A New Idea to Connect with Your Donors (Veritus Group)

Do you have trouble getting your donors to answer the phone?

Are you afraid to leave voicemails?

Does it feel like all of this spending hours upon hours trying to get donor visits is a waste of time?

If so, check out this great post from Jeff Schreifels at the Veritus Group with an alternative, yet highly effective, contact strategy …

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How Do You Actually Get a Donor Visit?

How Do You Actually Get a Donor Visit?

What’s the best way to get a donor visit? How do you actually start the process?

I actually start with an email. When I started my career the advice was not to do this. We used the traditional snail mail letter instead. The thought was that wasn’t very personal and therefore it wasn’t the best way to start a donor conversation. But now the world has changed everybody spends most of their day in their email inbox. That makes it a great way to approach them. It’s somewhere where they’re going to see your invitation right away.

So, I start with an email. But it’s not any old email, it’s an optimized email template. It is an email that is designed to get a response, it is personalized, it is time tested and it’s works great for me. It works great because it addresses some donor fears right in the email. The first fear is time … they think a meeting will take all day. So, I say right in my email that it will just be a brief 20 minute update meeting.

Their other major fear is that I am going to ask the for money. Specifically, for a donation amount that they are uncomfortable with. So, if I’m not planning to make an ask I will say so. I’ll say you that “I just want to come out and give you an update and get some feedback — I will not be asking you to renew your support at this time.”

Watch the video above for a live screen share of me using my optimized template to request a donor visit.

When using this optimized visit request email, I receive about a 60% response rate. 60% of people will respond. They don’t all say “yes” but we begin the conversation. For the 40% that don’t respond, I pick up the phone and give them a call. However, these calls are much easier than cold calls because I can reference the email that I sent (which they didn’t reply to). On that call I will basically restate what was in the email and try to setup a meeting time right then and there.

So don’t reinvent the wheel. Develop an optimized template of your own. You can download mine and use it as a starting point. Send out some visit requests. Get out from behind your desk and meet your donors. That is the secret to transformational fundraising growth for your nonprofit organization.

9 Useful, Proven Strategies to Get the Major Donor Visit (Claire Axelrad)

I hear it all the time from workshop attendees (and clients) … “If I could just get the visit, I’d be fine. I’m good with people. They just won’t meet with me.”

There’s definitely a science and an art to getting donor visits. But as Claire Axelrad points out in this week’s featured article, the first step is to “acknowledge that the hardest part of fundraising is getting the visit.”

That’s definitely true. And sometimes you don’t even have to get the visit for it to be effective. Simply offering an update visit to a donor is sometimes sufficient. They feel important, appreciated and remembered. That’s really our end goal, isn’t it?

Claire goes on to give nine strategies to help with getting donor visits, many of which I have successfully used in the past. So check our her expert article “9 Useful, Proven Strategies to Get the Major Donor Visit.” Happy reading!

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5 Questions To Maximize Your Time With Donors

5 Questions to Maximize Your Time with Donors

What’s your favorite question to ask when meeting with donors? Here are my five favorites which always lead to enlightening conversations …

  • What do you know about us?

  • What first led you to become involved with our organization?

  • What excites you about our current programming?

  • What could we be doing better?

  • How did you come to be so generous?

Hate Networking? Try These Fun, Provoking Questions

Hate Networking? Try These Fun, Provoking Questions

Networking events…most fundraisers either love them or hate them.

We’ve all heard the basic tips, like don’t try to break into a big group and to seek out the loners off to the side. But then, what do we ask about? We ask about work! (It’s what everybody just finished doing, after all). But, even if you love your job, you probably don’t want to talk about work at this point in the day.

So what should you talk about? In a bit, I’ll share two great networking questions that I use a lot, and will point your conversations in the right direction.

But first, let’s take a step back. What’s our goal at these events? It’s not to get donations. It’s not to talk about business. Our goal, really, is to build connections with people. To find common ground and start a new relationships that we can deepen later. Maybe it’ll lead to donations or other connections down the line, but that’s not our primary goal at the event.

So if it (work) is not our primary goal, why are we talking about it?! Instead, let’s talk about HUMAN things – interests or hobbies that allow us to build common ground. Our favorite sports teams. Our kids and families. The good stuff!

To start these kinds of conversations, my favorite question is: “What do you like to do when you’re not at work or events like this?” Bingo – instantly they start talking about their hobbies or their family or something important to them. Then you can find common ground and have a conversation about that.

My second favorite question, if it’s somebody a little more fun or we just have some good initial conversation, is “What are you nerding out to these days?” The word “nerd” itself kind of creates a chuckle, and fun. And then they just get into what they’re interested in.

So those are my questions. Use those, or come up with your own. There’s lots of great lists of other networking questions online, but the key is not not talk about work at networking events. Talk about interests. Talk about stuff that’s fun. You’ll be memorable and you’ll build stronger connections.

How to Get Your Donors to Say “YES” to Donor Meetings

How to Get Your Donors to Say “YES” to Donor Meetings

We need to meet with donors. Face to face is the most effective form of fundraising. We know that, but sometimes donors are a little hesitant. If we haven’t formed a relationship already, it’s hard to get in the door that first time.

So what are some things you can do to help with that? How can you make that a little easier? The first thing, and my biggest recommendation, is to alleviate fears. You need to alleviate fears. So what are they afraid of? Well, first and foremost, I think they’re afraid of time, not money, time. Time is precious. They’re just afraid you’re going to take up their whole day.

So I will say things like, “Do you have 20 minutes for a quick update?” or “Can I get on your calendar for a half hour?” or “Can we grab a quick cup of coffee to go?.” These phrases all alleviate that first fear by showing them that I will be respectful of their time.

Their next biggest fear is money. They’re afraid you’re going to come in, right after they just gave $500, and now you’re going to ask them for $5,000.

Well, chances are you’re not even going to ask them for anything. You just want to meet them, hear their story, and figure out what they’re passionate about — especially on a first time visit. So say that! Don’t be afraid to say, “I’m not going to ask you for anything. I just want to get to know you.” or “I want to meet you and hear your story.” or “I’d love to hear why you’re so passionate about helping kids, etc.”

One other thing you can do to help donors say yes to a donor visit is to ask for advice. Simply say, “I’d love to meet with you because we’re taking a closer look at how we fundraise, and we need some feedback from loyal supporters like you. Could you spare 20 minutes of your time to have a quick cup of coffee with me?.” The old fundraising adage is certainly true: if you ask for money, you’ll get advice … if you ask for advice, you’ll get money.