Nonprofit Fundraising-Fund Development

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.

February 12, 2018

Cool stuff

Do you know CharityChannel – and its press?

You should. I think CharityChannel Press is publishing more fundraising / nonprofit sector books than anyone else these days. And pretty cool titles, too! For example: 50 Asks in 50 Weeks. Fundraising for….Churches…Museums…Hospitals and…(Separate books!) The Nonprofit Consulting Playbook. Storytelling in the Digital Age. Opening the Door to Major Gifts. And so many many more! Just take a look!

CharityChannel Press published my book Firing Lousy Board Members. Have you read it? You probably should. All about boards and board members and making sure you don’t have to fire them. [In fact, just carry the book around in front of your board and board members… And maybe they’ll be curious and choose to learn and you can help them!]

And how about this…. CharityChannel’s Masters of Fundraising Summit. On line for your convenience. Reduced price for your wallet. And good presenters for your learning!

Are you continuously learning? What’s on your bookshelf? What are you reading?

January 29, 2018

Deciding how much money we can raise

The boss and board want a 10% increase in charitable gifts. The CFO says an annual 15% increase is required. And on and on.

STUPID   DUMB   SILLY   EVEN STUPIDER   EVEN   DUMBER…

Read this great blog from Veritus Group: “The Unrealistic Expectations of Management,” by Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels. Then show it to all those people. Boss. Board of Directors. Finance Committee. CFO. Development Committee. Anyone else?

Now read my blog (Simone Uncensored), “Setting your charitable contributions goal,” October 12, 2015.

How long do we have to fight these stupid, dumb, silly battles? When will we get good enough at explaining and enabling? When will those others get smart enough to understand?

 

 

December 13, 2017

VERY VERY IMPORTANT! PLEASE CHECK THIS OUT!!!!!!!!!!!

NOT A fundraising request. NOT an emergency.

BUT… You doing this could help our profession and you and others and and…..

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PARTICIPATE IN THIS SURVEY about ETHICS!!! ………….. How do YOU make ethical decisions? …………………

A doctoral student at the Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy (U.K.) is conducting this research. The Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy is led by Adrian Sargeant and Jen Shang. This center leads academic research in FUNDRAISING. Fundraising…the work that you and I damn well better do better at doing!!!

Bad news: Will take approximately 30 minutes of your time. I know that’s lots of time. But maybe drink a glass of wine while you do the survey? Or eat caramels,  like I do.

PLEASE PLEASE… Your participation makes a difference. YOU can help advance the profession. (And by the way…. exclusive offer…. You’ll get your own scores to learn more about how and why you make decisions.)

DIRECTIONS DIRECTIONS DIRECTIONS FOR THE SURVEY

  • The survey must be completed at a computer with a keyboard (i.e. desktop, laptop). There is a section of the survey which is not compatible with mobile devices. Your participation will be anonymous, and to appreciate your time, you will have the option to receive your personal scores and enter a draw (for an iPad mini or £100 of gift vouchers).
  • If you would like to participate, please follow this link when you have 30 minutes to dedicate to the survey (or copy and paste this text into your browser:https://plymouthbusiness.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_beFvHemJrOaoPkh

Please consider forwarding this invitation to your fellow fundraising colleagues as well. The results will help answer relevant questions and strengthen fundraising for years to come.

 

 

August 28, 2017

Free 4-part workshop! Starts September 13.

I love this title! “Don’t Ask, Don’t Get”

We’re in the asking business, people!! The biggest reason anyone gives anything? Because they’re asked!

This workshop will help you fundraisers (and your board members and CEO and and…) be more comfortable and effective when they ask. This workshop will help you – the leader – help them do the asking.

How does this work?

  • 4 videos delivered directly to you over a week. Each video is only 30 minutes long. Long enough for you to learn. Short enough to squeeze the learning in over lunch or breakfast or after work or…
  • And live Q&A with Brian!

Who is doing this? ASKINGMATTERS.COM. What will you learn?

  • You’ll learn about asking styles (Did you know there are different styles? I learned helpful stuff when I read the book about asking styles.)
  • You’ll learn about the role of the asker. (That could be you or a board member or a donor who loves you and wants to help raise money!) 
  • You’ll learn about how to design and conduct the asking meeting.

Click here for more details.

Register now. Register yourself…your CEO…And maybe a board member or two! Just go for it. Ask. Ask better!

 

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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