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3 Ways to Connect with Donors

3 weeks ago By Kristin Hammett

In our increasingly fast-paced, high-demand culture, ministries find it more necessary and critical than ever to make as many connection points as possible with donors. This development should not be focused merely on stewarding financial resources – it is also a way to steward and build genuine relationships. Here are a few key ideas to keep in mind for your supporter engagement plan! Be Human: The more personal touch you can give to your donor correspondence, the better! Commit to calling faithful supporters to see how they are doing and deliver a personal thank you. They will appreciate the time…

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Ministry

Key insights into a major donor plan

2 months ago By Kristin Hammett

Ministries have been entrusted with a calling to serve their communities and God’s Kingdom and challenged to fund that work effectively. Major donors, entrusted with God’s resources, are a crucial strategy for any non-profit development effort. All donors play an essential role in ministry support, but nearly 90% of donations come from approximately 10% of donors. Thus, creating a major donor plan is crucial to the success and sustainability of your organization. Do you have a major donor plan? If so, does it include all the key components? Here are a few tips to get started or to evaluate your current efforts. Identify potential major givers. Determining who believes in your mission and who has the capacity to give is a crucial first step. You’ve heard me say before that ministry development is the connection point of God’s work to His resources. Begin your major donor efforts by looking for those with the capacity to give and evaluate their alignment with your mission. A good starting point is to leverage your leadership team and board members. You board may be well connected to individuals who are willing and capable of becoming a major donor. These individuals may include business owners, entrepreneurs, real estate developers, corporate executives, as well as many others. Generous people and potential major donors are all around us. Understand their needs Once you’ve decided who your potential major givers are, learn about them. Get to know their story. What causes do they care about it? If they’ve already given to your cause, why do they give? Listen well. This will set the stage for a conversation that will speak to their interests and how they relate to your needs. Provide a personalized approach Cultivating major donors is a relational investment. Face to face meetings are preferred to phone calls, emails, or letters. In-person meetings show you care and are willing to invest in relationships. This helps you understand what programs a potential giver may align with best and gain insight into what they care about most. Creating a communication strategy that extends past the initial gift will continue to earn their trust and loyalty in the future. Create a clear call to action Don’t forget the ask. Often if an individual is willing to meet, they are prepared to take the next step of giving, but only when there is a clear call to action. When you create a call to action, be very clear where the gift is going. For example, you can say, “Would you being willing to give a gift of X amount of dollars to help us with _____?” You can fill in the blank with the project your organization’s needs. Give a detailed follow-up. Plan how you will personally thank your donor after the gift is received. Once a donor has given an initial gift, follow up by sharing the impact of their contribution. This personalized approach will prove to encourage a long-standing relationship that benefits you and your major donors. Cultivating major donors is a significant endeavor. Remember this is a process; don’t get discouraged. Stay in contact with prospective donors. Perhaps this isn’t the right time for them, but a year later maybe. Remember, this is about relationships, and those take time to build, foster and grow.

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Ministry

Purposeful Events—Move from Transaction to Transformation

3 months ago By Kristin Hammett

Events are powerful in building relationships, awareness, and loyalty with your donors. Whether it is a banquet, retreat, golf tournament, or an auction –– events can be a great tool to dramatically grow your support.   Plan. An effective event has a strategic purpose, measurable objectives, and a clear outline of the steps needed to achieve your goals. When determining your purpose, it is essential to define your objectives. Are you hosting a fundraising event? If so, how much money do you want to raise? Having a clear understanding of your goals positions your organization to select the best steps to effectively meet them.    Engage. The key to a successful event is personal engagement which leads to transformation. Real change happens when your audience begins to move beyond the transaction of giving and focus on the broader experience. Emphasizing the heart and mindset of possible change, and not just money will impact their hearts and partnership is likely to follow. By inviting guests to join in the mission and play an active role in problem-solving, they will see themselves as a part of the story – one where they can be the hero.  Review. It is no secret that events require a lot of work. After it is over, you will most likely want to stop thinking about it altogether! But, this is when the real developmental work begins. Measuring your ROI (return on investment) is imperative for planning future events. The data you gather will offer deeper insight into your event expenditure and better understand how it impacts your bottom line.   Follow Up. Saying thank you to your volunteers, donors, and sponsors goes a long way. Continuing to engage your donors into the problem they are helping solve rather than a merely transactional receipt, will benefit both your organization and those who support it. And don’t stop with a thank you letter. Call them, engage them, meet for coffee. Get to know your donors! An event is just the beginning of what can be a great donor/ministry relationship! 

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Ministry

Making Donors the Hero of Your Story

5 months ago By Kristin Hammett

We all see things from our own perspective. Donors do too. They see through their own lens of experience and perspective. To communicate effectively, strive to meet your donors where they are and provide answers to the questions, they may not realize they are asking. Donors often ask themselves “How does this impact me?” “What’s in this for me?” “What if this were me?” Providing answers to these questions will connect your donors to your mission. Below are a few important questions to begin thinking along these lines. How do donors help your organization succeed? What difference does their support make? What is the impact of their donation? Who are the donors helping? There are many heroes in your organization already: volunteers, board members, clients who make a brave choice, employees, etc. However, your donor-facing communication isn’t the time to sing their praises. Consider how your communication makes your donor feel. Do they feel empowered? Do they feel angry about the injustice that is happening? Do they feel they can help? Communication with your donors should be focused on them. Make the donor the hero of your story and the impact will be powerful. The key is to minimize your organization and center your communication on the donor and the client. You can accomplish this by making small changes in your language. For example, Will you help feed the hungry in our community this week? or Because of you, we were able to feed the hungry in our community. (St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a great example of this with their “because of you” campaign) Invite donors to participate in your efforts, don’t guilt them. It is important to avoid the implication that your donor should do something, but rather focus on the idea that they can do something. Fundraising is about waking up an army of heroes to join you in your mission. It’s about inviting people in by letting them believe in their own power. By simplifying your message, you invite the donor to be the hero. You offer them an invitation to take action and join your cause.  

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Ministry

Creating a Culture of Development

5 months ago By Kristin Hammett

Develop: advance, establish, flourish, expand, grow, progress. When you think about the development role, those might be the idealistic synonyms that come to mind. However, more often than not, we think about development as bringing in money, knocking on doors, sales tactics, and not as a holistic concept with a heart for flourishing. By instilling a culture of development throughout your entire organization, rather than just an isolated role, it begins to shift perspective. Your customer service experience, the way your staff talks about their job to their friends, and inter-office communication are just a few pieces which shape your culture and its development potential. To challenge your mindset or to evaluate where your organization is at, consider these questions: How equipped is your staff to talk about the initiatives you are working on? By keeping all staff informed, you speak value to them, and you build a core base of advocates to promote your work. Suddenly, your reach is expanded beyond just a designated development officer. Even a casual conversation with an entry-level staff member has the opportunity to open doors with new donors.  On a larger scale, your organization develops a reputation based off how your employees speak of it. Evaluate how you are educating all your staff and including them in conversations about your mission and the heart of who you are. What about when mistakes happen? While we all want to plan for the best, the reality is at some point, we all drop the ball. Mistakes happen. Emails get stuck in the drafts folder. A check gets lost. Are you prepared to serve your donors well even in your less than glorious moments? Having a culture that works hard for the victories, but also serves just as passionately in the messy and the mundane moments will take intentional leadership to coach and model these attitudes. How do people describe your leaders? Creating culture is not an overnight change, and it can even require painful shifts on occasion. To start reviewing where your organization is, consider how outsiders view and describe your leadership. Accessible? Authority? Servant? Caring? Leader, but without connection to their people? What your leaders live out at the top sets the standard for the organization, and it is also the most visible piece to those outside. These questions are just the start of the journey towards inspiring a development culture, so keep in mind that this truly is a process. It will take time, continued evaluation and course corrections. However, each authentic change is another piece to establish how you flourish, progress, grow, advance, and establish. Looking for more practical details? Join our webinar on January 16 to learn how leadership can set a culture.  

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Ministry

Light the Way Testimonies – Men of Valor

6 months ago By The Signatry

In October, at our Tennessee Light The Way event we provided $20 bills to event attendees and challenged them to give the money away and share their stories of generosity. The beauty of this is how God moves in the most unexpected ways. Below you’ll find the story of a man who serves with an organization that ministers to men just released from prison. He took this exercise of generosity and challenged his own group to go live generously with the funds provided. Continue reading for his story and the testimonies of those who gave freely. — At the recent…

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Ministry

3 Key Metrics to Evaluate Your Year

6 months ago By The Signatry

You’ve built communication plans, adjusted development tactics, and now you’re in the harvest season with year-end giving. There is much to celebrate, but there are still opportunities to be seized as well. Utilize this year-end season to evaluate not only your year-end giving results but the entire year. You’ve gained valuable lessons, and it is important to use your knowledge to grow even stronger in the year ahead. Here are three key metrics to evaluate: Annual Overall Rate of Growth in Donations Your annual rate of growth is found by comparing the increase of donations between this year and last.…

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Ministry

5 Tools to Thank Your Donors

7 months ago By The Signatry

We all know the active support of donors is crucial to your Kingdom work, but sometimes we need the reminder to be intentional in honoring them. Offering recognition and appreciation to your donors is important in retaining their trust and loyalty to your organization’s mission. There are numerous ways to say “thank you,” but whether large or small, expressing your gratitude should feel meaningful and genuine. Including personal stories will invite the donor to see themselves as a vital part of your ministry. Whether your plan needs a refresh or you are getting started, use these ideas of ways to…

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Ministry

Grow Year End Communication

8 months ago By The Signatry

Because 50% of nonprofits receive the majority of their annual donations from October through December, your year-end communication is paramount to your organization’s success in the upcoming year. When planning how to communicate year end giving with your donors, there are a few key elements that can make all the difference. Identify your segments Segmenting your donors by age and demographic provides the opportunity to effectively communicate on a more personal level. Connecting through various platforms and speaking to what resonates with each group, will greatly impact your reach. Consider what adjustments and approaches  you need to pursue. For example:…

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