would mean to your mission if you doubled the lifetime value of all of your current supporters.

I recently listened in on an interview between Gail Perry and Jay Love of Bloomerang. It’s a great listen, and the two of them fired me up to write another post on the importance of focusing your efforts on donor retention.

Do you know even know what percentage of donors you’re retaining? According to Jay, less than 5% of fundraising offices know this answer!  So, you’re not alone.  But you can do better.

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Nonprofit Donor Retention is Not as Hard as You Think

heart blossoms
What do you do to let your donors’ love blossom?

At least if shouldn’t be so hard.  After all, the commercial sector manages to retain 94% of their customers. Then why does the nonprofit sector only manage to retain 41%? Even worse, new nonprofit donor retention is only 19%, down from 27% in 2011. That’s abysmal. What’s going on?

Why are our for-profit brethren beating the pants off of us when it comes to retention?

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THANKS(for)GIVING: 8 Mistakes Nonprofits Make When Thanking Donors


Are you focused on the gift or the giver?
Thanking donors is the one thing most nonprofits do not spend enough time thinking about. Too often I find that staff spend 95% of their time crafting the fundraising appeal and getting embroiled in project management – design; layout; printing, postage, etc.  Finally, the letter (or e-appeal) is ready to launch.  The mailing is dropped/the button is punched and… voila!  Gifts start to arrive!  But then what?!
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Are Your Treating Your Donors Like Gumballs?

Gumball Machine cartoon Hugh MacLeod
Do you get your donor’s gift, chew it up, then spit it out? Done?

Want your donors to sustain you? Then you can’t consume them in five minutes. Yet all too often nonprofits treat their donors exactly like a gumball dispensed from a machine. Chew it up. Spit it out. Done.

Oh, yeah… maybe you send a quick thanks to whoever gave you the change to buy the gum.  But that’s as far as your gratitude takes you. You’re over it. You never even think about that gumball again. You probably can’t even remember what color it was. You’re off hunting down your next snack.

Little snacks are nice.  But they won’t sustain you over time.  One-time donations are the same way.  And they’ll stay that way – one time – if you treat them the way you treat your gumballs.

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What Sherpas Can Teach Fundraisers

Earlier this week I posted an article talking about how fundraising professionals need to become Engagement Journey Guides. One of my readers, Amy K., suggested that was a mouthful and offered up the term “Engagement Sherpa.”  That got me thinking, so I looked up the word. Sherpa means “a member of a people noted for providing assistance to mountaineers… [and who] have achieved world renown as expert guides.” Hmmn. I really like that!

Think of your donors as mountaineers.  They’re on an ascent. It’s not just towards the top of your donor pyramid.

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How the ‘Diva of Dollars’ became the ‘Engagement Journey Guide’

 

Two equestiran riders on a journey
It’s about the journey, not the money.

Philanthropy, Not Fundraising

Here’s a true story.  Some years ago, while working for a family service agency, we became involved in a discussion about job titles.  Should folks stay as directors or become v.p’s? Should my title remain ‘Director of Development’ or switch to ‘Advancement’ or ‘External Relations’? I researched titles elsewhere. Yada, yada, yada.  I finally said I really didn’t care.  Just call me ‘Maven of Money’ or ‘Diva of Dollars.’

I didn’t get it.

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