Ruffalo Noel Levitz http://www.ruffalocody.com Wed, 29 Jul 2015 23:04:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Insights from #RuffaloCON15, Day One http://www.ruffalocody.com/2015/07/insights-from-ruffalocon15-day-one/ http://www.ruffalocody.com/2015/07/insights-from-ruffalocon15-day-one/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 14:02:59 +0000 http://www.ruffalocody.com/?p=35467 We’re enjoying Minneapolis and the great group of passionate fundraisers gathered here to network, learn and participate in RuffaloCON15. Here are a few things I learned on the first day:

Sarah Kleeberger reminded us that 80% of nonprofit gifts are made by individuals, but just 8% of alumni give back each year. It’s great that alumni [...]

Written by Brian Gawor.

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AFC_logo_2015_homeWe’re enjoying Minneapolis and the great group of passionate fundraisers gathered here to network, learn and participate in RuffaloCON15. Here are a few things I learned on the first day:

  • Sarah Kleeberger reminded us that 80% of nonprofit gifts are made by individuals, but just 8% of alumni give back each year. It’s great that alumni donor counts were slightly up last year across higher education. But since about three quarters of our future major donors will be annual givers, we need to do more to engage our alumni and bring the number of alumni giving up even more in the coming years.
  • Greg Ware from ScaleFunder talked about the process of building an early adopter group, going viral at the start and providing active stewardship in crowdfunding campaigns. It turns out this latest and greatest fundraising tool is greatly improved by our traditional best practices.
  • Keynote speaker Dr. Will Miller talked about the world our young donors live in, and made us all laugh a lot. Check out more about The Graduation Jolt in a great podcast at Dr. Will.com and find out why there is “comfort in belonging.”

 

  • Carl Pitruzzello and Marya Neary from the University of New Haven talked about how to become  a champion of your data. Developing long-term strategies to improve your data and reporting is key, but so is spending time each day cleaning and finding gaps in your records.

 

  • Chris Bingley from Gonzaga talked about getting leadership annual giving officers on the road immediately and absorbed in the reality of meeting donors and asking. This is a growing area of giving investment and his advice was great.
  • Student satisfaction is associated with alumni giving, and the researchers at RNL showed us with data from a survey of over 350,000 how a great on-campus experience translates into a greater chance alumni will give back after graduation.

I’m looking forward to Day 2!

Written by Brian Gawor.

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Friday Update – Hire Away 7-24-2015 http://www.ruffalocody.com/2015/07/friday-update-hire-away-7-24-2015/ http://www.ruffalocody.com/2015/07/friday-update-hire-away-7-24-2015/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 15:53:09 +0000 http://www.ruffalocody.com/?p=35450 The Friday Fundraising Update collects fundraising industry insights and success stories and delivers them to you each Friday from Ruffalo Noel Levitz.
This week, we share some great stories about hiring and keeping fundraisers.

What to Look For in a Fundraiser
David Langiuili at License to Coach offers some great advice on what to look for in a [...]

Written by The Friday Fundraising Update.

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Friday-Fundraising-UpdateThe Friday Fundraising Update collects fundraising industry insights and success stories and delivers them to you each Friday from Ruffalo Noel Levitz.

This week, we share some great stories about hiring and keeping fundraisers.

What to Look For in a Fundraiser

David Langiuili at License to Coach offers some great advice on what to look for in a great fundraiser (or any other hire). It’s a good list.

LicensetoCoachHow to Hire the Right Fundraiser

Reinier Spruit at 101Fundraising offers his insight on how to hire the right fundraiser for your organization–including how to post and how to prepare for the interview.101fundraising

Keeping Fundraiser Poachers at Bay

Check out this great Chronicle of Philanthropy Case Study Article that references last year’s Bentz Whaley Flessner survey about why many fundraisers leave after being recruited from outside organizations.

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#RuffaloCON15:

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Looking forward to seeing everyone in Minneapolis starting this weekend! Follow us on Twitter, and watch #RuffaloCON15 for live updates before and during the conference:

 

Our Recent Posts:

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Five Ways To Improve Your Case For Giving http://www.ruffalocody.com/2015/07/five-ways-to-improve-your-case-for-giving/ http://www.ruffalocody.com/2015/07/five-ways-to-improve-your-case-for-giving/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 21:59:16 +0000 http://www.ruffalocody.com/?p=35431 AFP defines the case for giving as “the reasons why an organization both needs and merits philanthropic support.”  It is the core of every nonprofit organization, yet how much time have you spent lately thinking about improving and evolving your organization’s case to meet the interests of today’s donors?
Putting quality thought into evaluating your current [...]

Written by Chris Hughes.

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5waysHughesAFP defines the case for giving as “the reasons why an organization both needs and merits philanthropic support.”  It is the core of every nonprofit organization, yet how much time have you spent lately thinking about improving and evolving your organization’s case to meet the interests of today’s donors?

Putting quality thought into evaluating your current case could position your organization for improved retention, acquisition and reacquisition in the coming months and year.  Here are five things you can do to enhance your case for giving:

  1. Focus on what makes your cause unique
  2. Build and brag upon your library of successes
  3. Don’t incorporate a one size fits all approach
  4. Create separation in the marketplace
  5. Ask your donors’ and prospects’ opinions

 Focus on what makes your cause unique

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are more than 1.5 million registered nonprofits in the United States. Including the various religious congregations around the country means there are well over 1.8 million places seeking the charitable dollar.charitysmall

Older generations only give to an average of 5-6 charities per person while younger generations tend to be closer to 3-4 charities per person.  Why should a donor select your charity or organization to support?  What makes your organization special?

One clear aspect of the Millennial Impact Report indicates a desire for donors of that generation to impact people, not organizations.  Think about whether your case for giving displays a strong, direct impact on people in order to attract new, young donors.

Build and brag on your library of successes

Having worked both for and with nonprofits in all parts of the country,

library of success

one consistent issue I see is a lack of compelling showcase stories to accompany the case for giving.  There are plenty of testimonials from board members and major donors, but not as many follow-up impact stories.

Telling these follow-up stories is a significant component of enhancing the case for giving.  They not only evoke the emotional responses necessary to motivate new and additional giving, stories tell your donors and prospects their gifts are being put to good use – and not just to keep the lights on and to pay salaries.

Consider dedicating some staff time at various times of the year to analyzing the impact of the gifts you’ve received and how you can tell those stories in the coming weeks and months.  Remember to focus on the collective usage of grassroots gifts as well as large gifts.  A lot of organizations like to tell donors that “every gift matters.”  Give your lower dollar donors proof of that impact.

One size does not fit all

Many organizations focus on the case for giving when developing capital campaigns.  But does the capital campaign case for giving work for donors of all levels?  The short answer is that rarely, if ever, does the same message work for every segment of your database.

What inspires the 5/6/7/8 figure donors will probably not inspire the 2/3/4 figure donor.  Cases for the major and principal donor often focus on endowments whereas cases for annual giving focus on immediate needs.

If your donor or prospect is not being cultivated for a big gift, they should not receive a case for giving based on that big gift.  Give them a case based on their targeted gift level.  For education organizations, consider targeting your new/young alumni with a case based on their recent experience.

Create separation in the marketplace

As mentioned earlier, your nonprofit is one of between 1.5 and 1.8 million charitable options from which someone could choose.  Not only should you make your case unique, but you also need to create separation in the charitable marketplace.  Also from the NCCS database, here’s a look at how many charitable organizations exist by type (as of May 2015):

  • Religion: 280,919
  • Education: 199,765
  • Community Improvement: 120,399
  • Recreation and Sports: 111,540
  • Arts, Culture and Humanities: 111,178
  • Philanthropy, Volunteerism and Grantmaking Foundations: 106,515
  • Human Services: 93,839
  • Health care: more than 90,000 if all relevant reporting categories are combined

Within your organization’s reporting category, you’re competing for the charitable dollar.  This could easily extend to your own household!  For example: each spouse/partner has two college degrees from different institutions, plus multiple kids in grade school or even college.  That’s at least six or seven different educational institutions all vying for that same household’s support, and the likelihood of giving to all of them is extremely slim.

Ask yourself if your case for giving only blends in with the others?  Or have you developed a case for giving that stands out from the crowd within your own category?

 Ask for your donors’ and prospects’ opinions

What do your donors really value?  What are their priorities?  How recently have you asked for their opinions?

In June, our “five things” blog discussed the importance of donor surveys. Those surveys are not only beneficial for cultivation and stewardship purposes, but surveys can also provide significant insight into developing a case for giving that appeals to donors of all levels – from grassroots to principal.  If you ask donors and prospects about their giving interests, you can craft solicitations to directly address those topics.

This summer’s American Marketing Association’s nonprofit summit also resulted in donor surveys being a key takeaway, including this post-summit blog from the CEO of TeamWorks Media.

Closing thoughts

There are two clear aspects to the case for giving: what is important to the organization and what is important to the donor.  Finding a perfect marriage between the two can result in not only a lifelong relationship, but could lead to major, principal and planned gifts in later years.

Without a compelling case for giving, especially to younger donors, you could be missing out on the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Other Posts in the 2015 “Five Ways” Series:

Written by Chris Hughes.

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Friday Update: Trout, Stories and Online Gifts 7-17-2015 http://www.ruffalocody.com/2015/07/friday-update-trout-stories-and-online-gifts-7-17-2015/ http://www.ruffalocody.com/2015/07/friday-update-trout-stories-and-online-gifts-7-17-2015/#comments Fri, 17 Jul 2015 17:04:51 +0000 http://www.ruffalocody.com/?p=35381 The Friday Fundraising Update collects fundraising industry insights and success stories and delivers them to you each Friday from Ruffalo Noel Levitz.
 

What color is your trout?
F. Duke Haddad writes a great post for NonProfitPro about how to stand out as a nonprofit organization when thousands of other charities are soliciting your donors.
Should Fundraisers be storytellers?
Jenny [...]

Written by The Friday Fundraising Update.

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Friday-Fundraising-UpdateThe Friday Fundraising Update collects fundraising industry insights and success stories and delivers them to you each Friday from Ruffalo Noel Levitz.

 

What color is your trout?

F. Duke Haddad writes a great post for NonProfitPro about how to stand out as a nonprofit organization when thousands of other charities are soliciting your donors.

nonprofitproShould Fundraisers be storytellers?

Jenny Ramage at CharityChoice talks about the power of letting those impacted by your support share what it meant to them: “Perhaps the role of the fundraiser isn’t to tell the beneficiary’s story, but to facilitate the telling of it,” she says. Check it out.

charitychoiceOnline Giving: Double Digit Growth

The Blackbaud Index reported that overall charitable giving to nonprofits increased 1.3% and online giving increased 13.2% for the three months ending May 2015 as compared to the same period in 2014. Peruse the graphs and other great comparison information at the Index.

blackbaud


 

#RuffaloCON15:

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Looking forward to seeing everyone in Minneapolis in just 10 short days. Follow us on Twitter, and watch #RuffaloCON15 for live updates before and during the conference:

 

Our Recent Posts:

Written by The Friday Fundraising Update.

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Friday Update: Let’s Thank The Donors. 7-10-15 http://www.ruffalocody.com/2015/07/friday-update-its-time-to-thank-your-donors-7-10-15/ http://www.ruffalocody.com/2015/07/friday-update-its-time-to-thank-your-donors-7-10-15/#comments Fri, 10 Jul 2015 20:33:24 +0000 http://www.ruffalocody.com/?p=35336 The Friday Fundraising Update collects fundraising industry insights and success stories and delivers them to you each Friday from Ruffalo Noel Levitz.
The gifts are in for those of us with a June fiscal year, and it’s time to think about how to thank your donors and keep them connected. Some great resources and an example of [...]

Written by The Friday Fundraising Update.

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Friday-Fundraising-UpdateThe Friday Fundraising Update collects fundraising industry insights and success stories and delivers them to you each Friday from Ruffalo Noel Levitz.

The gifts are in for those of us with a June fiscal year, and it’s time to think about how to thank your donors and keep them connected. Some great resources and an example of crowdfunding stewardship in this week’s Update.

Giving is its own reward? Sometimes you have to help.

Award-winning blogger, Claire Axelrad, at Clarification talks about completing the feedback loop with donors to ensure they keep coming back. Some great links and commentary that remind us what donors get from giving, and how we can help make sure they receive it. This is one reason why thank you calls are so powerful, and we strongly recommend you do them.

clarificationWhite Paper: Donor Data and Feedback

CDS Global has released a great paper on how collecting vital data on your donors, and utilizing it in feedback and service can help with donor loyalty and satisfaction. The paper includes some great case studies and a link to a webinar with giving professionals.

CDSGlobalWhite Paper: Donor Relations is a Game-Changer

Higher Ed Impact at Academic Impressions has a Special Report: Why Donor Relations is the Next Game-Changer which includes information on recognition, using your President as a steward of gifts and more. The report includes some advice from Lynne Wester, donor relations guru, who will also be presenting at our upcoming conference. Check it out.

heimpactspecialreport


Funded:

Creativity, humor, and music, this appeal has it all? What’s the best way to ask for help with a concert, sing it? And how do you thank the donors? Keep on singing. Check out this great crowdfunding project utilizing the ScaleFunder platform at UCLA’s Spark portal:

uclabeethoven

#RuffaloCON15:

Looking forward to seeing everyone in Minneapolis in just 10 short days. Last minute registration is still available, and be sure to follow #RuffaloCON15 for live updates before and during the conference:

Our Recent Posts:

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Five Ways To Cultivate Your Newest Alumni http://www.ruffalocody.com/2015/07/five-ways-to-cultivate-your-newest-alumni/ http://www.ruffalocody.com/2015/07/five-ways-to-cultivate-your-newest-alumni/#comments Thu, 09 Jul 2015 18:46:35 +0000 http://www.ruffalocody.com/?p=35326 July brings forth many things, but in the world of higher education annual giving, it often means a new crop of recent alumni have been added to the database.  Some of these individuals may have given during their spring graduating class gift campaign, but this will mark the first year they have been asked to [...]

Written by Chris Hughes.

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5waysHughesJuly brings forth many things, but in the world of higher education annual giving, it often means a new crop of recent alumni have been added to the database.  Some of these individuals may have given during their spring graduating class gift campaign, but this will mark the first year they have been asked to give as alumni.

Don’t begin your new alumni relationship by immediately asking for money.  Instead, utilize this summer and fall as the perfect time to establish a strong emotional tie for alumni giving.  Here are five things you can do in order to specifically cultivate these new alumni:

  1. Establish annual giving as a brand
  2. Social media signups
  3. Create exclusive, online events
  4. Showcase recent impacts of grassroots giving
  5. Confirm contact information

Establish annual giving as a brand

Many institutions only utilize the alumni relations office to cultivate alumni at and immediately after graduation.  However, don’t assume that loyalty to the alma mater will equate to making a gift.  Especially with today’s younger alumni who are part of the Millennial generation.  The Millennial Impact Report is one of several publications to note Millennials “treat all of their assets (time, money, network, etc…) as having equal value.”

There are more than 1.5 million registered nonprofit organizations in the U.S.  With all of that competition for charitable dollars, don’t create a situation where your alums solely view their loyalty as volunteerism.  Send messages to your newest alumni that specifically put annual giving at the forefront of their minds.graduationcap

Social media signups

This is the perfect time to get new alumni to follow a large number of institution-related social media sites and platforms.  They will be looking for ways to remain engaged and informed.  Aggressively push out invitations to follow as many places as you can.  Maybe even create giveaways to incentivize social media signups.

Obviously, stay focused on the platforms that are the most popular with your alumni.  Also, think ahead a few months to homecoming, reunions, calendar year-end pushes, giving days, crowdfunding campaigns and so forth.  What platforms and accounts will you use the most?  How do you cross-promote?  If you can get your newest alumni to follow the right cross-section of social media accounts now, you’ll maximize engagement opportunities later in the year.

Create exclusive, online events

With today’s technology, a few live, 30 minute sessions with a dean, faculty member, coach, or other campus administrator should not be difficult to accomplish.  At shorter lengths, these sessions can easily be done during the workday rather than at night.  You might even consider using a popular app like periscope or meerkat to enhance mobile opportunities.

Doing these online, rather than on campus, means you can engage all of your alumni and not just those who live within a handful of miles of your institution.  In fact, a recent young alumni survey we performed for a client revealed an engagement gap solely based on geography.  And don’t forget to re-enforce the annual giving program is the “sponsor” of these live sessions in order to build brand recognition.

Showcase recent impacts of grassroots giving

Young alumni will almost always be in the grassroots giving stage of the donor relationship.  You could have a handful of new alums give at annual leadership levels (especially in higher-paying industries like business, medicine, law and engineering), but the greater likelihood is these new alums will give a couple hundred dollars or so.

Once again, we turn to the Millennial Impact Report, which revealed:

  • Millennials support issues rather than organizations
  • Millennials engage with causes to help other people, not organizations
  • Millennials are influenced by their peers

Show your newest alumni the types of issues and causes that financial donations by their peers have directly impacted.  Focus on the impact of grassroots giving, not on major gifts.  Try to select areas of campus life that are most popular with students.  Helping your newest alumni to reflect upon the best parts of their student experience – and directly connecting those to grassroots alumni giving – will pay dividends throughout the new fiscal year.contactinfo

Confirm new contact information

All of your new alumni are on the move.  They’re moving to new cities and new apartments.  Encourage them to make sure the institution has their correct contact information across all channels.

  • What is their preferred email address?  Make sure your database isn’t prioritizing a dot-edu email address; get their dot-com email.
  • Cell phone number? These are very powerful for both phone calling projects and future data research.
  • New mailing address?  Make sure the active address you have on file is not their parents’ address (e.g. tuition billing address) or whatever apartment they lived in last year.

Closing thoughts

Spend as much time as possible over the next few months to cultivate new alumni from a fundraising standpoint.  There will be plenty of time to start soliciting them later in the calendar year, but don’t make the first thing they see from the annual giving office be a solicitation.  That is not a healthy start to what you hope will be a five-plus decade donor relationship.

Even if you’re focused solely on the next five months instead of five decades, some short-term focus on these five areas can make a big difference this year on your first-time alumni donor acquisition numbers.

 

Other Blog Posts in the 2015 “Five Ways” Series

Written by Chris Hughes.

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