What’s the best way to ensure a successful fundraising campaign? Some would argue that donor research should be on the top of that list, and they would have a point. More information about donors means your fundraisers will have a better idea about how to approach them.
- Hire a researcher, even if just for a while: This will enable managers
to focus on the technical aspects of fundraising while research crunches
- Pay for a research database service: This allows for quick look-ups of
prospective donors recommended by the board, events, and potential board
- Remember that information on foundations is free: This information is easily accessible online on such sites as Foundation Center.
- If possible, use data analytics: This allows the organization to see how
analytics work and keep track of these findings on a spreadsheet.
- Identify new prospects: Having a researcher means being able to seek out new prospective clients who will give.
- Don’t forget that the organization’s small size is actually a strength:
The small size of is an asset in that it allows research to be done on a
more personal level.
A fund created to raise money for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings has already received nearly $7 million in donations from corporate partners and individual donors.
One Fund Boston was launched on Tuesday by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino to give philanthropists and other individuals a way to support the more than 180 individuals who were injured during the attacks on Monday. The $7 million raised so far includes a $1 million commitment from John Hancock Financial Services, which was one of the lead sponsors of the marathon.
Taking aside the donations from businesses and corporations, One Fund Boston has received $500,000 from 8,500 individual donors.
“I am humbled by the outpouring of support by the business community and individuals who are united in their desire to help,” Patrick said. “At moments like this, we are one state, one city, and one people.”
Mayor Menino said via a statement that he received calls from businesses and individuals who wanted to pledge money “within the hour” that the fund was established.
“We are one Boston. We are one community. As always, we will come together to help those most in need. And in the end, we will all be better for it,” Mayor Menino said.
One Fund Boston will be headed by attorney Ken Feinberg, who was appointed in 2001 by the Attorney General of the United States to head the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. In 2010, he was appointed by President Barack Obama to administer the fund for those affected by the BP oil spill, and he also helped administer donations for the victims of the mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., and at Virginia Tech.
“I am honored to serve at the request of both Governor Patrick and Mayor Menino,” Feinberg said in a press release. “I will do my best to justify their confidence in me as we move forward to design and administer an effective program following the terrible tragedy in Boston.”
Feinberg, who is himself a native of Boston, will head the fun entirely pro bono.
The Fund is currently in the process of applying for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service. A statement on the organization’s website said that if the IRS makes the determination that it is worthy of being tax-exempt, that decision will be made retroactive to the date of the Fund’s formation.
Nonprofits in Idaho are being invited to participate in a one-day online giving day campaign next month. The event hopes to bring new donors and increased outreach to local organizations.
Idaho Gives Day, created by the Idaho Nonprofit Center, is set to begin on May 2. Much like the online giving days in other states, this campaign will let individuals search for nonprofits in their area to which they wish to contribute. According to a report in The Twin Falls Times-News, there will be additional incentives for organizations that choose to participate, including tracking of the number of donors and how much money each nonprofit receives.
In addition, the Idaho Nonprofit Center will randomly draw a donor’s name throughout the day and give $1,000 to a charity of their choosing. The five nonprofits at the end of the day that have the largest number of donors will also receive a grant from the Center.
Yesterday was a special day for a number of reasons. First, it’s going to be a long time before we see a date, day, and year (12/12/12) like that again. More importantly, it was the date of the 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Our editor-in-chief, Paul Clolery, was in attendance for the six-hour long show, and has a summary of the night’s events on our website. The concert featured legendary performers including Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Rolling Stones, and Sir Paul McCartney, in addition to contemporary artists like Kanye West, Chris Martin of Coldplay, and Alicia Keys, who closed out the night with a rendition of her hit song “Empire State of Mind” alongside McCartney.
Yet the big story of the night was money raised for Hurricane Sandy Relieft. Donations went to organizations serving victims of the storm through the Robin Hood Relief Fund. Before an act even took the stage, the concert raised $37 million. A final donation tally was not available as of this writing.
Individuals who called in through the night to make a contribution had the chance to speak to a host of celebrities who were working the call center. These included big names such as Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Buscemi, Naomi Campbell, Tony Danza, and James Gandolfini.
One of the highlights of the night came when McCartney, one of the last two surviving Beatles along with Ringo Starr, helped front a reunion of the ’90s grunge band Nirvana. The band was headed by the late Kurt Cobain, and McCartney filled his role by performing a new song written by the surviving members of Nirvana called “Cut Me Some Slack.”
The 12-12-12 Concert was broadcast to a worldwide audience of nearly two billion people through television feeds, radio, and online streaming sites. The show was reminiscent of the first benefit show for charity, the Concert for Bangladesh, also held in Madison Square Garden, in 1971. That show was organized in part by legendary Indian musician Ravi Shankar, who passed away this week at the age of 92.
You can read the full overview of the concert on the NPT website.
With rare exceptions, major gift campaigns can’t be completed in a single year and, in fact, they can sometimes take as long as a decade. That’s why it is important to create a schedule of goals when planning your campaign.
Whatever kind of schedule you create should include a series of target dates in which you are going to reach certain benchmarks. Russel V. Kohr wrote in the “Handbook of Institutional Advancement” that the first year of your campaign is perhaps the most important; it is during this time period when your efforts can really take off or sink.
Kohr wrote that organizations should aim for the following 13 goals during the first year of their major gift campaigns:
- Complete the first draft of the long-range plan;
- Share plan with trustees and selected potential benefactors;
- Revise plan as necessary;
- Trustees approve plan and campaign goal;
- Development office prepares statement of gift opportunities;
- Development office drafts case statement that is then shared with key
people in the organization, trustees, and selected friends;
- Survey various constituencies intensively;
- Research prospective donors of major gifts;
- Begin solicitation of major gift, corporate, and foundation prospects;
- Increase annual giving solicitation;
- A group — such as the president, chairman of the board of trustees, and
the chairman of the trustee committee on development — enlists a
national campaign chairman and members of the major gifts committees;
- Role of the president and other administrative officials in the campaign is determined; and,
- Begin solicitation of trustees.
Holiday season in the United States brings a lot of familiar sights, though none may be as iconic as the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign. Volunteers from the charity stand outside shops ringing bells and soliciting donations. This practice is the same all across the country except in a town in Wisconsin, where an unexpected volunteer is leading the way: A miniature horse.
Named Tinker, the horse and other more traditional volunteers set up shop in West Bend, Wisc., according to an article in The Associated Press. He uses his mouth to hold and ring the standard red bell and holds a sign that says “Thank You Merry Christmas.” He can also bow, give kisses and, most importantly of all to the Salvation Army, he raises 10 times the amount of money than a normal bell ringer.
Salvation Army commander Major Roger Ross told The Post that Tinker, who is 13-years old, has been known to bring in around $2,500 in a day, while a human ringer typically raises $250 in the same time period.
Carol Takacs, one of Tinker’s owners, bought the horse 12 years ago with her husband while looking at a property. She fell in love with the mini horse and asked the owner that he be a part of the deal. She got the idea to use Tinker as a bell ringer after seeing one of the Salvation Army volunteers a few years ago, and she thought the horse could help make the standard Red Kettle campaign more interesting.
Before a typical appearance, Takacs spends a half-hour vacuuming Tinker’s mane and fur and puts glitter on his hooves, a bell on his tail, and a Santa hat on his head. A pin with the horse’s likeness is also given to donors who contribute at least $5.
You can read the full story in The Associated Press.
Traditional means of raising money still have their place in the nonprofit sector, but there’s no question that online fundraising is gaining steam.
In an article on The Huffington Post, Darian Rodriguez Heyman, who has edited books such as “Nonprofit Management 101,” wrote that 15 percent of the $317 billion donated to nonprofits come via the Internet. Organizations must start implementing online fundraising into their overall campaigns, yet many managers fear that it will take up too much of their time. Is there any way to take advantage of this growing trend without the use of a lot of time and money?
Thankfully, the answer is yes.
During the recent Social Media for Nonprofits conferences, presenters shared tips on how to best utilize online fundraising. Heyman listed three that are most useful for nonprofits:
- Make Your Donate Button Shine: Your donate button should stand apart from the rest of your site. When Network For Good simply changed its button’s color from grey to red, they saw a 30 percent increase in donations.
- Default Levels are Key: It’s usually important to give potential online donors default donation levels (i.e. $25, $50, $100, $250, and other/fill in the blank) to guide their generosity. But just like with the other tips, embrace data vs. gut- take the time to play around with these levels and see what maximizes dollars in the door.
- Map Donations to Impact: As Kay Sprinkel Grace says, “people don’t give to you, they give through you.” So help make their gift concrete: for instance, a $100 donation may feed 50 children in a particular war torn region, a mere $50 purchases life-saving medication for 60 pregnant women in Africa, etc. Every default donation level must have a specific impact associated with it, but toy around with how you operationalize your impact to gauge what moves people to dig a bit deeper.
Fundraising and marketing: Are they the same thing or are they worlds apart? The answer you get to this question varies depending on who you ask, but one thing’s for sure: The two work really well together if they are integrated properly.
During a recent Bridge Conference in National Harbor, Md., Dave Perrett of Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts and Kerri Kerr of Avalon Consulting Group held the opinion that fundraising and marketing are separate entities, but can be combined to heap benefits upon nonprofits.
Using Wolf Trap as a case study, they laid out a four-step process on the path to integration:
- Meet with your marketing department. It sounds simple, but this type of
meeting almost never occurs. Membership and marketing are often siloed
departments, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
- Create an integrated schedule to take advantage of key dates.
- Test to determine the best strategy. Tests can include performance photo
on carrier vs. plain envelope, timing (for performing arts,
post-performance excitement or pre-performance anticipation), types of
ticket buyers, telemarketing, email, Website and (for performing arts)
box office sales.
- Meet with the marketing department to discuss results. The numbers might
speak for themselves, but it’s important to schedule a meeting and
discuss the results so everyone can see and understand the impact of
The strict nonprofit manager’s first instinct when staff doesn’t meet major gift goals is to fire them. That’s not necessarily the right move, according to fundraising expert Laura Fredricks.
In her book “The Ask: How To Ask Anyone for Any Amount for Any Purpose,” Fredricks wrote that there are other steps you can take to boost the results of your major gifts campaigns. Rather than give your hard-working staff the ax, she suggested implementing the following five tips:
- Time Management: They say that time is money, so don’t waste it with too many meetings. Try to limit the ones you have to only the essentials. Fredricks also cautions against multitasking. While it sounds good in theory, it is really better to focus on one task at a time.
- Make Clear and Measurable Goals: Give your staff goals they can actually obtain. Do this by letting them know exactly what you expect and do reviews every few months to check on their progress. Remember that goals don’t just have to be measured in dollar signs. You can easily measure success in face-to-face donor contact, meetings, and special event attendance.
- Be Cross-Functional: Is one of your key fundraisers out of the office? Make sure to teach members of your staff their skills so they can perform their job if needed. Something unexpected always happens, so you need people who can pick up the slack.
- Risk Management: You don’t want to be pessimistic, but you should always have a plan in case the worst happens.Think about events that could hinder your operations (i.e., law changes, natural disasters) and come up with ways to manage those risks.
- Communicate and Demonstrate Your Staff’s Worth: You should treat your staff like a team. All of the players are needed for your program to be a success — and you should make sure they know that. There is no better way to boost employee morale than by showing that their opinions matter.
The Seattle-based affiliate for Susan G. Komen for the Cure fell $700,000 short of its fundraising goal during Sunday’s Race for the Cure, according to a report in the Puget Sound Business Journal.
The disappointing results likely stem from Komen’s attempt to cut off grants to Planned Parenthood in February, an action that sparked national outcry. The organization was forced to reverse its decision after the public backlash.
Officials at Komen Puget Sound told Business Journal that they anticipated a shortfall after the controversy. The affiliate actually strongly opposed the actions of Komen on the national level, and worked hard to differentiate themselves from the main organization. All of those efforts appear to have been in vain, as the annual Race for the Cure raised just $1.1 million, 39 percent less than they had hoped to make.
Leaders at Komen Puget Sound are still optimistic about their fundraising despite the disappointing result from the race. The organization has until July 12 to continue raising money for the race, which generally accounts for a third of the breast cancer nonprofit’s annual funds.
You can read the full story in Puget Sound Business Journal.