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Donor stewardship


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You've secured a new donor. What steps are needed to maximize the odds they will donate again, and more next time.

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Donor stewardship

  1. 1. November 2015 Donor Stewardship Presented by Jonathan Poisner For The Databank
  2. 2. ABOUT JONATHAN POISNER STRATEGIC CONSULTING Services: Strategic and Campaign Planning Facilitation Fundraising Communications Organizational Development Executive Coaching Author: Why Organizations Thrive: Lessons from the Front Lines for Nonprofit Executive Directors
  3. 3. WHY THIS WEBINAR? You’ve secured a donation from an individual. What do you need to do to secure future donations, and preferably larger future donations?
  4. 4. STEWARDSHIP = CULTIVATION  For purposes of this webinar, I will use the terms stewardship and cultivation interchangeably.  I know there are consultants who differentiate between them.
  5. 5. BAD DEFINITIONS OF CULTIVATION From Kim Klein:  Cultivation is where you go and visit a rich person three or four times without talking about money, and then you finally bring it up.  Cultivation is like going on a date. You want to have sex, and your job is to get the other person to want it too.  Cultivation is like gardening – you feed the donor a lot of manure, water with flattery, and pick the fruit as soon as you can  Cultivation is what I tell myself I am doing when I am actually procrastinating about asking for the gift.
  6. 6. GOOD DEFINITION OF CULTIVATION Here’s Kim Klein’s good definition: Cultivation is what you do to build the loyalty and commitment of donors, with a focus on:  Helping them better understand the work you do and its importance/success, and/or  By having them feel appreciated by the organization as an individual, not a checkbook
  7. 7. ONE MORE ASPECT TO CULTIVATION  Strengthening the donor’s personal relationship with one or more individual leaders (staff or board) of the organization.
  8. 8. SO IN SUMMARY The “legs” to the cultivation stool . . . 1. Helping donors better understand the work you do and its importance/success. 2. Making donors feel appreciated by the organization as an individual, not a checkbook. 3. Strengthening personal relationships between the donor and organizational leaders. If you’re setting out to do anything related to cultivation, if it doesn’t clearly do one of these things, it may be worth doing, but not for cultivation purposes.
  9. 9. PRECURSOR TO CULTIVATION  Timely thank you!  Particularly important with more significant donations.  Often more than just one:  Handwritten note after personal meeting.  Separate formal thank you from the organization after receipt of gift.
  10. 10. THREE LEVELS OF CULTIVATION  The basics  Beyond the basics  Advanced – Highly personalized
  11. 11. BASIC CULTIVATION Most cultivation of your general supporters can be accomplished via:  General communications about the work of the organization (email and/or print newsletter, etc.)  Opportunities to engage in the work (e.g. volunteer asks, events to attend, actions to take online, surveys to ask their opinion, etc.).
  12. 12. BASIC CULTIVATION FOR MAJOR DONORS For major donors, you need to step it up a notch:  Personalized or semi-personalized insider updates.  Both to share more information. And to help them feel more “special.”  Once or twice per year.  Events with other major donors  Both to build a sense of community (so they don’t feel like an ATM) and to offer opportunities to strengthen personal relationships.
  13. 13. BEYOND THE BASICS  Recognition  Listing in an Annual Report or a more permanent display  Awards or Certificates  Learning opportunities to better understand the organization’s work  Opportunities to engage with leadership – 2 way opportunities  Social opportunities (annual picnic or an organizational night at a sporting event)
  14. 14. HIGHLY PERSONALIZED (FOR TOP 10-30 DONORS)  One on one meetings without asks (coffee, lunch, personal tours of facilities, hikes)  Create a “Google News” alert and email them if they’re in the news (in a good way). Or email them if you hear of them doing something important via another channel.  Engage them at the strategic level.  Ask them to serve on a committee or task force.  Have them provide input at a strategic planning ‘focus group’ or similar listening session.
  15. 15. HIGHLY PERSONAL CULTIVATION CONTINUED  Birthday cards or other small gestures  Getting yourself in situations where you can get to know them outside the context of your organization (e.g. arrange to sit with them at a table at another organization’s fundraiser). As you do this: Introduce your top donors to at least one other board member and/or staff person (so the personal relationship isn’t entirely on a single person within your organization)
  16. 16. SUMMING UP Successful cultivation/stewardship means . . .  You do timely thank yous  You have basic cultivation in place for general members and major donors  You’ve moved beyond the basics with at least some additional cultivation activities  And you’ve set in motion highly personal cultivation for a top set of 10-30 donors.
  17. 17. WHERE DOES “STORY” FIT? After all, the title of this webinar was “telling your story to make a difference.” Stories are key to the first leg of cultivation: “helping the donor better understand the work you do and its importance/success.”  Stories are more engaging to the audience.  Stories can be more emotionally compelling.  Stories are better for teaching.
  18. 18. TWO KEY TYPES OF STORIES FOR STEWARDSHIP  The “Why you Exist” Story  “Solution” or “Success” Stories
  19. 19. SO WHAT’S A STORY?  Not a sequence of events  Classic structure  Inciting incident,  Hero off balance or world not as it should be,  Hero sets out to fix things,  Hero faces barrier(s),  Hero overcomes barriers,  Resolution.  Alternative structure: hero fails to overcome barriers, but learns a lesson.
  20. 20. OR MORE SIMPLY:  If you’re looking at something and it’s a story, you should be able to identify:  Who’s your hero (or heroes)?  What does your hero want?  What’s in their way?  How does the hero get past that?
  21. 21. CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD FUNDRAISING STORY  Concise. 1-3 minutes. Only go beyond that if you’re an exceptional story teller or it’s an exceptional story.  Include details that paint a picture, so if the listener closed their eyes they can visualize what’s happening.  Told in the language of the typical American audience (6-8th grade reading level). Only higher than that for specific audiences.  Engages emotions. Has to involve something or someone the listener cares about.
  22. 22. WHY YOU EXIST STORY  Either about:  The founding of the organization, or  The general problem being addressed  Don’t underestimate the importance of repeatedly sharing this story.  You want your donor to have heard it enough that they have internalized it – so that they could tell their friends if asked.
  23. 23. WHY YOU EXIST EXAMPLES  Matthew Shepard Foundation  Sauvie Island Center  Oregon League of Conservation Voters
  24. 24. SUCCESS/SOLUTION STORIES  They should show the problem from the “Why you Exist” story being addressed.  They shouldn’t be focused on statistics. Most stories are better without. And if you do use one, no more than one in any story.  People are more interested in a success story about a single individual than masses.  “Charlie the asthmatic can now breathe thanks to cleaner air” works better than 1000s of asthmatics can now breathe thanks to cleaner air.”  The success does not have to be earth shattering.
  25. 25. SUCCESS STORY EXAMPLES  Wallowa Land Trust  Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuge
  26. 26. INSTITUTIONALIZING CULTIVATION  Write up your stories.  Plan for the details.  What basics  What beyond the basics  What top 10-30  Take it into account when evaluating staff performance.
  27. 27. DON’T FORGET TO MAKE THE NEXT SET OF ASKS  Cultivation will help you move $50 donors to $200 and $250 donors to $1,000.  But only if you get around to the next ask!
  28. 28. QUESTIONS
  29. 29. TO CONTACT ME:  – for email newsletter signup  @jpoisner  Via phone: 503-490-1234  Via email: