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Three Year-End Communication Tips

2 weeks ago By Kristin Hammett

The cool nip of fall is in the air, the crunch of leaves is underfoot, and the first snow may have already blanketed the ground. These signs, along with our calendars, tell us that the year is drawing to a close. But for those in nonprofit development, the next 60 days make up the busiest (and most important) time of year! Giving Tuesday is just a month away, with the year-end giving season following on its heels. Hopefully, you’ve already been planning and gearing up for your ministry’s campaign. But if you need a few more tips to help motivate…

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Ministry

Maximizing the Middle

2 months ago By Kristin Hammett

Are you a middle child? Do you have a middle child? Middle children commonly share they don’t get enough attention, or they don’t “fit” in the family. I have three kids of my own. My husband and I often say our oldest demands attention, our youngest requires attention, but our middle child needs attention. I think the same can be true with donors. Major donors warrant a considerable amount of attention and relational investment. General donors require regular mass communication. But middle donors? They need (and deserve) attention from ministries as well. And they may be the most under-served donor…

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Ministry

How to Prepare for Year-End Giving

3 months ago By Kristin Hammett

Summer is drawing to a close. With fall around the corner, the prospect of cooler temperatures, autumn colors, and pumpkin spice everything, the year-end giving season is also upon us. The 2019 Year-End Giving will be interesting to watch. The 2018 Giving USA report indicated a slight growth in giving of 0.7 percent, but individual giving was down 1.1 percent. According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 26 percent of nonprofits said the changes to the 2017 tax law did not affect their fundraising.  Just 17 percent said they saw a negative effect. This leaves some question marks on the philanthropic…

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Ministry

Reclaiming Joy

4 months ago By Kristin Hammett

Can I be honest? Sometimes life just seems like a series of to-do lists. There’s the work to-do list. The home to-do list. The kids’ to-do list. The school to-do list. The activities to-do list.   As a person who likes to be productive and check the boxes on the various lists, joy can sometimes be elusive.    What about you? Are you joyful about the work you are doing? Are you energized and excited about the work God has invited you to be a part of? Or, have you lost sight of the big picture?   I’d like to share some insights I’ve recently…

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Ministry

Going Beyond Cash: The New Era in Fundraising

5 months ago By Kristin Hammett

As a ministry, an obvious part of your role is to raise funds. What you may not know is the variety of options that donors have to give from! There are two options offered by The Signatry which may be helpful to you and your donors. They are a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) and a Charity/Designated Fund. A DAF enables donors to make occasional gifts to a fund, and then to recommend grants from that fund to the organizations of their choice throughout the year. It is similar to a family setting up a private foundation, but with much less…

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Ministry

Creating a Ministry Marketing Strategy

6 months ago By Kristin Hammett

How you present and represent your ministry matters. Hopefully, this is an obvious truth, one which you and your team are already aware of. In case you haven’t given it so much thought, here are a few essential elements to help you build a stronger, more robust marketing plan. Messaging Messaging is the content that is being shared through whichever channel you choose. Ministries often find themselves trying to walk a delicate balance between praising God for what He is doing on and inward-focused self-promotion. This balance will take constant monitoring and thought! A strong mission statement can help balance…

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Ministry

3 Ways to Connect with Donors

7 months 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

8 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

9 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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