Hugg’s Monthly Tip: Is it your fiscal year end? Do your donors care?

Hugg's Monthly TipIs it your fiscal year end? Do your donors care? No.

‘Nough said, right? ‘Fraid not…. At least by all of the direct mail I get.

If it’s your fiscal year end and you’re pleading for money to make your budget, what’s your donor thinking?

A: “I need to come to their rescue!”?

B: “Why can’t they manage their money better?”

Think “B.”

Regardless of the time of the year, your donors want mission! They want to know that they’re helping the people you serve. If you can tie that to the time of the year that your budget is due, great, because your budget is your problem, not theirs.

Hugg’s Monthly Tip: We need left and right.

Hugg's Monthly TipLeft leg, right leg. Right hand, left hand. Left eye, right eye. Right ear, left ear.

To function correctly, we need everything on the left and everything on the right. Without that symmetry, we compensate, and when we compensate we use a lot more energy to coordinate our efforts.

It’s the same with your messaging. Does your right letter know what your left email is doing?

Are your emails and postal mail coordinated? Yes, they’re different, but like our two hands, when working together they’re much more powerful than working alone. They need to look and sound like they’re coming from the same organization that has the same mission and concerns.

Yet like your hands, your emails and postal mail shouldn’t be clones of each other. One might be stronger than the other, and one could be favored. But as much as they differ, they can’t look like they come from different people.

Yet a lot of messaging does. Maybe different people were responsible for each? Did your boss want your “new media” to have a “new look,” while your paper is “traditional?”

The solution may be as simple as having the same design standards. It could be a meeting between “hands.” Regardless, now is the time to clap them together and to fix the problem. Paper and e-mail don’t do as well alone as they do as a team. The hands need to shake, and agree.

Hugg’s Monthly Tip: Early and Often.

Hugg's Monthly TipEarly and often. When was the last time that the head of your organization communicated with your constituents? Not long ago, I hope. Yet that’s rarely the case. For all the work that’s required to run your typical nonprofit, sending out an update to 10,000 of her or his closest friends – your donors, prospects and clients – is probably not #1 on the list. That’s okay. Make it easy and write the letter (or have Matt write the letter) yourself. Regular communication with donors is a major problem for most nonprofits. Don’t let it be yours.

Worth Considering: You still need a brochure.

Worth Considering from Matt HuggNo, I’m not a shill for the paper printing industry. I really do believe that you need more than a web site to tell the story of your organization. You need a brochure.

Yes, I can hear you now – you’re so 1980’s, Matt. But let’s look at how computers can’t be used:

  • You can’t put a computer in a brochure rack
  • You can’t put a computer in an envelope
  • You can’t put a computer on a table at a meeting as a “take away.”
  • You can’t give out computers at a gathering of supporters
  • Yes, you CAN put a computer in your pocket, but will you give it away for free so that someone learns about your organization?

I’m sure that there’s more.

But the point is that computers will only take us so far. At some point we need to rely on “low tech” solutions, like a brochure.

Of course, I’m biased. I write brochure copy for my clients. But whether you use my services, or do the work in-house, having materials such as brochures is an important part of getting your message out to your constituents, and getting volunteers, and money, in.

Hugg’s Monthly Tip: All they ever do is ask.

Hugg's Monthly TipAll they ever do is ask. How many times have you heard a donor say “all they ever do is ask for money…”?  To me, that’s music! Not because I write fundraising letters, but because too many organizations never ask enough. “We don’t want to offend our donors” they say (not you, of course, the nonprofit next door.)  The answer is not to ask less, but communicate more about other things. Often the problem is that while the development staff is cranking out solicitations, they’re not coordinated with the other parts of the organization that puts out news and information. So, this month, set a meeting with whoever is responsible for the rest of the information besides fundraising and set a schedule that asks for, and tells about your organization’s mission. It could be that no ask could be your best ask.