Friday Inspirations, Episode 8 :)

Mar 09, 2018

This week has flown by. Hope it was a great one for you!

We led our very first Fundraisers' University course for 21 amazing nonprofit leaders in Kansas City. An awesome range of fundraisers and executive directors - from one-day-on-the-job to 12 years, from a $440K budget up to $1.2B - joined us at Nonprofit Connect. We threw candy at them, said "yay" about 27 times and left truly inspired by their drive, curiosity and missions.

We're feeling this quote from author Mary Anne Radmacher:

"As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way."

We're reading The Generosity Network. I can't believe it took us this long to find this beautiful fundraising book! Authors, Jennifer McCrea and Jeff Walker, are 1000% speaking our language, with chapters on "human-to-human connection," "transparency & vulnerability," and "the fundraiser as mentor and guide." If you love a good philosophical experiment, check out the Brave New World exercise on page 78. The goal is to help...

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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...
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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...

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Getting the visit. Tip #2. Connect vs. Convince.

Dec 11, 2017

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...

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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...

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