Keep at it – A Fundraiser’s Journey

A Fundraiser’s JourneyKelly pic

Kelly Updike for PCNRC

Two separate instances have converged in my head. Ouch!

The first is from a meeting with Dan Swartz, he of Wunderkammer Company. Dan is planning his second annual Design Week, for which he has obtained a sizeable grant to pay for speakers and marketing. This has given him the freedom to obtain great speakers to participate. People who are significant to their field in a national and even world-class way. Some have local ties to this region.

Dan says he just asks. He figures out how to contact the person, by email or through an assistant, and he asks. He says the person will usually reply and is gracious. Sometimes the person says yes, which means Design Week will again have some phenomenal speakers.

The second is from the My City Summit organized by Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana (YLNI). This year’s theme was diversity. At this event, too, the speakers were local and national, all terrific.

I left this event thinking about our roles in these changing times. We are cranky, according to the keynote speaker, Rich Benjamin. Another speaker, Fort Wayne’s own Courtney Tritch, pointed out that diversity is a needed economic driver. People move to areas where there is freedom and respect for all. Each speaker asked us what we were doing about it.

On the surface these two meetings were very different. But they both ended up in the same place in my mind:

It does not matter where you are politically, uppercase R or D. What matters is that we work every day to make a difference. Our organizations in particular directly impact others.

What are we going to do to help others continue through these times?

We ask and then we ask again. Simply, purely, clearly. As fundraisers. As advocates. As caregivers. As artists. As one human being to another.

Ask. Don’t stop asking.

 

The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Embassy or the PCNRC.

Short is Not Sweet

Kelly UpdikeA Fundraiser’s Journey

Kelly Updike for PCNRC

Every January I have to arrive early at fitness class.

This is because I need to stake out my favorite spot – near the back, not in front of the mirrors – because most of the room is filled with ladies who have made New Year’s resolutions.

By February I don’t have to get there early any more.

Ouch. Four short weeks and that resolution went ppfffttt for at least 30 people.

My own resolutions were often as short-lived. Lately, I haven’t even bothered thinking about resolutions, let alone making them.

How to break the cycle? Well, my New Year’s resolution is going to be something that I can actually enjoy and thus want to sustain: I’m going to set 12 appointments, averaging one per month, with someone I don’t know very well and admire greatly for his or her work in the community.

Because I’m a shy person (seriously!) who also is a bit socially awkward (my sense of humor aligns well with 12-year-olds), this is a stretch for me personally. Which qualifies this resolution as a growth opportunity. And because calendars quickly go to awfully full, I will need to exert some discipline to schedule each meeting.

I’m motivated to hear more from folks who are quietly changing our world, from health services to sports and leisure. Let me know if you want to have coffee or have ideas on another great person to meet. And I hope to share with you what I learn about fundraising from these sessions.

http://www.wikihow.com/Stick-to-a-New-Year%27s-Resolution

http://www.10news.com/lifestyle/new-years-resolutions-how-to-make-them-stick

http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/10-ways-to-make-your-new-years-resolutions-stick

The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Embassy or the PCNRC.

Identity Differences in Donations

There are many factors that affect a donor’s decision to give to a nonprofit. A study published in the Journal of Marketing Research examined the way a donor’s social identification and its relationship to the social identification of previous donors affects the likelihood of donation.

What happens when a potential donor learns about previous contributions? Are potential donors more likely to give when they know the identity of those who have given in the past?

  • During an on-air funding drive for a radio station some callers were told that the person before them of a different gender gave $240 while other callers were told that the person before them of the same gender gave $240. Callers that were told that the person before them of the same gender gave money were more likely to donate.
  • When potential donors find out the contributions of previous donors, their contributions are about $20 more than if they did not find out the contributions of previous donors.

How can this information be applied to the way your organization does fundraising?

  • donateWhen speaking with potential donors, reference the contributions of past donors making sure to include how their identities are similar.
  • When sending fundraising letters, include information about the identities of those who have contributed in the past so potential donors feel a connection to the cause through their social identities.
  • When referencing past donors, remember not to give any information that would give away the exact identity the donors to others. Give demographic information or personal testimony, but do not give names or exact details unless you have permission to do so.

Do you already include information about past contributions when requesting donations? How will this information impact the way you do fundraising in the future?

______________________________________________________________________________

Jen Shang, Americus Reed II and Rachel Croson. “Identity Congruency Effects on Donations”. Journal of Marketing Research.

Let’s Put On A Show

A Fundraiser’s Journey

Kelly Updike for PCNRCKelly Updike

When I was casting about for upcoming blog topics, a staffer suggested I write about what a bad idea it is to have a stage show for a fundraiser. Oh, yeah, everyone around the table agreed, please tell people it’s a bad idea.

OMG, you say, how can people who work at the Embassy say that?

Because it’s true. Many people approach us with their great idea for putting something on stage because they think it’s an easy path to making a lot of money. However, it’s not the backyard simplicity expressed in Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland movies.

This is true for any fundraising event. There are risks, even after careful planning. Continue reading

Not Feelin’ It

A Fundraiser’s JourneyKelly Updike

Kelly Updike for PCNRC

There very nearly was not an October Fundraiser’s Journey blog post. I’ve had writer’s block before but this was Gibraltar.

Completely out of options, I asked a superb fundraiser if she had some ideas for you. She was totally jazzed by the question and surprised me with her response. She said I knew the answer already because I had just shared it with a group of very tired staffers.

Like Dorothy clicking her ruby-reds, sometimes we need to be reminded that we have the power all along.

First, take a deep breath, stop panicking. You are a very successful person. Reflect on where you are and how you got there. Then pick one thing to do next, just one. Focus on that. You’ve got to take the first step to begin the journey.

Still not feeling it? Take a different turn in the road: Look at your donor list again. There’s at least one interesting person in there. Then get out of the office. Make a visit with that donor. Saying thank-you is fun. Stay out of the office: It’s energizing to talk with your clients or patrons, the people you serve. And grab a coffee with some colleagues; nothing’s better than a group hug.

Now you’re feelin’ it!

[Special shout-out to Nancy Louraine, our very own Glinda.]

The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Embassy or the PCNRC.

Engaging Today’s Donors

Kelly picA Fundraiser’s Journey

Kelly Updike for PCNRC

We have this really cool event at the Embassy but it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do. It’s called the Embatini, a really terrific name. At the Embatini, we provide a special drink and a classy meal and we have it in an exclusive place – on the Embassy stage. We’ve made it intimate and singular. Guests routinely tell us they love it. We want it to be a very extraordinary fundraiser for the Embassy. But it doesn’t raise a lot of money.

Do you have events like that? Where, despite the hardest of work and the keenest of ideas, it just never takes off as a fundraiser?

There appears to be a disconnect somewhere in our event. How do we better link it to our donors? Perhaps this has something to do with how donors think today about philanthropy and what they are expecting from us as nonprofits.

Remember the truly original Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014 that generated millions of dollars and free publicity for ALS? While hugely successful in many ways, the majority of Challenge donors were one-time givers: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/07/25/als-and-the-ice-bucket-challenge

The Ice Bucket Challenge reminds us that the ways people learn about our organizations are evolving. And the ways people give to us are changing. The good news is that the amount of giving is growing.

If there is a silver bullet to excellent fundraising, it is steady, ongoing attention to people, to individual relationships. We still have to find personalized and relevant ways to connect. As for the Embatini, we continue to evaluate it, to figure out how to create a better link to our donors.

For some information on fundraising trends, go to:

http://www.gailperry.com/top-10-fundraising-trends-and-predictions-for-2016/

https://philanthropy.iupui.edu/news-events/news-item/giving-usa:-2015-was-america%E2%80%99s-most-generous-year-ever.html?id=202

The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Embassy or the PCNRC.

Swimming in the Deep End – A Fundraiser’s Journey

Kelly UpdikeKelly Updike for PCNRC

When you dive into a task or new project, how do you start?

I’d not really thought about it until working with staffers who were struggling with how to plan for an event that was either new to them or new to the organization.

When I suggested they use a checklist and then followed up by asking to see said checklist, I got blank stares and shifting of feet. Heads would hang and hands would wring. Cries of, “What is a checklist?” “How do I start?” and “How do I use it?” filled the air.

A checklist is simply a list of things you gotta do. If you want to exceed expectations, a great checklist also contains the due date for each item and who is responsible for doing it. For teammates, it’s a way to communicate with each other. For supervisors, it’s most excellent in keeping track of your staffers’ progress.

I’m not sure why this is a new concept or even a foreign one. So I’ll keep my smarty-mouth comments to myself and instead offer some guidance on how to make a checklist.

  1. Gaze raptly at a blank sheet of paper, hard copy or on screen.
  2. Start writing down all the things you have to do for your project, event, meeting, whatever. Don’t worry if you forget something, you can count on someone to remind you by the time you reach step #7.
  3. Rearrange the items so that they fall in order of what needs to happen first, second, third and so on.
  4. It’s okay to categorize tasks or put them into subsets. Use color or bold and italics. Hey, it’s your list.
  5. Put in deadlines or due dates.
  6. Assign people to the tasks.
  7. Show off your fancy work, you’re a corporate super star. Use the list with your board, staff and volunteers as a way to chart progress.
  8. Change the checklist as you go. It’s a living document.
  9. Your living document needs air – pull it out or open it up every time you work on your project, event, meeting, whatever. Keep it up to date.
  10. Reward yourself with a piece of chocolate when you complete a task on the list. Now you know why I really like checklists.

Key things to remember about checklists (some people call this an executive summary): Just start, darn it. You’re in charge. The list will change every time you use it and that’s okay. Share it.

There are some great resources out there for checklists.

http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_now/2014/02/the_art_of_using_checklists_in_the_classroom.html

http://mediashift.org/2015/02/journalism-professors-should-teach-accuracy-checklists/ .

 

The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Embassy or the PCNRC.