Sleepless in 2013?
Back in October, FundRaising Success hosted its third annual virtual conference and trade show, a full day of online sessions moderated by some of the most creative and passionate folks in the sector. Our lively closing session brought together a handful of the members of the FS Editorial Advisory Board to talk about the issues they see as the most pressing for fundraisers in the new year.
Our panel was moderated by Dane Grams, national director of direct response at Amnesty International USA, and noted fundraising pro Jo Sullivan, who recently finished a contract working as the acting chief operating officer at USA for UNHCR. In addition to moderating the session, Dane and Jo are the co-chairs of the FS Editorial Advisory Board.
The other panelists were Christina Johns, director of new media at the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews; Jeff Jowdy, founder and president of Lighthouse Counsel; Marc Pitman, founder of FundraisingCoach.com; and Tom Harrison, CEO of Russ Reid. Following is a (nearly) intact transcript of this fast-paced and information-packed closing session.
Each panelist had the opportunity to present a top issue, and then the rest of the participants shared their thoughts on the topic.
Round 1: Branding
Dane Grams: Today’s conversation is completely unscripted, and we expect it to be informative, lively and lots of fun. Tom Harrison, let’s start with you … go!
Tom Harrison: If we’re looking at the most pressing problem, the toughest challenges facing nonprofits today, we could talk about watchdogs. We could talk about charitable tax deductibility. We could talk about the [U.S.] Post Office. But I want to talk about something that’s not inflicted on us from the outside. I want to talk about something that’s self-inflicted by our nonprofits. And that is the misuse of branding.
Let me start with the premise that people can’t give to you if they don’t know you’re there. And they won’t give to you until they’re persuaded of the importance of your work. So right there, I’m saying branding is really important for all nonprofits. There’s a solid business case — we have to have strong branding. You have to build awareness, you have to build positioning and you have to create an environment in which your fundraising is going to work.
But I would like to suggest that, by definition, successful branding for a nonprofit must support fundraising or it isn’t successful branding at all. And what we’re seeing increasingly at large and small nonprofits across the country — we could give too many painful examples — is that branding sometimes supports program and conflicts with fundraising.
For example, if a rescue mission’s branding focuses on giving hope to the poor instead of feeding hungry people or if a wildlife group’s branding focuses on the science of social warming instead of saving fuzzy animals. Donors care about those things. They just don’t care enough to give. So what happens is your branding is undermining your fundraising, and if your organization’s brand undermines your fundraising messages, you’ve got to change your branding. Otherwise you’ll have great awareness of a bankrupt organization.
So I think that the value proposition of nonprofits is the opportunity that we offer donors to address urgent, unmet needs … saving lives, saving animals, feeding hungry children, changing the world for the good. And if nonprofit branding powerfully communicates that value proposition, it supports fundraising and it’s a glad thing. However, when nonprofit branding reflects the programmatic identity of an organization apart from the donor interaction, it can really take away from fundraising.
Christina Johns: I think that that’s absolutely right. I think that you have to be, in terms of branding, able to prioritize. I think that a lot of organizations, especially in their missions, have several different objectives that they’re trying to accomplish. One might be education, one might be humanitarian aid, and they all fall within the mission. A really strong communications strategy has to be in place so that everyone in the organization knows what they’re focusing on when it comes to branding and what points are taking priority within their own mission statement.
Jeff Jowdy: Absolutely. One of the important things that we encounter is the coordination of communications, marketing, branding functions. We certainly see greater success when there is an advancement model where it’s all under one umbrella. It’s more of a challenge where there’s the mixed message that Tom shared, where they are often competing within the organization. So it’s essential to be in sync and have the right message go to the right audience at the right time, and that they’re coordinated. You have to have systems in place and structures so that everybody is on the same page and in sync.
TH: Can I just cut in again on this? I can’t prove this, but I sometimes suspect that there are some people at nonprofits who secretly feel — I don’t know — contemptuous of fundraising. And so brand marketing can seem like a high-minded departure from the tawdry, icky business of asking for money. I think that’s lamentable.
Jo Sullivan: Amen.
TH: Truly charitable giving is one of the purest, social, almost spiritual acts that a person can perform. If we facilitate charitable giving, that’s an admirable calling. I think it’s up to us to change the mind-set of our program people, board members, management and others so they value effective fundraising because they see it helps the organization grow, but also because they see it has a positive impact on the donor.
DG: Tom, do you think that’s why we’re seeing more and more organizations combining their communications departments with development departments? I feel like I’ve seen some of the strongest branding and best brand representation when organizations are really operating from one communications and development department.
TH: Dane, you’re absolutely right. And when those are unified, it makes it much stronger for the organization. What’s happening is we’re increasingly seeing for-profit brand experts come to the nonprofit world. And they live in an environment where you wake up in the morning and you need soap, so you go to the store and you buy soap. And when you’re choosing, you’re impacted by all the brand messages.
No one wakes up in the morning saying, “I have to give my money away today,” and so if you just do pure branding, without tying it to the urgent call and the way someone can make a difference and have significance in their life, then you’re going to end up in trouble because you’re going to not have any money.
Marc Pitman: I was having sort of a religious experience listening to Tom because I hadn’t really seen branding as that. I love the idea of incorporating branding with fundraising. I think it was Tom Ahern [president of Ahern Communications, Ink] who first told me that if your mission is dependent on donors, you have to make donors part of your mission. If you don’t survive without donations, then donors need to be, by virtue of their importance, part of the overall nonprofit mission.
And I like the idea of incorporating your branding that way. It changes the whole way you focus on your messaging, like Tom was saying. So, Tom, I was just having a revival experience here in my office. That was great. Thank you.
JS: I’m going to make the blasphemous comment that I think for most charities that have a large, mass-marketing fundraising program, that is your branding program. I think Tom is absolutely right that sometimes mass marketing or fundraising becomes a four-letter word. I remember on one of my early jobs someone introduced me as the woman who was taking over the direct-mail department — “You know, the junk mail stuff. If you want your name off the list, you go to her.”
JS: And that was an HR person from the organization. And I think that what everyone finds out is that we put way too much thought and stock in organizations that are large and already seasoned, and that already have a great place and a great recognition and what their brand is.
I’ll actually use one of Russ Reid’s clients and a group that I absolutely admire, and that’s Operation Smile. Their brand is that they do surgeries for children with cleft palates around the world. And it’s their basis for fundraising. Fundraising came first; it came fabulously. It’s a very simple, clear message with a call to action, but it’s also their brand. And there’s no need to come in and try to change that or try to mess with it in organizations where your mass marketing program is your brand.
We did have one question [from an attendee], and that is to really just explain branding. That is a fantastic question because for the consumer package goods people, as Tom indicated, they get it. They live and breathe it. So Tom, do you want to share what you interpret as branding, maybe in the context of the for-profits and the not-for-profit world?
TH: Sure, Jo. I don’t have a business-school definition of brand; I wish I had one in front of me. I’m just going to kind of make this up. Branding is the experience that a constituent has with your organization. So it’s how you communicate to them and the entire experience of it. So, if you know Nordstrom … Nordstrom has a brand based on customer service. Everybody’s got a story about Nordstrom and how they got taken care of very well with them.
So it may be with a rescue mission that their brand is all about helping the least, the last and the lost, downtrodden people. Or World Vision’s brand is how do we do sustainable community development through child sponsorship. Every organization can kind of capsulate who they are and what they do, but it’s risky because sometimes you’ll pick what you do instead of what you want your donor to support. You’ll pick your success instead of your need. And if you do that, you can’t raise money.
MP: Tom, how do you do that in a way that doesn’t … the example that’s sticking out from what you said was “we feed hungry people” vs. “we give hope to the poor.” Have you found organizations that are good at accentuating the need without demeaning the people that their services are being provided to?
TH: Absolutely. I can give you an example of where it didn’t work; then let’s try to talk together about where it does. United Cerebral Palsy was doing a television special to raise money. Halfway through the special, they said, “You can’t make these people that we serve look like they need help. We want to show the dignity and the life and the worth and everything else …”
And we said, “You know, if you don’t want to show that they need help, you’re going to put a TV show on the air that’s not going to raise any help because you convinced the people they don’t need help.”
So you’ve got to use different vehicles like newsletters, magazines, presentations, different vehicles where you can talk about all aspects of what you do. But when you’re talking to an audience of donors, you have to make sure that you’re always underscoring “we’re making progress” — tell a little success story — “and the need is still great. You’re part of something that’s working, and the need is still great.” It’s a one-two punch. And you always have to show the success — “you’re investing in success and the need is still great.” And when you forget about the need because you’re talking about how well things are going, that’s when you get in trouble.
Round 2: Transparency
CJ: One of the things that I wanted to bring up that I think is going to be pretty important is the need and expectation for total transparency and access to nonprofits in the future.
There seems to be, particularly for newer organizations — if you take charity: water, for example, they have a really strong base of ways that their donors and supporters can interact with the organization. And they’re very clear on what they do and where the money goes, and while the model might be easier and work well for charity: water, I’m wondering how other nonprofits that have a more complicated model will be able to mirror that same type of transparency and that same type of access.
JS: That’s a really good point, and it’s something we all struggle with. So Jeff Jowdy, do you want to talk about what you’re seeing in the
Jeff Jowdy: Absolutely. Transparency really goes to something that always resonates for those of us in the fundraising world as ethics, and as how you present yourself and whether are you congruent with who you say you are and what you do and with reality. And certainly on a number of levels, and with the mass-media marketing and the Internet, it’s giving donors access to information about you — information that the 990s require and even beyond that to the planning process, being transparent about where you’re headed. And on another level, it oftentimes resonates in the nonprofit world as compensation. I gave a talk a couple of weeks ago at a rotary club on one topic, and all of the questions were on ethics and compensation because, for example, they had seen a board not paying attention and a CEO gone wild, so to speak. So being transparent on several levels and communicating, but it also resonates as the responsibility of the board to be the watchdog.
MP: I couldn’t agree more with transparency. I’ve been working with an organization that works with homeless veterans, and it’s been scary to see the dogged determination CNN reporters are having in getting 990s and then doing the math on the 990s without any narrative storytelling. So what you get is snapshot of fundraising expenses that may seem unethical and inappropriate, but they may be part of a bigger picture.
The analogy I like to use is that when a python eats a pig, it expands and it looks a lot like a pig for a while until it digests it. So I call it the pig in the python. Sometimes your fundraising expenses might be the pig in the python. You’re still the python; you just took on a bigger chunk to then be able to do more in the future.
One of the transparency things that I think is really important is that every nonprofit should put their 990s on their website, in the About Us section. Very few people are probably going to look at it, but it’s public data anyway, so it’s not serving you to not have it accessible from your website. And then the other thing is having the key people that will talk to the media and maybe other people, too, ready to tell the narrative: OK, these are the numbers; why are they this way? Why did we just spend $80 million in direct-mail fundraising? Is it because you make really weird decisions on your fundraising goals, or is it because you’re doing something strategically over the next three years?
None of the organizations that have been the big exposés on TV have compellingly told that story. Of course, we’re at the whim of media editors also. They may be cutting those good talking points out.
TH: When I heard Christina talk about transparency, I wanted to stand up and applaud. You’re really right on. And I think something that goes hand in hand with transparency is donor intent. We don’t always know donor intent exactly, but we have to put ourselves in the position of a normal, intelligent donor and think, “What would they want to know? What would they want to give to?”
Let’s not put it in the fine print. Let’s just be straightforward with people. I think that despite the self-appointed, self-annointed watchdogs, and the puppies in the media that are following them, it’s up to us to educate the public better. First, it takes money to manage an organization, a complicated organization that’s tackling cancer or poverty. Otherwise, it would be easy. It takes money to raise money for it, and we need to explain that far better than we ever have. And we also need to encourage people to judge the impact of the organization. I know lots of nonprofits with low fundraising costs that aren’t doing anything, and I know other nonprofits with high fundraising costs that are making a life-changing and –saving difference in the world. It’s incumbent on us to tell the story better.
JS: Wow, passionately well put, and I couldn’t agree more.
DG: I just wanted to say that as a former development staff person at both a small organization and a large organization, I couldn’t agree more with Tom’s statement. One organization that I worked with invested heavily in acquisition over the years. They didn’t become beholden to the online watchdogs, and they made a long-term commitment to grow the organization. And today they’re a $40 million powerhouse with a building in Washington, D.C.
The other organization strictly held to online fundraising standards and because of it were never really able to grow because there was no long-term investment in fundraising and increasing the size of the organization.
JS: I also think that ties back to branding too. It’s all one, really. If you’re out there doing really, really great things and you are meaningfully changing the fate of whomever it is you serve, and you’re telling people openly and honestly, then the charity watchdog groups — who shall remain nameless — they have less and less power. You take the power away from them by being honest and up-front and using the dollars well.
DG: That’s right. Exactly.
CJ: And I think you can also be creative with this information, like beyond having it on your 990. There are some organizations that are being really forward-thinking with being transparent and using it as part of storytelling with infographics and things like that. I think that’s awesome and something we should keep in mind as time goes on.
JJ: Part of transparency, too, is allowing the donors to have a dialogue with you. Sometimes you’ll go on a website and it’s easy to give, but it’s not easy to have a dialogue and communicate and ask a question or to find out who to talk with.
Round 3: The Board
JJ: It’s been inevitable for I don’t know how many years that every time we work with a client, no matter what the project or what the scope is, that somehow the board becomes the No. 1 either opportunity or challenge. Usually, about a week or two into working with the CEO, either they’re bragging about the board or that door closes slowly and their eyes roll back and they start talking about their job
It’s been said you get the board you deserve. It is the No. 1. It’s the fiduciary. It’s the boss’s boss, whether it be the CEO or the consultant, the hired gun. And having the right board engaged in the right way we find is consistently the No. 1 ingredient for success for a nonprofit.
So from selecting the right board, orienting them, evaluating them, to the ongoing investment it takes — and it does take a lot of investment to have a stellar board — to giving them the comfort and success in being ambassadors and fundraisers, and finally to that relationship building. They’re the key leaders of the organizations. They’re who you want to call and have them call you back right away, and that boils down to their passion for the mission as well as their connectedness to the key staff and the organization because we respond to whom we enjoy working with. Over and over, it’s either the great exhilaration of success or the great pain of the team we work with, and it ends up being rooted in the board.
DG: What’s the formula of that level of relationship, to really have that kind of board commitment and engagement? What can we do as fundraisers to make sure that happens?
MP: One of the things that I love to do for a board is to give them permission to be smart. I think a lot of board members don’t realize that we target them because they have great skill sets in different areas in their life. They get into the room — and I’ve done this myself on the boards that I sit on — we have these experiences. We have this success in life. We get invited onto a board and doing something that we care about but really don’t know the mechanics of how to do health care or feed the poor or whatever. So we walk into the room, we take all of our worldly wisdom, that hat, and we put it on a hat rack, sit at the table, make a bunch of stupid decisions, and then we get up and put our wisdom hat back on.
Stuff we would never do to our businesses, we do to these nonprofits. Some guy started a school because he wanted to give a certain type of eduction. Realized three years into it, he didn’t want to fund an entire school, and he didn’t have an exit strategy. But he ran car dealerships. He would never have entered a car dealership business without having an exit strategy, a strategy for mitigating his losses and what other things he’s going to do.
We need to be encouraging board members, and that can be scary because they start asking questions. But I think it makes for a much stronger organization.
One quick example: I was a one-person fundraising shop at a hospital. I had a financial planner on my board look at me and say, “The 17,000 people on our direct-mail database get the same exact letter?” I said, “Yes, they do.” He said, “I would go out of business if I did that. I need to know that my target …” and he started defining the target market for his business, and he said, “Why don’t we segment?”
It was like I fed him a script as a fundraiser. I wanted to segment. I wanted to do some research on my database, and so with him saying that all the other people around the table started saying, “Oh yeah, we would never do that in our business. We know our customers. We do some research. Let’s fund research for this organization too.”
CJ: I completely agree with that. You have to open it up and put the opportunity out there. A lot of people who are on boards may or may not have the expertise specifically in the nonprofit world, and they may feel uncomfortable. When the questions are posed to them in a way that allows them to use their life experience and relate it to the organization, which they obviously care greatly about, they come at it with a whole different perspective that you might not have seen otherwise.
TH: You can’t blame the board members, because they tend to be successful, smart people who have learned throughout their careers that they can trust their gut, and they use their gut every day in business. So they walk into an environment where they know absolutely nothing, including, you know, the surgical suite. And they’re smart, successful people who think, “Well, I can figure this out.” They’re going to just try it, and so you know you’re going to be in a mess. So I think to start with, if you can separate the difference between governance and management, and have them involved in governance and not in management, you’re always better off.
DG: That’s excellent, Tom. And you know, for me, my personal experience has also been to teach them to be fundraisers. These people have amazing networks, and we shouldn’t be ashamed or embarrassed to ask them to ask for money.
MP: And they usually wind up having more fun than they expected if they’re engaged in that way. They feel like they’re actually doing something for the organization, and it’s something they care about, with their friends. It’s not nearly as scary as they think it’s going to be.
TH: I couldn’t agree more. Go back to the theory of who these people are. They’re successful people who are competitive, and they like success. So if you can take them out and make them successful on an easy fundraising call, they’re going to say, “I’m doing that again!” And you’re going to turn them into successful fundraisers. Make it easy for them. Then you give them a lot of affirmation at the board meeting. And you get other members thinking, “I want that affirmation too; maybe I should do this.”
JS: My one caveat about board members: Board members are people too. We forget a lot of times we are donors. We are board members. We are fundraisers. It’s all one thing. We’re all just people who really want to change the fate of the thing that is whatever we believe wholly, and we can wear whatever hats we want to wear. It’s all the same person, so just find the right message for whomever you are.
Round 4: The Ask
MP: One of the toughest challenges I think that is facing nonprofits is not being clear on the ask. There seems to be a resurgence in the last 18 months that people — I’m not sure if it was the perceived bad economy or what — don’t seem to want to put a dollar amount on major-gifts asks. If you say, “Would you support our cause,” that’s a cop-out. That’s not a solicitation. The person doesn’t know what you expect from that.
We had one savvy donor at a fundraising event here in Maine that we were going to be asking for $25,000, but it was one of those deals where you get together, a board member had a cocktail party, everybody showed up, notes were stationed at the event saying, “We’ll follow up with you after the event.”
The next morning, we get a check for $250 in our inbox. We wrestled with this. The $250 was totally pre-emptive. They knew what they were doing. This was a $25,000 candidate. Can we, with a straight face, say, “Thank you so much for the check. We’d still like to visit and talk to you about a gift”?
What we’ve been talking about with transparency and branding and “board members are people too,” it’s out of respect for the other person. I’ve only had coffee spilled on me or spit at me, and nobody’s dived at me when I said a dollar amount. “I’d like for you to consider a gift of $150,000 over the next three years.” One person’s coffee did come at me. But that was because of poor timing on my part. It was a little higher than they were expecting. But most people get flattered when you’re asking an amount, and at least you’ve done them the respect of telling them what you’re thinking. If you don’t know, you can always say, “Hey, I don’t really know what to ask you for, but this is the gift chart that we have and we really need something around the $150,000 level. Is that something you can consider?”
And then I guess the important part after that is … to … shut … up.
JS: Oh, AMEN!
MP: I mean, out of respect. It’s fully out of respect. It’s not because you’re going to win/lose, nothing like that. The other person needs time to process what you just said. And they will let you know when they’re done processing by being the first one to speak.
TH: You’re so right. I’ve seen people make the ask and then get so nervous in the silence that they start undercutting the ask. “You know, if that’s too much, maybe we can talk to you about something else.” And they negotiate with themselves instead of leaving the silence there.
If we start with the premise that giving to a meaningful organization is something that’s going to make a positive difference in the donor’s life, then we should be proud to ask. And if we have board members who aren’t proud to ask, maybe they shouldn’t be board members. Or if we’ve got management that aren’t proud to ask, maybe they shouldn’t be with the organization if they’re not that proud of the organization and the work that we do.
MP: Preach it!
CJ: [It’s important to equip] the manager or the major-gifts officer or whoever is making this ask with the knowledge not only of what this sum of money is going to do for the organization and being as specific as you can, but also equipping that person with the knowledge of the person that they’re asking this money from. What specifically interests that person? Is it a particular part of the mission? Is it one program? Having as much information about that particular donor as possible before they go in there and make that ask.
JS: Valid point. Valid point!
JJ: Absolutely. John Rockefeller shared that you have to look at a gift as you would a high-grade investment, and part of it is our helping to share the joy of giving and making an appropriate request from a position of strength and not feeling like we’re begging. And doing it at the right time, making sure the donor’s ready so that when he or she or they are doing that processing, it’s an appropriate processing.
And I can relate to that silence. Once I was at an independent school and was making calls with the head of the school. I was the one making the ask because she wasn’t comfortable doing that. And as soon as I made the ask, she jumped in, “Well, I know that’s a lot of money; it’s probably too much.”
We had about 20 debriefs or 30 over a couple of years, and I never could get her past that, so I had to stop bringing her.
TH: (on the pressure to jump too quickly into the digital sphere): So your board and your younger staff want you to switch 100 percent to digital because it’s the future — and it likely is the future — but it doesn’t give you the ROI that you need. So what do you do?
What we’re seeing is that nonprofits are bouncing between two extremes — online triumphalism and offline defensiveness. And these are the people who continually circulate studies about the dominance of direct mail — you’ve seen these people, right?
So, both sides are wrong because they are incorrectly assuming a binary relationship between online and offline; it’s either one or the other. It used to be a one-channel response loop: I get mail, I write checks and I send the check back to you. And that still happens. We still see that with many, many of our donors. But gradually we’re moving into a multichannel response loop that blends online and offline.
We have to have multichannel fundraising to meet the donors where they are. And all of it — whether it’s direct mail, DRTV, radio, e-mail, banners, social campaigns, face-to-face — all of it’s got to create urgent demand to meet a need and an easy-to-use avenue.
And one of the key challenges that everybody’s seeing in this is attribution. It’s so vital, and we all have to get straight on this: If you air a DRTV show and people call in to an operator and make a pledge or give a credit card, nobody says, “Oh my gosh, phones are working! We don’t need TV anymore. Let’s just hire more operators!”
Nobody would do that — that’s crazy talk. But you know what? You air a TV show and people go online to give, and you say, “The Internet is working! We don’t need this TV or this mail anymore!” It’s crazy.
So we have to figure out how we go back and attribute what’s the driver, what’s causing people to give and then what’s the response vehicle? What’s the vehicle they’re using to give, and how do you balance the both of those to make sure you’re continually driving the contribution and also giving them an easy way?
So I would just say, don’t swing before the pitch. It’s not about switching from one medium to another. It’s about using all media and deciding which one is most effective at driving and which one is most effective for response.
DG: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The organizations that weathered the storm through the economic collapse and are doing the best now have a well-balanced portfolio.
CJ: You really hit it. Being the director of new media, obviously this is a topic that’s very close to me. No, I don’t think direct mail is dead; yes, I have a checkbook. No, e-mail is not dead. Blah, blah, blah.
It’s 100 percent looking at your housefile, looking at your data, determining where the resources are. Before I was director of new media, I was director of DRTV. So I can tell you there’s a vast difference between our constituents who are coming in through DRTV and the ones who are coming in online. However, after doing some thorough analysis, I can tell you that our most profitable donors are the ones who give both online and through the mail.
You just want to make sure that your messages are consistent, and it goes back to the first point about branding. It doesn’t matter if it’s on DRTV or social media, to make a donor want to give, the message has to be there, the confidence has to be there that this is something that’s legitimate, verifiable.
A Question From the Audience
DG: Tom, great topics and great responses! We do have one question that has come in. Sharon is asking, when interviewing to recruit board members, is there a list of skills or characteristics that you should consistently ask for?
JJ: It’s reliant to some degree on the organization and where it is in its life cycle. But the board members have a fiduciary responsibility, there’s the legal, the hiring and firing of the CEO, the financial piece, and the delegation of a plan to the CEO. And then there are the skills that we’ve been mentioning: fundraising and being ambassadors. You don’t want to bring someone on board who doesn’t feel comfortable being an ambassador, a fundraiser and, of course, a donor. That’s going to create a challenge.
Those would be the core skills, and then there’d be the nuances of whatever that organization is; how sophisticated it is; and whatever it needs at that time might vary in terms of occupations, skills and specifics. But they have to be able to make those tough decisions, to ensure that transparency, to make the gift and ask for the gift.
DG: I would recommend that you also put together a job description for your board, just as you would for a qualified staff person.
TH: I like the idea that you’re looking for wealth, wisdom and work. They got to have one or two of those, or you don’t want them on your board. And look at roles. Do you need an accountant? Do you need a lawyer? I love the idea of a job description. And it’s not one for all board members — a job description for each one because you want them to do specific things.
DG: We’re just about out of time, so why don’t we do a quick round of closing thoughts? This conversation was great. I would recommend everyone to have these conversations with people in your network. You don’t have to come to a closing session like this to talk about these topics and find out what’s going on at other organizations. Look to your colleagues, your friends, your co-workers, people at other organizations that you aspire to be, and throw out topics and have conversations with them. It could be a really helpful experience.
TH: Be proud to ask people to contribute to your organization. Give them significance in their lives, and you’re making a difference and they are.
JJ: Be sure you are engaging people in conversation, whether they are donors, volunteers, staff, board … be dialoguing. Don’t make it one-way.
CJ: Keep the donors No. 1. Remember that the donor is not going to care whether it’s a development message, a fundraising message, an education message … just as long as you let what the donor wants to see and hear be No. 1.
MP: We live in the most amazing time to be alive right now because we have so many different ways to connect with people in a really meaningful way. It’s just an exciting time to be fundraisers.
DG: Here! Here!