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Fundraising

Storytelling for Fundraising – But What Do I Say?

By | Fundraising, Uncategorized | No Comments

In our last article, we talked briefly about the importance of getting your board “on board” with fundraising efforts. Boards should lead the way in the fundraising department and set the tone for the entire organization to encourage support and donations.

One way in which you can encourage your board members to participate in fundraising activities is to change the mindset around fundraising from a chore to a pleasure. How can asking for money be a pleasure? When it’s framed as a story with a message at the end, it becomes much more fun to talk to people about your nonprofit and yes, ask for a donation.

If you’re not a natural storyteller, never fear. We have several tips to help you think on your feet.

What Stories Should I Tell?

Stories for fundraising take several forms. These include:

  1. Stories about the organization: Talk to people about how your organization became involved in its work. Who was the founder? What did he or she do? Where did you start? Most board members know their organization’s story by heart. It’s a great place to start. The ending can be, “We need your help to keep the story going…” and then the call for a donation.
  2. Stories about individuals: Individual stories stick in people’s minds the best. Who are the people you have helped? Tell their individual stories and include details (without compromising anyone’s privacy, of course). For example, a nonprofit that donates mosquito netting to villagers in Central and South American can share how it helped one woman give birth to a healthy baby by preventing zika virus infection. It’s stories like this that connect people emotionally to the charity to which their funds are donated.
  3. Ask the other person their story: This is an interesting twist on storytelling for donations. Instead of telling your story, or the organization’s account, ask the other person their story in reference to your organization’s mission. Someone seeking donations for an education nonprofit may ask, “Where did you go to college?” and the answer may lead to a story about how the potential donor chose their college. This can segue into a discussion about how they paid for college, the opportunities a college education opened for them, and so on. From there, you can weave the story of how your nonprofit helps people go to college and why their donation is essential. You use their story as a springboard for the donation request.

Connecting the Dots, Story-Style

Stories connect the dots between the work an organization does and the impact it makes upon those it serves. Data about the organization is important; after all, people do want to look up nonprofits on sites such as GuideStar and Charity Navigator to ensure that their donation is going to an organization that manages its work responsibly.

But it is the stories that people remember, not the facts. An animal shelter helps place dozens of dogs and cats annually, but it’s the story about the shelter dog who woke his family up by barking and saved them from a fire that will keep donors interested. It’s asking the donor if they’ve ever rescued a dog from a shelter and seeing their eyes light up when they tell you about Duke and what a great dog he was, and then reminding them that the Dukes of this world also needs a home. Stories, and the emotion they convey, connect the dots between heart and mind, donor and organization.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

Help Your Board with Fundraising – Teach Them to Be Storytellers

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There’s an “F” word that even the most seasoned board hates to hear: fundraising. Boards should be your primary cheerleaders and fundraisers, leading the charge to support the organization’s mission and development through effective fundraising.

Yet many nonprofits struggle to achieve their fundraising goals and find their boards sadly lacking in that department. How can you overcome your board’s reluctance to be part of the fundraising team?

Three Tips to Make Fundraising FUN!

These three tips can help turn fundraising from the dreaded “F” word and put the FUN back in fundraising.

  1. Speak positively about fundraising: Many nonprofits bring up fundraising reluctantly as if it were a chore like cleaning out the garage. Instead of starting your fundraising discussions with sentences such as, “I know no one likes fundraising, but…” try to be positive about it. “Here is your opportunity to truly make a difference in our organization.” Help board members understand the positive impact their efforts make. Reframing the discussion around fundraising can help turn it into a positive activity rather than a dreaded chore.
  2. Provide training: Fundraising is more than asking people for money. Board members may not be aware of effective methods of fundraising such as storytelling (which we’ll get into in a minute). They may need coaching, encouragement, and examples to understand how to raise funds for the organization.
  3. Offer supporting materials: One way to make fundraising easier for your board is to provide them with supportive marketing materials and other items to make it easier for them to share the nonprofit’s story. For example, a video on your website or social media pages showing the positive outcomes of your foundation’s work can make it much easier to share the message with others about how your organization is making a difference. Powerful marketing materials can make it much easier to open up conversations around the organization and then close by asking for support.

Storytelling: Part of the Art of Fundraising

Communication professionals know that generalized information is difficult for people to grasp. Talk about a famine in Asia and people skip over it in the news. Share an image of one starving child and tell his story and people are galvanized into action.

The same goes for fundraising activities. It’s easy to say no to someone asking for a donation if you just ask for it for an organization. If you tell a story, with a beginning, middle and end, and a personalized message, people grasp the meaning. They are more likely to donate money to an organization.

Help your board understand the power of fundraising through storytelling by sharing with them:

  1. Personal stories and anecdotes they can use as part of fundraising conversations.
  2. Emphasize emotional connections. Emotions are remembered long after dry facts are forgotten.
  3. Draw people into the story. Listen to the best storytellers (TED talks are great places to go for inspiration and to learn how to frame a story).
  4. Teach your board members basic storytelling techniques – pacing, emotional connection, specific examples.
  5. Share examples on your website and social media platforms, too.

Stories hold great power. That’s why we start children off with fairy tales, fables, and imaginative stories when they are young – it boosts the imagination and helps kids frame the world around them. Stories for nonprofits help them illuminate their mission and vision and make it feel genuine to the people who can contribute funds to support the accomplishment of their goals. It’s the opposite of “begging” or “arm twisting” for donations. And best of all, it feels good to share the positive!

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

Five Super Fundraising Tips to Boost End of Year Giving

By | Fundraising, Nonprofit | No Comments

It’s “pumpkin spice everything” season and autumn leaves are falling in many parts of the country. As the pumpkins appear on doorsteps and leaves tumble from trees, you know that the end of the year – and possibly the end of your organization’s fiscal year – is right around the corner.

With that deadline looms the specter of fundraising goals. Will my organization achieve its goals for the year?

These five “super fundraising” tips can propel your organization’s donations into hyperdrive and help it achieve its annual fundraising goal. Each can be implemented on its own. Together, it forms a solid strategy for boosting donations and getting you one step closer to your annual financial goals.

  1. Participate in Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday (#givingtuesday) is the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving always takes place on the third Thursday of November in the United States. This annual event began in 2012 as a response to the growing commercialism and consumerism surrounding the Christmas season. It’s a day when nonprofit organizations see a significant surge in their donations. In 2017, approximately $274 million was donated as part of #givingtuesday with $45 million raised through Facebook alone. Begin a #givingtuesday campaign by revamping your donor page, adding plenty of social media posts with the hashtag #givingtuesday to your social media roster several weeks ahead of the event, and alerting your donor list that you are participating.

  1. Amazon Smile

Amazon is a retail giant with approximately 197 million shoppers visiting the site monthly. The Amazon Smile program lets those shoppers choose a participating nonprofit organization to which Amazon donates a portion of  that shopper’s sales. With the slogan, “Customers shop. Amazon gives,” the program offers an easy way for people to donate to your organization. Set it up at the link above and encourage donors and friends of your organization to choose your nonprofit as the recipient. Do this now so that all people who shop Amazon for Christmas presents can opt into Smile and contribute to the fundraising activities of your nonprofit.

  1. Update Your Nonprofit Profile

Your “About” page, website, and external pages such as social media profiles and others should all be supporting your fundraising goals. Make sure they are all in alignment around your messaging, branding, and images. Be sure to update your IRS profile too.

  1. Update your GuideStar profile

GuideStar offers potential donors a neutral third-party site that provides factual information on nonprofits. Many people, jaded by too many stories in the media of nonprofits spending money irresponsibly, prefer to research a nonprofit before donating. If your GuideStar profile isn’t up to date, it may be a deterrent for donations. Update your GuideStar profile as soon as possible and pencil it on your calendar for annual updates.

  1. Update Your Facebook Page

Love it or hate it, Facebook is a must-use platform for nonprofits looking to reach the largest potential audience. More than 1 billion people use Facebook, or fully 1 out of every 7 people in the world today. Almost nowhere else in the world can you reach so many potential donors and constituents. Be sure to update your Facebook profile and post often. Share pictures, stories, and inspirational ideas that support your nonprofit’s mission. A good rule of thumb is to make 80% of the posts informational and inspirational and 20% donation related.

We’re approaching the most wonderful time of the year when peace on earth and goodwill to all reigns worldwide. Now is the time to tidy up your nonprofit’s online presence and image so that you can help your organization achieve its mission, by maximizing donations.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

Fundraising Technologies that Help – Not Hinder – Your Growth

By | Fundraising, Technology | No Comments

You’re forgiven if you’re a little skeptical about the latest technology. We know the phrase “paperless office” is probably playing through your mind, but seriously, technology can help, not hinder, your nonprofit’s ability to grow.

The right fundraising technology makes it easier to connect with donors and encourage them to donate in support of your nonprofit. Here, we cover four new technologies or technology-assisted ideas that can boost fundraising activities and help your nonprofit reach its goals.

Four Technologies or Technology-Enhanced Ideas for Fundraising Growth

These four fundraising ideas incorporate technology or utilize technology for growth. Although some of them may sound far-fetched, they can all be implemented by even the smallest nonprofits.  These ideas benefit your organization’s growth and also benefit your constituents by making it easier to donate.

  1. Dedicated Online Fundraising Pages

Dedicated online fundraising pages are a lot like landing pages used in traditional marketing. These are pages set up specifically to encourage people who visit the page (“land” on the page) to donate.

In order to encourage donations, make sure that:

  1. Your page is clearly branded with your nonprofit’s logo, messaging, colors and images.
  2. You align your nonprofit to outcomes. Who are you helping and what will the donation do? Show pictures, tell stories, but make the outcomes come to life for anyone visiting and potentially donating to the nonprofit.
  3. Make checkout easy and friendly.
  4. Offer opportunities for both a lump sum gift and monthly giving.
  5. Ask people to opt-in to your mailing list to keep in touch.

 

  1. Text-to-Give

You’ve probably seen these campaigns during hurricanes or other natural disasters when major disaster relief services run them. “Text 12345 to give” enables people to give quickly from their mobile phone using a simple text message. It’s a great use of technology to make giving fast and simple and it taps into the population’s increasing dependence on their mobile phones.

  1. Fund-a-Need Programs

Fund-a-Need programs raise money for a specific need. Such needs may include a new roof on a building, or  new buildings, etc. Be specific in the need and in the fundraising goal. Establishing a special fundraising page for these campaigns and utilize social media to get the word out.

  1. Accept Bitcoin Donations

Bitcoin, Ether, LiteCoin, DodgeCoin and other cryptocurrencies can be accepted as donations. You’ll need to set up a special electronic wallet with a firm like Coinbase that enables you to receive cryptocurrency into the wallet and exchange it for dollars or another fiat currency. Many young people like using cryptocurrency. By accepting it as a payment or donation method, you’ll appeal to a specific techno-savvy group who may have money to share but prefer not to share dollars.

Why Try These Methods?

Nonprofits must keep up with technology trends the same way that for profits do. These trends impact your donors and can potentially make a big difference to your bottom line if implemented wisely.

You don’t need to become proficient at dozens of technologies. Implement one idea at a time. As you grow more comfortable with each innovation, you’ll be able to add more until your organization is up to speed with the latest technology.

The more routes or avenues you can open for potential donors, the better. Making it easy to say “yes” to a request and donate dollars or bitcoin will help your nonprofit organization flourish. Now is the time to embrace tech-savvy ideas for a brighter future.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.