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What’s it like to be old? (By Richard Radcliffe, aged 60)

When I say I am 60 (only just) I wonder what your reaction is? He bloody looks it? He should retire? Richard you still have one third of your life ahead do not stop now! Poor guy? Or, go for it Richard the best part of your life has only just started?

Perhaps your reaction might be: I must read this blog: his life experiences and his fundraising experience must be AWESOME. Who could know more?

So, make your mind up. Your attitudes to ageing can make or break your performance: average gift values, loyalty, donor happiness and most importantly the final gift – the legacy.

Are you ageist? Or an Age Ambassador?

Do you think Old is cold or Old is gold? (more…)

Connecting with your most loyal and senior donors

“Father Time is not always a hard parent, and, though he tarries for none of his children, often lays his hand lightly upon those who have used him well; making them old men and women inexorably enough, but leaving their hearts and spirits young and in full vigour. With such people the grey head is but the impression of the old fellow’s hand in giving them his blessing, and every wrinkle but a notch in the quiet calendar of a well-spent life.”
Charles Dickens

Connecting with our most loyal and senior supporters can be the most inspirational thing we do in our career as a fundraisers. It is such a privilege to meet and learn from people whose bodies are aging, but who, as Charles Dickens says, have hearts and spirits that are young and full of vigour.

Today I am going to share with you a little bit about what we are doing in my organization to develop a robust Planned Giving program. (more…)

It’s Personal!

This is my third blog for 101fundraising and while other may prefer to write about theories of giving. I like to write more about technical things that, hopefully, can immediately help you.

In my previous blogs, I talked about “drip-drip” marketing for legacy fundraising and about organising a legacy event.  Now, I want to discuss how using a “personal touch” can help legacy fundraising

In Indonesia we have a phrase ‘Tak kenal maka tak sayang’— which means “if you don’t get to know people, it’s impossible for you to care for them.”  And with legacy fundraising, personalisation can be a VERY  important factor.

In the WWF Network, globally, we have 24 national offices that have a legacy program. (more…)

A fundraising checklist: Should you consider “Summer Fundraising”?

I recently asked to some colleagues if they were running specific fundraising campaigns during the summer. Most of them answered they are not! Business as usual seems to be the moto. Worst, some programs are put on hold during the holidays. How can they be wrong? At the end of July, European cities get emptier than ever since kids are out of school and families are on vacation.

But my own experience of being a fundraiser has always been associated with very busy summer months: the period from June to mid August reminds me only to work hard, fully dedicated to analyse first semester’s result and to close planning for the upcoming semesters. On the operational side, I can remember only two tests run in July and August. But what if there was a real potential for fundraising during this time of the year?

(more…)

Why I Love (And Feel Uncomfortable About Loving) Legacy Fundraising

I’m writing this on the one-year anniversary of my move from Toronto to London, so you’re reading this one year after I started my career as a professional fundraiser, and what a lot has changed during that time. I’ve gone from fundraiser in theory, to fundraiser in practice; blogger, to paid writer (ha!).

But there’s another difference that has been developing more recently and at the IoF National Convention last week, it finally hit me – I’ve fallen madly, deeply, head-over-heels in love with legacy gifts.

This may come as a surprise to those who knew me in Toronto because I used to be quite vocal about my distaste for this field of fundraising. I thought it was dull, cold, and frankly it bored me half to death when we studied it in school (pun intended). (more…)

Crisis? There is no crisis!

Earlier this year we interviewed 10 senior fundraisers in the Dutch Market to ask them if the economic turmoil changed their opinion about the fundraising potential in their market. And, if any, where they saw fundraising opportunities.

In the majority of interviews, the current economic situation was debunked as an excuse for non-performance. Even if the market is getting a bit rough, there is plenty of opportunity for growth, was their main message.

The question is: Where is the money? And how to get it? (more…)

The Stolen Recipe for a Legacy Event

This is my second blog post for 101 Fundraising and, just like my first blog, the inspiration was coming from a presentation that I attended late last year.  [Yes, I steal ideas from others! Don’t judge!].

My job in WWF is to build a knowledge system for WWF’s legacy fundraisers. One of them is to organise a virtual presentation about legacy fundraising. This presentation was one of them and it’s about the recipe of success for legacy event. It was presented by Sarah Cunningham who is legacy marketing manager for WWF UK. [I already have permission from Sarah to use her presentation as my blog sources. Thanks Sarah!]

So, let’s get cracking! Sarah presented how she prepared the legacy events as if she cooked a recipe for dinner. I like the idea of it since a legacy event is not a fast-food standardized product, but more likely to be a customized and adaptable dish. It needs to be personal. (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…)

Unexpected (?) fundraising tool: your ears as your moneymakers

“Recently a charity asked me if I had put them in my will. I was astounded and felt insulted by this question. After the conversation I immediately went to my notary and changed my will. I deleted all three of the charities that were in there. My kids are once again the only beneficiaries.”

I posted this quote on Twitter about a year ago, after a ‘kitchen table’ conversation with one of the major donors of a charity I work for as a consultant. The conversation was part of a feasibility study for a major gifts and legacies program. A fellow fundraiser has asked me to blog about the subject.

Well, here are my thoughts. (more…)

Who are the best fundraisers in The Netherlands?

Last week the Central Bureau Fundraising (CBF) in The Netherlands released their 2010 overview of fundraising (read it in Dutch or the English Google translation). Most news about these figures is about general market trends, or growth compared to last year, but never ever really gives you an insight you can work with as a fundraiser. But it’s always interesting to have a closer look, because we can learn more from these figures.

I’m always particularly interested in the organizations that are showing growth figures over a longer period of time, because it shows consistent good performance.

I focused my little analysis on the top 50 fundraising organizations in 2010. In 2006 they raised €760M and in 2010 the same group of organizations raised €936M. This group consists of charities that all raise more than €5M. (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…)

Legacy Fundraising 101… Fresh from the IFC!

This is my first blog for 101fundraising and it was my first time at an IFC masterclass.

Since part of my job is developing legacy fundraising in new markets, Mitch Hinz, my boss, decided to put me in the legacy masterclass this year. The speakers were Stephen George and Allan Freeman.

In the masterclass, we discussed about things that seemed all logic and just common sense, but you never realized it until someone actually told you! At least that’s what happened to me. The masterclass for me was a complete legacy 101. (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…)