We’ve been hard at work here at Easier Said Than Done Laboratories on the holy grail of fundraising — a new Unified Theory of Fundraising. I’m happy to announce some breakthrough discoveries: Three Laws of Fundraising Dynamics that will give you the theoretical platform for great fundraising.
Storytelling — "social-networking tool 1.0" — is the single most powerful communications tool organizations possess, says Andy Goodman, co-founder and director of The Goodman Center and author of the book "Storytelling as Best Practice.” In an NTEN webinar in April, Goodman shared tips for how organizations can tap into the power of narrative in their storytelling, noting that the whole point of narrative is to pull readers in, get them engaged and set them up to do exactly what you're asking them to do.
Sugarcoat it all you want, but offering premiums in an acquisition campaign is, essentially, bribery. And pretty unsubtle bribery at that.
You’re saying to a prospect, “Look, I’m afraid you don’t care enough about my organization’s work to support it out of passion or principle, so I’ll offer you this trinket to try and buy your loyalty.”
The dilemma is obvious. You’re going to have much greater loyalty from people who support you because they believe in your cause. But those premiums sure can bring in more donors. At least in the short run.
To a development director, the promise of the premium can be very alluring. For a relatively small investment in mailing labels or tote bags or whatever, you can reasonably predict that significantly more people will respond to your mailing.
Temptation No. 1: Starting the project by writing the letter.
Here’s what’s happening: You’ve been assigned to create an acquisition package. You’re up for it because you have a great idea. You feel really good about that idea. You are sure it’s a winner. So you sit down and start writing the letter, right? Wrong. The letter is the very last thing you should create.
April 28, 2009, The Chronicle of Philanthropy — As the recession continues to squeeze donations to nonprofit organizations, fund raisers are feeling increased pressure to refer to their economic hardships in their written appeals to donors.
We’ve dedicated four issues in 2009 to our Fundraising 101 series, which we hope will offer a solid look at some of the more fundamental issues involved in nonprofit fundraising. We start this month with a look at direct mail. In April, we tackle acquisition; in June, it’s special efforts, including monthly giving, lapsed donors, capital campaigns and planned giving; and, finally, we look at
e-philanthropy in October.
Whether you’ll be reading as a fundraising newbie looking for some entry-level guidance or as a seasoned professional looking for a refresher course to smooth the waters in this tough economic climate, we hope you’ll find these special reports immensely helpful.