I urge you to read The Permanent Disruption of Social Media, in the Winter 2013 edition of Stanford Social Innovation Review.
The authors’ premise is that in a world of social media, the old pyramid or ladder metaphor of donor engagement isn’t relevant any more. (If it ever worked at all.) But the old model implied a somewhat orderly process of communications and solicitations tied to giving frequency and levels. The bigger your gift, the more valuable you are, the more worthy of personalized attention.
The authors accuse this approach of being a one way street, from organization to donor, that ignores the new reality of influence.
For nonprofits, however, the phone is still a very powerful tool and should not be neglected. It connects people in a real way, and this connection makes donations soar!
Here are 3 proven ways to increase donations using a simple phone call that does not involve asking for money. Instead, these phone calls are to thank donors, update them and offer encouragement. The results are astounding!
“Give us the freedom we’ve never had before.”
Examples of wow! fundraising often arrive completely unexpectedly.
Yesterday’s email brought news from Christopher Lydon, host of Radio Open Source, that he met his Kickstarter campaign goal of $14,900 in the first 10 days of a 30 day campaign with a little extra to boot, over $21,000 raised.
The video for this campaign is a fundraising gem, doing all the right things.
Let’s be real. Fundraising is not a volunteer job that people jump on a board ready to be successful at. Or want to participate in at all. (Sure, Sure, every board member can help thank donors… but will everyone?)
So, if you, the development professional whose job it is to raise funds need some board members to assist, you are going to have to work very very hard, one-on-one, to help them be successful.
I run into this silliness all the time and I’m sure you do as well. Take the fiscal year end push for donations. I hate to break the news but, as a donor, it really doesn’t motivate me to get my gift in any sooner just because you have an August or October fiscal year deadline. My donations are organized by the calendar (and thus my tax) year and December 31 is the only deadline I really care about. Unless you had some truly compelling reason.
Maybe it’s because too many directors of development don’t act like it really is a profession with a body of knowledge that requires training and professional development. Case in point: why do development directors and executive directors believe that their board members have risen up out of the primordial ooze fully animated to be fundraising solicitors?
The other courageous ask was mentioned farther down in the story. It turns out that one of the teachers had posted a very bold gift request — $10,000 for a traveling computer lab — much larger that the range of other requests. And because she was so fearless in her request, she was nicely rewarded with what just what she asked for.
Again these serendipitous gifts don’t come along every day (or maybe they do, but we don’t hear about them very often).
Maybe someday your giving fairy tale will come true. But in the meantime, while you are waiting, don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.
But the PS grabbed me (and yes, I read the PS first. I quickly saw that the main message was bad news for me).
“P.S. Have you heard the Bates parking meter story? It’s two minutes and guaranteed to make you smile…”