Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Easiest Case for Support

Bas, a new fundraiser at a Dutch charity decided he needed to get out and meet some donors.

He looked at those donors who had given by direct mail, since that was most of them.  The third donor he spoke to (of a dozen he tried to call) agreed to meet him.  Indeed, she sounded excited. Her name was Jeanette.

Every Christmas for four years Jeanette gave €250, and for the big fistula appeal last June, a year ago, she gave €1,000. 

She also gave €500 last February, but this time to a young girls’ education appeal.  All were in response to letters she’d received from Bas’s charity, like the one below, which was their upcoming appeal.

Bas had been to a few conferences, and knew he needed a case for support.  But that seemed like it would take a lot of time to develop from scratch.

Now that Jeanette had agreed to meet, Bas had a look in more detail at her giving history.  She seemed to respond really well to issues about children and young people.

And the next direct mail appeal was all about fistula – something she had given very generously to in the past.

He decided the easiest thing to do would be to take the personalised direct mail she would be getting in the post and deliver it by hand.  The brilliant communications team in the charity had researched the topic really well. 

They had lots of photos for the direct mail campaign (many more than were used) and videos too.  They were running the videos in posts on social media and on their website.

He printed the photos out on good photo paper – like one of those envelopes of photos we used to get before photography went digital.  He also got the videos transferred to his Samsung tablet.




He had a good, long chat with the communications people, who had met the people featured in the appeal. Now he had a great – albeit second hand – story of the project from someone who’d been there. 

He would love to have taken one of those ‘witnesses’ with him, but he knew he would be visiting lots of donors, and dragging a communications or programs person to every one would not make financial sense.  He had to make this work on his own.

Now he had a great case study – basically the next direct mail appeal – and some extra material.  All at hardly any cost of money or time. 

Jeanette loved it.  She loved the time he gave her, the videos and the photos.  He made her feel special.  And she really cared about the young people he talked to her about.  She used to be a nurse, and knew all about fistula – a horrible but easily cured condition, which without treatment causes lots of problems for victims.

She gave him €20,000.  More than either expected.  Which actually allowed him to raise €100,000 more.  (But more about that in another article.)


Don’t use the lack of a case for support as a reason not to ask your direct mail donors for more.

They really care already, or they wouldn’t be donating. And you’ve got great material already!


By the way, if you're interested in learning more about how you can turn your mid value donors into major gift donors - you should join my next webinar, where I'll teach you a process to follow in order to do this. 

Click here to register for 'The Quickest, Cheapest and Easiest Way to Earn Extra Cash Now, Turn Mid Value Donors into Major Gifts In a Week.' 

The webinar will be live on 26th August (various time zones available) - the webinar recording and slides will be available for all who register, regardless of whether you can make the live webinar. 
  

Sean

Thursday, July 21, 2016

We've got to build a relationship! But when is the right time to ask?


We've got to build a relationship! Everyone says so. But when is the right time to ask?  



If they have a history of giving… all you need to do is ask!

Alex

Alex is a caring and loving person.  She really likes kids and hates the idea of any child, anywhere in the world suffering.

She loves the work of the charity Malnutrition: Unacceptable For Children (MUFC).  She found out about them through a letter she received from the lovely boss there, José.

Every Christmas for four years Alex gave £250, and for the big malnutrition appeal last June, a year ago she gave £1,000.  José wasn’t around, but MUFC’s star fundraiser, Javier had called her to say thank you on behalf of José.  She appreciated the gesture.

She also gave £500 last February, to another malnutrition appeal.  All were in response to letters she’d received from MUFC.

A new person at MUFC, Bastian called her to say thank you and to introduce himself.  He told her that Javier had actually left to work for a similar organisation in Germany, but he would be taking over.
He arranged to meet her and ask her about her giving and the latest campaign.  They had a really long chat and both left happy.  Bastian has tried to catch up with her a few times since, but she has been too busy.

Back at base, Bastian spoke with José and – unbeknown to Alex - they decided that they should concentrate on the really big donors as that was where the money was. And that people like Alex should just go into the direct mail pool.

Nigella

Nigella is also a caring and loving person.  She really likes kids and hates the idea of any child, anywhere in the world suffering.

She loves the work of the charity Let’s Feed Children (LFC).

She found out about them through a letter she received from the lovely boss there, Sven.

Every Christmas for four years she gave £250, and for the big hunger appeal last June, a year ago, she gave £1,000.  Sven had left a while back, but a new person, Claudia, had written to her to introduce herself and tell her about the work LFC were doing. 

It was quite a long letter that made her feel quite important!  Claudia remembered Nigella had told her on a previous donation form that she had two grand kids and asked her if they were well.  Claudia told her they were still a little short of target, so Nigella sent the lovely charity another £500.

She also gave £500 last February, to another malnutrition appeal.  All were in response to direct mail.  Claudia wrote again to thank her, and introduced her fundraiser, Jamie, whom she said would soon be in touch.

Jamie called her to say thank you.  He told her that the previous fundraiser, David, had actually left to work for a similar organisation in Middlesbrough, but Jamie would be taking over.

Jamie arranged to meet Nigella and ask her about her giving and the latest campaign.  They had a really long chat and both left happy.  But just before the end of the meeting, Jamie spoke to her about a special campaign that was coming up.

Jamie told her all about the kids needing help, including one she had met – little Marcus – who was really into football, and already impressing his friends. He had some video of Marcus playing football with friends – and Marcus shone above all the older boys!




Then Jamie showed pictures of the village, and the sorry state of affairs in Marcus’ home country. He showed Nigella the stark reality – which was much worse than she expected.

Jamie explained that without Nigella’s support to get this next campaign going, it would be tough for Marcus to even survive, never mind be able to enjoy himself.

Nigella decided to help and donated £5,000.

Back at base, Claudia and Jamie debriefed.  They really did appreciate Nigella’s donations but also knew they don’t have much time.  The plan was to meet, thank and ask Nigella in one go.  Her donations showed she really cared – she already had a relationship with LFC.

And they were right.

If you want to lift a mid value donor to major donations level it may take a while.  But time and time again we see that if someone is already a donor and willing to meet, you should probably ask.

Now, if I was trying to get £1,000,000 I probably would not ask for that straight away – but it wouldn’t harm the potential to give donors opportunities to invest in that mid value area first.

Sean

PS Any names or circumstances are purely coincidental. Sorry, England fans.

PPS If you're interested in how you can turn your mid value donors into major gift donors - you should join my next webinar, where we'll give you more details and a process on how to do this. 




This webinar will be live on 26th August (various time zones available), however even if you can't make the date the recording and slides will be available for all who register. 


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Is fundraising unique in different countries?

Learning and Sharing Across Three Continents

Learning and sharing across three continents!

This 'winter' I have headed North.  Very north in fact, starting in Alaska.  I am writing this on the plane from Vancouver.

I put 'winter' in quotes because the big advantage of crossing the equator is the season reversal. (Though surprisingly, the temperature is the same at home in Australia as it is in Anchorage, Yorkshire, Amsterdam and Dublin this week!)

If you are a charity or non-profit bod living in Anchorage (13 July - be quick!) Dublin (1-2 September), Amsterdam (6 or 7 Sep) or Vienna (19 or 20 Sep) I really hope that I may get chance to catch up with you there.

Across those cities I will be presenting on one or two of the three topics that I think offer the most fundraising opportunity to charities world-wide in 2016.

Not that I think these should replace any fundraising activity that is already working for you, but all could help enhance your current program, or be a new 'thing' in your portfolio.
  • Legacies/bequests.  By far and away the most important source of revenue per donor, and the area with the most potential from current databases of direct mail donors.
  • Mid and major donors.  The fastest, easiest and cheapest way to make more from your current database, and extend the life of current donor acquisition methods.  You may have already noticed my passion for this area with the fifteen or so emails/blogs or articles I have written on the topic recently!
  • Digital fundraising, especially using Facebook and looking globally.
Wherever you live, if you have a direct mail program, I bet you could do better with the first two legacies and mid/major donors.

Making digital fundraising work is a bit more challenging, and is not for everyone.  The three secrets to making digital work are:
  • A fantastic, strong, social offer
    • A message people would be willing to share with their friends AND take action.
    • "I need to do something about this" is the   feeling you want, not "Someone needs to do something about this."
  • The right audience.  Older people give more.  But getting a big enough volume of older donors is challenging.  Facebook is the key, and the larger your reach (why not global?) the better chance of success.
  • Budget and knowledge.  Strategic growth in digital fundraising is not free.  Whether out-sourced or in house, you need to pay for development, creative, media and integrate with phone.
If you want to know more about these topics...

... and you are in Anchorage (13 July) or Dublin (1-2 August) click on the city to find out more.

... and you are in Amsterdam (6 or 7 Sep) or Vienna (19 or 20 September) click on the city to email your interest to the relevant people.

... but if you are not available in those places above, email me sean@seantriner.com and ask me any questions, or for help if need be!

See you soon!
Sean

PS If you're interested in how you can turn your mid value donors into major gift donors - you should join my next webinar, where we'll give you more details and a process on how to do this. 


This webinar will be live on 26th August (various time zones available), however even if you can't make the date the recording and slides will be available for all who register. 




Friday, July 8, 2016

How Accurate is the Pareto Principle?

Hopefully you know all about the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule.

In fundraising it means concentrating more resources on the 20% of people who would, theoretically, give you 80% of your future revenue.

Pareto2 (Pareto squared) is a little bit more complex.  It is when we look at those top 20% of donors, and note that 20% of them will give a majority of income too.

Again, theoretically, this small number (20% of 20%, which is 4%) would give you 80% of 80% of your revenue – 64%.

This theory can really help with resource allocation.  But how close is reality to theory?

The Principle ‘works’ to different degrees.  A charity with a database consisting of only monthly donors would have a ‘flat’ Pareto score.  Their top 20% of donors might give just 45% of donations for example.

Whereas a charity who has a broader portfolio of donors and is good at maximising revenue from bequests and mid-major donors would be much closer to the ‘true’ Pareto principle.

My colleague Andy Tidy had a look at all the individual donations made to all 75 charities in the Pareto Benchmarking study, and we saw something really interesting.

Bringing the charities together, you would expect the charities who are reliant on monthly giving would ‘balance out’ the charities who do well in bequests and major donors to get us close to the Pareto principle.

And indeed they do.

One off donations – including bequests – come very close to the ‘Perfect Pareto’.

With 73% of revenue coming from 20% of donors, and 46% coming from 4%, those one off gifts are close to theory.  When charities are really good at their bequests and major donors, their Pareto principle will be closer to 80/20 and 64/4.

But monthly givers are nice and ‘flat’ with the top 20% of donors ‘only’ giving 45% of revenue, and the top 4% just giving 16%.




Pareto Principle - Theory v Reality 



So what does that mean when you develop a plan for your mid value, major donors and bequests?

Well, the lessons of Pareto still apply – there is more potential now and into the future from a minority of your donors. Your approach should be the same.

Here are my thoughts about the Pareto principle and Pareto2, even if the numbers are not quite 80/20 and 64/4.
  • You will get a majority of your revenue from a minority of donors
  • If you have a ‘flat Pareto score’ - like 20% of donors giving you 50% or less of revenue - then you are probably not doing enough work in the areas of bequests, mid and major donors
  • If you have a ‘steep Pareto score’ - like than 5% of donors giving you 80% of revenue – then you may be too reliant on a few donors for your whole operation. Time to invest in some monthly givers?
  • Increasing investment in your ‘top’ donors is likely to reap rewards. What type of investment?
    • Better stewardship
    • Visits, events and meeting donors ‘in the field’
    • Bigger, better direct mail to fewer donors
    • Integrating direct mail with digital, phone, visits and events
So don’t worry if you don’t have a perfect Pareto score, the learnings still apply and can guide you in your future planning.


And if you're interested in how you can turn your mid value donors into major gift donors - you should join my next webinar, where we'll give you more details and a process on how to do this:


The webinar will be live on 26th August (various time zones available), however even if you can't make the date, the recording and slides will be available for all who register. 






Sean

Thursday, July 7, 2016

How much ‘relationship’ is enough?

When fundraising is like the gawky guy or gal who just needs to ask for the date!

There are lots of books, blogs, webinars and conference sessions about stewardship and building relationships with donors.  Most I have seen are good, and the theories would work if charity staff did them.

But most take a long time, and involve developing big cases for support, many meetings, lots of research and more.  They also rely on experienced and rare staff talent.

Looking around at data, as well as having an understanding about how many charities operate, most stewardship and relationship plans simply don’t work. 

Why? Impatience, too many distractions and short employment periods all contribute to the failure. As does the challenge to get the talented staff, or the difficulty in dealing with staff who are simply not up for the job.

Also, we tend to aim a little high, and often try to build relationships with people who have a capacity to give but no previous relationship directly with our charity.

A while back I came up with a little program that I called ‘Major Donors, Next Week.’

The idea is for charities with large enough databases to turn donors who give, say $1,000 into donors who give $2,500 very quickly.  It has even increased donors to give over $10,000.

This is possible using these tools and thoughts:
  • Donors who have given well above average already have a relationship with you - all you need to do is make a special ask
  • Better direct marketing will help, but nothing beats face to face conversations
  • You don’t need big or new cases for support – your direct marketing is already working on this group, so base your ask around the work you have featured in your direct marketing
  • Only research donors after they have agreed to meet
  • Meet and ask. Yes, ask in that first meeting
  • Do this next week, or it doesn’t work.
Go on, give it a go!

My next webinar will actually give you more details about this exciting yet simple program. And I’ll also give you  a process to do this. But ultimately it is a more structured version of those points above.  Uncomplicating the process is key to making it work.

Click here if you haven’t already registered for The Quickest Cheapest And Easiest Way To Extra Cash Now. Turn Mid Value Donors Into Major Gifts In A Week.  Live on 26th August (depending on your timezone), but the recording and slides available for all who register – even if you can’t make the date.

Sean

Friday, July 1, 2016

The Pareto Principle - Damian O'Broin's latest blog

You may like to hear from other fundraisers from time to time, so I'd like to share my friend and fundraising expert, Damian O’Broin’s latest blog on the Pareto Principle. 


Yes, I know you have heard about this principle a million times before, but I believe it is always worth reading others thoughts, particularly if it only takes you 5 minutes, which this will. 


Click here to read Damian's blog: bit.ly/Damians_blog

I am also very proud to be invited to speak at Ask Direct (Damian’s agency)’s Summer School in Sept 2016. Click here to find out more about the event. 
  • Stewardship 3 Easy Steps Presentation Slides
  • Customer Care Feedback Handling Guide Mini Give Away
  • Customer Care Training - Module Overview (Pareto)
  • Donor Feedback Log Template
  • Examples of lovely thank you communications
  • Nice donor cards from Maude at Children of the Street Society
  • Example welcome program
  • Should we thank? Proof in numbers? AND how to construct a thank you test.




Friday, June 24, 2016

Great Donor Care from Amnesty International


You know how we all worry about overheads? Well, Josh O’Rourke a relationship fundraiser from Amnesty International Australia had a good approach with one of his mid-value donors.



Having met up with a mid-value donor who had ‘only’ ever given $2,000, Josh found out the donor was keen to multiply her donation.  The donor asked to be anonymous, but let’s call her Janine after Josh’s mum.


There is lots of evidence that ‘multiplying gift appeals’ increases average donation and/or response rate. The offer is something like ‘Donate by 30 June and our sponsor will match your gift…’

Janine had obviously liked that offer previously.

Chatting with his colleagues in direct marketing, Josh found out there were no matching gift campaigns that she could contribute to at that time. So he turned it on its head and asked Janine to be the ‘sponsor’ who would be matching other people’s gifts!

It turned out she was keen, and interested in Amnesty’s campaign on the back of their work with indigenous children.  She gave $30,000.  Josh was chuffed, as were his colleagues in digital direct marketing.  They usually have such a campaign around this time of year, and hadn’t got a sponsor.  They emailed it today.


Within ninety minutes of the email going out, they had raised $20,000, and will definitely whizz past the $30,000.  Janine’s donation will be worth at least $60,000 to Amnesty’s important work.

Amnesty were making sure Janine felt like a VIP.  


I hope the Amnesty example gives you some inspiration!




Amnesty match appeal email campaign




Disaster Fundraising Guide download it here