Being professional does not mean being stilted or stodgy, but it does mean comporting oneself in a manner that dignifies the proposition being made to the donor. Whoever solicits for a worthy cause – be it a volunteer or a paid fundraiser – becomes the face of that cause to the donor.
Alumni/Development work is always and everywhere about relationships. Relationships take time to build and are based on trust. Building trust by honoring donor intent might seem like good old-fashioned common sense. The problem is, common sense isn’t so common anymore.
Engaged alumni, a thriving annual fund, regular major gifts, these are all highly visible signs of a healthy alumni/development program. The reality, though, is that the vast majority of what makes these successes happen lies behind the scenes where no one can see. Much like an iceberg, the bulk of what drives institutional advancement is largely hidden from view.
Donors only spend a few precious seconds scanning fundraising appeals. It is critical that eye-catching headlines and call-out text be crafted in a way that communicates the essence of the message. Here are three templates to help make the most of your headlines.
Alumni/Development work is all about relationships. Good alumni engagment after a disaster strikes is all about being responsive to the needs of the moment.
Appeal letters are at their best when the language focuses heavily on the donor’s need to know that he or she is the only one who can make a difference in that moment. Too many refernces to “us” and “we” redirect attention back to the organization, attenuating the importance of the donor’s role.
Over 90% of potential readers never open the envelope. The more that writers understand about how readers engage with direct mail appeals, the better chance they have of maximizing open rates.
Gift range charts are invaluable tools that can help drive fundrasing appeals throughout the year. One can see clearly how many gifts are needed at each level, and how many prospects are needed for each gift. There is one often-overlooked benefit, however, and that is their ability to reveal gaps in your donor base.
Student groups and campus organizations can and should be encouraged to participate in fundraising, as it helps foster a culture of philanthropy and extends the reach of the development team. It is vitally important, however, that a centralized process for approving and monitoring fundraisers be put in place. Here is why.
Direct mail appeals are unlike other forms of writing, and people do not read them the way they would other correspndence. Are you including a P.S. line in all your direct mail appeals? If you are not, you need to. Here is why…