Custom Fundraising Services


“In good times and bad, we know that people give because you meet [their] needs, not because you have needs.”~ Kay Sprinkel Grace

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.

Most donors give from the heart. According to a research “if organizations want to raise money for a charitable cause, it is far better to appeal to the heart than to the head. Put another way, feelings, not analytical thinking, drive donations.”

Giving benefits donors’ health. Scientific studies show that “giving not only provides donors with a sense of purpose, but it also increases the amount of dopamine and serotonin in our brains—leading to increased happiness.”

So it is essential that your organization have simple, emotionally compelling messages that are regularly shared with donors and the community. A story that touches the heart and makes a person feel good, will most likely inspire giving. Donors remain generous donors when their hearts are full and happy.

While we know it is far easier and cheaper to raise money from your current donors, it’s also good to engage new friends, alumni, and family into the organization’s giving community.

These folks are called non-donors, or as I like to call them, “not yet donors”.

So what is the difference between donors and non-donors and how do you engage and support their giving relationship with your organization?

A donor is "a person who donates something, especially money to a fund or charity.” They have been “asked” in a way that touches their heart, prompting an affirmative response.

According to nonprofit guru Jeff Brooks:

Nearly everyone you communicate with when you raise funds is squarely in the donor category. These people donate!  

They're always free to say no to any request, but they operate under this "deal": If you go to them with a compelling, meaningful and relevant reason to give, and if they agree with you, trust you and the time is right for them, they give.

When you ask, 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.

I can't think of any other relationship in the wider marketing world where the "buyer" and the "seller" are so perfectly aligned or where so much good accrues to both sides.

This is utterly liberating. You don't have to tiptoe and apologize around donors. You can be bold and joyful, and that always leads to stronger fundraising.”

In other words, most all people are donors. They give, just not to your organization. They are your “not-yet-donors”.

So how do we engage these “not-yet-donors”?

How do we inspire the passion in the “not-yet-donor” that helps them realize they want to help the cause?

  1. Remember . . . they are already donors, just not to your cause . . . yet.
  2. Believe deeply in your heart and head that donors matter.
  3. Genuinely respect and honor your donors and the difference that they make in the world. Don’t treat them like ATM machines.
  4. Make your “ask” about them, not you. This is not a one-night stand. Donors want to know you’ll be there in the “morning”.
  5. Show and tell the donors what’s in it for them. Demonstrate that good feeling a donor can receive from taking action. Be enthusiastic and real.
  6. Speak directly to the donors and their likes and interests. Connect with them. Find a way to build a relationship with them as you guide them into the donor family.
  7. Share stories regularly about how donors’ gifts are making a difference.
  8. Say “Thank You” a lot and mean it.
  9. Ask them for a specific amount to contribute to the cause. They need you to ask for exactly what you want. Be confident. Be direct. Be specific.
  10. Have fun!

* * *

Connect with these not-yet-donors via direct mail, email, social media and special events and, yes, even telefundraising.

Telefundraising remains one of the most effective means of communications when attempting to convert supporters to donors. The practice enables a dialogue between nonprofits and their perspective donors, which can lay the foundation for engaged activists and consistent support and engagement.” (Gabe Raff)

Contact J. Milito & Associates today for help connecting you with your not-yet-donors.

You’ll be glad you did!

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… 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… 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!



Page 3 of 3