Homeless youth

Homeless youth
People we don't see.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Keeping the confidence - we can rock it!

Two polite "no's" in one week.

From potential corporate partners.

No nice letter. No phone call. All we get is a generic email saying what many others say these days: too many requests and not enough money.

The yearend appeal campaign is about to begin. (see previous post)

"After supporting you for several years we have decided to support someone else".

There are a ton of books and blogs out there telling me how, as a fundraiser, I can keep going and rock it no matter what happens.

And I agree. I am nothing if I lose my confidence in me as a fundraiser.

I can rock it.

Bring me your "no". Bring me your "maybe later". Bring me your generic response. Bring me a tough economy.

I will succeed. I believe in myself as a fundraiser. I believe in myself as a creator of life-long partnerships that sincerely matter and that honestly benefit both sides.

We can have tough moments, maybe even bad, discouraging moments. Let's not turn those into tough or bad days. We are fundraisers. We can rock it.

So turn on Lady Gaga's "Edge of Glory", tweet to one of your favorite folks on Twitter who is also a fundraiser, and make the personal decision that today you are going to ROCK IT!

Thanks for reading. I am totally grateful.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Yearend Campaign

It's only September!

I know, and by the time some people read this it will be October.

My goal is to have my yearend campaign begin the first or second week of October. November, to me, is far too late.

I have been thinking about the direct mail piece since summer. Taking notes. Adding ideas. What I came up with was an appeal that is part funny, part direct, and all ask! I am fortunate to have an ED (in the opera world we call it General Director) who came from Development and he took the one letter and created three letters, one each for a specific, targeted group. The letters will go to: donors who have already given once this year and we're asking for a second gift; donors who have not renewed their 2010 gift; and brand-new donors or donors who have not given in several years.

I love our appeal letter.

Our first of the letters will mail next week. Yep, the first week of October.

And that is just the start of a yearend campaign for me.

Just after the first appeal letter mails, I'll have the opportunity to speak with our board and invite each board member to participate in some way towards the success of the yearend campaign. Can you give me some personal contacts that I could mail the new donor letter to? Can you make some follow up phone calls from our office? Can you jot a short thank you note to someone who supports the yearend campaign?

One week after the first appeal letter goes out, we begin our social media campaign with an email similar to the appeal letter. We will support the email with Facebook and Twitter postings, and then a YouTube video.

A yearend appeal letter will go to every person who purchases tickets for our 2012 season between now and the end of the year.

And we'll have a yearend appeal packet for all events we have through the end of year. The packet will include the letter and remit, along with our 2012 Season brochure.

Add more follow up calls and BOOM, we are in the midst of an incredibly successful yearend campaign!

Thanks for reading! As always, I would love your feedback!

Monday, September 12, 2011

You have to make the ask!

I took a month off to work on our new blog and to focus on my agency's annual Gala which is in two weeks. So excited.

As many of you know, I love social media. I have made many incredible contacts through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. This past weekend one of my new friends from Twitter was in Denver for the start of his vacation and we had lunch.

I am so excited to have met @zachinmotion He has been an inspiration since I met him on Twitter but now that I have met him face to face I am even more inspired.

And focused.

We had a lot of conversation around fundraising and how to treat donors. I told him that I believe there are many in fundraising who are uncomfortable with asking for money. And when we get money, there are many who just move on to the next ask without doing a big acknowledgement for the gift.

We have to ask for money to get it. And there is NOTHING to fear. First, I believe that a "no" is just the start of the conversation. I have NEVER received a "no, and I mean no, like never, like I will never donate to you, ever" comment when getting a "no". Usually, it's not the right time, not the right campaign, not the right opera (I fundraise for Opera Colorado), or they just paid their children's college bill and want to make a donation yet just can't.

I try to make twenty asks a day. That's 100 in a week. That's a lot. This may seem like impossible. For some groups it might be. Here at Opera Colorado we have amazingly kept donor records so I have a great resource.

If twenty is overwhelming, perhaps you could start with just one a day. Who donated to you last year that you haven't heard from this year?

Regardless of how many calls you decide to make in one week, you can start today! I realize you have that meeting and that luncheon and that report due and that event to plan, etc. Donations to me are our life blood. And if I am not making the ask, I am cutting off my agency's access to new donations.

Go for it! And let me know how it goes!

Thanks for reading!