"We've loved it here, but we have to quit."
Last October, Nancy and I sat down in our boss's bright, huge corner office and quit our six-figure jobs in higher ed fundraising.
We laughed nervously.
We cried more.
But we did it. We quit.
As the year anniversary of our last day of "work" and our first day of entrepreneurship approaches (November 1st! There WILL be wine!), I can't help but reflect.
Why did I quit?
People thought I was crazy.
I'd been there for 10 years.
I was leading the largest team.
I had a big, bright corner office.
I had insurance.
I had a pension. A pension! Money for life that keeps growing the longer you stay!?!
I liked my job. I loved my team. But...
I wanted to do more.
To help more people help more people.
To help fundraisers across the country raise more money.
To help nonprofits everywhere make more change.
One year later, it's happening.
Fundraisers Monthly members are getting more visits, having better conversations and raising...
It's Friday! We're looking back on a week full of inspiration. Hope you are, too!
Check out The Crossroads of Should and Must. This hardcover book is meant to be held, dog-eared, read and reread. Written by artist and designer, Elle Luna, each and every page is art, color and inspiration.
If you're facing a big decision, wishing for change, but unsure if it's right or just need a reminder that you're on the right path, read this book!
We're inspired by the podcast This Is Love. Created by the Criminal podcast team, these are deeply personal, quirky, funny, tragic and awe-inspiring stories of all types of love. In a time when we don't hear much about love and connection, these stories give me the warm and fuzzies (and a few tears).
One of my favorites is Episode 2, Something Wild and Large, about a 17-year old swimmer who encounters a baby grey whale in the Pacific Ocean.
We're also listening to our own podcast, Episode 7: Jen Sincero's 10 Secrets to Badassery. The big idea:
This has been an amazing week in America, Generous Changers!
We are truly blown away by this $29 million gift from the blockchain tech company, Ripple. With their cryptocurrency gift, Ripple funded every single project on DonorsChoose.org - a public school crowdfunding platform where teachers submit projects or classroom materials in need of funding, like this one from Mrs. McCarthy at Chaplain Watters Elementary School 24 in New Jersey. Her 6th through 8th graders are "...ravenous for books that are able to provide them with self to text connections." She's asked for $557 to buy a set of 66 novels. Anyone who loves a great book would agree with Mrs. McCarthy when she says, "We may not be able to take many trips, but these books would make for a wild adventure!"
Led by our amazing friend (and Jayhawk) Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple made the largest contribution of digital currency ever to a single charity. The gift will fund projects like Mrs. McCarthy's, submitted by over 28,200...
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:
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...
What's the one thing you wish you'd known when you started fundraising?
Share your answer in the comments below?!
We're asking you. Whether you're a fundraiser, executive director, board member or volunteer, what advice, secret, tool or tip do you wish you'd had earlier?
Share you answers here on the Generous Change blog and, together, we can help take the fear out of fundraising!
What's my one thing?
It's about the money.
That sounds obvious, right? But honestly, I didn't quite get it early on.
I tend toward the, shall we say, overly optimistic. When I first started fundraising, if someone clearly had wealth and said they loved my org, I assumed that, eventually - once I'd built the fabled "relationship" and "engaged" them - they would give.
Not so much.
I'd visit these delightful folks three, four, sometimes five times before realizing that:
What's the one thing you wish you would've known when you started fundraising?
Share your answer in the comments below?!
We're asking you. Whether you're a fundraiser, nonprofit executive director, board member or volunteer - what advice, secret, tool or tip do you wish you'd had earlier?
Share your answers here on the Generous Change blog, and, together, we can help take the fear out of fundraising.
What's my one thing?
Peoples is peoples.
This awesome quote from The Muppets Take Manhattan still helps me to be a better fundraiser. Yes, I'm serious. The Muppets have helped me raise money. There's inspiration everywhere! Even from way back in 1984.
When I started in fundraising (and honestly, for the first few years), I lacked confidence. I was completely intimidated by the strangers I was meeting. Honestly, I couldn't sleep the night before donor visits because of these thoughts: