Open Ended Questions

August 29, 2011

People like to talk. Generally people would choose a good conversation over a bad conversation anytime. People also like to talk about themselves. If you can find the subject that someone likes to discuss and get them started talking about it, you will find that they start to like you more quickly. Talking about their family or kids, maybe a hobby they are passionate about, or a fun trip they have planned can really get people talking.

This is true when you are talking about your organization or about other topics as well. People will respond based on the kind of room you give them with the question. For example, if you ask someone what time it is, they will almost certainly say “five o’clock”, or whatever time it is. If you get someone that really like to talk you might even get a follow-up comment like, “…the end of the day just will not come fast enough,” or something like that. If you ask someone what their favorite time of day is, they might tell you, “five o’clock because that’s when work is done and I get to go have happy hour with my friends.” They still might tell you “five o’clock, but after that you will get a totally different response. It is very unlikely that they will just tell you “five o’clock”. Implied as part of the question is the “why” and people will talk about their answer more when you ask them why.

Take time to ask questions that are open ended and encourage someone to share a little bit more about themselves or the topic you are trying to get to. If you ask a yes or no question, that is often all you are going to get.

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How to Maximize the Revenue from Your Next E-Appeal

August 15, 2011

As more and more non-profits have dipped their toes into e-fundraising, whether through e-mail, social media, or on their websites, many are wondering how to maximize the revenue they receive from these efforts.

E-fundraising isn’t the same as direct mail fundraising, though there are some similarities: you have to make it emotional; you have to make it attractive; you have to avoid cluttering your page. That being said, there are some unique strategies your non-profit can use to supercharge your next e-fundraising appeal:

#1: Be Transparent
Many people are still wary about giving online. This includes new prospects as well as your current donor pool. To many donors, there’s something comforting about writing out a check and handing it (or mailing it) to the development director at an organization. If you want people to give to your online fundraising efforts, you need to make them feel comfortable doing so.

In addition to things like using secure credit card processing, the best way to make someone feel good about giving online or through e-mail is by being completely transparent, and helping them understand where their money will go. What will this donation be used for? How will you report back to the donor on the effectiveness of their gift? Why do you need all the information about the donor that you are collecting on the credit card form? Be as transparent as possible!

#2: Make Your Ask Bite-Sized and Action-Oriented
I’ve found that the most compelling asks online, on e-mail, and on social networking sites are small “bite sized” asks: $5, $10, $25, $100. I’ve also found that the best online asks are “action oriented,” where the donor is being asked to make a donation to fund one specific action or thing. For example: “Give $10 to feed a family for a month,” or “Give $25 to fund free museum admission for a class of 40 eighth graders.”

#3: Use All Channels to Generate Buzz
Many non-profits have tried using e-fundraising to focus on one specific “online channel” or community. They may have a presence on their website, Twitter, Facebook, and have a 1,000 person e-mail list. Yet they only post their online fundraising effort on their website, or send it out to their e-mail list.

The truth is that people have fleeting attention spans online. There’s always something else to look at, another link to click. You have to make sure you get your message in front of your donors and prospects as often as possible if you want them to get involved. Treat your e-fundraising like a campaign – give each effort a name, a specific ask for a specific ask, and a deadline. Set up a page for it on your website. Then use e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, and any other social media sites you are on to push people to that page.

#4: Make a Direct Ask
Finally, like all fundraising efforts, your e-fundraising appeals will not be successful unless you make a direct ask. Don’t just tell people why you need money and how much you need, and hope that they will give. Ask them to give. Say, “Will you make a donation today?” or “Will you give $50 today to save a life? Click here!” Make your case, then make an ask.

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Joe Garecht is the creator of The Fundraising Authority, a free source of fundraising advice and tutorials for non-profits of all sizes.


You Have Influence

August 8, 2011

Everyone has influence of some kind whether it is over your friends and family or over business and community leaders. The longer you work in your community the more people that you have an opportunity to meet and get to know. As you begin to build your reputation and build your relationship with these people, you will find that all of a sudden you start to have some influence with them.

As a junior staff member I did not understand that. This message is largely for junior staffers and those newer to development work. I was impressed and amazed at the generosity and kindness of board and community members with which I worked. As I’ve done more volunteering and worked in different organizations I’ve started to realize that many of these individuals are people that I can call on if I have a question or if I need help.

Regardless of your position at your organization, you have communities of people in your life that are watching you and eager to participate in something meaningful that you are doing. Don’t take those relationships for granted. Stay in touch, see if you can find ways to be of help in their lives. Don’t be afraid to ask them for help or ask if they would be interested in being involved in projects that you are doing. People love to help people and if you build good relationships, people will like to help you. Be cautious as to how often and in what ways you ask – but don’t be afraid to ask.


Constituencies

August 1, 2011

According to Giving USA in 2010, more than $290 billion was given of that 73% or $211 billion came from individuals and only 5% came from businesses.

It constantly surprises me how much time organizations spend with grants and businesses when there is so much more money in individual giving. As you can see from Giving USA and any other giving report is that the amount of money that is annually donated as a result of individual personal giving vastly exceeds the amount of money from businesses or foundations.

Business and Foundation fundraising is an important part of fund development but it can also be one of the most difficult areas to be successful. Businesses and Foundations have annual budget cycles and systems and guidelines that they must adhere to and the competition is much fiercer for a smaller pool of money. Individuals can give when and as often as they see fit.

Concentrate more of our time on talking with individuals about giving and often much of the business and foundation giving follows suit based on the connections you develop with individuals. Some Businesses and Foundations act as the way an individual give their money.

I’m always surprised with how much time is spent focusing on business giving. I believe it is because people are afraid to ask for money. When you ask for money from a business often you are not asking someone directly for their money. Why do you think people tend to focus so much on business & foundation fundraising?


Sponsored Post: Online Fundraising Benefits

August 1, 2011

“With the help of our online software solutions, many of our customers have quadrupled the amount of funds raised in previous years.” DoJiggy Sales

If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to consider taking your fundraising campaign online. Online fundraising provides an opportunity for nonprofits to spread greater awareness for their cause, while reaching more potential donors. Today’s easy-to-use software tools help administrators better plan and manage the various details of a fundraising event, while allowing participants to easily collect online donations and monitor their personal progress.

Find out how online fundraising software can help you raise more fundraising dollars, while saving you time and money!

Online Fundraising
The definition of fundraising: is “the process of soliciting and gathering contributions as money or other resources, by requesting donations from individuals, businesses, charitable foundations, or other agencies.” Therefore, online fundraising is the process of soliciting funds and gathering contributions by requesting donations ONLINE.

Online fundraising goes beyond the old fundraising strategies of mailing donation request letters and phoning family and friends. The software tools available today make collecting donations easier for participants, while helping organizers streamline the fundraising process and manage all the moving parts of a fundraising campaign.

Benefits of Online Fundraising:
1. One-Stop Fundraising “Hub”
By implementing an online fundraising campaign, you create a central “hub” where all information can be shared and data can be stored. Organizations create a fundraising website customized with pictures, logos and statements that explain the cause for the fundraiser, a fundraising thermometer to track progress against goals, along with event details such as: date, time, location, maps, etc. The website provides capabilities for processing all transactions including: participant registration, sponsor and volunteer sign-up, and the ability for donors to make secure, online payments.

2. Donation Collection & Payment Processing
Online fundraising is a great way to simplify the donation collection process previously handled by check and cash donations, and documented by paper. An online fundraising software solution allows for secure online payment processing via credit card. After transactions are made, you can track payments, manage recurring donations, and generate various financial reports.

3. Extending Your Reach
Another wonderful benefit of online fundraising is the ability to extend your reach beyond your community. Fundraising used to be about soliciting donations from co-workers, friends and family members, or walking door-to-door and asking neighbors. With online fundraising, your network expands globally. Participants may send email donation request letters that include a link to their fundraising website so people can easily make donations safely and securely. By asking people to forward your request to their network, you’re reach has now grown exponentially. With the new social networking tools available, participants can also post links on their profile pages asking people to make donations to help support their cause.

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