Monday, December 17, 2012

Maximize the Potential of Your Greater Giving Database

Photo by Antonio Harris
Accurate data management is crucial to a successful fundraising event. From entering auction item donations to sponsors and guests lists, being thorough and detail-oriented ensures that your database is up-to-date and correct. The result of this hard work is a night-of execution of your event that is fast and easy for both guests and volunteers.

If you use Greater Giving as your event database, then you're already headed in the right direction. Their software is designed to organize and execute non-profit events. Here are some Greater Giving tips and best practices to help you manage your data and reach your goal or beyond on event night:

1. Every item donation needs a description, restriction, location and value. You need to track what exactly is being donated to you and any restrictions on the item or redeeming it, as they can affect who bids on it and for how much. Knowing the physical location of your auction items is important so everything makes it to the venue on event night. Make sure to adjust the location information as items arrive at your office so you don't try and arrange pick-up of an item you already have. The item's value is used to calculate minimum bid, bid increments and guaranteed purchase. Also, any amount paid over the value of the item is deductible on the winning bidder's taxes.

2. For gift certificates, be sure to also track if it's Donor Provided or Software Generated. Donor Provided certificates were given to you by the auction donor, software generated gift certificates need to be printed from Greater Giving. For Software Generated gift certificates, make sure the donor's contact information is printed on it, in case the winning bidder has any questions about certificate redemption.

Photo by Xilia Faye Photography
3. Make sure to allocate an admission to every guest. This can either be a sponsor / hosted admission, one they've purchased themselves or a comp seat. Regardless, every single person that is expected to attend your event needs to have an admission allocated to them. For sponsored / hosted seats, be sure to include the Group Name when allocating an admission to an attendee. Use the GRP-01 Report to check each Group and the Unassigned Bidder listing to make sure you've entered all guest names correctly and assigned them to the appropriate group. Use the "Bidder Notes" section of an individual's Supporter Record to track individual seating requests, such as "seat Tony B with Cheryl M". These notes appear next to the bidder's name on the GRP-01 report. Include as much contact information for each guest as possible. This helps eliminate the possibility of duplicate entries in your database, but also ensures that you can follow-up with guests after your event if you need to.

The more diligent and detailed your are in the management of your data, the stronger your ability to raise funds the night of your event.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

We're Hiring

Job Opening: Office & Project Coordinator
Do you want to help change the world?

Do you thrive on details and have the ability to see the big picture at the same time?

Do you want to join a diverse team with its heart set on working hard to help our clients be the best they can be and have fun while we do it? 

We’re looking for someone to be the glue at our event-­‐based philanthropy consulting firm.
The Office & Project Coordinator works directly with both the Operations Director and Event Directors to provide critical support on internal and external projects. This role enables Event Managers to focus on higher-­‐level strategy by creating the deliverables that are essential to our clients’ success. This Coordinator also provides the operational support to help execute internal systems and ensure the constant upkeep and advancement of our home base. 

To do this job effectively, you must be organized and skilled in the task of taking multiple streams of information and distilling it into easy-­‐to-­‐understand tools that our clients can use for practical application. You must be versatile and comfortable with shifting gears between multiple tasks, multiple times over the course of a day. We seek a self-­‐starter that is comfortable jumping in to do what’s needed. We want your organizational skills to simplify and advance the work we do. You will be the constant at the office for our clients, vendors and others to communicate with. You will organize workflow to support project management. You will be the glue. 

Key Responsibilities
  • Strong administrative skills are essential: internal organization, notes, phone, scheduling, booking travel, errands, communications.
  • Utilize systems to facilitate workflow for both us and our clients, this includes but is not limited to: My Emma, Blogger, Greater Giving, Eventbrite, Basecamp, Dropbox, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, iMovie.
  • Work directly with Event Directors to provide client project support in the form of deliverables: timelines, workplans, invites, scripts, slide shows, programs.
  • Provide onsite event support to Event Directors.
  • Help execute internal marketing plans and provide initial drafts of communications
    and materials.
  • Help develop drafts of education materials for our classes and trainings.
  • Manage conference opportunities and applications.
  • Maintain internal databases and resources. 

    • Research trends in philanthropy, technology, donor cultivation, events and help integrate these into client offerings and workflow.
    • Manage RFP process including non-­‐profit, government, education and others.
    • Other duties as assigned. 

      Skills & Qualifications
    • 4-­‐year college degree with a minimum 5 years work experience required.
    • Must be highly organized and detail oriented, possess strong written and oral
      communication skills, and be proficient in Excel, Word and PowerPoint. Experience
      with event software, such as Greater Giving, a plus.
    • Ability to write in a multitude of styles as dictated by the communication channel
      and in a variety of voices as necessitated by the audience. Professional social media
      strategy a plus.
    • The ideal candidate will be a self-­‐starter who enjoys taking on new challenges to
      expand his/her role and is constantly looking for ways to simplify processes for us
      and our clients to maximize outcomes.
    • A strong commitment to client service and quality work product is essential.
    • Able to work independently, be self-­‐motivated, self-­‐discipline and dependable with
      excellent teamwork and interpersonal skills.
    • Non-­‐profit development and/or event production background required.
    • A strong desire to be a part of a fun, close-­‐knit team with its heart set on changing
      the world. 

      The position is full time with a $30,000-­‐$33,000 starting salary and benefits, DOE. No relocation package will be included. 

      Application Guidelines/Contact:
      Send a resume, detailed cover letter and three professional references to Kristin Steele by Friday, January 4th at noon. Emailed materials preferred to For attachments please only use PDF or Microsoft Word format. For mail, send to Samantha Swaim Fundraising, PO Box 17191, Portland, OR 97217. No phone calls, please. 

      Company Overview
      Samantha Swaim Fundraising believes that dedicated groups of people can change the world. And we think non-­‐profits are at the center of that change.
      We are a Portland-­‐based fundraising consulting firm specializing in event-­‐based philanthropy. Our clients are predominantly non-­‐profits looking to diversify their income by including events in their strategic development plans. We partner with organizations to identify ways to reduce their workload and increase their fundraising so they can continue their great work.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Communication is Key

An engaged supporter at People You Should Know
Community Action had a record-breaking People You Should Know breakfast last week!

They attracted 325 supporters and raised more than $45,000 at the breakfast.

The twist: the event was free with no cost to attend.

How did they use the 'Raise More Money Model' to ensure success? How did they guarantee turnout and fundraising for an event that no one has paid to attend?

It's not as difficult as you might think. There are two key strategies that Community Action employed that lead to their success:

1. They turned their strongest supporters into Table Hosts.
Your supporters are already your biggest cheerleaders. Tap into their passion, and ask your major donors, board members and volunteers to go one step further by reaching out to their personal networks and filling a table at your event.

People give to people, and in particular, to people they have a relationship with. People showed up and supported Community Action because of who invited them to attend—this level of peer-to-peer accountability really helps drive fundraising to your goal and beyond.

2. They regularly communicated with attendees beforehand.
Whether it was from Community Action or their table host, guests received multiple communications including a printed invite and emails leading up to the event. This reminded them of the important details (time, date, location), but also teased out the pieces of the breakfast that were unique and exciting, such as their speakers and program.

If you regularly communicate with your guests, you make sure they understand both the importance of attending your event and supporting your organization's work.

Jerralynn Ness, Community Action's Executive Director
In the end, Community Action saw such great success because they maximized the potential of their existing relationships while at the same time cultivating new and meaningful ones.

Congratulations on a fantastic event!