If you’re a small to medium-sized organization or movement, especially if you’re local, you’ve got an unfair advantage over your larger compatriots in the social benefit sector. Perhaps you’ve never loed at it this way. Perhaps you fret about not being able to compete with the behemoths. Perhaps you’ve been waiting to hire a major…Details
Congratulations! Whether you’re planning a stand-alone auction or adding an auction to an existing event, these fun-filled bidding extravaganzas serve multiple purposes. They’re hard work (after all, anything worth doing takes dedication, energy and time), but well worth the effort when done well. They can help you: Raise money. Provide additional value and entertainment…Details
In Take Heed Nonprofits: The Sky is Not Falling, but it’s Cloudy we loed at trends in giving and how this might impact your strategic fundraising planning. Some of the data-based take-aways included: Less Donors and Dollars Overall Less Individual Donors — Shrinking Slice of Fundraising Pie More Foundation and Corporate Giving Focus of Giving…Details
Philanthropic giving has been on a downswing for a while, but this past year’s data is notable due to distinct changes in donor behavior. I don’t want you throwing your hands up in despair. Rather, I want you to take a good hard lo at the data so you can develop a plan with strategies…Details
From time to time, I host guest posts from professionals with niche expertise. There are just some things others know a lot more about than do I, especially when it comes to technology. Today’s article is one of those, from someone who really understands the ins and outs of text messaging and fundraising. Here’s what he has to say.
Nonprofits today face many challenges.
You do too! You’re busy and overworked, and the prospect of adding a new channel to your plate is daunting. But what if texting is a strategy that can help your nonprofit overcome some of the problems causing you stress?
- Are people not paying attention to your messaging? People read texts.
- Are your email numbers declining? Text messaging stats are rising.
- Do you need to make things simpler? Texting is as basic as it gets.
You can future-proof your nonprofit by embracing text messaging. Everything is going mobile, and putting a strong texting strategy in place puts you at the center of the action.
Here are 10 reasons why your nonprofit should use text messaging:
1. It’s Where People Are
Watches, phones, tablets, and more—so many people have them, and not only do they have them, they take them everywhere. These little devices have invaded our lives.
- 97% of American professionals are within 3 feet of their mobile devices 24 hours a day.
- 89% check their phones within the first 10 minutes of waking up.
- 75% take their devices to the bathroom, sometimes even falling asleep with them.
- 69% have texted someone in the same room as them.
- People look at their phone 144 times a day.
- 35% said if they could only have one, they’d rather keep their cell phone than their car!
People are on devices, so reach them on a device. After all, a classic marketing mantra is “if you want to reach people, go where they are.” And texting is the best way to do that:
Just look at the open rates: 90-95% for texting vs. 30-35% for email.
To do: Generally, more than half of web traffic is from mobile devices. In a mobile world, you need a mobile-first strategy. To persuade yourself and your leadership you should really prioritize this, take a look at your website’s analytics and compare mobile to desktop traffic. It’s time to reach people where they’re at.
When you’re not aware you’re making a mistake, it’s hard to avoid it.
So let’s get curious. I’m going to ask you to close your eyes for a minute to imagine a donor you’ve been wanting to ask for a major gift. I’m going to ask you to visualize a space where you’re meeting. Put them in your office, their home, a café or even a Zoom screen. Choose what’s comfortable, and where you think you’d be most likely to meet with this donor within the next month or so.
Okay… do you have your donor and your meeting space in mind? Excellent!
Now, before closing your eyes, commit to visualizing these four things:
- You’re in the room together.
- You smile. They smile back.
- Someone else is in the room with both of you. Imagine you brought them with you. Who are they, and how does it feel having them there to support you?
- Bolstered by the smiles and good company, what do you say to open the conversation?
Okay, are you ready to close your eyes? Even if this feels a little weird, why not give it a try?
EXERCISE: You can do this by yourself, but it works better if you do it in a pair. Find a co-worker, friend or family member to prompt you to close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Notice if you’re holding tension anywhere in your body. Relax those areas (forehead; neck; shoulders; hands; belly; thighs; calves; feet). Now have them ask you the following questions:
(1) Pick a donor to meet with.
(2) Pick your meeting space.
(3) Pick an additional person to support you in the room (e.g., program director; subject matter expert; volunteer; executive director; board member; other donor). Describe who they are, and how it feels having them there.
(4) Open the conversation. What are you saying to them? What are they saying back? What’s their body language? Are their eyes lighting up? Are they smiling? Leaning forward? Play this scenario out just a bit, until you get to a place of comfort or discomfort.
Then open your eyes.
What did that feel like?
What felt comfortable to you? Uncomfortable? Did it feel more comfortable and pleasant than you may have imagined?
Smiling people, committed to the same cause, hanging out in a comfortable space together…. from such a space can come many good things.
- What did you say to open the conversation?
- How did that feel?
- If it felt good, why?
- If it didn’t feel good, why?
Take a few minutes to journal some answers to those questions. I guarantee this will help you shift the energy for the next time you move into this space – in real time – with a donor.
A Mistake is Just a Misjudgment
It’s not fatal; you can correct it. But first you have to recognize it happened!
Mistakes in major donor conversations generally arise when you don’t know enough about the donor, or vice-versa. That’s why there are two kinds of major donor visits:Details
You don’t just roll out of bed one day, randomly go visit a major donor prospect and ask for a random amount. At least not without a boatload of advance preparation. Right?
It’s a lot smarter to begin at the beginning.
And then take it step by step from there.
According to a plan.
A plan to secure BIG gifts for you BIG mission.
It’s always a great time to review what you can do to get yourself and your solicitors (staff and volunteers) ready to make win/win matches between your organization and your prospective major donor/investors.
Ready for some A, B, C’s?Details
Does your nonprofit promote stock gifts? You should!
A groundbreaking study by Dr. Russell James J.D., Ph.D., CFP®, professor in the Department of Personal Financial Planning at Texas Tech University, found nonprofits that consistently received gifts of appreciated stocks grew their contributions six times faster than those receiving only cash.
This is HUGE.
If you learn to ask for gifts from appreciated assets you’ll get more generous gifts. The study shows:
- Received only cash gifts = 11% growth.
- Received any kind of non-cash gift = 50% growth. Included gifts of personal and real property and deferred gifts.
- Received securities non-cash gifts = 66% growth. Massive difference from just this one strategy!
You Don’t Have to Get Fancy
The most productive strategy is simply to accept gifts of stock.
But it’s up to you to offer up this giving framework to your supporters. Otherwise, they’re apt not to see this as an opportunity.
And speaking of ‘framing,’ this can establish a persuasive reference point for would-be donors. Researchers have found people don’t treat all their money as if they have one big pool of it.Details
In my last article, It’s Fundraising Malpractice Not to Build Future Reserves, I introduced the subject of having both an organizational checking and savings account so you don’t risk going belly up when people rely on you. I talked about building a case for endowment and bringing your board on board. Then I tried to…Details
Just like it’s prudent for individuals to have both a checking and savings account, it’s prudent for nonprofits to have both operating funds and endowment reserves.
Living paycheck to paycheck is less than ideal, especially when constituents rely on you for services that really matter. Seriously ask yourself:
- Are we potentially one lost grant away from having to close our doors? Funders change priorities all the time.
- Would losing one major donor gift mean we might not make payroll? People move. People die. People change their loyalties and areas of interest.
- If we don’t do a big special event every year, will we need to cut programs? This happened to many nonprofits during the pandemic.
- Am I regularly losing sleep over not being able to pay rent? Without insurance against funding cutbacks, your focus is always on survival rather than effective planning and management.
If your answer to any of these questions is affirmative, you’re living on quicksand. When you’re not actively safeguarding your future, you’re robbing your community of precious resources.
Does this sound like a prudent, caring way for your nonprofit to behave?
Not if you see yourself as a community.
A Community Cares for its Members
Without caring, you’re just a zip code or a building, not a community.
Make this the year you demonstrate your caring by planting seeds for future harvests.
You can’t care for people, animals, places, things or values without nourishment and fuel. As a recipient of philanthropy, it’s your job to steward the resources others give so you’ll be there for the community when they need you most.
- If you don’t plan ahead to survive and thrive…
- If you don’t plan for growth that may be necessary as new needs arise…
- If you allow vital resources to run out…
Your community fails too.Details