Introducing Simplify, a new approach to efficient grantmaking!! #nonprofit www.simplifynow.org (at GuideStar USA, Inc.)
Lindsay, our Communications Director, gives for #children at Safe Shores - The DC Children’s Advocacy Center (@SafeShoresDC on Twitter, and check them out on GuideStar!) What do you give for? Share with us using #IGive4!
It’s officially the #GivingSeason! Jenny, one of our Marketing Specialists, gives for the Heritage Humane Society (@HHSwilliamsburg on Twitter)! What do you give for? Share with us using #IGive4!
Below is a follow-up by Amy Eisenstein to a handful of questions submitted by participants during the November 12, 2013 webinar “50 Asks in 50 Weeks: How to Create a Development Plan and Raise More Money in Your Small Development Shop" To view the presentation or listen to the recording of the webinar, please click here.
There were several questions about how to count:
Although 50 Asks in 50 Weeks spells out a specific method of counting, I would like to reiterate that you can count in any way that works best for you. There’s no need to use my method of counting, as long as you are consistent from year-to-year. It’s important to have a baseline. In other words, in order to make sure you ask more frequently, as a method of raising more money, you want to know how many times you ask each year and in what ways (through grants, individuals, etc.). As I mentioned, it doesn’t matter what you count, as long as you are consistent.
Great question about contacting donors you don’t know:
As a way to break the ice, send them a handwritten note (or a very personal typed letter) letting them know how much you appreciate them as a supporter of your organization. Mention that you would like to meet them to thank them in person, as well as to ask their advice. Let them know you will be contacting them (by phone or email) to try to schedule a time to meet. (This meeting does not need to be for a meal. You can meet them at their home or office for a short visit.) Within a few days of when they should have received your note, follow up. Call or email to ask if you can get together. Be genuine in asking their advice when you get together. Ask how they got involved with your organization, why they continue to give, how they feel about your organization, and ways you could improve. This will help you build a relationship with them.
A question about cultivating donors:
Donor cultivation is hugely important, but was not discussed on this webinar. Depending on the donor, you will want to do a varying amount of cultivation. In other words, you will often need to do more cultivation for a larger donor. You will want to build relationships with all donors by inviting them to events, sending them information, telling them how their previous donation was used, and interacting with them in the most personal way possible. For larger donors, be sure you have one-on-one interactions, such as meetings in their home or office, and personal tours of your organization.
A question about how much to ask for and if you should be specific in your ask:
Great question! Whenever possible, ask for a specific amount. This includes in-person asks, as well as by mail and email. Do not worry about “under-asking”. Aim high to avoid this. If you ask for too little, ask for more next year, or don’t wait a whole year to go back to the donor. If you are going back to a donor within a year, have a good reason, and make sure you’ve done plenty of stewardship and cultivation between asks.
*A note from Amy: If I do not answer your questions below, please feel free to email me with additional questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.*
Below is a follow-up by Mazarine Treyz to a handful of questions submitted by participants during the November 5, 2013 webinar “Crucial Year-End Giving Strategies for Your Nonprofit Appeal" To view the presentation or listen to the recording of the webinar, please click here.
Q: I am confused… I have been told to always keep my appeals “positive” and stay away from depressing photos and depressing stories that don’t have a happy ending (for instance talking about the dog that died). Can you speak more to this?
According to the research we shared in the webinar, people are more motivated by fear of loss than by potential gain. HOWEVER everyone’s list is different, and you should test the two approaches with your list.
If you do this, you’ll soon learn which works best for your audience.
This is why you should do a spring appeal, a summer appeal, a fall appeal and a winter appeal, to have a chance to try all of the different things we talked about to tweak your letter.
Q: Where do you find compelling stories in a historical society? Based on saving “the stuff” or “why someone else has given” or what?
Why are you saving the stuff? What STORIES are attached to the stuff? Is it a chair that Thomas Jefferson sat on? Is it a unique piece of southern history?
If there is no story, try this. Get your nose in the dirt of the time period. How?
- Read a couple of historical novels set in the area you live in,
- Dress up in a costume from the time period,
- Talk with a historian, and
- MAKE a story around this stuff.
History is fascinating! And this could be your chance to write a short piece of historical fiction that people would actually read!
We’re thrilled to be at the annual Lumsden McCormick tax exempt conference talking about #OverheadMyth http://www.lumsdencpa.com/5-7.asp (at Buffalo Niagara Marriott Hotel)
Below is a follow-up by Gail Perry and Andrea Kihlstedt to a handful of questions submitted by participants during the October 8, 2013, webinar “Capital Campaigns for the 21st Century: What’s New and What’s Not.” To view the presentation or listen to the recording of the webinar, please click here. We’ve posted even more answers to your questions from Gail and Andrea on our Trust Blog here.
*Note: Want to learn more from Gail and Andrea? Don’t miss their upcoming webinar on planning capital campaigns! Find out how to register here.
Do you recommend that a special printed piece is created for the capital campaign? Is there anything unique/different being done with these paper materials/handouts?
Campaign materials are designed primarily to help and support the solicitors as they ask for gifts. Some organizations successfully use slide decks on iPads instead of printed material. The landscape on campaign material is shifting rapidly now because the way individuals take in information is shifting. One innovative idea that I am impressed by is a big worksheet used by the people at For Impact. Their ideas about soliciting gifts and campaign materials break new ground.
Any suggestions or examples of campaigns that have successfully used pictures as suggested for a topic/cause area that doesn’t easily lend itself to visuals? (land acquisitions, for example)
Remember that effective visual presentations are the ones that tell stories about how and why the organization (and the campaign) will make a difference. This is not a matter of visually documenting. It’s a matter of visual story telling. And most organizations have compelling stories to tell. Though, alas, most organizations aren’t good at telling them—either in words or images. We need to work hard on that.
It seems to me that you can’t reach out to crowdsource donors for stewardship and next gift relationships. Thoughts?
In the crowdsource campaigns I’ve been part of, you can very easily communicate with donors individually and as a group. I think it’s quite easy to do good stewardship with those donors. In most crowdsourced campaigns, you’re likely to know or have some connection with the donors already anyway, contrary to most beliefs.
What do you do when you have no grant or foundation support?
As long as you have major donor support, it doesn’t matter whether you get your money from grants or foundations. The real question is who is capable of making large gifts to your campaign and are they engaged and committed and ready to give. Grants? Foundations? Corporations? Individuals? Ideally you have a mix of all, but as long as you have the potential for major gifts it doesn’t much matter.
We’re an old, international organization approaching our 100th anniversary. Our board is interested in doing a capital campaign for it – where do I start?
Most successful campaigns grow out of a new vision for your organization. Campaigns aren’t really about the money. At they heart they merely provide the means for an organization to springboard itself to a new, more effective way of doing more good. And that’s where I’d start if I were you!
Did you know? We’re on the search for a skilled Development Director to join our Development Team!
Think you or someone you know might be a good fit? Find out more and learn how to apply here: http://www.guidestar.org/rxg/about-us/employment-opportunities.aspx#dev-dir
Good news! Here is more follow-up from Sarah Durham from BigDuck with more answers to your questions we didn’t get to during the live event.
This time, Sarah answers:
My nonprofit has a lot of programs, products, and services and there is some discomfort with commingling the outcomes of the different work under one brand. How do I sell my leadership on the idea that our branding has to be consistent across all of these rather than focusing on the work of one outcome over the other?
Miss the live event? View a recording of the event and access the slides used during the presentation by visiting our Webinar Archives.
- Top-Rated, Times Two!
For the second consecutive year, Rabbit Wranglers has been named a Top-Rated Award Winner by Great Nonprofits. Great...