Nonprofit Fundraising-Fund Development

August 8, 2018

Notes from my dorm room #3

Did you think that was all of the CRQs created from Cohort 28? NOT HARDLY!

Here are more questions for your chats with donors – and chats with other fundraising professionals…

  1. Tell me about a time you were curious.
  2. What is your most cherished memory of giving?
  3. If you had all the time, money, and volunteers in the world…what would you put it towards?
  4. When you think of all the philanthropic investments you’ve made, which gives you the most joy? Which ones are the most proud of? How did you feel?
  5. What legacy do you want to have? How do you want to be remembered? Why is this important to you?
  6. What makes you irrationally angry?
  7. What makes you hopeful?
  8. What experiences have led you to show interest in an organization?
  9. If you had all of the funding without any restriction, what philanthropic organization would you create?
  10. After I brought up my faith, ask me to dive more into why [philanthropy] was part of my faith.
  11. What impact has philanthropy had on your life personally and professionally?
  12. How did you choose to work for the organization you have worked with?
August 3, 2018

Notes from my dorm room #2

YES YES YES!!!! CRQs… Cage-rattling questions. 

Anyone who ever reads anything of mine knows how I adore and admire and desperately want LOTS of CRQs.

So here are some CRQs from Cohort 28, the new cohort for the Masters in Philanthropy and Fund Development at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.

Try asking your donors these questions. Because every donor could be invited to share his/her/their philanthropic story.

  1. Tell me about the path that brought you here today.
  2. What drives you to get up, go to work, and do your best each day.
  3. What is worth fighting for?
  4. Tell me about yourself – share with me your life’s journey.
  5. What are your interests? Passions?
  6. What unique hobbies do you enjoy?
  7. Who are some people who have influed your charitable life?
  8. What is your favorite thing about giving?
July 27, 2018

Notes from my dorm room….

The recurring series that occurs every summer when I’m teaching in the marvelously cool masters program in philanthropy and fund development at Saint Mary’s University of MN.

The first week of class is over… I’m reading papers from Cohort 28. The assignment: Interviewing a classmate to learn the the classmate’s philanthropic story.

The stories are so cool…how these colleagues wrote about each other. The feelings. Caring. Admiration. Respect.

Imagine a colleague saying something like the statements below…. Or saying something like this about you…

“Both personally and professionally, this philanthropic powerhouse positively impacts people’s lives.

         ♦ How do you want to be remembered? “That I never hurt anyone purposely.”

♦ “My passion is to inspire other peoples’ passion.”

                      ♦ A woman of this caliber has a philanthropic journey that is only beginning.

♦ “There is a lot of work to be done in our world. I hope I can – in some small way – chip away at it.”

She joined a sit-in protest at her comfort level. The next thing she knew, she had busted through her comfort level.

A humanitarian to the core, [he] lives every hour of each day in service to his commitment to make the world a better place.

               ♦ It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.

                        ♦ Asked, “why would you do that?” She responded: “Why would you not?”

          ♦ She doesn’t just talk the talk.

“I hope I’ll be remembered as a ‘listening ear.’ Being there for people. Being present when needed.”

 

 

 

June 25, 2018

If those people only knew how great we are…

I know you love your organization. I hope that’s why you work there.

But just because you love your organization does NOT mean that I will love your organization. AND OH MY GOSH… If you educate me, that won’t make me love and give either.

Real life is NOT NOT NOT like the movie Field of Dreams (If you build it, they will come!) NO NO NO NO… And no matter how visible you are and how much you think you’ve educated me… I won’t fall in love.

People pay attention to what interests them. For example, I’m not interested in sports of any kind…ever never never ever!! Even when my alma mater is playing. My alma mater where my parents met and my dad taught and and and…

I know how awful the environmental mess is. I believe in global climate change. I believe we humans are deeply fecking (Irish) up stuff. But I don’t give much to the environment. That’s not my favorite cause.

Your visibility — trying to shove me hard into awareness — does NOT NOT NOT make me a donor.

Just read Jeff’s blog: How Awesomeness Syndrome can torpedo your fundraising. Then watch the Awesomeness Syndrome video imbedded in Jeff’s blog.

 

June 5, 2018

Ah neuroscience… So useful for fundraising.

Surely every single fundraiser knows that giving a gift is not a rational decision. In fact, most decision-making is based on emotions. Sure, we might rationalize it within seconds, but even the rationalizing isn’t rational!

Dr. Antonio Damasio “…[A]t the point of decision, emotions are very important for choosing. In fact, even with what we believe are logical decisions, the very point of choice is arguably always based on emotion … we are living an illusion of conscious choice.”

Dr. Antoine Bechara, leading authority on the mental processes behind decision making: “What if sound, rational decision-making in fact depended on … emotional processing? The studies of decision-making in neurological patients who can no longer process emotional information normally suggest just that … I will make the case that decision-making is a process guided by emotions.”

Want more information on all this?

  • Read Keep Your Donors: The Guide to Better Communications and Stronger Relationships (2008. Ahern and Joyaux)
  • And read Tom Ahern’s books and newsletter.
May 30, 2018

Learn to be a better fundraiser

Enough with just training sessions like all those conferences. Hey, I love conferences. I just returned from presenting at the Festival del Fundraising in Italy. Very good. And Cause Camp was good and so was BloomCon and and… These are curated conferences and they are pretty darn marvelous.

But I’m telling you… There’s nothing quite like some academic stuff going down.

Think about it. Sometimes it feels like fundraising is the only profession that you do NOT NOT need to know anything about to join up and do it.

  • “I’m a former bank manager. I have lots of contacts. I know lots about money. So I can become a fundraiser!”
  • “That cool wealthy guy plans the best parties. Let’s hire him as our next development officer. Besides, he has lots of wealthy pals.”

PLEASE PLEASE ! Let’s stop this foolishness now. Every nonprofit deserves a competent fundraiser who knows the body of knowledge. (Not opinion, please!)

Check out AFP’s Fundraising Principles and Practice course. You want to be good — even great?! Enroll now. Very best of professional practice + cutting edge science. And Adrian Sargeant will be with you all the way.

Learn more by clicking here. Really and truly…Are you sure that you know the cutting edge practice and critically important academic science for these topics: Fundraising and donor behavior. Direct response fundraising. Fundraising planning and donor retention. Major gifts and legacies. Corporate fundraising. AND!!! Managing your fundraising team. Click here! Learn the right stuff!

 

May 29, 2018

Act now! Bad stuff going down…

Can your monthly donors – those wonderful people we all want so badly – be held hostage? YES YES.

So we have to stop this! That’s you and me and others.

READ THIS NOW! http://www.theagitator.net/uncategorized/can-your-monthly-donors-be-held-hostage

Then take the survey so the wonderful Agitator peeps can blog more about this.

Yes. Act now! Let’s make sure to stop the hostage-taking of our monthly donors.

May 21, 2018

Neuroscience can help fundraisers

Thanks to MRI machines, we can monitor what’s happening in the human brain.

For example, did you know: When you’re the victim of a mistake – if the handling of that mistake is really good – you experience a dopamine high. (If you don’t know what a dopamine high is, check it out!) That dopamine high can be great … I almost think we should make mistakes on purpose to give our donors a dopamine high. (On the other hand, I figure we all make sufficient mistakes that what we really need to do is to handle mistakes very very very well!)

So here’s my story of my dopamine high! One day, I get a very nice email from EMILY’S List, indicating that it appears that I haven’t renewed my membership. And how much I matter as a member and what my participation has accomplished.

I checked my checkbook and, as I had remembered, I had renewed.

So I called EMILY’S List. A human being answered. I asked for the development office. A human being answered. Wow. Not caught in voicemail hell!

The development officer immediately looked me up in the database. Quickly and efficiently. No referral to someone else!

I had renewed. She apologized very graciously and corrected the entry.

I wasn’t angry or even annoyed. Everyone makes mistakes. No big deal at all. Off I went to my appointments.

I returned home and there was a very gracious email apology. Then a couple hours later, a personal call from the chief development officer apologizing. That was so unnecessary. No need for another apology!!

And then… After apologizing to me personally, the chief development officer said: “Do you realize that in 4 more days, it will be the anniversary of your 20thyear as an EMILY’S LIST member? Thank you so much.”

What an amazing experience. Talk about a dopamine high! I tell everyone this story. I repeat this story over and over when presenting.

Thank you EMILY’S LIST. You gave my brain a dopamine high. You made me admire you even more.

April 6, 2018

One of my most favorite things!!!

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota…. Masters Degree in Philanthropy and Development….

Why? The STUDENTS!!! All ages and life experiences and types of nonprofits and different countries and… All committed to challenging assumptions, and exploring, and lifelong learning.

Faculty like Audrey and Gary and now Tom Ahern has joined the faculty!! And we have other new faculty members, too.

Constantly modifying and strengthening the curriculum. (For example: I’m going to spend more time on social justice in the first course students have.)

  • Fundraising of course… planning and major gifts and a really marvelous real life solicitation with a real person!!!
  • Fundraising communications
  • Strategic planning
  • Leadership: Legal and ethical issues in nonprofit organizations
  • Governance (That’s me!)
  • Philanthropy and development: frameworks for thinking and learning. (That’s me, too!)

Part of the program is online. A masters degree in ONE YEAR only. Just 4 semesters. WOW!!!. Students begin with summer 1 residency…Fall and spring online. And then you return to campus once more for summer 2 residency. AND YOU’RE DONE!!

AND THEN!!!!!!!! THE RESIDENCY. Those weeks on campus each summer. Oh wow. I LOVE the residency. Face-to-face. Talking and arguing and applying learnings and experience. Intense. Fun. And building relationships that stick with you on and on.

Contact Cheryl Pray (cpray@smumn.edu) our marvelous Executive Director. Contact me and I’ll tell you all about the program.

Join us! We learn and have fun and create enduring relationships.

 

 

 

March 19, 2018

Answers to the Savvy Fundraiser’s Quiz Show

My March newsyletter introduced the Savvy Fundraiser’s Quiz Show. As promised in the newsyletter, here are the answers!!

Question #1: What’s the most important thing a board member does?

  • Attend board meetings.  X
  • Give an annual financial contribution.
  • Help raise money.

Answer: To be a board member, you must participate in the process of governance. Corporate governance only happens at board meetings because governance is a group activity. Yes, the other two choices are obligations of board members, too. But the single most important thing is attending and participating in board meetings because that’s where/when governance happens. Visit the Free Download Library on my website and read all the materials about governance/boards/board members.

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Question #2: What’s the one thing a board chair should NOT do?

  • Serve as spokesperson for the organization   X
  • Get to know the various staff people.   X
  • Provide regular advice and counsel to the CEO/ED.   X

Answer: This is a trick question. The board chair should NOT do any of these!

  • The CEO/ED serves as the spokesperson for the organization. The CEO/ED can assign someone else to serve as chief spokesperson for a particular issue or moment in time. That could be the board chair or the fundraiser or or and and and and. It’s the CEO/ED’s decision.
  • Of course, the board chair may meet any number of the staff – same holds true for other board members. However, the board chair does not “get to know” staff. Like about families and friends and life and the job and… That can jeopardize the separation of management and governance.
  • So what does “regularly” mean? Of course, the CEO/ED and Board Chair prepare board meeting agendas together. Talk with each other about issues that come before the board. And the CEO/ED can certainly ask the board chair for advice and counsel, or vice versa. But be very very careful. Regularly? Ok. Once/month if the board meets monthly. Periodically an email about something . But if the board chair and CEO/ED talk/meet weekly? On no! Biweekly updates or something? Be careful!!! Sounds like the board chair is acting as CEO/ED. And the actual CEO/ED is just the chief operating officer. Be very very very very careful!!!!!!

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Question #3: Who needs to be the governance expert in your organization?

  • Board Chair
  • Executive Committee
  • Chief executive (CEO/ED or whatever title your organization uses)   X

Answer: The one person we can count on is the CEO/ED. Hired. Paid. Professional! S/he is obligated to learn this stuff and lots of other stuff, too. Read! Workshops! Experience. Etc. And just because a board member has served on many boards does NOT NOT NOT mean s/he knows the governance body of knowledge, etc. etc. In my experience, most boards are mediocre at best. And far too many are dysfunctional. I hold the CEO/ED accountable for both mediocrity and dysfunction. By virtue of position, the CEO/ED is required to be highly knowledge about governance – and also be a darn good enabler to help the board chair facilitate good governance. (And if your board doesn’t listen and allow you to enable — then work diligently to change the board members. Or find another job. You deserve better.)

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The Savvy Fundraiser’s Quiz Show has many more questions and answers. If you want me to publish more in my newsyletter, just let me know.

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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