Thursday, 16 June 2016

Does Your Charity Appreciate Its Volunteers? ‪

Sometimes budget-conscious charity leaders think that spending time or money to show appreciation to volunteers is a frivolous activity.
But, I beg to disagree. In my opinion, doing small things regularly to show volunteers how much you appreciate their time and commitment to you cause is a great way to build a stronger volunteer community.

Thanking and appreciating volunteers is key, especially in today’s society, where most people seem to be incredibly busy and time has become their most valuable resource.
Here are a few things you can do to thank and appreciate your charity’s volunteers:
1. Send them a nice thank you card hand signed by members of your staff team;
2. Do something special for volunteers who have been serving with your charity for 5 years or more. You might consider purchasing some small gifts like mugs, pens, tie pins, etc and brand them with your charity’s logo. Send them a nice letter and a special gift on their 5 or 10 anniversary of serving with you to show them how much you appreciate their efforts and support;
3. Organise annual volunteer appreciation events – inviting volunteers to an afternoon tea or a buffet dinner in a local church. Get your mission workers to share their stories at these events and to thank volunteers directly;
4. Organise special appreciation events for people who do sponsored fundraising activities for your cause – they might not be volunteering regularly but they just run a marathon, or did a walk or a bike ride, etc.
Make sure you show appreciation to them by sending them a thank you note, interviewing them for your magazine or newsletter, doing something special with them on the day of the event they did. Whatever you do make sure you show your gratitude for their time, efforts and financial support;
5. Host any other fun activities for volunteers that you consider appropriate for your charity, its mission and geographical location.
My point is that by adding an appreciation element to your charity’s volunteer programme you will be standing apart from the crowd.
What’s more you will be ministering to your volunteers and helping to build a stronger sense of community and above all you will be encouraging them to continue to serve joyfully.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Three keys to successful direct mail campaigns - Part One

Did you know that the success of a fundraising appeal is decided before you sit down to write your letter? -  In fact, it is decided during the crucial planning phase when you and your team determine the target audience/s, the fundraising proposition and the creative direction of the appeal.

Regardless of how compelling your stories are or how innovative your project may be, writing a good letter is not likely to bring in the money without proper planning.

The first key to success: Getting your audience/s right!

Selecting the right audience, or in other words, the right segments of the database you are mailing your letter to, is critical to fundraising success.

You can write an average fundraising appeal but if you select the right audience/s then you have a fighting chance at reaching your appeal goals.

But, get the audience/s wrong, and even if you send them the most beautifully written and designed letter, you are likely to fail.

Come along to our Hitting the Spot with Direct Mail workshop to find out how to identify the database segments or audience/s that are most likely to respond to your fundraising appeals, as well as those who are less likely to do so.

At our upcoming fundraising workshop on the 23rd February 2015 we will share some simple steps for doing effective audience segmentation and show you how to improve the ROI's of your fundraising appeal.

Book your place at our Hitting the Spot with Direct Mail Workshop today. 

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

How to raise less money through your fundraising appeals

Here are some common pitfalls to avoid if you want to raise more money, not less, through your fundraising appeals:

Don't ask. The truth is if you don't ask you don't get. However, many appeals fail to ask donors to give in compelling and inspiring ways. Some charities seem eager to talk about their needs or share stories and only ask once, rather sheepishly, in the final paragraph of the second page - saying something like: ' We need your support to do all this so please give generously.'

If you want to fundraise successfully make sure you position the ask strategically in various places of your appeal, in the response tool and outer envelope. Ask in a warm and enthusiastic manner, show donors what their gifts will accomplish and thank them in advance for their generous contributions.

Talk a lot about your charity's needs. I am sure donors love your charity but at the end of the day they give for their own reasons not yours. So, stop telling them about your organisational needs (e.g. we must meet our budgets, pay our bills, etc) and don't hog all achievements.  Make an effort to understand what motivates your donors to give (and no, it is not because they think you are the best!).

And, start talking about donors as members of your wider team, talk about how they are changing the world and impacting lives through your charity's work.

Don't convey a sense of urgency. The donor might have thought your appeal was good but they filed it away to deal with it some other day. The problem is that one or two weeks later they forgot what moved them about the appeal and threw it away.

To avoid this make sure you communicate to the donor the reasons why they should respond quickly. You can do this by adding a deadline to the letter or by incorporating various reasons as to why the donor should respond with a gift right now.

Don't get donor's attention. According to direct marketing guru Siegfried Vögele you have up to 20 seconds to hook the donor into reading the appeal! During that time they are likely to - open the envelope, examine the contents and decide whether to read on or not.  

Are your stories compelling? Is your ask clear? Is the design of the letter clean and simple? Do your photos tell a story? - All the elements of the package need to work together for fundraising success.

Try to convince the head, not move the heart. Cerebral descriptions of your charity's programmes and lots of statistics are great for training your staff team. But, they are not the stuff fundraising letters are made off. Big picture statistics or statements rarely stir someone's heart but good stories do.

Sound too clever. Successful fundraising copy is simple copy that a 'distracted' donor can read with ease. This means using short paragraphs, short sentences and everyday English.  Remember that the donor wasn't expecting a letter from you and they probably get a lot of stuff in the mail from other charities too. After a long day the last thing a donor wants to do is read a letter filled with run-on sentences, acronyms and big words.

Send fewer appeals. Often donors are likely to support charities that continue to keep them involved through a variety of communications. And, donors who feel appreciated and true partners in your work are likely to give again and again, when presented with new opportunities to make a difference.