More Meaningful Connection to Donors = More Meaningful Investment in Your Organization

Although we’ve never met, I consider Penelope Burke a mentor. Her research on donor-focused fundraising is comprehensive and validates the three tenants of my fundraising philosophy:

  1. Everything we do is about the donor’s experience.
  2. Fundraising is everyone’s responsibility.
  3. Treat every donor like a major donor.

Donors are not dollars. They are people. People who want to make a difference with their contribution of time, passion and money. Until you connect with your donors as philanthropists, you will not maximize your impact.

In my last blog post, I explored ways to use technology to connect with and create relationships with new donors. Today let’s talk more about cultivation and how to nurture relationships with individuals, organizations, and businesses that share a passion for your mission. A solid cultivation plan is critical to your long-term fundraising strategy.

There are two key elements to cultivation: communication and engagement.

By sharing...

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Expanding Your Network of Contacts and Connections

Technology can help us connect with new and existing donors around the world! We have the ability to easily communicate with new audiences, sharing impact statements, testimonials, and case studies. This broad sharing of information is essential to successful fundraising!

I led a strategy session this weekend with a board of directors eager to help spread the word about the wonderful work of the organization they were serving. They were excited about talking about the impact that they were helping to create in the world. The question was, "How do we move past our inner circle of friends and family and connect with more people that have a passion for the mission?"

When we get stuck on who to reach out to next, this simple exercise can help us get out of our own way! 

Often when we begin to explore who might be new connections for our organization, we start to insert assumptions. "I will be bothering them." or "They don't have the capacity to give." and my favorite..."I don't...

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Corporate Connections: The Power of a Warm Introduction     

You’ve done your homework and have identified some potential corporate partners that align with your organizational values, share a passion for your mission and have a product or service that is marketable to your stakeholders. Now what? How do you connect with these potential partners in a genuine way?

A warm introduction to a contact in the company can be much more effective than a cold call.  The goal is to develop long-term, win/win affiliations. How do you begin? By getting curious and engaging in honest, organic conversations about creating mutually beneficial partnerships. Both organizations must know, like and trust the other to create long-lasting investment.  

LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for opening doors to building relationships with corporate partners. A quick search of the company and its employees allows you to see connections you might have. Encourage your board members to search their networks as well. This is a wonderful way to engage them in...

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What Makes a Corporate Partnership Win/Win?

The most effective corporate partnerships - which in the context of fundraising means the most lucrative - are those that are mutually beneficial.  Both the not-for-profit and for-profit businesses are invested in the success of the other. 

Are you truly invested in the success of your corporate partners?

There are SO many benefits for both organizations when a true partnership is forged. 

Here are just a few...

For-Profit Benefits:

  1. Increased sales
  2. Increased employee engagement
  3. Decreased employee turnover
  4. Increased Visibility
  5. Recognition for the good they do in the world

Not-for-Proft Benefits:

  1. Increased funding
  2. Expanded donor base
  3. Professional development for employees
  4. Increased visibility
  5. New volunteers and/or board members

How are you helping your corporate partners achieve these benefits? 

A few ideas...

  • Get your partners in front of your donors! If you've selected your partners intentionally, based on the alignment of values, you can...
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Contribution and Social Media

I participated in an Instagram Masterclass today to better understand how to use the platform for marketing. KellyAnne Zielinski, Founder of Self Leadership Global shared her perspective of social media marketing that absolutely shifted my mindset on digital marketing. Here's what she said..."Our social media platforms are our little corner of the internet where we get to make a difference."

This SO resonated with me. My sales philosophy is, and has always been, contribution first and I'd much prefer to connect with people in person.  But digital platforms allow me to connect with more people in more places! Rather than focusing on the "sales" aspect of social media, I choose to use these digital platforms to share information, connect people and build relationships with others that share my passion for social impact and the greater good. I have found that a contribution first model results in the connections that lead to contracted work. 

This social media...

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The Magic of Donor Retention

Did you know that 65% of new donors never make a second gift? And after five appeals we are down to only 10% retention. This has a tremendous effect on our ability to generate a consistent flow of revenue for our nonprofit organizations. 

Why are we losing so many donors who were inspired enough to give a first-time gift? The answer is simple. We aren't giving them what they need! Donors desire three things after giving an initial gift and before giving a second. When we provide these three things, we move them from one time donors to engaged, committed investors in our organizations.

Research indicates that the following three actions highly influence a donors inclination to give a second gift:

  • A prompt and genuine thank you for each gift - regardless of the value.
  • Assigning the donation to a specific project or program.
  • Informing the donors about how their gift created impact - specific to the assigned project or program.

When these three activities take place PRIOR...

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Soulful Development Strategy: Fundraising vs. Development

Although fundraising and development go hand-in-hand, they are not one and the same. Each supports the other in building sustainable revenue for nonprofit and social impact organizations. 

How are they different? When talking about funding nonprofits, we primarily use the word fundraising. But most of work falls in the development category.  Here is an easy way to discern the difference:

fundraising = transactional

development = relational

Fundraising describes an activity that is transactional in nature. The focus is on immediate solicitation - The ‘ask’ or as I like to say, The Invitation.

Development on the other hand, is the building and nurturing of life-long relationships between the donor and the organization that results in revenue through donations AND advocacy in the community on your organization’s behalf. These relationships are cultivated and nurtured based on education, curiosity and attentive stewardship AND include solicitation - but on...

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Self-Care for Stress-Free Fundraising

When you chose to become a leader in the nonprofit sector, you chose to take a stand. You made the decision to courageously fight for a cause that you are passionate about and work for the greater good. This time of year, you are working tirelessly to bring in as much revenue as possible in order to create as much social impact as possible. 
 
Phillinnova's Soulful Development Strategy not only refers to a strategic plan for raising more funds, but also to your personal development as the leader of your organization. 
 
As we mentioned in our last article Giving for the Greater Good, 31% of annual donations are made in December. This translates into a VERY busy month for you and your staff. Factoring in self-care positively impacts your organization's bottom line. 
 
How are you keeping your cup full so that you can truly serve others? Are you practicing the self-care that is critical to creating an environment of success for your team? 
 
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The Power of the Pocketbook - Giving for the Greater Good

Tis the season of giving…and spending!  You, my friend, can create change through your gift giving. You have tremendous power in your pocketbook.  By choosing products and services from social enterprises or businesses that support nonprofits you are choosing to help change the world - one gift at a time! By aligning with social impact businesses, you encourage other businesses to consider their social responsibility. You truly can drive change by who you choose to purchase from. 

Did you know...

  • Nearly 9 in 10 Americans (89%) would switch brands to one that is associated with a good cause, given similar price and quality
  • A majority (79%) of consumers continue to seek out products that are socially or environmentally responsible.

This is a band-wagon you want to jump on! 

I’ve put together a few examples of organizations that I support and who are supporting our vibrant nonprofit industry. Consider EXPANDING your gift giving this year and...

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