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The Development Evangelist by Jerry Grimes, CFRE

Posts Tagged 'Donor Communications'

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Three Big Mailing Mistakes


I’m on everybody’s mailing list. I give token gifts and sign up online so I can read the mail you are sending out. I learn a lot, and this time of year I also weep a lot. A lot of the stories shared are just that touching. I also find three big mistakes being made in solicitation letters. Avoid these and you could dramatically increase the amount of money you raise through the mail: One: It is not all about you. A solicitation letter is about the reader, not your ministry. True, you must share your heart, vision, needs, and stories of impact but you must do it in a way that engages the recipient of the letter. The most important word in your letter needs to be “you.” Start with that and put in as many references about your reader as possible. The letter will instantly be more engaging. Two: Communicate value. Every word on the page is precious. It must communicate something of value to the reader. First, ask yourself the question, “What do my readers want to hear?” Then, decide what to write about. Ma ...

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Four Ways to Target Last Minute, Year-End Donors


It’s not too late to plan a year-end giving strategy. About one-third of donors typically wait until the week between Christmas and New Years to make their largest charitable gifts. Last minute, year-end donors give for the same reasons as anybody else— because they: · personally connect with your mission · trust your organization’s identity · want to be part of a group supporting a cause · feel good about supporting you · have empathy for those you are helping But year-end donors are also motivated by the Midnight, December 31st deadline. They’ve put off giving for any number of reasons and now are highly motivated to quickly find a cause they trust, and can support, in order to offset 2014 income. Maybe they received a call from their accountant, or a brokerage statement arrived in the mail, or they took a quick look at their finances. But for whatever reason, giving to your Bible College, Christian School, Camp or Mission will solve a problem for them: A tax deduction. There is still time to get a ...

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Thanking Your Way to Higher Income


Imagine you and I are good friends. One day I call asking you to drive across town during rush hour, pick me up and take me to the airport, which is about 30 miles away. You don’t really want to, but we are friends, so you come. When I get in the car, I talk only about myself. I never once ask you about your family, your job or your life. Then, as I am leaving, I ask you for $10 to buy a sandwich. You grab your wallet and hand me $20. I offer a quick “thanks, man” and walk away. How Do You Feel? Driving away you probably don’t feel very good about me. How are you going to respond next time I ask for help? I’m pretty sure that if I actually treated a friend like that, my next call would go to straight to voicemail. Our Donors Sadly, this is often how we treat our donors. And we wonder why 40-60% of them leave after making just one gift. If you could get your donors to make a second, third or fourth gift, you’d raise more money. It’s simple—keep more, raise more. But how? Making donors feel appreciated ...

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Year End Fundraising Success Tips


More than 75% of all donations made in 2014 will be made between November 1st and December 31st. Are you and your ministry ministry prepared to do the right things to grow your income this fourth quarter? Your success or failure really depends on four critical factors: 1. Treat it like a campaign, not a “Christmas letter.” Direct mail is only one channel available to you. It’s arguably still the most productive channel. But when you send multiple carefully targeted emails, you increase your chances of a response to a direct mail letter. Advocace has seen strong evidence that emails and letters work synergistically, with one channel triggering gifts the other. It will also help to make calls to selected donors and post on social media about impact, but do not ask in this outlet. (Asking on Facebook will cost you relationships!) There are other possible channels, unique to your organization, type of ministry or location that you can use to creatively pull people into your vision. 2. Set a goal and have a d ...

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4 Ways to Grow Monthly Donations


Do you pay the bills or sign the checks for your nonprofit? Are you facing another summer slump in giving? It’s probably occurred to you more than once just how valuable donors who give every month really are to you. The bills come in every month like clockwork, so it sure is nice to have some income that’s just as regular! Just think, if you promote monthly giving this year, then it could drastically decrease your summer slump next year. The questions is, “How do you get donors to see the value in helping you defray your operating costs?” How can you get a larger group of supporters to write monthly checks or, better yet, give via credit/debit cards or EFT every single month? Here are four ways proven to be effective among the ministries we’re serving at Advocace: 1. Understand their motivation. There are specific reasons some people will choose to give on a regular basis. They are a select group and are very different from capital campaign donors, for example. These donors believe in your mission and s ...

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7 Ways to Retain More Donors


Keeping the donors you have is the key to growing income. Studies show that most of us are pretty lousy at it. The Fundraising Effectiveness Project shows that 3 of 4 new donors won’t make a second gift. We’re also getting worse. The same study shows the collective donor retention rate at just 27%, down from 33% about 10 years ago. Bummer. Keep Donors in the Loop But there is something we can do about it—relay information that will give donors the desire to stay. This is important for all nonprofits, but it’s mission critical for Christian organizations. After all, the reason we sometimes call what we do “stewardship” is because we are supposed to be stewarding or taking care the donors God has provided. 1. Report on their last donation. It’s easy when a gift funded or helped fund a project. But even Christian broadcasters, who get pledges and gifts from donors to stay on the air, can share a life change story and link it back to the donor’s last gift. A photo can drive the impact home. Celebrate your do ...

  1. Re: 7 Ways to Retain More Donors

    Great stuff! So good to see you link donors with the work. Remember how Paul linked the supporting folks...

    -- Jamie

  2. Re: Fundraising's Duh Factor: Keep more donors, raise more money

    Great read, I can appreciate the small things that keep the donor engaged.

    -- LaTanya

  3. Re: The Lapsed, Declined & The Disengaged

    Thanks Jerry. Organizations can also engage a credit card processing provider who enables donors to make...

    -- MKordic

  4. Re: Asking Naturally: Replacing Fear With Faith

    Thanks for the great post, Jerry--full of biblical truth! We join the Lord in His work through ministry...

    -- Will Stevens

The Development Evangelist
by Jerry Grimes
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About Jerry

I’ve been involved in the media for over 30 years with experience that spans television, radio and print. But my growing passion over the past decade has become development for non-profit organizations.

I love being a special friend and advisor to dozens of ministry leaders and radio station managers across the country. (I believe Christian radio has only just begun to reach its full potential.)Many non-profit organizations are functioning at a level far below what they could achieve if development were given its proper place in the management process.

My skill set includes development, marketing, strategic planning and leadership development as a certified Ministry Coach..

Before joining Advocace, I served as a development consultant for another firm, and as General Manager for one of the top Christian music stations in the country, and as Donor Marketing Director for WAY-FM Media Group. I also enjoyed raising funds as Director of Development for the University Of South Carolina School Of Law, as well as an active speaker, writer and facilitator.

You can find out more about how I help non-profit organizations and how to contact me here.

Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog,