Nonprofit Fundraising-Fund Development

July 17, 2017

Order or convincing

From Tom Ahern:

I (Tom) was attempting to teach the Domain Formula for lucrative print donor newsletters. And a fundraiser asked “How do I convince marcomms to shrink our existing newsletter from 8 pages to 4 pages?”

Tom’s response: “IN TRUTH – This is a work order, not a persuasion exercise.”

Yes. The knowledgeable fundraiser directs marcomms.

Too often, fundraisers are in the position of trying to “persuade” the boss or board or board member … or marketing/communications … to do the right thing.

YES! THE RIGHT THING! The thing based on research. Like scientific research! The thing that has demonstrated success over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and ….

Sometimes these fundraisers are:

  • Scared and can’t risk losing their jobs. That’s understandable. Find another job where they respect you and your knowledge.
  • Don’t actually know the body of knowledge. Don’t follow research. Don’t embrace continuous learning. Shame on you. Learn the right stuff or go away and let true fundraisers push the right stuff.
  • Regularly explain to the boss, board, board members, and marc/com … and continually lose to these annoyingly silly (even dumb, perhaps) people who don’t listen to the research and body of knowledge you keep explaining. Why don’t they listen? Because they’re arrogant? Believe personal opinion trumps research and and … I don’t know. You probably don’t know either. But if you’ve tried and tried and tried and tried… Then find another job where you will receive the respect you deserve.

This is difficult work. I know. But don’t confuse your role. You are (should be) the expert. Explain. Then direct. Or find another job. You deserve so much better than this ignorant dynamic.

June 12, 2017

Amazing thank-you letter

Another amazing letter from Ashley, Executive Revolutionary from RIUDL.

Sounds real. Like Ashley actually wrote it.

Hand-written note at the top on the front page. Yes! It’s a 2-page thanks letter. Can you imagine?

Tells a story about Genesis, 11 years old when she arrived in Rhode Island USA.

Later in the letter, in bold: Your gift of $2,500 on 3/1/2017 is helping create more stories like this.

Next sentence: In a single year your generosity allowed us to go from reaching just over 100 to well over 1,000 students. No joke.

And check out this P.S. “This letter doubles as a tax receipt and a pick-me-up. Becuase of you, young people like Genesis are that much closer to becoming policy makers. And I have doubt they will wield that power to do amazing things. Thank you for setting them up for success. Onward and upward!”

WOW.

 

May 8, 2017

A thing from Tom Ahern

I really like Tom Ahern’s work…his donor-centered communications stuff. (And yes, I really like Tom Ahern personally.)

He has such a great newsletter.

But do you ever read his personal blog? Apart from his blogs about his gardens or barbecue or vacation trips or…. And he sometimes (more and more often) personally blogs about his life’s work (donor comms).

I think this “business blog re: donor comms” is spot on. And really lovely. Beautiful really. “The skeleton of a direct mail letter.”

Such very good points. Such a clear list of the architecture of the letter. So charming. And such beautiful writing on his part.

He’s such a beautiful writer. Did you know he has an MFA in creative writing from Brown University? And is a published poet and short story writer?

Do read his personal blog about that letter for your donor. Just follow the steps.

Thanks, Tom. Love, Simone (or Sim One as the t-shirt says).

May 3, 2017

Times they are a changing? Or not really. Just back and forth.

Tom, Doris and I are subscribers to the Gamm Theatre. Saw “The Nether” by Jennifer Haley… Science fiction — but maybe not so much; just too damn real.  So very very very linked to Sherry Turkle’s book Alone Together. Robots and the dark side of social media and the web and….

The Agitator alerted us all to “Your new fundraising word for the day,” ACTIGIVER. From Steve MacLaughlin, Blackbaud VP of Data and Analytics…”Giving in the age of outrage.”

The world is really fast these days. From slacktivist to activist to actigivers. But the fundamental human-ness isn’t different.

I am human, not an avatar. Engage my heart in whatever way I want to engage. I’m human. Behave accordingly.

Your NGO must be – at its core and in its activities – human. Watch out. The backlash has already started. Do you and your staff and your NGO recognize, acknowledge, understand, and do accordingly?

April 5, 2017

Cool training to help you raise more money

YOU’RE INVITED …

Changing your organization into a fundraising powerhouse through applied donor-centricity….

Join me (Simone), Tom Ahern, Guy Mallabone, and Bernard Ross as we wander around Canada the last week of September.

Focus on Donor Centricity, a fundamental and disruptive concept for many organizations, that requires placing the donor first long before they even become a donor, and all the way through their lifecycle.

Practical. Critical. And if you can shift the paradigm in your organization, you can raise
significantly more money.

  • September 25: Mississauga, Ontario
  • September 26: Toronto
  • September 27: Calgary
  • September 28: Edmonton
  • September 29, Vancouver

And if you can’t join us there in that place, there’s a webcast on September 26.

For more information, click on the title back up at the top. Or click here.

 

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.

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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