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Have I told you lately that I love you? (part 2)

OK, so you’ve done your strategic speed-dating (also known as ‘a pitch’), and it’s time to get on with some proper work.

All being well, you’ve genuinely will fallen in love with an agency. Your agency. All being well they will be making you feel that they only have eyes for you. Even so, before getting into bed you may want some form of pre-nuptial agreement. It’s not vital. It’s not always necessary. But it’s generally a good thing to know what you both expect from the relationship. So whether it is a formal contract or a simple exchange of do’s and don’ts, you may want to specify:

  • The team: who exactly will do the work, pick up the phone to you, come to meetings etc.
  • What will it cost? Precisely.
  • Any specific Service Level Agreements.
  • Financial constraints and targets
  • Confidentiality
  • Copyright
  • Review periods.

They may sound like passion-killers, but, hell, let’s hope this isn’t a one-night stand.

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Have I told you lately that I love you? (part 1)

Relationships, eh, who’d have ‘em!? We talk about them a lot in fundraising don’t we?

So today I want to give a tender caress to those relationships we probably don’t focus on enough, namely those between clients and their agencies (and vice versa).

Some of the highly embarrassing clipart I used many years ago when addressing this topic.

Some of the highly embarrassing clipart I used many years ago when addressing this topic

In doing so I’d like to tip my hat to the tweets and blogs of Gill McLellan (@gillmcl) and Alison McCants (@alisonmccants). Apart from giving wise words, they prompted me to dust down a training course I used to run on this topic. Apart from some embarrassing clipart, I found some advice that I think still holds true today despite a much-changed agency world from when I devised the training more than 15 years ago.

By changed agency world, I mean massively fragmented.  It used to be that fundraising clients made do with one agency. This tended to be a direct marketing agency, most of which eventually described themselves as ‘integrated’ (meaning: ‘Please let us do everything for you! We don’t know how to do everything but I’m sure we can rope in someone who does!’).

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Fondsenwerven, een vak of een hype?

Menigeen zal zich afvragen, fondsenwerven een hype? Dat kan toch helemaal niet? Nee natuurlijk niet. Maar toch gedragen veel fondsenwervers zich wel zo en niet alleen de juniors.
Fondsenwerving is een vak, laat ik daar geen misverstand over laten bestaan. Een vak waarbij je veel technieken moet kunnen toepassen. Zonder goede samenhang tussen die technieken en zonder aandacht voor de mens achter de donateur gaan we het echter niet redden.

Haaks hierop staat een fenomeen dat ik spreadsheet marketing zou willen noemen. Een spreadsheet met daarop alle kengetallen van de actie, als rechtsonder geen positief bedrag verschijnt dan werkt het dus niet. Dat past misschien wel bij marketing, maar daarmee doen we onze doelen en onszelf tekort.

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FREE: 10 years of fundraising experience!

This month exactly 10 years ago, I started my first job as a fundraiser! And from the beginning I was hooked. I love fundraising, because it enables change. Vision and passion combined with great fundraising enables important change. And as a fundraiser you play an important part in that change.

So, looking back over those 10 years, what did I learn? I’ve listed the most important strategic ingredients for a successful fundraising program. Ten years of fundraising experience summarized in one blog post. You only need 3:49 minutes of reading to catch up with 10 years. Now that seems like the bargain of the decade!

(A big thank you to all my fundraising colleagues from Médecins du Monde, Médecins Sans Frontières and Greenpeace who made me the fundraiser I currently am. And a special thanks to Roger and John for the teachings in the early days!)

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Staff like donors? Recruit, develop, retain them…

101fundraising…OK, so back to the basics of fundraising, hey?!  Let me think, should I speak about ROI, LTV, DRTV, hum… yeah, why not! But something more “CORE”?

Found it! Let’s talk about PEOPLE.

I can see your face, but don’t worry, I won’t tell you for the 102nd time that “People give to people”. You know all about it yet. So, let’s have a look at us fundraisers, after all, we are people … and perhaps the best assets of a fundraising program (OK … just after donors).

So, my first post is dealing with what I spent more time on since I became a Fundraising Director some years ago: human resources! How to recruit, retain and develop the good fundraisers for your program. Because, let’s face it, you can be a real genius, but you need people for implementing the strategy you’ve designed for  your organization. The good news is that dealing with human resources can be compared with dealing with a direct marketing program: you need to recruit staff, engage them, develop their contribution, and get the best of them as long as you can retain them.

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Op zoek naar de beste leads?

Fondsenwervers: altijd drukdrukdruk op zoek naar nieuwe markten, nieuwe middelen, nieuwe slimmigheden, the next big thing. Van de bobbel in de envelop naar scherpe listbrokers naar het perfecte callcenter.  Fondsenwerver: take a break! Adem in… adem uit… Wat gebeurt er om je heen?

Er komt een e-mail binnen, een vraag over je de campagne. En hee, een telefoontje. Een donateur wil een verhuizing doorgeven.  En kijk eens: weer een deelnemer erbij op je actiesite. Wat blijkt: tijdens je zoektocht naar de best-werkende-en-toch-voordelige  prospectlijst en het ultieme belscript blijken er gewoon mensen vanuit zichzelf (!) naar jouw organisatie toe te komen. Zomaar, vanuit het niets! Hoe is het mogelijk…. Zeg eens fondsenwerver, hoe ga je hier eigenlijk mee om?

Best interessant om eens naar te kijken, deze ‘inbound leads’. Warmer dan dit zal je ze niet krijgen. Donateurs en niet-donateurs die jou weten te vinden. Die actief contact zoeken met vragen, meedoen aan je campagne, administratieve wijzigingen doorgeven en (ja, die ook) opzeggen. Allemaal personen die wachten op jouw reactie.

Maar hoe ga je hier mee om? Het is een heel diverse groep mensen met heel diverse vragen. Het lijkt bijna onmogelijk om hier één, of enkele, programma’s op in te richten. En om hoeveel mensen gaat het eigenlijk? En om wie?

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Phone first!

As a relationship professional, I’m a big fan of Alexander Graham Bell’s electronic speech machine(*), the latter-day telephone.

My mantra when communicating with major donors: phone first. Phone first. Ph f. (Soothing, isn’t it?)

Email and letters don’t allow for the bilateral conversations our donors and prospects deserve for their generosity. The best “touches” by phone aren’t end-games of trivial information or data collection, either. The goal of every call you make should be to begin, advance or deepen a new or long-term relationship between your prospect/donor, you the fundraiser, and your organization.

The secondary goal of every phone call is to move beyond the business at hand – the hook – to get your donor/prospect to articulate what they need from you to further engage with your organization. The language and approach can be the same for loyal donors and discovery prospects: “I welcome the opportunity to update you on where we stand today, and our goals for the year.”

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Give that gift back!

Hey, did you hear the one about the donor who wanted his money back? In January Robert Burton, a longtime supporter of the University of Connecticut’s athletics program asked the school to return his $3 million gift. From all appearances, Burton’s disagreement with the school is profound, personal and insurmountable.

He plans to cease all support to the University. Burton wants the family’s name removed from the “Burton Family Football Complex”, he won’t renew his luxury suite at the football field ($50,000/year), he won’t purchase an advertisement in the football program ($8,000/year), and he will cease funding a summer coaching clinic to the tune of $20K per year. Finally, he requested the funds from his two endowed scholarships transferred from athletics to the business school.

Certainly this is a problem that brewed for some time. Can any amount of customer service on the part of UCONN fix the relationship between it and the Burton family? It seems unlikely. It’s not unheard of that donor relationships sour to the point that a donor requests the return of his gift, but this level of acrimony is uncommon. Occasionally someone other than the donor requests a return of funds.

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One-night stands ruin your fundraising

“Originally, a one-night stand was a single theatre performance, usually by a guest performer(s) on tour, as opposed to an ongoing engagement. Today, however, the term is more commonly applied to a single sexual encounter, an example of casual sex, in which neither participant has any intention or expectation of a long-term sexual or romantic relationship.” (source: Wikipedia)

Hope I caught your attention. Sex usually does, so I guess you’re still reading. Being new to blogging I recently found out that metaphors usually do the trick. In this blog post a one-night stand opposes the long term focus in fundraising, which is trying to engage in meaningful and lasting supporter relationships.

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