Our year-end plan is only one step toward impact. Our attitude guides our steps, and our hearts are what determine our attitude. We pray that our hearts, and yours, be tuned to sing God's grace. For he provides a way when there is no way, he fills our hearts when they are empty and broken, and he is fulfilling His will - in us, in our work, in the communities in which we serve, and in the hearts of our supporters. It is not our job to coerce our friends into giving us money. It is our joy to show them how God is making a difference, and then to invite them to participate alongside us. Let hospitality to Kingdom work be our greatest achievement during the last few months of 2019. Let's rest without anxiety, without fear of failure. Let's approach fundraising with a heart that is rooted in the truth that God has enough, not in a narrative of scarcity. As we present a guide for your year-end giving plan, please remember we are here to teach and to coach, and we pray that we are guiding each of you in to a deeper state of satisfaction and confidence in Jesus.
Let's get started!
The first item on the agenda is planning out what your Year-End Fundraising Plan will look like. In September all of our Ministry Partners received an email from us encouraging them to take a look back on their 2018 Year-End Giving Plan. If you haven't taken time to review it, please do so now.
Consider whether or not you were successful with your plan last year. Analyze what defines "success" according to your goals. Financial goals are important and spur us on when we hit a rough patch, but improving your fundraising skills is equally as important, too. So consider setting goals related to your skill growth - determine to schedule 10 face-to-face meetings, to make weekly social media posts for the rest of the year, or to update your mailing list with correct contact info. We will help you make a strategic plan in the form below.
Finally, discuss your new plan with your team. Whether your team is an an official advisory board, a set of close friends whose opinions your trust, or your spouse, make sure you are putting this in front of other people's eyes. You'll need the support and the accountability of having other people know your plan.
Tell a story that resonates with your supporters and inspires
them to give!
Now that the prep work has been tackled, it's time to create a theme for your year end campaign. A theme ties your work together; it should be an overarching narrative that fits with your organization's mission. Consider adopting a theme that you will implement through 2020, not just for the next three months.
When creating your donor material for the year-end, remember to use powerful imagery, it is invaluable. Consider creating unique material for each mode of communication with your supporters that all fit within your same theme. Using the same colors and images and similar wording will tie all of your communication together, but the variety in the materials will prevent donors from feeling harassed by repeated information.
Will you be hosting any fundraising events this season? Don't forget to include your theme in your material there!
Remember: We are here to invite our supporters in to the work of Jesus. Let your theme call to their hearts, not to coerce, but to inspire. A strong combination of story, imagery, and invitation will create an impactful appeal for your supporters.
Donors want to feel like their donations are making dreams happen,
not solving your problems!
Once your theme is set and your donor materials are ready to be handed out, it's time to work on donor meetings. Try to set up face-to-face meetings (FaceTime or Skype, if you're international). These are the most effective fundraising tools in your toolbox.
Whichever modes of communication you utilize, make sure you clearly communicate your goals for your ministry (outside of fundraising) for the next year, and don't forget to emphasize the role of your supporters.
This is an appropriate time to ask for a year-end donation, so don't shy away from that. Try to communicate the ask in a way that shows you are fulfilling dreams, and not just putting out fires. The latter can cause donor exhaustion. We all want happy news from time to time.
Finally, it is imperative that you follow through with each supporter. If you send them a postcard, be sure to send a follow up with an email two weeks later if you haven't heard back. If you have a donation come through in response to your year end giving update, you mustsend a thank you (in fact, this is a great time to handwrite thank you cards to anyone who made a donation made in 2019). In your meetings or mailings, you can set the stage for your follow up, by communicating that you'll be sending more info in a few weeks. This keeps you from feeling like you're bombarding your supporters, while also staying fresh in their minds.
This Fundraising Plan is simple and easy.. we promise!
As you begin to create a fundraising plan for the year, take some time to think through what worked well in 2018 and what didn't produce the results you were hoping for last year. For 2019, we encourage you to continue to focus on cultivating relationships. Building relationships is the essential key to fundraising. We like to call it "Friendraising." Your donors want to get to know you first and see if they like you and your cause. You want to build trust between you and your donors. Once you gain their trust, that will lead them to try out your ministry. Then generous giving comes easy! Your donors will then become repeat givers and they begin referring other givers. Click here to view relationship building resources.
Take some time to review your contributions from all of 2018 to help you create a realistic budget and fundraising goals.
Once you have completed and submitted your fundraising plan below, we'll review it and email you our feedback, and possibly with a few suggestions or questions.
Our desire is to challenge you and lead your mission into impactful change!
What is #GivingTuesday?
#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. #GivingTuesday is November 27 this year!
When we first heard of #GivingTuesday, we weren't really sure how we felt about it. Even with such amazing results, the idea of the day still left an unpleasant taste in our mouths. Why? Because of the positioning of the day. As Christians we believe that giving should be a top priority. God has been so generous with us. He gave us his most precious gift, his Son. And if we are modeling our life after Him, then giving should be a natural result. Because of this mindset we would much rather see the day of giving precede the days of spending (Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday).
However, we want to be involved in this movement every year! This Social Media Generation is being challenged to see past their screens to the very real needs in this world. Men and women all over the world are getting excited about the GOOD they can DO, instead of the goods they can buy. While we cannot change the date to be before the big spending days, we can encourage our donors, and even our society, to place a bigger emphasis on giving than spending. By becoming vocal about our ministries, our very life purposes, we have the ability to help open the eyes of people who can so easily get side-tracked by the glitz and glamour of discounted flat screen TV’s and doorbuster deals at their local retail stores.
How do we do this?
In order to make an impact on our communities, we have to talk about #GivingTuesday now. We can make people aware of the needs of our ministries by posting #GivingTuesday reminders in October and November. We can amp up our donors by coming up with a financial goal for the day, and letting them know in advance. Does your ministry need a new roof? Do you have a family in your church that needs to be rallied around while they stare a financial crisis in the face? Does one of your staff members need help paying for a college degree? Do the students in your ministry need help affording uniforms so they can attend their local school? Make that your goal! Dedicate all the funds you raise on #GivingTuesday to go to that goal! People love to see what their dollar is going towards!
Start announcing the need in your newsletters and on your social media platforms. Send out emails to your donors informing them of your involvement with #GivingTuesday. Start planting the idea that giving is better than receiving right now, give the idea time to grow, provide the encouragement needed for the idea to take deep roots in the minds of your supporters. We can make an impact on how our society views giving by making it a big deal. Giving IS a big deal! Let's start paying attention to the things that are good and right, and maybe, just maybe, this way of thinking will catch on!
As we are up to necks in ministry and business and returning emails it is easy to forget that our cause is not the only worthy cause out there! We want to challenge and encourage YOU to be a giver! We have all received generously. We have a God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. We have received, so we should freely give. Is there a cause that has held your attention for years, but you've never actually given to? It's time to be the donor! It's time to take a step of faith and support another ministry! This is the perfect opportunity for you to set an example in your ministry. If you hope and pray that people will continue to support your cause we hope that you will do the same.
What to do:
Register your ministry with #GivingTuesday! Will you get in on one of the biggest giving days of the year to further your cause? This will drastically improve your chances for raising funds on #GivingTuesday! Learn more at www.givingtuesday.org.
Once you've registered with #GivingTuesday, download their Toolkit and start letting your donors know immediately. They have social media post ideas, email ideas, and they have logos and graphics you can use! The #GivingTuesday website has so many tools available to you, they want you to be as successful as possible!
Let us shout it to the rooftops for you!
If you decide to register your ministry at givingtuesday.org let us know! We will make several announcements throughout October and November to let our followers know which of our ministry partners are participating in #GivingTuesday this year. Tell us what your goal is for the day, and what special project you are raising funds for, and we will get the word out on your behalf! We can create a special project page for you on givetransform.org for your #GivingTuesday project. Then you can share the special giving webpage with your supporters with the full details of your goal for the day.
Ministry partners, we want you to be aware of the new European Union General Data Protection Regulation law. We’ve listed the details for you below!
The EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union. It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU.
What It Is
It is a policy that protects personal user info (name, email, cookies, etc.) of all internet users living in the EU. Since EU visitors can donate/use our sites, we need to enforce this for our online giving website pages and newsletters.
Low Worry Index
We're not who they are really targeting with this law. We're not selling information or managing large, identifying amounts of personal EU citizen data. That said, it doesn't hurt to be compliant with one of the largest data protection policies enacted in the last two decades.
How It Affects You
It deals with website data collection (Google Analytics/cookies), data storage & security (donation data, emails and direct mail correspondence) and email opt-ins/outs (MailChimp).
What You Should Do
Perception Funding will make sure all of our online giving pages on www.givetransform.org are compliant. There is nothing that you need to do on your end when it comes to online giving.
However, for your email marketing accounts, like MailChimp and Constant Contact you will need to follow the instructions in the following video to set up your newsletter properly with Opt-ins and Opt-outs. Click here for the setup video.
If Perception Funding hosts your website, we will update your site to be GDPR compliant and provide you with the details of what we did. If we don’t host your site, we will provide you with information on how to get your site GDPR compliant.
To learn more about GDPR, click here.
Finding it hard to keep your social media platforms updated? We are here to help! We want to give you several ideas and tips that will help you keep your social media updated. Your donors like to see updated stories so they can see how their donation is helping your ministry day by day. We’ve compiled a list below to help you.
1. Your Story
Brainstorm post ideas each week based on what is happening in your ministry. Your donors will love to hear more about your story!
Make sure to post 3-5 times a week on your social media platforms. Remember quality over quantity!
Scheduling your posts will save you a lot of time. Think about what you want to post for the next week ahead and you can simply schedule it! For Facebook, we recommend using Facebook Scheduler. To learn more about Facebook Scheduler, click here. For Twitter and Instagram, we recommend using Hootsuite. To learn more about how to set up a free account, click here.
Learn ideal times to post. Social media has peak periods and slow periods of use. You will also learn that your followers will show more engagement to posts during specific timeframes on specific platforms. To learn about the best times to post, click here.
Remember to respond to messages and posts within 24 hours. This is good customer service! Be sure to be engaged with your followers and “like” their posts too.
Your followers want to know about your team and how they are doing. If you are having a great day in the office, post about why it’s such a great day! Did someone on staff just have a baby or get engaged? Post! This will give your page a warm and familiar feel and may encourage feedback from your followers.
Do you have a blog to help share your story? Use your social media platforms to link your followers to your blog site. Also, remember keeping your blog updated is key!
8. Online Giving
Link your online giving pages to your social media profiles. This is an easy and quick way for someone to give!
1. Fully Funded - our first resource! We have mentioned this resource before, but they are worth repeating.
In their first podcast, Fully Funded discusses our natural rhythm for relationships. The rhythm goes like this: First we get to know someone, then decide whether or not we like them. Once this is established, we take the first steps to trust them. Trusting them leads us to try them out (whether a person or an organization); this is accomplished by exploring what they have to offer.
It is only after our (potential) donors have walked through all the steps above (know, like, trust, and try us out) that they will feel compelled to give.
So often people raising funds want supporters to move directly from knowing to giving, which is where the breakdown in relationship cultivation occurs. When we stop being in a hurry, when we truly care for supporters and allow them the grace to follow the steps above, the opportunity to take the cultivated relationships further happen in these two steps: supporters become repeat givers and they begin referring other givers. On the other hand, when we rush the natural rhythm of relationships, we typically can't move people from knowing to giving.
This may seem like a long process but it’s the only real way to grow your donor base.
But how do we start?
Here’s a good place to begin: if you haven’t done this before, or if it's been awhile, pull up a spreadsheet and make a list of names of all the people with whom you would like to have a relationship with your ministry in the first column.
In the second column, list whether they are cold, warm, or hot in their relationship with your ministry. In column three list which step of a natural relationship rhythm you are in with each name - know, like, trust, try, give (or even repeat or referring). Decide what course of action each name will require to move them a step further in your relationship, both in temperature and in the natural rhythms of relationship. Try to keep in mind that the relationship is the goal, not the giving. The giving will just be a natural overflow.
2. Scott Morton - serving as an International Funding Coach for The Navigators (an international college campus ministry).
Scott is an amazing man who has a talent for making hard things easy. He provides a lot of great resources at www.scottmorton.net. Scott recently wrote a blog using an illustration of mindfully improving your golf game after a difficult day on the course that can be seamlessly applied to fundraising - here are his three easy steps:
1. Go to the clubhouse and you order a cold drink - relax, unwind, give yourself a chance to clear up some headspace.
2. As you relax, take out your scorecard, study it, look for patterns that need to be broken. Look specifically for mistakes made that cost you dearly - too many putts, a string of bad drives, scuffed shots, and so on.
3. Make notes on how to improve one thing for your next round.
Know, Like, Trust, Try, Give, Repeat, Refer + Cultivate Card
= Intentional Relationships
Tips for your Cultivate Card
(Adapted from Scott Morton's Up Till Now report)
Download your cultivate card
and get started today!
Setting goals, new years resolutions and just the daily to do lists as the year begins can be a little overwhelming. We want to help by providing you with tools and resources to make your life easier, help you develop a long-term vision, and encourage you where you are at.
We are looking forward to talking with you about what you're learning soon!
Summer is notoriously difficult for non-profits. With vacations, home projects, and intentional family outings, fundraising takes a back seat to supporters other priorities. The good news is that with the arrival of cooler weather and the school year in full swing, fundraising begins picking up!
The IRS says that more than 40% of all charitable giving happens in the fourth quarter of the year. This means that about a million non-profits, ministries and missionaries are gathering ideas, setting goals and planning right now... are you?
Are your supporters just dollar $igns? Or are they truly involved in the works of your ministry? The steps you take these next few months will project who you are and what your ministry is about, and can move your supporters from simply being aware of what you do, to then giving to what you do, to (prayerfully) doing it with you!
In a season full of solicitations, let's all commit to be a light. We aren’t just representing our organizations and those we serve, we’re representing Christ. Unfortunately, when it comes to fundraising, it can be easy for us to misrepresent Him.
A way to represent Christ and your ministry well is to tell stories. This is one of the main ways Jesus taught. In Luke 18: 1 it says, “Jesus told them a story to teach them.”
Let's make our anthem for year-end giving be STORY.
Let's tell personal, real stories of what God is doing in our ministries, in the lives of those we serve, and our own lives. This is the Good News. This is the Gospel. Let's be intentional about opening up, about conveying the true impact of what is happening, let's be real and honest and the Lord will continue to bless our work.
This can be a little overwhelming. To reduce the stress of communicating your story in a one page letter without being overly wordy or being brief ambiguous, let us help you organize a plan to share bits and pieces of your story over the next 3 months. We can help you create a to do list for October, November and December. The following information will be helpful while trying to prioritize your to do list!
September - October
Break out of your routine!
1. Send hand written thank you's to all big donors monthly supporters
2. Include a handwritten message in your regular newsletter
3. Update & spice up your website and social media accounts
4. Mail a prayer postcard in mid-October. Something modern and aesthetically pleasing that your mother would want to put on the fridge. This is not a chance to ask for financial support. Think about asking around for some graphic design help i this isn't your cup of tea.
5. Have 3-5 face-to-face meetings: maybe you'll have to use Skype - that's ok! Share about your ministry over the past year, tell them about your dreams for the future. Get personal!
Your goal is to get your ministry on your supporters minds. Remind them why they love you and your work: Tell your story!
Get your creative juices flowing!
1. Begin to write your year-end letter. It should be colorful, upbeat and one page in length. Included with the letter should be a pledge card, return envelope and a short explanation telling the recipient how to give online as well.
2. Continue having face-to-face meetings. Note: people will be very busy in December and will not be able to meet up.
3. Mail your year-end letter between November 21 and November 30. We know some of you only do email and email marketing; sending something via snail mail will make a big impact on your donors!
Appeal to your core donors! Celebrate the ways they have helped you accomplish your victories and invite them to continue partnering with you in the future. Give them a single, focused call to action. Don't ask them to click here to watch a video or read your mission statement, that's what Sept., Oct. and the first part of Nov. are for.
Personalize, personalize, personalize!
1. Follow up: If you are going to send a letter asking for money, you should always follow up! Shoot a personalized email or text to each of your donors to whom you sent a letter!
2. Again, try to setup a few face-to-face meetings, but remember that it's a busy time of the ear so you might have to depend on the phone and email.
3. Between December 12-19, send a 4 x 6 postcard with a picture of you doing ministry, you and your staff team, or you and your family. Postcards are cheaper to print because four fit on a single printed page. Postcards are also cheaper to mail than regular mail, so be sure to ask for postcard stamps when you are at the post office. On the back of the postcard, have a generic messaged typed out, "Merry Christmas from our family! To learn more or to partner with us, please visit givetransform.org/perception-funding."
These resources can really help you maximize your plan:
Historically, our ministry partners who follow the steps above receiving a significantly higher percentage of year end donations compared to our partners who choose not to follow the steps.
Some parts may seem insignificant, but when worked as a system, these steps becomes an amazing way to keep your ministry in front of your supporters during this valuable season without being repetitive or annoying.
Fill out the form below so we can help you out!
If you are anything like most ministries and non-profits, you don't particularly enjoy writing your donor letters, and we totally get it! We know that it's not so much that you don't like communicating with your supporters, it's more about the weight of communicating effectively, while still keeping things short and sweet! The struggle is real, and we are hoping to take some of the mystery out of effective communication!
~ This is the last installment of a series called Creating Great Donor Letters ~
The final installment of this series will focus on the appropriate verbiage when framing a financial ask, and a few simple formatting tips. If you missed the first posts, check out how to decide what type of letter to write, and then learning how to appropriately address your donors in your letters!
The Word Need
It can be daunting to consider all the possible faux pas when presenting a financial need for your ministry or organization. Is it rude to do a direct ask? Is it risky to use the word need, or to come right out and say we have to have more funding? No way!
The important thing to remember is that your supporters will not be shocked or shaken when you come to them for support! You can do a direct ask without being annoying or overbearing! However, when presenting a need, we tend to overuse the actual word NEED! Need is a weak ask on it's own. Instead of using "need", consider using buzz words and phrases like:
"Can't do it without you..."
"Click here to give now..."
"Down to the wire..."
All of these phrases communicate urgency, and remind the supporter that your ministry or organization is waiting on their support!
Finally, take a look at your formatting. When you put your letter together, don't be afraid to get a little exciting with your font choices.
Finally, always feel free to contact us for us writing and editing services. That's what we are here for!
Do you have questions about an informational letter or direct ask? Do you need help proofreading and editing your letter? We are here to help you in ALL of your fundraising needs. Shilo, our Communication Coordinator, is available to assist you with any letter writing needs. Fill out the form below if you would like her assistance, and she will contact you soon!
We've created Launch Pad to help you put a fundraising plan in place, to help you stay organized, and to help hold you accountable.