Your Nonprofit Will See Results Today, Using “Easy” Strategies
In fundraising — as with Amazon, Uber, OpenTable, and others — Easy is the New Yes! Successful fundraisers will benefit from these — mostly free — easy strategies to engage donors.
As many of my readers know, we’ve recently relocated to Charleston…and we’re busy looking for a home, which also means we’re working with a friendly realtor – my husband’s Citadel roommate – and his wife, also a realtor.
Before we had our first meeting with our professional friends, we logged into Zillow and set up a few automated searches.
If you know a realtor well, (I have five in my family!), you’ve heard this reaction: “Zillow? Oh, you don’t want to use Zillow. The details are outdated. The comps are inaccurate. I’ll send you an MLS update instead.”
So, we smiled and said yes…but almost every morning for several months, I’ve sipped my first cup of coffee while following email links to houses that Zillow’s search engine believes I want to buy.
What a metaphor for a marketplace in which experts advise one thing while we, the consumers, do another…because it’s easy!
You see, the new Yes is “Easy.”
Not Best. Sometimes, Not Right.
This market-shift, which is driving exponential growth by companies such as Amazon, Uber, and OpenTable, represents a consumer “need” which we in fundraising can meet without spending a lot on high-tech bells and whistles.
In fact, try it in your non-profit while doing something you already do (a lot)!
“They Say” vs Easy
Experts in philanthropy have said for years, “Events are not efficient fundraisers. They’re expensive. They divert attention from true organizational needs. They’re transactional. What you really need are deeper donor relationships.”
(Somewhat true…but not easy!)
Events are an Easy Ask for Board Members!
Board members who are terrified to make major gift calls will often fill tables and solicit sponsors with ease.
It’s easy, you see: The board member has a finite package, a date/time/location, a sales piece, and a promised product! For many retirees, they’ve been in sales for decades. They’re accustomed to exchanging money for a product.
Embracing this reality is important for both board members and non-profit leaders. To strengthen donor relationships, maximize event revenue, increase visibility, and deepen loyalty to your organization, here are six easy strategies:
1. Personalize event meetings – take five minutes at the beginning to say thank you, to highlight progress and success since the last meeting and to simply ask, “How are you?” Everyone has a chance to talk before you jump into the agenda, which is Easy #2.
2. Print an agenda and take minutes – Oftentimes special events management is handled by the youngest, newest person in the organization.
Agendas, minutes, and follow-up action lists may be the language of their grandparents! Take time to establish that every meeting needs an agenda. Train them to take minutes. Explain the value of follow-up lists.
3. Move from generalized to hyper-personalized gratitude – Say things like, “Mitchell, thank you for taking time to import almost 100 photos into PowerPoint for our slide show. I know the audience will be overjoyed to see how their donations are making a difference.”
Contrast this with “Thank you all for everything you’ve done since the last meeting.”
4. Invite a key leader to drop in on a planning meeting once or twice – Special event planning can take months, and committee members are surprised when they learn that their work is so valued that a busy leader will take time to drop by for 2-3 minutes and say thank you.
5. Make the essentials easy to find! Recently, I received several creative, high-tech invites to a low-tech chili dinner. Never once, however, were the 5 W’s (who, what, when, where, and why) listed succinctly so I could add the cook-off to my calendar. (I finally texted the organizer to get a street address.)
Above all else, easy means including the street address, room number, date, time, contact name and contact cell phone every time you schedule a meeting or print an invitation. For extra job security, include parking details and what to wear. (They’ll never let you go!)
6. Don’t forget Ma Bell – I’ve fundraised for more than 20 years, and without exceptions, a phone call from the right person fills events and motivates committee members like nothing else.
Easy Could Be Your Next Yes
In a region where retirees flock each year, some look for charity event volunteer opportunities as an easy way to connect to their new community and meet like-minded friends.
It’s almost like searching for a house on Zillow.
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Miracle Strategies Fundraising & Marketing
Phoenicia Miracle, Principal
PO Box 10851 Savannah, GA 31412
5 Gadsdenboro St. #315 Charleston, SC 29401
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