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.
Does your appeal letter really need to be two pages long? What about that serif font? Sentence fragments?
Mary Cahalane answers common questions about writing successful appeal letters.
It’s time to stop wasting money trying to interrupt your target prospects and instead reap the benefits of attracting your prospects to you. And that’s what inbound marketing services are all about – creating and sharing content that appeals to your audience so they build trust in your brand. It works on the principle of attract, convert, close and delight; turning strangers into visitors, leads to customers, and finally promoters.
35% say closing a deal is getting harder, whilst only 22% are happy with their current conversion rates. And that’s exactly where inbound marketing technology comes in.
Abby Mitchinson writes how inbound can give you the opportunity to think smarter, grow faster, and deliver powerful results.
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.
Survey respondents for the 2018 Global NGO Technology Report were asked to rate the effectiveness of the most commonly used communication and fundraising tools. Their answers provide valuable insight into which tools NPOs, NGOs, and charities should prioritize in their communications and fundraising strategy.
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.
The formula for getting work done is simple: Show up and sit there. Think. Stare out the window. Write.
There’s no muse, no need for a perfect storm of artistic conditions to come together before you can rack up the pages. You just do the work. The work gets done.
But simple formulas don’t always produce good results. Let Rachel Toor guide you through tips to of what to do when you get stuck.
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.
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/
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.
What’s it like to give away a billion dollars?
One of the few people who know is Stephen Schwarzman, co-founder, chairman and chief executive of Blackstone, one of the world’s biggest private equity firms.
He has given away more than that already, mainly to causes related to education, culture and the arts, but – with a fortune put at more than $16bn (£12.8bn) – is likely to go far further during his lifetime.
His latest big donation, in June this year, was a £150m gift to the University of Oxford to establish an institute dedicated to the study of ethics in artificial intelligence.
He realised very quickly that “the UK was unaccustomed to philanthropy on this scale. During the course of the day [that the donation was announced] I learned that my single gift was about half of the £310m given by all philanthropic individuals to arts and culture in England during 2017-18.”
The UK lags well behind the US, both in terms of the number of wealthy people who make sizeable donations to good causes and in terms of the scale in which they donate.
Ian King, Business presenter on Sky News examines the socio-economic reasons behind the different attitudes to charity in these two countries.
Jeff Brooks takes guidance produced on customer experience and reviews it through the lens of a fundraiser because it’s a look at how people think and decide.
Here are the “6 components of human beings” with what each might mean for fundraisers to give you a powerful advantage.
The fine art of donor communications is a constant topic of study and analysis. But while nonprofits don’t always know what type of communications donors want, common sense would dictate that donors are looking for some kind of feedback about how their money is used. But what kind of contact do they want and how does this contact improve giving?
This data on evidence, updates and thanks seems aimed at nonprofit communicators who are afraid of bothering their constituents, which is a normal response to donor fatigue. Yet, donors also complain about the wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am approach, in which nonprofits drag their heels with a timely thanks. So what’s a nonprofit to do?
Amy Butcher shares her thoughts in this blog.
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.
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.
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.
Do you work for a Great Fundraising Organisation? Not any great fundraising organisation… but a Great Fundraising Organisation.
For the purpose of the academic study, “The Great Fundraising Report,” Profs. Adrian Sargeant and Jen Shang from the Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy at the University of Plymouth, defined Great Fundraising Organisations as those charities, NGOs and non-profits that:
- Achieved significant growth in voluntary income, typically 200 percent to 400 percent over the middle term, being five to ten years.
- Sustained the increased levels of income.
- Drove this income from a database of donors who were mission driven.
The object of the study was to identify behavioural factors that created a Great Fundraising Organisation. The project is supported by ongoing, informal action research on over 300 case studies worldwide. We particularly studied organisations that outperformed organisations with similar markets, missions and projects.
Alan Clayton found three key areas in which the Great Fundraising Organisations out-perform their competitors.
Find out what they were in the blog below.
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.
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.
Raising money is hard work, and sometimes, just sometimes, we need some great facts to help remind ourselves that we are doing great work to help society and the world improve.
#NGOFACTS is an ongoing online campaign that highlights important data about non-governmental organizations (NGOs), nonprofits, and charities worldwide.
You can join the campaign by sharing facts and stats about the NGO sector in your country using the #NGOFACTS hashtag on social media.
Nearly one in three (31.5%) people worldwide donated to charity in 2015 and one in four (24%) volunteered.
Click the link below to read 24 more and feel inspires.