A Facebook Champ

April 29, 2015

So, I think this social media thing is sticking around.  Actually, it’s almost difficult to remember a time when a regular barrage of thoughts, videos, meals, reflections, events, parenting snafus, rants, groups, and other posts ranging from the really important to painfully unimportant were not frequently shared with us.  Let’s face it, social media (Facebook is the frontrunner today) are part of our lives now.  And, as fundraisers looking to coach our champions to advocate for us in meaningful ways, Facebook can be helpful and effective.

Right, wrong, or indifferent, engagement with social media has become one of the most important parts of someone’s life.  So, it stands to reason that sharing about the things we care about most on social media makes sense.  For our champions, we can encourage them specifically to leverage our causes on Facebook in the following ways:

  1. Share posts about what we are doing, in their voice, with a hyperlink to our Facebook page.  This hyperlink is KEY, as it drives more folks to us.  It’s a regular miss with folks posting, so important to point out.
  2. Share our events.  No brainer, straightforward.
  3. Consistently like and comment on posts our agency’s are generating on our Facebook pages.  Super easy and creates buzz.
  4. When they give, have them post why, and encourage others to do the same with our give page included in the post.  It’s on us to ensure our thumbnail is crisp and clear.
  5. Ask if they would consider asking their ‘friends’ to like our page.  This invite is an easy and specific function on Facebook that does not take a lot of time to expedite.

We do not want our social media presence to be arbitrary, so let’s keep it purposed and ask our champions to help us to do that.  Think about ways to drive traffic to our website, increase likes on our own pages, share about events, and cultivate some gifts!

What are other ways we can encourage our Champions to leverage Facebook?  Join the conversation at @infosmallchange #ascblog.


Business Sponsors Are Awesome

April 27, 2015

It’s just that simple.  When we have come along side our Champions and coach them into creating pathways for partnership at the businesses they own or work for, inviting these same businesses to sponsor our big events follows naturally and is a win win.

Last November, the agency I work for hosted it’s second annual fundraising gala and had the privilege of partnering with 4 different businesses who were featured sponsors at different levels.  We officered a tiered model of sponsorship fee incentives that created space for small to large partners to jump in with us.  The incentives that we offered for our Platinum Sponsors at the $10,000 level (tiered down for Gold and Silver) included:

  1. One full table for ten guests with priority table placement
  2. Name and logo displayed prominently on event web page
  3. Company name & logo will repeatedly be seen every bid on the reverse of each guest’s bid card
  4. Verbal recognition during dinner and name and logo displayed during live auction
  5. Full page printed recognition in our program
  6. Company name & hyperlink in a follow-up blog
  7. Exclusive Platinum Level Sponsorship Recognition
  8. Thanks and mention on Facebook and Twitter

It’s a big deal when our agencies can offer value to help our business partners.  Clearly, cultivating business sponsorships helps our agencies significantly as they mitigate the costs of putting on a great event.  And, having our event costs mitigated by business sponsorships helps our supporters to give because we can communicate to them during the Ask that ALL of their support will go directly to our cause.  So, actually, it’s a win, win, win.

What other incentives are you offering to business sponsors?  Join the conversation at @infosmallchange #ascblog

Let’s Talk Business.

April 22, 2015

We’ve had some great responses and feedback on our recent post about finding and cultivating Champions for our agencies, and how their throwing a party can be an effective and fun way to acquire new donors.  Folks have asked about other ways to empower and leverage our champions to diversity our support network, so we’ll offer another here.

Most of our champions who are giving generously have jobs.  They work for all sorts of companies doing all sorts of things in all sorts of roles.  And, the reality is that regardless of their specific roles and responsibilities, our Champions can negotiate discovery and access opportunities for philanthropic efforts within their businesses to support our causes.  It is also becoming increasingly common for businesses to seek out cause based agencies to fund and support to enhance their branding, bolster employee satisfaction, and to catalyze tax benefits.

When asked, coached, and encouraged to do so, our champions can engage the organizations they work for in the following ways on behalf of our agencies:

  1. Registering our agency as a beneficiary for workplace giving campaigns
  2. Rallying teams or colleagues for in-kind donations
  3. Soliciting one time gifts
  4. Creating lunch-time presentations on our work and how folks can get involved
  5. Requesting incentivized event sponsorships (more on this next week!)

There can often be barriers to accessing decision makers to pitch the ideas listed above, but often times our Champions can be the very folks to overcome these barriers and develop partnerships.  It’s our job to help and encourage them to do so!

What other ideas are out there for partnering with businesses through our Champions?  Join the conversation at @infosmallchange #ascblog

Party On.

April 20, 2015

Alright, you’re in good shape.  You’ve identified some champions for your organization and you’re excited, encouraged, and relieved that you’ve got some folks to help broaden and diversify your support network.

There are a number of ways that your champions can actively participate in the acquisition of new donors.  One of the most traditional and familiar ways that is hosting or captain(ing) tables at our galas and auctions.  This is KEY.  But, for champions, this can be just the tip of the iceberg.

I was having coffee with a new supporter the other day, and I was guiding her through some ways that she could continue to partner with us, having recently given generously as a guest at our auction in November.  We talked about her hosting a table herself this year, attending our spring awareness event, scheduled a time for her to check out our new Drop-In Center on a tour.

Then, she said, ‘and what about if I just invited some folks I know to over to my house for food and wine and you could just share a little bit about REST and leave some giving envelopes?   Just like a party with a purpose?’

The clouds parted, sun beamed in, the music resounded in the back of my mind, champion stuff is happening!  The House Party model that my friend above suggested is one of the most effective, valuable, and fun ways to mobilize our champions to help us acquire new donors.  The model is simple:

  • Champions invite folks to their place for a party lending expectations regarding the little bit of ‘purpose’ behind the party
  • Guests arrive and mingle, we mingle too
  • Drinks and food are served
  • After an hour or so, we invite our champions to share why they care and why they give to our cause
  • We give our 5-10 best overview and let folks know that we’ve left a response card for folks who want to learn more or give, and invite questions
  • We thank our host (champion) for the few minutes, and mingle more
  • At the end of the night we collect the envelopes
  • Following week, we thank our champions, gather feedback, talk about doing it again next year, and send thanks and followups to those that gave or want to learn more

Easy, straightforward, scalable, fun.

Are you game for doing parties like this?  Join the conversation at @infosmallchange #ascblog

Where are the Champions?

April 15, 2015

We development pros work hard to strengthen the relationships we have with folks who have given to our agencies and we call the process ‘retention.’  We also work really hard to build new relationships with folks who have not given to our agencies before, and when they do give for the first time we call in ‘acquisition.’  Both areas of focus and the strategies and tools we leverage to make it happen are very important to the fiscal success of our development plans.

It’s no secret that in particular, doing all the acquisition work all by ourselves is daunting, exhausting, and in reality, ineffective.  So, we partner with our Executive Director, Board, and volunteers to help the process along.  This increases our effectiveness.  However, there is another primary resource we can leverage for the acquisition of new supporters (insert drum roll…..):  our existing supporters!

We might call them ambassadors, major donors, partners, or stewards; the names vary but the roles are the same.  These are the standout relationships that are committed to our work, giving joyfully and/or generously, can articulate our mission, and just love what we our respective agencies are doing.  These are the individuals and couples that send us emails to ask how they can help, call us to ask when the next event is, and share all of our social media posts immediately.  And, these are also the individuals and couples that are often times, when asked, are very much game to introduce, connect, solicit, and engage other folks in their community for the sake of our agency.   Let’s call them champions, and it’s critical that we know who they are.

Our champions can help us connect to donor prospects in a variety of ways and in next few posts, we’ll talk about some of the best ways to do this.

How are you identifying the champions for your agency?  Join the conversation at @infosmallchange #ascblog.


How to create a monthly giving program.

April 8, 2015

Terrific follow up post on the ‘how to’ of monthly giving from our friend Josh Collier at Tacoma YFC:

Okay, you’re sold, monthly giving should be more than an option on a response card. But then, what should it be? Here are three keys to a successful monthly giving program:

  1. Invite people to join something (don’t merely ask them to give monthly):

Now we’re talking about branding: creating a monthly giving program with a unique name and voice that fits with the mission of your organization. A great example of this is IJM’s Freedom Partner program: “As a freedom partner you can send justice – right now.” IJM is asking you to join a special group of people whose efforts together accomplish a goal.

  1. Offer a simple and attainable value proposition (don’t throw out random gift numbers):

Invite people into something amazing, something larger than themselves, but also something an affordable monthly gift can impact. The best method for this (although not feasible for every cause) is to list giving levels with what they accomplish. But even if you aren’t able to develop that level of clarity, it is still essential that you clearly spell out what the giver’s monthly gift will do – and it’s equally important that you relate that not to ‘things and stuff’ but to the end beneficiaries of your programs.

  1. Thank with an impact story every month (don’t just send them the same receipt letter everyone else gets)

Remember that you’ve invited these people into something amazing, so treat them that way! Every month it should be your mission to help those monthly givers understand that their gift is without doubt impacting lives. And always fit that message into your mission of your organization and the branding of your monthly giving program. If I was crafting a message for IJM, for example, it would read something like this: “So and so was in trouble, but because you sent justice this month, we were there to help… here’s what happened.”

With this intentionality, monthly giving can be moved from a checkbox to a program that is accessible and exciting for more givers. And the bonus point: monthly givers are some of the most dedicated and consistent givers and advocates.

Would love to hear the names of some of your monthly giving programs?  Join the conversation at @infosmallchange #ascblog.

Do we really understand monthly giving?

April 6, 2015

Delighted to offer a guest posts this week from Josh Collier, Development Officer at Tacoma’s Youth for Christ.  He is a friend, colleague, and terrific fundraiser.  Enjoy:

Most of us offer monthly giving as an option at fundraisers and in appeal letters – but do we really understand the potential of effective monthly giving?

It’s easy to underestimate that monthly giver. Really, fifty bucks doesn’t seem like that much when you have over a million dollars to raise in a fiscal year!

But think about this: You run into a friend at a local store. While catching up, she tells you about her recent trip to South America. She was struck by the need of the small orphanage she visited, and so decided to sponsor a child she met there. Your friend says, “I don’t have a thousand dollars, but I do have fifty dollars a month, and I might not be able to fix all the problems in the world, but I know as long as I’m sponsoring my child she’ll have a roof over her head, food, and an education.”

The reason child sponsorship works is because it’s a movement of people who understand the importance of their – seemingly small – monthly contribution to a need they care about. The technical term is value proposition.

These are the two factors that make monthly giving work:

  1. Creating a monthly giving program that is more than an option on a response card (more on this in my next post!)
  2. A value proposition that equates an attainable monthly giving amount to accomplishing something specific and compelling

And here’s the cherry on top: Monthly givers have much lower attrition than intermittent, annual, and event givers. So while that single gift of $1,000 is great this December, will you see it again next year? That $50 a month (A.K.A. $600 a year) will usually stay engaged for years if properly thanked and valued.

So let me ask you this: what’s your monthly giving like? Is it an option on a response device, or are you calling an often under-solicited segment of potential advocates to join something bigger than themselves?

Join the conversation at @infosmallchange #ascblog.