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#DonorLove #GongShow: Fundraising, Vulnerability and Awkwardness in the Era of COVID-19


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Jen Love & John Lepp will show you how to lean into vulnerability in your fundraising right now. You’ll leave with ways to apply #donorlove in the time of coronavirus.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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#DonorLove #GongShow: Fundraising, Vulnerability and Awkwardness in the Era of COVID-19

  1. 1. #DonorLove
  2. 2. “One of the greatest barriers to connection is the cultural importance we place on ‘going it alone’. Somehow we've come to equate success with not needing anyone. Many of us are willing to extend a helping hand, but we're very reluctant to reach out for help when we need it ourselves. It's as if we've divided the world into ‘those who offer help' and ‘those who need help’. The truth is that we are both.” Dr. Brené Brown, Gifts of Imperfection
  3. 3. “We are in collective grief. Resist the hustle and self-improvement messages. Grief is a cocoon from which we all emerge new. And it takes all we’ve got. Go easy. No shoulds. No shame. Just relentless tenderness.” Glennon Doyle, author of Love Warrior
  4. 4. Prompt, personal gift acknowledgement Confirmation that their gifts have been set to work as intended Measurable results What Donors Want: Penelope Burk, Cygnus Research
  5. 5. Prompt but impersonal gift acknowledgement General appeals with few measurable results What Donors Say They Get: Penelope Burk, Cygnus Research
  6. 6. 95% of donors would be very appreciative if a member of the Board of Directors called them within a day or two of receiving their gift just to say thank you 
 85% would definitely or probably support the charity again if this happened 
 The Power of Personal Thanks: Penelope Burk, Cygnus Research
  7. 7. 94% of donors never or rarely get a call from a charity unless it is a solicitation 
 98% of donors are never visited by a charity unless it is a solicitation call 
 55% never or rarely receive measurable results on their gifts at work; 29% sometimes receive measurable results Donor’s Experiences with Personal Communication Penelope Burk, Cygnus Research
  8. 8. 93% would definitely or probably give again to a charity that provided a prompt and personal thank you and followed up later with a meaningful report on their gift at work 
 64% of them would definitely or probably give more 
 74% would definitely or probably continue to give indefinitely as long as they continued to get these things What Donors Would Do If Communication Improved Penelope Burk, Cygnus Research
  9. 9. Start Somewhere
  10. 10. Call 5 donors
  11. 11. 3 Little Words…
  12. 12. I Don’t Know!
  13. 13. Caring Compassionate Fair Friendly Generous Hard-working Helpful Honest Kind 9 Moral Adjectives Dr. Jen Shang
  14. 14. The Vulnerability Project @AgentJenLove @StevenScreen
  15. 15. “Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” Dr. Brené Brown, Rising Strong
  16. 16. Helping Homeless Women & Their Children Discover the Life They Were Created For _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ P.S. –Thank you for partnering with Acres of Diamonds and making a positive change in the lives of children & women who need it most. Thank you to Minuteman Press of Redmond for donating this paper PO Box 1672 Duvall, WA | 425.788.9999 | Thank you! You have supported us with your generous prayers, financial commitment and time, and for that we are truly thankful. The women and children at Acres of Diamonds could not rebuild their lives without your support. I would like to share an inspiring story of how your generosity transformed a family. When Sara and her two children moved from Florida to Washington, the last thing she expected to be was homeless. Sara was excited about a new job opportunity in Seattle, but the job fell through and suddenly she was living out of her car. Her children, 5-year-old Jasmin and 12-year-old Luke, were devastated. Sara, Luke, and Jasmin wondered about things like; where would their next meal come from, would they ever have a roof over their head again, and how could they excel in school? Sara discovered Acres of Diamonds and made the difficult call to ask for help. Acres welcomed her warmly, and now this family resides at Acres getting help to rebuild their lives. Sara’s children suffered emotionally while living in their car, especially Jasmin. When she arrived at Acres, she was withdrawn and sad. Now that she has a place to call home, Jasmin is a vibrant Kindergartner who looks forward to school and can be seen with a smile on her face. Luke is getting the support he needs to be successful in 7th grade. Through prayer and effort, Sara now has a job to provide for her family. Over time, Acres of Diamonds will support Sara and her children through The Path to Graduation programs. They will transition to independent living because of the generous support from people like you. When hard times hit for single mothers - whether it is domestic violence, recovery from drugs or alcohol, or financial devastation Acres is a place of refuge and rebuilding, of hope and recovery. Right now, programs like Uplifting Kids need your support! Research shows us that each time a child relocates due to homelessness they lose 6 months of progress in school. Homeless children experience four times the sickness and twice the hunger rate of other children, and are more likely to be homeless in adulthood. With your help, we can break this cycle. Uplifting Kids provides supplemental academic support, life skills training, mentoring, and an introduction into a relationship with God. Instead of slipping through the cracks at school, kids at Acres will meet with tutors regularly and have opportunities to plan, learn, and grow in fun ways, breaking the patterns of homelessness for good. Will you help us continue this important work with families like Jasmin’s? Simply return the enclosed card or if you prefer give us a call at 425.788.9999. We promise to keep you updated on the progress of our residents – your support is making a difference in your community. With gratitude, Jennifer Paddock - Executive Director
  17. 17. Dear <short salutation>, I have some urgent news to share with you. Just a few days ago my phone rang and I received word that another mom and her 3 kids were in desperate need of help. Julianne had just fled her abuser after being strangled and stomped to the ground. She was able to escape with her 3 kids in tow. But she had no place to go. We were able to give her our last room. Stories like this one are all too common here at Acres. The need for more stable housing and resources to help homeless moms and kids is at an all-time high. Our resources are thin right now and I could sure use your help. Homelessness does not take a summer vacation! I need to raise $15,000 by September 1st in order to help the moms and kids in my care. Currently there are 12 women and 17 kids staying here at Acres. Their needs vary, but every single one of them is extremely important to me and I know they are important to you. Your $35 gift secures a night of safety for one child or one mom. Can I count on you to provide a 1 night, 3 nights, maybe 5 nights of safety? Every night matters and brings a mom and her kid’s one step closer to feeling safe. You can give moms like Julianne their own apartment, counselors to help them recover and start changing their story. Julianne’s kids will make new friends at Acres. She and her kids will have the support they need to start working towards their goals and building the foundation for a successful future. HOMELESS MOMS & KIDS NEED YOUR HELP TODAY!
  18. 18. “Our annual appeal letter typically brings in about $24k-$25k. We wrote this year’s letter using the vulnerable and honest techniques learned from you. The result? An $84,000 response! We were very concerned that being so vulnerable with the budget loss might cause donors to turn away. Instead, we gave them a real problem to fix and donors stepped up!”
  19. 19. 1245 East 7th Avenue Vancouver, BC V5T 1R1 YOUR COVID-19 UPDATE 1122401
  20. 20. The perfect reply form: - is full size 8.5 x 11 - is personalized - has an affirmative and specific call to action - has a lot of “YOU” in it - is segmented on previous giving or type of donor - asks for one thing - a single cash gift - has a ton of white space - features very large type - doesn’t feature a lot of tiny crappy boxes for your poor donor to try to fill out - less is more - analysis paralysis
  21. 21. Dear Ontario Nature Member—and Fellow Nature Lover! First and foremost, I hope you and your loved ones are well during these extraordinary times. I wanted to let you know that we are all thinking of you and that we are deeply grateful for your support of nature in Ontario. Your membership protects nature in your backyard and right across our beautiful province. Like you, here at Ontario Nature, we continue to respond to the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to take every precaution to keep our staff and volunteers safe. We made decisions to postpone some spring events, but we can’t wait to get back out into nature with you. In spite of these trying times, our role as a voice for nature does not stop. And it’s because of our loyal members and our monthly donors that we are able to keep up our critical work protecting nature in Ontario. You can be sure that we will not let you, or the wild species and wild spaces in this province, down. While we all remain vigilant and practice social distance, I hope you can also find peace and joy in nature. Whether that’s watching and listening to birds out your window or taking a walk nearby your home. And, of course, I hope you find solace knowing that your membership gifts are at work today and every day, protecting all the wild species and spaces you love. Thank you again for your crucial support. We are holding you in our thoughts and sending you and your loved ones our very best wishes. Take good care of yourselves and your families. We are indeed all in this together! Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions. You can email us at or call 1-800-440-2366. Be well, Caroline Schultz, Executive Director
  22. 22. Dear Members, At this time of great concern for us all, I sincerely hope that you and your loved ones are in good health. We are keeping you in our thoughts.This is a very stressful time for all of us and I know that it can take a toll on our mental and physical health. I am writing to share with you what Birds Canada is doing and offer some ways that you can help. Like you, here at Birds Canada we continue to respond to the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to take every precaution to keep our staff and volunteers safe. Our office is closed, and our staff are working from home. We made the decision to postpone some spring meetings and events and you can keep alert to the latest news about events on Facebook and Twitter @birdscanada or on Instagram @birds.canada. You can also check with your local Birds Canada project coordinator, check our events websites or visit Despite these trying times, our role as Canada’s voice for birds does not stop. And it’s because of our loyal members and our monthly donors that we are able to keep up our crucial work helping Canada’s wild birds. Thank you to our dedicated volunteers and donors for your commitment.The fact that you are thinking of others, at what is a worrying and difficult time for us all, speaks volumes of your kindness and dedication to birds. I believe that the generosity of spirit shown by our supporters is the bedrock of what is good about this country, and will be what helps us all get through this current crisis together. Getting outside to enjoy nature and birds is a great way to put physical distancing into practice and provide stress relief. If you go birding, ensure you maintain six feet of distance between others and please do not bird in groups. Now is the time to take comfort in an activity that you love—keep well and continue to enjoy birds safely! You are invited and encouraged to reach out to us with questions. You can email and we will reply as soon as we can. You can also renew your membership, join our monthly giving program, or find out other ways to give online at You can reach out to Kate, our Director of Membership, directly at or call 519-586-3531 ext. 174. Thank you again for your amazing support of Canada’s wild birds. Steven Price, President To Our Valued Supporter, I want to personally let you know how much we appreciate your dedicated support of our Hospital. Your gifts provide hope and care to your loved ones and neighbours when they need us most. Like you, here at Humber we continue to respond to the changing nature of the COVID-19 coronavirus. We are taking every precaution to keep all our staff, patients, and volunteers safe. You can be assured that we are here to help and heal our community. As you know, many of our patients are already vulnerable, including those in dialysis here at the Hospital or in their homes. And we know we can continue to count on you to help us help them. We ask that you continue to support our Hospital through this difficult period, if possible. I recognize that you and your loved ones are also being touched by this crisis. We are thinking of you, and once again, we are sincerely grateful for all your support. Helga Schnider Humber River Hospital Foundation
  23. 23. !!!!!!!
  24. 24. !!!!!!!
  25. 25. !!!!!!!
  26. 26. !!!!!!!
  27. 27.
  28. 28. Elevator Conversations
  29. 29. What inspired you to give to our cause in the first place? What matters most to you about our work? Why is this so urgent and important right now? What makes you feel good about supporting our organization? What would you say to others about giving to us? THE 5 QUESTION CONVERSATION: DONORS
  30. 30. Tell me about when you first realized you had such a passion for our cause? Was there a particular person that influenced you? What inspired you to give to us in the first place? What matters most to you about our work? What are your fondest memories associated with our organization? Why is our work so urgent and important right now? What makes you feel good about supporting our cause? Tell me about your decision to remember us in your Will. What do you remember about that time? Did you talk to your loved ones about your decision? What do you hope your gift will accomplish in the future? What would you say to others considering making a gift in their Will? TOP 10 QUESTIONS FOR LEGACY DONOR CONVERSATIONS
  31. 31. Spike in calls: one client took 5 calls in 24 hours Wilful: double the increase in sales and traffic (and giving free services to frontline healthcare workers) Ontario government now allows for virtual witnessing of wills and powers of attorney Legacy Giving RFN
  32. 32. massive credit and love to Mark Phillips, Bluefrog Fundraising, UK
  33. 33. massive credit and love to Mark Phillips, Bluefrog Fundraising, UK
  34. 34. massive credit and love to Mark Phillips, Bluefrog Fundraising, UK
  35. 35. massive credit and love to Mark Phillips, Bluefrog Fundraising, UK
  36. 36. Bluefrog Fundraising, UK
  37. 37. June Wendy Bluefrog Fundraising, UK
  38. 38. Bluefrog Fundraising, UK
  39. 39. Bluefrog Fundraising, UK
  40. 40. 75 from press sources Bluefrog Fundraising, UK
  41. 41. #donorlove @agentjenlove @johnlepp