Author Archives: JLevine

OOPS! You Blew It!

With all the best intentions in the world, you somehow haven’t managed to get your end of the year appeal together.  Either you haven’t done anything or maybe you just haven’t gotten around to segmenting your list.  Perhaps you intended on sending it out before Thanksgiving but now it’s looking like squeaking it in before Christmas.  Or maybe you have sent out your letter but all those other things?  They have fallen by the wayside.

And you know that 30% of all giving happens in December.  In the last 3 days of the month, in fact.  So, honestly, while I’m not going to cheer you for dropping any balls, I am going to remind you that all is not lost.

Here are a few thing you can do at the last minute that will work whether you completely blew it or even have done quite a lot:

  • A holiday card.Oh, sure, you are sending a season’s greetings (or, like half the world, decided to send a Thanksgiving card instead), but this is not so much a “Happy Holidays” as a Hey, Light a Candle and Make a Difference This Year.  In other words, a card that is actually an ask.  Use the holiday season to remind people that they can be Santa also.
  • Big ones.  Keep the message simple:  Before the end of the year, support (our organization)! Go to (your landing page)
  • Yes, that old fashioned thing. Call the donors for whom you have phone numbers.  Most won’t answer.  So what? Leave a message asking them to support you and give them your URL.
  • Try to schedule face to face meetings and do an ask in person. If you can’t meet them, ask them over the phone.
  • Either one by one, in a group, or via a mail service like MailChimp or Constant Contact (or something right off your CMS).  Keep it short and make sure your ask is bold and clear.
  • Social media.Not just your pages but get your board members, loyal donors, friends, relatives—everyone you know to post an ask.
  • Organize a small gathering—coffee or drinks after work—for likely end of the year donors.Tell them how important their support is and metaphorically, pass the hat.
  • In a pinch, grab last year’s letter, update and GET IT OUT.

Whatever you do, be clear. You are asking them to support the amazing work you do.  So tell them what that work is.  NOT what programs you have, but how their support can help you to change the world for the better.

 

Real Fundraising

You’ve just been hired as (check off one):  ___Director of Development ___ Chief Development Officer ____Director of Major Gifts Your charge is to increase funding from individuals and, perhaps, institutions such as foundations and corporations.  You’ve been set a pretty ambitious goal for your first year.  So what do you immediate begin to do? If… Read more

Asking for Help

Even as a shy (yes, I have overcompensated!) young girl, I prided myself on my independence.  It was important to me to do things on my own; to never ask for help. I can’t say that attitude always served me well.  Indeed, I can pinpoint many times when I needed assistance and should have sought… Read more

The Dynamics of Cultivation

The problem, she told me, is that they don’t ask.  I demur. The problem, I retort, is that they ask without cultivating. Oh yes.  You send your donors your newsletters, invite them to events. You send them handwritten letters, post pictures on social media…all one-way actions really aren’t getting you to better know your donor and, really,… Read more