Practical Advice for Modern Fundraisers

THOUGHT·FUL

adjective\ˈtht-fəl\

: serious and quiet because you are thinking: done or made after careful thinking   : done or made after careful thinking: showing concern for the needs or : showing concern for the needs of feelings of other people

2018 AFP Fundraising Day New York Conference

What will you learn?  Who will you meet? Check back here to see how Thoughtful the day was.

I'll be posting after the conference on some of the emerging trends and old standbys that we should be putting in place in 2018.  FRDNY is a great place to catch up and renew your "thoughtful" fundraising spirit. Also, I'll be helping out with the early session of mentoring- so drop by and say hello.

Update from the 2018 AFP International Conference

What do your donors and prospects really think about your cause?

During the 2018 AFP International Conference, I was struck by the number of sessions that emphasized: "personal relationship" with your donors.  Now we have all been talking about being donorcentric for some time.  But these sessions were talking about really getting to know your donors at a different level. One example that Adrian Sargent gave was to use morality words to reinforce donors and prospects sense of themselves.  These are words like kind, hardworking, compassionate, caring, and thoughtful - you get the idea.

Another idea that floated around the conference was trying to be more targeted in your ask and appeals to what your readers already believe about your organization or what they want your organization to be.  Reinforcing already established beliefs makes your reader feel good about supporting your cause.  

Now the question becomes in our already hectic work life how do we figure out the morality of our donors and prospects,  and how do you figure out what people think of your cause?  Well, you have to ask them. There are many ways to do this, but I decided to try a survey. 

I sent an eight-question survey to a randomly selected group of our donors. We sent it via email using a popular survey tool.  It was designed to take no more than five minutes to complete.  I didn't expect to get a ton of responses, but I hoped to get a sense of who our donors are and what they thought about our organization.

And boy did I. We got a lot of great information from people including the words that they would use to describe themselves - the morality questions. Why they "believe" in the organization and what they felt the organization ought to be doing more of programmatically. Obviously, we only asked questions that were within the scope of what the organization already does or is planning to do it the future.   


We also asked for a couple of pieces of personal information. We asked their name, zip code and email - that was all.  
Now we are using what we found out to write copy and articles for the newsletter,  and decide who to invite to quarterly visit to our programs.  

We are looking forward to seeing how this new information affects our donations.  Also, it makes people feel good to be asked for their opinions.

Update from the 2018 AFP International Conference

Case for Support: Not Just for Big Campaigns

Leah Eustace - Blue Canoe Consulting 


The following is a recap of the first session of AFP International Conference, I attended on Cases for Support.


The essence of the presentation was that a good case for support focuses on the "WHY" not the "How."  We are again encouraged to put the donor at the center of the story.  If we use strong emotional language and good storytelling, then we will "sell" our campaign.
Speaking of campaigns many times we only think of Cases for Support regarding campaigns, but they are useful for general organizational support. In fact, I would say that a good case for support keeps us honest about who we are and what we are doing. It keeps us as Leah said "Singing off of the same song sheet."


She recommends a 5 to 6-page document as a start. This document can serve as the base for a longer case as well as an Annual Report, website, brochure or Gratitude Report. I could also see using it as the base for a Major Donor annual gift request.
Leah recommends the following seven parts to a case for support.

1. Emotional Powerful Opening ( You might want to write this last.)

2. Mission and vision

3. History of Impact (brief)

4. Problems that need solutions

5. Outcomes/solutions

6. Sense of urgency

7. Call to action

She also recommends, and I heartily agree that you should get your designer involved early. You may find that the design can help drive the project.  Your case shouldn't look and feel like a term paper or dissertation.  She actually drew a little schematic of the finished piece. You don't have to be a designer to do this you just need to figure out how many pages you want your case to be and then divide the seven parts among the pages. I would then add a couple of pages for attention-grabbing and emotional pictures.  Once you add the pictures your 5 to 6-page document might be 10 to 12 pages. 


The other big take away from the session was the following: If you need money, ask for advice. If you need advice ask for money.


If you would like the slides from this presentation click here.


I will be posting recaps of other sessions from the 2018 AFP International Conference in the future.

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