03 Jul Happy July! Fall Fundraising Starts Now
by David Allen, Development for Conservation
At some point between now and Christmas, you will be asking just about everyone you know for a gift to your land trust. Some will be asked to “renew.” Some will be asked to make an additional gift this year.
Most will be asked in a letter. Some will be asked by email. Some will be asked in person. Some will receive follow-up letters or emails or even phone calls.
Are you ready?
Are they ready?
What will you ask for?
Why will they say yes?
A few moments spent thinking about these questions now will save you time and energy in the Fall – and just might end up raising more money.
So here’s a planning thought: What would happen if you asked everyone to make a gift twice as large as they gave last year? (And then managed by exception.)
So people who gave $35 last year would be asked to give $70.
Those who gave $100, $200.
And so on.
Clearly, there would need to be exceptions: The elderly widow who penned the nice note with a shaky hand about wanting to do more than the $35 she gave last year. Ask her for “something similar.” The couple who gave $7,300 toward that project just down the road. The long-time member who made a special gift last year in memory of his dog.
Use your best judgment, but ask most everyone else for double.
OK, so why will they say yes?
- Because they believe in the mission.
- Because they believe in the integrity of the organization.
- Because they believe their gift will make a difference.
You have six months, give or take, to deliver these three messages. You have time – but don’t wait too long.
You have several months of opportunities to get donors out onto the land. You have one or two paper newsletters. You have monthly e-blasts, social media, and your website itself. And you have the fundraising letters and packaged materials you write and send.
All of these media can and should be coordinated. Select a set of stories that communicate with your donors that the work continues and their role is vital.
Blogger Jeff Brooks, Future Fundraising Now, recently wrote: “Fundraising that works shows donors what they can accomplish by giving to you. Not what you can accomplish with their giving. That’s a subtle but key difference.”
I like that a lot. How will we show donors what they can accomplish by giving?
- We WON’T get there by reciting all of our past accomplishments.
- We WON’T get there by focusing our communications on numbers and statistics.
- We WON’T get there by waiting until October to start thinking about it.
- We WON’T get there by “educating” them.
We WILL get there by remembering that giving comes from the heart – it is emotional.
We WILL get there by remembering that donors are important members of the group of people getting the work done – they aren’t merely supporting the people getting the work done.
We WILL get there by thinking about all this stuff NOW.
Cheers, and have a great week.
Photo by Rawpixel.com courtesy of Stocksnap.io.