The Fundraising Factory - Archive for the ‘Donor’ Category

Is your charitable gift a responsible investment?

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

The Chronicle of Philanthropy posted a blog  Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Gives With No Strings.

As soon as I saw the name Steve Wozniak, I had to read more.  Wozniak and Steve Jobs founded Apple and I have an insatiable curiosity of exploring Steve Job’s success.  You may assume correctly that I have read his biography by Walter Isaacson.  If you have read the book you already know Wozniak’s slant on sharing. If not, I’ll just say this.  He  wanted to give away for free the programming knowledge/secrets that were the underpinnings of Apples’ great products way back in the beginning.  Jobs thought differently.  I didn’t say better I said differently.

Wozniak’s comment at an appearance at the AFP TechKnow conference, in Orlando, Fla. “I would never give a gift that has restrictions,” “I leave that to people who know more than me.” indicates a lack of financial responsibility and good stewardship of his resources and indicates a laziness in his approach to real involvement in community. It’s what I would term a lazy donation.  Lazy donations do not hold nonprofits accountable.  Without accountability mismanagement of funds, and lack of consequence to program failure or success could result.  This does not make for improving a community.  It’s near to throwing bad money after good!  No pun intended.

Donors should consider a restriction list that includes answering questions such as:

1. Of the revenue coming in how much goes to administration? And how much goes to Programs/Services? Ask the nonprofit directly or Charity Navigator is a respected source to see how a non profit is ranked for revenue analysis.

2. What statistics can they provide to prove the success of the services/program that needs funding? And do they have a strategy that will include funding sustainability for the program.  In other words do they expect you to keep throwing money their way year after year.

3. What contributions have non profits made to the community besides what they are selling, their program.  That means outside of their gig how are they involved in community/business.  It’s only fair to ask. Business are judged similarly.  We comparison shop when we are buying from them.  It’s well documented that people do choose to buy from a company that is socially responsible over another that is not given the products on every other level are fairly equal by comparison.

So why shouldn’t nonprofits be put to the test as well?

As an example, if two animal shelters asked for a donation and both provided similar services with the exception that one was building a park for dogs that enhanced your community and the other did not, which would you choose to give your hard earned dollars to?

It is more work for donors but in the end we’ll have stronger non profits!

Can You Get Your Donors to Ride a Harley?

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

I love having breakfast with inspiring people.  It starts the day off on the right foot.  Ken Schmidt former director of communications at Harley Davidson, national best selling author and public speaker shared his thoughts on the American and European consumer while I ate my cheerios.   He described us (consumers) that would be you too, as faceless, nameless, and invisible.  We have all had the experience with the automated phone system when what we really want is a person on the other end.  We shop online without a second thought as to giving our money and financial information over to a machine without a bit of human contact and think nothing of it.  We click and consume with no interaction to become only a transaction.

He suggested that we are numb to marketing messages.  They are all the same and have been for years so we know what to expect and ignore them.  We also know we can buy what we want; when we want it and have a certain price in mind about what we expect to pay.  What it all seemed to boil down to is we buy from companies we like. 

When we make it a point to humanize the individual we create an instant millisecond of trust.  If we trust, we like, and as said before we buy from people we like.  He turned Harley Davidson around with the simple observation that human behavior is the key to business.  So have you asked yourself, do your donors trust and like you?

Here is a great read if your interested in finding out how Ken helped kick start the  Harley Davidson come back.

Who’s valued more? Volunteers or Donors?

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011
Is there more in box or more in the people?

Where's the most value? In the boxes or in the people?

I follow Volunteer Match on Twitter.  In one of their recent tweets a link was provided that made me stand up and take notice to ponder that question.

It took me to a study provided by The John Hopkins University Center for Civil Society Studies. The research determined that volunteers create 400 billion dollars to the world economy!  The study also concluded volunteer work is worth DOUBLE the value of donations and valuables given by individuals, businesses and foundations combined.  Would you ever imagine that a volunteer is more valuable than a donor?   This important research has a downloadable manual available.  Its use is for determining volunteer value for your organization.  Knowing the specifics about volunteer impact will help you encourage public policy that is favorable to volunteer work.  I would love to hear if you have done this kind of evaluation with your organization and your thoughts.
Imagine if volunteers are used for fundraising.  Does that make them worth triple the donation?

Happy Fundraising!

Volunteer’s Interests Yield Big Results

Monday, March 14th, 2011


The All Inclusive Fundraising Diet

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Too many times I hear from executive directors, volunteers, and development staff that they are restricted by board approval to move forward with fundraising ideas.  It is always a board’s responsibility to ensure that a non profit has the funds to provide services.  So what’s the hold up?  I have no idea but there is a fundraising diet that all non profits can use for maintaining a healthy,  balanced social network and financial foundation for their organizations. 

Gala events, annual dinner, and auctions.  These are a tremendous amount of work and the ROI has been proven to be poor.  However, there are benefits such as the relationship building opportunities that can be developed in the planning of the event and at the event as board members mingle and work the room.  These venues are usually a fantastic platform for story telling which,  as we know,  is one confirmed way to connect with the donor.  The monetary ROI may not be great but the PR, marketing, and networking is.  I give these events a thumbs up.  I’m also a bit of a party girl! 

Then there’s the physical activity fundraiser.  The bike-a-thons, walk-a-thons and tri’s for this and that are a staple fundraiser.  However,  not everyone wants to get up off the couch to support a non profit so it might be a good idea to include a lounge-a-thon in your line up.   ”Thons” are very effective for increasing community exposure especially through social media.

Bring on the ask letters, annual appeals,  and the death bequest category.  These are great because if you are asking for money through a letter it isn’t your first contact with the donor.  If it is, you should be ashamed of yourself.  The up front relationship development will have been done, therefore, the ask and appeal letter is like a maintenance donation. 

Grant writing cannot go unnoticed.  I will call these “bonus bucks” since grants need to be found and re-written in most cases year after year.

Finally a fundraising revenue stream must include the selling of products.  This is a category that is overlooked.  Products can be sold year round and generate more than %100 ROI.  In the case of fundraising products the donor actually gets something for their contribution and believe it or not they like that.  Their take away from a donation is long lasting.  Depending on the product you choose to sell, each time the donor sees their purchase they are reminded of your non profit.  See my post on (choosing the right fundraising product).   
Out of sight out of mind does not apply here!

 Happy Fundaraising,

Donor Customer Profiling

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

How important is it?  If you don’t know your customer how can you give them what they want? 

Here are 6 questions to ask when profiling your donor/customer.

1.  When was the first time they donated?  Was it at an event, through a direct mail, or text appeal?  In other words, how did they find out about you.  The answers provide marketing insight.  Use the same strategy to connect with them again.
2.  When do they contribute?  Is there a time pattern to their giving?  Does their donation come in around a holiday, special event, or end of year?
3.  How often are they contributing?  Are they giving once a year or more?  Consider asking for less, more often, to increase sales/donations.
4.  How much are they giving?  Has the amount  increased or declined?  If so, do you know why?
5.  How do they communicate with you?  Are they engaged besides for monetary donations?  Do they attend special events, volunteer, contribute in- kind donations or social network for you via FB or Twitter? 
6.  Who are they connected to in the organization?  Another way to put it, who has the account and what are they doing with this profile to build a deeper relationship?

Stay connected and Happy Fundraising!

Making Giving Easy

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Overall contributions to churches are expected to fall to $104.18 billion in the final three months of the year, down 1 percent compared to the same period last year, according to a new forecast.

Regardless of the predictions for year-end giving, whether they are strong or weak, churches still have to compete with the more than 1.2 million nonprofits for the attention and resources of the person in the pew.

Donors make gifts to missions that tug at their heart-strings and they are more generous with gifts to causes about which they are most passionate.

Giving is often a mirror of our spiritual maturity and a reaction to a message that encourages “necessity, meaningfulness, recognition, and gratitude.”

Giving also depends on the capacity to give.  Challenging people to be mindful of a behavior of giving spurs people to progress to a more meaningful engagement with their faith.  That involves their time, aptitudes and resources.

It is possible to create a giving movement when there is a shared sense of purpose, vision, and mission among the church staff and leadership.  Sharing the possibilities and hope of accomplishing community missions can compel donors to give.  During these stressful financial times why not help the donor as they help you by incorporating the donation in the purschase of a product.

Fundraising by selling products has been around for a long time and can make giving easier for those strapped for extra cash.   With difficult economic times, this type of giving is good common sense since it helps the donor simultaneously.   Offering a meaningful product that a donor can purchase for themselves or give as a gift allows them to give AND to receive.  It strengthens the spirit, and spreads the word.

Wishing you properous fundraising,


What’s in the Mind of the Donor?

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

The Agitator had an interesting and thought provoking article on crowdgiving.  Cancer Research UK is currently implementing the idea.  Basically, it works like this.  A donor can choose to donate to a specific project. Then the donor is able to track the progress and outcome of the project via the non profits website.  The web page is continually updated providing the donor with feedback on how the their donation is impacting the project.  I am not sure what the name crowdgiving has to do with the concept of an individual having the power of choice.  At any rate.
This sounds like a great idea that can help to begin to form a more intimate relationship with a donor. It offers transparency and inclusion. But here’s the kicker. Does it really just create the the psychological illusion that the donor has some control?


Just the Facts Maam-Donations Change Lives

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Everyone already knows ALL non profits need revenue.   How do donors choose where to contribute?
Meaningful messages are imperative in getting the attention of donors today.   Just saying you are providing shelter to the homeless is not enough. 
The question is why should I give to you?  Give me a compelling reason.  Make me believe.  Spell it out! 
Tell me what my $20 donation will do.  
Tell me my donation will provide 3 people a bed for the night.  
Tell me my donation converts into $98.15 of food. 
Tell me my donation will provide one mammogram for a woman who can’t afford it. 
I want specifics.  I want the facts.  I can get my head around facts.  The facts spell out clearly how my contribution changes lives. 
That’s what I want: lives changed!

Think about it,

Every Donation is a “BIG” one.

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

When you target donors, it’s OK to think small.  By increasing the number of smaller donations two things happen.  First, more people become connected to your organization and drive word of mouth awareness.  We all love large donations, however one large donation connects you to only one person.  Second, when you ask small you aren’t asking for much.  It’s easier to ask again.  In other words it doesn’t hurt.  When it’s painless people are more receptive.  Take it one step further and give them something meaningful and unique for their money and you’ll hit a home run.  That’s why my “pin business” works.

I’ve helped non profits raise over $25 million dollars $7.00 at a time!  That’s over 3.5 million contributions.  Not only have huge sums of money have been raised but now 3,571,428 people know about important causes.  Let’s do just a little more math and watch what happens.  Those contributors talk to 8 people about their $7 experience.  We use the number 8 because statistics prove that if you have a good “buying” experience you will share it with 8 people.  So, take the 8 and multiply it by that big number and guess what?  We are talking crazy numbers: numbers that will get your heart thumping.  28,571,248!  YES you read that right.  Over 28 million! 
What’s seems really small is actually really big.

Happy Fundraising!