Nonprofit Fundraising-Fund Development

March 14, 2017

Annual fund is sooo STUPID!!!!!!!!!!

I’ve been ranting about this for years and years. 

No emotional content. Meaningless. (And back in the 80s, I even had letterhead that said “Trinity Rep Annual Fund.” How dumb was I?)

I ask people what they mean by “annual fund.” Mostly the answer is: “Our annual direct mail letter.” WTF? One annual direct mail letter? For your DM segment, you ought to be sending multiple different “themed” letters.

I ask about the fundraising events the organization is doing to raise general operating support for the year. Mostly people kinda stare at me. Or say, “Oh.”

I ask fundraisers if they do personal face-to-face solicitation each year for annual operating support. Mostly fundraisers respond with, “Oh. That’s major gift solicitation.” (And I HATE the term “major gift solicitation.” And too many organizations don’t personally solicit face-to-face for a portion of their donors.)

STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT!!!!!!!!!!! Instead, segment the donor/prospect market via solicitation strategies. Is anything missing from the list below?

  • Personal face-to-face solicitation.
  • Direct mail (electronic and print).
  • Telephone (Yes, some organizations still do this!)
  • Proposals (grantwriting to foundations, corporations, whatever).
  • Special events (ticket sales, sponsorship requests)
  • Telethon…like on TV

THE ANNUAL FUND? STOP IT NOW!!!!!! NGOs raise charitable gifts for special projects outside of general operations. Your nonprofit raises money to support endowment…or a building. BUT MOSTLY, you raise money to support general operations, which includes program and the dread overhead. 

 

So the “annual fund” means all the solicitation strategies and all the sources of gifts and everything you do for that particular fiscal year…to operate… to do your important work… to help your beneficiaries… to fulfill the aspirations of your donors… And so forth.

STOP IT. JUST STOP IT. There is no such thing as “the annual fund.” It’s too silly and too dumb and and and ……….. And yes. I’m grumpy today.

March 6, 2017

Periodic video postings: #2 in my new series

A new series… Videos that are particularly special to me. Compelling. Perhaps useful. Meaningful. Whatever.

I’m always learning from Seth Godin. I subscribe to his daily blog. I’ve read tons of his books. Permission Marketing. The Big Moo. The Icarus Deception.

And TRIBES. I want donors to be a tribe… a tribe in the good sense. (Yes, there is a bad meaning to tribes… homogeneous, insular, etc.)

If you haven’t heard/seen Seth Godin speak, it’s time now. “The tribes we lead.” 

 

February 1, 2017

Do you read 101fundraising?

You should. International crowdblog on fundraising.

Check out Matthew Sherrington’s “12 insights from the crystal ball: Get your fundraising ready for the future.” 

Share with your boss and your board.

I responded by saying that I particularly #6, #9, and #11. That was my feeling yesterday when I read the blog. Of course, I actually like them all.

But #6, #9, and #11 are particularly special to me. Because fundraising is not that icky thing shoved off into a corner… Fundraising is not a means to our organization’s so very important end. Fundraising – and the philanthropy it generates – is meaningful and special and essential in its own right. Fundraising – the resulting philanthropy – represent the donor’s aspirations. Your NGO is a means to fulfill that donor’s aspirations.

So read. Share. Think. And fix your organization!!

By the way, check out Monsieur Sherrington’s twitter feed… Sharing cool historical facts.

January 17, 2017

Prepping for 2017 Giving Tuesday

It’s never too late to start thinking about big actions, small meaningful activities, etc.

If you’re thinking about #GIVINGTUESDAY for 2017, read these blogs and research first. Because maybe #GivingTuesday isn’t so great. Maybe #GivingTuesday needs to change.

And probably for sure…. your organization needs to think long and hard about how you do fundraising and how you might do #GivingTuesday and………

Giving Tuesday and the when versus why of giving (Nick Ellinger, DonorVoice, November 30, 2016)

  • Starts with: “I like the idea of Giving Tuesday very much – there needs to be a day (actually, more than one) dedicated to giving. That’s why it frustrates me that we are killing it….Killing it in the sense of making it unable to survive.”

Losing Donors in the Sea of Sameness (Roger Craver, The Agitator, December 2, 2016)

  • Starts with: “…abandoning support of an organization is influenced and controlled by the actions the organization itself takes…. Perhaps nowhere are the sloppy, copycat practices of some fundraisers more pronounced that on #GivingTuesday.” READ IT!

Please think. Please review your practices. Please let’s make it better.

P.S. A board member asked me the other day about what I think about “donor fatigue.” And I responded: “Donor fatigue is something we fundraisers and organizations make ourselves. And not because we’re asking. But because we’re doing this work so poorly.”

P.P.S. Do you read the Whiny Donor on twitter. I’m always apologizing to @thewhinydonor. I asked if s/he was actually a fundraiser in disguise – “NO.” I asked if I had ever met him/her – “NO.” Check out @thewhinydonor. Ah tristesse.

January 10, 2017

New stuff that impressed me

Check out The Grow Report. Pam Grow’s stuff is sooo good. I was reading her January 5 new year hello. And the examples she gave. And the book about justice… And the blog roll. And how about your very own “Donor Love Crib Sheet?” Maybe you oughta subscribe?

Pam focuses on the small development office. BUT… I suggest that even the larger offices check out her stuff.

  ♦ 

That Tom Ahern guy has done some very interesting writing recently. I particularly appreciated the following: His newsletter article “HOAX!!!! Raising awareness unmasked.”

And his personal blog about Siegfried Vögele. And his personal blog of January 5, 2017 about communications:  It’s built backwards from your target audience.

December 5, 2016

Building the best organizations

What don’t we know?

How do we recognize that there’s stuff we don’t know — and we don’t know that we don’t know?

How do we confront that we don’t even know that we don’t know stuff?

How do we build into an NGO the concept of regularly exploring / discovering what we don’t know?

And this can happen in every or any part of our work anywhere.

[A conversation I had with Michael Campbell at HFPG‘s consultant workshop that I delivered in early December.]

November 29, 2016

If “they” fail the 20 questions….

Maybe you should find a better place to work.

Visit Tom Ahern’s new website. Pretty cool. I’m impressed.

Check out “The TEST Your Boss MUST Take!” 

Click here. Take it yourself first, of course. (I’m taking it shortly. Not sharing what I score but making darn sure that I learn the right answers if I fail questions!!!)

Share with your staff colleagues. (Maybe do it as a group in secret somewhere?)

Make sure your fundraising boss (and CEO) take it and learn this stuff and expect you to know the answers and make sure you know the answers. And teach the questions and the answers to your fundraising colleagues and your fundraising boss and your executive director / CEO person.

It’s kinda okay if your boss fails the test, but only if your boss is the ED/CEO. It’s only okay if your ED/CEO boss fails the test if that person says: “Well, of course I don’t know all the answers. But I expect you to know the answers and explain to me. And when you tell me to do stuff, I do it. Including that letter that I thought was kinda icky. But I sign it because you know the answers to these 20 questions. Thank you thank you. I was so smart to hire you!”

And if your ED/CEO doesn’t say what’s above…And continues fighting. You fight back. FIGHT BACK!!!!! No more whiny fundraisers. Your job is to fight back and explain and pass on your learnings. And if you fight for a couple years (yes…it can take that long) — and still no change in behavior from the bossies… THEN FIND ANOTHER JOB. YOU DESERVE BETTER!!!!

November 14, 2016

Yes. There are ethics in fundraising.

If you’re a board member, ask if your organization subscribes to a code of ethics in fundraising. Your board should talk about the ethical code and be familiar with the general content and areas of compliance. All your staff should know, too, that your organization follows such codes.

Your fundraising staff and board fund development committee could present an annual report on your organization’s compliance with the code. (And, of course, your board should adopt the fundraising code of ethics as a policy – just like your board should adopt the Donor Bill of Rights as a policy.)

Review this Code of Ethical Standards. The code includes things like: Public trust, transparent and conflicts of interest. Solicitation and stewardship. Treatment of confidential and proprietary information. Compensation, bonuses, and finders fees.

Here are some of my favorite parts of the AFP Code of Ethical Standards for Fundraising:

#14: Ensure that contributions are used in accordance with donors’ intentions.

#16: Obtain explicit consent by donors before altering the conditions of financial transactions.

#21: Not accept compensation or enter into a contract that is based on a percentage of contributions; nor…accept finder’s fees or contingent fees.

#22: Be permitted to accept performance-based compensation, such as bonuses, only if such bonuses are in accord with prevailing practices within the..organization and are not based on a percentage of contributions.

Unethical performance harms all other NGOs and harms the nonprofit sector. Beware! Hold your own organization and its people accountable. And demand that other NGOs do the same. Call them out if need be.

November 7, 2016

Donor Bill of Rights

Has your organization adopted the Donor Bill of Rights as a policy? I hope so. It’s policies like these that help hold your fundraising accountable.

Have you engaged your board in a conversation about elements of the Donor Bill of Rights? I hope so. The most effective boards talk about this stuff.

So what are some of your favorite elements in the Donor Bill of Rights? Which ones do you think might surprise your CEO? Or surprise your program staff?

Which parts of the Donor Bill of Rights might be particularly difficult for your board to understand? For example:

#2: To be informed of the identity of those serving on the organization’s governing board, and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities.

#3: To have access to the organization’s most recent financial statements.

#9: To have the opportunity for their names to be deleted from mailing lists that an organization may intend to share.

Talk about all this with your board. Make sure every single board member – and the board as the collective – understand why and how your organization applies the Donor Bill of Rights.

 

September 29, 2016

Lovely relationship building

Doris, Tom, and I go to the theatre together. We subscribe to the Gamm. Just saw Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia. Amazing play. As usual, great acting and directing and……….. (See the screen scroll. Good website, by the way.)

Ushered to our seats. Envelope on my seat, “Simone Joyaux.”  (Wow. That’s cool. I don’t see envelopes on other seats. Really cool!)

“Dear Simone, Enjoy the show! I think it’s smart, sharp and challenging. Would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for your support! All good wishes, Kate.” (Business card enclosed from Kate Anderson, Development Director)

Yes, Kate. The play was smart, sharp and challenging. (Talking about the play, our shared experience. Because of course Kate has seen the play!) And so well done, as usual by the Gamm players. And the set and the director and and …

How nice that Kate wrote me a note. Special. I was surprised. (Surprise is good.) Totally unexpected. (Core element of relationship building.) I’ll be she does this with other subscribers and donors, too.

Good for you, Kate. Hey Kate’s boss and board…. really nice work by your Kate. I think she understands relationship building. Kindness to subcribers (yay retention). Kindness to donors (yay retention). 

I’m not a big donor. Not at all.

 

 

Simone Joyaux, ACFRE, Adv Dip, is an internationally recognized expert in fund development, board and organizational development, strategic planning, and management.

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