What more is there than the gift? Isn’t getting the gift the only thing that really matters?
After all, we have a budget to meet. We have clients to serve. We have a building, and overhead, and expenses.
So we send out letters. We host galas. We produce an annual report and send newsletters to communicate how well we are doing.
But wait, we are short of our goal. Our direct mail fell flat. Can’t get our Board and Staff to contribute. Our gala didn’t raise enough money and we only got names from half of those who did attend. And our development office is understaffed.
If this sounds familiar, that’s ok. Take a breath. Read on.
As fundraisers we know that our work is important. We know that the health and well-being of our organization is dependent upon our work. Our outcomes.
But while we “chase the money” we overlook the most important component of the fundraising equation.
The donor? Yes. The donor does give the gift. They attend our galas. Their names are in our annual reports and on our buildings.
But donors need more. They want more. They deserve more.
Donors are so much more than ATM machines dispensing $10, $100, $1000 as our needs arise.
Donors are partners in our mission. They are with us because the mission and ministry matters to them. They have reserved a place for our organization in their heart.
Science shows that “giving increases the amount of dopamine and serotonin in our brains—leading to increased happiness.” Giving actually makes donors happy!
The Association of Fundraising Professionals defines fundraising as “the raising of assets and resources from various sources for the support of an organization or a specific project.” Blah, blah, blah . . . .
In reality “Fundraising” is about helping people connect their existing passion directly to your cause. It’s not about “convincing” them to give. It’s about helping them realize that they already care. Donors believe that it is a “privilege” to give to charity.
Fundraising is about what we do WITH our donors not TO our donors.
According to nonprofit guru Jeff Brooks, “When you ask [for a gift of support], you become part of the donor's world — a place where love, empathy and self-empowerment combine with generosity to make the world and the donor better.”
Yes you need the money to fulfill your mission. Without it you can’t exist. Neither can we exist without a community of passionate and faithful donors. It is their commitment to your cause, their connection to your good work that inspires their giving.
And remember, you are not the only charity Mr. & Mrs. Donor are supporting.
The results of the 2014 AFP Fundraising Effectiveness Survey shows organizations lose at least 57 percent of their donors annually. This translates into more than $25 billion in donations at stake. That’s significant turnover and missed opportunity.
Donors tell us that in making their giving decisions, they need to . . .
Dr. Adrian Sargeant tells us that
“to keep donors loyal and happy and giving [year after year], you only have to connect two dots. Dot #1: the generous, wonderful, compassionate, kind donor. Dot #2: The good outcome that your donors’ grand and empathetic hearts will make possible (children saved, poor fed, people in crisis helped). Connect these two dots. Only those dots. [No third dot about your charity.] Your donors will not respond to that stuff. Just the opposite, in fact. When you insert a big fat third dot all about you [your organization], donors give less and leave sooner.”
“You can keep doing what you're doing and you'll keep getting the results you've been getting,” or you can put the Donor at the center of your fundraising equation.
Donors give with their heart. They believe giving is a privilege. They want to be inspired. They want to feel appreciated.
They want to walk with us side-by-side in fulfilling the mission and ministry.
Because, giving makes them happy.
This is an exciting time! Go through your database. Get to know your donors. Call each of them at least once per year regardless of how much they give. Celebrate their passion and generosity. Tell them a lot how their gift made a difference -- to the children, the seminarians, the sick and frail, the parishioners, and the faithful.
If you do this, you’ll get the gift(s) and so very much more.
-published in July 2015 "Dimensions", a publication of the National Catholic Development Conference
“Education is not filling a pail but the lighting of a fire.” - William Butler Yeats
Welcome back to school!
This new school year represents new opportunities to “light the fire”.
“Light the fire” . . .
in your students – inspire emotional and spiritual growth.
in your staff and faculty – encourage mentoring and sharing of their wisdom and knowledge.
in your school community – highlight the positive impact on your students.
in your friends and donors – compel their hearts and souls to give.
Your families, friends and donors want you to ask them for a gift of support.
They need to give. They want to give.
You just have to ask them. You have to “light the fire” within them.
So, how can YOU “light the fire”?
“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” – Maya Angelou
You ask your donors for money to pay for “X” – the new addition, a soccer field, technology, the “gap” between what it costs to educate and the tuition you collect.
Your donors give you money to pay for “X”. But to them, it is NOT about money. It is about helping, about changing the world, about making a difference.
“Your donors, like all people need to give. It’s about something outside of ourselves, and not about money.” Donors know it is good to give. They give with joy. Giving blesses the giver. When donors give, they confirm their deepest and truest feelings; their hearts guide their behavior. Giving transforms the donors’ lives and the lives of others. (R Perry & J. Schreifels)
To your donors, it is about educating students. It’s about creating future leaders. It’s about creating good Christian leaders and citizens.
As you plan your next fundraising appeal, ask the following questions:
“The best fundraising is simple and focused. It tells a fast, vivid, real-life story. It promises results and offers proof that those results will happen. It gives donors a ton of credit for making the results possible. It is a pleasurable, empowering, spirit-renewing experience for the donor.” (T. Ahern)
Let your fundraising tell your school’s story . . . where you have been; where you are; where you are going.
If you can “light the fire” in your donors; if you can elicit that emotional response, your friends and donors will give your school a gift of support.
Then you can say to your donor . . . . “Because of your gifts, we can teach tomorrow’s leaders. Because of you, great things happen. Thank you.”
Let J. Milito & Associates help you “light the fire” and transform the lives of your donors thereby blessing the lives of the children we serve.
Contact us today.
November 4th is an important date. It is Mid-Term Election Day across this great country of ours. It is the time when we can exercise our Constitutional right to vote.
The two months leading up to November 4th are even more important. During this time the campaigns will be in full swing with mailboxes and phones inundated with requests to support candidates and ballot proposals.
During this same time many of you will be kicking off or cleaning up your "Friends of Scouting" campaigns.
While these candidates and proposals may not be in direct competition with you for your donors, they will directly affect your ability to connect with your donors -- whether they open your mail, attend your events, or answer your calls.
This year, it is important that your fundraising “asks” occur before October 15th. October is the busiest fundraising month of the election cycle. Additionally, many United Ways have their black-out time during this period as well. You can begin fundraising again after the elections.
To be successful in your Fall 2014 fundraising efforts, there are a few things to keep you from getting lost in the election season shuffle:
By starting your Friends of Scouting campaigns in August and early September you can beat the crowds and keep your Council from getting lost in the election cycle shuffle.
J. Milito & Associates can help you reach out to your current and lapsed donors now! Our successful telephone fundraising services are being used by Boy Scout Councils from coast to coast.
“The positive results that we received from our campaign with J. Milito and Associates has helped us expand our efforts to help our organization with its mission.” – Dan Busby, Boy Scouts of America, Michigan Crossroads Council, Southern Shores Field Service Council