The Planned Giving Blogger

The art and science of planned giving.

Archive for December 2009

Collaboration is key.

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Collaboration has been a trend in fundraising for some time now.  Funders, in particular, are looking for innovative approaches that involve multiple, independent nonprofits collaborating to solve problems.  And nonprofits, too, have long collaborated with each other to improve individual organizational performance and to lift the sector overall.  Target Analytics, with their collaborative benchmarking, was, I believe, one of the first to organize, in a large-scale way, nonprofits sharing confidential information for the good of all.

Loyal reader, Bob Price, of the Lebanon Valley Brethern Home, in Palmyra, PA, recently let me know of an initiative he’s helped launch that continues in this tradition.  The Senior Care Development Network is “a fellowship of fund raisers dedicated to the needs of seniors coming together for mutual support, networking, celebration, and the sharing of information.”   While this grew out of a collaboration of nonprofits in the Susquehanna Valley area of Pennsylvania, membership is open to any organization serving seniors and their approach can be a model for other communities and other service sectors.

Phyllis

Written by Phyllis Freedman

December 21, 2009 at 11:45 pm

PG Website tip #2

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A couple of weeks ago I offered a tip for your website based on audits of some nonprofit websites I’ve recently conducted.  Here’s tip #2:

You should make sure to always include your case for giving prominently on your gift planning site. Except for donor stories that sometimes include a quote that serves as a strong vote of confidence in the organization, the websites I’ve audited don’t directly make the case for why, if the donor is including a charitable provision, it should be made to ABC organization rather than XYZ organization.

You can bet the donor visiting your site is also giving to other organizations, and more than likely organizations doing related work.  When I was at PVA, copies of wills we received always included Blinded Veterans, Disabled American Veterans and other veterans groups.  So, we should make sure our websites do a good job of reinforcing “why us.”

And rather than add more content to what already seem to be content-heavy websites, for my money, we can dispense with virtually every online word about the more complex and infrequently used gift vehicles in favor of content for donors just starting planning and for our case for giving.

Phyllis

Written by Phyllis Freedman

December 15, 2009 at 11:31 pm

Gratitude report.

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Jeff Brooks, who writes one of my favorite blogs, Future Fundraising Now, recently wrote about The Pride Foundation’s donor-centric annual report.  The Foundation also distributed their report innovatively, enabling it to be more interactive.  This is a great example of what I’ve been talking about in my last few posts, including the one on writing a case statement and the one about using the word “you” in your writing to donors.  Jeff’s post is worth a read and if you don’t already subscribe to his blog, I highly recommend it.  You can click on the link on the right under Blogroll and get to the subscription page.

Phyllis

Written by Phyllis Freedman

December 14, 2009 at 11:38 pm

Writing a case statement that works.

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Hard on the heels of yesterday’s post, I’m pleased to share with you a simple yet intelligent guide to writing a case statement.  It’s from another great article by communications pro, Tom Ahern.  I shared with you other smart tips from Tom recently.   His latest comes in his e-newsletter which you can read and subscribe to here.  If you haven’t written a case statement yet, use Tom’s guide and you’ll end up with something that works.  If you’ve already written one, test it against Tom’s recommendations and see if your case needs tweaking.

Phyllis

Written by Phyllis Freedman

December 8, 2009 at 11:26 pm

Reach out and touch someone.

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As gift planners we’ve long understood that when we can get a donor to experience our work first-hand, their level of commitment increases along with their financial contributions.  Now, there is research that explains why and gives gift planners a tip to increase that commitment even if the donor cannot experience our work first-hand.

In the most recent issue of Inside Influence, the e-newletter of persuasion expert Robert Cialdini, Noah Goldstein, author of “Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways To Be Persuasive,” reports that consumer researchers have found that “physically touching a product might not exactly turn it into gold, but it does increase its perceived value.  Tactile contact leads to a greater sense of ownership of that product. The combination of the positive emotions and the enhanced sense of ownership lead to the increase in perceived value”

The authors understand that customers won’t always have the opportunity to touch the product (shopping on the internet being the biggest culprit). However, they found that “when a product was unavailable to touch, simply asking consumers to imagine touching it was enough to increase perceived ownership and value of the product.”

This helps explain the huge success of donor travel offered by nonprofits and the advantages of other opportunities to see (touch) the work, whether that is on a campus, in a remote part of the world or around the corner at the local food bank.  For donors who can’t or won’t engage to that degree, using words to make the work real is a step in the right direction.

Phyllis

Written by Phyllis Freedman

December 7, 2009 at 11:56 pm

Keeping focused in good times and bad.

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“One of the consequences of tough economic times is short-term thinking.”  So writes Karen Osborne, of the Osborne Group, a strategic fundraising consultant I respect tremendously.  Writing in a recent issue of her e-newsletter, she goes on to say that this short-term thinking conflicts withour goal as fundraisers of developing meaningful and productive relationships, which is inherently a long-term process. Her assertion is that stewardship offers both short and long-term benefits.  Here are her suggestions for steps you can take now that require only a modest investment but that reap big results.

Osborne Chart

Phyllis

Written by Phyllis Freedman

December 1, 2009 at 11:44 pm