13 Ways to Write Better Fundraising Asks

When you’re only six weeks into your new fundraising job and your boss suddenly assigns you the task of writing your organization’s year-end fundraising appeal, due tomorrow, what the heck are you going do?

Instead of copying and pasting last year’s letter, how about you carve out some time to create your very own masterpiece? The results will be worth it.

But how do you do it? Especially with limited time? First off, turn off your phone and the online noise so that you can focus. And then pay heed to these 13 tips by Pamela Grow.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/13-ways-write-better-fundraising-asks-pamela-grow

Guide to Annual Giving Donor Segmentation

For most advancement shops, annual giving is the black hole of fundraising: a generic ask to a mass audience. But what if you could deliver a meaningful, personalized experience for all of your donors—without increasing the resources needed or time and energy spent?

In this whitepaper, you’ll learn how to segment your constituents to personalize your annual fund outreach in an efficient, scalable way.

Featuring original research from Greta Daniels, Director of Development at the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, the whitepaper will cover:

  • Why segmentation needs to be part of your playbook in the noisy charitable marketplace of today
  • How to gather the right data, create donor segments, and test their effectiveness
  • Three case studies of segmentation in action at nonprofit and for-profit organizations

Get it all for free by filling out the form on the following webpage:

https://get.evertrue.com/annual-giving-donor-segmentation

How Donors Choose: One choice that’ll increase revenue

Many nonprofits already know the value of giving concrete examples for what donations of different amounts are worth. You know, things like…$25 feeds a shelter dog for three weeks…$60 pays for a counselTina Cincottiing session at the legal aid clinic…$100 provides five hours of tutoring help…

Whether people donate and how much is greatly influenced by how we ask. Examples like these increase donor response because they paint a clear picture of the impact you can have if you give.

But how can these examples create even more impact? Tina Cincotti explains more in this blog.

https://fundingchangeconsulting.com/how-donors-choose-one-choice-thatll-increase-revenue/

Where brand and fundraising meet. The case for a case for support.

Fundraising is focussed on the bottom line. Hard, tangible cash. Facts and figures. Brand is about perception. The heart and mind of the audience. Intangible feelings.

OK, so I’m being purposefully black and white. But everyone of my friends in the sector feels that brand and fundraising teams need to work better together. And with the sector still suffering reputational damage and a new drop in voluntary income, it needs to be all hands to the pump.

And I’ve seen where this happens in perfect harmony. The case for support. I’ve worked on lots of cases for support for very different charities, and they always show me how close communication, brand and fundraising teams actually are, and how well they can work together.

Alexander Scott explains how the case for support is the core story that weaves together brand narrative with need, and the action you want your audience to take.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/where-brand-fundraising-meet-case-support-alexander-scott

Experts on How Technology Is Changing the Future of Fundraising

Five key figures in fundraising tech reflect on how technology has changed fundraising and what’s next. With contributions from Mike Gianoni (President and CEO, Blackbaud), Bill Strathmann (CEO, Network for Good), Mike Geiger, M.B.A., C.P.A. (President and CEO, Association of Fundraising Professionals), Steve Spinner (CEO, RevUp Software) and Jean-Paul Guilbault (President and CEO, Community Brands).

https://www.impactingourfuture.com/ngo-management/experts-on-how-technology-is-changing-the-future-of-fundraising/

4 Steps to Strategic Communications

Picture this: a wealthy donor opens up the daily newspaper at her kitchen table and sees a heart-warming story about a school-age child benefiting from your nonprofit’s services.

On her drive to work, she hears your executive director interviewed on morning news radio.

Before an afternoon meeting, the same donor scans her Instagram and Facebook feeds and sees your story being shared.

Later, she gets an email from your nonprofit, featuring the story and a direct request for a gift. In one click, a donation is made.

What steps did it take to turn one story into a donation? Maura F. Farrell provides the details.

https://www.philanthropy.com/resources/checklist/4-steps-to-strategic-communica/6598/

How to Identify and Respond to Fundraising NOs

One of the greatest challenges of being a development professional is dealing with rejection. The fact is, you are going to hear the word “No” a lot.

But the best fundraisers know not to take it personally and get right back on that fundraising horse. They also learn that sometimes a No can help you find your way to a Yes.

Here, Allison Gauss, defines the 9 types of fundraising nos and what to do with them.

https://www.classy.org/blog/how-to-identify-and-respond-to-fundraising-nos/

Alumni Engagement: What We’ve Gotten Wrong And How To Fix It

At some level, every fundraiser knows that alumni engagement is an important driver of alumni giving. At the same time, the advancement profession seems perpetually perplexed by how to measure engagement and apply those measures to increase philanthropy. Why is that?

Generally speaking, advancement offices have access to a pretty accurate picture of who alumni were as students, but very little information on who they are now.

As a result, advancement professionals are primed to treat alumni as former students instead of getting to know them as mature adults. This leads to false assumptions about current alumni needs and the relevant steps a school might take to increase engagement by addressing those needs.

Different from alumni affinity, Dr. Jay Le Roux Dillon describes “Alumni Role Identity” in this series of blogs – a measure of a graduate’s level of connection to their alma mater and an indicator of their inclination to donate to same.

Part 1: https://www.salesforce.org/alumni-engagement-weve-gotten-wrong-fix/

Part 2: https://www.salesforce.org/higher-education-fundraising-culture-sameness-busting-3-massive-myths/

Part 3: https://www.salesforce.org/alumni-role-identity-new-way-alumni-donor-psyche/

Part 4: https://www.salesforce.org/past-webinars/alumni-engagement-scoring-science-tell-us-webinar/

7 simple steps to qualify your donors

Unsuccessful fundraisers don’t understand qualification. They don’t recognize its power. They wait for the next wealth screened list. They fiddle with it in Excel or in some other database. They make a few calls. They don’t get any appointments. They give up. Then they say the list was no good.

Unsuccessful fundraisers don’t use the qualification process effectively. They don’t recognize the fact that understanding qualified supporters in-depth is crucial. When they call, write or visit them, they ignore their interests, passions, desires, and needs. And, too often, they ignore them entirely. They don’t call, write or visit them at all.

Here, Greg Warner provides seven easy to follow steps to help you qualify your prospects.

https://imarketsmart.com/7-simple-steps-to-qualify-your-donors/

Direct Mail – Dead or Alive

These are dark times for direct mail fundraising. Response rates are down (and have been trending lower for more than a decade). At the same time, costs of paper, printing, and postage keep going up, usually faster than inflation.

So direct mail is dead, right? The sooner you stop using it for fundraising, the better. Right?

Not so fast.

Jeff Brooks takes a sober and non-panicked look tells at direct mail to see that it isn’t dead. It’s not even sick. But it’s changing, like everything else.

https://www.moceanic.com/2019/direct-mail-dead-or-alive/

Asking on the first meeting: good practice, or scandalously impolite?

Shaun Horan starts this thought piece with: “Nothing splits a room like asking this question: should you ask for a gift from a prospective donor on the first meeting?”

So, what are his reasons? Click below to find out.

https://halpinpartnership.com/debate/asking-first-meeting-good-practice-or-scandalously-impolite

The Evolution of Philanthropy and the Fall of the Fundraising Pyramid

For a long time, philanthropy has been defined as “the giving of money to nonprofit organizations.” However, this definition is quickly becoming obsolete.

It’s evolving towards a meaning that is more appropriate to today’s giving paradigm and less industry-driven: that philanthropy is “the action of transforming the social wellbeing of others through generosity.”

The fundraising pyramid has long been the gold standard in the nonprofit industry to “group” donors. But it’s an odd way to represent a community of philanthropists — it’s a misrepresentation of what’s actually taking place through the process. The evolution of philanthropy forces us to re-imagine this structure.

Community Funded explains more.

https://www.communityfunded.com/blog/evolution-philanthropy-fundraising-pyramid/

Three steps for Boosting your Fundraising Confidence

Stephanie Harvey, fundraising manager from Little Village, shares her thoughts on this year’s Status of UK Fundraising 2019 Benchmark Report.

One outcome is the decreased confidence in charities. Stephanie elaborates: “We have all seen the negative news with various stories being uncovered of late, and like others we were disappointed and angry about what was shared in the press. Just because we work in the sector, doesn’t mean that we are immune to the bad press – and perhaps it’s also shaken our trust in the sector.

“However, I also believe that we reflect the wider public view that whilst we might not like the current public face of charities, we still like the ones we know and support.

“So, what advice would I give to anyone who doesn’t feel confident, or feels their non-profit needs to do more?”

Read Stephanie’s advise below.

https://hub.blackbaud.co.uk/blackbaud-europe/status-of-uk-fundraising-2019-three-steps-to-boosting-your-fundraising-confidence

Why is the cost of raising funds rising so fast?

The cost of acquiring a pound of charitable income has grown swiftly since the start of the century.

The latest edition of the UK Civil Society almanac contains a section on the cost of generating funds, which shows that in the year to March 2001, adjusted for inflation, the charity sector spent a total of £3.1bn on generating funds. Now it’s £5.9bn. That’s an increase of 90 per cent.

The sector’s income, meanwhile, has grown by 50 per cent. So the cost of raising money has grown by around 33 per cent in real terms.

Each pound spent on raising income now yields around £4.16, down from somewhere around £5.50 per pound at the start of the century.

David Ainsworth examines the causes of the change.

https://www.civilsociety.co.uk/voices/david-ainsworth-why-is-the-cost-of-raising-funds-rising-so-fast.html

10 Common Myths About Our Visual Brains

Brain science is commonly taken into consideration when developing marketing and communication strategies, particularly concerning visual content. After all, the best way to influence behavior is to understand its drivers. And behavior is driven by our psychological brains. At the same time, basing a strategy on invalid data can quickly waste time and resources.

Unfortunately, when it comes to understanding our visual brains, plenty of myths clutter the published universe. To save everyone a lot of wasted effort, Samantha Lile at Visme
has debunked 10 common myths about our brains and their visual abilities.

https://visme.co/blog/common-myths-visual-brain/

Don’t fear the Rich List

How to deal with rich people? John Baguley writes in this blog:

“I have worked on many highly successful capital appeals and a few that didn’t quite reach their target. Time and again that failure was due to the inability of the team to engage with wealthy people as human beings and not as representatives of all that is wrong with society. The feeling was often that they ought to give because they were rich, with no thought about real engagement over time with their kindness and goodwill.

“Crucially, this sometimes manifested itself in the act of asking, which I have seen done almost as an act of bravado to show the person asking was not afraid of the task but, unfortunately, that resulted in a slightly offensive demand lacking any humility.”

Read this blog for John’s tips on dealing with the rich.

https://www.charitychoice.co.uk/the-fundraiser/dont-fear-the-rich-list/726

Radical Transparency

What does Jennifer Coleman-Peers mean by ‘radical transparency’?

It’s about pushing beyond the norms of honest and open practice to be open to the extreme, to share all the most important aspects – both the good and the bad – and in doing so to build trust in who we are and what we do because everything is there to see.

It tells your supporter that you have confidence in the commitment, vision and expertise of your organisation, and that despite its inevitable failings (because we’re all only human) it is working in the best way it knows how to make the biggest possible difference to your cause.

For more information on how radical transparency can make your charity and your leadership become more authentic, please read Jennifer’s blog below:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/radical-transparency-jennifer-coleman-peers

How to Build a Major Donor Program from the Ground Up

Most organizations have plenty of donor prospects, without having to go outside and look for prospects who aren’t connected to you.

Claire from Clairification Fundraising Coach suggests you don’t start with the most out-of-reach prospects. You can be a major donor prospect rainmaker without having to go outside or reach too far.

Even small current donors may be juicier prospects than “whale” donors with no connection to you or your cause.

It’s as easy as ABC: Access. Belief. Capacity.

It all boils down to this:

  • Who you know you can get to.
  • Who believes in your mission.
  • Who has capacity to give.

These are the folks with whom you’ve already got a foot in the door. They are your best prospects for upgraded giving, presuming you’ve treated them well.

For more details, visit:

https://clairification.com/2017/01/12/build-major-donor-program-ground/