FundraisingForce has much to be thankful for – especially our customers. To those of you celebrating, have a safe and wonderful holiday. To all of you – thank you!
Several weeks ago, I wrote about an important day of the year – #GivingTuesday. In fact, I would say it is my favourite day of the year because this campaign brings a boost in charitable giving worldwide. We see a boost in giving of volunteer time and of donor financial support all across the nation.
This weekend, in the United States, is a weekend of indulgence. Thursday is Thanksgiving Day in the US, a day when people indulge in amazing food prepared by love ones. Thanksgiving is followed by the biggest retail-shopping weekend of the year. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Next Tuesday, better known as #GivingTuesday, is a terrific campaign to promote the opportunity for people to give back to their communities and support the charities they love.
Mark your calendars for 2 December – #GivingTuesday. Give your time next Tuesday to a charity of your choice. Give a little extra gift to a few of your top charities. Make a major gift to charity you have been pondering for a while. I plan to act on my own suggestion and give a financial contribution to each customer @FundraisingForce has worked with in 2014. I challenge every supplier in the non-profit space to do the same. Additionally, I am planning to donate hundreds of toiletries to a Brisbane homeless organisation in hopes those toiletries will help a lot of homeless people in need.
There are dozens of ways in which you and your organisation may be involved in #GivingTuesday. It is not too late to get involved in this campaign and movement. Together, let’s make 2 December the biggest #GivingTuesday ever.
It’s mid-November and we are already starting to see the countdown of the number of days until Christmas. As part of my personal tasks of things to do now is start organising my holiday card list, so I can get my “best wishes” sent to friends and family.
But first, I need to find the cards I plan to send. This week, as I started looking, I noticed quite a few charities are selling holiday cards with their branding, including their name and logo. Being the in the philanthropy sector, I always gravitate to purchasing these kind of cards. There is an extra feeling of goodness when I know some percentage of the sale of the cards is going back to a deserving charity. Additionally, I get to spread the word of the good works of these charities to all whom I send the cards.
This year, you will find a few organisations have their cards available though newsagents (Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and Multiple Sclerosis), while others are found at Australia Post (Starlight Children’s Foundation, Lifeline and Careflight). I encourage all of you who are sending cards this year to consider choosing cards associated with a charity. It could be one you already support with donations or take this opportunity to choose a card from an organisation that is new to you as a supporter. Buying holiday cards might just be the small thing that pushes you off the fence to become a financial supporter for the charity.
In addition to buying and sending these affiliated holiday cards, consider supporting organisations that produce fundraising calendars. Many organisations produce a calendar for their cause. I found a firefighter calendar that benefits the Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Children’s Hospital at Westmead Burns unit Firefighters calendar.
It’s also important to consider this as a moment where you can learn a bit more about the mission and projects of the charity for whom you sending the cards and maybe make a cash donation as well.
And since Christmas and New Year’s come EVERY year, if you currently work for a non-profit organisation, you might consider producing one of these items next year. It could be a new way for you to connect to the community and bring more donors and dollars to your charity.
I received a newsletter in the mail from a Melbourne charity this last week. The newsletter is a beautiful full colour piece; full of images and stories about the good work the charity is doing around the world. The stories are motivating and might even influence someone to get involved. The charity included a blank envelope in the mail piece. There is no call to action. The blank envelope does not offer recipients a clue about the course of action the charity wants the recipient to take. Is the assumption the recipient will send a cheque in the mail? In fact, the blank envelope only confuses the recipient.
Make an ask in every treatment you mail or email your supporters. You do not have to make a hard ask in the piece. The Melbourne charity should have, at the least, included a giving envelope in the piece I received.
I might suggest this charity create a test – test a letter with a direct ask against a giving envelope to see which performs best. The letter/direct ask might contain an ask ladder tailored to the segment.
I am putting my money on the fact both of the approaches in the test will outperform a blank envelope hands down!
This year, on 2 December, Australian businesses, not-for-profits, charities, community groups, families and individuals are being encouraged to join a global movement and celebrate a day of giving to kick off the giving season. It’s called #GivingTuesday.
#GivingTuesday was started in 2012 by New York’s 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation. The concept was, and still is, simple. The US has a day for giving thanks – it is the fourth Thursday of every November and one of the biggest public holidays of the year – Thanksgiving Day. The following day (and often times late night on Thanksgiving evening, is the largest retails tore shopping day of the year – called Black Friday. The following Monday is the largest shopping day of the year on the internet – Cyber Monday. So, the concept was born to create Giving Tuesday as a means to drive giving back to charity! Together, different sectors were rallied together to ‘give back’ and support local not-for-profits, causes and communities. The inaugural #GivingTuesday saw over 2500 not-for-profit and business partners participate in different ways that not only resulted in awareness being raised of key issues but also a significant increase in giving on that day.
How can you get involved? #Giving Tuesday already offers you the basis for a marketing campaign and encourages your organisation (charity or supplier) to do the following:
Activate your community of supporters for #GivingTuesday and give them a fresh way to give. Or maybe you’d like to give back to them and find a way to say thanks or highlight the work that your volunteers do.
To get involved:
- Sign up as a #GivingTuesday Australia partner
- Register your initiative
- Spread the word and get your community involved
- If you’re partnering with a corporate partner, ask them to register as well!
FundraisingForce is a #Giving Tuesday partner. How is our company involved? We have been promoting #Giving Tuesday throughout the year on Twitter, Facebook and our blog and we will continue to promote #Giving Tuesday up to and including the day of this important event. Additionally, on #Giving Tuesday we will give a donation to each and every customer we have worked with this year since our company launched. It’s our way of saying “thanks” this holiday season and our way of ensuring we give back to organisations who have entrusted us as a leading fundraising consulting firm in Australia.
Whether you represent a charity, community organisation, or a supplier to the NFP sector, get involved in #Giving Tuesday now!
Some of us spend a considerable amount of time each day focused on building our personal brand. Others go about it quite naturally and do not seem to realise the things they are doing are dramatically impacting their personal brand. And, there may be others who may not care about their personal brand.
Personal brand is the most important thing you own. If you are not branding yourself, others may be branding you!
What is a personal brand?
Simply put, personal brand is investing in yourself and your career to create a brand. People who believe in personal branding believe in creating a self-package. Personal branding is “owning” the space you exist in, controlling your career development, and how you are perceived. Personal branding gives you the power to create your unique value in the marketplace.
Why do we care?
Personal brand expert, Julie Lamberg-Burnet, tells audiences they have three to five seconds to make a first impression. Three to five seconds? I’ve barely said hello. The fact of the matter is, Julie tells us we do not even need to say hello to make the first impression. People walk into a networking event, immediately “size” one another up, and make decisions about one’s value without even greeting the person. Others arrive at a meeting and sit nearest to the person with whom they want to associate or emulate.
Everyone should care about his or her personal brand!
Take back the control. Learn more about your personal brand at a one-day masterclass at the Fundraising Institute Australia Conference on 18 February 2015. This masterclass offers a unique panel of marquis speakers, including:
- Julie Lamberg-Burnet, Brand Service Consulting, Modern Etiquette and International Protocol – Sydney School of Protocol
- Korrin Barrett, Motivational Speaker – Life Unlimbited
- Mary Macuga, Director of Resource Development – Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane
- Eva E. Aldrich CFRE, Chief Executive Officer – CFRE International
Investing 8 hours in this masterclass may simply change your value in the marketplace or workplace. Sign up for the masterclass today!
It’s called “the race that stops the nation”. In Australia, today is the Melbourne Cup. And many of us will pause this afternoon to watch this horse race with friends and colleagues. For some, it’s a public holiday; for others, we simply might not return to working in the afternoon.
If our role is fundraising for a charity, we are also in a race today – one to hit our goal or target by 31 December. So, the first Tuesday in November is when we are coming down the stretch to the end of our calendar year – and, for most of us, halfway through our financial year. Whether we are in the back stretch or home stretch, we want to come in first and take home the cup!
Since many of us will put a wager on the race today, I thought I’d play ‘punter’ and give some tips for being the winning jockey in your race to raise dollars for your non-profit.
- Perform data hygiene on your data set before you drop the year-end appeal to acquire changes of addresses prior to dropping the mail out; ensuring less return to sender (RTS) mail
- As part of your stewardship, call donors who give over $100 to your appeal and thank him or her for their gift. Gain new information from these donors on the call and record this information in your database
- Add a seasonal message to your acknowledgement letter/receipt, such as “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year”.
Bonus tip: don’t forget a special message and effort to your LYBUNT and SYBUNT groups.
Doing any of these things today may ensure you a win, place, or show. But I’m hopeful you will go for the trifecta and do all three. Only by taking some chances and being aggressive down the stretch will you get over that line ahead of the others. And within your organisation – everybody wins – you and your charity!
The stores are already filled with Christmas items. I walked by a large office building in Melbourne last week and it was decked out for the holiday season complete with very large Christmas trees, lights, and the works. Each year I wonder which charity will be first to send their Christmas appeal. It is highly probable the charity to win this “contest”, to be first in my letterbox, will be The Salvation Army (the winner the last several years). But, hold on. Not this year. This year’s winner is QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute (QIMR).
The pack, which was received on 30 October 2014, contains a message on the carrier to ensure everyone knows this is their Christmas appeal. The packet also contains: A two-page letter, a note from a woman named Stacey Edwards about her mother’s journey with breast cancer, a fact sheet about breast cancer, and a terrific response device. The response asks me to update my contact details and offers me a host of ways to give a gift including BPay, phone, URL, and FAX. Note the photo of Stacey and her children with Santa on the response device.
Congratulations to QIMR. The winner of this year’s first of the lot!