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Archive for November, 2011

China Builds Charitable Sector

In my recent tour (Odysseys International) of China October, 2011, I had the good fortune to meet Dr. Lu Dezhi, chairman of the Huamin Charity Foundation. I was his guest at his hutong office in Beijing on October 17. I learned that Dr Lu seeks to build a foundation that, among other things, assists young college graduates in getting established in China which is experiencing high housing costs and some inflationary trends in cost of living. Dr Lu has a working partnership with a program at Rutgers University.  Articles he has written appear in Harvard University’s Hauser Center newsletter. This past spring, Dr Lu had an article published focusing on challenges to establishment of philanthropic initiatives in China.  He notes cultural impediments as well as lack of clearly articulated and implemented regulation to build a solid sector that will make Chinese people proud. A recent controversy over a person inside Red Cross mis-using donated funds (article in China People’s Daily published on Hauser Center website tells the story and the backlash). It’s reminiscent if controversies we have experienced in the USA with Red Cross (allocation of Katrina funds) and with United Way (a former CEO’s personal use of donated funds). We know that there is potential for illegal and unethical behavior around donated funds in the charitable sector. And we know that these pitfalls deter some from giving at all. But we also know that there is a drive and determination among people to take care of those who are needy, as long is we can prevent mis-use and abuse of funds.  And now China, the nation of 1.3 billion people halfway around the globe from us (“us” meaning USA) is carving out its charitable niche as its economy grows at an extraordinary rate. It seems to me that exchange of thinking about charity and philanthropy among the people of our two great nations will be very useful to all of us.  It’s good for us in the USA, as we work to strengthen our nonprofit sector, to seek to teach what we can from our experience while at the same time learn from the Chinese in their approach.  The needs are great and the capacity to help those in need is great, too.

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Social Media Mavens

Folks I pay close attention to in thinking about social media application to nonprofit marketing:

  • Laura Quinn at Idealware. I still look back at Using Facebook to Meet Your Mission to remind me why. Follow on Twitter: @Idealware. February 2011 survey of 505 nonprofits on Facebook apps still worth a look.
  • Beth Kanter. She’s the bomb re: social media nonprofit apps. Twitter: @Kanter. Networked approaches around social media. Recent: Five Ways to improve Social Media Measurement: No BS. It’s always about the research with Beth.
  • Bob Cargill.  Tweets as @CargillCreative. And that’s Creative with a capital C. He recently pointed us to 10 Social Media Mistakes to Fix Now (Hubspot Blog). By Corey Eridon A generous dude who truly gets the “social” in social media.

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The Fundraising Board: Stage 2

Back in February (2-28-2011) I wrote about the Fundraising Board in the context of donor relations.  Kay Sprinkel Grace and Ken Burnett are two authorities on this subject, and I quote from their work when I work with nonprofit Boards on developing their fundraising capacity.

Today I’m focusing on the donor as target audience for the nonprofit. And setting communication strategy with your donors in a way that suits your donors.  This is all about best marketing practice.  A well-executed development plan has to take into account excellence in communication.  Some areas to keep in mind:

  • What’s the story we’re going to tell?  Board members should be armed with two or three real stories that illustrate how your mission works to help your clients: your primary customers (using Peter Drucker terminology).
  • What do we know about the donor we’re going to visit? A well-stocked and up-to-date donor database can pay dividends.
  • What are we asking for?  How much was the last gift, and how much are we asking for at this visit?

Putting into practice well thought out marketing communication strategy will help Board members succeed in bringing home the bacon. Or the tofu, if you’re so inclined.

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Building Fundraising Relationships

The Essence of Effective Fundraising, according to Ken Burnett (Relationship Fundraising, Jossey-Bass, c 2002), is the concept of Relationship. A fundamental of sound fundraising practice is that “people give to people.”  The degree to which your nonprofit organization gets at Relationship building is a measure of future effectiveness at raising money for your mission.

On pages 28 and 29 of his seminal book Relationship Fundraising, Mr Burnett offers 28 bulleted points for practitioners to keep in mind.  Among his points is this: “Fundraisers need to be able to see things through their donors’ eyes.”  Part of the process of engaging board members in the process of raising money for mission is to get them talking face-to-face with donors.  And I mean people who are already committed to giving to your cause.  These are the folks in your donor database who are giving to your annual campaign.  Bringing the Development Committee together to review the list before the next campaign to identify individuals they know, and to get board members asking for renewed gifts from people already giving to you is a good way to engage your volunteers in the process of raising money for your nonprofit’s purpose.

And this is very different from prospecting for new donors.  You are asking your volunteers to get involved in asking experienced donors to renew their gift.  To increase their gift a bit over what they donated the previous year.  Instituting this process at your nonprofit engages your board in gift renewal. Gets them used to and comfortable with asking.

We know that there are individuals on the board who are not comfortable with asking for money. This, involving the board in the renewal process can help take the reluctance away. And it opens the door for a conversation about why the donor gives, and then, in response, why the board member is also a donor and gives.  They get to share their thinking about what’s important about the nonprofit. Its mission. Its raison d’etre. And out of this conversation can come a relationship, which helps cement the connection to mission.

Another of Ken Burnett’s 28 points is great fundraising is sharing. For sharing to occur, there needs to be some dialogue.  A chance for a connection to be made. This all serves to grow the campaign, to reduce donor attrition.  Getting members of your nonprofit board involved in the annual fund ask process helps build your potential to raise more money.

This is how successful nonprofit organizations grow their potential to extend the reach of mission.

Make the potential for strengthened relationships part of your annual appeal.

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