It’s all about the money, it’s all about the briefings!

collectebusA few months ago I was approached by a door-to-door fundraiser. It was dark, it was cold, and it was raining. The fundraiser, not bothered by these circumstances at all, told me a beautiful story about the charity he worked for. I believed him and decided to become a donor. Was it the rain? Or was I the perfect target for this charity? Or did I just meet one hell of a good door-to-door fundraiser? (more…)

Be nice, it’s your job!

TeamFor years I raised funds from major donors and legacy donors. “Relationship manager” my card said. I raised money and made friends. I still remember the personal stories donors told me, their motives to donate, and the name of their pet. They remember me too, because I still get postcards, phone calls and warm greetings from some of them, although I have been working for another charity for almost 2 years now. It was my job to build a long lasting relationship between the donor and the charity and I delivered. They still donate to MSF. (more…)

Donate! It’s proven to make you happy!

Some weeks ago I was at a party, with lots of new people to meet. It was a very nice party: we watched football on a big screen, had a barbecue, and kids were playing in the garden. I started talking to a lady I’ve never met before, and of course she asked me what kind of work I do. Normally I adjust my reply to the person in front of me, because the plain answer ‘fundraiser’ can get you in strange places. So I replied: ‘I’m a fundraiser. I generate money for extra projects, and focus on major gifts and legacies”. I was quite happy with my answer and wanted to take another bite from my meal, when my new friend concluded: “Aha, you beg for money by selling lies to people”. My heart missed a beat and my meal suddenly tasted not that good anymore. This conclusion was exactly the opposite of by idea of fundraising. Well, not quite the opposite because begging for money was somehow true. But I was not selling lies, I was selling happiness to donors. Because: donating makes people happy. And I could proof this, too. Scientifically! (more…)

Geven maakt (wetenschappelijk bewezen) gelukkig!

Enige weken geleden was ik op een feestje waar ik de helft van de mensen nog niet kende.  Het was een leuk feestje, met voetbal via een beamer en een barbecue. Ik raakte in gesprek met iemand die me vroeg wat ik voor werk deed. Deze vraag beantwoord ik meestal op verschillende manieren, aangepast aan de doelgroep waartoe ik denk dat de vrager behoort. “Ik ben fondsenwerver”, zei ik, en voegde enigszins overbodig toe: “Ik zorg voor extra financiële middelen voor kankeronderzoek, waarbij ik mij richt op grote gevers en nalatenschappen”. Mijn gesprekspartner dacht kort na en zei: “Aha, je bedelt dus om geld door leugens te verkopen”. Ik verslikte mij en dacht na. Deze snelle conclusie stond lijnrecht tegenover mijn idee over fondsenwerving, en ook lijnrecht tegenover mijn idee over mijzelf. Dat bedelen om geld, daar zat natuurlijk wel wat in, maar ik verkoop geen leugens. Ik verkoop geluk! Want mensen die geven, worden namelijk gelukkig doordat ze geven. En dat is nog eens wetenschappelijk bewezen ook, en hier lieg ik niets aan. (more…)

De meest kansrijke erflater vindt u hier!

‘De typische erflater: Een alleenstaande vrouw van ongeveer tachtig jaar zonder kinderen. Het laatste testament is een paar jaar oud en in dit testament staat, meestal samen met een aantal andere doelen, jouw organisatie opgenomen. Voorwaarde om in het testament genoemd te worden is uiteraard wel dat de potentiële erflater bekend is met jouw organisatie. Of beter: een relatie heeft opgebouwd als donateur, vrijwilliger, zelfs medewerker’.

Dit profiel komt de gemiddelde nalatenschapfondsenwerver geregeld tegen in boeken, in masterclasses en onderzoeken. Voor een kansrijk nalatenschap programma lijkt het dus noodzakelijk om je op deze doelgroep te richten, en dan na gemiddeld vier tot tien jaar een stijging in inkomsten uit nalatenschappen te merken.

Maar: richt je je dan op die miljoenen mensen buiten je database, omdat die groep veel groter is, of beperk je je tot de mensen van wie je zeker weet dat er al een relatie bestaat, namelijk je eigen achterban?

Een kleine speurtocht op de websites van nalatenschappenexperts Henk de Graaf en Arjen van Ketel leert mij dat beide wegen kunnen leiden naar (meer) inkomsten uit nalatenschappen. Dat is goed nieuws! (more…)

How saying No to a donor can end up in a legacy pledge

As a relationship manager special gifts, I speak to a lot of donors about including Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) in their last will. Not only do donors want to know what difference their gift will make in the lives of people that urgently need medical aid, victims of war and natural disasters. But donors also like to talk about their personal life, their personal situation, their values and beliefs.

In my experience, a conversation about legacies often leads to people sharing the story of their life with me. Conversations I really love. Spending an afternoon with a donor talking about their experiences in life and the choices they have made, also for including MSF in their will, are very dear to me and to MSF.

I feel free to discuss as much as possible with them. Sometimes problems need to be discussed and it happens that people ask me to tell them how they can make sure their annoying little cousin does not inherit. (more…)

How to find your inner Richard Radcliffe!

People who have had the pleasure to listen to Richard Radcliffe’s inspiring and challenging presentations on legacy fundraising, may have had the same thought as I’ve had after meeting him: ‘How on earth can I get as experienced as he is and make legacy fundraising feel like a walk in the park?’

And specially when you have read in Sebastian Wilberforce’s ‘Legacy fundraising‘ that “Richard Radcliffe has more then 30 years experience in the charity sector….specializes in planning and running legacy focus groups….he has met more than 15.000 donors….”, legacy fundraisers with only a few  years of experience may start to feel a bit lost. And some of us, like me, may start to wonder how many lives we need to get even close to the experience Richard has in legacy fundraising. 

I think you can start by looking for that little piece of Richard Radcliffe in your inner self, the piece that makes him know how donors, volunteers, prospects, board members, colleagues and beneficiaries think about making their last will and including a charity in it. (more…)

Back to where it started: getting your leaders involved

While in the good old days the MT and board members brought in the big money, knew all of their major donors and took care of their needs, nowadays major donors are mostly the responsibility of a fundraiser. And often this job is just one of the things he or she is taking care of. Fundraisers are struggling between the ‘bulk’, and the personal attention one special donor needs and definitely deserves.

But this is slowly changing: more and more NGO’s start to expand their fundraising team with dedicated fundraisers, solely focusing on the needs of major donors and legacy plegders, increasing the group of (potential) major donors. Some of the biggest NGO’s in Holland even have a whole team responsible for gifts from major donors, sometimes with the help of a prospect researcher. Major donor working-groups are being born, master classes are being followed, books are being read, agencies specialized in major gift fundraising are founded. Fundraisers transform into ‘Relationship manager’, or ‘Special gift advisor’, strategic plans on increasing major gift income are written. But, when all this hard work is done, at the end it comes back to the one thing it all started with: getting your leaders involved in your major donor fundraising. Why? Because, no matter how dedicated and trustworthy the fundraiser may be, at the end (or should I say, at the beginning of your major gift cycle) your best prospects want to talk to your board members, your directors, your ambassadors. (more…)