Watch this video to find out how to create your wish list for your organization so that your community can help.
Watch this video to find out how to create your wish list for your organization so that your community can help.
In this video, you’ll learn four great tips for how to grow your community of champions and supporters:
“Why do you think the building going to fail, Jenny? It’s been here for almost 100 years. Who’s to say it can’t survive another 100 years.”
I was shocked! I was interviewing a longtime volunteer from my tennis club to gather some feedback about our restoration plans and capital campaign messaging. For context, this 96 year old tennis club building has been patched together with electrical, structural and infrastructure band aid fixes for the last 60 years. The bathrooms are borderline unusable, and there are literally sections of the building that are blocked off because of water damage.
But my volunteer didn’t see the need to restore the building as urgent.
Why? Because he needed to see for himself that there was a problem. He needed to see things with his own eyes. He needed to read the contractor reports about all the different aspects of the building that are not up to code. The project wasn’t urgent to him . . . yet.
Urgency is in the eye of the beholder. #fundraisingmojo ← Tweet this
Capital campaign case for support, annual appeal letters, an ask to become a monthly donor—they all must speak to an urgent and tangible need that must be addressed today.
Without urgency, your fundraising initiative goes in the “nice to have” rather than the “must have” category.
Debunk and explain away your top three objections BEFORE your prospect mentions them. Objections are one way that donors delay and defer their commitment. Remove any barriers that may slow down their commitment by addressing them in advance.
Seeing is believing. Bring the prospect into the urgency story. Let them see for themselves how urgent the need is via tours, conversations with participants, programming people and more. Reference statistics, waiting lists, demographic trends, to demonstrate how the status quo is not acceptable. Action is needed, and it’s urgent. Here’s why.
Human nature will delay and defer until there is a specific date to work back against. An anniversary, a scheduled meeting, a symbolic date—find something to push against to create a deadline for the project. If your deadline is too far in the future, create urgency with a short-term deadline—call it phase I, or create a public announcement to get the ball rolling. Something that will galvanize donors and volunteers to go out and get going.
A fundraising campaign is just a “nice to have” until it has urgency. #fundraisingmojo← Tweet this
Don’t be afraid to ask your prospect “What would it take for you to see this project/program as an urgent need?” Let them articulate what they would need to see before investing.
“Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday”
Why do we do it! Why do we put things off until another day or time?
Are we lazy?
Are we overworked?
Are we stuck?
Procrastination has a nasty way of rearing its ugly head when you least expect it.
Procrastination is the killer of good intentions, planning and success. #fundraisingMOJO ← Tweet this
Left unchecked, procrastination will become like that absolutely adorable puppy that you bring into your life: it may look cute, and charming and helpful, but in the long run, if you don’t treat it with discipline, it will end up peeing on your floors, eating your furniture and wreaking havoc in your life!
Got a big report to write? Have a donor that you need to contact? What activities do you start doing INSTEAD of what you really need to do? I start looking for the PERFECT coffee shop to write my blog from, or feel the urge to check my email inbox ONCE MORE in case there’s something that I can respond to . . . instead of completing the task that I’m avoiding.
Step 2—Check in with yourself
You’re avoiding this for a reason. Are you unsure how to start? Are you feeling uncomfortable about the task? What are you worried/concerned about? Be honest with yourself. There may be a good reason.
Step 3—Start with a baby step
Tasks that are overwhelming, unknown, or unclear force us into protection mode via procrastination. Gain control of your forward momentum with a SMALL baby step towards your goal. Create the file folder for the report, establish the headers in the report, find the right picture for the appeal that you’re working on or get the correct contact information for the person you need to reach out to. Procrastination—and its first cousin perfectionism—will steal your joy and shake your confidence if left unchecked.
Good Enough For Now. Adopt it as your mantra and don’t look back. Leave procrastination and perfectionism in your rear-view mirror. You’ll raise more money for your mission that matters, and you’ll be happier doing it!
A recent trip to Nashville, Tennessee got me reflecting on the parallels between country music and fundraising:
There is nothing more intimate than listening to a country musician croon about lost love, accompanied only by his or her acoustic guitar.
Intimacy. Vulnerability. Connection. [Read more…]
No matter how much money we raise, we could always raise more.
Do you feel that way? Does your boss or board feel that way?
Being a fundraiser is a tough job. It’s different than being a firefighter that saves babies from a burning building, but it’s got the same sense of urgency. If we fall short in our efforts, others will suffer.
Targets are always set high. There’s too much at stake to aim low.
When organizations commit to raising more money, they tend to do two things:
The problem with growing revenue through raising targets or adding events is that they are not tied to your pipeline, your past track record of events or the activities that you’re already executing well.
Raising targets randomly has nothing to do with your actual pipeline of potential revenue. Your past track record is the best indicator of future success. The size of your last major gift, the net proceeds from your latest event, or your average gift size from your annual appeal are all the best indicators of future success.
Budgeting for revenue growth of more than 10—15%? Plan for infrastructure investments to support that growth. #fundraisingMOJO ← Tweet this
It’s always easier to do something you’ve done before, better. The first year of an event is harder than the fifth year of an event, planning for an annual campaign the second time is easier than the first time. That’s why staff turnover is such a killer on fundraising return on investment: you’re going to get better at things over time…if you are around to capitalize on it.
The second year of a new fundraising initiative will always be easier than the first year. #fundraisingMOJO ← Tweet this
The more events/activities you have on your calendar, the more likely it is that you’re spreading yourself to thin. Adding a new revenue generating event to meet budget is a major distraction to the already scheduled fundraising activities.
Beware of new, shiny objects in your fundraising plans disguised as time sucking distractions. #fundraisingMOJO ← Tweet this
When someone makes a gift, it’s a big deal for them! They took the time to find you, get out their credit card or cheque book and say:
“I trust you. I want the change that you’re talking about to happen, and I want to help by making a donation.”
What do you do? You give them a call to say thank you.
You make time in your schedule to reach out and connect with them to understand what motivated their gift. What a powerful connection you have just made with someone who truly cares about what you do all day!
Why do you do this?
Why do we NOT call donors?
Your best prospects for next year’s gifts are your current donors. #fundraisingMOJO ← Tweet this
There are no excuses to not reach out. The 2016 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report by AFP lists the 2015 donor retention rate as 46%. How do you beat those odds? You say thank you. You get to know them and understand their passions.
We work too hard to FIND generous people that give, only to treat them like crap
and have them never give again. #fundraisingMOJO ← Tweet this
Last week I was working with a coaching client who was planning for her AGM. Annual General Meeting. We all have one. We all need to legally hold one.
But honestly? AGMs sound incredibly BORING!
So I said:
“What if we renamed this thing? What if we chose to give it a new name that better reflected how people will FEEL after attending, rather than knowing they have done their DUTY by attending?”
We hit upon an idea. A fabulous idea.
And like so many great ideas, it’s not complicated!
From now on, my client will reframe her AGM as an A.G.M.—A. Genuine. Moment. This has become the theme of her event.
There are two big takeaways here:
Once you know where you’re going (big hairy goals) you’ve got to be able to break the journey into manageable bite size pieces. I’ve talked about this before on the blog How to reach your goal in 778 baby steps.
Today, I want to help you articulate WHAT you do all day.
What are you responsible for at work? I’m not talking about all the “tasks” that you do. I’m talking about the big bucket items, the stuff that you must own at work in order to be successful and drive revenue for your mission that matters.
Here are some examples of OUTPUTS. Which ones are relevant to your role?
By taking an output based approach to your daily activities, you can get clear on what absolutely has to happen each day, week month. For example:
I work with clients to go back to basics: what files do you own at work? What must happen for you to achieve your big hairy strategic goals?
Once you have the outputs itemized, build a schedule that touches every one of these files every week. If you have no power moves in revenue, money doesn’t come in. If you don’t prioritize Donor Stewardship, it will not get done, and you’ll face a funding gap. If you’re the default marketing person, you’ve got to carve time to communicate, or the gifts will not come in.
This is a very different approach than making a to-do list every day.
Prioritize your workplan based on outputs, and you’ll find time for everything that’s most important #fundraisingmojo ← Tweet this
No one will prioritize your work for you. Being a professional means taking the time to PLAN your week, carefully, and mindfully. Focus on outputs, and you’ll find time for everything that matters.
Fundraising mojo comes from knowing that you’re productive at work. It feels GREAT to get things accomplished, doesn’t it?
Getting things done requires you to own your own work schedule and workplan. You need to know what your ideal schedule looks like, and you need to learn how to stick to it!
Answer these 3 questions:
Look at the answers above. What does your ideal weekly schedule look like?
Nope, you’re not allowed to say, “my work is fluid, and I have to go with the flow.” Not acceptable. You’re a professional, and you are going to hold yourself accountable to your workplan. You need to have a schedule which reflects your priorities and your goals for the year.
Block four 90-minute work sessions per week into your calendar to actually WORK . Do you have any serious distractors in your office life? (i.e. location of your desk is too close to the front door, or you’re responsible for answering phones) How can you mitigate these, or delegate responsibility to be more efficient?
Fundraisers are the glue in our offices. We get caught up in other people’s priorities. Two examples include:
How many standing meetings are in your weekly calendar? How responsive are you to other people’s requests? These two items can kill your best laid productivity plans. If you’re scoring a 6 or higher on the responsiveness scale, remember that your inbox is a holding tank list of everyone else’s “to-do” list.
Takeaway: It’s amazing what people figure out on their own when given 24 hours to think about it.
Planning is the single biggest antidote to chaos. #fundraisingmojo ← Tweet this
The company Chavender is named after a fish. Not just any fish, but an amazingly adaptable saltwater fish that lives in the Georges Bank, just west of Nova Scotia. The Chavender has survived climate change, overfishing and environmental disasters by adapting to its environment. What a great mascot for the not for profit world: we survive! Learn more about Jenny Mitchell.