No, this isn’t a missive about being time to change how you do things (although, if you feel you need to, please, consider this a nudge!) This is a note about a change in my world which I think we both can benefit from.
As of March 17, this “column” (this blog) moved over to the new NonProfit Pro magazine (formerly “Fundraising Success” magazine). I highly encourage you to subscribe. To find it, head to this link: http://www.fundraisingsuccessmag.com/channel/digging-deeper
NonProfit Pro is a magazine for those of you who are professional nonprofit leaders. Its content will include fundraising and more… and my blog, “Digging Deeper” will do the same. Yes, you’ll find some of the fundraising thoughts I’ve provided for the last several years to you, and you’ll see some new material based on what I teach and observe in the nonprofit world.
I look forward to “seeing” you at my new address: http://www.fundraisingsuccessmag.com/channel/digging-deeper
Sign up for the RSS feed here: http://www.fundraisingsuccessmag.com/links/npprotodaysignup/index.html?src=hdlk14
and find the other NonProfit Pro sites here:
Do your donors feel your love? February is a great time to show it. Of course, it’s the month of Valentine’s Day, and a number of nonprofits take this opportunity to send an “I love you” message. But do your donors know why you love them? Money? Just like with someone you are dating or marry, if it’s for money, it’s the wrong reason!
If not money, then what else? How about your shared interest in your mission? The money wouldn’t be there unless your donor shared your vision of a better world! Let ’em know that. Let ’em know that the reason you love them isn’t about you… and it’s not even about them (or their money). Your relationship is based on a mutual interest in the people or cause you serve. They’ll probably love that.
The eyes have it.
Have a picture of someone in your solicitation? Look at their eyes. Where they look makes a difference.
We all know that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” right? Having a picture of your mission recipient is a powerful emotional “hook” in any direct mail piece. To make that photo yet more effective, the eyes need to be looking one of two ways… at the person reading the letter (makes sense, right?), or (get this!) at the solicitation line of the letter.
As social beings, we react to where we are directed by others like ourselves. If you see someone looking at something, you’re drawn to look there, too. So if the eyes of the mother you’re helping or the first violin of the orchestra you’re funding is looking at the “won’t you give $25 today” line, you will too.
So let the eyes have it… and let ’em help you raise you more money, too!
That picture could be worth more than a thousand words… it could be worth thousands of dollars, too!
Look now, before it’s too late!
Before things get too far in the month to make a difference, you need to look, and now!
For what? The names of people and companies in your database who haven’t made their gift yet.
Humans are creatures of habit. For many, December brings the habit of charitable gift giving. Your task today is to scan your lists for anyone who has not made their annual gift but usually does by year’s end. Your task is to help them keep up that habit of giving to your organization.
The problem is that it’s too late to send them a letter. You have to call.
Calling may not be comfortable, but someone has to do it (a volunteer?). Get your list in hand with the donor’s name, phone number and amount of last year’s gift. Then start calling.
Don’t think you’re bothering them. You’re actually doing them a favor, and approach your conversation that way. “Hello, you haven’t made your gift this year and we wanted to give you a friendly reminder because it may be important to you to take care of it before year’s end…”
Will you get a few grumpy responses? Sure. That’s okay. If there’s any problems they have with your organization, wouldn’t you want to address that personally? Chances are you’ll have a fine conversation with someone who just forgot, has an interesting question about your mission, or had a life event that got them off track.
Remember, for every one gift you drop you need two new ones to get ahead. One simple call means that the next new gift is a net gain, not just keeping you even.
Who gets your mail?
Do you need to mail to everyone in your database?
I have a number of clients who have nice size databases… and every letter I write for them goes to every name on the list… and surprise… not everyone gives.
I write fine letters for them (really!) But are we really surprised that everyone who gets one doesn’t give? No.
Most of the people didn’t give last time, or the time before that or before that. In fact, most of the names never made a gift since their first… more than five years ago!
Why waste money on the slim chance that you’ll be surprised with their first gift in a long while?
Don’t be. Save your money and send more mail to the ones who give most recently, less mail to the ones who give less… and the ones who never gave for a long while… they probably will never realize that you stopped mailing to them!
The results? You’ll definitely save money not mailing to folks who don’t care, and you’ll probably make more by increasing the number of mailings to the people that do.