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Over and over, we all fight the same battle: how to control our talking when we are meeting with a donor.  After all, talking too much is the kiss of death.

It’s a challenge for everyone – newbies, experienced fundraisers, executive directors, board members, academic leaders alike. 

So, let’s review why it’s so important to listen to the donor, rather than to make a presentation. Why do we want the donor to do most of the talking? Why is talking too much the kiss of death in fundraising? 

You will turn your donor off.

Guess what – in a meeting, your donor is probably expecting to do most of the talking. She has opinions, she’s been thinking a lot about your organization, and she wants to express her point of view. She’s expecting to be heard, and she is not expecting to be presented to by you. 

Above all, you want your donor to stay interested and involved in the conversation. If you are talking and talking, she may start taking mental side trips. Her eyes may start to glaze over. And then, the worst thing can happen – she may feel bored. 

If that happens, she just might not want to see you again. Who wants to visit with someone who talks and talks all the time?

Put yourself in your donor’s shoes.

How long has it been since you felt stuck in a meeting with someone you could not escape from? And you were longing for a way out?

You certainly don’t want your donor to feel like she’s desperate to get away from you. Not at all; you want her to enjoy the visit and want to see you again.

You may think you’re being interesting, but your donor may think that you are droning on and on. 

Are you guilty of the kiss of death – the “talking problem?”

Too many nonprofit leaders – CEO’s, development directors and board volunteers alike – are guilty of the “talking problem.”

Everyone thinks they need a presentation that can sell the donor on their cause. Even more, too many people think they need a sales pitch.

Here’s the truth.

You don’t need a pitch. You need to listen to your donor instead.

Why are listening skills more important than presentation skills?

Because in fundraising, we have to follow our donor’s lead. When meeting with a donor, we cater to them. Always, we try to bring the donor out and make them feel comfortable. It’s far more important to listen than it is to talk.

As major gift fundraisers, we pay very close attention to what is on our donor’s mind, so that we can find out where she stands. If we want to develop her interest, then we have to know where her strongest interests are. 

If we truly want a warm relationship, then we need to know what is important to her. What her values are, and WHY she is so interested in our cause.

If we have this information, we can probably engage her deeply, get her involved, create a happy long term relationship and develop some wonderfully generous gifts.

Without this information about your donor, you are pretty much at a dead end. There is no cultivation pathway, and no way to plan an appropriate ask. 

Our recommendation is that you and your team should never do more than 50% of the talking. You’ll find that you can become quite comfortable, simply sitting there, holding the space for your donor to share her thoughts. You can relax, watch, gauge and listen.

We think that self-awareness, self-control and a light touch should be very highly prized skills for major gift fundraisers.

Bottom line. Make this your fundraising motto: “Listen Your Way to the Gift.”

The donor will show you the way.

As always, it is a pleasure to share our weekly news and insights with you. 

If your organization is planning a capital campaign or launching a major gifts program – we can help. Send an email to coaching@gailperry.com if you’d like to schedule a free strategy call with us.

People often ask us: “What do I talk about when I meet with donors?  How will I start a conversation? What questions should I ask?

We have a very simple approach to starting conversations with donors.

We like to probe, so we know immediately where the donor stands and what is on their mind. Our favorite “Golden Question” is:

“What are your impressions of . . . ?”

This open-ended question often brings forth interesting results.  Not only that, we’ve raised lots of money by asking this question.

This phrase creates an easy, gentle opening to find out what’s going on with your donor.  It’s completely donor-centered, and focused on them.

Moreover, this question helps you find out pretty immediately what your donor is thinking; about your presentation, your cause, your event, your plans, or even your  organization’s vision.

This question is a golden formula to help open your donor’s heart to your cause.

Why?

Because it generates the donor’s own thinking about your issue. For example, it encourages them to ponder your presentation and react to it.

Asking for their feedback and thinking helps them digest your material, and think more deeply about it. They are no longer passive in the conversation – instead, they are active participants.

Above all we want to know what is on THEIR mind, what they think and how they feel about it.

Your job is to ask, and then listen carefully.

Your donor is not going to get excited about your cause just by listening to you doing all the talking. Don’t forget the fundraiser’s Kiss of Death – talking too much!

Your wonderful, generous, well-meaning donor needs time to mull over what you’ve said.  They need to “stew” in the urgent need or bold vision you’ve just presented.

It’s certainly a much deeper conversation than if you had just presented, thanked them and left.

Get the donor talking to YOU – not the other way around.

Remember, it’s always all about the donor. When we are in a face-to-face meeting, we often forget this.  Too many nonprofit CEOs, fundraisers and even board members think they have to be great salespeople and make a great pitch.

That’s not true.

What you need to do is simply focus on the donor – and listen to them. Your goal is to draw out the donor and get them engaged with you about your cause.

It’s really amazing what you can find out – but you have to ask. And you won’t do that if you’re doing all the talking.

Examples – Put the Golden Question to use:

1.  At the close of a visit with a donor: “What are your impressions?”

Once, we had an Advice Visit regarding a big capital campaign with a potential donor. At the end of our visit, we asked “What are your impressions of our ideas?”

He shared some deep reservations about our project.

Thankfully, we were able to quickly address the issues that were holding him back. He then moved forward to become a substantial donor, and it was a huge win for our campaign.

2. Cultivating a major prospect: “What are your impressions?”

Gail was once walking out of a facility tour with a major donor, who was a candidate for the leadership gift for our capital campaign.  She asked him: What were your impressions of the tour?”

Well, after 5 minutes of conversation – he became so enthusiastic and engaged that he literally invited her to bring forward a $5ook proposal.

Now, that’s cultivation.

3. After a pitch: “What are your impressions?”

We often make presentations to potential clients in order to help them stage successful capital campaigns or build profitable major gift programs.

We always ask, as we wrap up, about their impressions of our presentation. And we get terrific feedback regarding what they are thinking.

4. When we are training or presenting: “What are your impressions?”

In our Fired-Up Fundraising workshops with board members, we want to help them ponder and digest the material we are discussing.

So we model the Golden Question, frequently asking them “what are your impressions of these ideas?” It gets them to mull over and reflect on the discussion, and ultimately walk away with much more than if we had simply presented and left.

5.  After a formal presentation: “What are your impressions?”

One of our clients, a Vice Chancellor at a major university, recently made a big presentation to the Board of Visitors. When she was finished she asked her boss, the Chancellor, about his reaction to her ideas.

She asked him, “What were your impressions of my presentation?” As a result, she received positive feedback from her boss.

Bottom Line: Ask “What Are Your Impressions?”

The Golden Question can give you wonderful information about your donors, colleagues, board members, even family. It really works in all settings to set you up for success in your relationships.

As always, it is a pleasure to share our weekly news and insights with you. 

If your organization is planning a capital campaign or launching a major gifts program – we can help. We’re with our clients every step of the way, inspiring their teams and board, building confidence, driving action and measuring success. Send an email to coaching@gailperry.com if you’d like to schedule a strategy or consulting call with us.

How are your organization’s thank you letters to donors? Are they warm and gracious? Or do they sound grand and lofty, like someone giving a speech?

We expect your thank you’s can use some brushing up. Invariably, we find that our consulting clients are struggling with lame, tired sounding thank you notes. And they always ask us for help to create a killer thank you letter.

Why are thank you letters so important?

Because this note is your first communication to a donor after she gives, that’s why. It has the potential to make her happy that she gave to your cause.

In addition, your letter can accomplish a lot. It can:

  • Assure your nervous donor that she made a wise investment.
  • Make your donor feel like she did the right thing.
  • Help her feel joyful she made the gift.

Today, here’s our checklist of 14 steps to a warm, wonderful, killer thank you letter – one that makes your donor feel so happy that she gave.

1. Make your letter prompt.

A really prompt thank you note impresses your donor. It indicates to her that your organization is well run.

What’s more, it builds credibility and trust with your donor, and inclines her to think well of you.

2. Make your letter feel personal.

This makes the letter feel like it came from a real person.

  • Use the first person: “I” and “we.”
  • Use the second person: “you,” “you” and “you” again. Count how many times you use the word “you.”
  • A warm tone toward the donor (vs. a lofty formal, distant tone.)
  • Casual writing – use contractions such as “We’ll” rather than “We will.”
  • Use an exclamation mark if appropriate.

3. Start out in a personal way.

Never begin with “on behalf of . . . “

Much better to simply say: “We are so grateful for . . . “

4. Use a warm tone.

Does your letter really sound sincere? Or is it full of “nonprofit-speak” with formal words and phrases?

Show yourself as a real person, and try to connect with the donor instead of staying so distant.

5. Be emotional.

Don’t bury it.  Giving is an emotional act by the donor. So it’s fine to wear your heart on your sleeve.

Try to convey excitement about what can happen with the donor’s gift.

Say things like:

  • “ I can’t begin to thank you enough for . . .”
  • “We are absolutely thrilled to have your support again this year.”
  • “Because of your gift, a family will . . .”
  • “You were wonderful to renew your support . . .”

6. Thank smaller gifts warmly.

Smaller gifts should also get warm, prompt, personal thank you’s.

Remember, there are plenty of major gift prospects in your donor files who are giving you smaller gifts.

Treat these donors well by sending them killer thank you letters that build confidence and trust.  Then they may reward you with repeat and larger gifts.

7. Refer to the donor’s past support if you possibly can.

Is your donor a monthly donor? Have they given for a long time?

It’s wonderful if you can acknowledge and celebrate a long term donor – and it would mean the world to them.

8. Sign the letter personally and write a note at the bottom.

You spent all that time writing notes on your appeal letters. By all means, also write a note on the thank you letter.

Remember, the PS is the most-read part of your killer thank you letter. Make it count.

9. Send more than one thank you letter.

The old fundraising motto is: “Find seven ways to thank your donor, and they’ll give again.”

For example, you can always ask different staffers to send an additional note.

This small step could help your organization stand out among a sea of other organizations.

10. Send an additional thank you letter from a board member.

I know organizations that bring stationery to the board meetings and have board members hand-write letters.

We highly recommend this strategy, because it helps connect trustees to the fundraising process.

11. Have a high-ranking person personally sign the letter.

The letter should be signed by the highest ranking person you can find – the chair of the board or a board member. It should not be signed by the wonderful, but lowly, development coordinator.

You could also have the artistic director or a performer sign the letter. Or a teacher if you are a school. Or a field officer if you are an environmental organization.

12. Send a thank you letter from a person helped by your organization.

We can’t think of anything more powerful. Your donor is really giving to create an impact, so help them feel this directly.

13. Reconfirm the purpose of the gift.

If the gift is for the library, for example, say something about what the library plans to achieve with the gift.

Most donors are worried that their gift will not be spent wisely.

Acknowledging how the money will be spent is essential – it helps build trust.

14. Include a contact name and number.

Including contact info is good manners, and it makes the donor feel a person connection to your organization.

For example, it would be the head of the library if that’s where the donor directed her gift.

Bottom Line: How to Craft a Killer Thank You Letter

Remember: your overall goal is to keep your donor giving and giving over many years. Your thank you letter is an essential first step in building a long and happy relationship of generous support from your donor.

This is how you create a sustainable fundraising program – developing consistent and repeated gifts from loyal donors who are passionate about your work.

Do’s and Don’ts

Thank you letter DO’s

  • Be really, really prompt.
  • Get the donor’s name right.
  • Have a high-ranking person personally sign the letter.
  • Show some emotion.
  • Convey gratitude.
  • Refer to how the gift will be used.
  • Send several thank you notes from different people.
  • Include additional thank you letters from board members.
  • Send a thank you letter from someone helped by your organization.
  • Sign it with a real signature.
  • Be positive and upbeat.
  • Include a contact name and number if the donor has questions.
  • Handwrite it if you know the donor well.
  • Begin with an innovative or creative sentence that charms the donor.

Thank You Letter DON’TS

  • Start out with “on behalf of.”
  • Ask for another gift.
  • Use thank you letter jargon: “we are deeply grateful for your continued support.”
  • Start out with Dear Friend.
  • Ask anything else from your donor right now.
  • Misspell their name.
  • Have errors in grammar, punctuation or misspellings.
  • Go on and on. Ditch the verbosity. Do be concise.
  • Keep selling.
  • Re-use copy that you used in the solicitation letter to talk about your programs.
  • Be formal. Or lofty.
  • Be vague about how the money will be used.
  • Sign it yourself if you can get a higher-ranking person to sign it.

As always, it is a pleasure to share our weekly news and insights with you. 

If your organization is planning a capital campaign – we can help. We’re with our clients every step of the way, inspiring their teams and board, building confidence, driving action and measuring success. Send an email to coaching@gailperry.com if you’d like to schedule a strategy or consulting call with us.

We thought you might be interested in hearing about three skills everyone needs in order to close major gifts much faster. So today, in the final article of our Major Gifts 2021 content series, we’re sharing the secret skills that the best fundraisers use to close mega gifts.

Here’s the challenge we often face: donors are people. Which means they are human – they can be ambiguous and confusing. Smart fundraisers can read their donors, decipher the implications of a donor conversation and move forward to a gift conversation.

Use the Artful Questions to Find Out Where a Donor Stands.

Often, mega donors don’t come right out and say things unless directly asked. They’ll share conflicting information about their financial position, their family and their giving intentions.

One of the great tragedies of fundraising is when we assume too much about a donor.

We may decide they are a serious donor prospect, based solely on a wealth screening report. Or we may assume they will not be supporting our cause for one reason or another. Either way, donors can – and will – surprise you.

One of the skills we teach in the Major Gifts Intensive program (join us this year!) is how to ask the Artful Questions to find out where your donor truly stands. You can politely, but directly, ask donors specific questions about their intentions.

There is a way to do this that is organic and natural, never pushy. Everyone who aspires to close major gifts needs the Artful Questioning technique that moves a donor toward a gift.

The best fundraisers master Artful Questioning – the hard but delicate questions that uncover their donor’s intentions.

Learn to Read Your Donor’s Cues.

Donors give you signals – some weak and some strong. The best fundraisers can “read” their donors, because they are constantly vigilant, scanning the donor’s communication and behavior for signs of greater enthusiasm or change.

Your major or principal gift donor is constantly giving you cues about where they stand, but alas, you and your team are missing them.

The problem is, you are not paying close enough attention.

Practice watching the things your donors actually do – such as their willingness to chat with you or their facial expressions. (Do they smile when you call?)

Donors will also say surprising things that will perk up your ears. They may ask about naming opportunities or ask to meet your CEO and learn more about your work. They may mention a recent inheritance or a financial situation. These are all classic signals that your donor is interested in deeper support.

  • Kathryn closed the largest gift of her career ($9 million!) when she picked up a side comment from a donor couple – that they didn’t have kids and were planning their estate.
  • Gail likes to tell a story of when she realized the donor was blowing her off, by just the flicker of his eyelid and posture shift. “I got the message quickly,” she says, “and I changed the subject to a more productive direction!”

Use Deeper Listening to Find Your Next Gift.

There’s an absolutely critical attribute of every smart fundraiser – including staffers, CEOs, deans and chancellors, leaders of all types who engage with donor prospects. They must learn the Deeper Listening skills.

Here’s the problem: your team members are too focused on the excitement of the meeting, including what they are planning to say next. If they tend to be talkers, they have a problem. Typically a dean, CEO or your president is going to expect to talk.

Not so. Your donor expects to do the talking.

Deeper listening will help you interpret your donor’s cues, and move in the direction they want to go. You’ll be alert to signs of readiness to give.

The best fundraisers know how to listen their way to a gift.

Bottom Line: The Secret Skills that Help You Close Major Gifts Much Faster.

Don’t wallow around just guessing. Learn to read your donor, listen and ask for clarification. You’ll save so very much time!

Major Gifts Intensive registration will close out next week!

If you and your team want to learn the secrets to locate and close mega gifts, then plan to join us in this year’s Major Gifts Intensive coaching program. This program only happens once a year and we are filling up quickly. But we would love to chat with you and make room. Find out more here and schedule a call with us next week.

We often receive questions about the return on investment of this program. Remember this: the Major Gifts Intensive course will PAY FOR ITSELF through increased gifts.

In fact, most members receive a 10 to 1 return on their investment. So not only does the program pay for itself, but it often brings a 1000% return – much better than the earnings from your endowment. Just think about the long term payoff of building up a robust major gift program for your institution!

Have questions about the Major Gifts Intensive? Email anne@gailperry.com and we’ll follow up shortly!

It’s the moment of truth. There you are, in conversation with a major donor who’s really interested in an aspect of your work. She’s on the edge of her seat, asking detailed questions about the impact you are making. 

You sit there thinking: “I think she might be ready to make a gift.” 

So you wonder: “How do I bring up the subject of a gift without throwing cold water on this conversation?” 

This is the moment when many nonprofit leaders and fundraisers freeze. They don’t know what to do or say in the moment of opportunity. 

They might blurt out an ask with no preparation or warm up of any kind. The problem with this approach is that your donor may feel like it’s too abrupt. It may feel like an affront – coming in out of nowhere. Then you may have lost serious ground with your donor, and possibly damaged the relationship. 

But prepared, experienced fundraisers know exactly how to handle this special opportunity.

It’s NOT an ask; it IS a conversation.

Most major and principal gifts happen over time. Rarely does the ask happen in one formal meeting. 

Instead, it’s a series of conversations in which you explore with the donor how she wants to help. In reality, it’s a back and forth conversation over a period of days, weeks or months. (Hopefully not years!)

Please note: it’s what the donor wants to do, not what you want her to do. She is in charge, because she’s the donor. 

In our upcoming Major Gifts Intensive course, we will be teaching the Skillful Conversation process that leads gently to an ask conversation. This approach is never pushy. It’s always gracious and polite. Join us for our course (registrations close Feb 24th), and you’ll learn how to organically put a successful ask on the table, seamlessly and effortlessly. 

Help your donor walk through the door of a gift.

With a few well-placed questions, you are helping your donor imagine what they could do, and how they could make a personal impact. 

You lead your donor to the mountain and help them stand in the place of vision and possibility.  You open the door to a gift conversation and your donor simply walks through the door. 

Here are a few simple ways to start a Gift Conversation with your donor:  

1. Would you like to know how you can help this project?

This is such an easy question to ask. There your donor is, carrying on and on about her interest in your mission. You can seamlessly, simply say, “Would you like to know how you could help?

Do note that you are asking your donor for permission to discuss this topic. Does the donor want to go in this direction or not? 

This is how you help the donor feel that they are in charge of the gift process. 

In the upcoming Major Gifts Intensive course, we’ll be teaching our permission-based, conversational asking approach. For many of our clients, this strategy has enabled them to receive five, six and even seven-figure gifts from happy donors – without even asking for the gift. No kidding. You and your team can learn these skills too, to easily close major, principal and campaign gifts this year. 

2. Could you see yourself supporting our work? 

This is one of our favorite qualification questions. Your donor might be sharing her excitement about your work, and you sense that the door is opening for a gift discussion. 

It’s so easy to simply ask “Could you see yourself supporting this project?” You’ll find out immediately whether this prospect wants to make a gift, and probably even when she would decide. 

In addition, this is a great question for board members to ask their contacts. A board member may invite a friend to an event. As a follow-up, they can ask: Could you see yourself supporting our work? Again, it’s not pushy, and it’s very easy for a board member to come out and say this. 

3. Have you ever thought about helping? 

Your donor may have never thought about the idea of a gift. So it’s your job to bring it up. You are simply inquiring about the donor’s interest in getting more involved. 

We love this question, too, because it helps you qualify whether your prospect might become a donor.

BOTTOM LINE:  Don’t make it an “ask.” Instead have an asking conversation! 

Asking conversations are low-pressure and oriented toward the donor. Use these questions to lead your donor right down the path to a gift. 

Our new Major Gifts Intensive 2021 can teach you and your team how to manage the delicate relationship with a major or principal donor, so that they will want to give generously. The Intensive is an extensive, LIVE teaching and coaching program from March – July 2021. 

You’ll learn the structure, skills and systems to secure major and principal gifts for your cause. What’s more, you and your team will be able to close more transformational gifts with the powerful combination of permission and conversational asking.

If you’re interested, don’t wait, because registrations close Feb 24th. Let us know here and we’ll hop on the phone to see if this is a good fit for you and your team. 

It’s so easy to be distracted when you are working on major gifts. Pursuing the wrong donor prospects can eat up a lot of time.

How do you know you’re spending time on the right people, and not the wrong ones? How do you know that you’re not wasting time and energy?

There are too many prospects who look so promising, but they never, ever respond.

It’s a tough call, but the data in your prospect management system can keep you from wasting time on the wrong donors. Your data can forecast which donors are most likely to give now – your immediate major gift prospects.

Who are your most passionate donors who also have high wealth?

This is every fundraiser’s burning question. You can start by tracking their actual giving behavior. Your database can easily tell you:

  • Is this donor current or lapsed?
  • How many years have they been giving?
  • How much have they given?
  • At what frequency do they give?

All these tell us just how passionate any particular donor is about your organization and its mission and this is part of using a smart prospect management system.

Recency, Frequency and Monetary (RFM) scores point you to the right donors.

Tracking the RFM scores (Recency, Frequency and Monetary) of your donors tells you how much your donor likes your organization. It can tell you how devoted and responsive they are.

Combine the RFM with wealth screening data and presto: you have a solid major gift prospect list. And those donors who are in the top quartile are your special people – you’ll want to look at them closely.

We recommend that you start looking at this list name by name. You can reshuffle the priority ranking based on the status of your current relationship with them, and how much you do or don’t know about their capacity to give major gifts.

Successful major gift fundraising takes a solid prospect management system.

Raising money from major donors is not really rocket science, but it does take a very careful organized structure. Without this structure, you can’t effectively manage a portfolio of highly engaged donors.

Your prospect management system will help you identify who needs attention and when, and who is most likely to give at any point in time.

In our five-month Major Gifts Intensive coaching and training program, we’ll be helping our members set up and refine their prospect management systems.

We’ll help you set up your infrastructure, your systems and a major gifts methodology designed for YOUR organization that will lead you to sustainable success. You’ll be able to enjoy many major and transformational gifts not just this year, but many years to come – if you are well organized.

We are here to support you. Check out the 2021 Major Gifts Intensive here. If you’re interested, we’ll hop on the phone and see if this program is a good fit for you and your team. Applications close February 24, so let us know now if you are interested.

Momentum

The Magic of Capital Campaign Momentum

Many capital campaigns struggle to maintain momentum. 

Momentum is a magic quality that can speed things along in your campaign like an ocean wave. When there is positive energy and momentum, everything is working in your favor.

Your volunteer campaign leaders feel the spark.

They are in action, in touch with you and each other. They’re talking often with you and other volunteers – collaborating on strategy to nail major and mega gifts for your campaign.

Your board knows that things are going well.

This means they are supportive, encouraged, and positive. They show up for campaign events. They cheerlead the staff. They are willing to spend money on the campaign when they see gifts flowing in.

 Best of all, positive momentum attracts donors.

When gifts are coming in often, and there are celebrations everywhere, new donors get inspired. They feel the energy of a successful cause, and join the bandwagon.  Your campaign literally attracts donors. 

This week we are sharing three ways to encourage, manage and maintain that magic spark of momentum.  These are also our top three strategies we use to keep client campaigns moving forward vigorously. 

And if you are thinking about capital campaigns – be sure to check out our new 5-part course, today is the last day to buy!

How Do You Create and Maintain Momentum?

 It starts with you. 

Often, it’s up to the staff to provide inspiration. Your own personal energy is infectious. Your smile encourages others to smile. And more, your can-do attitude inspires everyone else to be positive. 

1. Focus on Positive Steps – No Negativity Allowed

If you are trying to change the world, you don’t get there by worrying about failure. 

You have to keep your eye on the horizon. Stay focused on your goal and the wonderful possibilities of your campaign. And remind everyone of the vision for the future. 

 Any group of people – a board, a campaign committee – can easily be swayed by a naysayer who speaks strongly and negatively. You need to put a stop to it immediately, if at all possible. 

2. Use Your Consultants

Consultants play a vital leadership role in a campaign. Once the board develops trust and confidence in us, then they will listen to an objective third party. 

In our experience, we have been able to dig campaigns out of a roadblock and move forward, solely by focusing on a few positive and achievable next steps. 

Also, we like to keep in close contact with our campaign clients. We are constantly on the phone or a zoom meeting with board leaders, key volunteers, and staff. It is important for a consultant to stay in touch, always willing to provide leadership and a careful guiding hand to keep the momentum going. 

Keep people focused on their “to-do” list. That is our strategy. What are positive steps they can take right now – this week and this month – to be sure the campaign is moving along?  

Consultants often are an experienced and objective guiding hand to help maintain capital campaign momentum. If you have a consultant to help your campaign reach its goal, be sure to use them (or us)!

 3. Make Sure Big Meetings are Well Organized and Encouraging

Campaign and board meetings can be pivotal to your momentum. They can either foster a lack of energy – or positive momentum. Good energy or a sour tone. We’ve all been there. 

One of our secrets is to hold fast-paced, high-energy campaign and board meetings. We intentionally prep our speakers, design the agenda, and set up positive news – these steps are surprisingly crucial to maintaining successful campaign momentum.

Yes, these steps take time. It takes time to coach presenters and engage with meeting participants in advance. And these steps may seem less important than other activities.

But this is truly what it takes to implement a successful gathering of key leaders. You don’t want to leave this to chance – too many things can go wrong. 

Bottom Line: Maintaining Your Capital Campaign Momentum  

It’s up to you. Momentum can make or break your campaign. So be positive, use your consultants for leadership and guidance, and always stage your big meetings carefully. 

Last Chance Today: More Secrets to Successful Capital Campaigns

This in-depth 5-part webinar series shows you how to adapt, change, and successfully execute your institution’s campaign – even during these uncertain, unfamiliar days. 

Today is the LAST DAY to gain these secrets and learn how to power your campaign ahead in 2021..

Time is running out!

If you are running a capital campaign, now or in the future, make sure to check out our powerful new course by clicking the link below. The course will go back into our vault at midnight tonight

Capital Campaigns in Times of Crisis: 5 Keys to Success – Access Now

We all imagine that 2020 will go down in history as a difficult year.  And now here we are waiting for election results in the U.S.

Politics and elections can certainly be exhausting for everyone.

But being involved in civic life (politics) also offers important opportunities to nonprofits. And today I want to talk about the appropriate role of nonprofits in civil society.

I’ve been an active political volunteer for decades, and the relationships I’ve developed in this arena have benefited me – and my clients – in many ways.

Take a listen to the video below and think about putting these ideas to work for your nonprofit!

Bottom Line: do’s and don’ts for nonprofits, politics and elections:

1. As appropriate, do speak out publicly about your cause and your stakeholders.

Do stick to topics that are relevant to your mission and that represent your stakeholders needs.

2. Be seen as a force for the good who brings people together.

Don’t be seen as divisive. If you can, develop a reputation as a community leader who has good ideas to make your community stronger.

3. Develop friendly relationships with your local elected officials.

Do communicate with them to educate them about your cause.

For example, most elected officials want to know more about the community, its needs and issues.

In many cases, they welcome this sort of contact. If at all possible, take on a partisan label – unless it is appropriate to your stakeholders and mission.

4. When you are known (and liked) by public officials, then you can have a voice in public policy.

You will then be able to represent your organization when community resources are allocated to local nonprofits.

There’s an old saying that “if you are not at the table when community resources are allocated, then you might be on the menu.”

 

As always, it is a pleasure to share our weekly news and insights with you. 

If you are planning a capital campaign and would like to learn about our unique Capital Campaigns by the Numbers approach, let us know. You can also join our INSIDERS community for more fundraising training and content. We would love to have you! 

Hope you have a wonderful weekend.