19 Ideas to Cultivate Your Donors

I came across this article from Veritus Group and thought it worth sharing, some reasonable ideas. Is there anything you would add – or remove?

 

By Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels July 12, 2017

If there is one area of “moves management” that has never set well with me, it’s the word stewardship. Stewardship is what you are supposed to do with donors after they give you a gift. I don’t like it because it conveys a more passive approach to the relationship with your donor.

For instance, I’ve been working with an MGO who told me, “Oh, that donor is in stewardship mode right now, so I don’t have to worry about them.” Huh? Yes you do. If you’re ever going to ask for another gift, your approach with that donor needs to be strategic, focused and donor-centered.

I like to say that you are always in a cultivation mode with your donors. You’re always trying to build and deepen relationships, while providing opportunities for your donors to invest in your mission. There really is no time to be passive… especially after they have just given you a great gift.

So to give you some ideas this summer, here are 19 ways for you to cultivate your donors:

  1. Research each of your donors and find something unique about them.
  2. Update your donor data system with all of your donor communications, to allow you to know what you’ve done with each donor.
  3. Call three of your donors every day just to thank them for supporting the mission.
  4. Write five handwritten thank-you notes every day to donors on your caseload.
  5. Invite some of your donors to see your programs first-hand.
  6. Ask a donor to help you solve a problem.
  7. Know the hobbies of your donors, and use it to send the donor information about that hobby, telling them that you are thinking of them.
  8. Take your donor to a sporting or cultural event that you have tickets for.
  9. Figure out ways to get donors to see your mission, and arrange for them to have a visit.
  10. Help your donors pass on their giving legacy to their children: recommend ways to talk to their children about giving, along with a good consultant to advise the family about multi-generational giving.
  11. Ask a few of your donors to talk to your board about why they give, and why they love the organization.
  12. While they’re at it, ask your donors to give your Executive Director and board some solid critique of the organization and how it could be better.
  13. Look for connections in your donor portfolio where you could introduce donors to one another. Help your donors network with one another.
  14. Think of ways to foster business relationships between your donors, and arrange for meetings.
  15. Have the CEO or ED call each of your A-level donors at least once a year to thank them for giving.
  16. If you have a relationship with a celebrity or VIP, have that person call your top 10 donors or write a special note thanking them for being involved in your organization.
  17. Look for ways to honor your donors publicly in front of their peers (provided they will like it), and publicize it.
  18. Always acknowledge milestones in each donor’s life.
  19. Arrange for a program person to call your donor and give them a first-hand account of what an impact the donor is making on that program. Tell the donor she is a hero.

There you go – 19 ideas to proactively cultivate your donors so that you will continue to foster and deepen the relationship with them. With 150 donors on your caseload, there is no time to sit back and be passive. Hopefully, these 19 ideas will spark others as well.

Please feel free to share more cultivation ideas with the Passionate Giving community!

Jeff

P.S. – Want to go further? Check out our free white paper on “The Art of Soliciting a Donor.”

Are Charity Campaigns Good for Business

We see them almost every week some company pledging support for an organisation, or individual in the community that needs support.

But, what I often wonder is whether the support being offered s genuine or just some PR stunt; maybe I’m being picky but I do tend to feel that some of these “campaigns” are merely a PR stunt, as way a business can be “seen” to be doing good in the community.

Perhaps some are genuine, and I’m doing them an injustice by casting doubt on the authenticity of their support. If so, I’ll apologise.

But when we think about how a business can show support, it’s not just about the dollars, it’s about whether the business has bothered to ask their staff about what support (and who too) they would like to be associated with.

Remember Pay Roll Giving? This is a way that a company to show (and give) support, by allowing staff to select an organisation to support and have a sum deducted and paid directly to the organisation each pay day; and the business can also give support by allowing staff time off to volunteer.

If you’re in business and want to support organisations in your community, don’t treat it as an “add-on” build it into your business model.

A business should decide what they want to do by way of supporting an organisation or organisations in the community. A good way to start is by putting together a listen of what’s important to the directors, perhaps someone did something for you when you were younger, so you want to give back in a similar way.

Maybe someone close to you suffered from some ailment, perhaps you want to support those who gave this person the care and support they needed.

Perhaps writing a list of people, organisations that have helped you, your family that have had an impact on your life. Often a cause is that is close to you personally, the easier it will be to make a decision, but don’t forget those working with you, let them have some input before making a final decision.

See also Ask your staff before making that donation

 

 

 

Volunteering, Why?

Why do people volunteer? There’s a myriad of reasons people opt to volunteer in their community.

The reason can range from giving something back to the community, giving time to an organisation that has helped them either personally or may have offered assistance to a family member.

Others volunteer to feel valued and part of a community; or to perhaps learn new skills.

There are cases where people may be directed to offer service in the community; often this is something ordered by a court. However, there are also times when a person who is receiving a form of Government assistance (benefit) may be asked to give time to a community organisation; in this instance, it is more than likely so as the person can gain a new skill and to add something to their CV.

I have even heard that some people volunteer as a way to do something different, to give them a break from their job. There’s some in this group who volunteer to bring their business/career skills to an organisation (pro bono).

Some people volunteer because they feel alone in their life, so a chance to volunteer gives them the chance to meet new people and a chance to socialise. And, if they are new to an area it allows them the chance to get to know others in their community.

Volunteering has been seen too as a way to improve on mental and physical well being.

Do you volunteer, if you do why?

No Audited Accounts

Any New Zealand organisation registered with Charity Services must provide an annual return, which among other things outlines income and expenditure for the previous period. Most organisations provide this information in a timely manner, but there are others who delay, delay and delay some more.

What’s more there are some who don’t have their annual accounts audited, not just for one year but almost never.

Sure, it’s their ”right” to elect to have accounts audited or not, but does this have the potential to cast doubt over the authenticity, credibility of the organisation?

Would seeing an organisation you have a connection with not furnishing their returns in a timely manner and not providing audited accounts make you think twice about donated your hard earned money?

Should there be a limit on how many years an organisation canget away without providing audited accounts?

Does your organisation ”vote” not to provide full audited accounts, has this had any impact on the way you are perceived by supporters? Has it impacted on the level of grants, sponsorships etc that you may have tried to obtain?

I’d be keen to hear your stories, experiences.

Homeless Being Moved On

I’ve talked about homeless – rough sleepers – before, but what I have learned in the last few days has made me angry.

Everyday there is a group of homeless/rough sleepers I see and stop and have a chat with, but now I hear they are being moved on from the area they felt safe in, an area they respected – sure they did leave a bit off clutter – their possessions – while they were off doing what they do during the day.

But, it seems the powers that be have made a decision and have removed these possessions. Thankfully they were collected by the police and one would assume are safe.

Imagine, you get home and all your possessions are gone, you haven’t been burgled, but someone thought it was an “eyesore” – you’d be gutted. Imagine then how the homeless people who went back to their place and saw their things gone. I’d say they would have been devastated.

Yes, some – and I mean some, homeless people are a pain, but in the main those I have met and chatted with are really no different to you and me, they just don’t have a roof over their head – and yes, a job.

We need to be looking out for, and after, the homeless and rough sleepers in our community. Sure there are agencies out there, but if you take time to speak to even only a couple of homeless people you will soon learn that they have had little help – besides some kai, a shower etc from these agencies, they don’t see the advocacy, the need to know and see what these agencies are trying to do for them.

Every Monday Auckland Central Library runs a free movie session, and there’s tea, coffee and biscuits – I’ve seen independent counsellors etc there, but never once seen anyone from any other “agencies”, mmm.

There’s also a homeless reading group, again held at the Auckland Central Library, again from what I have been told there’s no one really from the social agencies at these to talk with people about their needs and what services are available.

What can we do? Shite, that’s a big question – we can stand up for our homeless, yes, OUR, they are ours, they are part of our community. They are, as I said really no different to you and me.

I can see you scratching your head, thinking “well they’re all druggies, alcoholics”. Sure, some are, but not all of them.

Get to know some of the bods on the street and you will begin to learn more about them, their situation and what they are really like.

Make it your goal this coming week to stop and have a chat with at least one homeless/rough sleeper.

Sponsorship Revolution

Thought I had shared and talked about this before, New Sponsorship Revolution (Abby Clemence), if you’re in the charity sector and you haven’t read it, click now.

I’ve often said there are better ways that charity and business can “work” better together. With the right business connection, savings can be made, other income streams can be opened and more.

Read New Sponsorship Revolution now.

As usual your comments, thoughts or other are welcome.

Old Pugilist beat up

It’s not often I rant about an issue per se here, but after reading what Bob Jones had to say in the media yesterday (Tuesday 17 Jan 2017) I just can’t hold my tongue, or should that be my fingers.

Bob Jones, said in a report to media, as reported in the NZHerald that homeless people were essentially scum and worthless lazy buggers, sadly he doesn’t understand the reality and perhaps before he rants he should take timeout and sat and talked with some of the people sitting on streets asking for money.

I’ve spent many an hour speaking with homeless and beggars, not all homeless are beggars and not all beggars are homeless, they each have their own reason (story) for why they are where they are.

People like Bob Jones, and others who only want to moan, rant and say that people sitting on streets asking for money are scum and, more recently that begging should be banned, need to get their arses off their leather seats, and walk a mile (ok, a few metres) in the shoes of some people living off the street.

Unless we understand the whys of why people are living on and “off” the street then we can truly know what’s happening and how we can help.

We can all help, even if it is simply saying hello – don’t judge lest thee be judged.

There are people living on the streets who want to work, but because they don’t have a fixed address they can’t get jobs, because they haven’t been able to get a job for a few years they can’t get a job … drugs and alcohol are not the only reason, race is certainly an issue, but not the issue they are where they are at, the reason they are where they are at where they are is because of their race .. sadly we are still a racist country.

Yes, I’m angry, I’m angry because people like Bob Jones get to vent about people less fortunate but less fortunate people don’t have a voice, we need to be their voice, we need to sit and listen to them, to hear their stories and help where we can, they’ve been beaten down enough..

We need, nay, we must help lift those in need, we need to put our hands out, open our hearts do what we can to help.

 

 

 

Donor Remorse

Your income isn’t where it was this time last year, you check donations, look at your donor database and see that you have a number of donors who haven’t given in the latest round of fundraising. Why?

It could be that you have several donors suffering donors remorse. Yes, this is a real thing, it’s akin to buyers remorse; something you’re probably personally aware of (did you really need that new pair of shoes, that new suit or that splurge on single malt whiskey?)

Donors give for a variety of reasons, and they stop giving for a variety of reasons; one reason some stop giving – is – donors remorse; yes it is a real thing.

Maybe you’ve experienced it on a personal level when you have given something, and almost as soon as you have dropped the donation in the bucket or envelope you have a pang of regret – remorse, and question why you did it.

There’s a few reasons for donors remorse, some people experience it after being prompted by a friend to support a cause, a relative was assisted by an organisation and asked you to make a contribution or, perhaps someone you know had a child selling something to raise funds for a school trip.

Donors remorse is a real thing, it’s something though that organisation probably don’t plan for but they should have some way to factor this into their planning. If someone gives today and later “regrets” it; the chances of them staying around and supporting in the future is very unlikely, yet they’ll still expected to by the organisation, the organisation will likely add them to the database, they’ll receive mailers etc – all at an expense to the organisation, with a very very low probability of a second or subsequent donation being made.

Quite likely the amount given initially will be less than what the organisation will expend to get subsequent donations.

Organisations spend considerable time (and money) on donor retention, but when a donor has remorse this expense is wasted. So a way has to be found to make sure the level of donor remorse is minimised.

Don’t be airy fairy in what the donors support will mean, give real examples of how it will make a difference, personalise how their giving will make a difference. If needed and you’re able to use real pictures and real names – “Lucy will have a better chance … “

When people are asked to support a real need has to be given, a picture painted; something that will stick with the donor – you want them to stick with you, so make sure the image you paint sticks with them.

All the training in the world won’t make a difference to how much you can raise – and maintain, if those making the ask are confident, competent and above all using all the tools you have given them.  Monitoring who information is used isn’t prying, it’s an investment, don’t be afraid to use “secret shoppers” – you’ll get real world feedback, not only on how your campaign is going but on how effective those making the ask are doing it and coping.

Are you going to let donor remorse hit your bottom line and impact on year on year giving?

See also Breaking the Silence Around Donor’s Remorse

Younger Donors, You Need Them

As the population ages organisations need to look beyond their mainstay of donors, the Baby Boomer etc; sorry to say, but this is a dying sector of the donor base.

But, unless organisations are (or rather have) started to work toward attracting younger donors there is a serious risk that organisations will suffer to not only grow, but to continue to do the work they are there for.

Sure, younger people are getting on board and supporting organisations, I’ve seen this, you’ve seen it, but in the main I’d suggest it’s the sexy organisations, not the less attractive ones (this is a perception).

To attract younger supporters organisations need to, yes, I’m telling you what others have been for ages; get savvy with the use of social media, get used to using video, stage events to attract a younger audience (typically millennials won’t want to go to a black tie dinner).

And, change your online presence. Does the website you had built a couple of years ago need an update, come to think of it, when did you last look at how your website looks on new devices – it may look good, readable and usable on your desktop computer; but what does it look and feel like on a handheld device?

Can users quickly and easily make an online donation? If not, you’re missing opportunities; sure there are other apps people can use to make donations to your cause, but why send them to another “site” if you’ve already got them “captured” on your site?

Not sure if you’re site, communication style etc is attractive to a younger audience – that’s easy, invite them to look and give you feedback, get a group of younger people together to talk about what you need to do to attract their age group; not just your look and feel, but your overall message and mission.

You’ve nothing to lose – oh, yes you do, you run the risk of your donors dying off and no new donors to fill their shoes.

See also

Young people need to be nurtured and encouraged

Teach children the importance of giving

Buy One Give One

People do have more “respect” for businesses that give back, for business who support the community; CSR has been talked about for a long time now, and perhaps more so since continued rise of the use of social media.

I literally stumbled across “The rise and rise of corporate social responsibility” by Marnie Fleming of Parachute Digital and just had to share it in the hope it will further increase discussion. Discussion within businesses about how they can be further engaged in the giving process; as well as discussion within charities about how to connect with business.

The rise and rise of corporate social responsibility

There’s been a significant increase in the growth of ‘corporate social responsibility’ over the years. With more consumers than ever saying they would be willing to pay more for a product or be more loyal if they knew the products they purchase or providers they use are acting responsibly, whether it be how the products are sourced, to giving back to communities, they have a deep seated need for accountability and giving back in some way. And rightly so!

This makes us (the consumer) feel good about themselves, because they’re informed choices of ourselves. I get to spend my hard earned dollars, knowing they will be making a difference somewhere somehow. This also makes me want to shop at that company again (now I’m sticky).

Continue reading Marnie’s article here

 

http://www.parachutedigitalmarketing.com.au/blog/author/marnie/