1 HOUR 2 MINS
5 Strategies for Stronger Relationships to Raise More at End-of-Year
As we approach the end of the year, maximizing your fundraising efforts is crucial. Building and nurturing solid relationships is the key to any successful fundraising campaign, and in this webinar, we’re going to share effective strategies that can help strengthen these bonds and boost your end-of-year efforts.
Categories: Expert Webcast, Webinar
5 Strategies for Stronger Relationships to Raise More at End-of-Year TranscriptPrint Transcript
Okay, good afternoon.
We are gonna get started with our webcast on five strategies for strong relationships to raise more at the end of the year.
Our presenter today is Read More
Okay, good afternoon.
We are gonna get started with our webcast on five strategies for strong relationships to raise more at the end of the year.
Our presenter today is Mallory Erickson, and she is an executive coach, a fundraising consultant and host of the podcast what the fundraising aimed at supporting nonprofit leaders to fundamentally change the way they lead and fundraise. Through her signature framework, the power partners formula, Mallory provides unique tools to help Nonprofits Fundraise more from foundations, corporate partners and individuals. As of 2022, she has trained over 60,000 fundraisers using elements of her unique Win Win framework, which combines best practices from executive coaching, science backed behavior design, and fundraising strategy. If you want to feel differently about fundraising, as well as clear and excited about your next steps, Mallory’s work is for you.
So before we get started, I just have a few housekeeping items to share with you. The webcast is being recorded. So it will be sent out later on this week through email. So the email that you registered with is where you’ll receive that you’ll have the opportunity to download some handouts, there’s going to be some QR codes throughout the presentation. And any questions that you have should be added to the questions pane. And Mallory will be answering them at the end of the presentation. So Mallory Good afternoon, and the attendees are all yours.
Amazing. Thank you, Laurie, thank you DonorPerfect for having me. I am so excited to be talking about end of year and how you can build stronger relationships for end of the year. Although part of me can’t believe we’re already talking about end of the year. Here we are at the end of August. So Lori already gave me an incredible introduction. I am Mallory Erickson. I’m the creator of the power partners formula host of what the fundraising, there’s my website, if you want to connect with me on Instagram, I always love seeing folks who were here today. And so if you wanted to post a photo of your computer, are you listening and tag me, I’ll reshare it. And it’ll be great to connect that way as well. Some of you are likely familiar with my work because I’ve had the incredible honor of working with DonorPerfect now for a few years and hosting the community conferences here, which I love. But for those of you who don’t know me, I want to give you just a little background on me and my work and why I’m even talking to you today. So like so many of you, I became an accidental fundraiser, actually first as a managing director and then an executive director, I started to get promoted up through nonprofits and found myself in these roles that had big fundraising expectations. And at first I had these really high hopes for what this was going to mean, for me, I was going to have donors coming to me I was going to have this consistent revenue flow, I was going to be this empowered and confident leader. But the reality it was really, really different. It was a constant hustle. And I put up this appearance everywhere like I had it all together, when the reality was that I was working 12 to 15 hour days, I didn’t have a donor pipeline that I trusted, I was really burnt out, I ended up sacrificing a lot of my health for my for my organization, and I developed chronic pain. And I got to this moment where I really gave up, which actually meant that I switched organizations. So I thought that things would feel different somewhere else. And at first actually they did feel a little bit different because that’s how nobility you know, novelty works. And so things felt different. They felt new for a moment. But then before I knew it, I was really back into that same, that same situation that I was in before. And I remember sitting in my computer one day, I was literally clicking refresh on my email waiting for like one of 50 donors I had reached out to to reach back out to me, when I had this moment, I was like a year from now, I cannot be doing this anymore. I either need a different way to fundraise a different way to show up as a nonprofit leader, or I think I need to leave the nonprofit sector. And I knew I didn’t want to leave the nonprofit sector. But I also didn’t know how with the tiny amount of time that I had. I could actually create a reliable fundraising system and strategy for my organization when I felt like I was already working to my complete capacity and totally burnt out. But I ended up going down this research rabbit hole I started to test all of these different fundraising strategies. I got certified as an executive coach, I got trained in habit and behavior design. I got trained in design thinking and all those frameworks really came together and they are what led to the work that I do today. They’re the Kree
ation of the power partners methodology. That’s how it was born, it was a system for me. And then now it leads to all the work that I get to do today, supporting hundreds and 1000s of organizations every year using the integration of these frameworks. And so everything that I’m gonna talk about today, these five different strategies around how you can strengthen relationships and raise more end of year, all of it really comes from my work inside the power partners formula, and the fusion of these really critical methodologies. So if you have come to my webinars before, if you have come to all of my webinars before, then the next thing that I’m going to walk you through some of that executive coaching framework that frames up that supports the strategies that we’re going to talk about today. Some of that might be familiar to you. And I was just saying, Before we clicked record to Lori, I was like, Oh, my gosh, I feel like you know, I’m getting repetitive with this piece that I start all of my, that I start all of my webinars with and she said something really important. She said, You know what, though Mallory, every time somebody comes to one of these webinars, they’re at a different place. They’re hearing it through different contexts through different years, they’re experiencing different things. And that’s so true. And that’s one of the really important elements of executive coaching principles in general, is that executive coaching is really about having awareness around the perceptions, beliefs, thoughts, that we’re showing up to different situations, with, we’re all wearing different colored glasses at all times, I’m wearing pink glasses, you’re wearing green glasses, the person next to you is wearing blue glasses. And most of the time, we don’t even know that we’re wearing colored glasses. So we’re just talking to each other, like I’m in my pink world, and I’m describing everything in my pink world. And you’re like, oh, man, that’s not what I’m experiencing. That’s what I’m not seeing at all. And so really, the first piece of executive coaching work is to start to recognize and realize that we are wearing glasses that we are seeing the world through our perceptions, through our beliefs through our context in the moment. And we are, there’s a great quote that I forget who says who says it or exactly what it is. But it’s like we don’t see the world as it is we see it as we are. And that is so incredibly true and so important. And one of the ways that one of the ways that I talk through this with folks is through the cognitive behavior loop. So this is the idea that our thoughts and our beliefs inform how we feel, and then ultimately how we show up. And that’s what impacts our results. So this is really the foundational principles around executive coaching. And the work that we’re going to talk about today is that our thoughts and our beliefs, inform how we feel, and then ultimately, how we show up and the results that we see. So today, I’m going to go over with you five strategies to help you build stronger relationships with your donors help you raise more at end of year, as I start to go through those strategies, you might have some narratives come up in that in your head, oh, that won’t work for us because of blank or, Oh, well, we can’t do that because of x or, right. Those are thoughts and beliefs that you’re holding. And I’m going to really encourage you to try to challenge those a little bit in our time together today, to really I’m gonna talk about this a little bit more in a moment. But to come to this webinar to come to this learning with a lot of curiosity, and trying to decrease the judgment as much as possible and get curious about what could that strategy look like for our organization, what might be possible, if we integrated some of that into our end of year plan, doesn’t mean you need to take everything away from this webinar. Maybe there’s one strategy in particular, like when I talk about my unique way of encouraging matching gifts, which is really different than anything you’ve probably ever heard before.
Maybe you take one thing, and you’re like, that’s the thing, we want to integrate that into our end of your strategy, that’s totally fine. But I just want you to start to be aware of some of the limiting beliefs, you might have to some of the other I guess, I talked about this a lot. But when I started to look at my own cognitive behavior loop around fundraising, what became really clear is that I thought that fundraising was hounding people for money. I thought it was bothering people, I thought it was trying to figure out a way to get people to do something that they really didn’t want to do. And I want to say in particular end of the year, I think activates a lot of those feelings in fundraisers because we are asking more than usual, we’re sending more prompts, we’re sending out more emails, and we can start to get really uncomfortable. I don’t know how many of you have done this. But I remember at my end, in my end of year campaigns, like I would start to get so uncomfortable with the amount of emails going out that even though I had written them and scheduled them, I’d like cancel them at the last moment, because it felt like too much. And I that was a lot of how what I believed fundraising was but when I started to get really specific and clear about what is great fundraising really about what is good fundraising that feels good to the fundraiser that feels good to the donor. It became what’s now the mantra for power partners, which is that great fundraising is not an ask, it’s an offer and all of the different strategies that we’re going to be talking about today. For end of yours are offers they are opportunities for your donors, because donor behavior so no
You’re giving what your donors do at this end of year. Okay. Donor behavior is primarily impacted by the prompts that we give our donors as nonprofit leaders and as fundraisers, we can, yes, the economy is in a tough spot. Yes, the last few years have been hard. Yes. If you feel overwhelmed in your fundraising role, that makes perfect sense, and you’re totally normal. But I don’t want those narratives to make you feel like you don’t have control over what happens the end of year, we have a long narrative in the sector, our donors like to give that end of year, I don’t even think we know that we ask our donors more than ever at end of year. And they respond because donor behavior is a response. And it’s primarily a response to the prompts that we give or don’t give as fundraisers. So I don’t want to share this with you in a way to overwhelm you, but more to help you feel empowered, that you actually have a tremendous amount of control and influence over what happens in your end of your fundraising through your behavior, your organization’s behavior. But one of the really critical elements to this and how you show up at end of year is to understand what’s happening inside your brain and inside your body that’s influencing your behavior, and then ultimately, whether or not you take those prompts, right. Okay, so I’ve shared this framework with with on a number of webinars before, but I want to go over it really quickly before we get into the five strategies, because all of these executive coaching frameworks, they are really what impact our ability to implement the strategic elements. Okay, so inside my work, I was trained through an organization called AIPAC, they have something called the Energy leadership index assessment. And in that energy leadership index assessment, there are these different types of energy that make up how we feel and how we show up in given moment. So for the purposes of this, we’re talking about catabolic and anabolic energy. So catabolic energy is a really depleting defeating energy. It’s where we have a lot of tunnel vision, a lot of black and white thinking, if you hear yourself or your team members saying things like, that won’t work for us because of blank, right? That’s catabolic energy, there’s no way we’re going to be able to meet that goal because of blank. All that is catabolic energy, that dread resistance. And if you feel it around end of year, Giving Tuesday, I get it. Okay, I was 100% in those shoes. I’m not this is not about like, you should feel bad for feeling this way or having these thoughts. It’s about helping you gain some awareness around like, Ooh, yeah, that’s where I’m at. That’s how I’m feeling right. Now. Anabolic energy, on the other hand, is really fueling growth oriented energy. It’s where we experience a lot of connection and joy, where we see opportunities for mutual benefit. And I will say like, we I don’t know if you guys have ever experienced this, but I remember one of the times I really started to look at my own burnout. And I was like, gosh, like, I feel like I’m getting really burnt out. But I’m not actually working that many hours. Why am I experiencing this level of burnout. And the reason that I was was because I was actually spending so much time in catabolic energy. So inside my work, I talk a lot more about energy management than time management, and about the amount of energy about the amount of time we spend in these different energy levels. And it maybe you’ve done this reflection with me before, but this is a new day, and you have a new context. So I want you to think about for yourself, like when you most recently experienced catabolic energy that there that’s the dread the resistance, right? Maybe you’re like right now Mallory, because you’re talking about end of year, but I want you to just take a moment and reflect on that. And I want you to do the same thing with anabolic energy, I want you to think about when you most recently experienced anabolic energy, what that felt like how that influenced how you showed up in your body, right? How did that influence your performance and ultimately, your results? Again, this isn’t about good or bad. But because anabolic energy is about mutual benefit and joy and connection, and can be more fueling over time. We want you to feel the opportunity to have as much anabolic energy in your end of your fundraising as possible, because it’s going to strengthen your ability to implement all the strategies I’m about to share with you. I shared with you a moment ago that I really want to encourage you to be curious during these five strategies, right? Because a lot of catabolic energy is that judgment is that black and white thinking right is that tunnel vision, and where I want you to start to get curious about what might be possible at the end of the year is just to wonder you don’t have to commit to anything we have 45 more minutes together, you do not have to make any commitments during our time together. All I want you to do is be curious, be open, be wondering what if and start to sense what feels good, what feels exciting, what might feel different? Because that’s how you’re going to find the magic of end of the year. That’s how you’re going to really identify which of these strategies is right for your organization. But if we’re too trapped in that catabolic energy in that judgment, we’ve already made a lot of assumptions and decisions about what’s poor
For our organization, we’re going to lose the opportunity to really realize how we can deepen these relationships and how we can raise more. Okay? So the purpose of this entire webinars talking about five strategies for stronger relationships to raise more end of year. So stronger relationships is about increasing connection, okay, creating stronger relationships is about increasing connection. And I talk about connection in some very specific ways. Okay, connection is actually a feeling and experience that we have when we are connected to another person. When we’re in person. Sometimes that can mean even that our like nervous systems are co regulating with each other, right? We actually feel engaged, we feel connected, when I do these webinars, my focus for them is that you feel connected to me. Because when you feel connected to me, you’re going to learn better, you’re going to be more engaged, it’s going to help motivate you around your fundraising, right. And so we’re going to talk about ways that we in we can increase our connection to our donors to our community, with our organizations throughout end of year to build those stronger relationships and ultimately raise more. So one of the very first things that helped helps us increase connection is to leverage storytelling. So I have done some incredible workshops and webinars with DonorPerfect in the past, we’ll link to some of those past ones here as well, in case you want to go back and rewatch them to help you formulate some of your storytelling around end of year. But storytelling, and particularly sharing impact stories, is when we use narrative to make that emotional connection right between the audience and the incredible work that your organization is doing. I started my webinar with you today sharing my story with you, I always start my work sharing my story, because that is the first step in me creating connection with you to let you know who I am, right to let you know who I am. And unfortunately, on these webinars, it’s not a two way street. But I try to let you know who I am in a way that allows you to really connect with me to see yourself in my story if it applies to you, right. And so one of the things that happens when we do storytelling like that, when we use an impact storytelling framework, and I’ll show you the framework really quickly, in a moment, is that it actually produces a chemical reaction in the person that we’re talking to. So there are two primary chemicals that get released in the brain, cortisol, which helps us focus, right, so when I was telling you about the challenges that I was dealing with, as an executive director, that was activating cortisol in you, right, and it got you to focus in on Wow, that sounds familiar. I know how that goes. There’s some tension in the story right there. And then oxytocin, which is responsible for care, connection, empathy, and a storytelling arc, a good impact storytelling arc actually releases both of those hormones in our brains. So I’m gonna give you a few other resources around storytelling in a moment. But one of the things you’ll notice that I did in my story was actually took you through these five different pillars of storytelling, exposition and character development. So I told you a little bit about me and where I was at the conflict and core problem in terms of totally overworking, developing chronic pain, unable to have that a reliable fundraising system, the rising action and challenges with potential solutions. That’s where I started to talk about I switched organizations, I thought it would be different. And then the same thing happened again. And then I went down the research rabbit hole, and I tried X, Y, and Z. And I got trained in all of these things, right. And then I got to that climax, turning point where it all finally clicked. And that is how the power partners methodology was born, right. So you can sort of see that action. So doing this, doing using storytelling throughout your end of your campaigns is going to be really, really important to be able to engage your audience in a deeper way, build that connection. And so again, I’ll give you a lot of resources around this as well. But before you write your story, before you think about your end of your story, that maybe you want to be your through line and your thread for your end of your campaign, I want you to be really clear about a few different things like what is the story about who is it about is it about a person or a beneficiary is about the organization’s founding, maybe or a newer organization, and you feel like most of the people in your orbit don’t even know like how you all got to where you are today. Maybe it’s a campaign story related to what you’re raising for at end of year in particular, or maybe it’s your story and your connection to the organization. I want you to be really clear about who is your audience and get very specific about that. And then what emotion Do you want your audience to feel? And what’s the ultimate purpose of this story? Okay, and this this last part is so so, so important, because I think one of the things that often happens is we’re like, oh, I need to
use storytelling to improve my fundraising. So we’re like, okay, I’ll tell the story here. And I’ll tell the story here. And I’ll tell the story here. But we actually don’t connect that story to a call to action to what is the to what our actual purpose is in sharing the story. And likely for end of the year, because you’re on this webinar, you want to raise more at end of yours, you need to be really clear about how the story connects to giving how the story connects to your invitation for people to make an investment in your organization. Okay, so I did a full community workshop on storytelling, here is the QR code for that we’re gonna have another I have another resource at the end of this for you as well around storytelling, but make sure to grab that if you want to be walked through how exactly to create those five pillars for your organization, you can grab that right now. Okay. So, tip number two,
one of the things that helps us build stronger relationships is when we better understand our donors. So I said at the very beginning of this, that one of the ways to build connection is for me to let you know me, right, I did this incredible interview on what the fundraising with this researcher over at Stanford, Carol Robin, she talks about, like one of the foundational principles of connection is that you let yourself be known, and you give space for the other person to be known. And so starting with storytelling, that’s a way to let yourself be known. But then how do we create space for the other person to be known, and that really lies in collecting information about our donors to better understand them. And so there are a number of different ways that you can collect information about your donors, you can do surveys, you can do interviews, we’re gonna talk about one specific type of interview in a second, you can do a B testing, hey, do our donors respond to this to our donor seem to like XY and Z. And throughout all of this, it’s really important to be checking in on those limiting beliefs and the bias, right, because I said at the beginning, we’re all wearing different colored glasses. And one of the biggest mistakes I see organizations make at end of year in particular, is they make a tremendous amount of assumptions that they apply to their end of your campaign without actually getting any real information from your donors. And And sorry, if this one feels a little bit like a gut punch, just because something did not work last year, does not mean it will not work this year. This is where you need to learn from your donors. This is where you need to understand your donors. Because here’s the thing, that’s an assumption, right? We’re like, oh, because this didn’t work last year, it’s not going to work this year, it is a totally different year, all of the data is different, the entire world is different. There are so many things that have happened in the last 12 months, that we cannot just say that because something didn’t work before, it won’t work. Again, this is when we need to use strategies like this to really understand where our donors are at right now in their current context, okay. And the same thing is true about things that have worked in the past. So another big mistake I watch folks make it end of year is they’re like, ooh, this strategy worked last year, we’re going to do it again this year. And then it doesn’t work again this year. One of the most important elements around why why and how we take different actions is the context in which we’re being prompted to take that action. And so you want real time information about where your donors are at? What are they thinking about? What’s keeping them up at night right now? Right? What are they responding to right now? Which types of emails are they opening? What’s getting your biggest click rates, right, all of those different things. And then one of the tools that I love is this process called message mining. So one of the things that we also see a lot of the time is that we communicate about our organizations through our language. And a lot of times that language includes jargon, or it includes assumptions, or it includes interpretations that are really specific to folks who are working inside of the organization. And so one way to help you step outside of that is to do a process called message mining. This involves identifying a few people in sometimes in different donor segments or in the same donor segments, like different groups of people. You want to interview them on Zoom or whatever sort of recorded video thing you can you want to record it, this is really important. You’re going to ask them a number of questions. I’m going to give you a resource in a second in a second that has all those questions in it. You’re going to then transcribe the conversations, and you’re going to start to look for patterns in their language. So this is why it’s so important. Because even if you have a 30 minute conversation with someone, and you’re just listening, that the listening is still passing through your lens, right? Have you ever had an experience where you and somebody have had a fight and your recall of that fight?
is very different. You’re like, I didn’t say that I said this, or you said that or you meant this, right? And it’s like, it’s almost like we had two different conversations, right? It’s actually not because either person is lying most of the time, it’s really because we are we are retaining and hearing information, filtered through our own context and our own lens. So what message mining does, and that process of recording, transcribing, looking for patterns is it helps you zoom out of your very specific narrow lens, and actually be able to identify language that they’re using, that you might not have noticed before. Okay, so here’s that resource, there’s another QR code in there for you to grab, it’ll walk you through the questions to ask, I highly encourage you before you launch your end of your campaign, you can start to work on the draft copy now. But I would do this message mining before you insert certain pieces, and then use some of what you learn about language in and integrate it into the language you’re using in those campaign emails, you want to be using the language to describe your organization that your donors are using. Okay, so this is so so, so important. And I’m so grateful for a DonorPerfect for collaborating with me on that research, okay.
Oh, okay, stronger relationship building. Another big part of strong relationship building is personalization. And your time is limited. And depending on the size of your organization and your donor database, you might not be able to personalize all of your Outreach and Communications in different ways. And so or have a meeting with as many people as you want to have have a meeting with, right. And so I want to talk about some ways you can increase asynchronous personalization, that helps create stronger connections that helps create stronger relationships that really will ultimately help you raise more at end of year and some different ways that you can do this. So I’ve shared this on some webinars before, but your donors are looking for a number of things before they’re making a decision to give to your organization at end of the year. They want to they want to have belief that their involvement matters. They want to have positive memories with your organization. They want a reinforcement of a sense of belonging to the right group. They want a connection to their personal identity. And they want reinforcement of trust and impact. Okay, so these are the things in your campaign, when you’re thinking about the language and your different emails and your follow up, I want you to be thinking about, are we doing these things? Are we demonstrating that their involvement matters? And we’re being specific about that? Are we creating positive memories or memories with our organization through X, Y, and Z? How does this email build a sense of belonging? Okay, these are the elements I really want you to be thinking about in your communication and in your campaigns for end of year. Now, one of the questions I get a lot of the time people like oh, hey, Mallory, like personalization increases connection, but we have so we have way too much to do. And there’s just no way we can give so many people a personalized touch. Okay, I get it. And I also hear fundraisers be really resistant to things like automation and tech tools, because they’re like, oh, no, like tech is the opposite of personalization. And that’s actually not true, right? Automation and personalization are not opposites and technology and personal connection, technology and, and human connection, also do not have to be opposites. Okay, when it’s done right, automation should actually increase personalization, technology should be able to increase your ability to have human touch. Okay, so what is asynchronous personalization, right? Asynchronous personalization happens in a number of different ways. It can happen through email and direct mail marketing, right? Even putting, like somebody’s first name at the top of an email, right writing the email in plain text. Those are things that create more of a personal feel that email feels like it was sent from one person to another person, instead of a big branded newsletter with a lot of images and things like that, right? SMS or text messaging, that’s a way to increase personal connection. There are ways to make those really personal. There are also ways to make those really spammy, but I want you to think about what again, those pieces before what does it look like to create identity and belonging and connection? How do you reinforce their impact through these personalized touches? Right? You can also do things like direct to voicemail drops, there are some different technology services that allow you to drop in voicemails to people.
And that makes it a lot easier for them to hear your voice. Maybe hear your gratitude or hear your invitation to a particular campaign. And then my personal favorite, which we’ll talk about in a moment, which is video messaging, but
One of the things I want you to realize, so asynchronous personalization just means that I can send you a video message. Whenever I have the time to create the video message, you can watch the video message whenever you have time to watch the video message. But it still feels that warm and memorable experience as if we got on a quick video call together. And so it can really increase our capacity. Because think about all the time we have to spend sometimes scheduling, getting people on the phone, right doing all these different things, we sort of feel like, oh, unless I can get them live, then it’s not worth trying to connect with them and not really human way. But these asynchronous ways of communicating with folks can be a really helpful way to create more warm and memorable experiences in a higher volume to really increase your capacity. Okay, so Jonah perfect actually has a tool that I love, okay, so they have the DP video tool, which allows you to send videos really easily to your donors. And as you can see here, like they have a higher email open rate, higher click through rate, this allows you to really like show instead of tell some of those storytelling elements, and sometimes even allows you to make an ask and a more personalized ask face to face without needing to set up a particular meeting. So maybe there’s someone in particular, you have an end of your ask for that you have really struggled to get a meeting with using asynchronous video can be a way to make that really personal, really warm, really connected, even without having that meeting set up ahead of time. And something I say a lot when I’m sending a video like this is like, Hey, I know we have been trying to connect live, you know, for the last however many months and life is so busy. And I don’t want to add another meeting to your calendar right now, with everything you have going on around X, Y, and Z. So I thought I’d just send you this little five minute video to give you an overview around what’s been going on inside our organization where we’re at what we’re thinking about for end of year, I’d love your feedback. And at the end of the video, you know, you can send me a video back or message back to sort of let me know what you’re thinking. And it just allows you to have these ongoing, really like connected and meaningful conversations without a billion different meetings on your calendar. And I remember like a few months ago, I asked in an email to my list. You know, I did like a little survey trying to understand where fundraisers we’re at right now. And I said, How many more donor meetings would you like, each week, and I think I gave like, you know, one to five. And then I also had zero, I have no time for any more meetings. And the second most popular choice was zero, I have no time for any more meetings. And I remember just sitting there with that data, and being like, wow, like all you know, the people on my list are typically people who want to raise more money. And I was like, the second most popular choice is that they don’t want more donor meetings because they don’t have time for more donor meetings than how are they going to raise more money. And it really got me thinking about how we use asynchronous communication, particularly things like video messaging, to be able to increase your capacity as fundraisers to be able to build stronger relationships without maybe some of the things that are sinking you and overwhelming you and overwhelming your calendar. So I highly recommend thinking about different ways you can be increasing personalization through asynchronous ways and using tools like video messaging, or whatever you have available to you and your organization to do that. Okay, tip number four. Okay, this is one of my favorite things, you guys. So
the matching gift
I love matching gifts. They definitely work. Okay, right donors seem to love matching gifts. But sometimes it feels like the matching, like world of communication is a little bit over the top right, it starts to get a little like fake urgency. cringy you’re like, is this real? Right? everybody’s wondering, is this actually real? And so I have been over the last few years actually encouraging my clients to do matching opportunities in a really different way. That creates more connection that creates stronger relationships. That’s really intentional, and it has been insanely successful. I think this is the first time I’m sharing this super publicly. So I’m gonna walk you through it and first The first thing I just want to say is like fake urgency is not your friend. Okay? So like sending the like all caps, emails, like, you know, 5x your donation before midnight tonight, right? Like big urgency is not our friend. And so, but with with matching gifts in particular, the reason why they are actually effective is because when we create time boxed moment when we create a time
And Bucks Moment. Timeouts moment is like where there’s a deadline. And something more positive will happen by that deadline, that actually is really helpful for our fundraising. So we’re trying to like balance these two things, right? We don’t want to take urgency. But we also want to create a time box moment that is really helpful for folks. So one of the ways that I’ve been doing this with my clients are through these like community or collective matching opportunities. So I helped my clients identify five to 10 individuals who would increase their giving for a collective match. And usually these individuals are folks who are somewhere between like the $1,000, you know, annual gift to the $5,000 annual gift, it really depends on the size of your organization. But many people would refer to this donor pool as like mid level donors. And so they’re oftentimes first of all, not folks who typically get invited to do matches, because usually, when you’re looking for a matching donor, you’re looking for that one donor who can do $25,000, for that one donor who can do $50,000. This is a really different strategy. This is about identifying a community of donors, asking them intentionally to increase their annual gifts. So it inspires them, it gives them a really clear incentive for increasing their giving this year, and then together, their money could equal $25,000 $50,000 $100,000, whatever it is, and then you challenge the rest of the community to that a lot of times when we do these community match opportunities, the matching donors are also really open to sharing why they increase their giving this year, why they’re excited about this community match, they often will advocate more around the campaign. So they give those testimonials. And it just creates this community giving experience in a really amazing way, while you’re still doing the match that we know incentivizes donors, and gets them engaged. And it gives you this really intentional opportunity to invite these $1,000 $2,500 donors to increase to 5000 or $10,000. Donors, which is often like a hard ask because you know, when we’re trying to be intentional about the impact of people’s gifts, and they’ve been giving every year at the $2,500 level or the $1,000 level, but we know they could give more, but maybe not so much more that it would be a particular program, investment or piloting something new, and we want to give them something really meaningful to engage their gift. This is like literally my favorite strategy and organizations love it. Now, here’s one of the things that I just want to note. This is when I do this, this is a real match. Right? So some donors will say, of course, like, you know, we’re gonna mail you the check now, like good luck. But other donors might say, well, yes, I will, I will match up to this amount. And let’s see, like how much you can raise from the community to help meet us at that match. And what we do in that situation is, let’s say you challenge your community to $100,000 match, because the the this collective collectively gave you that amount. And let’s say your community only raises $80,000. And then again, you extend it, you give people more time, but let’s say that say you’ve exhausted all resources, and the community only gave $80,000. So that’s 20% less than the $100,000 challenge. So then you could go to each of your matching donors. And you could tell them, like, here’s what happened, we raised $80,000, which is incredible. We net we’re so proud of it, we’re so grateful for your matching gift. So you have the option to you know, do use your pledge 80% of your pledge. If you still want to give your your full amount, we would obviously greatly appreciate that. But it gives them the chance, right? So it really does feel like that real match opportunity. Okay, Tip five, I want to make sure we have time for questions at the end, I’m watching them come through. So I want to make sure we have time for them at the end. Okay.
So unique matching opportunity, galvanizing community, stronger relationships. Tip number five is to think about how you can deliver a holistic experience at end of the year. So here is a Giving Tuesday metric that I think is fascinating. So on Giving Tuesday, donating money is the most common behavior, but only donating money is the least common behavior. Kevin, say that again. So on Giving Tuesday, donating money is the most common behavior, but only donating money is the least common behavior. So what does this mean? This means that on Giving Tuesday, most donors take another action as well. Whether that action is volunteering in person or maybe doing some advocacy, online or country
According to the organization, in another volunteer capacity, right, they are invested in doing something additional to their monetary donation. And the reason why this is so meaningful, and so important to understand is because it really, it really tells us that your donors are looking for multi sensory holistic experiences as part of their end of year. Okay, so what they, I’m realizing the text didn’t, didn’t copy over there. So I’m just going to explain this to you. And then we can make sure that gets updated in the slides that get shared with you. So creating a multi sensory and holistic experience as part of your end of year. So what that involves, maybe you have an organization where volunteer opportunities are really easy, and you know what those are, and you’re thinking about how you can plug those in to your full end of year campaign. But it doesn’t always have to be something so big. Sometimes it can also be people writing notes to beneficiaries, or community members or volunteers, as a part of their donation, we again have often a limiting belief, like, oh, we already asked them, you know, to give, we don’t want to ask them for anything else. But this really hopefully instills in you that people are looking for that something else. And those multi sensory experiences, they really cement memory, they really do the things that we talked about before, in terms of giving people a sense that they are making an impact and that their their involvement really matters. It increases that sense of belonging, it validates their identity, right. So think about a way that you can create a more holistic experience around your end of your giving experience. Because, you know, one of the things I worry about sometimes with end of year is like if we use all these spray fire fundraising strategies, we use the, you know, the click baby urgency, and we use the like, oh my gosh, it’s a crisis. And we use the it’s giving Tuesday. So randomly, this means you should want to be there for us. If we use all that stuff, sure, maybe maybe that barrage of, of emails and touch points and prompts gets people to give but how is that impacting our long term relationship with those donors? Right? The goal that we want to see is not just that more people are giving it end of year, not just that you’re raising more end of year, yes, 100%. But the reason that we’re talking about this through stronger relationships to raise more at end of year is because when we focus on the relationship, when we focus on that stronger relationship, then those relationships will go beyond the end of year. And so creating multi sensory, holistic experiences can be a really important part of that, I’m going to answer a question I often get around this, I’m gonna sort of like preemptively answer it, people are always like, Okay, we have this like, you know, event, usually at the end of the year, and then we have Giving Tuesday, and then we have end of year like are all those different campaigns? No, this a great example of how I would include all of that into one campaign into one experience. And those are just different touch points, different elements of that holistic experience of that holistic campaign, you don’t want these elements to be competing with each other, you want them to actually be infused with one another, so that they’re all part of that overarching story, that overarching goal of connection and driving towards that an eventual goal. So I said at the very beginning, when we talked about storytelling, and how important it is, for your end of year, DonorPerfect, has done something amazing where they have sponsored, I was going to come out with a storytelling course this year, and it was going to have a fee associated with it. But DonorPerfect has actually sponsored the entire course, it’s releasing in a few weeks if you want to join the waitlist. If you go to Mallory erickson.com, backslash storytelling that will get you on the waitlist that’s going to come out in a few weeks. And it’s going to walk you through the entire like how you create different stories for your organization and for you how you collect stories from your audience, and just a ton of other storytelling tips. So if you want that, grab the waitlist, totally free, amazing, amazing thing that DonorPerfect is doing. But if you want to go deeper with me around storytelling in particular, that is that if you have other questions, I just want to make sure we have 15 minutes at the end to answer all the questions that are coming up. But if you want to connect with me as well, again, that’s my website, Instagram, you can connect with me on LinkedIn. And I always love to hear kind of what your biggest takeaways are. I know we went through these five strategies really high level we only had 60 minutes today, but I hope they start to plant some seeds around some really unique and innovative things you can do particularly around asynchronous
Communication and matching and how you think about those multi sensory, holistic experiences that are going to help you cement memory and cement relationships with your donors. So Okay, time for questions, let’s do it
we have quite a few.
Um, I was trying to sort them so that I could get to the ones we need to first.
One of the big things and I don’t know if anybody else missed it, but I did have an who was asking if she missed the QR code to build the five pillars. Oh, can you scroll back to that? I know that we’re gonna be giving this out and they’ll have all the codes but I thought while we move on shall have something on the screen. Totally. Here you go.
There you go. Easy. Okay, it was easy. That way. We’re starting with the easy ones. Okay. Um, now, Jessica. She said that her board and Executive Director believed that all envelopes must be hand addressed. thank you notes, appeals and anything that is sent out. They insist that’s how donors feel like things are personalized. I prefer personalizing letters through mail, merge, writing notes on letters and can really be personal mail merged emails, how can I get them to relent and understand that handwriting hundreds of envelopes is not how to create personal relationship with the donor?
Who, okay, so I have two suggestions here. One is there are totally companies, I don’t have any of them off the top of my head, but who do printing that looks like handwritten notes. And so and like it is like totally indistinguishable. In fact, I have had letters sent to me through some of these companies from like, friends of mine for my birthday. And I texted one of my friends once and I was like, How are you so multitalented? That like your handwriting is that good? Like, that’s the best birthday card I’ve ever gotten. And then she was like, actually, it was the service. So one thing is to like maybe get creative about how you can like have that feel of the person. So it’s not you know, maybe you’re not sending it in like a sand Sarath. But it’s also not you personally writing those things. Also, you could hire a calligrapher to hand address all those things, I have no idea what the cost of that is. But what’s clearly happening here also is that like the cost of your time, is not being factored in. So I think also helping your board and your and your leader understand like what you could be spending your time on, if you weren’t spending it hand addressing all these hundreds of notes, and how that would ultimately lead to, to more fundraising at end of year. That’s also something I would like talk to them about, really think about, like your time and what you would trade that for and what the ROI difference would be there. The last thing I’ll say is tested. So like maybe, you know, look, change is hard for people and, and limiting. Overcoming limiting beliefs or longtime assumptions is really, really hard. So maybe what you say is, hey, this year, I want to take 100 of our donors or 250 of our donors, and I want to have their their, you know, addresses put on through this company that does the handwritten feeling, right, it’s going to be a little bit more expensive. But instead of those 250 letters being addressed by me, I’m going to focus on this, which will you know, the plan is to bring in more money that way. And I let’s just test it, let’s see the difference in the return between the people who get my hand written envelopes versus this company. And then let’s assess for next year, right, they might need a small sample pool and evidence before they’re able to adopt it as a full organization wide practice. So those are kind of like three different tips in there.
Okay, yeah, you made me think of some of the mail that I’ve gotten where I actually thought it was real, especially the color of the print all of it. Yeah, I’m not saying that what you’re sending isn’t real, but the handwriting itself. Yeah. And so that’s great. That’s that’s a great thing, right? And then you want to make sure if you’re really spending that money to make the outside of the envelope feel personalized, how is the language you’re using on the inside of that envelope feeling personalized because a lot of times what I see is the outside handwritten envelope you know, clearly somebody spent time on that but the inside envelope says Dear donor, and you know, there’s no personalization, no connection to me whatsoever. And so that’s that’s where the personalization really matters and where you can use, you know, automations and, and tools to help with that.
Okay, um, all right. I have a question here. And I, I’m going to apologize right now because I am not quite sure of the name of the asker. I believe it’s Haim dot.
And I apologize if that’s wrong. Anyway, they asked as I expand my role to include foundations and grant applications, how might I leverage matching opportunities to appeal to these entities effectively? Do you have any insights on successful approaches or pitches that resonate particularly well, with foundations when promoting the concept of matching donations?
You know, I’ll be honest, I haven’t. I’ve used matching gifts with family foundations, and smaller and smaller foundations where I have a more personal relationship that, frankly, feels very similar to a major donor relationship. And I think with with foundations, and I have an episode on what the fundraising I can try to pull up. Or we can put it in the post in the post email, where he talks about the different types of foundation funders and that there are foundation funders that are sustaining funders that are foundation funders that are launched funders, right. So they’re trying to help you start something new. And then there are foundations that are like pilot funders that are really more interested in like testing and r&d and stuff like that, if you have foundation funders who think are particularly interested in launch in helping you launch a new program, or pilot testing something that might be where I would think about matching with them, I think they’re less interested in the matching like thing than they are in what the impact of that match would be. So if they’re really interested in helping you launch a particular new program or pilot a test somewhere, then I think inspiring them around being the matching donor, because when that is matched by the rest of the community, that’s what’s going to allow you to launch that program or pilot that test. That’s really what’s going to ultimately engage them more in that. So it’s less about the actual matching,
like sequence itself and more about the purpose and the impact and the outcome of that challenge, grant that Challenge Match, and what that will mean for the organization.
all right, same person.
Balancing digital campaigns with in person events has been a key aspects of my role.
What innovative strategies might you suggest for ensuring effective and safe in person interactions, especially for major events like giving Tuesday?
Oh, my gosh, we need a whole separate webinar on events.
I mean, that is such a huge question to answer here. But here’s what I’ll say. I think with all of these things, like the purpose is really important. So I would think about the purpose first of the event, then the experience that you want people to have, what do you want people to walk away from that experience with? What’s something that could happen during that event that would help strengthen the donors relationship to your organization, and to the campaign that you are currently executing? Right. So what could happen at that event that would strengthen the donors relationship to your organization, and the campaign that you’re currently executing, right. So sometimes I’ve had clients simulate a part of their program at an end of year event, and like everybody participates, like, I have one organization who does like this, like social emotional learning, and they do this mapping with young people. And so at their end of year event, they actually invited all of the guests to do the mapping activity to really show them the power of that program and why it moved the needle around X, Y, and Z, which was what their entire campaign was around. So I would really think about like, what the experience right the purpose of an event needs to be, number one, that it strengthens relationships with folks that the purpose is really clear and clearly articulated to all of those guests. And that whatever the programming is that it’s well aligned and integrated into that end of your strategy, so I could talk about that one forever, but that’s just a little a little piece.
Um, alright, so Wendy asks,
when you are creating a collective matching opportunity, are you asking your community as a whole to increase their annual gift to meet the matching gift goal, or are you asking for a specific dollar amount from each donor? Okay, so this is such a good question. I
Think I’m interpreting it correctly. But when do you can tell me if I’m not. And so this depends a little bit on what happens with your matching population. So in the past when I have had 2500, like 520 $500, donors increase their giving to $5,000. Right, so I’ve had top 520 500 donors increase their giving to $5,000, to create a $25,000 match for the community. I’m just using some simple math here to sort of show this, then my outreach email to the rest of the community around the challenge is these five donors doubled their donation this year, in order to make X y&z possible, and we’re inviting you to do the same. And if you have the ability in those emails to share what they gave last year, because most people do not remember so that they know what double that amount could look like, that’s even better. But you might not have that capacity.
But I love like being able, if you have that consistency around how all the matches increase their gift, then I think that’s a theme you can really carry all the way through and show and like, you know, explain like why. And that’s what you can incorporate into the testimonials. Like, why did that matching community member double their donation this year? Why is that particularly relevant and urgent for what’s happening related to your issue area right now, and the invitation for other people to to double their investment in the organization as well. And you can always say, if that makes you uncomfortable, you can always say which I usually recommend anyway, like, we understand that economics like that some people, this is a hard time for some people, and you might not have the ability to do this. And that is no problem at all. But if you’re able, we’re inspired by you know, watching these donors step up, and we want to make that invitation to you as well.
And if you can, you know, if you can’t increase your gift, but you want to match what you gave last year, that would be incredibly meaningful to
Okay. Yeah, we’ve worked with some clients where internal perfect alone, it it’s something that is easy to set up with
not only putting in what they have already given or what they gave last year, but what that increase might look like. So it’s just a simple calculation that you’re able to add into the emails or the mailings that you’re sending out. Mm hmm.
Okay, where are we at? We have
another few minutes for the last QR code. So let me go to that one. Okay. Got up.
Okay, can I answer one I see this quick. Yep, go for the one of the icy, how about using volunteers for handed dressing. So like, sure, but that doesn’t actually change the organization’s dependents or shift their beliefs about the need to do hand addressing. So and we know that volunteer engagement and commitment can wane and sometimes it means for certain people that they’re up at 11pm, doing the thing that somebody else was supposed to do and they didn’t do. So I still would recommend like trying to test other ways of
of doing that there are probably other things like if you could get those volunteers to make phone calls, instead of hand addressing envelopes, and you paid to have those envelopes done by hand writing service like that actually would probably see a much higher ROI. So again, like the most valuable resource that your organization has, is time, the most valuable resource that your organization has is time. And so anything you can be doing to optimize that time, I recommend now if you really cannot get people off of the handwritten note, then maybe getting volunteers to write the handwriting on the front is a solution totally. But I just I don’t want us to be like swapping limiting beliefs for limiting beliefs. You know, I want you guys to have more flexibility.
Okay. Now, there is a question that just came in that I think applies to so many
and says Should we do a Giving Tuesday campaign and a CRM? Is it too close together? Our board and CEO do not agree on this. Okay, so to me, these are not separate things. These are not competing things, Giving Tuesday, your end of your campaign should have been starting in November anyways. And so they’re absolutely inviting people to give on Giving Tuesday as a part of your end of your campaign but under the same theme
Under the same campaign and under the same unifying stories is really important. I would not fundraise for one element of your organization, one program on Giving Tuesday and fundraise for something completely different at end of year, I would not do those two things. But should you be inviting your donors to be investing in the organization between giving, like on Giving Tuesday all the way up to the end of the year? Absolutely. And your campaign should be spread across multiple weeks like that anyways. So like it, then being close together is just actually another really convenient peak moment, prompting moment to invite them to invest. Now, they’re not going to invest because it’s giving Tuesday necessarily, right. That’s not a great like incentive. But integrating something important about your campaign on Giving Tuesday helps you maximize both of those things.
Okay, I fully agree. And that’s why that’s why I went that’s what we push all the time. And And if one person is asking it, I think it really applies to, to everyone. Yeah. Okay, so we have reached our limit here. So I apologize if we did not get to your question.
But I do want to thank you Mallory for being here again this afternoon. And I am so excited for your storytelling course.
Yeah, sorely needed. I’m so grateful for DonorPerfect for making that free and accessible to everyone. And thank you all for having me today for spending all this time with me. I know end of year can be very overwhelming. And so go back to that stuff. We talked about the beginning that cognitive behavior loop all of those different pieces, like your energy around this end of year is going to make such a difference in your ability to be creative and and think creatively and innovatively about these different strategies that we talked about. So I’m wishing you the best of luck and cheering for you.
Okay, looks like a lot of things going on. All right. Well, I appreciate you being here. And thank you all for attending and we hope to see you in some future webcasts that we have going onRead Less
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