Fundraising Lessons From a Maltipoo

April 24, 2024

My grandpup, Wally is the next best thing to a grandchild. She’s the closest thing I’ve seen to a living stuffed toy (wouldn’t you agree?).

She’s smart, with a wicked sense of humor. She’s also been specially trained as an emotional support dog.

And is she ever.

Wally adores her grandma.

Since her mom married Chris, proud owner of Samson the Pit Bull, Wally’s been living with me.

It’s a great match. Wally appreciates the routine she gets living with me and Rob.

Her daily schedule is something like this…

  • Between 5 and 6 AM: Out for a quick pee. Wally has marked her territory right outside, in front of the porch.
  • Between 7 and 8 AM: A nice 20-40-minute walk through the neighborhood. She never misses a stop at the nonprofit Cat Cafe nearby. The felines have become used to her presence. This is usually her “big potty walk.” Again, she’s marked her territory. Not for her, the “everyday” neighborhood lawns. She likes to make her deposit at a very specific spot. The lush, ultra-manicured lawns of the funeral home a block away. Then it’s back home for a big brekkie and playtime.
  • 9 AM to 3 PM: Wally likes to sleep either in my office or Rob’s while we’re working (wow, that’s the best!).
  • Between 3 and 4 PM: Wally usually gets a second long walk. Sometimes we’ll take a drive (she loves car rides) up to one of my favorite local parks or one of Wally’s preferred neighborhoods. Wally’s used to Philly city living. So when she spends time with her grandma, she’s ecstatic to reconnect to nature. The trees, the creeks, the critters. Oh, joy!
  • 4 PM: Wally comes home to a nice, big dinner.
  • Between 6 and 7 pm Wally may have another short evening walk. That’s when she might meet up with one of the local dogs. Like Tina the Basset Hound, or Philippe, the Bichon.
  • 8 PM: another quick pee before bedtime.

Dogs, like children, thrive on routine.

We all do.

Even your donors thrive on routine.

According to researcher Penelope Burk, 46% of donors leave for reasons tied to a lack of meaningful information or to a feeling their giving is not appreciated.

And 70% of donors would increase their giving if they received what they needed from charities.

What do donors need?

Simply to know that their gift was received and is being put to work.
(Contrary to what you might have been told, donors are not difficult to please.)

With a simple “Ask+Thank+Report+Repeat” 12-Touch method, you’ll never leave your donors wondering. You’ll create a habit of connecting with your donors on the regular.

And you’ll condition your supporters to look forward to hearing from you.

Read that again. You’ll condition your supporters to look forward to hearing from you. That means you’re in charge.

Right now, when the world is in a shaky place, a routine you can embrace will make your donors and you feel better.

One of the best ways to do that is with a regular donor newsletter.

Your organization’s newsletter provides the reporting piece of your “Ask+Thank+Report+Repeat” equation.

When they’re done well, print donor newsletters are what Lisa Sargent refers to as “your donor retention engines.”

Print newsletters also have a “sticky” quality that your email newsletters — as important as digital is — simply can’t touch. These very newsletters drive your monthly giving, your major giving, and — most importantly — your legacy gifts.

Donors hang onto print newsletters. For weeks. In some cases, years.

It’s not unusual to receive a gift in the mail in an envelope coded from a 10-year-old newsletter.

Donor newsletters done according to our formula produce regular revenue you can count on.

Want to get started on your nonprofit’s donor newsletter?

Here are some resources to get you going:
Taking a Donor Newsletter One Step Further
A terrific B&M alum newsletter example during COVID
$20,000 (and no ask!) with her first donor-centered newsletter

And then enroll in Revenue Generating Nonprofit Newsletters, where you’ll discover the secrets behind newsletters that go beyond stewardship.



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