Jeremy Gregg dancing in prison at PEP

Are you thanking your donors enough? Here are 5 easy ways to share the love.

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You are busy. I get it. You have a thousand emails to read, a dozen grants to write, and an eNewsletter that needs to be edited. August is now here, and you are beginning to worry about your year-end giving: the numbers are just not looking good. And you haven’t even thought of checking your voicemail in a week…. because, …

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The 140-year Old Technology that Still Raises the Most Money

Jeremy Gregg Philanthropy 1 Comment

Alexander Graham Bell won the first U.S. patent for the telephone in 1876. And today, despite all of the bells and whistles of the Internet, it remains a fundraiser’s greatest tool. Direct mail is very effective. Email can also be great, if used properly. Facebook and Twitter are right for some organizations, and huge wastes of time for others. But after 140 years, the …

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Fundraising ProTip: Writing Awesome Receipt Letters

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Revise your receipt letter each month: you have no excuse not to do this! It takes 5 minutes and can dramatically increase the relevance and readability of your communications to donors. There is nothing worse than donating to an organization a second time and reading the same generic thank you that you received months (or years!) ago. This conveys that …

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Fundraising ProTip: 10 Steps to Impress Your Volunteers

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Show that you are a professional organization from the start. Give every volunteer a job description that outlines their duties — even if they are just volunteering for one day. Doesn’t have to be fancy, just something that helps them understand what they can do to be the most help to you. At the end, include ways that they can …

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Fundraising ProTip: How Nonprofits Can Use Google Alerts

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Put your top donors’ names in a Google Alert and have it notify you when their name appears on the Web. If it’s something interesting, email it to them (or print it out and forward it to them) with a note, “Congratulations on this honor!” or “Just in case you missed this, here’s a great story that features you in it.” They will like …

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Fundraising ProTip: Get an Annual Sponsor for Every Area of your Building

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Some donors don’t need recognition. God bless ’em. But many donors — especially corporate donors — want to see their name. And not just in a thank you letter, but on an event program. On your Web site. On the back of a t-shirt. On top of your building. But the latter doesn’t just have to be for capital campaigns. …

Almost looked too good to drink. But I did anyway.

Fundraising ProTip: Cultivating Donors with Coffee Cards

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Purchase ten $5 gift cards to Starbucks and mail them to ten lapsed donors with a note, “I’d love to share a cup of coffee with you to update you on our progress. Call me when you have time!” You’ll be amazed at the response… but don’t forget to call everyone that you send the card to within a few weeks. Strike while the …

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Fundraising ProTip: House Parties are Easy Ways to Turn Board Members into Fundraisers

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Every nonprofit created since the dawn of time has complained about how their board members are not helping them to raise enough money. Don’t just complain about this. Do something. And no, I don’t mean pass around a list of foundation trustees and ask “Hey, do you guys know these people? If so, can you call them and tell them …

Watch yer step...

Fundraising ProTip: Everyday Donor Cultivation

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Pick one donor from this year – not the biggest, either – and randomly call just to say  “thank you” . . . you will be amazed at how good it feels just to thank people and NOT ask for money. Then, consider pulling a list of 100 such donors and scheduling them on your calendar one per day for the next few months. However …

Fundraising ProTip: Cultivating Former Committee Members as Donors

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Send a personal note to all the prior members of a committee to give them an update on the committee’s progress. They spent a year (maybe more!) deeply involved in this work: assume they cared about it, and keep them updated. While you’re at it, thank them once again for all that they did – and continue to do! – for your organization. Don’t …

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Fundraising ProTip: Cultivating Board Members as Donors

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The first thing to know about raising money with/from your board is: Every board in the history of nonprofits has been bad at raising money. The second thing to know is: Every fundraiser in the history of nonprofits has taken their board’s support for granted. You can beat the odds on both of these today by simply sending a personal …

What Fundraisers Can Learn from “The Best Cover Letter I Ever Received”

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I came across an interesting piece in Harvard Business Review by David Silverman in which he talks about the best cover letter that he ever received: “Here’s what I like about this cover letter: It’s short. It sums up the résumé as it relates to the job. It asks for the job.” Read the letter here: I blog this because …

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Listen the Gift: How Donors Donate

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Thanks to Arena Consulting for this powerful overview of some of the best ideas from Jerold Panas, one of the most insightful fundraisers I’ve had the privilege to meet. His idea of “listen the gift” has had a profound impact on me. If I could get him and Phil Cubeta on a panel discussion in front of a few hundred fundraisers, …

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Survey Says… Social Media Emerging as a Direct Marketing Channel

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StrongMail Systems, Inc., the leading provider of commercial-grade solutions for marketing and transactional email, today announced new survey data that points to the emergence of social media as a direct marketing channel and significant planned investment in email marketing and social media programs in the second half of 2009. More here: