Lynne Wester’s Stewardship Report Swap

Do you need to write a donor update or annual report?  Do you want to do something different but are feeling uninspired?

Well, today I share my go to source … Lynne Wester, the Donor Relations Guru.

Lynne conducts the annual Stewardship Report Swap.  This year she and her team received over 1,800 pages of stewardship report samples. These samples include endowment reports, customized top donor reports, annual reports, videos, websites, and more.  Lynne beautifully combines and categorizes them and then puts them out to the fundraising community for free.  Check them out (and her … she’s sassy fun and amazing … she was the first to coin the term “thask”).

How to Get Donors to Read Your Email Newsletter

We all send emails to our constituents. We all send emails out keep in touch and say “Here’s what’s going on with your support” or “Here’s what we want you to know about us.” But how to we title those emails?

So many organizations, simply title them “e-newsletter from ABC Charity.” That doesn’t excite me. That doesn’t make me want to open it.

What’s the average open rate for a non-profit email? Statistics range from 15 to 25% on average. That means only 15% of your donors actually even open your email, let alone read them. So you have to do something to excite them. You have to make it fun.

So put IMPACT in that subject line. Impact. Impact is what we need in there. So, something like “Because of you, Johnny had a place to sleep last night” or “Without you, this wouldn’t happen.” Or even a little bit of shock and awe or a cliffhanger like “Martha doesn’t have a solution…”

That’s the way we get our emails opened. Can you do a better job of titling your emails?

Monthly Donor Conversion Request Template

You’ve probably read the articles hyping the benefits of monthly giving. The key benefit for me is that the retention rate for monthly donors is somewhere in the 85% range (depending on the source), as opposed to the 45% average of all US charities (FEP, 2018). But how do you actually get monthly donors?

You can send out email blasts, you can include buck slips in your mailings, you can put a link on your homepage — these tactics will get you an occasional new monthly donor. But how do you really put some momentum behind this. The answer is simple: you ask, personally.

I’ve found with my clients that reaching out one to one with a personal request works best. I call the letter a win-win letter. It tells the benefits of monthly giving for both the organization and the donor. But the real key to making it work is personalization. It is a hand-signed letter. It has a note on it. It comes in a hand-addressed and stamped envelope. It looks like personal correspondence, because it is.

That’s how you get your request opened and get donors to respond. That’s how you get more monthly donors.

And finally, here’s what you came for: @fundraiserchad‘s monthly donor conversion request template. It’s free … give it a download today!

 

Steven Screen’s 3 Things to Become Great At

Are you familiar with Steven Screen’s work? If not, you should be. He’s a fundraising direct mail ninja and partner at The Better Fundraising Co. Steven is always publishing insightful blog articles that cut right to the chase and explain what needs to be done for fundraising success.

Here’s a great recent example: “The Three Things to Become Great At.” Check it out and show him some love.

Donor Touch Point Listing

So we all know that we should contact our donors more frequently, but not by asking. However, in the middle of trying to tackle our 172 item to do list it’s hard to be creative and come up with those outreach ideas that engage donors and make our organization stand out from the crowd.

Fear not, here are @fundraiserchad‘s top 25 ideas for reaching out to donors that don’t involve yet another ask. It’s free … give it a download today!

Lori Jacobwith’s 7 Rules of Storytelling

Lori Jacbowith is the Queen of Nonprofit Storytelling. I’ve seen her live and in action as she trains fundraisers (which I highly recommend). She can teach anyone to tell a better story which creates interest and moves donors closer to action … sometimes in as few as 6 words!

Here are her 7 Rules of Storytelling in an expertly produced infographic. Check it out … this is one area where we can always improve!

5 Steps to Smarter Fundraising

5 Steps to Smarter Fundraising

Are you confused about where to start with fundraising? Are you overwhelmed with all of the options out there? Are you ready to focus and see better results?

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to use every possible fundraising technique. In fact, you will do better if you don’t. But where should you focus your effort?

Download this FREE GUIDE by @fundraiserchad: “Five Steps to Smarter Fundraising” for the answer.

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.

Why Your Executive Director Needs a Donor Caseload

Why Your Executive Director Needs a Donor Caseload


Every executive director needs a caseload. A caseload of donors, that they manage. A caseload of donors that they work to ensure are having a vibrant and great donor experience with your organization.

I don’t care if the only staff member is the executive director. That’s even more so a case where they need a caseload. I don’t care if they have 20 direct reports and development is not their primary responsibility because they have a whole team of development people. They still need a donor caseload as the top staff member. There’s that certain key top group of donors that expect to have access to the top staff member and their relationship will only deepen with the organization if they get that.

So, if you are a crazy time strapped executive director or not used to doing this, what’s the minimum? I say twelve. Twelve prospects gives you one donor visit a month. If you meet with them each once a year, you’ll be fine. Look at your list once a month or so, reach out on holidays, birthdays, etc. “I was thinking of you today and wanted to let you know what is happening with …” These simple donor touch points will deepen those key relationships. Just think what would happen if the twelve most key relationships at your organization received that focus every year.

If there’s a little more time can we take it to 20, 25 or 30 donor relationships? Imagine the impact that would have. Yes, you as a development staffer are still going to have to prod and push and to make sure those contacts happen. “How’s you caseload going? Have you done your contacts for this month?” But, the impact that it will have with your donors will be well worth it.

So, if you’re an executive director, ask “Could I do this?” If you’re the development director, put this out to your ED and see what they have to say. If you’re a board member, what about evaluating the executive director based on how well they serve their caseload? Did they meet with everybody? Did they routinely reach out to them. That is a great metric for ED success, and for development success at your organization.

37 Facebook Groups Every Nonprofit Professional Needs to Join

Does it sometimes feel like you are all alone on your fundraising island? Do you work in a small shop and you’re the only fundraiser on staff? Does no one else get it?

I’ve found that private Facebook groups can be the answer for the isolation that we sometimes feel as fundraisers in small shops. It’s why I started the Fundraising Fish Fry but that isn’t the only option out there. Wild Apricot maintains this great list of nonprofit Facebook groups. There’s something for everyone … some very specialized, some very broad. Check it out and grow the peer support network that you need!

Once or twice a week Chad sends out quick video tips, free fundraising templates/samples, links to articles by industry gurus and top notch recommendations.  Want in?

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