Allenby: ‘5 Most Important Metrics in Annual Giving’

At the Annual Giving Network, Dan Allenby writes, “Measuring the results of your annual giving effort can be daunting …. While it’s tempting to take a deep dive into the details, you should always start with the five basics. They are, quite simply, the most important metrics in annual giving.”

Those five basics are revenue, donors, participation, retention and leadership giving.

Read more here.




NYT Op-Ed: ‘Why Fund-Raising Is Fun’

Do you want to have some fun? Raise money for a good cause.

Arthur C. Brooks made that case recently in his op-ed in SundayReview. Brooks made a discovery:

In 2003, while working on a book about charitable giving, I stumbled across a strange pattern in my data. Paradoxically, I was finding that donors ended up with more income after making their gifts. This was more than correlation; I found solid evidence that giving stimulated prosperity. I viewed my results as implausible, though, and filed them away. After all, data patterns never “prove” anything, they simply provide evidence for or against a hypothesis.

Brooks later found that he should not have dismissed his first notion. Charity raises well-being, he wrote, and also stimulates problem-solving and material prosperity.

There’s more.

I have found that the real magic of fund-raising goes even deeper than temporary happiness or extra income. It creates meaning. Donors possess two disconnected commodities: material wealth and sincere convictions. Alone, these commodities are difficult to combine. But fund-raisers facilitate an alchemy of virtue: They empower those with financial resources to convert the dross of their money into the gold of a better society.

Some hopeful stuff for those of us who are reluctant or burned-out fundraisers.

Why People Don’t Give

Even in a bad economy, money is circulating. There are a lot of great causes that desperately need money. So why don’t people give?

Many reasons. But the top reason folks don’t write a check, according to fundraising professionals I ate lunch with on Tuesday, is because (drum roll, please) … they’re not asked.

I attended a luncheon for the local chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) at the Jefferson Center in Roanoke. The speaker was Jeffrey Marks, president and general manager of WDBJ7, the region’s top media company and the local CBS affiliate. Marks spoke about philanthropy and related topics. When he asked what is the No. 1 reason why people don’t give, 20 veterans from the fundraising trenches, in unison, gave the above reply.

Is it really No. 1? I don’t know–maybe. But it has to be high on the list. It’s a no-brainer, really. How can people give if they’re not asked, or not asked on a regular basis? They can’t. Or won’t.

Something to consider as we begin a new year.

5 Fundraising Tips from Hollins President

Last July a Q&A with Hollins University President Nancy Gray appeared in the business section of the Sunday Roanoke Times. I saved it because it contained Gray’s views on how the university was able to raise a substantial sum of money for its Campaign For Women Who Are Going Places during an economic slump.

Hollins did not hire a fundraising consultant, do a feasibility study, or increase its development staff. Instead, Gray said, the university focused on telling its story in a compelling way, ramped up its volunteer leadership and approached its major donors in a very personal one-on-one manner.

There’s much more to the story, which you can read here. Following is Gray’s fundraising advice to other institutions:

Continue reading “5 Fundraising Tips from Hollins President”

A Frank Opening

I received a mailing from a non-profit organization that counts me among their donors. The letter opened as follows:

“I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your past support. I’m not sure if you are aware, but your last donation was in May 2009 for $20. There is a reason I am sharing this with you.

“During these continued hard economic times, we want to make sure that we are doing everything possible to communicate to you, and all the generous people who have supported our work for almost 30 years, just how much good is being accomplished with your help …”

I admit that I felt a tinge of guilt when I read that opening. Whether I make a gift or not, the fact that the mailing made me feel something is a good thing. These are hard times. Non-profits must go to greater lengths to try to secure gifts, even if it means alerting me to my lapsed giving history, citing month, year and amount.

Continue reading “A Frank Opening”

Ask, Ask and Ask

There are many important elements to an appeal. One that is absolutely indispensable is the ask. Yet all too often the ask is delayed or diminished, as if it’s a source of embarrassment. Asks are sometimes removed from appeals or shoved to the bottom.

I was reminded of this reality in a blog post at 101FUNDRAISING titled “The seven deadly sins of fundraising appeals–and how to avoid them.”

“This is a fundraising appeal, not a magazine article or a short story, so get to the point and do it quickly,” says 101FUNDRAISING, and also commenting “include your ask early–the earlier the better.”

This is good advice. The goal of an appeal is a gift. You MUST ask for it.

Continue reading “Ask, Ask and Ask”

The Handwritten Thank-You Card

Two things that help ensure  a receptive audience:  saying thank you and employing personalization. For example, the  handwritten card I received in April from my alma mater, San Diego State University:

Dear Mr. Neil Sagebiel,

Thank you so much for your donation to the College of Arts and Letters. Your support helps us out tremendously. It was a pleasure talking to you and go Aztecs!

Sincerely, Alexandra (Class of 2013)

I don’t know many people who reject thank you’s, or, for that matter, appreciation of any kind. As long they’re sincere and professional–and tied to action or sent at logical intervals–you can’t overdo thank you’s.

They are an important staple of every fundraising and marketing communications program.

Related: SDSU Student Caller Gets The Gift