Upcoming Presentations – #MCHConf

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be presenting two sessions at the upcoming Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless annual conference. This year I’ll be presenting on Raising Major Gifts for Homeless Service Organizations, and Creating Effective Fundraising Offers.

Both sessions will help fundraisers in the homeless services / domestic poverty space to more effectively identify, engage, and solicit high value donors…and ultimately raise more money for their causes!

If you lead a homeless service org in Minnesota or fundraise for one and aren’t yet registered for this conference, there’s still time to sign up! Use this link to register.

And when you attend one of my sessions, you’ll also get a free copy of my book, Rainmaking.

I hope to see you there!

 

5 Culture Problems That Can Kill Your Fundraising

#3: We don't INVEST in philanthropy

If you haven’t checked out my first and second posts in the series of 5 Culture Problems That Can Kill Your Fundraising, check those out now!  This series is adapted from a presentation my good friend Derric Bakker, CEO of Dickerson Bakker & Associates gave at the 2017 Association of Gospel Rescue Missions conference. Today we’ll look […]

5 Culture Problems That Can Kill Your Fundraising

#2: We don't master it

If you missed Culture Problem #1: We don’t own it, be sure to check it out! Here’s #2: We don’t master it… Ask any nonprofit employer & they’ll tell you that when budgets are tight, staff training and development is often the first budget item to be cut. It’s a nice to have, not a […]

5 Culture Problems That Can Kill Your Fundraising

#1: You don't own it

I was in Dallas, TX last week for the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions annual convention. While there, I had the honor to co-host a two-day development and leadership workshop with my good friend, Derric Bakker of Dickerson Bakker & Associates. In this post, and the next four that I write in the coming weeks, […]

Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless Conference 2017

I had the honor of speaking last year at the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless’ annual conference. It was an extra special experience because my daughter Isabelle joined me for the day — and the conversations we had about the root causes of poverty and homeless on the drive home were amazing.

The 2017 MCH conference happens again this September, and I’m excited to share fundraising strategies and recommendations with dedicated professionals fighting poverty and homelessness once again!

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.