How do you choose a donor database that will support successful fundraising? This free audio training addresses common mistakes that can prevent you from selecting the right database and using it effectively.About Robert Weiner: Mr. Weiner’s experience includes conducting needs assessments for a variety of software packages, managing database conversions, overseeing academic and administrative computer centers, developing strategic plans for technology, redesigning administrative operations, managing enterprise networking projects, selecting and implementing library and instructional technologies, and guiding World Wide Web projects.
Recently, I caught up with Jay Gary, author, futurist and now assistant professor at Regent University in their School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship. For years Gary has conducted “Future Proof Your Ministry” workshops. I was curious to what he had to say.1. What trends are you tracking now, which faith-based nonprofits need to deal with?I have been tracking the impact on non-profits of the retirement of 46 million college-educated baby boomers by 2025. Non-profit executives have been talking about our aging donor demographics for years. For some, entire ministries will retire as their donor base does. We have been slow to realize that these workforce changes will totally redefine non-profit work in America. The U.S. labor force may have doubled over the past 50 years with the addition of women, but it will only grow at one-third of previous rates over the next four decades.This means government social services and non-profits will be saddled with enormous burdens. Census figures show that by 2030 there will be only three working adults to support every elderly person in the U.S., compared to seven back in 1950. Baby-boomers on fixed incomes will drop from non-profit donor roles and at the same time demand more mental and health care services. America will face a retirement avalanche, leaving the workforce with serious labor shortages.There will be a dearth of skilled employees in tech, science and other innovation areas, which outsourcing will likely fill. The newer entrants to the workforce by 2020, particularly women and Hispanic Americans, will not have the discretionary time or income to support the non-profit community. If you couple this with Barna’s projection of 20 million revolutionaries stepping outside the church to embrace self-managed spiritualities, then America’s faith-based non-profits, who serve the needy and the marginalized, are in for some lean decades–unless we rethink our service paradigms.2. Wouldn’t the retiring Baby-boomers boost the non-profit volunteer labor force?Yes, absolutely, in the short-run. You have a twin-trend here. While corporate America will lose the experience of millions of Baby-boomers due to retirement, and turn to global outsourcing to find skilled workers; domestic non-profits who have their ships ready will pick up thousands of highly trained retirees, who can lead mentoring, training or service programs.In reality, however, few non-profits will have the managerial ability to absorb the volunteer labor of the retiring Baby-boomers. We may have depended on their donations, but we don’t have a clue on how to leverage this wave of human capital.As a result, by 2020, older Americans, even faith-based populations, will plunge head-long into a Leisure Age, marked by travel, entertainment, and health and lifestyle enhancement services. Apart from new models of empowerment, the wealth of the largest and most educated generation in America will be consumed on itself.3. In the faith-sector there are so many changes taking place with new approaches being tried, how can you tell which ones are fads and which ones are trends?To use Jesus’ metaphor–fads are tares, while trends are wheat. You can’t immediately distinguish the two, unless you let them grow, and observe them. Only time series, or longitudinal data, can sort them out. Ideas such as the purpose driven church start off slow, gather momentum and spread quickly, but then reach maturity and level off.Every idea, every innovation has a past, a present and a future. You can track these patterns of change through forecasting. I recently hosted Graham Molitor, at Foresight 2007. Molitor’s 22-step model of change gives executives real clues on how to frame, advance and resolve issues affecting both church and society. See my blog entry on this.Of course, before a trend is named or identified, you only deal with weak signals, and it is hard to separate the signals from the noise. But after the event horizon, when a fad changes, transforms and gains staying power, you can track it as a trend, or a mature driving force.The purpose driven church appears to be part of a larger Baby-boomer drive for aspiration, meaning, focus, and service. It might be part of what Inglehart calls a shift to post materialism in the West. This shift, tracked quantitatively through the World Values Survey, shows that aging populations in Northern Europe and America are more focused on self-actualization than just survival. This is a positive trend, if the church can figure out how to see postmodern spirituality as an opportunity, rather than a threat.4. You talk about non-profits changing their service paradigms. Where do you see changes in media, like social media (web 2.0) taking communications in the future?Social networking has moved beyond just a youth phenomenon on Facebook to a core methodology for strategic alliances to gather, network and mobilize human capital. Recently I became active on a Shaping Tomorrow network of futurists. This has given me access to my professional peers in Europe in a way I could not have done three years ago. These new technologies will also create a 3-D virtual world where local activists can interact with each other and build bottom-up change initiatives.Advertising will also populate “Second Life” virtual worlds, and transform the customer to company dynamic. Instead of taking a trip to the Mall, your teenager will visit a GAP store in 3-D, interact with an avatar sales agent, and purchase goods. The same dynamic will be used to attend 3-D night clubs, jazz festivals, or art galleries. Six months ago the American Cancer Society held their first fundraiser in “Second Life.” This could have great implications for social interaction, spirituality, and religious behavior.Think of 3-D virtual worlds like Halo-3 computer gamers meeting Mother Teresa. Imagine Carlos in 2025, a Hispanic OD consultant in Los Angeles. He might forgo local congregational involvement, but participate regularly in holographic worship, populated by a youth bulge from south Asia. His volunteer service in a Google Earth replicated 3-D virtual world could be 20-hours a week through spiritual leadership and workforce training.5. How did you become a social forecaster?Very painfully. Back in the 1980s I was part of the century-end push to evangelize the world. By 1992, I realized that while the church could be called to action, it was failing to adapt and prepare its nets for the 21st century. I began to see beyond 2000, and work as a millennial consultant. I helped local communities use 1999 – 2001 to boost their triple bottom line, economy, ethics and environment. It gave me a new window on what it meant to be future-ready, and how faith, and special kairos seasons, could be used to galvanize change.I started hanging out with the World Future Society and then created ChristianFutures.com as a mentoring service for emerging leaders. I was a founding member of the Association of Professional Futurists.That led me to go back for my PhD with Regent University and launch their foresight emphasis. Now my job as a professor is to help mid-career professionals raise their game as futurists and strategists. I have up to 100 students each semester, spread out from MBA to Doctoral students. I teach them the practical skills I honed in horizon scanning, trend analysis, forecasting, and strategic change. I also help non-profit executives stand in the future and reinvent their ministries, by developing a future horizon 7 to 21 years out.About the author: Chris Forbes is a certified Guerrilla Marketing coach and founder of MinistryMarketingCoach.com. He speaks and writes on the subjects of ministry marketing, faith-based nonprofit marketing, social marketing, and Guerrilla Marketing for nonprofits.
Someone is angry at you. Somewhere, out there, a donor is miffed at their volume of direct mail. Or a co-worker feels slighted. Or a volunteer feels unappreciated. Or your significant other is simmering.What do you do when someone is upset with you? Deal with it! 1. Create ways to listen: The key to good donor relations, stellar customer service and strong human relations is to set up a dynamic where people can easily complain or raise concern BEFORE they are raving mad. Be sure you have a phone number (answered by a nice person) displayed on all your outreach, email contacts and blogs and other outreach that enable conversation. 2. Listen: If someone is venting, let them vent. Let them rant and rave until they stop for air.3. Acknowledge: Say exactly what they said back to them – it’s called reflective listening. “It sounds like you’re really frustrated with us because of x, y and z.” This makes a person feel heard.4. Thank: Thank them for telling you how they feel. Even crappy feedback is feedback. “We want to know when our donors are not happy with us, and I’m so glad you told me about this. Thank you.”5. Say sorry: Now comes the hard part. Say you’re sorry. Not “I’m sorry if this was bad/if you feel that way.” Say “I’m sorry this was a bad experience. We never want anyone to feel that way about us, and so we’re sincerely sorry.”6. Act: Say and do something to fix the problem the person is angry about. If you can’t do what they want, do the best you can. Do something.7. Follow up to show you acted: Get back to them a day later and say again that you’re sorry and how you addressed the problem. 8. Follow up again to make sure things are okay now: Check back in a week or two later. You might just win someone back (or over).
Pursuant to my post yesterday, I want to show two wonderful examples of establishing the trust triangle with unlikely yet completely authentic messengers for an important cause.Read these stories and ask yourself, “Who should be my messenger?” No matter your marketing talents, there is probably someone better than you to speak to your cause – especially someone helped by it!STORY ONE – MEN BY THE SIDE OF THE ROADDavid Stoker of Ashoka wrote me today to say:Read your post today about trust and the power of trust between friends in combination with a cause. That is really the underlying mechanism that drives the idea of, what we call, a Citizen Base. When citizens own, operate, and market to other citizens, the cause becomes rooted in the community at a level of connectivity that makes it more likely to succeed and grow. A great example we’ve seen in this regard is Men on the Side of the Road in South Africa. The personal connection they forged between individuals was the key to their success. I find it quite compelling in terms of building trust between segments of the population that would perhaps look at each other with suspicion. Here’s the story, in Ashoka’s words, about this project:MSR was created when Ashoka Fellow Charles Maisel devised a way to employ the 18,000 males who gather at roughly 180 sites throughout South Africa waiting for a day’s labor. Through a national marketing campaign, MSR initiated a massive tool drive for old, unused, and even broken tools, which can then be repaired and used by the day laborers. Instead of having to go to anonymous drop-off points to donate, citizens are asked to call MSR, who then sends out these day laborers to pick-up these tools directly from the community, thereby building a human connection. Imagine if the next time you donated something, a person who was benefitting collected it from you! Wow.STORY TWO: THE DOG WITH A BLOGPets for the Environment has a brilliant new spokesperson — a dog. Here is Eddie’s story (he has a blog, too, natch):I’m a dog on a mission.When nonstick chemicals from a frying pan killed my buddy Feathers, and my feline friend Cleo and I found out that we’re full of chemicals too, I was barking mad. Did you know that the humans’ government doesn’t make companies test chemicals for safety before they start using them in our toys, furniture, or even our food? And where do you think all those flame retardants, mercury, and perfluorochemicals end up? In us! And I know because I was tested. The chemicals in me are the same kinds of chemicals in people, and scientists think that other cats and dogs—and horses and birds and bunnies and snakes—around the country are full of them, too.That’s why I started Pets for the Environment. The humans have made a mess, and they aren’t doing anything about it. I need your help educating our humans and getting their government to pass toxic chemical reform legislation. They’ll never listen to just one pet, but all of us barking and meowing and cawing and squeaking together can make a lot of noise. Join Pets for the Environment and help me make a difference!Check out the site, where you can find the blog, a wall of cute (dog photos sent in by fans) and other great examples of messaging with the right messengers.Trying to reach pet owners? Speak through a pet.
Launching a new donor database system can be a daunting task for many organizations. Strong preparation and effective system implementation strategies can help avoid the never-ending or failed project launch. Eric Leland, a 13-year veteran of database technologies in the nonprofit space and founder of Leland Design (lelanddesign.com), leads us through effective paths for preparing organizations for new systems, and managing donor database projects to successful outcomes.Download the presentation slides below.
I declare this week nonprofit marketing haiku week. Best haiku gets a copy of my book. Submit via comments by Sunday COB:) Here is my rather snarky submission for today.Donor Haiku aka “Oh Well”Cyclone drowns BurmaEarthquake follows, so much needBut gas is four bucks
It had to happen sooner or later – reality TV for fundraisers.This is a really fun idea that my frolleague Alia called to my attention:Seattle, WA (PRWEB) July 9, 2008 — On Wednesday July 9, 2008, interns from across the nation will assemble in The Borgen Project’s office and in 60-minutes try to raise as much money as possible through a live broadcast. Unlike a traditional closed-door fundraising session, this one will be viewed live via the Internet. By mixing reality TV, Dialing-for-Dollars and Web 2.0, The Borgen Project is trying to make fundraising more interactive and informative. “This is fairly groundbreaking,” said Clint Borgen, President of The Borgen Project. “As a donor, you can watch live via the Internet as you talk to a volunteer inside the boardroom.” In addition to speaking with volunteers, donors can also chat with other supporters who are watching the live broadcast. Through this live broadcast, The Borgen Project is aiming to break down the walls between donor and fundraiser by creating a relationship that is less intimidating and more interactive. “Wednesday will be rough around the edges,” Borgen said. “But I think it will be a good starting point for a new fundraising method that nonprofits and political campaigns will begin to adopt.” The live broadcast can be viewed at here on Wednesday, July 9, 2008 at 10 a.m. PST. The Borgen Project is a campaign to bring U.S. political attention to severe poverty. The Seattle-based organization operates on a national level meeting with congressional leaders and mobilizing public support for poverty-reduction legislation. Learn more at http://www.borgenproject.org.
Having a large, generous chunk of matching-gift funds can be an exciting-though daunting-campaign to get off the ground. Here are a few tips to keep the campaign alive from kick-off to wrap-up:Set goals. Participation in a campaign toward an attainable, but still challenging, goal is much more feasible than a campaign that flounders until an indefinite or distant end date. To say you’d like to raise as much as possible is not nearly as compelling as, “We’d like to raise $16,000 for school supplies that will supply X students with the materials they need.”Keep fundraisers updated. Let supporters know where their donations are going and what the terms of the campaign are. Keep your website information up-to-date as often as you can and conduct an ongoing email campaign.Create urgency. Because many supporters will wait until the last minute to donate, you can consider either moving up your deadline or creating intermediate goals (weekly, daily, etc.). Also, think about chunking your goal into reasonable sizes, such as 400 donors giving $40 to attain the $16,000 goal.Create social proof. People tend to do what other people are doing, so a member of your list may be thinking, “Wow. That is a big goal. Not a lot of people are paying. I’m not sure they’re going to get there or not.” By contract, if they think a lot of people are jumping on board, they’re more likely to do it. This gets back to creating smaller goals and sharing information that makes sense in the context of the network. For instance, if your Facebook thermometer only shows a fraction of overall giving, be sure to incorporate Facebook-only goals and information about the overall campaign success.Grow your pool of potential donors. Focus some of your energy beyond hitting your supporters over and over again by finding a way for the people who have supported you to recruit their friends, family and their circles of influence to benefit your campaign. The best messengers for your cause are the people who feel passionate about it.Source: Adapted from the Nonprofit 911 Presentation “The Experts Are In! Your Online Fundraising and Nonprofit Marketing Questions Answered.”
Tom Cullinan, president of Tom Cullinan Charitable Giving Counsel in Omaha, Nebraska, shares his thoughts on assessing the performance of charity gift planners. The article orginally appeared in the Spring 2008 issue of The Journal of Gift Planning.The article can be found in the Attachments section below.
I get a lot of inquiries during speeches and here on the blog about good websites. Which websites do I think are effective? Who has the right stuff?These are hard questions to answer, because most nonprofit websites fall prey to “all about us disease.” They fail to be laser-focused on the audience. They forget to answer the question “how we can help you?”Today, I was alerted to a website that does all these things right – and it’s from the government, no less. Bravo.The newly launched healthfinder.gov has all the things a home page should: -A big engaging visual focal point-Clear calls to action (in this case, ways to get fit that are easy, clear and rewarding)-A clear set of benefits for taking action-Tools that help me-Clever information-gathering mechanisms for the site owner – they are going to get great audience data from the quizzes on hereThe only thing that’s missing is a way to take these cool tools and share them or post them on my blog or Facebook page. But I’m told they are planning widgets soon.This is great stuff. Unlike the dreadful redesigned food pyramid, which I panned in my book, this is health advice I understand and want to use.Follow this model. It’s going in my next speech.Hat Tip to Dan Jeffers for the site information.