Don’t Limit Your Donors

Don't limit your donors.

Thought you’d like to see some advice that Jonathan Steck shared recently around the ol’ Better Fundraising water cooler. 

We serve a bunch of organizations who – perhaps like people at your organization – are worried about the increased amount of fundraising they plan to send out during the last few weeks of the year.

Jonathan is our Creative Director, and he sent the following email to our team:

Hey gang,

We’re getting a handful of clients lately who are pushing back on the amount of fundraising content we’re recommending be sent at this time of year. 

This is not unusual. 

I mentioned this in our traffic meeting yesterday, but one of the better responses you can provide clients who are concerned with volume at year-end is this:

We shouldn’t decide when the donor gives, or how they should spend their money.  Let the donor make that decision.  

The moment we (as fundraisers) stop sending appeals, we immediately limit a donor’s opportunity to give.  Organizations think they are being considerate of their donors, but they’re really robbing them of the chance to make a difference in the world.  

So, if the objection comes up, just encourage your clients not to cancel their year-end content.  Let the donor make the decision to give or not.  

Happy fundraising! 

I love this.  It treats donors like adults.

Don’t let fear set your boundaries for how much fundraising you do in the next few weeks.  (Or ever, for that matter!)

Quick Example

And here’s a quick example for you.  Jonathan and I just got out of a meeting with a nonprofit who followed our advice.  They just completed a campaign where they sent 18 emails in 18 days. 

They are thrilled with how much money they raised.  They raised 60% more than they did last year.  And they didn’t see any of the negative consequences that some of their staff feared: no mass amounts of unsubscribes, no angry calls from major donors. 

Just money coming in, day after day for 18 days.  Money they can use to do more of their mission.

Our Job as Fundraisers

Our job as Fundraisers is to be “sold out” for our beneficiaries or cause – and NOT to limit how much or how often a donor can give.

If you’re thinking it won’t work for your donors, or that your donors are special for some reason, read this.

This year-end, use optimism as a tool

And as Jonathan says, Happy Fundraising!

You Change the World

Change the world.

A bit of encouragement for you today…

Do you want to change the world?

A direct response Fundraiser can change the world just by sending out an email.

By doing something almost everybody does – sending an email, of all things – a Fundraiser can change the world by raising money.

A donor’s money that was going to do something is now doing your thing. Your organization is now going to do more. And your donor loved giving the gift.

Email sent. World changed.

Food for thought: how many people do you think have the skill to send emails – to people they’ve never even met – and have some of those people reply with large amounts of money?

Not very many.

Develop your skills to raise money, in email or direct mail or telemarketing or radio, and you can have a meaningful job for the rest of your life.

People and organizations will value your ability to change the world. They will value your ability to take all the things your nonprofit does and create fundraising that makes your donor want to take action now.

Because while a lot of fundraising just makes a point, you’ll create fundraising that makes a difference.

That sounds like changing the world to me.

Four Ways to Get More from Your Capital Campaign

Get More Money

Many of our clients are already busy planning their next Capital Campaign.

And a common question they’re asking is this: how can they incentivize smaller corporate donors to make a donation to the cause?

Let me give you an example…

One organization I work with is wanting to build an Early Learning Center for underserved kids.  It will include a playground, activity rooms, classrooms, and a host of naming-rights opportunities.  But they’re rightly wanting to reserve these valuable naming opportunities for their mega donors.

So, what about smaller corporate donors?  What can motivate them to give during a capital campaign?

It’s our role as fundraisers simply to do our best job to sweeten the pot.

You see, smaller business owners usually have three pockets:

  • A personal pocket
  • A marketing and promotion pocket
  • A business and philanthropy pocket. 

Capital Campaign incentives for mega donors – like naming rights for a playground or classroom – target the third pocket. 

So, for smaller businesses, we need to focus on the second.  It’s all about how much promotion or recognition they can get for their donation.

As such, we’re forced to think outside the box to get sizeable donations from the marketing and promotion pocket.  Here are four simple ways you can incentivize smaller businesses to support your Capital Campaign:

  1. Provide the prospective business or corporation with an opportunity to display their name/logo on your website for a period of time
  2. Mention them in social media, give them shout-outs, tag them, and share their good work with your followers
  3. Add their name/logo to any email that you send to your community
  4. Include them in a press release to a local media partner, such as a radio station or newspaper

Of course, every campaign and every small business is different.  But I’ve found, more often than not, that finding unique and creative ways to recognize smaller businesses is a sure-fire way to involve them in your Capital Campaign.