Getting a Jump on Year-End Fundraising
So, how are you coming with that year-end fundraising appeal? Aha! Just as I thought. Well, thanks to our friends at Network for Good, I, for one, will not be scrambling to put together a compelling appeal when I should be scrambling eggs for our holiday breakfast.
Network for Good recently made available a handy e-book entitled The 2010 Overachiever’s Guide to Year-End Fundraising by Alia McKee Scott from Sea Change Strategies and Eric Rardin from Care 2. The guide is based on the optimistic observation that, if we start now, we have up to 4 months to get our houses in order before making that all-important end-of-the-tax-year push for donations. Receiving the guide has spurred me to action long, long before I would have started thinking about year-end giving on my own.
Like the other guides put out by this group, this one is chock full of good suggestions – most of them centered around maximizing online giving. But many of the ideas work just as well for off-line campaigns. Right now, I’m zeroed in on Chapter 8 – “What’s Your Story?” No surprise, since, as readers of this blog know, I believe strongly in building campaigns around inspirational stories about individual animals and their people.
The trick, of course, is finding those stories that tug at the emotions – especially for those of us working away from the action where we seldom get to see the stories unfold.
Fortunately, the guide presents us with a handy list of ways to become “an emotional story detective.” The list includes interviewing beneficiaries of our work, asking volunteers why they give their time, asking for stories at staff meetings, and keeping a library of stories so we’re not caught short. (Boy, I love that one.) The authors remind us that stories about one are more effective than stories about many; they advise against including statistics; and they caution us to explain that any story we tell is “emblematic of our work,” so donors don’t think their gifts will actually go to that specific person or animal (unless, of course, they really will).
The minute I put down the guide I went to my computer and sent out an APB to our staff, volunteers, and the amazing people on the front lines who bring our mobile spay/neuter clinic into their service areas and schedule clients. I asked them to start sending me stories, and stories I got – right away. Now all I have to do is choose one, do some follow-up interviews and I’m good to go. The trick will be getting good pictures (always a challenge for us since our three-person medical team is way too busy doing the work to stop to take pictures). But at least this year, I have time on my side. It’s a good feeling.