It’s the beginning of a new year, and across the country Boards of Directors and staff members are gathering for annual retreats – a time to renew and refresh vision for the many challenges and opportunities in the year ahead.
You might be wondering, what scenarios could unfold in the course of planning for 2020 and beyond? We have a few examples to share. Someone on your organization’s Board of Directors may have a big hairy audacious goal for future growth and impact. Or you may be facing a cash flow crisis that requires tough trade-offs and strategic pivots. You may find strategic discussion running in circles from a lack of cohesion between staff and board leadership and your organization’s roles in the community.
Without a clear vision or strategic objective, it will be difficult to generate volunteer enthusiasm and energy for the work necessary to make 2020 a success.
During this time of year, gratitude is front and center as the holiday spirit begins to take shape in our communities. However, we know that for nonprofit leaders like you, gratitude is not just felt during this time of year but infused in our work all year long.
In fundraising, we know that sending thank you letters within a few days of receiving contributions is an essential pillar of a basic development program. Additionally, there are countless articles on the internet with excellent suggestions for going further in expressing gratitude to your donors and I wanted to share a few of my favorites with you as you come up with new ways to further engage your most valued supporters:
Send a welcome packet to new donors with information about the impact of their giving
Set up board members to make thank you calls to a few donors each month
Engage donors as volunteers, especially with direct contact with your organization’s participants and programs
The idea is to bring people closer to your organization. These small gestures can have a positive and lasting impact on your donor retention – keeping your donors year over year and increasing the level of their contributions.
Congratulations! As you near year end, you can momentarily rest in cruise control knowing that the craze of event season is an image in your rearview mirror. Imagine you’re in a position where both the total number of attendees and the number of new attendees spiked at the variety of friend-raising events you’ve held throughout the year. Exhale a sigh of relief, crank up the volume to your favorite song and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
Now the dust is settling and it’s time to take back control of the car. You run your annual metrics and expect to see strong retention numbers with the added donor engagement you’ve invested in over the last two years. To your surprise, you see that retention rates for the last fiscal year actually decreased for the first time in several years. Yikes! Before you accelerate off the next exit, let’s take a deeper dive. Along the way, we’ll provide helpful strategies to get ahead of these downward trends. Continue reading “Highway to Your Fundraising Metrics”
Annual giving programs typically serve as fundamental revenue engines for nonprofit organizations and yet are notoriously knotty plans to put on paper. We need our institutional leaders, boards and staff to understand our plans. Making them understandable, measurable, achievable, and yet strategic and ambitious is part of the job of the chief development officer. How best to do that?
What to include in annual giving?
By definition, an annual giving program encompasses solicitations that recur each year, and that should produce incrementally greater results over time, increasing the number of donors and dollars raised. The program should generate predictable cash income at targeted times in the year, based on when solicitation activities are scheduled to occur. Annual giving income addresses an organization’s need for current funds, largely, but not exclusively unrestricted. Continue reading “Comprehensive Annual Giving – Roadmap to Creating Your Plan”
The Alford Group celebrated 40 years of impact with Giving USA events across the country, including in Chicago, Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver, WA.
Thank you to everyone who joined us for presentations sharing the recently released Giving USA 2019 Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2018. There is a lot to consider in reviewing Giving USA 2019’s report, so let’s dive in and discuss some key takeaways.
Guest blog by Sarah Tedesco, Executive Vice President, DonorSearch
Are you frustrated that your fundraising efforts don’t have your desired result? That’s okay! It’s good to be frustrated at your fundraising campaigns because that means you have not only identified a problem, but you are willing and ready to make some changes to fix it. (You should be worried if your team seems unconcerned that your organization isn’t yielding as much revenue as it could!)
Over 3,000 development professionals from across the country attended AFP ICON in San Antonio, Texas last month. The Alford Group took advantage of this assembled fundraising brain-trust to conduct a highly scientific (wink!) survey around a few hotly debated fundraising topics.
Participants weighed in on three important “questions of the day” at The Alford Group booth by placing colored ping pong balls into giant glass vases to cast their votes. Fundraisers from across the country representing diverse sectors and roles brought their expertise to challenge some misconceptions and tried-and-true best practices. So, we asked the following three questions:
Do you primarily tell stories or provide statistics in your fundraising appeals?
Do you favor direct mail or email fundraising?
Do you focus primarily on garnering restricted or unrestricted gifts?
One time I started a casual, collegial conversation at an organization’s annual luncheon. It was a formal affair, with gracious table settings and lovely flower arrangements. As one honored donor was getting up to leave her place, I noticed a napkin was caught on her belt.
“Excuse me,” I coughed, “may I take that napkin from you?”
She guffawed and exclaimed, “Oh my goodness!” as we shared a loud, hearty laugh. Recovered from our side stitches, she sat back down and said, “By the way, I’ve been meaning to ask you something about how my gift works.”
We discussed her giving for a good five to ten minutes. The conversation ranged from what she enjoys giving to, her motivation for philanthropic gifts, and how she would like to continue giving in memory of her late husband’s life. It was one of the most authentic, honest and engaging conversations that the two of us ever had. What started as a comical faux pas became the entry way to a purposeful conversation.