February 18, 2010

Check out Rick Schwartz’s great e-news of February 2010. Branding is who you are, not what you say. Rick asks what’s your organization’s DNA?

Effective fund development = good stories. Stories about donors and stories about those you serve, your beneficiaries. So what makes stories work? Read Jeff Brooks’ blog of 02-12-10: “When the brain lights up, there’s more involvement. Do the stories you tell have…intent, goal-directed action, people grasping objects, people moving around?

What does it take for a disaster to raise lots of money? Jeff’s 02-11-10 blog says: High death toll. Natural, not manmade. Sudden, not slow. In a sympathetic and/or accessible place. What’s so sad, I think is “natural, not manmade.” Genocide doesn’t produce lots of money, Katrina and Haiti do.

“Romance your donors with feminine copy,” says Jeff on 02-16-10, referring to information from Lexi Rodrigo.

Gender stereotypes always make me feel weird, but this stuff is interesting – and we all know that the economic power of women is enormous and cannot be ignored. Try these “romantic” words to reach women: love, heart, secret, magic, and 6 more! Here’s an example from the commercial world: Plain – “Solve email problems.” | Heroic – “Battle your email overload.” | Romantic – Love your email inbox again. Read the other great examples on Jeff’s blog.

And finally, Jeff reminds us that mailing more often is good. One reason why? Because even if they don’t respond, that letter may be getting them ready to respond. See Jeff’s blog of 02-15-10. “There’s fascinating evidence that for many donors it takes more than one ask to motivate one gift.”

Paraphrasing Jeff: Some donors give once per year and just need one request to make that gift. Some donors give many gifts in a year and need lots of requests to make those many gifts. Other donors respond periodically to different appeals. Yes, some donors give regularly but not much money and you actually lose money by sending to them – but remember, they are donors and we want to keep them.

Two key points here: Donors also change their minds. So the once/year donor might become the multiple/year donor, might become the bigger donor, might make a bequest… might… And you don’t know now and maybe won’t know… And all those mailings are actually relationship building strategies. So not mailing isn’t such a good idea.

As always, read Jeff Brooks future fundraising now.

About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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