Archives for September 2009

Fundraising Companies Are Good Story-Tellers—Are You?

Nothing can inspire donors to give like the power of a good story, told well, whether you are raising funds with a Saturday morning car wash or you are one of a handful of powerful fundraising companies helping clients raise millions.  

In last week’s blog post I talked about the importance of connecting the donor to the end recipient of their generosity using Internet–just like Heart For the City does on this page of their website.  You can see touching photos of families benefiting from the Thanksgiving “Adopt A Family” effort.  

We also encouraged you to create interactive areas on your site that allow donors to tell the success stories of the effort themselves, like this page from the National Prayer Campaign for the Jerusalem Prayer Team.  You can read last week’s entry on fundraising company Pathmaker Marketing’s blog page HERE 

In this posting, I offer two more ideas, drawn from the experience of fundraising companies and the professionals who run them.    

3.  Don’t overlook traditional forms of storytelling like newsletters and snail mail appeals.  Stories collected on your website—or via letters and emails—can be used (anonymously, if needed) to keep the ministry’s efforts fresh in the minds of those who read them.  Pathmaker Marketing can help you develop an eNewsletter that will build your email list—and keep the powerful stories of your ministry in the forefront of your efforts as a professional fundraiser.  

4.  Create an event.  Use awards, presentations, speeches or other “special moments” to connect givers to those they help and share them in your communication efforts. RISE, International is a ministry that builds schools in Angola.  When an American couple raised and extraordinary amount of money to build one school in a rural village—$50,000—Lynn Cole, the ministry head (who is the professional fundraiser for the group–they do not use a fundraising company) took a photo of the family, enlarged and laminated it and hand carried it to the dedication of that school months later.  She told the boys and girls in the Angolan village, who were overjoyed about the opportunity to now receive an education, about the family as she showed them the enlarged photo.  She photographed the eager learners with the image of the Americans in a powerful ceremony that will remain unforgettable for both sides.  

Sharing the fruits of your ministry with those who donate to make it possible will bring your fundraising efforts “full circle” and will further strengthen your professional fundraising initiatives.  Pathmaker Marketing is a professional fundraising company that will listen to your needs and help you tell your story.  We’d like to give you a free website analysis–get in touch with us today.   

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Internet Savvy Fundraising Companies

If you’re a non profit or church who raises funds, then you need to include online fundraising in your marketing tool kit. And when you start doing that, you’ll want to consider the advantages of working with various fundraising companies. Just because you work with someone who has been managing your direct mail for the last several years doesn’t mean they’re the right choice for your email fundraising or search engine marketing efforts. You’ll want to look for Internet savvy fundraising companies for that.

When interviewing fundraising companies, here are some helpful questions you’ll want to ask.

What is your experience raising funds online? You’ll want to make sure they have several years of experience, but also be sure that they deliver good return on investment for their clients. Ask them for specific examples, and look for at least a 4:1 ROI for their current or past clients (not just a promise that they can do that for you).

What is your strategy for raising funds online? While strategies for individual tactics may vary, there is a general philosophy for fundraising that need to understand before choosing from your list of fundraising companies. How do they come up with each eAppeal strategy? How will you be involved? What is their eAppeal blasting schedule and strategy? How will they avoid colliding with direct mail strategies? How they make sure you’ll be able to see results from all online strategies? Make sure their strategies agree with your philosophies.

What is your experience in my industry? People surely can learn your industry, but it helps if they already offer experience specific to your industry. If you’re a Christian organization, it helps a lot for them to understand Christianity and the way Christians communicate.

What is your billing schedule and terms? Be sure you can afford their services and thoroughly understand the services you’ll get.

How do you resolve conflicts and disagreements? You don’t plan it, but disagreements occur. Go into it knowing how you’ll deal with them.

These basic questions may launch you into other discussions, but these will help you springboard into a thorough understanding of how various fundraising companies stack up against one another.

Pathmaker Marketing LLC is ready to help you raise funds online and would love to talk to you about how our strategies and experience fit with your organization. Visit our website or call us at 623-322-3334.

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