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The Development Evangelist by Jerry Grimes, CFRE

Posts Tagged 'miscellaneous'

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Asking Naturally: Replacing Fear With Faith

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Don't Second That Emotion! This whole business of asking for money conjures up a whole host of emotions.  I've seen men and women with titles like "Executive Director" and "President" quake with fear when they are told that the only way their ministries will survive is to take up the regular practice of looking other people in the eye and asking for help. I've seen board members and volunteers get red-faced angry with veins sticking out of their necks when I tell them the best way to fulfill their obligation of service is to go ask their friends to support the ministry.  Anger and fear like this have caused some people to make some pretty bad decisions...Things like firing development directors for poor performance when the real problem is a lack of participation by the board and top leadership in the development process. Or, hiring a consulting firm or agency to "fix" a fundraising problem that is essentially a lack of focus on major gifts. Replace Fear With Faith Anger and fear have n ...

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Bore No More: Writing Fundraising Letters That Work

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Friendly Is Best Fundraising writing doesn't have to be boring. It's time to ditch that high and mighty tone so many of your letters have and start treating your donors like friends, because that's what they are. Come on. It's not like you are writing some formal letter to someone you don't know very well. Think about it. You and your donors have a fairly close relationship going on, even if you've never met face-to-face. They've given you some of their hard-earned money because they connected with you around your mission, vision and values.  Intimacy has already been established and it can only be broken by stiff, cold communication that keeps your donors at arm's length. Stir The Emotions: Compliment a warm, friendly family tone to your letters with high emotional impact.  Drop empty terms like "under served," "programs and services" and "projects." from your vocabulary for appeals, acknowledgements and updates. Sometimes technical jargon that has to do with the kind of ministry you ar ...

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7 Deadly Sins of Development

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Did you know that there are seven things that could really cost you dearly in terms of donations or even shutter the doors of your ministry if left unchecked?  Read on and find out if you are committing any of the "7 Deadly Sins of Development." Sin #1: Forgetting Where Your Funding Comes From God provides all of the resources for the ministry He has called us to.  It's simple, right?  But how often do we forget that and begin to think that DONORS are providing for our work?  Make no mistake, donors are the conduit through which God provides, but it is HE that is doing the providing.  Getting away from the idea that God provides for us distorts our view of God and our donors.  It can lead us to manipulation and rob us of the simple joy that's found in understanding that we are merely stewards of what God provides.  Every now and then, ask yourself and your team members where your support comes from.  When they answer "donors" or "churches," remind them that ultima ...

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Learn The 3 R's To Survive & Thrive

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Quickly answer this:  How many new donors did your ministry add last week? If you don't know the answer, or if you're not happy with the number, then your ministry could be headed in the wrong direction.  You see, the choice is really simple for today's non-profits...Grow or die.  Adding new donors starts by adding new names to your database.  So, adding new Facebook fans, Twitter followers and e-newsletter subscribers (and of course, new donors) has to become your #1 priority.  The reality is that unless you grow the relationships you need to support your mission, programs and services, you will no longer be able to afford to support them...No matter how important they are to you or anyone else.   Your ministry needs so many things to be great.  A new web site, apps for smart phones and tablets, a strategy to harness the power of social media, a new approach to direct marketing.  But where will the dollars come from to fuel these activities when, as they saying goes " ...

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The Most Important Question To Ask Yourself Before Raising Funds

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You probably ask yourself questions all the time as you go about the daily business of running your ministry.  Questions like "What do we really need to be more effective, reach more people?" or "When is the right time to start a new fundraising campaign?" even "Who can I ask to support this ministry that I haven't already asked?" But the best questions to ask yourself before attempting anything in the resource development arena don't start with "what" or "when."  They don't even begin with the classic "who."  The best questions that you should start asking before raising funds begin with "why." "Why Should Anyone Care? Many, many fundraisers have run aground in their efforts because they have failed to ask "why should anyone care about supporting our organization?" often enough.  Their anemic often incoherent case for support has robbed them of the opportunity to stir the passions of their donor base to provide the resources they so desperately need. "Why?" is a great question to a ...

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6 Signs You Need Help With Fundraising

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What if you were so sick, you couldn't even get yourself to the doctor? Of course, any of us would reach out to the nearest person and ask for help, right?  But the same common sense logic doesn't always apply to ministries and fundraising.   Not all of our organizations wait to hire us when they are in a crisis mode, but I would say that the vast majority of them do.  They have watched their donor lists and dollars dwindle for years before they are willing to even listen to some ideas for making their ministry healthy again.   There are many reasons for this.  Pride is certainly one of them. No one likes to admit failure, and for some people in fundraising, hiring a consultant is admitting just that.  But it doesn't have to be that way.  We work with all types of orgnanizations large and small, literally from Maine to California. Some of them need a lot of help, and others need only a little of our expertise at a time in order to be successful.  Hiring a consultant i ...

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4 Things Your Board Must Do

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We fully expect board members to be engaged in the process of planning, budgeting and setting the future direction of the non-profit. Why wouldn’t it also make sense for the board to be actively engaged in fundraising, the life blood of any philanthropic endeavor?  To relegate this crucial aspect to staff is to deny the organization of a very powerful force that can make all the difference in its ability to achieve financial stability.   Board engagement is a signal to others who want to significantly give to the organization financially (and also with their time) that the organization is indeed worthy and responsible in a fiduciary sense.  Board participation in giving is the seal of approval many people are looking for when they ask that oft repeated question: “Do all of your board members also give?”   The internationally regarded Indiana University Center for Philanthropy, as well as the Foundation Center and the American Fundraising Professionals organization have ...

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Gratitude Helps You Gain Altitude

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Maybe you have a friend like my buddy, Marc.  It seems like he has a coined phrase or handy cliche to express his every thought in almost every situation.  Not long ago, we were talking about how important it is to make sure your donors, your staff and even your board understand how thankful you are for how they help you achieve success.  Marc trotted out this old chestnut that is hackneyed as it is true:  "An attitude of gratitude produces altitude." It made me laugh, but after I thought about it for a while, I realized just how powerful gratitude can be.  I've started new, meaningful relationships with some of the most important people in my life just by saying two words:  "Thank you."  I've seen ice between myself and others literally melt away when I took the time to acknowledge something they had done for me that others might have taken for granted.  I have made a career out of helping ministries learn how to show appreciation and affirm the people God has give ...

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The Fine Art Of Setting Appointments

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You may love your web cam and think everyone should have one, but the simple fact remains that nothing -- not even the miracle that is Skype -- can take the place of meeting with someone face-to-face.   You will learn things about people that you would never otherwise know.  And donors typically appreciate the time and effort you will take to go and see them in person.   Getting those meetings scheduled, however, well…that's another matter entirely!  “I can’t seem to get in front of the right people!”  Andy complained to me.  “And making all those calls is exhausting me, and taking up all of my time.  By the time I am done filling up just one day, I’m toast.” That’s why what I am about to share with you is pure, solid gold.  You should immediately print this blog out and use it to execute a strategy that will fill up your donor visit days more quickly with less effort than ever before.  And I’ve searche ...

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Your Direct Mail Check List

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Great direct mail will still get great results.  But before you bang out a letter and get the printer on the phone, consider a few essentials that could mean the difference between success and failure. Put A Stamp On It The more personalized your direct mail piece, the better. No matter what some people may have told you, most donors are turned off by a pre-printed non-profit mailing or bulk permit "indicia" in the upper right hand corner of the envelope.  It's an instant clue that the mail was mass produced and therefore probably will be of little relevance to them.  Many non-profits can't afford first class postage for everything they send, so I recommend the second best thing: The Non-Profit Live Stamp.  Ask your printer or even the local post office about these stamps that cost 5 cents each.  Most non-profits mail at a rate of 17.5 cents. You or your printer purchases the live stamps, affixes them and then when the mail project is delivered to the post office, the rate is calcul ...

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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
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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