Custom Phone-a-thon Services

Do you hear the clock ticking?

If your fiscal year ends June 30, you have less than 120 days to meet your Annual Fund Goal.

Are you going to meet your goal?

Your leadership is counting on you…..to meet your goal.

Your students and their parents are counting on you….to have enough tuition assistance funds to keep tuition affordable and accessible.

Your valuable teachers are counting on you…..to provide funding for classroom resources and professional development.

So with 120 days to fiscal year end, what is your strategy for finishing strong so your school or organization can continue its mission and strong tradition as you close out this year?

Here are 4 simple things you should be doing right now to help you meet your goal . . .

  1. Identify an “angel”, a benefactor who will provide a “Matching Gift Challenge.” Leveraging a larger gift is a great way to inspire your donors and supporters to give a gift of support.
  2. Put the finishing touches on your final (spring) direct mail appeal of the year and mail very soon to your lapsed donors who have not given you a gift yet this fiscal year. Make sure your message inspires your donors to give. Make it short and sweet and remember: Thank your awesome donors and let them know how they are needed to help reach your goal – “Our current and future students are counting on you to help us reach our goal and put us over the top!”
  3. Use all your social media, publications, postcards, year-end events and eblasts your powerful message to everyone else who is connected with your school.
  4. Follow up the letter and eblasts with a phone-a-thon to personally reach out and reconnect with your lapsed donors to ask for that gift of support.

It can all be done and we can help. We have an easy 5-step process for conducting a successful phone-a-thon for your school and the good news is that there’s still time!

The clock is ticking……..5 Steps to a Successful Phone-a-thon

During this season of love and romance we are reminded just how important it is for us to demonstrate our love and appreciation for our donors. And oh so important, to not just show our love during the Valentine’s season, but also throughout the year. Make Valentine’s Day every day for your donors.

The reality is, that if you don’t make your donors feel good about their experience of giving to your organization, they’ll will most certainly move on to another equally deserving but more attentive organization.

In a 2006 study, Jorge Moll and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health found that when people give to charities, it activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust, creating a “warm glow” effect. Scientists also believe that altruistic behavior releases endorphins in the brain, producing the positive feeling known as the “helper’s high.”

Your organization is responsible for keeping that “warm glow” alive in your donors.

And remember . . . all of your donors, the $25 donor and the $5,000 donor, deserve your LOVE . . . .

  1. Say Thank You and mean it. Thank ALL of your donors often. Say “thank you” like you mean it. Thank them warmly and sincerely, and help them feel good about their decision to give to your organization. Thank them in a handwritten notes and personal phone calls. Remember a gift receipt is NOT a Thank you. If all you send is a receipt, your donor will not feel the appreciation required to make a second gift.
  2. Communicate with your donors (not at them). Make sure you tell your donors all about the great things they made possible. Engage them in conversation. Talk person to person. Communicate with them like they are your very best friend since grade school. The great Tom Ahern says, “Your job . . . is to bestow purpose and meaning in exchange for support. That's all you have to do. It's simple.
  3. Shower your donors with tales of their excellence and value. Your donors want to know what your organization is doing that matters. They want to know how your programs are changing lives, are making a difference. They are not so interested in hearing about what a great organization you are. They want to hear about the transformational donor experiences of their peers (other donors).
  4. Focus on the donor and the dollars will follow. It is about building relationships. It is about connecting with people who believe so passionately in your mission that they are willing to give of themselves and their resources to help you make a difference in the world. Each donor is a unique partner in your life changing work. Focus on what they want to do with their giving and why it giving to your cause is important to them. Then help them. And remember, please don’t treat your donors like they are ATM machines.
  5. Be Accountable . . . Be a Good Steward. Trust is a precious commodity. You have been entrusted to uphold your organization’s mission by the people who support you with their money, time, and trust. You must be transparent. You donors need to know that you did in fact use their gift for the purposes you outlined in your solicitations. Being accountable for the funds you raise will keep your donors contributing to your cause. Lost trust is difficult if not impossible to repair. According to Stephen Covey, “Trust is the glue of life. It's the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It's the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”
  6. Listen and Ask. Do you know your donors? Not their name, address, last gift, and giving potential. Do you know what inspires, drives, and excites them? Do you know why they give to your organization? Don’t assume you know the answer to these questions. You need to interact regularly with your donors to know who they are and what prompts their decision to give to your organization. There is so much you could learn from your donors. Be open to what they have to say and offer. Be sincere. This will create a special bond that builds trust and relationship.

Do you love your donors? Do they feel the love?

Contact J. Milito & Associates today.  We can help you show your donors the "Love" they deserve.

4 Things Your Organization Must Do in 2015.

Wow, so hard to believe it is 2015. It seems like yesterday when we stressed about Y2K.

Where does the time go?

At the beginning of the New Year, many of us take time to reflect on the past year and resolve to make changes and try new things.

Others may unconsciously hit the “replay” button, because last year was “just fine”.

This year can be an important year for you and your organization. Waiting out there are a lot of surprises and joys. And some difficulties and disappointments also. It is up to you how successful and fulfilling 2015 can be for your organization.

Richard and Jeff in their Passionate Giving Blog share 4 things your organization must do to have a good 2015.

  • Remember what your work is all about. It is about healing the hurts, bringing light and understanding to a situation, creating awareness, and calling all of us back to this fact: there are people out there who need our help. Come back to that reality and get grounded in it.
  • Remember fundraising is mostly about donors. The donors want to make a difference this year. Your job is to help them do it. You should be primarily focused on helping the donor make a difference, not on getting their money. Keep this focus and balance in all the work you will do throughout this year.
  • Celebrate the difference that has been made. Work extra hard this year to tell your donors that their giving has made a difference. This is the Achilles heel of fundraising –that results in thousands of good donors simply going away and taking their millions of dollars to other organizations. Make a specific commitment to constantly tell each donor what their giving has done. It will bring them a lot of joy, and it will keep them as donors.
  • At least once a week, let your heart be broken by the brokenness of others and the state of our planet. On a regular basis, specifically seek stories and situations that will remind you of reality and call you back to the important values we are committed to. Stay in touch with the reality of your work. $100 is a lot of money and that $100 can do so very much in the life of another person.

So ask yourself, does your plan for 2015 include pushing the “replay” button for more of the same? If you are satisfied with your 20% retention rate and the high cost of acquiring new donors, then keep doing that same-old, same old.

Or will you take what you have learned and experienced last year and remember what your work is all about? Will you try new things? Take risks? Learn from your mistakes? Pick yourself up and try again?

The results will amaze you!

Let the team at J. Milito & Associates be part of your 2015 plan. Let us help you remind your donors that their giving does indeed make a difference!

Happy 2015!

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:

    • What sets your school/project/need apart from all the others?
    • What important benefits do the students receive?
    • What important benefit will the donor receive?
    • What will happen if the donor takes action? What will happen if they don’t take action?
    • What compelling stories can you share that will “light the fire” in your donors?

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:

  • Get ready to fundraise now! Do you have a plan for Acquisition, Retention and Upgrading your donors (acquiring new donors, retaining the donors that already support your BSA Council, and upgrading giving amounts of your donors)
  • Stay focused on your mission. Your work is important, so make sure you shout this loud and clear. 
  • Spend your fundraising time wisely. With more groups raising money for election-related work, use your plan to identify the donor segments to reach out to. This is a good time to reach out to lapsed donors and major donors. 
  • Reach out to your donors anyway. Don’t assume they won’t give or they will give less. US donors give on average to 6-10 groups and won’t typically move their donations from one organization to another, unless, the organization is no longer meeting their needs. Some of your donors may give you less. Some may give you more. This is a perfect time to upgrade your other donors.

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

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. now. You’ll be glad you did. The Scouts will be glad too!

 

 

Is your data dirty?

The US Postal Service reports that approximately 48 million Americans move each year. This is about 17% of the adult population. So, if your database contains 15,000 records, potentially 2,500 constituents may have different addresses.

Data is the lifeblood of organizations. Yet it is something that all organizations seem to have a challenge updating and maintaining.

To maintain high data quality it is important to clean your data regularly. Regular cleaning will benefit your organization by lower marketing costs, increasing response rates, and improving donor engagement.

In other words, if you can no longer communicate with your donors because their contact data is no longer valid, then they will likely not be your donors anymore.

Ok, so how do I clean my data?

If you have a nonprofit bulk permit or claim other preferred mailing rates, the USPS requires that your mailing list be run through the National Change of Address (NCOA) processing within 90 days of the mailing.

In other words if you mail at least one time each year, you should run your list through NCOA. If you mail more frequently, then your data should be cleaned more frequently.

Even if your organization is moving away from mailing, you should still clean your data annually.

A CASS Summary Report is provided with the cleaned addresses. CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) means your addresses have been checked for accuracy against the Postal Service’s database using an approved system.

And remember, update your database every time you receive a CASS.

And what about my phone numbers? Can I clean them too?

It is very likely that if your addresses are not regularly run through NCOA as required, your phone numbers will not be accurate either.

Running a phone append will not only clean out bad numbers, but can also help you find phone numbers that were missing from your donor records.

It is important to note that NCOA can only go back 48 months, so the longer you wait to clean your data, the less likely you are to have good addresses or phone numbers.

Let J. Milito & Associates help you clean your data, communicate with your donors, and increase donations to your organization.

Send your data to the cleaners today!

Hi folks, Judy Milito, J. MIlito and Associates. This morning I want to talk to you about the value of a thank you call. You know why a personal thank you call is important to your donors? It's because they don't receive a lot of them. I'm going to tell you a story. My alma mater, Grand Valley State University here in Allendale, Michigan, during the summer time will call me because I am a graduate, and just say thank you. It happens usually during the spring or summer. When that telephone call happens it really warms my heart. I love it because I receive so few thank you calls from all the organizations that I support. So let this be a lesson. I think thank you calls are a valuable and very important. Your donors love them. I'll give you a couple tips. I think thank you calls should be made to every single donor no matter the size of their gift.

Let me tell you a little story before I end. One of my clients has our call center do his personal thank you calls to all of his donors. He tells us year after year those donors that are called increase their gifts year after year. So the value of a thank you call is very important. Do it!

Thank you. Talk to you soon.

 

JM6_2012Juddee Milito, CFRE, President
J. Milito & Associates, Inc.
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(616) 453-8711

Hi. Juddee Milito with J. Milito and Associates. Our company does telephone fundraising for a number of organizations in the U.S., mostly in the Midwest.

I want to talk to you about the importance of an outbound telephone fundraising phone-a-thon. It's so important to follow up on your "lybunts" and your "sybunts" and your NON donors. Lybunt is an industry term that relates to donors that gave 'last year but not yet this year.' They are your most prized donors. You do not want them to lapse away year after year. It's too hard to bring them back and too expensive to bring them back.

Okay, what's a sybunt? This term refers to someone who gives 'some years but not yet this year;' and everybody knows what a NON donor is. Now, the importance of a phone-a-thon using an outbound telephone fundraising company like ours is that we can call those lybunt and those sybunt donors, ask and renew and upgrade their gift of support, and take you UP over your fundraising goal.

Sometimes it's hard for your volunteers or students or friends, who have every good intention, to come into your organization and make those phone calls. They just can't make the ask. And you can't really afford to let these special donors lapse away.

During your phone-a-thon you have to make sure you plan the calls to follow the direct mail solicitation that you'll be doing. If you're sending out a full blown direct mail solicitation package with a brochure and a pledge card and a remit envelope then we suggest that calls begin four weeks after that solicitation lands in the household. If you are just doing a little e-blast, postcard or website notification, then those phone calls can happen right away...even the day after the postcard hits the mailbox.

So, plan your strategy, including your phone-a-thons and give us a call. We're happy to do the telephone fundraising for you, contacting your lybunts and sybunts and NONdonors this year. Thanks for reading!

 

JM6_2012Juddee Milito, CFRE, President
J. Milito & Associates, Inc.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(616) 453-8711

Hi, again. Juddee Milito with J. Milito and Associates here in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Our company does telephone fundraising for nonprofit organizations throughout the Midwest.

Today's topic is about the mechanics of a good direct mail solicitation letter. I've talked about this before, but it's important that you understand and know what's good and what doesn't work.

Most important is to plan your strategy and mail your direct mail solicitation on time. Spell my name right when you are sending me a direct mail piece, asking for a gift, especially if I'm the person who writes the check! And if my nickname is different from my salutation, use that in the body of the letter to personalize your message. Tell me a story. Tug at my heartstrings. Thank me for my last gift of support and tell me what it was. Then...Ask for a gift – whether it's a percentage over last year's gift or a gift string, make the ask! And, don't forget the P.S. Be sure there's a call to action at the end of the letter.

Thanks so much!

 

JM6_2012Juddee Milito, CFRE, President
J. Milito & Associates, Inc.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(616) 453-8711

Good morning! It's Juddee Milito with J. Milito and Associates. Today's topic is multi- year giving or, what we in the industry call, sustainer gifts. Some of you call them your monthly, quarterly or semi-annual donors. Whatever you call them, these are your donors, who give a regular gift via EFT. It's important to capture more donors who truly know and love you and ask them to give their gift of support on regular and on-going basis.

I'm talking about gifts of support that come to you electronically, through EFT. We capture sustainer donors in the call center all the time by asking for multi-year gifts that can be remitted on a regular basis electronically. It's easy to do via the telephone. It's easy to do via your direct mailings and on your website. It helps your donors become regular, sustaining donors who will help your organization succeed. And now you not only have sustaining donors, you have on-going cash flow.

Call me about some of our strategies and how we do this with other nonprofit organizations. I'd be happy to build a plan for you using telephone fundraising.

 

JM6_2012Juddee Milito, CFRE, President
J. Milito & Associates, Inc.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(616) 453-8711

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