Homeless youth

Homeless youth
People we don't see.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Where have your past donors been?

I could also title this post "What to do with lapsed donors?".

After being unemployed for a month, this past week I began a new adventure and am experiencing all of those joys that come with starting all over in development and fundraising. It didn't take long for me to start taking a look at lapsed donors and what they look in the overall realm of moving forward with an incredible fundraising effort.

My definition of a lapsed donor is a donor who had given up to a certain year, and then last year did not give.

There are most likely hundreds of books and articles written on how to keep lapsed donors low or how to "deal" with them.

First things first. To me, make sure your fundraising plan is solid in connecting with current donors so that the likelihood that they become a lapsed donor is low. A couple of things I like to do is to thank the donor ASAP for a donation. I also like to let them know within a few months how we spent their money. Exactly. As a donor myself, I love knowing that the money I donated went for a homeless dog's spay or neuter, a meal for a hungry person or simply support for the overall operation of the agency.

The more time and energy we put into creating and nurturing relationships with those who financially support us the less time and energy we have to use in trying to figure out what happened to them.

All of this being said we are all still going to have a number of lapsed donors.

I already have a list of those who donated to us in 2011 but not in 2012. Some were just late in giving and made a donation in January of this year. For those left, I have a plan. I am sharing names with the development team, with board and with other staff. I am going to ensure that we reach out to all of these donors to check in. Being an agency that serves youth experiencing homelessness, I seriously doubt that a donor has become angry with us, but one never knows. many times all it takes is a phone call to check in, which to the donor is a reminder of something they have been meaning to do!

Before long, donors get used to being communicated with, and not just when being asked to give. It is a terrible day when a donor thinks that the only reason you are calling is to ask for a donation.

I will keep you posted on how our lapsed giving efforts go. Thank you so much for reading!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I got a job!

The day I was laid off was tough. Not money tough or fear tough or what am I going to do tough. It felt personal. No matter who said what, if felt like getting fired for not being good enough. I wasn't sure if I wanted to share all of that on my blog, of getting laid off and the process I was going through. Well, I did. I posted a blog post about losing my job and it became one of the most read, most commented on posts I have written.

The gift in that, beyond continuing to always use my blog as a way to help others, be a voice for the voiceless and build bridges, was that our blog readers were incredibly supportive of the process I was going through. For that I am beyond grateful and want to say thank you to all of you who wrote messages of support.

During my 22 days of being unemployed I learned a lot. I learned that there is a stereotype or even prejudice around the unemployed and that even folks who are unemployed don't like telling people that. I was having a wonderful conversation with this guy, and his whole interaction with me changed when I told him that I was unemployed. I was blown away.

My experience of being unemployed was short lived. I am grateful for that. I am also grateful for the huge amount of friends and colleagues who invited me to coffee or lunch, called to check in, told me about a job, helped with my resume and cover letters, gave a gift card of some kind or swung by the house with a hug and flowers. The support I got was incredible and I hope all of us can be as supportive whenever a friend loses their job.

On my 22nd day of being unemployed I accepted an offer at an agency in town that helps homeless teens. I am super excited and can't wait to start! I will continue in fundraising, which is what I love to do.

I hope to write an e book about searching for a job. I will keep you posted. I also made changes on my fundraising blog, adding links to job search websites in an effort to help folks still looking for a job.

Thank you!