Maintaining End-of Year Giving

After reading 2 Ideas for Capitalizing on Year-End Fundraising Momentum, and the comment about being sent information or added to a calling list, it’s timely to remind organizations that permission should always be sought.

If donors, or those attending events get contacted when they only intended to assist on the one occasion, more harm than good can come of further contacting them.

The easy solution is to ask people for permission to add them to any ‘list’.

Simply add a line or two with a tick box asking:

1. Would you like to hear about future events
2. Would you like to be contacted by
     – Phone
     – Email
     – Mail 

If contact is initiated by phone, and donors/supporters details are taken for receipting purposes then you can still (and should) include these questions and their response.

Don’t take it for granted, ask, you’ll be more likely to gain further support than if you just include people.

Remember, if anything turns one person off supporting your organization they’ll tell others; the negative impact this could have can’t easily be undone.

Always err on the side of caution.

Remember, countries have different laws on solicitation, collection of personal data. Check where you stand.


Business partnering is a two way affair

Nonprofits are always on the hunt for businesses to connect with and gain as supporters; but it’s not as easy as picking up the phone or doing some online searches – some planning is needed.

Some questions need to be asked first –

  • What type of business is best suited to your needs
  • What type of business is least suited to your needs
  • Are your expectations for a short, medium or long term connection/commitment
  • Is it financial support or other support – if other, what other support could a business offer you

You MUST also think about what you can do in return for any support you gain from the business community. 

Connecting with, partnering with business must be seen as a two way street, you can’t simply expect to put your hand out and not give something in return.

The ways you can give in return could be as simple as profiling business supporters on your website and in newsletters.

But these are just the basics, what about hosting supporting business at an event, giving them an opportunity to talk about why they have connected with you, and to also talk about their business – give them the floor for five minutes, it’s the least you could do.

I’ve just finished reading a great blog from someone in the wine trade – Give in order to receive” and have to agree with the sentiment. 

Charities have to give in order to receive – it doesn’t have to take a lot, nor does it have to be a lot – but giving back is necessary.

Next time when you’re looking to partner with a business, think about how you can give back. 

Receiving is a two way street – a two way affair.



Donor Retention or Acquisition

Every organization has the ongoing task of retaining donors, those who have stuck by you through thick and thin, those who have a real belief in what you do – those who want to see you succeed – these donors are part of your team and need to be retained. 

But retention is only part of the challenge of ongoing support for an organization, you need new blood, you need to have a donor acquisition programme.

This article on Achieve Guidance has some great points and is well worth a read Time to Join the Donor Revolution

Teach Kids at an early age about giving

Having recently read “ College investors manage $250,000 investment fund ” in the  NZHerald , got me to thinking whatelse can we do to get youth to be interested in charities and the work that they do for many in our community.

One of the participants quoted in the article, year 13 trustee Zac Johns says 

“It provides an experience for all us of involved to learn about investing, trusts and markets. But it’s also about benefiting other people.

“Where we give the money and how we use our capital has far-reaching, flow-on effects.”

Sure, the students are learning about investing, but – they’re also learning how their efforts can help others. Imagine if we had a cluster of schools who all did the same as Dilworth, the possibilities for organisations, students and the wider community would be almost endless.

Other schools, students get involved in charitable activities, coin trails, mufti days and the like; but how many of these students carry out their philanthropic activities beyond the immediate cause they’re supporting?

Community organizations should partner with schools to foster students to remain active in the charitable sector.

We all know schools need their own income for activities, but perhaps by partnering with outside organizations schools can gain insights into how they can nurture students to help with funding issues their school may have.

Is your child’s school involved in community causes, how are they being shown what their efforts mean to the community? What more could your child’s school do to maintain, and grow the seed of giving? 

See also

Fundraising – Planning is Needed

Being able to deliver what you’re established to do can’t be done without funding; and any fundraising you plan to do can be a challenge at the best of times; but when times are tough, when people don’t have the resources to give as they ordinarily would, it can be a lot tougher.

When planning your fundraising campaign you need to know who gives and whysurvey results from research conducted in early 2012 gives some insight into who gives, where they are and other important demographics, do you know who gives to your organization and why, and do you know what makes people want to give? If not it could be good for you to look for some research that applies to your organization.


To maximize what you might be able to achieve you should prioritize your efforts:

What avenues are you likely to have the most success with?
If you’re not already, you should stream or categorize your current supporter and prospect lists. Categories such as, Hot or Taps, Warms and Colds are ideal to use:

These are those who give on or you know will give for a specific purpose. They are often the ones who you can gain support from for the least effort.
Often this group responds well from having regular contact from the same person, this group is ideal to be ‘account managed’.

This group haven’t likely given for the last or possibly a couple of appeals, but are open to being approached. With the right approach this group will give, it’s all a matter of your approach and reinforcing that their support is needed and that they are important to the organization.

As the ‘title’ suggests, they’ve not supported before – perhaps they’ve never been approached before. This group will take more work, but shouldn’t be forgotten altogether as you will gain new support from this group. 

Perhaps having a separate team contacting each group will reap the greatest rewards, different skills sets can be needed, some people have transferable skills – do what’s right for your organization and, team. 

Don’t just look at the immediate period, are there fundraising opportunities that could generate income in future periods?
Be open with those you are contacting, not everyone will be able to give right now, leave the door open for support in the future. 

You will find others will want to offer support over a period of time, and others may also wish to work with you for raising support in the future. Whichever, all support should be nurtured. 

Collaboration with future supporters to build on future fundraising is important, using the networks you will come across through your fundraising efforts will help build future campaigns. It is likely you will be able to network with a number of people (and businesses) who you will be able to unite to create a campaign and income in the future.

Bequests is something else that shouldn’t be negated, does your organization currently have a bequest programme? If not, now could be the time to investigate and plan a bequest programme. Check what other organization are doing and research what will be the best way forward for this for your organization.

What can you do to raise significant sums?
It’s true getting large sums makes it easier to reach the total fundrasing goal, but it’s not that simple. A well thought out plan is a must, no organization can go looking for significant sums without first thinking through all the processes, and thinking what information potential ‘

Questions such as where support goes will mean you have to be open, and questions about authenticity are to be expected, you need to be prepared for them, and be able to answer them before they are asked. 

Teaming up with others can also benefit in gaining significant support, the support may not come from one source – it could be as a result of collaborating with a number of parties. Be open to exploring collaborative projects.

Don’t forget to engage with current supporters to learn what it is you do that makes them continue to support, perhaps bring together a focus group to help build your campaign. 

Use Donor Stories

Telling stories about your organization, the cause you work with are great, but what about the “Donor Story”?

People want to know what you do, why you do it, but people also want to know why you get the support you get, why people have chosen to support you; what drives them to open their wallets and donate to help you with the work you’re doing.

When was the last time you asked supporters to share why they give to you – or is it something you haven’t thought about doing? If you haven’t done it yet, do it – get your donor stories out there.
It’s one thing for you to know who your donors are, but it’s another to tell others (if you can) who supports you and why.

Michael Rosen recently shared 8 Valuable Insights from a Major Donor where he talks about a major donor sharing why he and his wife support causes.  The donor (Daniel) and his wife contribute  to a variety of nonprofit organizations and serve on a number of nonprofit boards. 

Michael shares that Daniel told his class that he believes “donors see their giving as an extension of themselves.” He indicated that the more involved he is with an organization, the more personally he’s connected, the more likely he is to donate. In addition, he said that he is motivated by the notion of “giving back.” If he, or a family member, has benefited from the services of an organization in a significant way, he’s more likely to contribute.

However, for Daniel, it’s not all about involvement and reciprocity. He needs to also have confidence in an organization’s leadership before he’ll provide a significant gift. Two of the things that help build his confidence in the leadership are:

  1. the quality of the organization’s products or services,
  2. the demonstrated efficiency with which the organization provides those products or services.

If I was to look at supporting an organization I’d want to know the same things Daniel does, I’d also like to know why others are doing what they’re doing.

Read Micheal’s full article here and think about what you could be doing to share your donor stories to grow your supporter base.

And have a look at Jeff Brook’s recent post “What donors are interested in” 

You might also like to read:

Are you telling donor stories, if so please share why you’re doing it and what impact it’s had on growing supporters.

Don’t ignore the power of women

If you’re looking for support, looking for a group to help you grow, help you raise awareness and funds you can’t ignore the power of women.

This article from Reuters shows the power, the influence that women philanthropists have .. you can’t afford not to grow these connections.

(Reuters) – When feminist writer Courtney Martin wanted to raise money to fund research into the future of online feminism, it made sense to turn to other women for funding.

She called in Jacquelyn Zehner, chief executive of Women Moving Millions, a philanthropic organization made up primarily of women who have donated at least $1 million each to women’s causes. Zehner arranged for a conference call with a small group of wealthy women and Martin this spring.

“They responded immediately and enthusiastically,” said Martin. In a month, this audience raised $24,000 to fund the research. For Martin, it was a satisfying and natural extension of some of her earlier activities. In 2006, she created The Secret Society for Creative Philanthropy, an annual gathering that began with a gift of $100 each to 10 friends, with instructions to give it away and then tell how.

Welcome to the world of female philanthropy – it’s not your father’s United Way. “Women are taking ownership,” said Andrea Pactor, associate director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University, which has found that female-headed households are more likely to give to charity than male-headed households; and that in nearly all income groups women give more than men.

Read the full story here – then think about your organization and how you might be able to connect with women to improve your needs.

Are you taping into the right people, how are you doing it – please share your thoughts/comments.



Money isn’t everything

Nonprofits need money there’s no denying that – but there’s more than money some of your supporters might be able to give, don’t discount offers of other assistance.

If your fundraising team is only focussing on the bank account, they’ve got it wrong, or maybe they’ve been given the wrong message. Support can and does come in all shapes and sizes. 

When looking for support it is important to look beyond the money.

When approaching a business for support, whether they’ve supported you before or not, and they can’t offer financial support, think about other ways they maybe able to assist you.

Accountants might be able to offer you services you need, so too Lawyers.

What about that business organization you’ve contacted – can they use their networks to help raise your profile?

Cold approaches are good and important, but you need to think on your feet – if you’ve called a shop and asked for support and they are unable to offer financial support but have shown interest in the work you do, why not ask if they can put something in their shop to ask others to support you, perhaps ask them if they would be willing to donate an item you could auction. Products are important too.

What about that household you’ve approached – they’re not only a household, they have interests and connections beyond the walls of the house. Everyone in that house has connections, can you ask them to talk to their friends, family, colleagues about the work you’re doing to raise awareness and potential support? Hell yes you can, and you should.

If you’re not thinking of other ways people can support you, you’re doing you and your organization a disservice, you are most definitely missing out on opportunities.

It’s time to change your thinking – you have nothing to lose – you have more to lose if you don’t!

Is it donor fatigue or is it your ‘ask’

All too often we hear about donor fatigue and how organizations are suffering due to lack of cover for those using social media – is it really fatigue or is it the “ASK”.

When you hear about supporters who haven’t given, when you hear about potential donors who haven’t given – instead of labelling this ‘fatigue’ it’s wise to look at the ‘ask’ first – was the ask right, was the timing right – did you go back to regular donors who said ‘no’ and ask why?

Asking why regular donors are giving, or why you’re not getting new donors is important – it will help you remodel the way you ask, the methods available for people to give.

A company that sees a drop in sales doesn’t immediately blame the market, the economy, it will look at the offer, the staff, the ‘pitch’ – charitable organization must do this too.

Blaming external factors before looking at internal factors is a copout … harsh, yes, but unless organizations look at themselves first they have no real idea what the cause could be.

Sure, people have tightened their belts, they may have redirected where they’re giving their money … it happens, it’s a fact of life.

If your donors aren’t giving as they used to you owe it to them, and yourself to ask why.

Have you changed direction, are you doing something different, or is it the tone of your ‘ask’ that is putting people off?

Have you asked your donors lately about why they support you – this can help you gain new supporters, knowing why people give is important, likely more important than knowing why they don’t.

Don’t fall for the trap of always blaming outside influences, sure they may have an impact, but it’s important to know if it’s something you’re doing – or not doing that’s causing people not to support you.

Have you lost supporters, had trouble gaining new supporters and found a magic formulae to turn them around – would be great if you could share some thoughts on this below.