Monday, October 29, 2012

Fundraising in the 21st Century

Technology continues to change and improve seemingly at the speed of light. It’s amazing how much of our life is lived on our Smart Phone now. So why not use that as a tool for fundraising in a fun, interactive way?

Click here to see Mobile Cause in action
At the Basic Rights Oregon Ignite event, they used Mobile Cause this year with great success. Other ‘text to give’ programs can be challenging in a fundraising capacity because they go through the cell phone companies and donations are limited to $10 each, half of which goes to the phone company for processing.
at the event. This screen also features the ever-motivational thermometer that meters your event’s fundraising success in real time.

The beauty of this system is three-fold:
  1. It minimizes the amount of tracking your organization needs to do for an appeal and provides you all the tools to easily collect your funds—without having to give half away.
  2. It maximizes the public recognition for your donors in real time and allows you to leverage the spirit of competition and giving in a room for maximum fundraising return.
  3. It allows you to have an ACTIVE appeal at your event—which almost always has a higher return—without the need for an actual auction or bidder paddles.

The successful appeal at Ignite
We often tell clients if they’re doing the same way they did it five years ago there might be something that needs to change. Fundraising is an evolving science and those who grow with it will reap the rewards.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Well Planned Appeal

A special appeal can make all the difference for your fundraising. However, just asking for money isn’t enough. A well-orchestrated special appeal necessitates thoughtful planning.

Check out all of those bid cards in the air!
This year at their Equal Opportunity Day Awards Dinner, Urban League knocked their special appeal out of the park. Their big growth was the result of some very specific shifts in four different elements. When thinking about how to structure your appeal, keep the following in mind:

1.     Streamline your program. You want to capitalize on the energy in the room. Breaking up your best fundraising momentum with a 4-song concert will only ensure that you leave money on the table.

2.     Make your ask ACTIVE. This means asking people to stand or raise bid cards as their financial commitment instead of leaving envelopes on the table hoping they get filled out. Remove the barriers to people giving money, allow them to get swept up in the emotion of your appeal and give on the spot.
Special Appeal Speaker Cupid Alexander

3.     Make a dynamic special appeal pitch. If you speaker telling their story is petrified in front of an audience, put them on video. How the story is told is as important as the story itself. If your speaker can connect to the room and reel them in, their connection and willingness to give increases exponentially.

4.     Hire a benefit auctioneer to do the collection for your appeal. Have one specific story you tell, and have that person ask the room for money. But then step aside and let the benefit auctioneer do the work. Again, this makes your appeal ACTIVE and benefit auctioneers are well-versed in selling the ORGANIZATION to the room. They will read the room’s energy and maximize its giving potential.

The results of these shifts can be significant. Urban League got rid of the program elements that detracted from their fundraising. They subbed out envelopes on the table and made their ask active with the help of a benefit auctioneer. The result was an energized moment where the organization and donors became emotionally connected and committed to one another. Congratulations to Urban League and their fantastic (and successful!) Equal Opportunity Day Awards Dinner.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cultivating an Audience that Cares

It was another fantastic Wild Splendor event for Columbia Land Trust this year. The room was beautiful, the auction items were great and the food was delicious.

But their most essential element?

The right people in the room.

This is a mantra we repeat to our clients over and over as their event looms and it seems like the centerpieces are becoming the most essential element. Centerpieces come and go, but they don't increase your revenue. You can build the most beautiful room on the planet, but if you don't fill it with people who are going to support you, you've put on a good FUNraiser.

However, you haven't necessarily put on an effective FUNDraiser.

What Columbia Land Trust does so well is that they fill their room with some of their most passionate supporters. With guests who are deeply connected to the organization's mission and come prepared to show that support. With guests who are connected to someone else who is passionate about the organization.

They tapped into their network, and their network's networks to cull a crowd interested in their work and open to supporting them by writing checks.

Filled seats, are just that, unless you fill them with guests who are going to participate in the fundraising. It's about having the right people in the room. It's about making an event that will speak to them, engage them and inspire them to give and support you and your great work.

Congratulations Columbia Land Trust on a great event!