Recapturing Lapsed Donors
Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015 at 01:15 PM ET
Fundraising Webinar: We start with 10 of the most common reasons donors stop giving and describe how understanding those reasons will help you prioritize your list of "lost" or lapsed donors. We outline several cost-effective approaches you can implement right now to bring those donors back on board. This 45-minute webinar is designed as an interactive session and is limited to 25 participants. View the recording. Download the slides.
Charity Watchdogs: Managing Your Organization's Profile and Ranking
Tuesday, July 14, 2015 at 1:15 PM ET
Fundraising Webinar: Potential donors check out your organization through charity watchdogs like Better Business Bureau, Guidestar, Charity Navigator and others. Research shows they're having an impact on donor behavior. Learn where the "watchdogs" get their information, how they assess their rankings and what you can do to improve your profile and ranking.
Five Simple Ways to Upgrade Your Donors
Tuesday, June 16, 2015 at 1:15 PM ET
Fundraising Webinar: Take a look at the latest research on popular upgrade strategies including conditional ask strings; second-gift approaches; lists and recognition levels; challenge campaigns; and sustaining gifts. Implementing just one of these low- and no-cost strategies will generate more dollars for your organization.
How Affinity Groups Build Donor Loyalty
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 1:15 PM ET
Fundraising Webinar: A growing number of organizations are using giving clubs and affinity groups to build donor loyalty and improve fundraising results. It’s a cost-effective, easy way to reinforce the bond between your organization and its best supporters. This webinar explored the principles behind affinity groups and looked at several case studies from organizations that have used them successfully.
Grassroots Organizing, Membership, and Fundraising
Tuesday, April 22, 2015 at 3:30 PM ET
Fundraising Webinar: Alexandra Thebert is an innovative leader and consummate organizer. She served as executive director of Save the Wild U.P. in Marquette, Michigan, as chapter organizer for Physicians for National Health Plan in Chicago. In this webinar, she talked about the power of the membership drive to build solidarity and using local culture, history, and real people to promote your issues.
Nonprofit Technology Conference Workshop
Friday, Mar. 6, 2015 at 01:30 PM CT Nonprofit Technology Conference, Austin
Interactive Workshop: A group of development directors from advocacy organizations became inspired to find out which popular fundraising practices yield the best results. In this session, we talked about our journey identifying independent variables, collecting data, and developing and testing a model.
Prospecting for Major Donors
Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015 at 3:00 PM ET
Fundraising Webinar: Rebekah Kaithern shared her recommendations for major gifts prospecting, setting the stage for success, launching cultivation strategies. Rebekah is divisional director of major gifts with Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware Salvation Army and, former director of major gifts at WXPN in Philadelphia.
Donor Advised Funds: What You Need to Know
Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015 at 01:15 PM
Fundraising Webinar: As the number of donor-advised gifts continues to grow, it’s crucial for development staff to know the ins-and-outs of this giving vehicle and to develop best practices for its opportunities and challenges. This free webinar featured guest speaker Ruben D. Orduña, vice president of development and donor services for The San Francisco Foundation.
It's Almost New Year's Eve: Do You Know Where Your Donors Are?
Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014 at 01:15 PM
Fundraising Webinar: Hint: They are online! Make sure they are seeing some fresh and relevant content from you that will inspire one final gift in 2014.
Year-End Bootcamp Starts Today
Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014 at 01:15 PM
Fundraising Webinar: An average of 40 percent of giving happens at year end. With only 92 days left, now is the time to make sure your organization is primed to take advantage of year end giving.
Using Benchmark Reports to Gauge Performance
Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014 at 01:15 PM
Fundraising Webinar: M+R, Blackbaud, Guidestar, Giving USA. It seems like everyone’s benchmarking. Which one should you use to gauge your own organization’s fundraising success?
A growing number of organizations are using giving clubs and affinity groups to build donor loyalty and improve fundraising results. It's a cost-effective, easy way to reinforce the bond between your organization and its best supporters. If you've wondered whether your organization could benefit from such a group, check out this webinar as we explore the ins-and-outs of this cultivation strategy. At the end of the 45-minute session, you'll know how to evaluate your own organization's potential in this area, and how to establish, manage, and grow an affinity group.
View the full recording:
As a follow up to last week's charity watchdog webinar, I've compiled some ideas for reducing overhead. I'm not suggesting we "starve" our organizations, just that we be savvy managers and good stewards of our donors' dollars.
The less we spend on administration and fundraising, the more we have to put toward program work. So here are some ideas for getting rid of unproductive activities or unused resources -- not because of the watchdogs, but because it’s the right thing to do.
I've split these recommendations into two posts. Here are the first three:
1. Conduct a top-to-bottom review of all contracts.
Do this for every vendor, every consultant, every lease. Explain that your audit committee has requested the review, so no one feels singled out. Examine all regular payments. If you’re not the one signing checks or approving every invoice, sit down with the people who are. Ask questions. Are these services still necessary? Can we renegotiate a better rate?
2. Look for pro bono support from professionals and help from volunteers.
Check with professional associations like the local bar association for pro bono help. Post volunteer jobs with VolunteerHub or VolunteerMatch to find long-term volunteers who can help with office tasks. I once found a correspondence secretary through VolunteerMatch who generated our major donor thank you's. Every week. For three years. She was like an angel from heaven.
3. Only hire fundraising staff when you absolutely have to.
Remember, a fundraiser needs to raise enough money to pay for his salary and benefits, to cover the cost of equipment and supplies, and to fund any special budget needs that come with activities he manages before he produces any net benefit to your organization. The average salary for manager-level development staff in metropolitan areas is around $80,000, so there are only two conditions under which I'd recommend hiring a fundraiser:
- You need someone to manage existing fundraising activities. In this instance, you are either replacing outgoing staff or you need to free up the executive director or program staff from heavy fundraising responsibilities.
- You are positive -- I mean, absolutely certain beyond the shadow of a doubt -- that there is potential for significant revenue growth. You can quantify it. You have prospects. You have names and dollar figures. You just need someone to help you take the next step.
More tips for reducing overhead to come . . .
What if one of your board members called you up one day and said, “I’m going to be in Atlanta next month. Are there any donors I can meet with while I’m there?” or “My college roommate just sold her successful company. How should we connect with her?” Or, how about, "I'd like to write some personal thank you notes to our donors. Would you send me some names and addresses?" Well, these are all things board members actually did say. Their willingness to cultivate donors (yes, they truly volunteered) was just one of the co-benefits of a highly-successful thank you call effort. Find out more about how you can launch your own board engagement/thank you call effort in these slides.
Charity watchdogs evaluate thousands of nonprofits every year. Their ratings influence donors' giving decisions and can either positively or negatively impact on an organization’s brand. Nonprofit executives, especially development directors, should carefully manage their organization’s profiles and pay close attention to their ratings. Check out these slides for ideas on how to gain the upper hand in the watchdog game.
The May 13 free webinar focuses on “Recapturing Lost Donors: Effective Strategies for Getting Them Back on Board.” We review the most common reasons people stop giving; how to prioritize your list of "lost" or lapsed donors; and talk about some cost-effective, “win-them-back” approaches you can implement right now.
Do you wish you had a predictive model that would help you answer questions, such as:
- Which new fundraising activity is most likely to yield the best returns?
- How much does consumer confidence impact my bottom line?
- What level of experience should I look for in my next development hire?
At a training I gave last month on strategies for upgrading donors, a major gifts person wanted to know which of the five strategies -- conditional ask strings, sustaining programs, recognition lists, matching campaigns, or second-gift asks -- would produce the best results. Unfortunately, I couldn't point to an analysis of industry-wide data that would help us chart a path to success. But then I thought, why not? Why can't we have statistical models for the development office?
We all know that face-to-face meetings are the best way to cultivate donors and solicit contributions. Sending Your Executive Director on Tour is all about building a fabulous itinerary, pulling together the right materials and talking points, and getting that all-important prep time to make sure your executive director is ready to hit the road.
For new development staff, I advise going big. That is, starting out with an organization large enough to support your growth and development as a fundraising professional. At the early stages of your career, it’s wise to work in a place where you have access to training and other educational opportunities to round out your technical knowledge -- such as, applying statistical analysis to your donor file --as well as to acquire some level of expertise in areas like nonprofit accounting and regulations governing charitable solicitation. Like any field, fundraising has its own specialized areas; planned giving and grant-seeking are just two. Gaining knowledge in these and other areas will make you an essential player in any development office.
But you will need to commit time to expanding your knowledge base, and it will be much easier if your organization supports your efforts -- and not just in theory. A large organization ($10 million plus), in most cases, is in a better position to underwrite the training you need and to give you work time to complete it.
As someone who benefited early on from week-long courses in planned giving, marketing, and major gift development, I can attest to the benefits of early-career training. It helped me immensely as I moved among different organizations and moved up the ladder.
Of course, if you opt for small organization, you can still access lots of free and low-cost training (check out the Foundation Center), but you will still need time off to do the training. The reality is that in small shops, the profit margin is slim, the staff is stretched, and time off for career development may be difficult to manage. In a bigger organization, you may feel lost in the bureaucracy and you may sacrifice some autonomy, but the payoff in learning will be worth it. And you will be a lot more valuable to the next place you work.
FOR NEW PROSPECTS
I may have mentioned that I serve on the national board of Advocates for Advocacy, an organization that works to promote a fair and just society, reduce injustice and promote policies that preserve our environment. We also spend a lot of time preventing efforts intended to roll back progress on these issues. I am writing to ask you to consider joining our Leadership Circle, a group of individual donors who give $1,000 or more annually to support AforA.
AforA has a strong reputation that provides an effective framework for confronting these issues. Contributions are well spent, with more than 80 cents of every dollar going to support our core programs. The push to embrace better policies on these issues has never been stronger, but we need to have the resources in place to put forward the AforA perspective that is crucial in these debates.
Your contribution would help tremendously. I hope you will accept my invitation. Please send me an email if you have any questions. Or if you are ready to join, you may give online by going to advocacyinaction.org.
Thanks very much for considering my request.
All the best,
P.S. You might be interested in seeing the list of current Leadership Circle members. I’ve attached the 2013 list.
FOR UPGRADING CURRENT DONORS
I know you are a loyal supporter of Advocates for Advocacy, and I am writing to invite you to join our Leadership Circle, a group of individual donors who give $1,000 or more annually to AforA. As you know, AforA rallies its supporters to raise our voices when legislation and policies threaten our fair and just society. The issues we tackle are the toughest of our time – injustice, unlawful practices, discrimination—and require steadfast commitment to achieve results. Members of Advocates for Advocacy’s Leadership Circle help ensure we have the resources to build the world we want to live in and that we want for future generations.
Please give it some consideration. If you’re ready to accept, you may make a secure online donation by going to www.advocacyinaction.org It will take you to our website which has a full description of the programs and campaigns going on right now.
P.S. You might be interested in seeing who the current Leadership Circle members are. I’ve attached the 2013 list.
FOR LAPSED MEMBERS
I know you were once active in Advocacy in Action and I’m writing now to ask you to consider rejoining. I’m serving on the national board and we’re gearing up for major initiatives pressing for a fair and just society and advocating for stronger policies at the state and federal level. I know the justice work has always been important to you. With this current economic climate, we have, what I believe, is a real chance to make significant progress on legislation and .
We’re fortunate to have strong leadership in place at AforA in the executive director and head of the board this year Both are deeply committed to strengthening AforA, making sure we are ready for the challenges as we head into our the next year. I hope you will think about rejoining and also consider the Leadership Circle.
If you’re ready to accept, you may give online donation by going to www. Advocatesforadvocacy.org. Let me know if you have any questions. I’ll call you to follow up. Thanks for considering my request.
P.S. You might be interested in seeing who the current Leadership Circle members are. Ihave attached the 2013 list.