Thank your donors… whatever they say!

Say thank you. Regardless of what the donor says. And listen hard for what the donor means when they say “no need to thank me” in case they mean “don’t make a fuss” or “don’t tell people” but would love for you to say thank you!

Remember what your donor gave you money for!

We often speak to donors introduced to us by charities we work with. We suggest this as a great way to get honest insight into what their donors think of their cause, their communications, their way of asking for money, their point of contact at the charity, funding needs, etc. Contrary to popular belief, we get a great take up from donors, who are pleased to be ask their opinion. We are then able to feed back to the charity the views of their donors, summarising any key points that will enable them to improve their donor contact, keep their donors happier and consequently raise more money. There are many insights from donors that pop up time and again. One of the ones that sticks with me from lapsed donors, in particular, is that charities seem to forget what they gave their money to in the first place. This could fall under the banner of that oft-bandied around term, ‘impact’, but it is more specific than that and less onerous to get right. The example I tend to quote is of an environmental charity who better wanted to understand why some of their best donors had stopped giving. The answer soon became clear – the charity was good at informing donors what it was doing now, what it hoped to do and what good a donation could do – what it got wrong was not reporting back to the donor on what good their particular donation had done. You could argue that this is hard to achieve, but is it really? Major donors more often than not give restricted...

Six Key Indicators of Success in Capital Fundraising

How do you know if you should launch a capital appeal?
How do you know that the capital appeal you’ve launched is on track?
How do you focus your efforts on the important things to make your appeal a success?
These six key factors will answer all of those questions for you.

Doing the important things, not all the things

Last year I started to hang out with business owners, entrepreneurs and the would-be self-employed. And none of them worked in the charity sector. It was both scary and illuminating in equal measure at the start. We were both so very different and yet fundamentally the same, these people. From a non-profit/profit working base there will always be differences just as there are between those who deal in B2B in contrast to B2C businesses. But there is much transferable knowledge too. One great tool I came across was from someone who had been using a business coach from the Shirlaws Group. He talked about Red, Blue and Black time. Red is admin time – this is the sometimes-essential stuff that keeps the cogs turning but definitely doesn’t get you closer to your donors. It is also the organisation stuff you can get sucked into. Blue is what you are really paid for: donor time. Not just the time you spend with them but all the work you do in preparation so think research and proposal writing too. Black is future time – the time you spend on your future years plans and strategies. It is also the time you spend working our how best to minimise Red time and maximise blue time and the time you invest in keeping up to date with changes in regulations, improving your skills etc. The time split between Blue and Black will depend on where you are in your fundraising growth cycle. What can you do with this information? Hopefully it is obvious that Red time should be streamlined so that you spent most...

Why GDPR is good for your major donor fundraising

As consultants in high value fundraising, we are often being asked how GDPR will affect major donor fundraising. The question is also being asked, including in a recent edition of Fundraising magazine, whether this is the end of major donor fundraising all together. The answer is yes, it will be affected, but it most definitely is not the death knell for this most profitable area of fundraising. My reasoning is that major donor fundraising is merely a case of looking after your best supporters as well as you can. It is not about endless research, wealth screening and invading privacy – it is about having more conversations with your donors and giving them a strong reason to give. This is my issue with the established 7 steps of major donor fundraising; it suggests that you can’t move forwards until you’ve been through an intensive research stage – that removing this stage will quash any plans you had of donor stewardship and securing large donations – this is nonsense, frankly, particularly as your best donors are already giving. Consider, if you will, substituting the word ‘research’ for ‘segmentation’; the process of sorting and filtering your donors by largest and most recent gifts – this may seem obvious, but seems to be an anathema to many charities. Indeed, we have charity clients who refuse to do this, despite forms of segmentation existing in their direct mail programme. The next step is to select a number of top tier supporters and contact them – simple! Coming back to the GDPR mindset, you clearly only contact opted-in supporters and you don’t ask them...
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