Principles of Fundraising, IMHO (Part 2)
Principle 6: Don't mix your messages. When asking for a gift, leave it at that.
Let's face it — most of us will take the easiest alternative offered. Sign a petition or give a gift? Glad to sign. Send in a gift or pray? You'll get lots of prayer. Consider a charitable gift annuity or make a donation? You'll have plenty of donors considering (for about 30 seconds).
This is not to say that you don't do all of the above (see Principle 7). But it's never an either/or — it's a "do both." For example, "Once you've signed your petition, please return it with your most generous gift to help us …" "And as you send your gift of $35, $50 or even more if you can, please pray for the children who will receive food because of your generosity …"
Principle 7: Ask your donors for three things throughout the year: A gift. Referrals. A bequest.
Donors are a wonderful source of financial support (of course), but they also have family and friends who may also be interested in supporting your cause. Invite your donors to provide referral names, and tell them how you will treat the names they send. But don't do this in your direct mail. Instead, include a request for referrals in other mail such as receipts, newsletters, etc., or in e-mails or on your website.
Added to this, have a plan for asking donors to remember your organization in their wills. Again, newsletters are a great place to do this, as are annual reports, event programs, and other online and offline communications. Giving USA estimated that 95 percent of all planned gifts are bequests. And a 2010 article by Tony Martignetti for GuideStar included this timeless reminder: "If you have resources to promote only one planned gift, make it bequests. They are the bedrock of every program and it is perfectly respectable to stop digging when you hit bedrock."
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.