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Archive for October, 2013

Non-Profit Collaborative: Fundraising Conference November 1 2013

Looking forward to Fundraising “Mini-Conference” at Mt Wachusett Community Conference, Gardner, MA Friday November 1, 2013. I’ll be presenting my 90-minute workshop: “Raising Money for a Purpose: Nuts and Bolts of a Development Plan.” Conference conveners expect close to 200 participants. Last minute registration: contact Shelley Nicholson mnicholson5@mwcc.mass.edu. The online registration site is currently closed.

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Annual Appeal: Practices that Work

Every fall I post a blog featuring steps a Nonprofit can take to spruce up or revitalize the Annual Appeal.

Here are a few new 2013 twists on Annual Appeal practice I’ve discussed in the past:

  • Follow up. Now is the time to plan ahead. Four-to-six weeks after your initial Appeal, send a follow-up to selected segments of your list who didn’t respond first time around. Take a theme from the initial Appeal, and do a short update on it.
  • Second Appeal. Six months after your initial Appeal, go back to your donors with a new mission-related message, or a new story to tell that will get your supporters’ attention and motivate them to give again.
  • Stewardship. Put a “thank you” plan and system in place now that acknowledges gifts soon after they are received. Personalize the “thank you” to different degrees depending on amount of gift and the duration of relationship with the particular donor.
  • Communicate. Have a communication plan and system in place that keeps your donors informed on what’s happening at your Nonprofit that will be of interest. Consider a special, exclusive executive newsletter to donors with notes and observations from the CEO that give a insider perspective to what’s happening.
  • Always the Mission. All communication always features the Nonprofit mission.
  • In my estimation, these steps should produce a 10% or greater bump from your Annual Appeal. Track it. See what some revision of your practice can do for your Annual Appeal revenue.

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    The Development Plan: Know Where You’re Going

    One of the most important components of effective fundraising is to build revenue streams generated from a smart plan.

    Revenue comes from three main streams: Earned income (program fees, interest earned in various accounts), Grants from government and corporations for specific services rendered, and then Donations from individuals. When we’re describing fundraising activities, we’re usually talking about the latter: Our efforts to acquire donations whether through an annual appeal or for a special project or a pledge to a special event.

    When I work with a client on a Development Plan, we start with a focus on current donors, acquiring new donors, and building a program of effective special events. We can encompass the Grant effort, and also work on Earned income, but usually my effort with staff and development volunteers is focused on donated income. How do we engage donors? What are the marketing approaches we should apply in this work? Starting with these fundamental building blocks will get the effort moving in the right direction.

    Further, the Development Plan takes into consideration how work on events and work on annual appeal sometimes dovetail. Because there can be potential annual appeal donors in our events; and there can be people who want to participate in our events who give to our campaign. So we should find ways to explore this. And social media may be useful tools (Facebook in particular) to help bridge these activities.

    Time spent in formulating a smart Development Plan will help key stakeholders in your nonprofit get their work into sharper focus. Particularly if the plan clearly connects with your nonprofit mission.

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