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Has your team thought about getting set up for accepting cryptocurrency gifts? Have you wondered if it is really worth the bother? 

We weren’t sure, either. All this cryptocurrency talk was too speculative for us.

That is, until we chatted with Ariel Rogers, the Executive Director of Friends of Bonobos, and a former member of our Major Gift Intensive cohort. (In case you have not heard of bonobos, they are a type of ape, and are our closest genetic relatives.)  

What we found out. 

Ariel and her team raise money and awareness to help save endangered bonobos in Africa. After one of her donors suggested they take cryptocurrency gifts and offered to help and donate, she decided to do some research. 

Ariel found The Giving Block (we wrote about them three weeks ago), an organization that helps nonprofits accept cryptocurrency donations. After asking her donor for advice, and including them in the decision, Ariel’s team made the leap. They registered with The Giving Block, got set up to accept cryptocurrency gifts and immediately that same donor donated $10,000. 

$90,000 in less than two weeks.

Not only did her donor promptly come through with a $10k gift, but an NFT community also gave them $77k shortly after they registered with The Giving Block. Plus, even more money flowed in. 

A major gift from an NFT Community.

Apparently, there is a crypto group that focuses on apes. These enthusiasts hang out together on social media, mostly twitter and instagram, sharing their interest in all types of apes. As part of their activities, they decided to make some gifts to charities – and Friends of Bonobos made their list.

Using social media to connect to donors.

Ariel and her team constantly focus on building awareness on social networks. For this reason, they make twitter, instagram and facebook a priority, and have built a social reach from 10k to over 120k followers in only two years. 

So this is how this major donor crypto group found out about Friends of Bonobos. 

Ariel’s team is out there every day on social – sharing stories of their mission, their impact and the cute, but endangered Bonobos. They are chatting with other enthusiasts and building relationships with potential donors.

Why social reach is so important.

Get this from a fundraising standpoint: At Friends of Bonobos, their team sees social initiatives as a way to identify new friends for their cause. In other words, social serves as the first step in the fundraising funnel. 

For this reason, the building of awareness is a serious business. Social media covers the functions of what traditional marketing used to do, and it works.

From social followers to becoming donors.

It’s clear that you can transition your social followers into donors. In the case of Friends of Bonobos – all social followers are invited to share their email and sign up for the newsletter. 

Once followers start receiving the newsletter, they may become more and more interested and invested in the cause. And as you might expect, interest and investment often lead to donations. 

And chances are, some of these highly active followers might be crypto investors. 

Connecting with crypto donors via social media.

When we interviewed Pat Duffy, co-founder of The Giving Block, for an Insiders webinar in June, he described a general profile of people who are most vigorously investing (and donating) in cryptocurrency: 

These investors are usually under 40 years old, 84% are male, they are highly financially literate and they are very active on social networks. 

So, it makes perfect sense that you need a strong social media presence if you want to position yourself in front of wealthy young crypto donors. They are clearly out there, and the cryptocurrency market is only growing. 

Bottom Line: Research cryptocurrency gifts – one nonprofit says it is definitely worth it.

As Ariel said – she did her research, she had a little help, and she took the leap for her organization. And it paid off – $90k and counting. 

We are always looking for ways to help nonprofits succeed in their fundraising efforts. Make sure you do your due diligence before saying “no” to accepting crypto donations. It might just be worth it.

As always, it is a pleasure to share our weekly news and insights with you as we cover new fundraising trends. 

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.

Looks like cryptocurrency is here to stay. And, yes, it’s time for all nonprofits to get set up to receive donations in the form of cryptocurrency. Because there are plenty of donors with appreciated crypto investments. 

Yes, cryptocurrency is a new technology, and many people are dubious about it. It’s volatile, and considered to be high risk. But the market is growing rapidly. 

Consider that investors in cryptocurrency tend to be younger, very digitally literate and financially sophisticated. And to be frank, because of large profits, many of these investors DO need the tax deductions and write-offs that come from making charitable contributions. 

Let’s unpack this. 

First of all, what is cryptocurrency?

It’s the generic term that describes all types of digital currencies. And that includes bitcoin – the most popular cryptocurrency and the one that gets all the press. 

Rapidly growing number of investors 

Estimates are that 100-300 million individuals are users or investors in cryptocurrency. Interest is high around the world, and only growing stronger. 

Even more, the number of cryptocurrency users literally doubled from 2017 to 2019.

And more recently, the market saw a 16% jump in users all in the month of January 2021.

As the crypto market has grown, so have donations. 

According to The Giving Block website, cryptocurrency donations equal about $300,000,000 each year. 

We are impressed with The Giving Block team and their site. The Giving Block is a technology platform for accepting cryptocurrency donations, and we highly recommend checking it out. 

We actually invited one of the Giving Block co-founders to tell our Insiders members about crypto fundraising – and it was certainly fascinating.  

Why would we be interested in crypto-investors as potential donors? 

Many crypto users are enjoying very, very high profits. They really do need the tax deductions that come from charitable contributions.

As of today, July 1, 2021, Bitcoin has appreciated 286% in only one year, since July 1, 2020. This amount of profit is hard to imagine. 

If an investor wanted to convert some of his bitcoin to regular cash, he would incur substantial capital gains taxes. Therefore, why not make some gifts to offset the substantial tax burden? 

The GivingBlock experts say that many investors are literally shopping around for charities to support. Check out the list of registered nonprofits on the Giving Block site, and you can see that there are under 300. 

Fascinating demographics of cryptocurrency investors. 

Consider this new demographic of potential donors. Cryptocurrency users – and crypto donors – are generally in the Millennial and Gen Z demographic. 

  • Approximately 74% of crypto investors are male. And remember, they are younger, as mentioned above. What an interesting new donor demographic to go after!

In addition, The Giving Block site says that 43% of millennials prefer crypto investing to stocks, with many holding highly appreciated crypto that they can donate each year for tax purposes. 

Target a fundraising campaign directly to crypto investors. 

It’s actually possible to craft a campaign targeted specifically toward crypto users. 

Our new friends at The Giving Block site are helping several national charities launch these campaigns, and are seeing pretty amazing results. 

Bottom Line: What this could mean for your organization.

We know. This is a bit mind-blowing. Not only is there a largely untapped market of very wealthy young individuals. But very few nonprofits are out there in front of these donors. It’s up to you and your institution to move now to capitalize on this new market. If you’d like to learn more about cryptocurrency and getting set up to be listed on The Giving Block’s website – click here.

As always, it is a pleasure to share our weekly news and insights with you as we cover new fundraising trends. 

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.

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.

Portfolio management may seem like a technical term. But it’s an excellent format to help you focus your attention on your best, and most likely donor prospects.

Of course, one of the secrets to successful mega fundraising is identifying where to spend your time and attention.

Most major gift portfolios are packed with so many prospects, that you can’t possibly spend quality attention on all of them. So you simply have to focus.

Today, we’re sharing an easy portfolio management system that can help you – and everyone on your team, be more productive, and raise money much faster.

(If you want to learn more about portfolio management skills and how these can transform your fundraising fortunes, consider joining our new and advanced 2021 Major Gifts Intensive Course.)

Our 10-20-30 Portfolio Management Approach.

Back when I was a frontline fundraiser, I had the exciting job of chief development officer for the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina.

Needless to say, we had plenty of donor prospects who looked quite promising. However, we had a problem: too many of those promising prospects!

We were in the process of qualifying them. But we still needed a way to organize our time. Where should we start? Who should we try to see first, or second?

Here’s the portfolio management system we worked out – step-by-step. We highly recommend a system like this for you and your team and we’re sharing detailed insights into this system in our new 2021 Major Gifts Intensive Course.

Step 1. We rated the prospects.

Clearly this needed to be the first step. We spent considerable time analyzing them, and assigning ratings for their level of interest and giving capacity.

This is a step that major gift officers do every day.

In actuality, it took quite a bit of time to refine each individual’s rating – to get a pretty solid handle on where they stood and what their financial capacity might be.

Step 2. We separated all the prospects into 4 groups.

Top 10 Prospects – These were individuals who were very close to making a gift. Our team was “readying them for a solicitation,” so to speak. They were our top priorities. And they were getting tons of attention.

We were chatting with them often – about their interests, seeking their advice and input, and asking for their help with other donors.

Next 20 Prospects – Prospects who were very active and interested. They were enjoying their connection with us and were almost ready for an ask, but not quite.

Next 30 Prospects – People who were showing a lot of interest, had solid potential – but still needed more time to bring them closer to the cause.

Back-burner Prospects – These were donors whom I wanted to get to know. On the surface, they seemed to have great promise. But we would need to gently bring them along. They were not yet fully qualified.

Step 3. We set priorities and made a plan for how we’d spend our time.

We planned to “touch” these donors in priority order:

The Top 10 Prospects once a month. Since these donors were almost ready to be asked, they received a lot of attention and were our top priority.

The Next 20 Prospects every other month. These donors were almost ready for a campaign ask, so we were also very focused on them.

The Next 30 Prospects once a quarter. These donors were in the nurturing stage – or they could be in the post-gift stewardship stage. We never, ever wanted to let go of people who had already made a major gift.

For our lovely Back-burner Prospects, we tried to see them when we could. They were “fillers” when we were planning a trip or an event. Since we were in the discovery phase with these individuals, we tried to create “get to know you” opportunities with them.’

(Setting priorities and managing your time is critical for a Major Gift Officer. Let us show you the secrets of our success in our new 5-month Intensive Course.)

Step 4. Each month, we created cultivation moves.

For each of the Top 60 Prospects, we defined a cultivation move that was unique to each individual.

Step 5. We reviewed and reorganized the list monthly. 

What really made Prospect Management work for us was this last step: we evaluated and reorganized the list every month.

It was a big job to run through a detailed review of each prospect and where they stood each month. Sometimes it look as much as a half day/month. But it was worth it, because we created touches that were deliberate and customized for our key donors.

Our results?

We were organized with priorities and an easy-to-implement plan.

And we were successful! Our team raised $50 million from those terrific donors for a new business school building, the beautiful McColl Center at UNC-CH.

BOTTOM LINE on Portfolio Management.

You can raise this kind of money just like I did as a young fundraiser. And you can also feel your own work life transformed, just like this.

Just get organized with a prospect management or moves management system that works for you. We can help.

This system will save your life, keep you organized and most of all, help you allocate your time to the right people.

 

If you want to build and expand your major and principal gifts programs in 2021, we just opened applications yesterday for our 2021 Major Gifts Intensive Coaching Course. Learn more here.

Wishing you a prosperous and positive 2021!

Major gift fundraising has changed dramatically in the past year. And the major gift landscape may never be the same.

Many of our “best practice” major gift strategies now seem out-of-date. An era where donors don’t want to meet in person or gather face-to-face has forced us to pivot our strategies.

And the key to your major gift success will be knowing what works, right now.

On the bright side – major donors are giving like never before. They’re feeling wealthy (look at their stock holdings), and are also concerned about the many, many needs of our world. 

Best of all, data shows that giving is up across the board – among both small and large donors. The time is right to focus on major donors!

We are sharing our best major gift ideas in a free webinar next week:

Free Webinar: 5 Rules to Accelerate Your Major Gift Success in 2021

Thursday, January 21 at 3pm ET

Find out more and register here

We will give you a guide for unlocking your major gift potential, and show you how to literally cut cultivation time in half, and close major gifts much faster. No kidding!

Here’s a sneak peek at our Top 5 Rules for Major Gift Success that we’ll be discussing more deeply in our webinar next week:

1. How to Use Data Analytics to Save Time

State-of-the-art data analytics can really be your best friend. 

Information is powerful. And knowing where to find it (some is closer than you think) – and how to interpret it – is key to your success. 

Everyone wants to know how to find the best prospects.  Knowing how to collect and use your own data can help you do this. It will take the guesswork out of these questions: 

Who is your best prospect?  

Who is most interested? 

And, who is most likely to respond to your call? 

Above all, we love data because it provides a structured, disciplined approach to the major gift fundraising process. Finally, you know where to spend your most valuable resource – your time. 

 (We’ll dive into data analytics in depth, in our webinar next week. Join us here.)

2. How to Keep Your Prospect Pipeline Lean and Mean

Does every name of a possible donor get added to your portfolio without any filter at all? But somehow you’re still not seeing an increase in major gifts closed?

Inflating your major donor portfolio only results in having more of the wrong prospects, or worse  – not really prospects at all.  

Don’t spend your time making discovery calls on people who are really just “suspects.” Instead, spend time on the most important prospects of all – the “hot” prospects. Not the cold ones. 

Keeping your prospect pipeline lean and mean is the best way to focus on your prime donors. You know these lovely people – they have both the wealth capacity, the interest AND they want to engage with you. 

(We’ll chat more about the benefits of a systematic and measurable discovery process in our webinar next week. Join us!)

3. How to Put Your Top Prospects on the Front Burner

When we work with clients, we encourage them to think in terms of the “front burner” and the “back burner.” 

“Who belongs on the back burner?” you may ask. 

It’s those prospects that just need a touch here and there. You don’t want to let them go, but their timing for a gift is later – not now. 

You need a tool to systematically identify your hot from your cool prospects – and we promise you there is a smart, analytical prospect management system for you.

This system will help you predict future fundraising streams, help you identify which donors need attention and when, and help you manage your overall prospect assignments for maximum giving and productivity. 

(If you’re interested in prospect management systems, you won’t want to miss our webinar next week!)

4. How to Know When, and How, to Ask Donors the Right Questions

The most successful major gift fundraisers know the art of the skillfully placed question.  

The question designed to open the donor’s mind to the possibility of a gift.  This kind of questioning is a beauty to behold. And it’s a skill you can learn.

Artfully using the right questions at the right time will take the guesswork out of asking. In fact, you may not have to ask at all – the donor will open the door to the gift conversation.  

If you are a beginning major gift fundraiser or have years of experience, building and honing your conversation skills can move you to the head of the class quickly.  You will be closing major gifts, sooner than later!

We teach our clients a series of questions that LITERALLY cut cultivation time in half, AND accelerate gift commitments. We’ll be sharing more about these strategies in our Thursday webinar – be sure to sign up.

 5. How to Build Great Major Gift Officers 

Yes, it is entirely possible to develop smart major gift fundraisers who know how to handle themselves with donors, how to manage conversations, and how to gently, politely lead a donor into a gift conversation.

 These fundraisers are the ones who close many major and principal gifts for their institutions. In addition, they create happy donors who are simply thrilled at the difference they are making.

 Great, well-trained major gift officers can deliver even greater results because they are confident and self-assured.  

BOTTOM LINE: 5 Rules for Major Gift Success in 2021

Again, the key to success is knowing what works right now. Focusing here will help you be more successful than ever – happily bringing many major gifts into your organization! 

 

As always, it is a pleasure to share our weekly news and insights with you and we hope you will join us next Thursday at our free webinar.

If you want to build and expand your major and principal gifts programs in 2021, keep an eye on your inbox. Applications will open soon for our 2021 Major Gifts Intensive.

Wishing you a prosperous and positive 2021!

We all know that year-end is the most productive time of the year for fundraising. So let’s take advantage of the generosity this season and make sure you bring in the year-end gifts to meet your fundraising goal.

With only a few days left this year, we want you to focus on the most productive possible way to spend your time: right in front of your major donors.

Some fundraisers shy away from their donors in December. On the contrary, we think you need to be visible. It’s important to ask them if they’d like to consider a Leadership Annual Fund Gift.

This one activity could make the largest difference in your year-end fundraising results.

Should you pull your major donors out of the year-end fundraising campaign?

Should you do this? Absolutely not. Your major donors, who are true believers in your cause, want to help. It is perfectly appropriate to ask them to join your annual campaign with an annual gift.

Don’t hold off on the annual ask because you are saving them for something much larger – perhaps a nice capital campaign gift.

Here are two terrific reasons to invite your major donors to make an annual gift – at any time of the year.

1. Participating in the annual campaign will create a deeper connection with your organization.

Recognizing them as Leadership Annual Fund donors sets up these lovely people to be THE philanthropic leaders in your stakeholder community.

Now you have more access to them: you are able to honor them as the true VIP’s that they are.  Even more, you can use the annual fund opportunity to engage them and bring them even closer to your organization.

So the year-end annual gift is important. It becomes yet another step in their cultivation and engagement – leading to a much, much larger campaign gift.

Their ongoing participation promotes “buy-in” on their part. Even though they might help with a campaign gift later, they can enjoy their relationship with you right now.

Above all, you want to make their annual fund gift an “Occasion of Joy and Celebration” on BOTH your part and your donors.  You have the chance to make your donor feel joyful about her gift and her overall relationship with your cause.

Don’t miss this special opportunity!

2. These year-end gifts are easy to close.

Why are these the easy gifts? It’s because these donors are pre-sold. You won’t need to educate them, or spend a lot of time developing a close relationship, because it already exists.

Focusing here is the most productive place for you to put your energy – especially if you evaluate the return on your investment of time.

And if you consider the annual gifts that all your major donors might consider, it adds up. I’ll bet it is a substantial part of your year-end fundraising goal.

All fundraisers know that it is the higher dollar donors who make the most difference in our totals. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to zoom over your year-end goal with some easy, large gifts? :)

It’s not too late to make it happen.

Here’s our simple call to action:

Identify your top 10-15 major gift prospects who have not yet made a gift this year – and connect with them.

Find out what is on their minds and invite them to support your organization this year with an annual gift.

Spending your time with these funding sources is clearly the absolute best place for you to be in late December. So connect with these wonderful donors who already believe in you and have supported you in the past.

Spend your time where the pockets are the deepest, if you want to raise the money you need.

Bottom line on year-end gifts:

If you don’t do anything else in your year-end campaign, you must do this. Visit with your major donors and invite them to invest in your cause.

Good luck!

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 schedule a strategy call with us or learn about our unique Campaigns by the Numbers approach, let us know. 

Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones!

If you’re planning a capital campaign, you are very likely evaluating your fundraising potential. 

How much can you raise? Who will be your major funding sources? Would a Capital Campaign Planning Committee help you raise more? 

 A few other important questions you’re probably pondering are: 

Who do you need to have involved? 

Who should be your volunteer leaders? 

Who can help open doors to gifts? 

What about your donor relationships?

  • How warm or cool are your relationships with key funders and donors? 
  • Do you have close relationships with the major donors you need in order to fund your campaign? 
  • How can you bring these major donors closer and start to re-engage them?   

What’s your situation? 

You might be with an educational institution that needs to develop closer relationships with potential lead donors with deep pockets. 

Or maybe you’re with a community organization with a big vision, but has lost touch with your major donors. 

Whatever type of organization, this plan is crucial to your success.

You’ll need to reconnect with major donors, community leaders and leading philanthropists to cultivate their interest in your upcoming initiative and run a successful capital campaign. 

Why a Capital Campaign Planning Committee is such a smart move

You need strong leadership volunteers if you want to be successful

We know from experience that many capital campaigns are won or lost based on their volunteer leadership. We find that if you have the right powerful people heading up your campaign, you are well on your way to success. 

So choose wisely.

 These key individuals help open doors and make connections. They can influence gifts, and command attention. Even more, when key donors “bless” your project, they add credibility to your campaign. 

Create the right Capital Campaign Planning Committee 

Try pulling together a group of the most powerful, wealthiest, wisest, and most influential volunteers and donors you can find. Ask them to review your plan, offer advice and help formulate your campaign. There’s no better way to draw someone in than to involve them in key strategic decisions along the way.

A planning committee gives you a wonderful chance to inform your key donors about your campaign. You gain the benefit of their advice and wisdom, and often their input is invaluable.

Inviting them to serve on this high-powered committee is a terrific way to cultivate them for their future campaign gifts. What’s more, these individuals always yield amazing new connections, relationships and assistance — from the people who matter.

If you’re you still looking for your campaign chair or co-chairs, ask a key donor to serve on the Capital Campaign Planning Committee. This provides an excellent opportunity to prepare someone for the job of campaign chair.

Why would these donors join your Capital Campaign Planning Committee? 

 Your ideal key leaders are busy people, with many commitments and interests. They may be somewhat interested in your campaign, but usually are not willing to make a long-term commitment as a campaign volunteer.

Asking them to be a part of your Capital Campaign Planning Committee is a unique opportunity to re-engage them with an invitation to help shape the campaign. When you ask them to serve on a short-term planning committee, they are more likely to say yes since it’s a shorter time commitment. 

We find that once these individuals are involved on the planning committee, they become much more interested and personally invested in your campaign’s success. 

After building their interest, they are more likely to say “yes” to the Campaign Steering Committee itself when the time comes. 

Involvement breeds investment

Throughout our time leading capital campaigns, we have found the planning committee to be a golden key to securing the involvement of heavy hitters and lead donors. 

We’re always surprised at how effective this simple strategy is. 

But it works.

There’s no better way to draw someone in than to involve them in key strategic decisions along the way.

Bottom Line: Build a Capital Campaign Planning Committee

Your Capital Campaign Planning Committee is an excellent strategic tool for engaging major philanthropists and donors early in your campaign. 

It’s not a question of if you need this committee. It’s a question of who you need on this committee.

Go forth and succeed! We are always in your corner.

 

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

If you are planning a capital campaign, look out for our NEW course launching next week. We will focus on Capital Campaigns in Times of Crisis and will be sharing 5 keys to success in today’s uncertain world. 

Hope you have a wonderful and safe weekend.

 

We know our current environment presents challenging times. You’ve had to reinvent just about everything you do – from communicating with your donors to delivering your organization’s services. 

Just about everything is different.

All of these hurdles are interesting to donors! Believe it or not, they actually want to hear about your changes, the issues you are grasping with, the shifts you are making. 

As we’ve said earlier, it’s certainly not business as usual these days. 

So we want to reiterate – you have NEWS to share with your donors. News they are open to hearing about. 

Here are three ways that the current environment opens unique opportunities for fundraising  – new doors to donors. 

1. You have a special opportunity to reengage your donors in your vision for the future.

We recently talked about the fact that a small goal and a small vision won’t cut it in this environment. Remember, the bigger your vision, the more money you can raise. 

You can inspire and reengage your donors right now with an exciting big picture vision of the impact you can make in your community. 

Tough times call for new plans, new visions, new excitement. Donors usually don’t want to give to just the status quo. They do want to give to an exciting initiative. 

These times call upon us to create new initiatives. Then we can easily offer a special project to a donor to peak their interest in funding it.

2. You have new chances to gain access to donors.

Share with donors your plan for moving your organization ahead in this environment. They are open to new kinds of communication. 

Donors are more available now, since many have cut their outside commitments and travel. They may be hungry for good news. 

So reach out to your donors. 

Hold zoom briefings on various aspects of your service area. Have a town hall with your executive director or president. Introduce key program managers to your donors, and let program staff share directly how things are going. 

We want to be clear here – you have an opportunity like no other right now. To be in communication with your stakeholders, major donors, and funders. This environment has made it easier to gain access and get their attention.

So, go for it! Be in frequent touch with your donors. Share the news they are interested in!

3. You have a unique opening to ask for what you need – NOW.

Right now, you have needs that are clear and present. There are new ways of doing business. Your institution might be shifting to digital.  Even more, your cash flow may be seriously down. 

Again, be clear with donors about how they can help. Share with them the impact they can make with their gift – right now. 

You have a unique opportunity right now to connect with donors about specific issues. However, you have to speak plainly. No jargon. No “pat” phrases you’ve been using for years. 

It’s time to reinvent your language to be more authentic, transparent, and informal. 

Can you make that change? 

It’s harder than you think, because you are used to speaking certain ways that are probably too formal and abstract for your donors today. 

You have an opportunity to shape a very powerful, urgent ask right now. Create compelling stories about how you are impacting the world. Your donors will respond! 

Bottom Line: Go forward vigorously! This is the time to step it up, and your donors will follow. 

 

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.

Remember April, when we were all clenching our teeth and thinking “Oh wow, this is not the year for fundraising. How will we get through it?” 

Well, it turns out recent data proves that 2020 is actually a great year for fundraising.

So if you were one of those organizations who didn’t hold back and kept at your fundraising in the spring – Good Job! 

Why 2020 is a Good Year for Fundraising 

The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently reported that giving was up 7.5% in the first half of 2020 based on results from the widely respected Fundraising Effectiveness Project (AFP, 2020). This project works with over 25,000 nonprofits and donor software providers to track and identify quarterly gain/loss findings for the nonprofit sector. 

And what’s more, it wasn’t just the wealthy who were behind the rise. The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported gifts of $250 or less rose 19.2%, accounting for a big part of the growth (COP, 2020).

This means that donors are pouring out contributions to their favorite nonprofits – right now. This also means that your steadfast supporters are feeling generous – and they want to help. 

And, there’s more good news in this report: 

Major gifts are up by 6.4% compared to this time last year. And mid-level gifts are up even more – by 8.1%! 

“the number of mid-level gifts ($250 – $999) and major gifts ($1,000 or more) saw year-over-year increases of 8.1% and 6.4%, respectively, compared to 2019 data.” (AFP, 2020)

Wow. That is wild. 

What Does This Mean?

The fact that giving increased 7.5% over 2019’s first half is a huge indicator that donors are motivated and feeling generous. The giving climate for the 2020 year-end giving season is projected to be robust. 

All of the signals indicate that giving is still quite solid as we move into autumn. And even with all the noise surrounding the election and the pandemic, loyal donors are stepping up for the nonprofits they support. 

This is certainly a great time to be out there, in front of your donors. Remind them about the impact your organization creates, and invite them to contribute

Why are we seeing so much generosity now?

For some time, we’ve thought that donors are simply more motivated these days, especially as we watch new gifts flowing into the capital campaigns we counsel. 

Our interviews and focus groups with donors have solidified this thought, and it seems data is now showing this trend as well.

1. Donors want to do something positive

With all the disruption of 2020, not least of all the pandemic, donors want to take action and do something positive for their community, and the world. 

They are motivated to bring forward kindness and compassion. When they are aware of the needs, especially regarding causes they care about – they want to respond.

While many have been terribly impacted, both physically and financially, many other major and mid-level donors were less affected and are still quite well-off financially. For many, they want to reach out and help others who have been less fortunate, through supporting nonprofits. 

2. The stock market is up, which is good for year-end

The US stock market took a hit, but now it continues to soar. Donors with investment portfolios are feeling flush. In our opinion, when donors feel financially secure, they tend to be more generous. TIP: remind your donors they can donate appreciated stocks! 

Even when the stock market was low, many major donors did not feel the hit and were still donating. On top of that – major donors may have more to donate in 2020 because any  traveling or larger outings were most likely cancelled. 

Bottom Line: 2020 has Shown To Be an Enormous Opportunity for Fundraising – Backed by Data

I hope you have been making the most of this generosity this year. And if you haven’t, it’s not too late to start!

 

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.