Basically, “in the bag” means your fundraising is secured! You know it’s true because you’ve already accomplished the goal. Whew – a sigh of relief.
Last quarter of the year…is it really in the bag or are you kidding yourself?
As a nonprofit, it can be hard to focus on year-end goals when it’s only August. You undoubtably wear many hats in the organization. It can be even harder to decide what you need to do to achieve success when you’re still trying to meet Q2 or Q3 financial goals. Q4 builds powerful momentum for 2019. Speaking of ways to do this:
1. HAVE A CONSISTENT STORY TO SHARE
A story builds trust in your mission. It has the potential to increase donations when the story is one people repeat to others. The same story has time to build momentum, and you’ll also save resources when you avoid creating something new. ALL. THE. TIME.
2. CUSTOMIZE HOW YOU COMMUNICATE
A donor is different than someone new learning about your program. Look at your connections and specifically at your monthly donation amounts. Align the way you communicate with different donor segments. Check your social media accounts to see which posts get the most engagement, and build articles for newsletters and subsequent posts based upon those topics. Share with people donating to your organization (time, money, resources).
Customizing communication increases trust in your organization.
3. APPRECIATE DONORS AND VOLUNTEERS
Connect with highly engaged donors and volunteers, who frequently support your mission. They are your advocates. They share your mission with others in a GOOD way when they feel respected. Now is the time to make sure there’s a program of appreciation in place, which is well-developed within your organization.
4. CONNECT WITH BUSINESSES AND SPONSORS
Increase awareness and revenue for your nonprofit when you grow the awareness of your organization within your community. Meet with people and share your mission. This is not asking people for donations unless they are ready to give.
Get to the top of your market because people have confidence and trust in you. Take the test! Prove it. Here’s a quick way to decipher your trustworthiness:
- Do you serve the best interests of others?
(Not your own interests)
- Do you communicate all the information people need to be successful?
(Don’t make assumptions about what you think “they can handle”. Leaders who underestimate the intelligence of their teams generally overestimate their own.)
- Do you keep your commitments?
(Leaders must watch their words because even a casual comment can be interpreted as a commitment.)
Keeping commitments is very important to establish trust.
SOAR is dedicated to helping businesses, non-profits and donors build community. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
A list, compiled through donor interviews, is below. These are the common answers for what a donor wants in order to feel good about a donation they make.
- good community standing for the non-profit they donate to
- a non-profit that works with others to pool resources
- respected fundraising tools
- fiscal responsibility of how they spend the gifts they get
- not being asked again and again for gifts to fund the same purpose
- donation they make reflect positively on themselves
- a feel-good system in place for everyone involved
- a well-outlined strategic plan for the future of how the money they give now impacts the future
- a realistic fundraising plan with resources already in place
- realistic and clear goals determined by the non-profit
- financial report to share
- legitimate mission, vision and purpose defined
- adequate service area in the community
- impact metrics for when their donation is made
- a way to connect the donor to the mission
- updates on progress as well as outcomes of their gift
- ways to create a personal connection for the donor
- respect for the donor (thank you’s and acknowledgements done promptly)
- a trustworthy cause to give to, meaning the non-profit accepts responsibility, and stands by their decisions
- attention to solicitation requests made – the number sent, the messaging, and the follow through afterwards
- Transparency of the organization and all systems (they do not want to be asked by more than one person for the same thing)
- a way for the donor to make a difference with whatever they give
- heart-warming stories
- clear explanation of need so there’s no guessing
- excellent customer service
- a way to solicit donors for advice
- a way for donors to be heroes
- online systems – updated and accurate
- good communications
- photos of how dollars are impacting society – the results
- an organized way to volunteer their time
A person who feels good about their donation opens the door for others to give because they share their great experience. It also gives them the idea to give again, and to potentially give more.
SOAR is a relationship program, an acronym, which covers all the bases for helping non-profits coordinate the above list. It’s a way to grow market share and increase dollars.
S – share your message
O – offer opportunities for involvement
A – accept the way people want to participate
R – respect and appreciate others
People who SOAR spread their networking arms, expand their market, and increase the dollars they raise. They SOAR – all of the time with practices they implement. To learn more – email@example.com
- You have choices to make.
- You weigh the options while educating yourself.
- You make a choice.
This is an ideal scenario but it’s not always the way it goes.
A corporation growing market share (AKA raising money) often limits their options to what they’ve always done and then expects different results. You’ve probably heard a quote, often attributed to Albert Einstein:
“Insanity Is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results.”
Insanity is a BAD choice when it comes to building confidence in your community for increasing market share. People wonder why an organization is STILL ASKING for money. Why have they NOT MET their financial goal? Will they ever be sustainable? Are they using their dollars wisely? Many times a development professional at an organization becomes the scapegoat. In reality, it costs more money to replace that professional than to work on building them into the model fundraiser. Most times, an employee challenged with raising money is so lost on what to do, they lose sleep at night, and their health deteriorates. Their self-esteem suffers. They feel they’ve let the organization down. They stop trying because it’s too painful.
Organizations choosing to SOAR lighten the burden on their fundraising professional. SOAR is an acronym for a system. People who have followed the program double awareness within two months. They increase fundraising 126% in four months. The metrics in every scenario are off the charts. SOAR only works with organizations and a fundraising professional who are willing to step outside of their box and see relationship building as a necessary tool for raising money.
CAUTION: Grants and donors seeking tax benefits are NOT guaranteed. Recently, a client lost their $100,000 block grant. It’s something they’d received for many years. Now, GONE with the blink of an eye. Fortunately, they are growing their program with SOAR. They’ve found ways to educate people about their mission. They are developing a culture with people in the community. They will survive.
Your choice is to SOAR for success. Discuss options. Schedule a quick call by clicking here.
Reality – we impact and are impacted.
Social impact is something we hear a lot about. Businesses are choosing to give time, dollars and resources to organizations who create impact and offer value in return. During your next board meeting – make a list of the ways you’re giving back to the people giving to your organization. This goes for everyone! Every business has other people involved. A client gives any business they frequent their support. This, in turn, raises money.
Everyday reality changes. Let’s talk about how you do business. Stuck in what worked twenty years ago? Stuck in what worked a year ago? You know everything is time sensitive in this ever-changing world, right? You may have noticed what has worked in the past is not working as well any longer. It’s because we’re not in the same space any longer. It’s the impact of reality.
Staying on top of reality takes balance and the ability to move quickly. Stuck doesn’t work anymore. SOAR works with boards to create reality through natural talents and focused directional shifts. Something, which always remains true is the desire for success. The reality is – it’s something we can impact and it will definitely impact us!
Have you ever asked people why they give? This can be a donation of time, money, or resources. It is crucial to know why a person gives if you’re looking for donations. It is also important to know why some people may avoid you!
The top reason a person gives, believe it or not, is because someone they know has asked them to give and they want to help. Simple and sweet!
The next eight reasons for why people give, according to experience:
- Usually a person or someone they know is affected by what the mission is helping. They donate with a feeling to alleviate need.
- People give because of what they get in return. It could be a good feeling, tax benefit, recognition, or some sort of driving force they achieve for another mission
- People often feel emotionally moved by someone’s story. It becomes a personal connection and they have a desire to help
- A person wants a sense of closeness to a community or group
- There’s a desire to memorialize someone
- Charitable family traditions – it’s the way a person was brought up
- A person wants to leave a legacy
- The feeling of being fortunate and wanting to help others
Going back to the TOP reason about why people give; people asking people they know AND getting the donation.
The reality is – there’s a downside. People get tired of being asked again and again to give. The sense of obligation soon subsides and a person being asked begins to avoid the person asking. Take a simple test:
- Are your calls going unanswered, again and again?
- Do you feel the notes you send get lost in the mail?
- Do you leave a lot of voice messages, which are rarely returned?
Answering yes to any of these questions shows there’s a problem. We can help. There’s a quick remedy. Read on.
Develop a fundraising system, which does not rely on the same people giving over and over again because the group you ask continues to grow AND you know them. When you ask – they will give!
At SOAR we work with progressive people and organizations. Become part of our network, Get Free Tips – click here!
Answers to the following questions are your framework for crossing the gap:
- How do you educate people about your organization?
- What action steps do you have in place already?
- Where do you position yourself in the market?
- How do you plan to achieve your fundraising goal? Refer to your fundraising plan.
We began working with an organization February 8 who answered the questions the following way. The updated answers follow (2 months in).
- How do you educate people about your organization?
- Feb. 8 – We share our message through newsletters. We invite people to come into our office and we show them around. We do pretty good with our Facebook page. We are members of the chamber and go to events.
- April 5 – We invite people to a networking event and facility tour at our location each month. We reach out to our partners, invite them and encourage them to become advocates because of the benefits we offer in return.
- What action steps do you have in place?
- Feb. 8 – We invite people to come in and learn about us. They can volunteer too.
- April 5 – We designed a postcard invite for our networking events and tour. We give these out to people at events, and encourage advocates to share. We developed benefits for our advocates and share this with people. We train people on how to talk about our services. We talk more about our services and invite more people in. There’s momentum building.
- Where do you position yourself?
- Feb. 8 – We help people who are ____________. We have grown so much these last couple of years as more people have gotten to know who we are but our fundraising program is struggling. We host an annual event and two years ago we had 300 people attend. Last year we had 200. We have not met our fundraising goal but feel changing our event to a dinner will help.
- April 5 – As a leader in the community. We educate people on services and we help people to get back on their feet. I love my job. It’s super, super busy but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
- How do you plan to achieve your fundraising goal?
- Feb. 8 – We will host our annual event in six months. Most people cannot come during the day so we’re doing a dinner instead of a lunch. We’ve already secured a speaker and the location. We will host in six months. Invitations will be sent to our mailing lists.
- April 5 – Continue moving forward one day at a time. Keep this system that’s building active, among all of the other things I have to do. Our level of success is when we continue to move toward the goal. The process will take time but we will get there and it will be beneficial because of the relationships we’re building.
The statements above were paraphrased. The organization mentioned here learned about the program described in the book “SOAR with Network Fundraising” on
February 8. They have chosen to begin hosting networking events and to follow the system through consulting.
- Share your message with others
- Offer opportunities for people to be involved
- Accept the way people want to be involved
- Respect and appreciate all people, ideas, and decisions
SOAR offers monthly, six month, and year-long programs. There is also a fundraising workshop during the summer, July 6 and 7, in Colorado. This is for people to learn the system and resource the tools to help grow a fundraising program. Learn about the different avenues to be involved through this link.
Collaborative Networking Events – THE way to spread your wings and SOAR! This is when you partner a business, nonprofit, sponsor and attendees. The business and the sponsor may be one in the same.
- Business – provides location
- Sponsor – pays for event amenities (food, etc)
- Non-profit – featured during presentation
- Attendees come to NETWORK and will see the presentation
The Collaborative Networking Event is a mix n’ mingle partnered between two presentations. SOAR is an acronym for a relationship management style. Network Fundraising is the system. SOAR with Network Fundraising is described in a book – by the same name. There are also educational platforms described on the website. soarwithnetworkfundraising.org
Why network at all?
- Develop relationships for business
- Grow market share
- Create sustainability
When does networking really work?
- Growth happens within your network because of reciprocal services you provide to others
- Reciprication happens when you’re giving back in meaningful ways because you know what someone values.
Networking methods – there are many. The one to consider, which happens officially in three meetings, is 1:1 networking.
- Meeting #1
- Learn more about the individual
- Listen to ideas
- Determine where there’s an overlap
- Mutually share information about networks
- Meeting #2
- Offer support in meaningful ways
- Add value
- Determine how to recognize
- Provide network leads and opportunities
- Meeting #3
- Determine the best way to develop a collaboration
- Make the ask
SOAR with Network Fundraising – the book on Amazon – Click to order
Let’s connect on Social Networks
- soarwithnetworkfundraising.com (FB)
- gaylegross.com (FB)
- gayle_gross (Twitter)
- Linkedin.com/in/gaylegross (LinkedIn)
1.) KNOW the person/organization you’re asking. AND, know why they will say yes when you ask for a donation. Ideas for getting to know them:
- Invite them to attend activities you’re hosting (when you’re not asking for money or anything else in return) so you can talk and learn
- Take a genuine interest in the things they do
- Get involved in things they support
- Attend something of their choosing
2.) Discover a general overlap of interests. This helps with building lasting relationships. It is always good to focus part of your appointments on a friendly discussion. Ideas:
- FORM – family, occupation, relationships and mission/message
3.) Avoid boring anyone with information they already know. ASK for perspectives upfront. Find out what is already known and what participants would like to learn. Questions to ask to get clear:
- What would you like to get from today’s meeting?
- How would you see me being more involved in your mission?
- Do you have a specific interest in the mission I’m involved with?
4.) Set an agenda for your meeting. Let anyone involved with the meeting know the meeting’s agenda. Also, ask anyone involved to add items ahead of time. Tips:
- Set the agenda one week in advance
- Send the agenda to everyone with a deadline date for adding new items
- Always have the last section scheduled for new business and setting the next meeting
5.) Determine mutual benefit. Share this when asking for an appointment. What will the attendees gain through your meeting?
6.) ASK for the donation. Realize the benefit of giving to your organization and feel good about someone doing so. When you know why they will say yes it is time to ask.
7.) Thank everyone involved with a phone call and/or hand written note. Respect and appreciate others for the time they give to you.
If we were to add #8 it would be to attach yourself to a system for fundraising. Whether it is one you develop or one you adopt from someone else. A system is the way you implement fundraising. SOAR lays some groundwork below for our system.
Share your message with others.
Offer opportunities for people to be involved with your mission.
Accept the way people want to participate.
Respect and appreciate others.
We also have a networking event, which helps organizations increase their volunteer base, engage people interested in growing the program, and see the benefit for being involved. Want to learn more? See this link.
“The more people you know, the more places you’ll go.” Sounds like a familiar quote, right? It’s close but not quite the same as Dr. Seuss (if you’re wondering).
Building networks goes hand in hand with raising money and increasing market share. Take the text literally. The more people you know and share your message with, the more growth you’ll have. NOW, the caveat. There are ways to do this without appearing overt and this is where developing your skill comes in.
“I want what I want, not what I need” may seem familiar if you know the band The Federal Empire. Take this text literally and ask for what’s needed while also giving what’s needed to the person you’re asking. Confused? You’re not alone. What a person needs is not always what they ask for because they ask for what they want, remember? There are ways to get everything sorted out to put yourself on the right path toward achieving fundraising success and asking for what you need. There’s a simple system, which you may not want to do BUT it is what you need to do!
Organizations go through growing pains – that’s right – growth in fundraising through a new system causes the same pain you feel while growing in other ways. The good thing is that it doesn’t last long. The reality is 4 – 8 weeks and then, the process and persistence pays off. It’s happening now. Statistics prove raising money is done through building networks. SOAR is the way to go when you’re ready to fly.
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