What every fundraiser should know about donor comms, IMHO
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What's your pleasure? A hospice that raised 17 times more income from an annual holiday appeal, by doing one thing different? An annual report that went into full-blown story mode and brought the donor along on an incredible journey of healing? A newsletter from a children's hospital that stimulates very little donor income, with an analysis of what might be wrong?
Ahern ventures to Vancouver (lovely)
Case presentation added
FUND 1215, the Essentials of Fundraising, adopts my presentation re: the case for support
Siobhan Aspinall writes, "I am a big fan of your blog and am writing to request the use of one of your presentations for my introduction to fundraising class." You betcha. Where? "The British Columbia Institute of Technology's School of Business in Vancouver."
Year's worth of help for as little as $2,160
Tom Ahern: Discount consultant
New idea: You don't need a lot of me to help you seriously increase major gifts and general donor retention
I'm a major-gifts communications specialist. Attract just one more major gift, thanks to my advice; and you'll pay for my services many times over. It's why I have clients like the New York Community Trust (the Big Apple's very own community foundation); global charities like Catholic Relief Services and Save the Children; and hometown faves like Houston Grand Opera. Having an expert on your side improves results. Retain my services for 12 months, and I will knock 10% off my normal billing rate. You can use the hours any way that works for you: an hour a month for a year, 3 hours a month for 4 months, 12 hours in a single month.
...work with visionaries
...(darn) cannot work with functionaries
Welcome to the world premiere of my Five Realizations approach to writing a case for support, a case for support that will (and here's the difference from the usual, ordinary, typical, commonplace case for support) effectively sell donors on your... > projects > programs > endowments > initiatives > buildings > renovations > and shockingly bright ideas. I developed this Five Realizations approach for a major research university. But the same Sacred Way to Donor Nirvana applies equally well to all kinds of charities. Actually, small and young charities sometimes "get" this faster than large institutions; where even a bad day is a good day, relatively speaking, because the volume of gifts can become a narcotic. If you're an old-guard charity making millions by swinging at low-hanging fruit decade after decade, why improve? Yes, certainly, idealistically, you could do more good if you had more money. But institutions tend to hire functionaries; people who are capable of keeping the status quo treadmill going. Is there vision within? Often, at the mid-level; powerless but yearning: visionaries who ultimately grow dissatisfied with an institution's pace/lack of change. I speak with hundreds of dynamic, kinetic, impressive fundraisers a year. My guess? Institutions extinguish far more stars than they nourish. The 5 realizations? Patience, my love. Coming soon.
Universities and colleges: Hey, you....
I should be in residence, really
A solid week of on-tap consulting can fix lots of your donor comm problems
In a week I am flying off to another country, where a research university hopes to amp up its fundraising performance. They do well enough. They don't always do great. I have prepared two presentations. One is for the deans. One is for the development staff and the writers. Both say pretty much the same thing: respect your donors, sell the impact, kill jargon dead. This is a city with good barbecue. I'd love to stay a week, instead of overnight. So, if you bring me in? We can meet almost anywhere that has wi-fi: Starbucks, brew pub, McDonalds, you name it. Informal very very good.
Be brief, be brilliant, be gone
Shortest case ever?
$1.5 million goal requires just 256 words of explanation
In lush tribute to the saying, "A picture's worth a thousand words," TMI - The Episcopal School of Texas has published a capital campaign brochure that uses just 256 words (plus some gorgeous photography) to make its case for support. When you throw in Q&As and a site plan, the word count inches up to just past 1,200. Still, it's a model of concision. Download PDF (view in spreads, two-up). Credits: Steve Herlich, chief advancement officer at the school; designer, Greenpoint Design; key photography, pro Ralph Mawyer, with a cover-shot assist from parent, Mary Ellen Herrera.
For universities, hospitals, foundations...
New for 2011: My workshop on "major gifts" comms
3 years in development; perfect for emerging from the "great recession"
I want to thank several universities, a couple of hospitals, a bunch of major community foundations, and a huge national advocacy group for letting me explore with them what it takes to "sell your story" to prospects of wealth.
Let's face it: it's been a tough couple of years. Major giving at one hospital chain I know dropped 70% in 2010.
Ahern how-to book chosen as elite major gifts "classic"
One of 39 chosen for The Signature Collection of Inst. for Charitable Giving
On Dec. 23, 2010, Jerry Panas wrote: "Seeing Through a Donor's Eyes has now been selected as a distinguished book in The Signature Collection of the Institute for Charitable Giving. Congratulations." The title is one of 39 chosen. The press materials go on to say, "There are countless books on fundraising. Many are quite good. A handful are very special. But in the area of major gifts and gift planning, there are precious few from which to choose. And an even smaller number that have stood the test of time and can be considered classics, of sui generis status. The Institute for Charitable Giving has attempted to assemble a roster of books it feels every major and planned giving professional will find productive and of particular relevancy."