Stephen Mally 31 Dec, Alzheimer's Association, American tax year, Charities, Clinton, Clinton Foundation, FundraisingForce, New Year's Eve, Non-profit, Non-Profit organisation, President Clinton, Shriner's Hospital
US charities are repeatedly reminding me that the tax year is about to end tomorrow evening. I have received more than 50 eMail reminders in the last three days of the year alone. Of the 50, 6 charities have sent more than one reminder in the past 72 hours. 95% of the reminder eMails contain information about challenges and, particularly, matches from generous donors. Some examples, include:
- Gifts to the Clinton Foundation will be tripled by “President Clinton himself”;
- Gifts to the Alzheimer’s Association will be doubled; and,
- Gifts to Shriner’s Hospital will be be doubled.
Matching gifts seem to be abundant this year. These challenges are a nice way for charities to attract new donors, renew lapsed supporters, and get the additional gift from donors who have already given this year.
Most of these strategies are employed by Australian charities. If your non-profit organisation is not utilising one or more of the tactics, perhaps you want to test them to see if they may work for your organisation.
On behalf of FundraisingForce, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to our customers, prospective customers, and the clients, students, members, and others those non-profit and charitable organisations serve.
We wish you the best this holiday season and we thank you for letting us be part of your year.
Since starting FundraisingForce, I have become increasingly aware of the power of LinkedIn. I certainly viewed LinkedIn as terrific tool prior to the February 2014 opening of FundraisingForce; but, it has become one of the single most important sources of business for my company.
The percentage of main business referrals for FundraisingForce are, as follows:
- Word of mouth – 40% (the most important!).
- LinkedIn: 35%
- FundraisingForce web leads: 25%
LinkedIn not only allows potential customers to research my professional background. LinkedIn often times serves as a referral to my Website.
Don’t underestimate the power of a solid LinkedIn profile. Additionally, maintaining the LinkedIn profile on a weekly basis is critical whether you are a small business or a fundraising practitioner in the market. Doing things such as: Adding references to articles, including your own published articles; “linking other posts”; and updating your own details will increase the likelihood of your LinkedIn profile being noticed by others.
Stephen Mally Charitable organisations, Charity, Christmas appeal, Data cleansing, Data enrichment, data management practices, De-duplication, Deceasing, Do not call, Do not mail, FundraisingForce, NCOA, Nonprofit, tax appeal
Assuming some charitable organisations are behind with their tax appeal, perhaps the reason is data hygiene. One of the single most important steps prior to the tax appeal drop is the need to complete data cleansing.
Some nonprofit organisations take the important step to cleanse their data, while others do not. Data cleansing includes, but is not limited to, high level activities such as:
- National Change of Address (NCOA).
- De-duplication of constituent records.
- Data enrichment, including:
- Deceasing of records
- Do not mail flag.
- Do not call flag.
- Other important mass data management practices.
As suggested in prior FundraisingForce blog posts, dirty data gets you nowhere…except broke. Proper data cleaning prior to dropping the all-important tax and Christmas appeals is not optional. Do you put this in the “too hard” basket? Hire an expert like FundraisingForce who will guide you through the process, management of suppliers, and develop a process for you to follow for years to come.
Stephen Mally Bequests, Charitable organisations, Charities, Community fundraising, Donations, face to face, Face to face solicitation, FundraisingForce, Mystery shopping, Nonprofit, Nonprofit organisations, secret shopping, Supporter services, Telephone enquiries
Mystery shopping defined
Mystery shopping (or secret shopping) is the act by a nonprofit organisation to measure quality of service, compliance with a procedure, practice, or regulation, and/or to gather specific information about products and services. The secret shoppers’ identify and purpose are generally not known by the nonprofit organisation being evaluated – certainly not to the line staff under evaluation.
Mystery shoppers perform specific tasks such as making a donation, registering for community event fundraising, enquiring about leaving a bequest, asking questions, registering complaints, or behaving in a certain way. The shopper then provides detailed reports or feedback about their experiences to nonprofit management.
Examples of areas shopped
FundraisingForce have conducted mystery shopping studies for numerous nonprofit organisations across Asia-Pacific. These studies have helped organisations look at areas such as:
- Community fundraising
- Face to face solicitation
- Supporter services
- Telephone enquiries
Your organisation has two choices to action mystery shopping – you may choose a do it yourself approach or hire a consultant like FundraisingForce to secret shop your charitable organisation. Choosing to do it yourself will mean you need to identify the shopping areas to be studied and hire independent shoppers who will shop the scenarios identified. Hiring an independent firm further masks the identify of shoppers and also takes the work off of your shoulders.
Secret shoppers help you to praise and reinforce good behaviours. They also help you identify issues or gaps and to action plans to resolve the problems. Mystery shopping ought to be a routine evaluation tool used in your overall fundraising program and across your nonprofit organisation. Seeking more information on mystery shopping? Contact us for more details and to start mystery shopping.
FundraisingForce will be working with clients in Sydney and Melbourne this week before attending the Fundraising Institute Australia #FIAConf2016. We hope you are registered for the conference and we look forward to seeing you there!
Stephen Mally ADMA, Australian Direct Marketing Association, Best practices, Charities, Charity, CRM, Data cleansing, Data hygiene, Database, Deceased, Deceased registry, Deduping, Deduplication, Fundraising, FundraisingForce, Non-Profit organisation, Nonprofit, TABR, The Australian Bereavement Register
There is nothing worse than sending a deceased person mail. First, it stirs up emotions when a loved one receives a letter addressed to a person who has since passed. Second, it sends a message that your non-profit organisation lacks best practices. I recently posted, on LinkedIn, about the number of charities not taking the extra steps to remove deceased from their CRM/database – reactively or proactively. The post received a high number of comments. Perhaps it was a little too close to home for some.
This past month, I visited some people in the US in the state of Florida. The husband of the couple visited was the executor for an estate. Let’s call the deceased Mrs Bloggs. Mrs Bloggs has been deceased for more than five years. Yet, the household continues to receive charity mail in her name. Again, Mrs Bloggs has been deceased for more than five years.
What’s even worse is this household has notified the charities of her death. The couple have returned notices in the response envelopes with the response coupons. In some cases, charities have been notified 2-3 times. These same charities, and others, continue to mail to Mrs Bloggs.
The charities are risking offending the survivors, as well as their reputation through poor processes, wasted materials, and postage.
US charities have an even bigger advantage over Australian charities in that the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) exists, which is national register of deaths. When someone passes away in the US, it is a requirement the death is reported to the US government. The end result means all deaths are documented on the SSDI. US charities have access to this list to screen their database through a variety of suppliers.
In Australia, the Australian government does not yet have anything compared to the SSDI. Yet, Conexum has The Australian Bereavement Register (TABR), which is a strong product and increasing in capabilities each year. Additionally, suppliers will match your database against the Australian Direct Marketing Association (ADMA) list of deceased individuals. This list is developed via notifications sent to ADMA. Any person may document a death via the ADMA website or we may call or write ADMA direct.
Charities have a responsibility to do the following:
- Document notifications of death in their constituent relationship management (CRM)/database. When charities are notified of deaths from survivors:
- Document date of notification, method of notification, and date of death.
- Notify list brokers of deaths. Pass information to list brokers when charities are notified of deceased parties on various lists rented or received via exchange.
- Notification to list brokers should include date charity notified by next of kin, method of notification, and date of death.
- Screen your non profit organisation’s CRM/database using SSDI, for US charities, or TABR, for Australian charities.
- Screen at least one time per year. Better yet, screen prior to all major mailings.
- Screen your CRM/database, plus any lists rented for acquisition purposes.
- Screen at least one time per year. Better yet, screen prior to all major mailings.
You would never rent thousands of names without deduping them against your database to ensure you were not marketing to existing donors. Take it a step further. Whenever your organisation rents or exchanges names via a list broker, ensure you de-duplicate all known deceased from your CRM/database. Save your organisation the embarrassment of mailing to known deceased people despite the fact the lists may be dirty from a broker or from a charity. Then, report deceased back to the broker to save your colleagues from embarrassment, as well.
Those of us who work for charities have been on the receiving end of the calls when people are upset because we have erroneously mailed to their deceased loved ones. If everyone takes an active role, in the New Year, in terms of deceased processing, we can vastly improve processes and ensure we decrease the number of times deceased persons are marketed.
The customer relationship management (CRM) system or, as some call it “the database system”, is a non profit organisation’s most important asset.
FundraisingForce receive at least one phone call a week from non profit organisations seeking assistance with a data base search and many are planning to launch a search now that we are in the new year.
Complaining about the CRM/database is the one thing, which every non profit organisation has in common. Charities often say things such as:
- …it is too clunky
- …it does not meet our needs
- …we’ve outgrown the system
- …no one uses it
- …if the database could only do x, y or z
- …I wish our organisation owned x product
- …I used x product at my previous job and it was great
- …I’m going to contact X supplier immediately and see if we can’t get a demo and start to talk about pricing
Put the brakes on.
Do not contact any suppliers until you have CRM search infrastructure in order.
CRM search infrastructure, includes:
- Organisation CRM readiness. Study whether your organisation is ready for a sophisticated CRM. Do you have the following in place:
- Financial backing of organisation leadership? Do leadership have realistic expectations of project costs?
- Organisation resourcing to implement a chosen CRM. Remember, the organisation is required to staff the project in the same manner as the supplier.
- How will your organisation deal with staff turnover? Staff turnover can become detrimental to a CRM implementation. If your organisation has vacant key positions, perhaps waiting until those positions are filled is the right strategy.
- Documented, detailed requirements across the entire business. Ensure you focus on the detail rather than “high level” requirements. The more you understand your business requirements, the better suppliers will understand them.
- Market research, including a list of suppliers and associated products available in our market.
- Time allocation for a comprehensive CRM search. A CRM search takes time, even if you contract with an external consultant to coordinate the search for your organisation. Be certain you understand the time commitment required of your team.
- CRM search coordinator. Whether you resource the oversight of the CRM search with an internal resource or a consultant, be sure you identify “who is in charge”. This pint of contact is critical for your organisation and the various CRM suppliers. Empower this person with the responsibility and the authority.
Ensuring you have the proper infrastructure in place before you hit the CRM search accelerator is critical. Searches fail because of a lack of organisation readiness, improper resourcing, poor documentation, or unrealistic expectations. Your ability to negotiate with CRM suppliers is dramatically impacted by not having your act together.
FundraisingForce is fortunate to work with a big variety of clients:
Education, cultural, animal welfare, health, hospitals and medical research institutes, environmental, and others;
Small, medium, and large sized non-profit organisations;
Brand new charities and well-established nonprofit organisations.
Your mission is our business!
We look forward to helping you to transform your fundraising and your nonprofit organisation in 2016.
From all of us at FundraisingForce to all of you – Happy New Year!