Those Awkward Silences...

Jan 18, 2018

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:

  • 80/20 - Listen 80% of the time. Talk 20%. If you’re an extrovert this will be tough, but for my fellow introverts, this can lift the glorious burden of talking and put the emphasis...
Continue Reading...

The First Step Toward the Next Gift

Jan 03, 2018

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?

  • Your best donors are your best donors. The people who already give to you are more likely to give to you. In one study, donors who...
Continue Reading...

Getting the visit. Tip #3. Be brief.

Dec 19, 2017

If you wish more donors would respond to your emails, we are here for you!

Here's tip #3 to write an email to get more visits.
(If you missed the first tips - Look for the Hook and Connect vs. Convince, you can find them here on the blog.)

When you write your next email:

Get to the Point: Be super brief. Say what you mean.

That's it.

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...

Continue Reading...

Getting the visit. Tip #1. Look for the Hook.

Dec 05, 2017

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...

Continue Reading...

FOR FUNDRAISERS

Mar 22, 2017

What do you need as a fundraiser? We want to know!

If you raise money – for a living or as a volunteer for a cause you love – please let us know your challenges, what tools could help?

Is your challenge “making the ask?” Or turning a conversation to money? Starting a conversation with a cold call? Or just knowing who to call?

When we started, none of this seemed obvious – there was no manual and our early jobs provided no training.

In snowy Chicago at a recent CASE conference, we realized we were not alone: everyone is struggling with this!

In a room of 200 professional fundraisers, only three had received any formal training. Holy cow! After our presentation, dozens of people contacted us to get a simple productivity tool.

And that's why we decided to create Fundraiser's Monthly as a resource – that will grow to be a giant resource! – for all you mission-driven fundraisers out there.

If you need a mentor, we’re offering! If you...

Continue Reading...