Silence is deafening

But whilst I haven’t had anything to say here for a little while, I’ve managed to contribute some thoughts over at the blogs of some colleagues.

Phyllis Freedman asked me to share my 20 cents worth on the lack of planned giving innovation in our sector. Here’s my take.

John Suart asked me to share my views on what’s right when it comes to spending money on marketing/fundraising. Here’s my take.

Thanks Phyllis and John for broaching such provoking, yet necessary topics for us as fundraisers. Helping us continue to raise the bar.

Jonathon

Ikea and charity websites

What should they share in common? No, it’s not that they give guys (including me) cold sweats and a nauseous feeling. That’s just Ikea.

Incredibly focused. Corridors. Hard to get out.

It’s easy to get caught up in aesthetics and design when redeveloping your site. It isn’t rocket science. Up to date news and stories, easy to navigate, not cluttered, coherent explanation of what you do, use of imagery and video.

Again, make it hard to get out. Keep me in there. Make it clear what you want me to do. You can take me off in another direction, but keep coming back to the same spot.

Remember the corridor. Remember Ikea.

Jonathon

Getting some end of year cash in the door

There have been some really good posts floating around the last few days focused on practical tips for your end of year push.

So, how do you get that cash in the door during the festive season? For many, the lifeblood of our organizations.

Rather than reinvent the wheel I’m going to re-hash an old post, ten copy tips for your next appeal.

However I’ll add the following suggestions to give you the best chance to maximize cash gifts right now:

– Tell me the single most important thing (SMIT) that you need to tell me at this point in time. No superfluous information, no distractions. One thing, one thing now.

Add some extra layers to your end of year push. Consider: pre appeal conference calls for a select group of donors, pre and post email “sandwiches”, post appeal phone calls (a nice reminder that the end of the year is approaching and we have not reached our target).

Promise to feedback post appeal as to the impact you’ve been able to impart. Then do it. Early January is a wonderful time to reflect on a year gone, and look ahead to the stuff that needs to happen this year.

Don’t sugar coat your appeal. Similar to point 5 in my earlier post, your job is to bring those who care (donors) closer to those in need (beneficiaries). We are not moral gatekeepers, we’re fundraisers. Tell it as it is.

Good luck getting that all important cash in the door. And please, share your experiences.

Jonathon

What I wish I knew

A colleague tweeted the other day asking what as a fundraiser do I wish I’d known/done early in my career?

I’m not one for regrets, but racked my brains to think of some of the things that may have helped knowing when I stumbled into the fundraising world. Mainly:

– I wish I’d got my hands on the Tiny Books of Fundraising much, much earlier. They’re called Tiny for a reason, but chock full of nuggets of information that are priceless and lay the foundations for what fundraising is all about.

These are a must read for any colleagues that work with me as part of their induction.

Likewise, Ken Burnett’s Relationship Fundraising. A real gem.

– I wish I’d understood that what people say and do are two very different things. It didn’t take me long to figure this one out, but knowing that “I won’t read/respond to/give to that” doesn’t necessarily correlate to response is a handy lesson to learn.

Ask yourself, how many statements do you make about things that you plan to do that you actually follow through on? Apply the same logic to fundraising. People simply respond to darn good fundraising, not just what they think they will.

– I wish I’d asked more people more tough questions. Show me some rubbish things you’ve done. Talk to me about the biggest screw up you’ve made. The worst performing campaign. There’s lots of chest beating that happens, we’re all guilty of it. But I’d rather work out how to avoid common pitfalls than simply look at muscle flexing and storming campaigns.

– I wish I’d realised how important it is to be disciplined with what you do, avoiding loads of distraction. I’m not suggesting stifling innovation, but I would encourage doing what works, and do it really well. Remember what pays the bills.

Ok, I’m starting to feel a little like a kid penning their Christmas wish list. I just wish I’d written this post a few years back.

Jonathon

Need v incompetence?

We really need the money. But we don’t want to look like we are inept.

Thought about that before?

It’s a valid concern.

In recent times I’ve had this conversation with several fundraisers. The discussion comes about when endeavoring to create more urgency to garner further support.

Naturally we think, how do we do that without looking incompetent? Even if you’re bloody good at what you do, even the best in the world, this fear can arise.

My suggestions to counter this:

– Ask when you need the money, stop and feedback in between.
– Find the right times to show off your wares, announcing your successes.
– Do a terrific job explaining why you’re unique and better than everyone else at least one thing.
– Ensure the execution of the ask is clear, concise and explains why you need help, right now.
– Get the balance right between asking (when there’s a need) and non-asking (donor care).

Get these things sorted and the lifeblood of your organization, your supporters, won’t question your work. They’ll embrace it, and give time and time again.

Jonathon