Tag Archives: Non-Profit

It’s All About Relationships Part 3 – The Proposal

22 May

Monday, May 21, 2012

In the same way that most people wouldn’t accept marriage proposal on the first date, most people will be turned off if you propose a request for a sponsorship or donation without first getting to know your potential donor. We’ve already talked about aligning yourself with the right type of donor and from there nurturing the relationship. Now it’s time to propose. “The ask”, I would venture to say, takes the most tact of all. Not only does it have to be well-timed, but it needs to be carefully crafted and impeccably precise.

Before the Proposal
There’s still a little more prep work to be done before you can ask. Now that you understand that people get involved with organizations because of some emotional need and since you’ve identified this purpose, you need to write your pitch. Why not pitch with a great story? Mark Rovner, of Sea Change Strategies, says that

“[t]here is no more sure fire way to engage someone emotionally than through dramatic stories.”

Want to write a really great story? Here are 4 steps from Katya Andresen – an awesome non-profit bloogger/expert and author of Robin Hood Marketing – to ensure you do just that:

    1. Include a relatable character, someone that your potential donor can identify with. “What unites us all are the trials and tribulations of being human.”
    2. Don’t be afraid to use conflict; in fact, it’s encouraged and will express the humanity
    3. Who/what is your villain? There is always an antagonist in every great story. Maybe it’s poverty or lack of funding for arthritis research. Whatever it is, bring it out into thd open.
    4. Tap into emotional responses by using detail words that conjure a response from one of the sense.
“…the best stories are the ones in which we see ourselves: ‘It is our ability to imagine ourselves in story’s circumstances that makes stories work.'”

The Proposal
It’s the moment you’ve been waiting and rehearsing for. The ask is all about connecting on a real, human level. While planning on how you’re going to propose, always consider the emotional impact of their donation whether it be money, time or in-kind. You’ll also need to determine when the best time is to propose. The setting will determine when to ask. If you’re hosting a fundraising event, consider doing your program with the ask before the meal. If it’s a one-on-one meeting, wait for cues in the conversation or from the person. But whatever the setting, be strategic about when you are going to pop the question.

A few more things to keep in mind:

  • Keep it short and to the point, but don’t sacrifice impact. (30 seconds is all you really need.)
  • Remember your audience and their higher purpose and speak to that end.
  • Rehearse your story so it sounds real and uncontrived.
  • Always speak from the heart to convey your passion.
  • A genuine ‘thank you’ goes a long way. 
Your turn: What do you feel is the best time to make “the ask” during a fundraising dinner? How do you propose to a potential business sponsor? Please share some of your experiences in the “Comments” section below. Thanks!

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[For more on amazing storytelling, check out Katya’s blog.] 

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It’s All About Relationships Part 2: Courtship

10 May

Thursday, May 10, 2012   

Business connections, as in all relationships, require a great deal of effort. Once you’ve found Mr. Right, it’s time to follow up and nurture the budding relationship. A relationship that is not tended to will definitely become a missed opportunity. 

The First Date

Now it’s time to go on your first date with your ideal mate (read: donor/constituent/customer). This can be done over the phone, but ideally it will be in person for a more intimate approach. It’s all about the donor; the only information you should give about your organization is in response to their questions. You will use your “first date” as a get-to-know-you session:

  • What are their likes and interests?
  • What about them makes them a perfect fit for your organization?  
  • Where are they in the involvement funnel (i.e. What is their availability? In what ways are they interested in participating?)
  • What are their needs are expectations from this involvement? 
  • How does your organization’s mission fulfill a need that they have?

Courtship

If all goes well, your first date will blossom into a beautiful courtship. But first you have to follow up after the first date. It doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking experience. Instead use it as an opportunity to demonstrate another dimension of your organization’s brand. (Every orgnization has a brand promise to fulfill. This goes for non-profits as well.) The first follow up should simply be a personal phone call or note expressing gratitude and appreciation for their time and interest. 

Continue to nurture the relationship with regular communication. Get them on your mailing list(s) and/or send a personalized e-mail here and there to check in. [Caveat: Always, always ask permission before including someone new on your mailing list.]  There’s no need to be pushy. At this point, you’re still getting to know the person and introducing your organization. Consider the following ideas:

  • E-newsletters
  • Social media engagement
  • Blog follows and responses
  • Invitations to signature events

Things to remember about this stage: a) maintain regular communication and b) do not ask…yet!!
Up next week is “The Proposal” and there will be lots of good stuff about “the ask” so stay tuned. 

Your turn: How do you court potential donors/constituents? Do you find that when you follow up, you get a better rate of participation/response? I’d love to hear your comments.

Please let me know what you thought of this article. Thanks!

 

Related Posts:
It’s All About Relationships Part 1 – Meeting Mr./Miss Right

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Non-Profit Media Relations

23 Mar

Friday, March 23, 2012

Have you ever realized how many pitches a reporter gets on a daily basis? How can a non-profit organization stand out and get noticed? Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for non-profits who want their voices heard.

Do’s:
1. First of all, make sure you indeed have a story. Is what you are pitching relevant to your community? Is it interesting and newsworthy? Would people want to read about it?

2. Learn how to write a good press release. And practice, practice, practice.

3. Include infographics in your release for added interest; and for ease-of-use and printing, include a written version of the statistics summarized in the infographic.

4. Get to know the reporters you’ll be pitching to. What beats do they typically cover? What are their writing styles? What types of stories pique their interest? Build relationships.

5. In my experience, the best time to send a press release is Tuesday or Wednesday morning around 10:00. However, see #6 below.

6.Twitter has made pitching directly to the reporter at any time super easy. It’s not necessarily simple to do, though, because you have to craft your message just right to fit the 140-character max. Another caveat: don’t let your pitch get lost in the resporter’s feed! Research and strategize the best time to pitch. 

7. Visit a newsroom to get a firsthand view of where your story goes. You’ll gain an appreciation for what media does. And reporters will see that you’re serious about getting your stories published.

8. Position yourself — or your organization — as an expert in your respective field. Pitch your expertise on a given subject for feature stories and regular column contribution.

Don’ts
1. If your story doesn’t have local significance, it probably won’t get published. Your story needs to resonate with the audience; if it doesn’t, the reporter won’t waste their time. Make sure your news is relevant.

2. Don’t disregard a reporter’s pitching preferences. Do they prefer electronic only? Do they allow follow-up phone calls? Do they want the pitch in the body of an e-mail or as an attachment? Follow instructions explicitly.

3. Don’t forget to say “thank you”. Follow up after your story is published. Your name and organization will stay in the forefront of the reporter’s mind for future stories. Note: A handwritten note goes a long way.

4. Don’t use the same angle everyone else would. Dare to be different in order to stand out. “You can often propel your story from important to newsworthy just by highlighting a different angle.”

5. Don’t send a bulk press release to multiple media outlets. Instead personalize the pitch with the reporters name and tailor it to the reporter’s niche and style.

6. Don’t offer queries or pitches and then not be available to reporters for questions and interviews. Consider giving them your home and/or cell number. If you miss the call, return their call as soon as possible.

7. Don’t assume that just because you follow these suggestions that all your stories will be published. The amount of pitches reporters receive is staggering and there is only so much air/column space to be filled. Sometimes you’ll hit, sometimes you’ll miss. Keep trying and your story will be heard!

Your turn: In the “Comments” section below, answer these questions:Do you have any other tips for successful media relations? What has worked for your organization? What have you had to reconsider?

Thanks for stopping by!

~Laura~ 

Other Posts Related to Non-Profits: Here are some other posts you may find helpful: ABCs of FundraisingFangelismGrant Writing Resources

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“Fangelism”

10 Jan

Monday, January 10, 2011

What is the one thing that all non-profits have in common? They all need money to fund mission-enhancement projects. And how do they acquire this lifeblood? There are thousands of non-profit organizations across the country that do all kinds of amazing work. They’re also vying for people to help. So where do you go for volunteer recruitment? How can you reach new donors?

Expand your search through “FANGELISM” of course.

The principle of “fangelism” is very simple really. But it’s implementation must be well-thought and seamless. The idea is: Existing volunteers and constituents – who already have a passion for the cause – engage people, initiate conversation and, ultimately, ignite excitement and promote action.

“They turn strangers into friends. They turn friends into volunteers.
They then do the most important job – Turn your volunteers into advocates for your mission.”*

This could take many forms. It used to be by way of traditional word-of-mouth promotion – friends telling friends telling friends…well, you get the idea. Word-of-mouth has evolved into the use of social media networks making it super viral and immediately accessible. I call it “E-fangelism“.

How do you create a successful e-fangelist?

Well, not all of this is totally in your hands. You might already have e-fangelists in the social-network sphere that you don’t know about. But what you can do is offer ways to coach and encourage your fan base. You want to make them feel that they have freedom in disseminating the message, but ensure that they do it with tact.

1. Confirm the core group of efangelists. Gather your development team and discuss which volunteers you would like to approach. These should be trusted volunteers who have a history of helping toward mission delivery and development goals. Create a list of best practices and guidelines for success. (Note: These will vary from organization to organization because expectations and goals are distinct.) Familiarize yourself with the platforms available to you: Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Flickr, Foursquare, etc. You don’t have to be an expert in the various functions, but you ultimately want to know how each network can work for you.
2. Approach the volunteers and inquire about their interest in helping. Make sure they are aware of the full commitment.
3. Host a training session emphasizing key terms and concepts. Make sure they know the mission explicitly. Be prepared to do a tutorial for each social networking platform for new users.
4. Maintain regular communication with your team in order to circulate important messages and updates, offer encouragement and send reminders. (Tip: You will want to “monitor” new followers so you can follow up with them and, ideally, turn them into e-fangelists also. The key is to stay involved! Or if that’s not a feasible option because of time constraints, consider appointing a volunteer to serve as coordinator to organize the activities.)
5. Track your progress using features such as TweetReach.com and Facebook’s built-in insights attributes.
6. Tip: Always thank your advocates!! It goes a long way to hear that your work is appreciated. They will reciprocate by working harder.


What are the benefits?

1. The internet is more wide-reaching than traditional direct mail pieces. Most people in America participate in social media in some capacity. In fact, Facebook has more visits per week than Google in the United States.** You can reach more people in a shorter amount of time.
2. Volunteers can help do some of the work you’ve been wanting to do, but haven’t had time to commit to. You likely have many projects going on at once. They have one mission, one project to which they can devote their time and energy. A wider network of people doing one job should result in greater outcomes.
3. It’s legitimate “advertising”. E-fanglism is volunteers vouching for your successful programs. People value the opinions of friends and peers over the persuading of advertising from the source.
4. The message you communicate is immediate. And, therefore, you’ll be able to measure your return on investment (ROI) instantly.

You already have the most amazing, fervent sales team. Now, with a little coaching and encouragement, you can expand that network and continue to grow. If you’d like to know more about implementing e-fangelism into your development plan and for more tips, please contact me at 610.393.4430 or LRDConsulting@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

~Laura~

*adapted from Seth Godin’s concept
**Hitwise blog

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Happy New Year!!

31 Dec

Friday, December 31, 2010

It is officially the last day of the year. We’re saying goodbye to one year, but embarking into a one…with renewed optimism and the anticipation of inexhaustible possibilities. On this New Year’s Eve, for 2011, make a resolution to renew your dedication to your mission; fulfill your promise to customers; and above all else, be highly successful through strategic marketing and publicity planning.

I’m so excited to see what we can do as a nation built on the foundation of small and family-owned businesses to spark the economy! I can’t wait to work with fledgling non-profit organizations in order to perpetuate their missions to help others. And with so much loss, devastation and war, I can’t wait to work with churches, ministries and other religious organizations that support and offer hope to us all.

When you’ve made your resolution, contact me so we can talk about your unique situation. For more information on how I can help, please visit the “Services” page. I can’t wait to work with you in 2011. Happy New Year and may you and your family be blessed in 2011!

~Laura~

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