Value Offers

by Edward Sumner

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 efforts to connect with others.  Here are some helpful examples:

  1. ‘I don’t have a lot of time, just tell me what’s new.’
  2. ‘A couple email updates a year will suffice for me, no need to keep in touch.’
  3. ‘I don’t do events.’
  4. ‘We’re giving to a lot of different places, so our giving will remain modest.’
  5. ‘You need to help me understand more clearly how my gift is being used.’

You get the picture.  This is good stuff.  Especially #5.  Giving our supporters and prospects clear value offers is a critical way to frame an ask, as well as communicate the gifts they are giving are impacting those we seek to serve in real time, in real ways.  It’s imperative that we have crisp, clear, and up to date value offers at our fingertips.  Some very basic examples might be:

  1. A gift of $100 provides 25 meals to families in need
  2. A gift of $250 provides one month of medical and dental services for our clients
  3. A gift of $500 provides 5 welcome baskets for new residents at our emergency shelter

Tangible.  Measurable. And hopefully, compelling.  These should be the ways that we describe our value offers and doing so will increase the likelihood of positive giving decisions, and, candid feedback that is positive.  A win-win.

What are you value offers?  Join the conversation at @infosmallchange #ascblog.

Good question!

by Edward Sumner

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.  Lastly, good questions keep me sharp!  Some examples I love to hear, and aim to respond to carefully and creatively are:

  1. What impact are you actually having on the people you are seeking to serve?
  2. How are you measuring success?
  3. Who are your collaborative partners?
  4. What have been your biggest challenges in the last fiscal year?
  5. How did you (Edward) get involved in this work?
  6. Instead of just throwing money at this, are there other ways I can get involved?
  7. What role does your Board play in moving the organization forward?

I never want to be scripted, but having ideas and responses to questions like these that are well formed, polished, and accurate can really have an impact on our supporters.  In fact, top to bottom, having these responses crafted can culminate into really effective way to represent our agencies even if the questions don’t get asked.

Earlier in my career I sometimes lacked the humility to acknowledge when I didn’t know the answer and would end up scrambling at times because I thought that pretending to know everything was always the best bet.  It’s not.  If a supporter or prospect asks a great question you don’t know that answer to, acknowledge you don’t know, appreciate them asking, and commit to getting back to them with a well researched response.  The bonus here, is that it gives you another reason to follow up which is always a win.

What questions do you love to hear a supporter or prospect ask?  Join the conversation at @infosmallchange #ascblog.


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 →

Colored Shirts

March 11, 2015

There’s no doubt about it, color makes everything more fun. Would you rather sit in a dark and colorless room or a well lit one with a vibrant painting?  We are all drawn to color. Color also makes you more noticeable. I am so glad that we are moving away from a culture where men […]

Read the full article →

It’s not all about the cash.

March 9, 2015

We work in a context of mantras.  Lots of do’s and don’ts, lots of rules to live by, and lots of sage advice from folks who have raised lots of money for lots of different great agencies.  Over time, we gather these bits and pieces together and develop our own philosophy.  This is good. One of […]

Read the full article →

Waiting for Disaster

March 4, 2015

“The health of a relationship, team or organization is best measured by the average time lag between identifying and discussing problems.” @JosephGrenny How long does it take you to talk about a challenge with your team or a co-worker? One of the indicators of a healthy organization is how long it takes for problems to be […]

Read the full article →

The Value of Saying No

March 2, 2015

This is going to sound a little bit weird but I like hearing “No” from my supporters. Sure, I like hearing yes much more, but “No” is my second favorite answer when I ask for money. The majority of asks that I’ve done in my life result in a vague answer that can be really […]

Read the full article →

At your event, make sure the Ask is right.

February 25, 2015

We’ve had some really great feedback and thoughts on a recent post highlighting the importance of caring for the little things to make your big fundraising events awesome.  Really excited to learn it has been helpful!  As a result I’ve been thinking more about the not so little things that are also critical to ensure […]

Read the full article →

The Power of One

February 23, 2015

Every board I’ve worked with has board members who are more involved and board members who are less involved. Some of your board members are doers and others are not. If you have a smaller board of 5 to 10 people, then you probably have a board that is almost full of doers. If you […]

Read the full article →