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How to Prepare for Year-End Giving

2 weeks ago By Kristin Hammett

With fall upon us, the cooler temperatures, autumn colors, and pumpkin spice everything, the year-end giving season is also here. The 2022 Year-End Giving will be interesting to watch. The 2022 Giving USA report, measuring 2021 giving numbers, reported an overall increase in giving of 4%, but when adjusted for inflation, it was down 0.7%. Giving from individuals increased nearly 5% over 2020, but remains below 70% of all giving for the 4th year in a row. Additionally, bequest gifts were down by over 7%. In light of the current giving climate, I have three ideas for nonprofit leaders to develop strong year-end messaging and successful year-end fundraising campaigns. Show your stuff. As you fine-tune your year-end messaging, consider sharing your impact through statistics and stories. Great messaging happens throughout the year, but year-end is the time to reinforce the impact you have been demonstrating all along. Share your success through progress reports, social media posts, videos (professional or organic from your phone), email, direct mail, phone calls, and personal meetings. Do it all. Tell your story well. The end of the year is the time to remind donors of the impact their generosity has within your work. As they contemplate their year-end giving decisions, be certain they understand the impact their gift has on those you serve. Be confident in the work God is accomplishing through your nonprofit! Motivate mid-level donors. When planning your end of year fundraising efforts, remember your mid-range donors. They are a valuable donor group that is discerning how to maintain generosity in a high-inflation environment. They consider tax implications of donating—or not. You need a messaging strategy which speaks to them directly. Reinforce the importance of the work they are accomplishing with their gift. Remind them they are solving problems and helping meet the needs of people you serve. Steward this relationship well – it may be at risk! Educate them on charitable bunching strategies – giving more through a donor advised fund one year and taking the standard deduction the next year. Segment your mid-level donors and send additional communication tailored with a special year-end message for them. Emphasize existing partners Often the trendy nonprofit fundraising idea is to attract new donors, but your year-end fundraising campaigns should focus on current donors. It is not wrong to get new donors, but invest more time in those already committed to the work you do. Building long-term relationships with donors leads these individuals to give large donations down the line that can help your organization the most. According to Bloomberg, most major gifts are given after 5 years of giving to an organization. Spend your time on those who have already demonstrated a commitment to your work. Donor acquisition strategies can take place the rest of the year. Remember, you cannot control the economy, global events, or a donor’s family circumstances. You CAN control your year-end message, how you communicate it, and to whom you communicate it. As you plan your year-end fundraising strategy, focus on what you are accomplishing. The problems you are helping solve are important. Donors partner with your nonprofit to make an impact. The impact of a year-end donation does not change.

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Nonprofits

Key Insights Into a Major Donor Plan

4 years 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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Nonprofits

Purposeful Events—Move from Transaction to Transformation

4 years 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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Nonprofits

Creating a Culture of Development

4 years 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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