Important News about Relationship Fundraising: Stop Losing Donors

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

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 new 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 that most nonprofits have been hemorrhaging donors.

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.Continue Reading

How to Use Nonprofit Social Media to Reinforce Donor Relationships

You can strengthen donor relationships using social media

You can strengthen donor relationships using social media

 

To survive and thrive in the current zeitgeist, all nonprofits must master at least five skills, of which one is online social fundraising.  There are numerous reasons why this is so; today I want to focus on using social media strategies to build dynamic donor relationships.

The chief reason this is so critical is that nonprofits are hemorrhaging –losing, on average, over half of their donors every year.

Whatever nonprofits are doing currently, it’s not working especially well. So adding an additional relatively inexpensive donor retention strategy into your existing donor development plan makes sense. I encourage you to read my complete in-depth article on the subject on the Maximize Social Business blog. But if you’re pressed for time, here are some quick highlights.Continue Reading

‘No-Show’ Events: Don’t Assume your Donors are Hermits

Stay_awayThinking about doing a “non-event” event where no one has to attend?  It sounds great on the face of it.  After all, Penelope Burk’s research revealed that many donors reported they like to receive invitations to events; they just prefer not to attend them. Win/win?

Not so much.  It depends why you’re hosting the event in the first place. If it’s your only method of fundraising for the entire year, then fine. Go right ahead. Whether folks attend or not doesn’t much matter. You’ve made your single annual ask, received your gift and you’re done. All you wanted was money. Once. Right? Hold on!Continue Reading

8 Tips Fundraisers Can Learn From Street Beggars

Your money can become my sandwich

What I learned from a street beggar* (see “Note” below).

Last week a street beggaraka panhandler asked me for money and I gave it to her.  I don’t usually do this because I wonder how the money may be used and tend to give, instead, to philanthropic organizations that help the homeless and marginally employed population.  This time was different, and I want to share with you the lessons learned.  Here’s her pitch:
Can you please give me $2.00 so I can buy a sandwich? Maybe a little later for lunch?
This amazingly simple request – and everything about her approach and follow-up –works on multiple levels.  And the principles apply not just to street beggars but also to nonprofit fundraising:

Continue Reading

Be Clairaudient to Make Your Nonprofit Donors Happy

Listening Woman

Do you listen underneath what they say to truly hear what your donors want?

 

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?Continue Reading

6 Keys to Rock Thank You Calls and Retain More Donors

How to make donor thank you calls and keep more donors!

Thanks so much for your gift. It really means a lot!

 

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 79% 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!Continue Reading

The Meaning of Philanthropy, Not Fundraising – Part 2

The meaning of Culture of Philanthropy

Get on the path to philanthropy, not fundraising

 

In Part 1 I laid out why philanthropy inspires, and fundraising tires.

Fundraising must be done, of course, but there’s something about how it’s been practiced in the past that turns too many people off.  It’s been connoted as being all about money, when really it’s all about valued outcomes.

These valued outcomes are shared by many who support the cause – donors and non-donors.  Employees and volunteers. Development departments and program departments. Major gifts staff and annual giving staff. All these folks have a collective stake in the nonprofit’s survival.Continue Reading

The Meaning of Philanthropy, Not Fundraising – Part 1

The meaning of Culture of Philanthropy

Get on the path to philanthropy, not fundraising

 

I wish I’d told my younger self “you’re right!  Stick with it; don’t get distracted. Stay the course.

Here’s what I’m talking about: Philanthropy, not fundraising.

This has been the tagline for my business and blog since I began Clairification in 2011. It grew naturally out of my experiences working as a frontline development director for 30 years. I’ve always insisted that no single person could possibly receive credit for a donation.  “Donors don’t give because of development staff,” I’d tell program staff.  “They give because of the great work you do!Continue Reading

Integrate Fundraising and Content Marketing for Nonprofit Survival

Integrate Fundraising and Content MarketingYour year-long “Dive the Five” virtual course continues!

I’ve selected five major themes – fundamental nonprofit fundraising strategies — to discuss with you this year in depth. Strategies that are so important to your success in 2016 – and beyond – that I want to be certain (1) you’ve got them on your priority list, (2) will begin to dedicate some serious resources towards them, and (3) will commit to practice them regularly, until they become almost second nature.

If you learn to “Dive the Five” you’ll be able to raise money for anyone, any place, any time. And I’ll be your Guide.

Some of these skills will seem familiar, but the way you employ them may need to be tweaked in order for you to survive and thrive in our digitally-revolutionized society. Other skills may be things you’ve thought about, or dabbled in, but haven’t really committed to with serious intent and dedicated resources.Continue Reading

What Your Donors Won’t Tell You about Your Nonprofit Newsletter

Is this how your newsletter makes your donor feel?
Is this how your newsletter makes your donor feel?

It’s boring them to tears.

Actually, let me rephrase. Not to tears. That would mean they’re feeling an emotional connection. Sadly, they’re not.

Most donor newsletters are boring to the point of numbness.

You’re not making the impact you need to make to keep your donors, let alone get them to give more the next time you ask.

Why?

Let me tell you what I learned from Penelope Burk, Donor-Centered Fundraising author, about 15 years ago. It fundamentally changed the way I communicate with donors. Continue Reading