The topics covered are based on my experiences as a fundraiser and fundraising consultant. These are topics that keep us fundraisers up at night. The sessions are strategic while providing practical application of ideas and take away actionable items.
As fundraisers, we always need to keep our “saws” sharp. And, while you may already know all about fundraising, it’s always good to hear what other successful fundraisers are doing—and should be doing. Also, you will hear different perspectives and approaches to challenges we each face every day.
Highlights from the series thus far include:
Workshop: Your Year-End Fundraising Checklist
In my first workshop we talked about the year-end fundraising checklist. As you are all very aware, 2014 is quickly coming to an end, so our discussion was around making sure you are doing everything you need to do to have a successful end of year giving season. In this workshop we prepared for executing on year-end plans including making personal asks and segmenting all donor solicitations with specific ask amounts.
Participants in this session chimed in about making personal asks. One person shared how they had a lot of success making personal asks during the year-end giving season. The personal solicitations of course increased donations, and they also strengthened the fundraiser’s relationship with major donors. These asks provided the backdrop to remind both the donor and the fundraiser about the impact the organization has on their community. In the end, several audience members who previously had not done personal asks during the giving season agreed to give it a try…even if it was only making 10 personal asks.
We also talked a lot about the importance of the using multiple communication channels for fundraising during the year-end. Believe it or not there are some nonprofit organizations who still aren’t using email. We talked in detail about how to leverage email as part of their year-end strategy.
Online Roundtable: What Major Donors Want…And Expect
Our second workshop focused on major donor expectations. Not all donors are the same, and major donors have different needs—and expectations. We have to ensure this critical group of stakeholders are reminded about the impact their partnership has on mission delivery.
A big part of the discussion was around a major donor’s expectation—as a partner—of being provided insight into the organization. They want to know what’s going on, they want to know it before the masses, and they want to provide their advice and counsel. They want to be your partner.
One participant talked about how they should send early communication to their key stakeholders – including major donors – giving them the scoop, so to speak. This group hears the news first—the good, the bad, and also the ugly—before it’s communicated to the masses. And, in return, these key stakeholders feel more connected to the organization, and they are much more likely to advocate on behalf of the organization when others may not.
We also talked a lot about stewardship and how to make it personal. One example came from the Vancouver Aquarium where they take major donors on a behind-the-scenes tour to show them first-hand the impact of their donations. While this practice is not uncommon, it’s a great reminder that stewardship must be personalized.
So what’s on tap?
The next workshop will be a two part series on all aspects of how to make the ask including how to prepare solicitors for the ask, words to use in the ask that will get you the gift, and how to get someone to commit to a date and time for the follow-up closing call. This two-part tactical workshop will leave you well prepared to make your next ask. This is a discussion you don’t want to miss!!