Five Rs of Fundraising

While you’re raising funds for a charitable organization, there’s one approach to generating donations that’s sure to prove successful. Consider how much time and effort goes into planning small and major special events.  Now, imagine that same effort strategically targeted toward cultivating a lifetime donor…a fan who loves and supports your organization and its mission over the long term.  This single concept, so often ignored, can make the difference between surviving from event to event and having a steady stream of program-sustaining money coming into your nonprofit.  Nothing will net rewards with your donors like relationship building.

The “Five Rs of Fundraising” was created roughly 25 years ago, while on staff at Fraternity Management Group. Its application, however, can be used by all non-profit organizations. While many organizations believe that coordinating special events is an ideal method for raising funds, building relationships with current and prospective donors generates far greater sustainability. You may want to consider the following Five Rs of fundraising:

Research
This forms a solid basis of understanding of your organization’s fundraising endeavors, not to mention its individual constituent relations. From basic records management to in-depth interviews, information is key to success. With proper research, the interests, needs, charitable backgrounds, professional experiences, personal connections and links to your organization are identified and recorded.

Recruiting
This phase is going on constantly, but primarily during the same time frame as heavy research. Volunteer leaders, including development committee members, board members, and campaign steering chairpersons play integral roles in successful fundraising campaigns. The amount of work involved and the number of prospective contributors and volunteers connected with the organization, who must be contacted, requires proper recruitment and management.

Romance
Commonly called cultivation, this is perhaps the most important part of the process. All contact with prospective contributors is a form of cultivation. Every newsletter, email, phone call, tweet or Facebook message, event, and publicity item serves to inform and pique the interest your organization’s potential supporters. Romancing these prospective major donors, volunteers, and community leaders occurs on a regular basis leads to strategic and successful solicitations. The goal is to encourage prospects to become actively engaged and connected.

Request
This is the good part, where individual prospects are asked, or invited, to invest in the organization. It’s important to note that the levels of gift size and donor satisfaction are increased with proper romancing or cultivation. Actual soliciting of contributions is carried out by key organization leaders and volunteers who are personally engaged in the organization and connected to the person(s) being solicited.

Recognition
Early, frequent, and creative ways to thank volunteers and donors will insure that they stay involved and invested in your organization. It breeds proper stewardship of future donations of time and dollar. It also sets a pattern which other prospects will notice, which be a determining factor when they’re asked to contribute funds.

Every contact, with every individual prospect, involves one or more of the Five R’s. Planning ahead and maximizing the effectiveness of those contacts is what will drive your organizations closer to its fundraising goal.

 

Things you should know about year-end giving

The final two months of the calendar year can provide a significant amount of support for charitable organizations, if leveraged properly. Through working with many non-profit organizations, coupled with extensive research, we strong believe in the power of the Season of Giving.

Let the following statistics state our case.

  • The average total amount holiday givers plan to donate is $281.
  • 22% of donors will contribute to just one organization
  • 55% of donors will spread their contributions across two to three organizations
  • 23% of donors will give to four or more nonprofit groups.
  • Two-thirds plan to donate the same amount as last year, and 12% plan to increase their contributions this holiday season.

If that’s not enough, enjoy these statistics:

  • Between 35%-42% of online giving happens in November and December.
  • About 40% of online gifts are made in December.
  • For many charities, giving in December brings in about 1/3 of the fundraising dollars.
  • Online giving happens largely between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays.
  • Online giving (by dollars) on December 31 is concentrated between 10a.m. and 6 p.m. in each time zone.
  • For many organizations, more than 20% of all giving for the entire year occurs in the last 48 hours of the calendar year.

Have you implemented your year-end giving strategy? Do you have one?

Campaigns we help design can see benefits in three primary areas:
Revenue

  • You can raise a little or a lot – either way, it provides new funding
  • Each non-profit is different – varying sizes, varying needs, varying degrees of public presence, varying depths of constituencies
  • Roughly 40% of all giving comes in during month of December

Exposure

  • Solid year-end campaign can create a lot of exposure
  • Local media can play a key role. In most communities, local newspapers, radio stations, and tv networks actively seek ‘feel good’ and ‘community inspiring’ stories
  • Social media creates increasing connections and relationships
  • Email marketing remains a strong tool to engage your existing database of constituents

New supporters

  • In the form of new donors and volunteers, a public relations campaign can lure in new batch of supporters
  • Recruits people who were unfamiliar with the organization
  • Gives your development team a great source of new leads to prospect

If you don’t have a year-end giving strategy, contact us right away. Though we’re just weeks away from the new year, it’s not too late to maximize the opportunity.

 

The issue with our new project – GiftingWishes

We’re barely one month since the creation of GiftingWishes.com and we’re already addressing one major issue. While we suspected it could haunt us, we didn’t expect it to hit this soon.

Each non-profit leader who registers their wishes with GiftingWishes, represents an organization which we become instantly attached. Whether it’s the mission, their beneficiaries, their locations, or their future plans, we (the GiftingWishes team) become attracted as potential donors and voluntary leaders. It’s a “virus” that affects both John from YourVolunteers and Pete from NPcatalyst, but neither of us are looking for a remedy. Instead, we’re actively seeking to infect others with ways to support these organizations.

Here’s a brief sampling of the organizations registered on GiftingWishes and you may quickly recognize our “issue” or, really, opportunity!

  • I am Love Farms (San Diego, CA) – a Veteran Equine Assisted Therapy Charity that helps Armed Forces Veterans heal the visible & non-visible wounds of war through the practice of love, equine assisted therapy & good horsemanship.
  • Arbor Bay School (San Carlos, CA) – fosters academic and social success for children with learning differences through individualized instruction in a small classroom environment.
  • The First Tee of Northern Nevada (Reno, NV) – impacts the lives of young people in northern Nevada by providing learning facilities and educational programs that promote character-development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf.

We encourage you to become familiar with these organizations and consider supporting them through your time and/or dollar. Even if you contribute an hour or a $10 donation, your leadership will go a long way toward fulfilling their wishes and helping pave the road to greater sustainability.

For more information about GiftingWishes, YourVolunteers, or NPcatalyst, click on those links or send a note to info@npcatalyst.com or call 775-333-9444.

Working with community leaders to build stronger communities!

Nonprofit wish lists can be an opportunistic resource

 

It seems that most nonprofits have more needs than they have resources to fill. By creating a “wish list”, organizations present donors, volunteers, and prospects with specific ways they can engage. Typically, some items on a wish list can be fulfilled with a monetary gift, but most are usually items that are needed.

According to noted non-profit professional, Deane Brengle (blog), “Wish lists are not unheard of within the fundraising community. They are, however, an under-utilized resource available to all nonprofit organizations no matter what the size.”

Charities post wish lists and hope the items are hand-delivered to their doorsteps. While this may happen on occasion, it doesn’t happen as often as they’d wish.  Increasing the likelihood of this happening, these organizations can provide additional, specific information. This includes a detailed description of the items in need, the number needed, and its value to the organization or beneficiary. By providing descriptive information, prospective supporters will have a distinct idea in mind of what to purchase.

Fundraising expert Sandy Rees (blog) believes “You can include literally anything on a Wish List – everything from cleaning products to refrigerators, vans, and forklifts! I would suggest including a range of items from toilet paper and copy paper on the low end to whatever you need on the high end. Nothing is too strange because you never know when someone reading your list will have just what you need.”

Customarily, donors go out and purchase, then deliver wish list items to the charities they choose to support. This will always be an opportunity. But that’s not the only way to transact wish list giving.

Perhaps the charitable organization would accept funds for the necessary items but, rather than the donor purchasing and delivering, the organization’s staff or volunteers could go out and purchase them on their own. While this takes time away from their daily routine, by doing their own purchasing, charity leaders are benefiting in other ways. At a minimum, this presents an opportunity to begin building sustainable relationships with merchants, likely discussing (or receiving) items at further discounted prices, and purchasing exactly what they need (as opposed to using what the donor delivers).

According to Sandy, “The easier you make it for a donor to act, the more likely they will.”

Fundraising through wish lists is not a new concept within the non-profit sector. However, if properly utilized, leveraged, and promoted, it can become an integral part of an organization’s private funding model.

For more information about wish list giving, contact NPcatalyst at 775-333-9444 or info@npcatalyst.com.

The finest year-end gift I’ve seen is…

…one that develops into a true, lifelong partnership. This involves the creation of a strong relationship with a non-profit organization that creates the impact that the donor had intended.

I’m amazed each year at the many campaigns aimed at encouraging “year end” donations to charities. In my twenty-plus years as a non-profit leader, I’ve created many of these campaigns. That said, the greatest value of these efforts is the initiation of new and growing donor relationships.

But now that a new year has begun, I challenge anyone interested in donating to be proactive about their giving. While it’s “customary” for non-profit organizations to pursue supporters, why couldn’t donors approach giving (time and dollar) much like you do a new job, car or home. Much like those pursuits, proactive philanthropy enables you to make wise charitable investments. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Think about the causes which yield your greatest interest, passion and connection;
  • Identify the organizations which employ programs and activities that affect those causes
  • Research each non-profit organization to target those which make the greatest fit for you. Areas to analyze can include: data and efficiency, finance and fund development, governance, human resources and public information.
  • Make a personal contact to the organization(s) you find the greatest connection by communicating with board and/or staff members. Enlisting as a volunteer or calling to learn more are great ways to create a relationship.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a charity which won’t happily accept your year-end donation. Many of these transactions, however, can merely be just transactions. Now, when you make giving of your time and dollar more of a strategy, you’ll find an incredible wealth of excitement, synergy and reward through the relationships you develop and, at the same time, the first-hand witnessing of your direct impact.

If you’re interested in learning more and/or creating a giving strategy, give us a call or click onto http://www.npcatalyst.com/.

Community Investments as Vehicles for Corporate Growth

By Pete Parker

As a business leader, what is your impression of the non-profit community? Do you view the organizations within the sector as always seeking support in their attempt to create impact? Or, do you look at community organizations as vehicles of opportunity; vehicles of performance; vehicles of growth?

As a leader of your company, you’re continually looking for ways to maximize the return on your investments, particularly the funds spent on people and marketing. You incorporate all the typical (tried and true) methods of generating profits. But have you ever considered viewing the non-profit sector as an investment?

It’s likely that your business receives countless requests from local charities to make donations, sponsor events, or contribute to people in need. And, it’s likely that you’ve supported these organizations either through your marketing, charitable contributions, and/or advertising budgets for truly noble reasons. If you or your business has supported causes or organizations, kudos to you. There’s no doubt that your support met deserving community needs.

Have you ever leveraged your community investments? If you haven’t viewed the non-profit sector as a vehicle for corporate growth, you might consider taking a deeper look. As you do, you might want to keep in mind the potential value driven by corporate donations and employee volunteerism.

For example, did you ever think that one of your company’s best practices could be to feature employee volunteerism as one method of retaining your most qualified personnel? Not only are you adding a level of flexibility to your staff member’s daily routine, you’re enabling your staffer to become more in-tune and connected with the community. If you typically send staff to conferences to pick up new skills, you’ll see considerable savings (and improved skills retention) by encouraging staff members to volunteer in roles which could provide benefit to your company. One idea would be to send an accounting staffer to a non-profit organization which has an opportunity on its marketing and/or development committees.

    As a result of Illinois-based, Adventist Midwest Health’s strategic plan, which aims to improve employee engagement and patient satisfaction, employee turnover has decreased and employee satisfaction has increased.

And for example, do you completely leverage the benefits offered through event sponsorships? With most, sponsors receive a table (or foursome), where they’re able to bring guests. Well, could you fill the spots with top clients or hot prospective clients? Most sponsorship benefits include public displays of your image (on letters, posters, advertisements, programs and/or websites. Rather than simply send a logo, you might think about sending along a message (like your mission, or a call-to-action). How about placing a reciprocal link with the charity’s logo (and reason for supporting) on your website? Would you consider issuing a press release announcing your partnership with the community organization?

    According to the 2007 Cone Cause Evolution Environmental Survey, “There has been a shift in the value equation: good business used to be primarily about providing quality products/services at a fair value. But this is no longer sufficient for competitive differentiation. Companies need to display humanity and support issues that resonate with stakeholders to build emotional relevance and loyalty.”

These are just two examples to leveraging (and impacting) your company’s marketing and human resources efforts…or in a different light…your human and financial capital.

    The UK-based Charities Aid Foundation, states it quite clearly, a successful community investment program can build partnerships with mutual benefit to your company and society; boost staff morale and company loyalty; develop your employees’ skills; enhance your company’s image and reputation; and, influence how government and local bodies see your organization.

Whether in difficult or strong economic climates, leaders in both the corporate and non-profit sectors need to continually look at opportunities for growth. When these leaders realize the strength and potential for excellence created through synergistic partnerships, everyone wins…the corporation; the community organization; and most of all, the community.

Call for Community-Benefit Organization Information

By Pete Parker

It’s no secret that building community strength lies at the heart of my personal and professional missions. I’ve sought to accomplish this by creating opportunities for both community members and organizations, linking organizations to resources (and vice-versa), and opening doors of possibilities.

While I continue working to strengthen community organizations, I actively engage with individual and corporate donors looking to be more strategic with their voluntary and financial gifting. Many are seeking to support organizations which are more aligned with their interests, goals, passions, and capacities to give. It’s exciting to see the synergy created by connecting these potential donors…which make ideal board, major gift and general volunteer candidates…to organizations interested in growth and community impact.

One of these donors, a successful local business, has asked me to present a roster of deserving community-benefit organizations from which they can choose to allocate their voluntary and financial resources. Presenting this list will compliment my next presentation (on June 15), which will be a discussion of the value of establishing community connections. While I know of many community organizations, I would serve as a more valuable resource if I presented a booklet (along with personal insight) of organization profiles.

To make this happen, I’ve designed a simple (3-5 minute) Community Information Profile Form to capture contact information, service opportunities, financial needs, and special event notes for community organizations. All organizations, regardless of location, are welcome to complete the form and, as a result, create a profile for the potential donors with whom I work.

The information form is located at: http://bit.ly/duEi5H.

Please note that your information will not be sold, but may be provided to those interested in learning more about your organization.

Because meeting with other individuals and businesses are planned, all organizations (regardless of geographical location) are encouraged to submit information. Even if just one connection is made, it could be that one connection which spurs a lifetime of outstanding support.