Interview With Kenneth Grunke, Director of Individual and Major Giving, Pillars
FS: Are you engaged with social-media sites like MySpace, Facebook etc., and other online social networking?
KG: “We have recently looked at creating charity badges for several sites and are currently testing the market regarding online social networking. This is an area that we are still discovering how it would best benefit our agency, as well as our donors. My colleagues and I have become highly involved in blogging, which has proven very successful in marketing the agency’s name and mission.”
FS: Can you describe a recent successful fundraising effort?
KG: “We recently redefined our major-giving program, which had not been active for the past several years. Within just four months of developing the new program, we had 49 donors with a total giving summary of over $200,000. We immediately put together a cultivation/acknowledgement event, thanking them for their support and encouraging others to consider strengthening their support. We announced that normally, at these kinds of events, organizations look at giving out tchotchkes as thank-you tokens. However, we decided to give a gift that would be even more meaningful, as well as a return on their investments. We brought in two clients who wanted to share their success stories. Needless to say, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. In addition, we received many interested prospects and new gifts.
I think the same way in which donors listen to a client’s testimony or story and say, ‘This is why I give,’ is the same approach we need to take with our donors. When I have the opportunity to meet with a donor face-to-face and find myself one step further to strengthening that connection, I often find myself saying, ‘This is why I fundraise.’”
FS: Any major difficulties or setbacks you’ve faced along the way? Things you would do differently with your fundraising?
KG: “We would definitely perform more test marketing on our pieces, which we are now currently in the process of doing. We simply aren’t doing it enough. We also need to receive more active feedback and input from our donors. We are currently identifying ways throughout our fiscal year in which we can elicit the input of our donors. Donors consistently want to be involved — and not just when they receive the annual appeal, survey or newsletter. It’s more about tapping into their talents. Many charities are vying for the same person’s support, and what is most important is the charity that develops the strongest relationship with that donor. It becomes a balancing act at times, but I believe it needs to happen.”