Let’s Talk Business.

by Edward Sumner

We’ve had some great responses and feedback on our recent post about finding and cultivating Champions for our agencies, and how their throwing a party can be an effective and fun way to acquire new donors.  Folks have asked about other ways to empower and leverage our champions to diversity our support network, so we’ll offer another here.

Most of our champions who are giving generously have jobs.  They work for all sorts of companies doing all sorts of things in all sorts of roles.  And, the reality is that regardless of their specific roles and responsibilities, our Champions can negotiate discovery and access opportunities for philanthropic efforts within their businesses to support our causes.  It is also becoming increasingly common for businesses to seek out cause based agencies to fund and support to enhance their branding, bolster employee satisfaction, and to catalyze tax benefits.

When asked, coached, and encouraged to do so, our champions can engage the organizations they work for in the following ways on behalf of our agencies:

  1. Registering our agency as a beneficiary for workplace giving campaigns
  2. Rallying teams or colleagues for in-kind donations
  3. Soliciting one time gifts
  4. Creating lunch-time presentations on our work and how folks can get involved
  5. Requesting incentivized event sponsorships (more on this next week!)

There can often be barriers to accessing decision makers to pitch the ideas listed above, but often times our Champions can be the very folks to overcome these barriers and develop partnerships.  It’s our job to help and encourage them to do so!

What other ideas are out there for partnering with businesses through our Champions?  Join the conversation at @infosmallchange #ascblog

Party On.

by Edward Sumner

Alright, you’re in good shape.  You’ve identified some champions for your organization and you’re excited, encouraged, and relieved that you’ve got some folks to help broaden and diversify your support network.

There are a number of ways that your champions can actively participate in the acquisition of new donors.  One of the most traditional and familiar ways that is hosting or captain(ing) tables at our galas and auctions.  This is KEY.  But, for champions, this can be just the tip of the iceberg.

I was having coffee with a new supporter the other day, and I was guiding her through some ways that she could continue to partner with us, having recently given generously as a guest at our auction in November.  We talked about her hosting a table herself this year, attending our spring awareness event, scheduled a time for her to check out our new Drop-In Center on a tour.

Then, she said, ‘and what about if I just invited some folks I know to over to my house for food and wine and you could just share a little bit about REST and leave some giving envelopes?   Just like a party with a purpose?’

The clouds parted, sun beamed in, the music resounded in the back of my mind, champion stuff is happening!  The House Party model that my friend above suggested is one of the most effective, valuable, and fun ways to mobilize our champions to help us acquire new donors.  The model is simple:

  • Champions invite folks to their place for a party lending expectations regarding the little bit of ‘purpose’ behind the party
  • Guests arrive and mingle, we mingle too
  • Drinks and food are served
  • After an hour or so, we invite our champions to share why they care and why they give to our cause
  • We give our 5-10 best overview and let folks know that we’ve left a response card for folks who want to learn more or give, and invite questions
  • We thank our host (champion) for the few minutes, and mingle more
  • At the end of the night we collect the envelopes
  • Following week, we thank our champions, gather feedback, talk about doing it again next year, and send thanks and followups to those that gave or want to learn more

Easy, straightforward, scalable, fun.

Are you game for doing parties like this?  Join the conversation at @infosmallchange #ascblog

Where are the Champions?

April 15, 2015

We development pros work hard to strengthen the relationships we have with folks who have given to our agencies and we call the process ‘retention.’  We also work really hard to build new relationships with folks who have not given to our agencies before, and when they do give for the first time we call […]

Read the full article →

How to create a monthly giving program.

April 8, 2015

Terrific follow up post on the ‘how to’ of monthly giving from our friend Josh Collier at Tacoma YFC: Okay, you’re sold, monthly giving should be more than an option on a response card. But then, what should it be? Here are three keys to a successful monthly giving program: Invite people to join something […]

Read the full article →

Do we really understand monthly giving?

April 6, 2015

Delighted to offer a guest posts this week from Josh Collier, Development Officer at Tacoma’s Youth for Christ.  He is a friend, colleague, and terrific fundraiser.  Enjoy: Most of us offer monthly giving as an option at fundraisers and in appeal letters – but do we really understand the potential of effective monthly giving? It’s […]

Read the full article →

10% Battery Life

April 1, 2015

I recently saw Big Hero 6 with my daughter at her school’s movie night.  It was awesome.  The main character’s older brother was an incredibly gifted designer and built a relentless, multi-functional, adaptive, and engaging robot whose only barrier preventing his unceasing efforts to complete his mission was – limited battery life.  Without his batteries fully […]

Read the full article →

Value Offers

March 25, 2015

What a privilege and help it is when our supporters and prospects provide candid feedback to us.  I mean, really candid feedback.  The kind that can sting a little bit, but, will without a doubt help us to strengthen our relationship with those that are giving said feedback as well as help us improve our […]

Read the full article →

Good question!

March 23, 2015

I’m always impressed and grateful when a current supporter or prospect asks good questions.  First and foremost, it indicates that they are really considering our agency and mission carefully which means if I answer these questions well, a positive giving decision may follow.  Secondly, the questions the ask create opportunity for our relationship to deepen. […]

Read the full article →

But you said you were going to give!?

March 18, 2015

Ok.  This is a real time situation.  Happening now.  I’ve got 4 or 5 folks that I’ve been building relationships with and over email and in person they have committed to giving a gift to the agency I have the privilege of representing.  We’ve had some great interactions, they are supportive of the mission and […]

Read the full article →

That first impression.

March 16, 2015

Last week my colleague here at A Small Change, Jason Dick, wrote up a great piece on how wearing something that’s got a little color can impact donor interactions.  I couldn’t agree more.  In fact, I think there are a number of other small things, when considered, we should also commit to as we are […]

Read the full article →