Tag Archives: yearend giving

The Wise Donor – Moving Beyond Emotion

fundraising, FUNdraising Good Times, yearend giving, how to make a gift, donor strategy, donor adviceIt’s always good to give. To give from our hearts, according to our beliefs, and in-line with our vision for the world we want to live in. There is a renewed emphasis now as we enter the giving season. You will notice more advertisements on television for national nonprofits with compelling images and music; more social media campaigns; more letters and cards coming via US mail; more phone calls – from volunteers and paid solicitors; and more one-on-one conversations about giving.

Here are five things to help you make giving decisions that unite your heart and mind.

  1.  What are your giving priorities? What is important to you? Do you want to help end poverty? Increase access to the arts, childcare, affordable housing, or college education? What about curing cancer, improving neighborhood safety, supporting long-term social change, or teaching children to read? Are you committed to international aid that builds local economies or treats people with Ebola or HIV?
  2.  What types of organizations do you want to support? Local nonprofits? National or international agencies? Your church, synagogue, temple or mosque? A community foundation, women’s foundation, giving circle, or black united fund? Is it important to give to a recognized nonprofit, or are you comfortable giving directly to people you know make a difference, regardless of their formal structure?
  3.  How well do you know the organizations you give to? Which are registered charitable organizations? Which have a website with information? Is there anyone you can call to ask questions? Have you looked up the nonprofit at guidestar.org? This website provides information including funds raised and use of funds (Form 990). Just type in their name.
  4.  What is your giving budget? How much can you give? How much do you want to give? Know your budget so you can respond to specific solicitations. Consider automatic contributions from your credit card or bank account. Do you want to continue these? Increase them? Decrease? Have you received acknowledgements for these gifts, or an update regarding the impact of your giving?
  5.  Don’t fall prey to in-person or on-line peer pressure. Keep your giving joyous! Know who and what you want to support, and make your decisions accordingly. You are under no obligation to give to any organization, even if you gave before. Nor are you under an obligation to increase your gift. These are voluntary decisions. Take a moment to evaluate emotional appeals – especially online requests – to see if the actual work of the organization is in line with your priorities. Multiple small impulsive gifts add up over time: you may find you’re “over budget” or that your giving is not in-line with what’s important to you.

Most importantly, look inside to see if your giving reflects what’s in your heart.

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

How to solicit a gift for a nonprofit

It’s time to ask, but just exactly what do you say?

Fundraisers Guide, fundraising, FUNdraising Good Times, yearend giving, how to ask for a gift, ask for a donation, the fundraisers guide to soliciting giftsAs the year comes to a close nonprofits look to board members, volunteers and donors to ask their friends, family members and colleagues to consider making a meaningful gift. You may have the internal fortitude to overcome your fear of asking (read, fear of rejection), but what exactly do you say and do?

Make your own gift first. As a volunteer fundraiser you need to make your own gift before you can ask someone else to give. If you’re not willing to give, why should anyone respond to your ask? Consider sharing how much you gave and why. If you made a stretch in your giving, talk about what motivated you to do so.

Be prepared. As a solicitor you will need to “make the case” for why others should join you in giving. This means knowing the nonprofit’s history, mission, successes, challenge areas and projected growth. Brush up on your facts (check out the website!). You’ll want to be able to talk numbers and emotions. Depending on who you are talking with you may be asked to explain allocation of current funds, costs associated with growth, and revenue streams. At the same time you have to talk passionately from a feeling place about what the organization means to you and those served.

Don’t hide behind email. If you’re asked to solicit a meaningful gift, do it in person. Make an appointment, and make the reason for your meeting clear. For example, “Jane, can you join me for coffee on Friday? It will be my treat. I want to talk with you about the food bank.” This allows your friend to begin thinking about how to respond. When its time for the meeting, get dressed up. This is a big deal. The money you raise makes a difference to the organization you represent. Mentally rehearse your conversation. Remember to arrive early and, after initial conversation, make the ask. Do not let too much time lapse before you bring up the subject of giving.

Prepare for objections. Your passion isn’t an excuse for not knowing your facts. Make sure you are prepared to answer specific questions your colleagues may have. Put yourself in their shoes: what do you want to know before deciding whether or not to make a donation?

Ask for a specific amount. It’s okay to ask. In fact, that’s what fundraising is all about. Make sure you ask for a specific amount and then pause. Be quiet. Wait for the response. Don’t rush to fill the silence. Your answer will come.

If you want more details, download our free one page guide to soliciting gifts. http://bit.ly/SolicitGift or read our book The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.

Related posts:
Making the Ask – Part One
Preparing to Ask for a Gift – Part Two

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

Yearend Giving: It’s Not Too Late

fundraising, FUNdraising Good Times, yearend giving, annual campaign, volunteer fundraisingCrazy as it seems 2015 is knocking at the door. Yes, we still need to celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza and New Years Eve. But, really, 2015 is almost here. And the question is: how is your nonprofit fundraising? Whether you are an employee or a board member, here are a few steps you can take today to change your yearend financial outcomes.

Staff. Take the time to create a yearend appeal letter for distribution to those who have given to your organization in the past. Be sure to send to those you serve and those you met during the year. Always send to lapsed donors. Highlight the impact your organization has made in 2014 and most importantly share your vision for 2015. Ask for a specific amount. Include a return envelope. Create an online appeal that ties to your appeal letter. Review and refine your e-communication list. Test to make sure your online giving page is easy to use and easy to find. Take the time to plot out how you will use social media to encourage giving. Create the tools that board members, friends and volunteers can use to encourage those they know to give. Include sample text for email messages, tweets, and Facebook posts; links to specific pages on your website or blog (don’t forget your “donate now” page); and most importantly share photos and SHORT engaging videos. We all love images!

Volunteers. Now is the time to be proactive. It is easy to wait for staff to give you all the information you need: that is often a plan for not making the ask. Instead, decide for yourself which actions you will take between now and the end of the year to help raise funds for your nonprofit. Are there two people you can talk with, sharing your nonprofit’s impact, vision and fundraising priorities? Will you ask each to consider a gift? Here’s encouragement: too many people don’t give because they aren’t asked. Others give small gifts because they aren’t asked to make a larger gift. Or they receive a direct mail letter instead of an in-person ask, and their gift reflects the method of solicitation. Take the time to make a well prepared ask of a few people. Don’t be self conscious, there is no such thing as “making” people give. Ask for a specific amount for a specific purpose, be quiet and wait for their response. Asking in person is always important, but social media and email is another way to engage potential donors, especially if you are part of an active network. You can share your nonprofit’s social media campaign, you can create your own appeal, directing people to your nonprofit’s giving page.

Don’t be afraid to ask. Your community depends on you.

Image courtesy of taesmileland at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.