By Sarah B Lange under Uncategorized on March 15, 2024

It’s not LUCK – 7 Revolutionary Strategies For Fundraising Success

Hey everyone, I'm Sarah Lange, and I'm here to spark the philanthropy revolution. The word philanthropy means love of mankind. My show is all about the ways we can revolutionize our fundraising so we can raise more money and do more good.

Hey everybody, thanks for joining me today for our St. Patrick's Day session, I guess I'll call it. I wanna introduce myself for those of you who don't know me, my name is Sarah Lange, I'm a professional fundraiser. I've raised over $100 million and I've worked with more than 200 nonprofits, but more importantly, I am a staunch advocate for the nonprofit sector. I really believe that we are the ones holding our fingers in the dyke and that because of the work we do, we provide a certain quality of life in the United States that otherwise would not be achieved. And so I want you to think about not having any nonprofits in the U.S. at all and how dismal our life would be. No arts, no senior services, no hospitals, no institutions of higher ed. So the list goes on and on and on. So those of you who are in the field, you know how important the work is, you do, but I'm a huge advocate for the sector. And I'm also a huge advocate for getting the money that you need to realize your goals and dreams. So that's a little bit about me. And with St. Patrick's Day around the corner, I thought the time was right to talk about the role of luck in fundraising, or rather the fact that luck has nothing to do with fundraising or raising the kind of money that you need to reach your goals and serve more people. So I want to talk about seven revolutionary strategies for fundraising (see what I did there?). These are strategies I have used again and again with my clients for decades to raise a hundred million dollars in counting. And I have no doubt that they're gonna work for you.

The number one strategy I always tell my clients is planning. Planning is the foundation for good fundraising. So I always have a plan. I work with my clients to develop an annual plan. and then we stick to it, right? So I'm sure you've experienced this, but when I was a director of development, I used to get a lot of pressure to raise more money, even though I was already dancing as fast as I could. So I'm sure this sounds familiar. And fortunately, after working for a boss who would drop huge projects in my team's lap with little direction or any regard for the work we were already doing, I learned to chart out a plan for the year. and review it with my boss, making sure to get them to give me the thumbs up. So then when my boss or the board would decide that it was time for me to magic up more money, I'd hold up my plan and say, “well, gee, this is my plan we already agreed to. What's going to come off it so that this project can come on?” And so it was like my sort of magic helmet.

It worked like a charm because they knew everything that was already on my plan was essential. And this is also how I convinced the board chair to let me train the board on how to help raise money. Because if not me, then who? Right. So I ended up training the board how to be fundraisers so they can help raise this extra hundred and twenty five thousand dollars that just got dumped in my lap. So. Beyond acting like a shield and a lever, you can use your annual fundraising plan to create quarterly plans, which then I break down into monthly, weekly, and daily plans. And this really helps me inform my daily work, block out time on my calendar to accomplish what I need to get done. And every single Friday, what I do is in the afternoon, I sit down, I look at my plan, I look at what's now and what's next, and then plan the week ahead. So if you do have a fundraising team, do this as a group. This keeps me on track. Right now we have 14 clients, so we're juggling a lot of balls and spinning a lot of plates. But this practice, every Friday my team gets together and we plan out the week ahead. And not only does it give me peace of mind because I know that barring unusual circumstances, we're gonna achieve our goals, but it also helps me say no to a whole bunch of stuff. that is ultimately going to be a distraction. So I really, really recommend planning as your number one success tool for fundraising.

I was on a panel earlier this month with some folks on NXUnite, and we all agreed that planning is the number one go-to strategy. So it's not just me who's telling you this. So if you want a sample of my annual fundraising plan template, drop your email in the chat and we will get it to you.

The number two strategy that I use with my clients is data-driven decision-making. And I know for us, data is a four-letter word, like literally, but a lot of us cringe about data, but this is one of the keys that has allowed me to raise over $100 million. And I don't know if you know this, but only 5% of nonprofits use data to make decisions. So let your data inform your work, and not only are you going to save yourself a lot of time, you're going to be a lot more confident when it comes to reaching goals. So how do you get started? Well, the first thing I would recommend is investing in a good CRM. So a nonprofit customer relation management system is a software tool tailored to your organization's needs that helps manage understand and maximize the relationships with your donors. So whatever platform you choose should allow you to store your donor data, identify donor trends, and recommend directions to go so you can make informed decisions. So my favorites are Bloomerang, Kindful, and Little Greenlight, but there are many, many options out there, and no, I do not get paid to recommend those CRMs. Those are just the ones that my clients tend to gravitate towards. So those are the ones I'm most familiar with.

Another benefit of adopting a CRM is that you can automate tasks, which again, saves you time and energy and sanity. It helps you segment your contact lists, which is critical in terms of raising more money. It can set task reminders, which I find very useful. It can help you with email marking, reporting, analytics, and more. So you can see where having a good CRM can really save you time, money, and headaches. So if you don't already have a CRM, please get one. It is gonna pay you back tenfold whatever you end up investing in it.

Your donor data is the foundation for fundraising decision-making. So when we look at our data, we can better understand our donors. We can get an idea of who it is that's attracted to us. I did this recently with a client, and we found out that their donor base is largely women over 50. So there's a couple of things we took away from that. One is we need to talk to this crew about legacy giving, estate planning, bequests, that kind of stuff, because they're 50 plus, and they're looking at they're at their stage of life where they're looking at a legacy. So now is like the prime time to approach this crew with an idea of legacy giving. Like obviously we're not going to do that with new donors, but they actually have the fortune, good fortune of having a pretty steady fan base. So that was one thing.

The other thing, and this kind of set alarm bells off in my head, like you guys got to find younger donors. Like these guys might be good for. another decade or two, but then you're going to be SOL, like up the creek without a paddle. So we're starting to develop strategies on how to draw in a younger crowd. So that means now we're kind of crafting two sets of messages, one for this steady eddy group of donors in their 50s, and then ones that are more geared towards younger people. But we know we need to do that because we looked at the data. So it also helps you measure your progress towards fundraising goals. And I'm going to talk about metrics later. It helps you make more informed decisions, and it helps you be more efficient. So how do you use data to inform your fundraising efforts? The first thing I'd invite you to do is define your goals and metrics. So what are your key performance indicators? They might include donor retention. Retention is everything. You can lose up to 50% of your donors between gift one and gift two. And oh, my gosh, you worked so hard to get that person to give you that first gift. Don't let them walk away. So let's look at retention rates. Let's look at donor lifetime value. Let's look at the average gift size. You can look at your donation growth rate. Are your donors increasing your giving? Are you asking them to increase their giving because if not, please do that. Look at your recurring gift percentage. Look at your return on investment. Are there certain strategies that are working for you better than others? And again, we need to understand who's in our donor pool because Boomers, those guys born 45 to 61, they are very paper responsive and they are leading philanthropy through 2035. So I know everybody wants to go digital now. But boomer is actually like paper. So you have to think about that. I'm getting a lot of my clients to do these story postcards on a quarterly basis, which is kind of featuring a client and just a really brief encapsulation of like before and after, so it's like a little vignette. And then there's just the website on the bottom. There's no, there's no ask, there's no nothing. It's just a story we're sharing. And it's so funny cause you can watch the donations go, beep. So like, “oh, the postcards hit the mail” and we didn't even ask for money. We're just trying to tell them stories of the change they've made possible. So that's a really good return on investment for most of my clients. You could look at your online gift percentage.

Now, what I wanna warn you is boomers may get your letter in the mail and then go online to donate. So. Sometimes that could be a little skewed, but it's still good to look at what your return is in terms of online gifts. What is your email open rate? And then if you have some sort of thing that you want them to click through on, what is your click through rate? And these are really important because, and this is why I suggest also A/B testing with subject lines, because your open rate and your click through rate are gonna tell you how engaged people are or aren't with your emails. Looking at your social media engagement, how many likes, how many shares, how many comments, because again this is about engagement and we want our donors and our fans and supporters to be engaged. You also want to look at your donor migration or conversion. Are you getting people to move up into significant gift categories? Are you getting them? to give a major gift. How many of those people are moving into bequest or legacy giving categories? So take a look at that because our job is to help our donors go as far up the giving ladder as they're willing to go. So we need to look at who's ripe to get pushed up to the next level. Then you wanna look at your donor churn, how many people are walking away. And then if you have any pledges, how many of those get fulfilled. So we want for people to make pledges. If we have some sort of campaign or endowment project going on, we want to make sure that fulfillment is very high because otherwise we're losing money. So those are your goals and metrics that you can measure. I would say just figure out which ones are the best for your organization.

After that, you want to collect and organize your data. So I will tell you a little story. And My mother was raised in the South and so any of you who are from the South, familiar South, might be familiar with the term “bless their heart”, right? So it's kind of a saying where they're like, oh, that's awful, you know, but they don't say it. They just say bless their heart. So one of my clients when they told me that they had 86,000 donors, excuse me, in an Excel spreadsheet, my full body response was, “oh, bless your heart”, right? 86,000 donations listed in Excel. Yikes. So if you're like my lovely little client that was just doing the best they could, please let your CRM company clean up your data before it gets uploaded into your CRM. Because as they say, garbage in, garbage out. So you want to make sure that your data is as clean as possible before you upload it to a CRM.

Then you want to analyze your data. You want to look at your key performance indicators and then sort your data accordingly. You know, CRMs have easy to use report functions, so take advantage of them. And it might take a try or two before you really get the report you're looking at. So for example, I was talking to a colleague of mine and he was doing a sort for nonprofits and ended up getting a ton of churches, which was not. exactly his goal. So you have to kind of go back to the drawing board. So, but you know, when you're looking at donor segmentation, it's the process of sorting your donor into subgroup based on similar characteristics. So this could be location, it could be their age, it could be their donor status, you know, are they a lapsed donor, are they a current donor? And it could be by the dollar amount, so if you’re you're doing an appeal, you’re gonna wanna have people in the same general giving range and then encourage them to go to like the next level. So I would say, you know, people 15 under, get them to see how many of them would go to 100. So segmenting your database really helps you develop an opportunity. So an opportunity to make a smart ask, right? So you're not asking people to give way more than they have historically. And it can also develop deeper, more personal relationships and stewardship based on where they are in your journey.

I don't know how many of you have a donor journey charted out, but I'd really encourage you to think that through. So somebody comes into your world. They just gave you the first donation, which, by the way, is a gift from their heart. Philanthropy is a heart-centered activity. So we always remember that this person could have given their money to somebody else. Or they could have just gone to Starbucks, right? It's pretty easy to pay $25 at Starbucks. So then you want to think, OK, well, first of all, how do we keep this person around long enough for them to make a second gift? We want to avoid that 50% drop off. So what can you do? I usually suggest doing some sort of drip campaign, which just means they get an email a week with some kind of content. It could be a welcome from your executive director. It could be a client story. It could be your annual report. It could be an op-ed piece that you put in the newspaper. It could be anything, right? You just want to engage with them for six to eight weeks and that affirms their donation.

The thing about donating is it actually releases dopamine in somebody's brain when they do something nice for somebody else. And that includes donating to our nonprofits. you wanna stimulate more dopamine. So you wanna say, “oh my gosh, thank you so much for your support. Because of you, we're able to do things like…” and then share a client's story, or have your executive director do a quick video. It does not need to be professional. I mean, people are kind of over the professional production at this point because social media is just so raw and there's so many lives like this one that, you know. You don't have to worry about the, you know, yes, it should sound professional, but it doesn't have to be like produced by a video company. Um, but just welcoming them into the community and saying, thank you. So really the drift campaign is good to keep them around. Um, so think about your donor journey cause I think a lot of times we don't think about that. And then we get confused when people leave and the number one reason a donor is going to walk away from you is because they don't feel like they matter.

The Drip Campaign, first of all, you can automate it. Hallelujah. And then also it helps them feel warm and welcome and affirmed in their decision to donate. So really recommend thinking out a donor journey and setting up a Drip Campaign to help that move along. So you wanna segment and target your donors, ask each one of them to move up the giving ladder at least once a year. Don't just expect the same $50 year after year after year. Ask for more. Don't decide for your donor what your donor can do. And I'm going to tell you from personal experience, I got asked to give more than I ever thought I could give by my graduate institution. And when they broke it down to a monthly amount, I was like, “oh, I can do that. That's easy.” But the number sounded huge and unattainable. So don't decide for somebody. And I'm a single mom, right? So it's not like I'm, you know. some sugar mama with lots of money laying around. You know, I've been a single mom since my son was three and he's 28 and doing great. But you know, there were some years there, especially when he was in college, where I basically felt like I should go back to tune a fish and rice and beans, which is kind of how I got through grad school. So anyway, you definitely want to ask people to give more and then let them decide if they're a yes or a no.

You always want to evaluate and improve your campaigns. So this means looking at, again, how many people responded, how many people went up the giving ladder, were you able to recapture some last donors? So always look at your campaigns. Excuse me. And then this is something I feel like we're not very good at. And even me as a fundraiser, I could get better at this. We wanna communicate and share our impact, right? So, I was recently out in Seattle and I was doing a strategic planning with a boys and girls club out there and they had achieved all the goals that we set in May of 22 and I was blown away because we set the bar pretty high. And I just stood there and I don't know why that particular thing hit me. I think it's probably because we opened, they were able to open a boys and girls club, another boys and girls club a year ahead of schedule because of the strategic plan we set up. And it really hit me like, “oh my gosh, I'm changing the lives of these kids.” Right. I was like, “oh my gosh.” And then I started thinking about like all the other work I've done with like 200 plus nonprofits. I've probably touched millions of lives and that blows me away. And so I don't talk about it as much as I should. And I'm sure you guys don't talk about your impact as much as you should, but sharing stories is incredible and lucky for us, you know, my guest next week, Olivia Schwartz, is going to focus on how to use storytelling to uplevel your fundraising. But you guys are making such a huge difference in the world. And it's really important to let our communities know that we are making a difference and we're making life better for our entire community through the work that we're doing. So brag, brag. That's what I'm going to tell you to do.

When you don't use a CRM to its full potential, I can guarantee you're leaving money on the table. In fact, I guarantee it's in the thousands, if not the tens of thousands. So the more you know about your donors, the more you can use that information to your advantage to streamline your day-to-day operations and tailor the donor experience, which results in more donors making bigger gifts. I am a key example. I am giving at a level that I never thought. I could give and it's only because I've been prompted by the people at the organizations I love to go bigger. So because I was already in love with them and donating to them regularly, it was a pretty easy yes to get out of me. So don't be afraid to ask your loyal donors to really step it up with you. I was actually quite flattered that they thought that I could afford to give at that level. So it actually made me feel really good. Like, “oh, you must think I'm doing better than I do.” And they did, and they made it very clear that it was a doable gift for me. So kind of rejiggered my perspective on my own philanthropy, which was pretty interesting.

The third strategy I wanna share with you is stewardship and retention. So it's sometimes really a lot of work to get a new donor, right? So we don't wanna lose them between gift one and gift two. So... This is why donor retention is almost more critical than acquisition. Because people who have already expressed their support for your mission are more likely to give again and give larger gifts. And if there's any doubt about this, go look at Penelope Burke's work. She is a person who does a lot of research on individual donors in both Canada and the United States, and she's got all the data you could ever want on individual donors and what they like, what they don't like, the increase in lifetime value, all those things. But you can just trust me that people are going to give again. If they've already given once, they're more likely to give again and they're likely to give a bigger gift. So like I said earlier, the number one reason that donors leave you is because they feel their gift and therefore they do not matter. So we need to make sure that every single donor... at every level feels valued. So we need to show appreciation to our donors. We can send personalized thank you notes, our newsletters, updates on how their contributions are making an impact. That's where those story postcards come in really handy. And this leads to continued support and larger gifts. Because when people say, oh, look, I'm really making a difference, they're more likely to continue to support your cause.

The reason personalized interaction is beneficial is because they can engage with you based on their interests. You can humanize your work. You know, a lot of these issues we work on are so big that can feel overwhelming. Homelessness, domestic violence, like, “oh my gosh, how are we ever going to solve this?” So when you humanize your work and you break it down into bite-sized pieces, people can say, “oh, maybe I'm not solving homelessness per se, but I'm helping a homeless person.” Right? So break it down into bite-sized pieces. You can ask directly what's important to your donors. I do a donor survey with my clients every year. Let me rephrase that. I have my clients do a donor survey every year. And we ask what's important to you. And some of the answers we get are pretty phenomenal. Donors can feel appreciated. It shows how your goals align with theirs. They'll continue to support you. You can gather direct feedback from them. This is why I love donor surveys. And oh, by the way, if you want a sample donor survey, just drop your email in the chat with donor survey and we'll get it to you. You can pair their passion with the appropriate opportunities. You can move donors from awareness to advocacy, right? So if you have a situation where you need support on a local or a state or a national level, you can mobilize your ambassadors to get moving into advocacy for you. You become more valuable to them, and it helps develop stronger, deeper bonds. So if that's not enough, 59% of donors report they give up to 10% more for a more personalized experience. 25% say they would donate up to 25% more. and 8% said they would donate up to 50% more. So this is just them saying, if I had a more personalized experience, I would give up to 50% more, right? So talk about leaving money on the table. So a CRM can really help you personalize donor communications.

One of the things in this day and age is if I get a dear friend letter, it literally goes right in the recycling bin. If you have my name and address to put on the envelope, you can personalize my letter, right? That has been like able, since I got into fundraising in 1989, we could do that. So if I get a dear friend letter, I'm like, oh, done. So again, also in this category, I would place the annual donor survey, you know. You can learn a lot about your donors. One of the things I love is to ask them to use five words to describe themselves and then describe themselves as a donor. And now you've got literally words that you can use in language back to them. So sometimes people might use the word, “oh, I'm kind, I'm generous.” So when you address your donors, use those words. We know how kind you are. We appreciate your generosity, right? And this is a very subtle neuro-linguistic programming technique. And yes, I've studied neuro-linguistic programming. I might be the only fundraiser who's been nerdy enough to do that. But 95% of our decisions are made in our subconscious. And so the reason I studied NLP is because if that's where your fundraising decisions are being made, I want to lift the lid and get in your brain. But you don't have to study NLP because I've done it for you. When you use words that your donors use, you are literally speaking their language. And what that does is that sets up a psychological resonance between you and your donors. And so they're like, “oh, we're on the same wavelength”, right? They're catching my vibe. So I love donor surveys because I now get a bunch of words that I can use in my communications all year long. And I'm sure you remember those word clouds that were very popular. But literally, use those words over and over and over with your donors because they're already using them. That's how they identify. So you're tapping into donor identity, which again is a deep psychological thing, but it helps bring them closer to you and your mission. So you're on the same page, you're on the same team. So donor surveys can be really, really helpful. And if you want to sample donor survey, drop your email in the chat with donor survey and we'll get it to you.

The fourth strategy I want to talk about is peer-to-peer fundraising. So there are a bunch of people in your donor database who already love and support you. So why not put them to work to raise money with other supporters? So your donors, your volunteers and other stakeholders are really honored and excited to help raise money for the cause. Now. Some of them may run for the hills screaming, but there are people who are like, oh yeah, what would that take? So obviously we need to train them because we don't want them just running amok and give them the information they need to do it as well as ongoing supervision and support. But once they're up and running, your fundraising teams now gained a valuable member, right? So the more people we can train on peer-to-peer fundraising, we're like creating this army of love, right? I happen to be friends with this guy named Charlie Rocket, who drives around the country in an RV and raises money and then hands it to like kids with cancer, families who just lost their home in a tornado. Anyway, love Charlie Rocket, great guy. But he has this thing called the Army of Love. And I really encourage you to check it out because I'm definitely in Charlie's Army. So they can make calls to lapse donors. They can ask them why they left. And sometimes the lapse donors will talk more freely to them because they're not a staff person. They can make thank you calls. They can do handwritten notes. They can follow up with people who have lapsed on their pledges. They could run a birthday fundraiser on their social media accounts. So it's really pretty wide open. You can train them to do pretty much everything. So you wanna leverage their love. for the organization in a way that boosts your fundraising.

The fifth strategy I wanna share is matching gifts or challenges. So matching donations or challenges are really powerful fundraising strategies. And there's a couple of ways you can go about this. First is remind all your donors to check with their employer to see if they offer matching gifts. So a lot of times we end up leaving money on the table because it doesn't occur to our donors. Oh, I should ask my employer. So that's one way we can recoup a bigger ROI. But then what you wanna do is you wanna encourage your sponsors, your donors or a group of donors to match donations made during specific times. So right now I'm working with a client who's in the world of breast cancer and we're gonna do this promotion during October where we are gonna get their corporate sponsors to match every dollar donated by an individual. So it's. we're trying to figure out what the maximum dollar amount is. Right now, we're at like 25,000, and maybe we'll be able to bump it up. So a one-to-one match is the most frequent structure with a maximum dollar amount, but it allows you to double your donors' contributions. And they love it. And what I've found when I do these is that, almost always people give more than you ask. So for example, if the goal is $10,000, we usually end up around 12 or 13 because people wanna make sure you get the match, right? So a lot of times they're more generous with their own gifts because they wanna make sure that you're leveraging the gift from, it could be a corporation, it could be a group of donors. I did this with a small organization. We talked to their top 10 donors and we said, “look, this is how much you would give at this time of year anyway, we're wondering if we can just group you and call it a challenge and say, oh, our top 10 donors have agreed to give this much and that they are going to match it.” So even though they were already going to give the money, we turned it into a challenge and it worked like a charm. And we actually raised an extra $17,000 above and beyond our goal. So that was awesome.

It can help you build stronger relationships with your partners and your donors. And if you partner with businesses or individuals that are aligned in terms of values and mission, you can really establish these long-term relationships and build partnerships that extend beyond this initial campaign. So again, we have to engage in good strategy and stewardship with these folks, make sure that they know they matter and that they're important to us. But matching gifts is a powerful fundraising strategy that increases the impact of every single donation. And the side benefit is you can have really good partnerships that come out of it.

The sixth strategy I want to talk about is sponsorship. So this is sometimes a powerful and overlooked fundraising strategy. You don't have to limit your sponsorships to events. So 10 years ago, I worked with a client to launch a buy a bed campaign. I did the math and I figured out that it costs $35 per bed per night, which is like such a reasonable amount, right? So we created this buy a bed campaign where we said like you could buy a bed, 10 beds, 20 beds, 50 beds, whatever. And we had a donations page and it was super, super effective and it's still running. So this campaign's been going for 10 years. It's just parked on their website. But it's... based in this idea that for $35, you can buy a bed for a night for somebody.

Right now I'm working with another client of mine where you can sponsor clients. So think, save the children, right? So you can sponsor a child. And so this was the same idea is that you're going to sponsor a client. And this again is a breast cancer organization, so helping her get through treatment and recovery. And this particular organization helps low-income women with financial stresses that happen during cancer treatment and recovery. So these people are already in a financially precarious place, and so they provide financial support for the things that are keeping them up at night. So how am I going to pay the rent? Where's my next grocery money going to come from? So things like that. So you don't even have to apply to corporate foundations. Go get your chamber of commerce membership list or a lot of business journals produce something called the book of lists. And this is actually one of my favorite fundraising tools. So if you just go to like Google book of lists and they're gonna show you a bunch of different cities that they produce these book of lists and it's literally a book of lists. So highest paid CEOs, biggest employers, all the banks in your area, it goes on and on and on. And it's relatively inexpensive. It's way cheaper than getting a list from a mail house. So you can get some corporate folks through those two means and it's pretty easy to get a hold of those lists. Hang on. Sorry, I'm coming down or getting over a cold. I can't decide which but sorry about that. So yeah, local chamber commerce lists, book of lists. And then send out sponsorship packages to these folks. And then 99.9% of them will not respond. So you have to like prod them via email and phone. But now that you have all those volunteers working for you, they can help.

When you partner with local businesses to support your programming, it helps you raise funds and build your base. But it also gives these businesses a platform through which they can show the community what good businesses they are, right? So gives them exposure to a new audience, which is what all businesses want. So it's a win-win, which is something you have to point out to them sometimes. And sometimes they're gonna provide in-kind donations or other resources, depending on how useful it is. You could say yes or no.

The seventh strategy, and this is definitely last but not least, is monthly giving programs. If you don't have a monthly giving program, don't walk, run, and go set one up because it's an extremely valuable way for you to secure consistent and reliable funding for your organization. So monthly donor benefits can include things like exclusive access to events, personalized insider communications, whatever it is, you can think up. And you don't even necessarily have to have benefits per se. Most of my clients that have monthly, uh, donor programs, just get these monthly updates from the executive director, like, and they call it the look from the inside, I think is what we call it anyway.

The other thing about monthly giving is that people tend to give more if you can spread it out over time. And so therefore, they're likely to give a larger donation. Again, I'm going to point to myself as the example. When I got asked by Boston University School of Social Work to make a donation that I never thought I would ever make in a million years, social work or single mom, right? The only reason I said yes is because they said, “oh, this is how much that would be a month.” And I'm like, “oh, I can swing that.” So I gave more than I ever thought I would ever give to BU School of Social Work because they broke it down into a monthly amount. And that helped me realize I could do it. So you might want to do that with your monthly donors as well. I really encourage them to push up to the next level and then just make it a monthly gift.

The other thing I would really suggest is on your donations page, when you have the different amounts, have a checkbox that says, “please make this a monthly gift.” Because when they see that, it may not ever occur to them that they could make it a monthly gift. And so that's like, a lot of times they'll just say yes, because they're already giving to you. And so they might pause for a second and say, “oh, do I want to give $25 a month?” And then when you really think about it, you're like, “yeah, I can swing $25 a month.” So put it on your donations page too.

The first thing you want to do is educate everybody about the benefits of recurring donations. And then you got to provide them with the necessary tools and resources for their plan. So for example, I get monthly reminders from BU School of Social Work, because I asked them, I'm like, “can you just remind me to send this because it's gonna fall out of my head.” But it could include customized communications, it could include online resources. So for example, if you wanna ask people to move up into the category of legacy or bequest giving, you might have a resource page on your website. Now that is between them and their accountant and their estate planner and attorney, blah, blah. But you have to tell them, like, here's the steps to set up a legacy gift. So maybe just have a page with resources. And then you want to support them from your staff. You don't want to kind of just shove them in the deep end and then go, OK, swim. Sometimes it's a bigger decision, and sometimes it's like a monthly recurring donor isn't necessarily a big decision. But if you're asking them to do legacy giving, then that's obviously a bigger decision. And also now we're talking about death and money in the same conversation. Awkward. But this is why like you wanna have these conversations with people who've been around for a while. So again, offering that online donations option. Yes, I wanna make this a monthly gift. And it makes it easy for donors to become monthly supporters and also you get the benefit of maximizing the impact of their gift because now they've become part of your monthly donor.

The other thing about monthly giving programs is people are now part of this community, right? So a client of mine down in Austin, Texas has a monthly giving group called Community Builders and they literally come and do something with their hands every month in addition to making their monthly donation. And so they get to meet each other and see each other. And they already know they're supporting the organization at a certain level. And the fact that they come on site and help with projects brings them closer together as people, but it also dials up their affinity with the organization because they're coming on site and they're making those connections, and they're literally using their hands to help forward the mission, so it's a very powerful experience. You're creating a network of monthly supporters who are already invested in your organization's mission. So they have a very powerful sense of connection and support. And this fosters long-term relationships with your donors and increases engagement and participation in future fundraising campaigns. When I was helping these guys chart out their journey, I'm like, okay, what's after community builders? So you have a donor. Obviously you want them to become part of the community builders team where they make up of the contribution, then what? So what are the triggers that somebody is ready to move on to the next level with you? So we set up some benchmarks and KPIs, key performance indicators, so that they would watch for the signals that somebody was ready to go deeper.

Those are my seven go-to strategies to bolster fundraising. And I know we just covered a lot. What I would suggest is tackle one strategy at a time and tackle the one that makes the most sense for your organization. So we're all at different places with our fundraising. We're all different organizations. We have different setups and different missions and different things that work for us. So just pick one strategy, give it a shot. I would say stick with it for at least 90 days. 90 days is a really good test period. And then see how it goes. I would really recommend starting with planning. And if you don't have a CRM, get a CRM. But I would say start with a plan. Because again, you wanna set that foundation for success and see how that strategy goes. Again, try it for 90 days, then try another. And I guarantee that by implementing just one of these seven strategies, you're going to see a boost in your revenue. So thanks so much for joining me today. I love having you guys here. You have any questions or comments, feel free to drop them in the chat. I'll hang out for another minute or two. If you're not already on my mailing list, you can send an email to [email protected] with the word “list” in the subject line and we'll add you to the list so you can get the transcript from today's episode and all future episodes. And again, there's some samples, materials that I'm happy to send to you. If you want any of them, again, either email me or drop it in the chat. And I'll be back on March 28th with Olivia Schwartz, who is going to tell us all about how to use storytelling to roof. revolutionize our fundraising. So again, thanks so much for joining me today. I really appreciate seeing you all here online and I'll see you again in two weeks and we'll get the recording up in both Spotify and YouTube by the end of the week. So have a great rest of the day and I'll see you guys in two weeks.

Thanks for tuning in. I'll be back in two weeks with another episode. Got topics you want me to cover? Organizations you want me to showcase? Let me know. Also, I'm here to help you revolutionize philanthropy at your nonprofit. If you wanna talk about what that looks like, drop me an email.


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