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Nonprofit: How to raise money with a timed giving campaign

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Donor retention remains a hot topic for nonprofits in 2016, and for good reason. A whopping $8 billion in donations is on the table—the average amount Canadians collectively give each year. Since Canucks can be a bit unpredictable when it comes to which organizations they donate to, perhaps some of these hard-won dollars belong to your nonprofit.

Moreover, according to the most recent Fundraising Effectiveness Project report, 2014 donor retention rates remained stagnant, unchanged from the year prior at 43 percent. The report states, “over the last nine years, donor and gift or dollar retention rates have consistently been weak.”

Adding something as simple as a phone call to your follow-up strategy may help. Not only are phone calls personal, they provide the opportunity for immediate feedback and quick response to questions. Here are some tips for making flawless follow-up calls.

  • Be prepared: Did you know that giving by individual donors increases 12 percent if a nonprofit can provide needed information up front? Be sure you’ve gathered all necessary data before you pick up the phone. Names and contact information of key players in your organization, donor statistics and program details are just a few of the items you should have at your disposal. If the person you’re calling requests more information, consider sending a promotional item, such as a smartphone wallet or mini jotter set, to complement mailed literature.
  • Be engaging: Not only should you prepare to answer questions, but practice asking them, too. Inquire, for instance, how someone became involved with your organization or why he or she feels passionate about its cause. This not only provides you with useful information for future asks—it also engages potential donors.
  • Be choosy: Remember, the person dialling on your organization’s behalf represents it. Choose members of your team who are knowledgeable, well-spoken and professional. You may even want to recruit board members to do the asking. Remember to thank those who volunteer their time to raise money for your cause. A key light tool or lunch bag set makes a nice display of gratitude.
  • Be informative: Nothing garners repeat donations like impact. When you do get a donation, let donors know exactly how their money will help. After the fact, share a compelling impact story that outlines how donations like theirs make a difference. Include a handwritten thank you and small token of thanks, such as a magnetic notepad or memo board.

Stay in touch and follow up with donors with a simple phone call. It just may be what it takes to keep their dollars from walking out your door.


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