Homeless youth

Homeless youth
People we don't see.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Loving persistence pays off

Don't give up! That's what I really wanted to call this blog post. I went for the current title because it tells a better story.

Persistence definitely does pay off! I added the word loving because angry, inpatient or hurried persistence does not pay off!

This thought will not be a surprise to those of you who have been fundraising for a while. Yet it is always a great reminder for me! As one whose focus is always on the ongoing relationship and never on a one-time gift, relationship building can take time.

One area of fundraising where I really have to keep this in mind is in corporate. My great example is this:

A couple months after starting at Opera Colorado I found a potential corporate partner on LinkedIn. I connected with him and sent a message simply introducing myself. A couple of months later I had a one on one with him and it went amazingly well. I kept checking in with him once a month (not too much!) and when I planned a corporate partner event I invited him. He couldn't make it but a few folks from his office came. A couple of months after that I found myself sitting for lunch with one of his associates talking about a partnership.

They bought a package to our Gala. This was their first gift to us and it took over a full year. This is an example of when loving persistence paid off. I knew all along that a partnership between them and us would totally benefit both organizations. Now we are meeting to discuss a multi-year partnership plan.

This is my experience with corporate giving and corporate partners. I try to use the same wisdom with major gifts. I try to never rush, and to always keep my eyes on the prize: a long term, true partnership.

How does each organization benefit from the partnership? What does my agency have to offer within the realm of a corporate partnership? These are great things to discuss when working with a potential new corporate partner (and also potential major donors!).

I hope this is of some benefit to you. Thank you very much for reading!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A simple thank you

I frequently think about what Miss Manners would think about the decline in the use of thank you cards these days. Or thank you emails. Or calls.

I recently had a conversation with a person who I had donated a couple of tickets to an opera. They wanted to get a couple more tickets for their upcoming auction. I politely declined.

I clearly remember going back and forth with this person regarding a donation. All the time I took and the true generosity from our organization to theirs. They made money from the donation.

Yet the gift to them did not warrant a thank you note.

It's not uncommon. Unless you have donated to me or made time for me. Then you will be nicely surprised.

Thank you card's are so important. Especially if you are a fundraiser! Any time I meet with someone the first thing I do when I get back to the office is jot a quick note on our stationary and pop it in the mail. It's important to me that people I visit with know how grateful I am that they took time out their busy schedule to meet with me. Or that they decided to donate something to our auction.

And it only takes a few minutes.

The other great thing about thank you notes is that hardly anyone takes the time to write them, and as a fundraiser anytime I can stick out is great!

But the bottom line is that in our business, it's simply the right thing to do.

If you have agency stationary, use that. Every time I can get out our brand is good. If you do not have stationary, buy some inexpensive note cards or have some printed at FedEx Kinkos.

You will definitely not regret sending a thank you card!

Thank you for reading!