You must make your donor a partner in your mission. The donor must understand that she is an integral part of your organization, not just a dollar sign. If you can find legitimate ways for your donors to participate in your mission, you will be rewarded with greater donor loyalty, better retention and higher levels of financial support.
As we embark on a new year, so too have begun the membership/donor renewal efforts for many organizations.
We all learn from our successes and failures. But it’s easier to focus on the successes and to ignore the failures. That’s why this magazine is called FundRaising Success. No one wants to discuss their failures with colleagues. Whoever’s mug is on the cover of this issue surely wouldn’t have posed gladly if the magazine’s moniker was FundRaising Failures instead. Nonetheless, let me pass on to you a few of the fundraising mistakes I’ve played a role in, with the hope that these stories will be just as informative as crowing about some of my successes. Always practice safe mail While working with
Donors are tired of receiving solicitation after solicitation merely asking for their financial support. If you want to succeed in the fundraising market today, then it is increasingly important to offer donors and potential donors an opportunity within your direct-marketing efforts to do more than just write a check.
Much of the so-called “common logic” of direct-mail fundraising that is still being handed down to new generations of fundraisers is bunk. In reality, illogical methods often win the day. Let me review just a few of the most common situations in which uncommon ideas succeed.
The concept of planned giving is nothing new — churches began the process many years ago — but too many nonprofit organizations don’t have sufficiently organized planned-giving programs. If you’re one of them, here’s something of a primer.
Ah, it’s summer. Such a wonderful time of year. The sun is shining. Flowers are in bloom. Butterflies and bumblebees fill the air. Sweethearts walk hand in hand.
And dissatisfied nonprofit organizations, at the end of disappointing fiscal periods, are sowing Requests for Proposals for their direct-marketing programs.
Today, our nation and our world face a lot of “big picture” problems.
Global warming is melting our polar ice caps. Major wars rage in Iraq, Afghanistan and numerous other spots around the world. The fear of terrorism is at an all-time high. AIDS and other epidemics threaten to kill millions. And throngs of people across the world die every day from starvation.
First, let me apologize to all of my friends and colleagues in the telemarketing industry for the above headline.
In fact, many of the telemarketers I know are some of the best and most ethical marketers in the business. However, I used this headline because too many nonprofit organizations view telemarketing as an untactful medium that should be avoided at all costs. A couple of donor complaints about dinner-time calls and a few jokes from late-night comedians usually are all it takes to turn a development officer against the use of phoning in his or her solicitation programs.
It’s trending up, not down. I recently attended a parent’s meeting at my church to discuss future activities for my teenage son’s youth group. Now stick with me -- this actually addresses an important issue for all fundraisers. The youth minister in charge of the group was outlining what would be happening and casually said, “The kids want the annual calendar and notices about events sent to them by (snail) mail. So please look out for any church envelopes addressed to your son or daughter, and please pass them on.” I, the bored parent who was struggling to keep my eyes open, was instantly awakened by the
Whether professional writers generating grant applications, direct-mail copy and annual reports or just authors of everyday memos, all of us have been plagued by writer’s block.
Writer’s block is something that I consistently battle. As a copywriter, the author of frequent memos and proposals, and, in this case, the writer of a magazine column, I constantly find myself facing the mental brick wall that brings the flow of writing to an abrupt halt.
'Twas the week before Christmas, and out front of the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The mailbox hung by the front door with care, Anticipating that a deluge soon would be there.
I’m confident that few of my colleagues who’ve been in the business over the past two decades will disagree when I say that potential donors are far more skeptical about fundraising solicitations than they were 20 years ago.
The evidence can be found in numerous places: comments noted on response forms or to telemarketers making calls; inquiries made to the Better Business Bureau or to state attorneys; more and more additions to the National Do-Not-Call Registry and the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service.
No one wants to listen to complaints every day. Whether the complainer is a spouse (“Put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher!”), one of your kids (“Why can’t you take me to the mall?”) or a donor (“Stop sending me so much mail!”), it might seem easier to ignore the situation than to do something about it.
But just as you don’t want your spouse to file for divorce or your child to hitch a ride to the mall from a stranger, you also don’t want a valuable donor to say goodbye to you.
I’ve decided to offer my advice to those with inquiries concerning their fundraising troubles … a sort of “Dear Abby” column for the fundraising forlorn. I’m even willing to dole out this advice free of charge. Those with questions need not fear a monthly retainer bill or any other type of charge. Just please don’t tell any of my clients I’m giving it away for nothing!