Okay, now is the time for me to channel my “old grumpy self.” Here we go… “When I was a kid, we didn’t have “President’s Day, we had Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12 and George Washington’s Birthday on February 22.” Harumph! (Truth be told, when I was a kid, I just liked having two days off from school!)
Today we have one day for all presidents, which usually falls right between Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthdays. It’s the day we honor them for their service, regardless of political stripe or whether they were “successful,” by whatever definition. It’s a tough job and we expect a lot of them…. maybe just like the president of your organization?
Do you have a President’s Day? Yes. Every day you put her or him in front of a donor, signature on a letter, or voice on the phone, you’re asking a lot. Believe it or not (and I’m sure that you believe it), not every president enjoys fundraising. In fact, a lot of them loath it. That’s why you need to honor them for their service in fundraising each time they do it. You need to reward their efforts by congratulating them for each and every accomplishment.
Remember President’s Day in your organization. Have a party and thank him or her for their service… then get ’em out to do some more!
Have you planned for planned giving?I’ll go out on a not-so-long limb and say that most nonprofit managers (even fundraisers) wake up in a sweat when they hear the words “planned giving.” Too bad. Planned giving can be your best friend, especially if you have any kind of track record in direct mail solicitations. Planned giving isn’t about understanding complicated tax law, it’s about understanding how to relate to people at a deep enough level so that they trust you with their eternal legacy. And you know who usually makes planned gifts? Long term annual fund donors. Time to check your pledge cards and web site. Do your donors know that your organization can go in their will?
Early 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.
No, 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.