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Posts Tagged ‘ fundraising tactics ’

Fundraising: What’s Trending this Month

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Monitoring fundraising/philanthropy blogs and articles this past month, here’ what’s trending in fundraising:

1. Political Fundraising: Shocker! More specifically, campaign volunteers giving first before asking. Does celebrity endorsement/giving hurt or help? Secret, non-traceable data-mining for the perfect prospective donor.

2. Livestrong: Hum. Good guy or Bad guy? Drops the doping fight (admission of guilt?) and bolsters Livestrong charities (again!). Two things are certain, this guy has a steadfast core group of donors and he made silicon bracelets must-have bling.

3. Should Non Profits Jump on the Social Media Train? Gosh, this is topic trending for 2012 for sure. Current or on-going discussion: small non profits are missing out by not utilizing social media, what social media increases google rankings (kinda varies but pretty much: Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn), How to use Social Media to raise money and so on….

4. Women are more Generous than Men – so pay attention to us! Not certain why this came up so much this month, could be driven by the Chronicles’ recent blog on the topic – those trendsetters!

5. Design: Website, Colors, Image, Slogan, Name….lot’s of branding chatter to increase your nonprofit chatter.

Start Your NonProfit for Sustainability: Part Two Fundraising

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Finally, you are now in business and we can start fundraising for your organization in earnest.  Nonprofits, like most start up businesses, begin with the founder personally (and perhaps your board members) funding the organization until it can be funded with outside sources.  If you have to fund the organization yourself at the beginning, be sure to keep meticulous records of what you have put into the organization and be clear about its intent. For example, whether your funding is a gift or a loan to the organization. Here are some creative, fun and traditional ways to fund a nonprofit organization:

  1. Sell Something.  Collect and sell items on Ebay or Craigslist to raise your start-up capital.
  2. Borrow Against Life Insurance Policies.  If you have a life insurance policy, check to see if it has cash value. Most policies start accumulating cash value after a certain period of time.  When you borrow against your life insurance policy, your policy stays intact as long as you continue paying the premiums when due.  If you die while there’s an outstanding loan against your policy then the face amount is reduced by the loan amount. The nice thing about borrowing against your life insurance policy is that there’s no credit check, or income verification like most other loans. All you have to do is call you insurance company and let them know you want to borrow the cash value.
  3. Borrow from Family and Friends.  Your friends and family are a good source of capital fundraising. This might be one of the most cost effective ways to fundraise for your business—that’s if your friends or family members are not asking for interest on the loan.  You can also protect the spirit of the transaction by putting your agreement in writing and making small payments as soon as you can.
  4. Grants.  Depending on what your business is there are a number of small and large corporations that give away money in the form of grants.  Grants are usually competitive in nature, but once you receive the money repayment is not required or expected.  Grant amounts vary and some may have conditions. Once your grant period is complete, you should mail the grantor a final report clearly indicating what was accomplished with the grant money. This should be done whether or not it is required.
  5. Fundraising Registry Sites.  There are many fundraising sites that are geared toward nonprofits.  Most fundraising sites have fees or a percentage that you are required to pay based on the amount of money you raise.  The fees the site owner may charge could include a monthly user fee, or credit card fee and other nominal charges.  You should check before you start using the site.  Once you’ve set up your fundraising idea on the registry then it is up to your efforts to send your site link to everyone you know and request a donation.  Let them know how their contribution will help you and this will motivate donors. This is a fun way to raise money through your own creativity and watch your money grow on your site. Don’t forget to say “thank you”. Some fundraising registry sites to research are Network for Good and Razoo.
  6. Place a Donate Button on Website.  More and more nonprofits have a “donate” button on their websites.  If your ultimate goal is to fundraise then you need to consider a “donate” button on every page of your website. The internet technology today makes it easier for individuals to donate anytime without leaving the comfort of their home.

If you find a couple or even just one of the above idea’s to make sense and feel it will give your new organization enough cushion to seed your program – I would recommend that you also give some thought to investing in a part-time fundraising professional. Oftentimes the first investment in a fundraising professional is a consultant; which is smart as it most likely will bring in more money sooner rather than later. It is important to note that it may be more beneficial to your organization in the long run to have them on staff. Whichever direction you take, give thoughtful consideration to the level of importance those donor relationships are to offer your organization sustainability over the long-haul.

Increase Fundraising Revenue with Donor Recognition Cards

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

A memorial gift is a common way of donating to a nonprofit. But think about taking memorial gifts one step further by building a strategic and branded Donor Recognition Card Program that proactively markets and encourages donors to think beyond giving gifts in memory.

Let’s outline what types of special occasions are best to promote and it will detail the Recognition Card Program internal procedures and protocols as professional fundraising consultants we recommend to ensure a well run program. Let’s begin.

The Best Special Occasions to Promote: We’ve all heard the cliché, “What do I give someone who already has everything”? There’s an altruistic answer; begin to brand and promote giving gifts in honor of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Encourage donors who already have what they need to ask guests to give contributions to your organization in lieu of gifts for their new baby & shower, a birthday, their wedding (check out the https://www.idofoundation.org/). Also promote examples of gifts given from Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Christmas, Hanukkah, or any other special occasion.

Brand Your Program: Making a gift to charity in ones honor provides a meaningful response; and may even create a spark within that person to begin to do the same. As a fundraising professional, whenever given the opportunity to speak to a captive audience about your nonprofit and how they can help; emphasize the many ways to give to your organization through your Donor Recognition Card Program. Brand it as a unique and touching way they may remember or honor someone special. The donor will find that giving to a particular organization in this fashion affects their loved ones in a way they will remember and cherish.

Here’s a genuine example of how giving to a nonprofit through recognition cards encouraged one donor to pay it forward.  A client of our consulting group asked friends and family members to give donations to a nonprofit significant to them instead of giving gifts to them after the birth of their first child. This donor got the idea after his company purchased Holiday Cards they give to clients instead of their traditional box of chocolate covered cherries. Once introduced to the new concept or trend of gifting donations to a nonprofit in lieu of personal gifts for a special occasion, it will prompt some people to donate in a similar manner in the future; building your Recognition Card Program brand and ultimately revenue for your nonprofit.

Your Recognition Card Procedure: Talking about your nonprofit’s Recognition Card Program is just the beginning. As with any specific and branded professional fundraising strategy or program, you must be able to communicate with your donors efficiently and precisely. Your Recognition Card Program is no different. Therefore, establish procedures and protocols to ensure a well thought out system is in place to implement and manage your Recognition Card Program.

If you do not follow through and create that Recognition Card Program system within your organization; it may backfire. Here’s an example of what to avoid. During the memorial gift acknowledgment process, the name of the deceased was erroneously entered as the donor; as a result the donor was entered as the deceased. Consequently, the memorial gift thank you letter was sent to the deceased’s’ family. In turn, the card intended to notify the deceased’s’ family of the memorial gift was sent to our donor. Shortly after, the nonprofit received an unpleasant call from the donor. The criticism was well deserved; after all, a thank you letter was mailed to a dead person; a person very special to the donor. It didn’t matter who made the mistake, the important next step was to learn from the mistake and fix the procedure.

This vignette offers an ideal segue into how to organize a well-run, fool-proof Recognition Card Program.

Recognition Card Program Procedures:

1.      Recognition Card: You must have Recognition/Memorial Card to send to the person the gift was made in honor/memory of (in the matter of a death – a card to send to the family of the deceased). This card should mention who gave the gift, the occasion, whom the gift was given in honor/memory of, and the name and mission of the organization the gift was given to.  DO NOT mention the amount of the gift.

2.      Thank You Letter: Next, the donor, or person who made the gift must receive a thank you letter letting them know the gift was received by your organization, and a card was sent to the person they have honored or the family of the deceased. You should also include wording that reinforces that the amount of the gift was not mentioned, and include the date that the card was sent.

In the event your organization is receiving numerous memorials for one person, you do not want to send the family of the deceased numerous, identical thank you letters. Instead, phone the family of the deceased, express sympathy for their loss, and personally thank them for the memorial designations to your nonprofit. Then explain that you would be mailing them a list of the donors who gave gifts in memory of their family member; the total amount of donations would be listed at the bottom of the report. This is an effort that is genuinely appreciated by the family, because it is personal and they too want to thank the friends/family who gave a gift in memory of their loved one or gifts in honor of the birth of their child and so on.

3.      Timeliness: Ideally, the recognition card will be sent out the same day the gift was received. The staff member in charge of opening mail and/or managing donations should have recognition cards and stamps accessible to them so they may simply hand write, or print out the card and mail to the intended recipient that same day. The thank you letter to the donor can mail upon your normal thank you letter schedule; which should be at a maximum, weekly.

4.      First-Class stamps: Always use first class stamps when mailing the recognition card and thank you letters.

5.      Procedure Training: Your staff must have a formal training on the procedures used to receive, process, and thank recognition card donations. Procedures should include: 1) One person designated to open gifts; 2) One person designated to handle recognition card gifts (can be the same person); 3) A supply of pre-printed cards on hand; 4) One person designated to hand-write on the card who was honored/memorized by the gift and the name of the donor; 5) One person designated to mail the cards on the day the gift arrived; 6) One person designated to enter recognition card gifts into the donor database; and 7) One person designated to mail thank you letters the week the gift arrives. Of course, the entire procedure can be managed by the same person or two person’s working on the same team.

Raise Money Without Spending It: In running a Recognition Card Program cost effectively, you do not need professionally printed cards/brochures.  You can simply use blank note cards and print your organizations’ logo on the front. The inside of the card can also be printed with appropriate text. This is what you will need:

·         Blank Note Cards: Purchase or ask for donated cards from a discount retailer or paper wholesaler.

 ·         Laser Printer or Ink-jet Printer: Most printers have excellent print quality. It’s recommended to use black and white printing for the best finished product.

 ·         Agency Logo: Ensure you have your agency logo available in JPEG format. If you don’t have your agency logo, you will need to contact the designer of the logo and ask them to email it to you in JPEG format.  If you don’t have access to the designer; scan your agency logo. Scanner’s typically scan an image as a PDF. Take that PDF of your logo and then “save as” a JPEG format. If your version of Acrobat Adobe will not allow you to ‘save as’; find a volunteer or friend who has a purchased version of Acrobat 8 or higher so you may get your logo in JPEG format.

It may seem much attention is being made to having your logo in JPEG format; yet, if you are not already aware, you will find having the availability of your agency logo will save printing costs in many areas.

Begin to discuss the building and branding of a Donor Recognition Card Program within your nonprofit as a permanent and growing fundraising strategy which will increase your revenue far beyond your expectations. The program works, it’s easy to implement and most importantly you will see increased revenue within one year.