If you are like most non-profits, you define a major donor by the size of the gift to your organization. Some organizations set the major donor threshold at $1,000 or more, for larger organizations that threshold may be set at $10,000 or more. Though in today’s world of donor-centered fundraising or constituent relationship management, shouldn’t we define a major donor based on different criteria? In the book entitled “Developing Major Gifts” by Laura Fredricks, the author defines a major gift as “a well-thought out personal decision”. In that case, isn’t a major donor anyone that makes a personal stretch gift after some serious consideration?
Let’s say I normally donate $100 a year to several different organizations and I decide to make a personal stretch gift of $1,000 to two organizations. I will probably be treated differently by those two organizations depending on their criteria for “size” of a major gift. But, shouldn’t both organizations notice that I increased my yearly giving by 900% and therefore reach out to me with a personal touch? With thousands of donors (or hundreds of thousand of donors), the question then becomes how on earth can you possibly keep track of when a donor makes a significant increase in giving? The solution should be your CRM solution, like Common Ground, that can develop workflows to manage changes in data. Establish a workflow or business rule that indicates anyone who makes a 50% increase in their annual giving, your major donor reps. are notified with an email and prompted to call that donor to say thank you. Workflows can be established for different percent increases so that a 50% increase triggers a call from a major donor rep. but a 100% increase triggers a call directly from the CEO.
How does your organization classify a major donor? If it is on the size of a gift, how was that dollar amount established? Is it time to rethink how you identify a major donor?
Now that you have identified who your major donors are, let’s discuss how to build a relationship with them. I’m the first to tell you to get one the phone and talk to your donors. But, my clients often ask for recommendations on what to say to a major donor when he/she has not made a gift in the past 12 months or how to start to build a relationship if one does not exist.
I recommend the following tips when calling your major donors:
1) Most importantly, say “thank you”. Be sincere and make the donor feel appreciated. Thank the donor for their years of giving. State specifically how many years the donor has been supporting your organization.
2) Mention that they are one of your most valued partners and a brief statement on what their gifts have allowed you to do.
3) Mention any upcoming events in their area in the near future and to keep an eye out for the invitation.
4) If the donor is lapsed, or is in risk of lapsing (hasn’t made a gift in 10 months) then state that you look forward to the privilege of hearing from them again and their continued support at this time will be greatly appreciated.
5) To engage the donor, ask him/her for their input on a new project, your new website that just launched, etc. Remember, they are your most valuable supporters; their input will help you maintain their level of support and engage others like them.
6) Be sure to provide the donor with your direct phone number and email address. Donors like to have a personal connection with the organization and know that there is someone they can call if they ever have any questions.
7) If the donor has time and indicates an interest to chat, engage him/her in a conversation. Be sure to at least ask this one important question: “Why do you give to our organization?”
Other questions that you can ask your donors:
a. Is there a particular program or aspect of the organization that interests you the most?
b. Have you ever been to any of our events/facility?
c. Do you like receiving our mail?
d. Is there anything you would like to hear more about?
e . Do you have any questions about our mission or our work?
8) Listen to the donor. Take notes on what you learn about the donor and be sure to enter those notes into your donor database system. This information is useful for further cultivation of the donor.
9) Be prepared to respond to the donor’s signals that he/she is interested in making a large gift right now. Signals include statements like:
“I would like to do more for your organization.”
“Is there anything I can do to offer more support?”
“I would like to make a contribution, how much do you need?”
10) Lastly, don’t wait until a gift arrives on your desk before you call your major donors. Start the conversation now!
One of the great things about Common Ground is that organizations have access to a whole array of innovative and easy to deploy tools available through the Salesforce AppExchange. With over 1,000 apps and counting, many of which are free or discounted for nonprofits, the AppExchange is a great place to look for enhanced functionality, productivity tools and more. Here are a few of our favorites at ACF Solutions:
Conga Composer allows you to create complex documents and reports using any of the data in your Common Ground system including combining data from many different areas of Common Ground. Users can set up reusable templates that gather data from multiple sources, turning that data into complex PDF, Word or Excel documents.
Why We Love It
When our clients need to create documents beyond the capabilities of the core Common Ground/Salesforce document creation facility, Conga Composer is an excellent, low cost solution. We’ve used it to create customized PDF certificates for membership, complex acknowledgements that include volunteer hours, event attendance and donations and complex sales quotes for our clients who sell complex products as part of their mission.
Free for 30 days and discounted subscriptions for nonprofits and NGOs.
This is the must-have data upload, de-duplication and data manipulation tool. No Common Ground administrator should be without it!
Why We Love It
First, it’s free to nonprofits! Second, it makes importing and updating data in Common Ground much easier than relying on the Data Loader. For advanced users, there are also great additional benefits such as making mass changes within the system without having to export the data for manipulation.
Technical and Productivity Tool
Free for nonprofits
Action Plans is a free app that allows users to standardize a set of Common Ground tasks into templates. These are great for automating any repetitive, multistep process.
Why We Love It
Action Plans eliminates the need to manually create follow-up tasks and meetings without the need to custom code. It’s a great way to set up grant and major donor cultivation plans that require multi-step action plans. For example, if your donor cultivation plan includes a follow up call 3 business days after a donation over a certain amount is made, followed by a letter from the Executive Director, and then sending additional organizational material in the mail, a template can automate putting this plan into action.
Grid Buddy allows users to make edits to multiple Common Ground data objects in one spreadsheet-like view. Users can make mass updates, deletes, inline edits, and create new records in line.
Why We Love It
For clients who need to allow users to make mass changes to their data, Grid Buddy is a great time saver and having the one screen view makes for a lot less clicks back and forth. There is also the ability with this application to define security and field level validations.
Technical and Productivity Tool
Free 14-day trial with discounted subscription pricing for nonprofits
The VerticalResponse for AppExchange interface connects your Common Ground database with VerticalResponse for mass email communications.
Why We Love It
The VerticalResponse for AppExchange interface is easy to deploy, easy to use, and provides access to your mass email statistics from within Common Ground. VerticalResponse also offers 10,000 emails per month for free to nonprofits.
No cost for the integration and the first 10K emails per month are free for nonprofits. Per email costs for emails sent beyond 10,000/month varies based on volume.
On Friday, New York joined the ranks of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C. in legalizing same-sex marriages. The fight for marriage equality is far from over, but the victory in New York is a wonderful step in the right direction. There was no doubt, plenty of blood, sweat and tears to help make this happen, so I wanted to use my small little space on this blog to tell you all CONGRATULATIONS and thank you! I cannot even imagine the amount of work it took to bring together the coalition of organizations, legislators, volunteers, celebrities, voters, passionate constituents and dollars to pass this bill. I hope you all are celebrating like crazy because you deserve it!
At the cornerstone of this history-in-the-making moment, was of course, the Human Rights Campaign and their genius use of people and technology. Their effective constituent engagement strategies from mobilizing their supporters and the coordination of staff, field teams to their use of their web properties, social media sites, mobile, Google, video, and much more – is a perfect example of how multi-channel campaigns should work. Let’s take a look at their numbers:
After you've lifted your jaw of your desk, remember that it doesn’t stop in New York. According to a recent HRC blog post, “the decisive leadership of Governor Cuomo combined with the strong bipartisan support in the legislature will likely influence other states—New Jersey, Maryland, Rhode Island–that are considering extending marriage equality to their residents. In the past year, a number of national polls (Washington Post/ABC News, Gallup, and CNN) have shown, for the first time, that a majority of the country supports marriage equality. Support for marriage equality has increased by 19 percentage points since 1996, according to the Pew Research Center.”
HRC is capitalizing on this recent shift in public opinion, and their campaign continues on – they are urging people across the country to text notes of support of marriage equality and the message displays on a very cool Google Maps mashup. And check out their New Yorkers for Marriage Equality microsite outlining the details of this monumental effort.
Regardless of cause or size of org, HRC is a leading example of what can be achieved through an integrated, multi-channel approach. They came at the issue from all different directions with a throng of engaged constituents and used a unified, consistent message to achieve their desired outcome. I'm not saying its easy, but they're a shining example of what's possible.
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