PUBLISHED IN F&P MAGAZINE - APRIL 22, 2019
OK, so you have identified a major gift prospect. They are engaged. They love what you do. They are interested in supporting your campaign. You know who will ask. You know where and when that will happen. Just one question remains…
How do you know how much to ask them for?
To know this, you need to know your prospective donor. Do your research. Engage them in the day, weeks, months or even years in the lead up to the ask.
One way to start is to consider their support of the causes they are most passionate about and compare to their affinity with your organisation. This can give you an insight into their giving patterns, gift levels and their preferred style of recognition.
Depending on how close the prospective donor is to your cause, you might want to consider an ‘entry level’ ask. Perhaps the donor has capacity to give at a very significant level, but due to this being the first approach by your organisation you may decide to ask for a smaller gift now as a building block to a bigger ask when stronger relationship has been formed in future years.
If you know the donor very well, you will want to ask for a gift that stretches them. Ask them to give a gift they have never given before, a gift that will make them proud. Remember, asking for a gift that is just a little too high can in some cases be flattering with a response like “I would love to give a gift like that, but we are not able – how about $X?”
Of course, asking for a gift that is much too high can be embarrassing, resulting in “You clearly don’t know us, we could never/will never give at that level!”. So be aware of the difference between the two!
At the other end of the scale, the worst outcome is often asking for a gift that is too low. This is disappointing for all involved. There is nothing worse than a quickly written cheque and a parting thought of, “I thought you said my gift would be life-changing…”.
So, plan. Some key questions you should aim to answer before setting a figure.
For more on this topic, or a short video to share with your team or board, here’s a 3 minute video I recorded last year.
Teisha Archer is a fundraising coach and consultant specialising in major gifts and campaigns and Director of Teisha Archer Consulting. Teisha is also a Specialist Consultant Member of The Xfactor Collective – Australia’s first network of social impact consultants and coaches across 300 areas of specialisation that exists to support social changemakers to achieve their social mission. The Xfactor Collective has the sector’s first CONCIERGE service to help you get your projects off to a flying start, and a sector-first video library THE X-CHANGE., comprising 140 helpful videos for changemakers such as the links above in this article.
PUBLISHED IN F&P MAGAZINE - 15 APRIL 2019
1. NO ONE ENTITY WILL CHANGE THE WORLD
It has often been said that the nonprofit sector is the most caring. We think it can be said, equally, that the nonprofit sector is the most sharing. Fundraising colleagues share techniques, ideas, trends and benchmarks with one another without hesitation. You wouldn’t see that level of sharing, voluntarily, in the airline, financial, legal or other sectors.
Funders today are demanding we collaborate for the common good. Gone are the days when public and private sectors are prepared to sustain multiple organisations with the same mission. Such organisations need to collaborate, and even merge, to alleviate funding pressure and manage donor expectations.
It does not have to be as dramatic as a merger. Collaborate to create buying power. Can’t afford a service from a consultant or a piece of technology, but you know the service or the technology would transform your organisation?
Think about working with other organisations to form a coalition to work together on the project or adopt the piece of technology or equipment. Consulting services for the development of a fundraising strategic plan and the acquisition of a CRM becomes more powerful when done in concert with like-minded organisations.
2. THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
Imagine we are back in the year 2000 and someone mentions a concept called artificial intelligence. You might think they are from Mars. Today AI, nanotechnology and robotics are very real concepts we need to wrap our minds around and accept as part of our day-to-day existence.
Simply put, AI makes us get the most out of our data and allows us to achieve the best outcomes through adding intelligence to what is contained in the data. AI is becoming a baked-in feature in software solutions used in our sector to give us important information about our supporters and what makes them give.
CRMs can now suggest audiences to contact about specific activities, send reminders about audiences not contacted in a while, and suggest audiences for specific approaches. AI assists us to cut out wasted activities and contact people most likely to give with the approach that will most likely encourage them to do so.
Ten years from now we will use AI in the same way we have used benchmarking and other analytical tools over the past decade. Are you ready for a technology transformation?
3. EMAIL IS STILL ON THE UP
Offline communication is certainly not dead. The older populations on our data sets still want to hear from us in their letterboxes. Online communications continue to rise and they are certainly the way to reach the younger demographics on your CRMs.
Australian nonprofit organisations understand the need for a diverse, multi-channel approach to reach prospective donors and diverse constituencies with various appeals and communications. Technology is helping to blend both online and offline approaches.
The key word is automation. Gone are the days when email platforms were considered to be advanced technology. Simply sending segmented emails no longer meets the demands of today’s nonprofit organisations.
Automated communications are more personalised and targeted to the recipient and produce better results than the one-size-fits-all communications of the past.
Nonprofit organisations should invest in marketing automation technology. Products such as Adestra, Autopilot, Marketo, Pardot, and Salesforce Marketing Cloud are becoming commonplace. They deliver targeted communications using creative and rich multi-channel approaches to create inspiring supporter journeys that reduce attrition and increase average donations.
4. THINK LIKE A START-UP
The energy, the excitement and the innovation of a start-up – it can be infectious to be around. Those attributes ought to exist in our organisations and their fundraising and marketing teams.
Start-ups have a real appetite for risk that helps them stand out in a crowded field. Start-ups are passionate and not afraid of the disruption they cause. People want to be part of that passion and the excitement created by their innovative cultures. Start-ups are also focused on testing concepts and strategies – their survival depends on the answers revealed so they tend to focus on the science behind the testing.
Like a start-up, today’s nonprofit must carefully illustrate impact to validate trust with donors and supporters. It is no longer acceptable to simply tell donors you do good. Instead, content needs to be visual, clear and concise to demonstrate, in a transparent way, that your organisation is going above and beyond to deliver on its mission.
5. THE NEW AUTHENTICITY
Whose doesn’t? Now more than ever we need to inspire and connect. We need to be authentic.
In 2019, knocking on a donor’s door and asking them to give because we do good things will not result in donations that are world-changing for our organisations. We need to be more and do more. We need to connect the donor with our organisation and to do this we need to consider the donor’s journey – from finding us, to making a gift, to building a long-term connection.
How can a prospective donor find you? What path can they take to connect? What happens after they take particular actions? Mapping and understanding the donor journey ensures that you are discoverable, engaging and personable, and that you are informing, asking and thanking donors in a meaningful and successful way.
Create and foster a culture that is in touch with human emotions. We want donors who don’t just want to be involved in our organisations, but need to be involved.
6. EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED AND TELLING YOU A STORY
Reading between the lines is sometimes the key to success in fundraising. But more than ever, data tracking is having a huge impact on the success of fundraising approaches.
With the rapid growth of the Internet of Things, in a world where everything is connected, how connected is your organisation? Are you tracking and collecting the data you need to reach, communicate and solicit gifts? Are people opening your newsletters or appeals? What is the click-through rate? What are your donors interested in?
If you are not tracking these simple metrics and gathering this data, you are missing out on vital information to understand your supporters. Each time a supporter clicks a link in a communication they are telling you something about themselves. It is up to you to know your demographic and listen and respond in a way which connects with them.
Having great customer relationship management (CRM) software is a must, not only to help you collect important information, but to store it so that it can be used later in a meaningful way across a range of platforms.
Not collecting and tracking data? Perhaps your next hire should be a data scientist.
7. MAKING IT MORE MEANINGFUL
We’ve all seen it and done it. On the train, on the couch, in the office. We have all been oblivious to the world around us as we immerse ourselves in social media. Flicking through endless comments and images, looking for something to jump out at us.
Social media is replacing mainstream media, but not in a way that is helping our fundraising efforts. So how can we use social media to reach our fundraising targets? It is time to encourage our followers to take action to make our content more meaningful. Our passive supporters on social media could become the influencers we need.
We need to engage our supporters to spread brand awareness through alternative streams, including their personal pages, blogs, email and even in-person. By doing this, they are adding weight to our communications, they are informally endorsing them and building our credibility. Their backing of our communication makes it more meaningful to those who they pass it on to.
8. FACT-TO-FACE FUNDRAISING REIMAGINED
We have seen it time and time again. To raise major gifts, face-to-face is best. Sitting down with a prospective donor, after months of intense research and planning and asking them to give. But in a world of busy people doing important things, securing that meeting is harder than ever. Enter real-time storytelling and the rise of video fundraising.
Over a third of online activity involves people watching video. YouTube alone has over 1.3 billion users per day. In 2019, live video streaming of events, testimonials, direct asks and so much more will be undertaken face-to-face online – not in the meeting room – allowing flexibility in timing and location.
Unlike paper-based materials, video can ignite the donor’s senses to evoke an emotional response. Music, imagery and dialogue all contribute to build a connection that is deeper and longer lasting, sometimes in a more powerful way than a face-to-face meeting.
In a connected world, consider how your organisation can inform and inspire via video.
9. ENTER GENERATION X
The forgotten generation are more than just a blip on the radar in 2019. Look out everyone, there is a massive transfer of wealth happening in Australia and the way we ask for support is going to change dramatically.
Enter Generation X. They are savvier, more influential and more invested in seeing outcomes from their philanthropy, and many of them expect to increase their philanthropic giving in the coming year. Generation X are not going to sit back, make a regular gift to your cause and forget about it.
It will be up to your organisation to communicate with them regularly on their turf, prove your worth and demonstrate your impact. To achieve success donor segmentation is going to be more important than ever – generation X want to be spoken to directly in a way that is meaningful to them.
Think about how you can best communicate with this generation to demonstrate your trustworthiness and your impact. What will you achieve? Why are you the best people to do what you do? Why should they trust you with their support to get the best results?
Ask your Boomer supporters to introduce you to the next generation, encourage them to bring them to events, join updates and participate in tours. Don’t wait for them to come to you, they might not.
10. TIME TO VOTE…AGAIN
2019 is an election year at the federal level and, for some, at the state level as well. Soon each one of us will be inundated with election news, commercials and the like. Election season always creates a nervous atmosphere filled with uncertainty in Australia. Although at least it is not like the USA where politicians run 24/7 and 365 days a year!
Voting is compulsory in Australia, but the in-between stuff is just as critical and should not be optional. Fundraising reform is occurring and every one of us who care deeply about the nonprofit sector ought to be a part of it. As a sector, we want consolidation of charity registrations and we want self-regulation.
Change does not just happen. Change occurs through the concerted efforts of people mobilising to create that change. If you are not involved in your peak body, Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA), or supporting projects like #FixFundraising, now is the time to get involved.
It is the last year of the decade. Make the change you seek by joining forces. Make 2019 the year you get involved.
WHAT’S ON THE HORIZON?
Don’t you wish you had a crystal ball and you could look into the future for nonprofit organisations, predicting what the world for fundraisers might look like? What will the disruptions be in the year 2029 or, even, 2021 for that matter?
Teisha Archer & Stephen Mally CFRE
Teisha (Teisha Archer Consulting) and Stephen (FundraisingForce) are highly experienced independent fundraising consultants and part of the 40-plus specialists in The Xfactor Collective social impact community. For more information about connecting with Teisha and Stephen, or to find out more about how the Collective can support your organisation in 2019, go to www. xfactorcollective.com.