Rainmaking notes from the field

It was such an honor today to get this wonderful endorsement for our book Rainmaking from Joy Olson, CEO of Blockbuster Fundraising:

Wouldn’t you love to be referred to as a Fundraising Rainmaker?

A ‘Rainmaker’ is the key figure in the nonprofit organization, not merely just a fundraiser, but a Major Gift Officer who is highly regarded within the organization because they bring in big donor dollars and win the trust of donors almost by magic. They easily and comfortably engage current donors to give higher amounts to the mission and to support new projects.

Rainmaking: The Fundraiser’s Guide to Landing Big Gifts is a road map for development directors to hone their ‘rainmaking’ skills that will enable them to bring much success to their organization’s major gifts mission, goal, and bottom-line.

If you want to separate yourself from the average fundraiser or development manager to become the Major Gift Officer that everyone wants to hire, read Jones & Olsen’s book now! They’ve been working their magic for five decades and now share that magic and those proven examples in this how-to book that enables you to immediately become a Fundraising Rainmaker!

Get your copy of Rainmaking today — you’ll be glad you did!

Is Your Fundraising Agency Screwing You?

Do you know how to tell if your fundraising agency is screwing you? Are your needs and goals primary in the relationship, or is your agency acting in a way to advance their priorities above yours?

I’ve been meeting recently with organizations who, for lack of a better way to say it, have been getting screwed by their agencies. Here are some examples that you should look out for in your agency relationship too:

Organization A: Their agency recommended mailing their deceased donor file as a way to get gifts “in memory of” their dead donors. Not surprisingly, this approach doesn’t yield much in the way of revenue or engagement, AND it can be incredibly insensitive to the families of your donors. But…it does increase the mail quantity and income for the agency.

Organization B: Against the specific instruction of the nonprofit, the agency included managed major gift prospects in their mail program. And because the agency was managing the segmentation and mailing with minimal oversight or input from the nonprofit, this was entirely unknown until this organization changed agencies and their new partner uncovered this. It made their direct mail results look great, but did nothing to advance meaningful relationships with their major donors.

Organization C: This organization’s agency mailed 9-12 solicitation appeals per year to their existing donors. Six of those mailings generated ZERO net dollars for the organization. But they generated a lot of money for the fundraising agency.

Organization D: 30%+ of this organization’s donor file that are so low value that they will NEVER generate positive net revenue for the organization (sure, there may be a very small number of donors in that 30% that do generate net, but the majority will not). But the fundraising agency continues to mail these people every month, regardless of the fact that their values are so low — and they generate no net revenue for the nonprofit.

What all of these examples have in common is that they and their agencies have competing economic incentives. The nonprofits’ goals are to maximize net revenue to deliver more services to more people in need. But the fundraising agencies are compensated for every piece of mail they put in the mail stream — giving them little, if any incentive to restrict mail in any of the examples above.

Let this be a lesson and a warning — if your nonprofit’s economic incentives aren’t aligned with those of your fundraising agency, there’s a good chance you’re being done a disservice, whether intentionally or accidentally.

 

Middle & Major Donor Fundraising Success for Social Service Orgs

Mel Trotter Ministries raises nearly $1 million in six weeks!

As an adviser to 60+ nonprofits across the U.S. and Canada, one of the most frequent questions I get asked is, how can we better engage our middle and major donors through direct response to generate more revenue and deepen our relationships? This is a question that my good friend, Dennis Van Kampen, President/CEO at […]

The success of middle and major donor direct response campaigns

I’ve just reviewed results from three middle/major donor integrated direct response fundraising campaigns that my teams managed for various social service organizations over the last year. The numbers are astonishing! We’ll get to those in a second. First, I want to share some of the negative myths we’ve dealt with around these campaigns, and why […]

How fast do you respond to your major and planned gift donors?

Greg Warner from MarketSmart just posted asking some pointed questions about how well nonprofits follow-up with their most important donors.

Most organizations these days are talking about donor experience. How do we improve the donor experience? What can be done to provide a unique, engaging experience for donors? And yet many of those same organizations are failing at this key component that Greg highlights.

If you want to create a great experience for your donors, make sure you’re following Greg’s recommendations.

Cultivating trust-based relationships with major donors

An excerpt from "Rainmaking: The Fundraiser's Guide to Landing Big Gifts"

How exactly DO you build trust with donors? What are some of the most effective tools and and strategies you can use to develop authentic, trusting relationships with donors? If you want to build the kind of donor relationships that lead to transformational giving, you need to make donors feel and understand that you’re invested […]