Fundraising Advice From Katya Andresen Over the Years
On her blog, Network for Good's Katya Andresen, long a rock star in the fundraising community, announced she is passing the baton of her Non-Profit Marketing Blog off to her Network for Good colleagues, as she moves on from the organization to take a new gig as CEO of ePals.
Andresen has been a member of the FundRaising Success Editorial Advisory Board for more than five years, and she has been an invaluable resource for both us and our fundraising audience. So with Andresen exiting stage left from the nonprofit blogging world — by the way, Easier Said Than Done columnist Jeff Brooks, creative director at TrueSense Marketing, named Katya's Non-Profit Marketing Blog as one of his top-five must-read blogs for fundraisers — we are sharing some of the tremendous fundraising tips Andresen has been gracious enough to pass on to our readers through our various publications. Enjoy, and best wishes to Katya on her new endeavor at ePals!
- "Stealing Savvy (Green Tights Optional)": “Imagine what would happen if we all became twice as persuasive as we are now. How many millions more could we convince to join our organizations, volunteer their time, donate money or change their lifestyle? Don’t we owe it to our cause to try?"
- "Tips for Keeping Fundraising Vibrant and Exciting": "I keep it fresh by listening to the donors. They are smarter than I am and usually more eloquent. The reasons they support an organization — the words they use, the stories they tell, the passion they have — makes them the best possible source of inspiration for fundraising. Our new site, www.sixdegrees.org [a social networking site where visitors can learn about and support the charities of celebrities and their friends, and fundraise for causes they care about], is full of such stories. Donors tend to be the best messengers, which is why I’m so keen on person-to-person fundraising."
- "Fundraising Peers Offer Tips for Success": "The key to all marketing — and fundraising — is simple: always, always, appeal to the perspective of your audience, not your own. As a mentor of mine [Sharyn Sutton, founder and president of Sutton Group, a consultancy that helps groups working for social change] says, it’s not about teaching people to value your cause. It’s about showing people how your cause relates to their existing values. This is the single most important lesson I’ve ever learned, and I say it ad nauseam in my book, in workshops and to anyone who will listen."
- "Beware the Bus-Stop Broadside Fundraiser": "When we do the work of thinking about how our cause relates to our audience, wonderful things happen. It’s worth the effort. We turn our preachy monologue into a respectful, engaging conversation. People respond because they want to have a relationship with us. We become great fundraisers, and we might even make a new best friend at the bus stop."
- "Gloom and Doom are Downers": "If you haven’t guessed by now, I am not a fan of fear-based, gloom-and-doom messaging. I think it’s a downer; a downer as in diminished donations, dispirited advocates and doubting audiences. Feeling depressed yet? Me too."
- "Bring Back That Loving Feeling": "As fundraisers, we’ve got a lot of the same problems as the people writing Dear Abby. And I think our response-rate heartache is based in the root causes that the advice columnists so often cite. Really. The relationship we have with our donors and prospects is not transactional; it’s deeply human. When it goes wrong, it’s for the same fundamental reasons we might find strain our other relationships, like taking someone for granted, not listening to his or her perspective, and neglecting to show our feelings."
- "How to Succeed in Social Media": "It’s all too easy to fall in love with all the sexy social-media tools out there and forget why people are attracted to social media in the first place. If you don’t stay grounded in the basic human needs that fuel the success of those shiny tools, you will be — in the words of Nicole Engelbert , lead analyst of vertical markets technology at Datamonitor — a fool with a tool."
- "From Snoring to Soaring": "Newsletters are an important way that we cultivate relationships with donors. If we’re generally dull and needy in those communications, our audience will lose interest. And that ultimately spells financial heartbreak for us."
- "What They Get Is Key to Why They Give": "Giving and receiving go hand in hand. Fundraising is not simply about what you ask of people; it’s about what they get in return. You don’t have an empty, outstretched hand. You have a lot to offer donors, and you should frame your ask accordingly."
- "Oh, No, Not Again!": "It’s fall. So by all means, get those campaigns under way. But make them about more than just the seasonal campaign. Make them about what truly matters to your organization and, most important, to your donors. Great campaigns are not a date range on a calendar — they are about an amazing destination that you and your supporters want to reach together."
- "6 Ways to Survive the Economic Meltdown": "In an era when so many investments look like they’re offering low returns, you are priceless. Remind your donors of their amazing ROI with you. For a few dollars, they get a helper’s high. They feel good because they did good. It’s cheaper than therapy. Their investments in your organization don’t yield paper profits; they change lives. Always. Be passionate and persuasive about your emotional ROI — and your human ROI. Those who can afford it will get it and give."
- "Keep Your Year-end E-mails Off the ‘Naughty’ List": "You know your latest e-mail campaign is the December newsletter. And you know it’s great. But it’s up to you to tell your constituents just why December is so darn special. Consider using your subject line to tease your favorite article or whatever you decide is the most enticing part of your newsletter. Also, try including your brand in the subject line. It’ll let people instantly recognize your e-mail at a glance and can help with inbox sorting down the road."
- "Pulling Out of the Nonprofit Nosedive": "In situations like this, some people panic. Others get inventive. Let’s all pledge here and now to stay in the latter category. As a wise man once said: Worrying is not thinking, and complaining is not action."
- "Because I Said So": "… your supporters, volunteers, program participants, neighbors — anyone — are going to be more persuasive than you in making a case that your organization is wonderful. It means you should rethink how you approach everyone. It means you need to think about new messengers."
- "You Talk, Donors Listen": "… understand how your audience's minds work — and adjust your communications accordingly. You have a better chance of success with this approach than you ever have in trying to get your audience to see the world — and your message — as you do."
- "Be Generous to Inspire Generosity": "When we treat our donors like walking wallets, they'll get mad and leave us. When we lavish them with a generous spirit and excellent service, they'll stay with us"
- "Homer Simpson for Nonprofits": "… most people don't think like Alan Greenspan. They are more like Homer Simpson — limited in attention, over-endowed with impulse and ruled by emotion."
- "The Not-So-Great Divide": "… given that a complete reorganization is impossible for most of us, we must at least consider how to reorganize our fundraising efforts with a focus on the constituent experience at each touchpoint with our organizations, wherever it may occur. And we want to plan each campaign with a mind to all the ways it will live online and off. In other words, we must close our own digital divide by fully integrating our online and offline efforts."
- "The Year's Main Marketing Messages": "We used to crank out the self-serving copy, tell people to trust us and hit them for money. That era is over. Change your message, your messengers and your goals. This isn't about extracting money from people. It's about making great things happen — together."
- "Online Giving: It's Still About Relationships": "What matters most in fundraising is the relationship you establish with your supporters. The stronger the relationship and the better the giving experience, the more people donate. The weaker the ties you build, the worse the results."
- "The Truths Behind Why People Give": "… when you fundraise, make it clear other people are supporting you. If you use tickers or thermometers in your campaigns, don't show progress until you HAVE progress. An empty thermometer will probably perform like the empty box."
- "6 Things I Wish I'd Known 20 Years Ago": "Feeling first, facts later. There are no exceptions to the rule that we must awaken the heart to arouse the mind. We have to move people emotionally before they will take in information — or act. We can't spout information until we touch the heart. Speak to the soul so the facts have a fighting chance."