Man running with money

Giving Tuesday: Don’t Take the Money and Run

Man running with money

The absolute worst thing you can do the day after Giving Tuesday 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 Giving Tuesday 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.]

Run towards, not away.

Treat Giving Tuesday as a Special Event

Like it or not, Giving Tuesday is a ‘special event.’ With all the pre-planning and post event strategies events embrace. And I don’t really like it, which is why I recommend #GratitudeTuesday as an alternative.If you’re on board with a traditional #GT strategy however, you’ll likely put a fair amount of planning, resources and time into this event. This involves 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. Would you work super hard to create a delicious soup you simmer over the stove for hours, maybe even days, and then 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.

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Thank you note writing

Why Prompt, Personal Thank You’s are Nonprofit Donors’ Inalienable Right

Thank you note writingIn 2018, WSJ columnist Christopher Mims observed:

“Alongside life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, you can now add another inalienable right: two-day shipping on practically everything.”

”Everything” includes a prompt expression of gratitude when someone makes a philanthropic gift to your organization.

At least that’s what donors believe.

And you better deliver – or else.

Don’t Think Donors will Give You a Pass Because You’re Nonprofit

People have come to expect this kind of turnaround by land, air and sea. So, you better believe they expect it by internet!

Especially if they make their gift online.

And, yes, they expect it from you.

They know you have the ability to send them

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Food bank giving

The True Meaning of Giving Tuesday

Food bank givingThis year Giving Tuesday is November 29th. So, soon.

Now is a good time to think about whether or not you want to jump on the bandwagon and, if so, how. There is more than one way to slice this particular piece of pie. And, really, that’s what Giving Tuesday is – just one piece of your total annual fundraising strategy.

You don’t want to blow it out of proportion. But you probably don’t want to ignore it. Rather, plan ahead to put it into a context where it will complement your other year-end communications and fundraising strategies.

Let’s take a closer look.

What is Giving Tuesday?

I confess I’ve been a bit of an apologist for the “holiday.” I like to turn the tables by actually giving to donors, rather than asking them to give yet one more time during this busiest fundraising time of the year.

Plus, I often say if you want gifts, you must give them. What better time to do so than on giving Tuesday?

Of course, asking can also be a form of giving. So, I love appeals on this date that give people the option of giving money or supporting you in other ways.

It’s all philanthropy (aka “love of humanity”).

Key: Approach GT Strategy with a Giving Spirit

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ducks in a row, swimming

5 More Top Strategies to Prepare for Fall Fundraising

ducks in a row, swimmingIn Part 1 of this two-part series of “Top 10 Strategies to Prepare for Fall Fundraising” we covered.

  1. Clean up Data
  2. Purge Mailing Lists
  3. Review Staff, Vendors and Freelancers
  4. Set Priority Objectives Based on Last Year’s Results
  5. Solidify a Multi-Channel Marketing Campaign

Today we’ll look at:

  1. Send Impact Reports to Set the Stage
  2. Stock Up on Compelling, Relevant Stories and Photos
  3. Connect with Major and Mid-Level Donors
  4. Prioritize Contacts with Mid-Level and Other Promising Supporters
  5. Plan Ahead to Welcome Donors to The Flock

Ready to get all your ducks in a row?

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Ducks in a row

Top 5 Strategies to Prepare for Fall Fundraising NOW

Ducks in a rowYou’ve got one month before fall fundraising season begins in earnest.

What will you do with it?

I’VE GOT 10 TOP STRATEGIES TO HELP YOU GET ALL YOUR DUCKS IN A ROW!

We’ll start with the first five today.

  1. Clean up Data
  2. Purge Mailing Lists
  3. Review Staff, Vendors and Freelancers
  4. Set Priority Objectives Based on Last Year’s Results
  5. Solidify a Multi-Channel Marketing Campaign

Next week we’ll look at:

  1. Send Impact Reports to Set the Stage
  2. Stock Up on Compelling, Relevant Stories and Photos
  3. Connect with Major and Mid-Level Donors
  4. Prioritize Contacts with Mid-Level and Other Promising Supporters
  5. Plan Ahead to Welcome Donors to The Flock

Ready?

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Skyrocketing

10 Strategies to Skyrocket Major Gift Fundraising

Skyrocketing“Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop.” So wrote Lewis Carroll in Alice in Wonderland.

It’s the same with major donor fundraising, except you don’t ever really stop.  You just start up again. You do follow a prescribed path, however.  And here’s what it looks like:

  1. Before
  2. Ground Floor
  3. Explore
  4. Back Door
  5. Adore
  6. Mentor
  7. Ask For
  8. Implore
  9. Rapport
  10. Report

If you do this correctly, it becomes a transformational process for the donor. They want to stay connected and engaged and invested.  Which is why you don’t stop.  You follow up with “Some More.”

But first…

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Broken Heart

Important News about Relationship Fundraising: Stop Losing Donors

Broken Heart
Do you know how you may be breaking your donor’s heart? Keep it up, and they’ll break yours.

This is important.

It’s about a report that may change how you do fundraising.

It should.

Let me explain.

Unless you’ve been asleep at the wheel, by now you should know most nonprofits have been hemorrhaging donors for over a decade.

By tending to focus more on expensive, staff-intensive acquisition strategies like direct mail and special events, charities are bringing in one-time donors who never give to them again. It’s why I focus so much on donor retention strategies and exhort you to make them your priority strategy.

Why? Because otherwise all your acquisition efforts are wasted. The latest Fundraising Effectiveness Project Report  revealed an astounding 81% of first-time donors lapse. [BTW: This isn’t the report that’s going to change your modus operandi; it’s merely the rationale for the release of the report that will. Keep reading.] Of repeat donors, 39% lapse. This means, on average, charities retain only 45% of all donors. For every 100 new donors acquired, on average nonprofits lost 96 existing donors. That means you’re engaging in a whole lot of work, for a pretty miserable return on investment.

“Over 70% of people that we recruit into organizations never come back and make another gift, so we’re caught on this treadmill where we have to spend lots of money on acquisition which most nonprofits lose money on anyway, just to stand still.”

– Professor Adrian Sargeant,
Director of the Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy at Plymouth University

This is the proverbial three steps forward, two steps back – only worse!

This burn and churn strategy is killing nonprofits — and burning out the folks who work in them.

Why is it that for profits manage to retain 94% of customers, yet there’s such a huge disparity when it comes to nonprofits?

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Proven 1-2-3 to Nonprofit Fundraising Success

L O V E Sign behind a fenceUnderlying this 1-2-3 formula is a need for balance.

It’s obvious. I know you know it. But… do you do it?

I’m here today, just in case you need a little reminder.

  1. The first step is essential for success in anything.
  2. The second step is essential for success in any consumer-facing business.
  3. The third step is essential for success in reaching a fundraising goal.

When the world seems wildly out of balance, it is incumbent on us to begin with centering actions: for ourselves, others, and our mission.

Balancing Trick: You. Donor. Nonprofit.

I’m talking about balancing self-love with donor-love with mission-love.

You can’t help others unless you first take care of yourself.

This is a truism you should carry with you throughout your life, and not just when the oxygen masks come down on an airplane. It’s never been truer than in the times in which we’re currently living, when there are new things about which to worry seemingly daily.

How do you lead the way forward, helping yourself and others navigate through the tough times?

I’d like to suggest you heed this 3-Step Formula to nonprofit fundraising success.

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Giant gummy bear

The Giant Mid-Level Fundraising Opportunity Your Nonprofit’s Missing

Giant gummy bear escaping from smaller gummies

Bet you’ve got some giants hiding in your midst.

Nonprofits pay a lot of attention to donor acquisition. Then?

They largely ignore these donors, unless…

They become worthy of attention by virtue of being ‘major’ donors. Then?

Nonprofits pay a lot of attention to major donor relationship building. But…

Between new donor acquisition and major donor cultivation, solicitation and stewardship, what happens?

Usually not enough.

This is a BIG missed opportunity.

You’ve likely got great donor prospects hiding inside your own donor base, and you’re essentially treating them like, well, poop.

What if you were to begin to look at your mid-level donors as the transformational fundraising opportunity they are?

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