Happy Friday, Generous Changers!
We're about to add a new video, "63 Ways to Thank Your Donor," to Fundraisers' Monthly.
Which got us thinking that we'd like to thank you.
THANK YOU AMAZING CHANGEMAKERS!!. We appreciate you so much.
So we thought we'd begin to celebrate Fridays by sharing a few things that make us happy-dance every week. (We're shamelessly ripping off Tim Ferriss's Five Bullet Friday here, which, btw, we highly recommend.)
Here's what we're celebrating, pondering, fascinated by this week.
We're celebrating the late Maya Angelou's gorgeous quote:
I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Making people - donors, colleagues, friends, strangers - feel terrific is a pretty great goal every single day!
We're admiring Pencils of Promise's outstanding tag-line:
250 MILLION KIDS CAN'T READ THIS | Let's change that
Any doubt about their mission? Try to get that brief,...
Do you feel like you have to fill every single silence in a donor conversation?
Do you end up saying weird things, like:
“Woo, it sure is sunny outside. This weather, right?!” or
“Whew, I sure have had a lot of coffee today. Do you like coffee? I really like coffee. A little too much actually. Is it hot in here?”
I’ve used the restroom in the middle of a few donor visits just to talk to myself in the mirror:
“Calm down, crazy. You’re scaring the nice person.”
When you talk to a stranger, there are always awkward moments.
A donor once told me that the person who came to visit him a few years ago was really great, but I seemed nervous.
Which, um, made me nervous!
If you have these moments, try a few things that have helped me (almost) get over it:
I see you.
Not in a creepy way - but in a great way - like:
I know you.
You're my people.
This is how a donor wants to feel when they get a thank you from you.
How do I know?
I asked a real donor - Kathleen - an amazing, generous woman who gives a lot to a lot of unique causes.
She told me what keeps her giving and what doesn't.
Why do most donors say they've stopped giving to an organization?
They weren't thanked. In multiple studies, from 20% to over 70% of donors say they were never thanked.
We suspect many actually were (most of us send acknowledgement letters or emails) - but the thanks wasn't meaningful or memorable.
How can you be sure your donors feel thanked?
This month, in Fundraisers' Monthly, Nancy and I walk through how to thank your donors so powerfully, they'll want to give again & again, more & more.
Stewardship may seem like someone else's job, but the very best fundraisers know great thanks is the first step toward the next gift.
In fact, great thanks is the 1st through the 7th step toward the next gift.
In his book, Mega Gifts, Jerald Panas states the "Rule of Seven" - thank a donor 7 times before asking again.
Why spend so much time thanking donors?
Have you ever neared the end of an amazing conversation with a potential donor and found it awkward to just ask?
It can be so hard to turn the conversation to money. You don't want to feel presumptuous or rude - you don't want to hurry this person along or alienate them.
But - reminder - if this lovely person is alienated by talking about giving to your org, they're probably not your donor. And you, successful fundraiser, want to spend your precious time with people who are your donors.
So we want to share a few phrases that have made turning the conversation to money so much easier for us.
If you wish more donors would respond to your emails, we are here for you!
When you write your next email:
Get to the Point: Be super brief. Say what you mean.
But brevity is not easy.
In school, I added ridiculous amounts of redundant sentences and adjectives to essays to beef them up to the "1000-word" mark.
Donor emails are the anti-essay!
Make it phone-readable: More than half of all email is read on a phone.
If you're like me, you scroll to see how long an email is before you even read it.
Less scroll means it'll take less time to read, which boosts your chances of getting a response.
Here's your challenge for less scroll:
Use 4 sentences.
1. Intro: Hello from KU, Susan!
2. The Hook: Your 25-year career at Microsoft is inspiring!
3. Connect: I'd love to learn more about your journey from Lawrence to Seattle...
If you wish more donors would respond to your emails, we are here for you!
This is tip #2 to write an email to get more visits.
If you missed the first tip - Look for the Hook - you can find it here.
Think about this when you write your next email:
Connect vs. Convince: It can be so easy to fall into the trap of including links, facts, figures and stats in the hope of educating someone into meeting with you.
But, what are the chances someone will actually click on those links?
Will they actually read an attached one-pager or brochure?
If they do click on a link, will they come back to your email and actually respond?
For years, as a higher-ed fundraiser, I wrote email novels.
I included quotes from faculty, links to student stories and bulleted "fun facts" about new programs.
I labored over those emails. The results? 1 visit for every 10 emails.
When I finally realized that...um, I would never respond to one of my own damn emails - why would anyone else?
I refocused with the goal...
How did anyone raise any money before email?
It's like traveling before Google Maps!
But, email can also be infuriating.
Have you ever spent hours pouring over just the right words, re-reading your email a thousand times, checking your grammar and punctuation only to get absolutely no response?
Have you ever gotten so few replies that you actually started to wonder if there was something wrong with your computer? (I've so done this. I've emailed a friend just to make sure my email was working. It sucks so much when you realize it IS working, people are just ignoring you!)
Have you ever just given up and started sending "form" emails? You know, where you just change the name at the beginning and send out a zillion messages hoping for just a few replies?
You are not alone!
Getting the visit is the hardest thing about fundraising.
Spam filters and massively busy people with massively full inboxes don't make our jobs any easier.
In our next few posts, we'll walk through the steps to...
Nancy and I recorded our very first episode of the brand new Generous Change podcast. Woohoo!
Episode 1 is coming to your ears very soon and we'll share the link here on the GC blog.
We've learned some phenomenal lessons from inspirational people and, in this first episode, we share just a few of those lessons that have most helped us - especially on this new entrepreneurial journey (did you know we quit our full-time jobs to go all-in on GC? Yep, it's day 29!).
Serve. Don't Sell.
It might sound a little cheesy, but they are words to live by - especially in fundraising!
Have you ever thought that if you just said all the right things at the right time in the right way, you could convince a donor to like you or your org enough to give?
Have you found yourself in donor meetings, throwing out every fact, figure, stat and quote,...
Happy almost-Thanksgiving, everyone!
We are so grateful for YOU.
As a token of our appreciation, we just posted two short videos at www.generouschange.com - one on who to call first, and one on how to make it easy. Check 'em out!
December's focus in Fundraisers Monthly is the dreaded cold call and we're getting a head-start on it now.
Calling...loathe much?? Afraid of this on the other end?
Cuz we've all felt that way ourselves, right? The dreaded telemarketer at dinner?
But...almost never when the call is actually to say a genuine, heartfelt thank you.
Which we should all be doing far more often. Fundraising guru Jerold Panas says to thank donors seven times. Seven. And numerous studies say we need to be in touch with donors at least three times without an ask before we ask again.
So...have you spoken with your top 50 donors in the last three months? Ever? If not, it's time to pick up the phone and make the easiest "cold" call ever.