Are you ready to totally ROCK your year-end fundraising campaign?

It’s been a whirlwind few weeks over at Basics & More™ in our third annual Your Best Year-End Fundraising: The System program. So far, we’ve walked through the dos and don’ts of data segmentation, learned how to create your best story and theme, explored how you can cut through the clutter in your online fundraising, creating customized gift strings, and how to write a fundraising appeal that speaks to your donors’ hearts.

But nothing could quite prepare me for yesterday’s training featured international fundraising superstar, Denisa Casement, CFRE.

A little background on Denisa…

Together with the dynamite team of Lisa Sargent and Sandi Collette, Denisa took a small Irish charity from an annual revenue of €250,000 to €3 million in roughly six years. Not to mention improving their donor retention rate from 57 per cent to and almost unheard of 69 per cent. If you haven’t already, you need to download the case study at SOFII.

This is what making a genuine commitment to donor care looks like!

Denisa noted that there are hundreds of improvements and tweaks you can make to get better campaign results.

But these top ten will yield 80% on the improvement in results:

  1. Coordinated multi-channel campaign
  2. Donor-centered, emotional creative
  3. Pre-season thank you calls
  4. Ask for the right amount
  5. Segment your data
  6. Spend more on your high and mid-level donors
  7. Strong personalization
  8. Include a *lift* piece
  9. A small, non-financial engagement piece
  10. Add a matching gift

It was a two-hour training brimming with amazing ideas, particularly for small shops.

But where do you get started?

What can you do in the months of September and October that will skyrocket your year-end fundraising?

Start in October by bringing your board members together for pre-season thank you calls.

A study by the UK firm Pell & Bales found that thank you calls reduced donor attrition by a third. And, in his book, Retention Fundraising: The New Art and Science of Keeping Your Donors for Life, Roger Craver notes, “Overall, donors who have been phoned for one reason or another (it doesn’t seem to matter) show retention rates 15 percent higher than those who haven’t been contacted.”

Denisa suggested starting with a plan for your board members and executive staff. They’ll be calling your organization’s top donors. Then, if you’ve got the bandwidth, you’ll want staff and volunteers to call your midlevel donors.

Make it fun! Once your board members get over their skepticism and dip a toe in the water, they’ll enjoy the chance to chat with donors. Make it non-threatening and supply them with a script (here’s a great one from the Osborne Group), and a bit of coaching.

Seats are still open for Your Best Year-End Fundraising: The System, the only step-by-step program for year-end success. Click here to learn more and enroll.


Create *bulletproof* stories for your nonprofit

September 19, 2018

Ever notice how the big ideas begin with stories? He was trekking on a remote mountainside in Tibet on a Buddhist journey. That’s when, exhausted and feeling “really, really crappy,” Dave Asprey came upon a one-bedroom hut. It was there that a Tibetan woman served him a regional drink… …a cup of hot tea blended […]

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Engagement Fundraising is here!

September 18, 2018

Whether you’re an executive director, development director, staff member, volunteer, or, yes, even a donor, Greg Warner’s newest book that he “never intended to write” is what you need right now. And that’s because Greg has a sharp and comprehensive understanding of not only how the fundraising climate looks in 2018 (and beyond), but how […]

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Fundraising Friday | September 14, 2018

September 14, 2018

Do you shy away from controversial messaging in your storytelling? Power of Storytelling with When is the risk of controversy worth it? Hint: think of the “e-word.” It’s time to plan your year-end fundraising campaign – and write your appeal letter. Download these free resources and you’ll be well on your way.  Is fundraising critical […]

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*Free resources* for writing your best fundraising appeal letter!

September 12, 2018

Year-end fundraising season is back! Sure, it’s only September, but smart fundraisers are planning out a campaign to maximize the most generous giving time of the year. Once you’ve set a goal, dived into your data, and sketched out this year’s theme, it’s time to start working on your fundraising appeal letter(s). Going solely digital […]

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Fundraising Friday | September 7, 2018

September 7, 2018

Just when I think I’ve seen it all when it comes to nonprofit storytelling, I stumble across this. The Power of Hearing Stories. This week’s Power of Storytelling. And be sure to check out how the Point Foundation is employing an online engagement tool. “Happy birthday,” I say to you. “Thanks,” you say, “but it’s […]

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Power of Storytelling | The Power of Hearing Stories

September 3, 2018

The Point Foundation is a national organization empowering promising LBGTQ students to realize their full potential. They carry out their mission through providing scholarship funding for LBGTQ students, along with academic, service, mentorship, and leadership-focused programs to help them achieve their goals. TPF is doing wonderful, life-changing work, and they are doing it at a […]

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Fundraising Friday | August 31, 2018

August 31, 2018

See how Emily Fink, a member of Sanford Health Foundation‘s Communications Team, shares their stories in this week’s Power of Storytelling. How are you “warming up” your donors for your year-end ask? Year-end fundraising will be upon us before you know it. How are you *warming up* your donors? What’s in my Inbox. More on […]

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Power of Storytelling | Emily has shared her org’s best story…have you?

August 27, 2018

I’ve invited nonprofits everywhere to share their best stories with me, and so far, I’ve been delighted by the responses I’ve found in my inbox. Here’s one sent by Emily Fink, who is a member of Sanford Health Foundation‘s Communications Team. As Senior Communications Specialist, most of her work involves writing and sharing the foundation’s […]

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Fundraising Friday | August 24, 2018

August 24, 2018

How can understanding and leveraging response data give your nonprofit a strategic advantage? In this week’s guest post, Amy Bobrick of Merkle RMG shows you exactly what to look for. What’s your organization’s million dollar story? Find yours with these five tips. This week’s Power of Nonprofit Storytelling. Three years ago, when I ran a […]

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What’s In My Mailbox | Stickley sheds light on how to do stewardship right

August 22, 2018

Jersey-based Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms is both a Basics & More Alum and a subscriber to my weekly Grow Report. Several years ago, I made a random online gift to them as part of an online *mystery shopping* experiment.  I was curious as to what steps I had to take between the first click and […]

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Power of Storytelling | 5 Tips For Bringing Your Nonprofit’s Stories to Life

August 21, 2018

Hopefully, you’re already aware of how vital stories are to your nonprofit and its donor communications. I’m sure you can tell folks all about your various programs, and you can probably even spout off the kind of statistics that explain why your work is important and necessary. But those things won’t motivate your supporters to […]

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Your Donors Are Speaking, But Are You Listening?

August 21, 2018

How Understanding and Leveraging Response Data Can Give Your Nonprofit a Strategic Advantage According to Target Analytics’ Q4 2017 donorCentricsTM Index of Direct Marketing Fundraising report, both the number of donors and new donors increased for the first time since 2005. There was also growth in donor retention. Though modest, a 1 percent median increase […]

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Fundraising Friday | August 17, 2018

August 17, 2018

Kechi, a young plane crash survivor who suffered horrific burns on over 60% of her body, is a former Shriners Hospital patient. She’s also an America’s Got Talent contestant. See a video of her emotional story in this week’s Power of Nonprofit Storytelling. Did you miss Monday’s Motivate Monday session? Steven Shattuck revealed the results of Bloomerang’s latest survey. Don’t miss this week’s […]

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Motivate Monday | The cold, hard truth about how nonprofits treat bequest giving, courtesy of Steven Shattuck

August 15, 2018

In this Motivate Monday session repeat guest Steven Shattuck took some time out of his day to bestow his wisdom upon us once again. This time, he came prepared with a presentation on the current state of nonprofit bequest marketing, and it will open your eyes to dangerous trends among US nonprofits in regards to […]

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Power of Storytelling | Shriners does good through the power of love — from their donors!

August 13, 2018

I began receiving communications from Shriners Hospitals for Children after making an in memoriam gift for my webmaster’s father, who passed away a few years ago. Shriners is a globally renowned nonprofit consisting of 22 care centers across North America, and their current motto is “Love to the rescue.” Headquartered in Tampa, their network of […]

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Fundraising Friday | August 10, 2018

August 10, 2018

How are you sharing your donors’ stories? This week’s Power of Storytelling with an example from an unlikely source. How will you use it? Writing for online eyes is…different. You need to capture attention quickly, and say it succinctly (the Hemingwayapp is a boon for the digital storyteller). Check out how Nashville Rescue Mission shares a complex […]

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What’s In My Inbox | Nashville Rescue Mission shows us who they are through Sonia

August 9, 2018

I’ve showcased communications from Nashville Rescue Mission before. They’re a Basics & More Alum and their print newsletter regularly brings in $2 million a year on the strength of Michelle Brinson Sanders’ strong storytelling. They’re also a nonprofit that knows how to tell a story. In my most recent email from NRM, they spotlighted a […]

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Power of Storytelling | Further teachings from Warby Parker for nonprofits everywhere

August 7, 2018

As we’ve pointed out just recently, Warby Parker realizes what a powerful tool storytelling can be. In the case of their identity and their brand, which has disrupted an industry worth billions, Warby Parker has used storytelling to communicate who they are, what they do, and who they help. Like nonprofits who value their donor […]

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What’s In My Mailbox | Donor gratitude is timeless and effective…and NECESSARY!

August 1, 2018

When it comes to your donors, is it possible to thank them too often? Probably not. Especially when, as Roger Craver notes in a recent blog post on The Agitator, so many nonprofits fail at saying thank you to their supporters. This failure is a top cause of attrition. Neglecting to say thank you to […]

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