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The Development Evangelist by Jerry Grimes, CFRE

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5 Keys To Developing A Winning Case For Support

No self respecting attorney would walk into a courtroom without being well armed with a solid case representing the client's point of view.  Yet, all too often ministry leaders find themselves in front of donors without a thing to say about why their cause is worthy of support.   Sure, we know lots of general reasons why people should give, but have we taken the time to develop and internalize the kind of sound, cogent, well-reasoned case for support it will take to win over major donors?   First, let's define terminology a little. The American Fundraising Professionals' (AFP) Fundraising Dictionary defines "case" like this:   "Case, n. the reasons why an organization both needs and merits philanthropic support, usually by outlining the organization's programs, current needs, and plans." You must take the time to hone a case message that not only tells people who you are, why you exist, but also the compelling reasons why your work is essential and worthy of their support.  Start ...

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Unlocking Gifts From The Heart

The largest gifts and the most consistent giving come from one special class of donors: Those you have connected with heart-to-heart. Yet, most fundraising efforts are really promoting head-based giving.  Too often, fundraisers put more emphasis on meeting the goal than on the life impact that will happen when that goal is actually reached.    What are 'head-based gifts?'  Gifts from the head are those made absent a real heart connection with the ministry or its cause. They fit into three graduated levels:   Head-based gifts include those made on impulse.  A certain percentage of people will make a modest gift with very little thought, almost just because they were asked. These are gifts made at the lightest commitment level possible.  They are really more tips than gifts.  One level down from impulse giving are gifts made out of courtesy.  These donors give to you because their friends do or for some other head-based reason, but t ...

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Your Real Goal in Fundraising

What's The Purpose?  As crazy as it may sound, the purpose of your fundraising effort is not reaching the goal.  God is much bigger than any monetary need you may have.  You can't even think of a need big enough to be a concern for Him. He could miraculously provide your goal in a matter of seconds without a campaign or even so much as a phone call. After all, Jesus says he already knows what we need before we ask Him.  (Matthew 6:8) So the true purpose of development has to be something else. What is it?  I'd like to suggest it's ministry. God wants to use you, your team and your donors to accomplish His will, and along the way, reveal truth about who He is and how He does things...So He can be glorified.  In this way, development is as much a part of ministry as preaching the Word, baptizing converts, discipleship and serving the poor.  I like how Henri Nouwen put it in his classic booklet: "The Spirituality of Fundraising:" "Fundraising is, first and foremost, a min ...

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Smaller Playlist Can Lead To Bigger Number$

Looking for reasons why your phones didn't seem to ring during your last sharathon? Take a long, hard look at your programming.  Worth Repeating: The Benefits of a Tighter Playlist To be sure, many consultants are guilty of stating the obvious and then charging for it.  I say this to warn you, chances are if radio has been your game for any length of time, you probably have heard these words before:  "Your play list is too big."    Quite a few station owners and programmers are still laboring under the delusion that it is a good thing to offer listeners "a greater variety of music," when it has been proven time and time again that this approach is actually a cume killer.  It may not be how you like your radio station to sound, but you aren't programming it for yourself.  Your mission should be to reach as large of an audience as you can with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.   The best analogy to explain this is a beam of light.  A diffused beam will not go very far ...

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5 Things Leaders Must Know About Development

There is a lot more to this fundraising thing than just asking for money.  Development is a continual process of intentionally deepening relationships with an ever-expanding pool of people who move from potential supporters to champions for your organization.   To say the least, the development process demands leadership.  And when it's done right, it will test your mettle as a leader like nothing else. That's a good thing!  Though much maligned, fundraising is actually FUN for leaders because it engages your team, volunteers, the community and donors all at the same time. There are five things you must know about development in order to succeed as a leader:  1. It's up to you to set the pace for your organization's development.  The commitment and passion of your entire team rests on you.  Perhaps like no other aspect of your job, you can only achieve success in development if you are willing to lead by example. The team needs to feel your passion for engaging prospect ...

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Raising Money Is A Team Sport

You just can't wait until the day when you can hire a development director.  Boy, oh, boy...It'll be so much better then. All of these phone calls, emails, letters, lunches and meeting people will be somebody else's job. They'll report to you and keep you informed, and maybe trot you out to meet the really big donors, but as the Executive in your outfit, you'll be able to kick back and, well, supervise. Sorry to burst your bubble there, Mr. Fancy Pants. You may have the corner office and the big desk with the tufted leather chair, but the job duty of fundraising should always be a part of your job description.  Even if you have a "hired gun," you simply can't escape it, and here's why: 1. Development works best when there is a face on it and that face is the top person in the organization. - Any really good Development Director knows this and will always put him or herself in the background, making things happen so you can play a starring role.  Donors expect yours to be the signature at the ...

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Three Secrets To Funding the Future of Radio

As I said in my last blog entry, I don't think radio is dead. I do think radio has changed and is in fact still changing. Listeners are spending more and more time with social media and are finding plenty of other ways to get the content they used to get only from us.  In fact, the music that so many stations are built on is now on smart phones and will soon be coming to cars via mobile wi-fi.   Yet, with all of this, I believe Christian radio has never had a greater opportunity to make a difference. We will look back and see these changes as the hand of God making Christian stations more relevant and more important in listeners lives.  The future can be ours, if we are willing to embrace it. Radio remains a powerful platform for embracing the new media future.  Other formats envy the close knit relationship many Christian music stations enjoy with their audience.  I tip my hat to the smart programmers (and a few fellow consultants!) who have helped build such vast and loyal f ...

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The End or A New Beginning? Funding The Future of Radio

Radio is not doomed, but it's also not going to be radio anymore, at least in the traditional sense.  As I see it, there are three big changes: 1. Listeners used to find the station, now the station has to go out and find the listeners.  People scanned, hit upon a station they liked and set a pre-set in the good old days.  Now stations are having to go out on the web, social networking sites put apps on phones and more to go to where the listeners have migrated. 2. Listeners used to just want to listen, now they want to talk as well.  Radio was a one-way conversation. Stations programmed music, news, talk or whatever, and except for the occasional call-in show, people listened to whatever was being broadcast.  Now listeners want more. They want to be part of the broadcast, not just calling in, but posting comments on the web, downloading excerpts and posting them in the social media, Twittering about what they hear, etc.  Smart stations are making listeners part of the show. 3 ...

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Going Postal: Part 3 - It's about trust

RECAP:  The demise of direct mail has been greatly exaggerated!  It still works, folks.   You just have to put more brain power and in some cases a little more manpower behind it and the money will find its way right to your mailbox. 7. Build Trust - Direct mail works as part of an integrated marketing strategy designed to constantly deepen your relationship with your donors.  Mailing willy-nilly to anyone and everyone will raise some money. A small number of people will open an envelope, take the time to read it and respond with a gift.  But heart-motivated, repetitive giving requires that there be a relationship in place.  And relationships are built on just one thing: Trust.  What you do AFTER a donor makes a gift to your organization determines whether or not they will respond with their next gift.  I recommend that you devote a percentage of your direct mail budget between asks just to build trust and nurture the relationship.  First, you want to say thank yo ...

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Going Postal: Part 2

RECAP: So you've heard direct mail  isn't producing results like it used to.  Well, you're right, but that doesn't mean we should pull the plug on what could still be the most productive fundraising tool around.  Direct mail isn't dead, it just needs a little focus, a little sharpening to work right.   As I shared last time,  you must put forth a little more effort with direct mail these days.  Specifically, you've got to sweat the list, sweat the copy and you've got to personalize your message as much as possible.  Now, let's look at three more essentials to making direct mail work for you: 4. Synergize -  When your letter arrives in your donor's mailbox, chances are good it won't be in there all by itself.  There will be letters, bills, flyers, postcards, coupon magazines and who knows what else.  Where does most of this stuff end up?  The trash can.  This is probably the source of most of the disrespect for direct mail that is out there these day ...

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Comments
  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,

Jerry