If only I knew this when I started my fundraising journey

If only I knew this when I started my fundraising journey

Stepping into the fundraising sector can be daunting. If you’re like the majority, you’ll be asking questions like – what are the right skills to have? How do I progress my career?

Finding answers to these questions isn’t easy, so we’ve put together an expert panel of diverse fundraisers to help us get clear on the things we need to know to kick-start a successful fundraising career.

Our experts will be recalling what they wish they knew when they started their fundraising journeys so we can benefit from their learnings. They’ll share their best pieces of advice that we can put into practice immediately.

Whether you have just joined the sector or you’re a seasoned fundraiser, come and join us for this Q&A Panel Session where our four speakers will share their advice and discuss all the things they wish they knew when they started their fundraising journey.

Register quickly to secure your spot, places are extremely limited.

 

Date: Wednesday 16 March 2022

Time: 8.00am – 10.00am AEDT

Venue: LemonTree Fundraising

Level 4, 48 Chandos Street, St Leonards NSW 2065 

Cost:

Member $40.00
Non Member $50.00

Registrations will remain open until Monday 14 March, 5.00pm AEDT

Donor Relationship Stage 6: Endear Me – ft. Cassandra Bailey from OzHarvest

Donor Relationship Stage 6: Endear Me – ft. Cassandra Bailey from OzHarvest

Endear Me.

This is the rekindling stage. A time to focus on reminding your donors of why the relationship exists. What attracted you to each other in the first place and why you still belong together? Furthermore, it’s an opportunity to reflect on all you have accomplished together so far, through the impact that has been made from your relationship. How can you re-ignite the passion to continue your journey together?

For this stage of the donor relationship journey, we were joined by guest NFP speaker Cassandra Bailey; the resident Development Lead at OzHarvest.

 A bit about Cassandra:

15 years ago, Cassandra’s favourite philosopher, Peter Singer, changed her life. His work led her to a place where she wanted to help change the lives of others. Prior to that, Cassandra’s experience was in loyalty & memberships in the corporate world, working with the likes of Ticketek and hotels.com. Fast forward to now, with 10 years of experience in the not-for-profit industry under her belt, Cassandra would be described as a motivated, driven individual who is determined to improve the world we live in. She also has a love of process and automation and believes there is no limit to the technology we can implement to grow and diversify revenue streams and strengthen our relationships.

Cassandra is proud to have worked with World Animal Protection, Four Paws Australia, Sea Shepherd Australia, and now OzHarvest.

I grew in the fundraising sector with a strong supporter-centric focus, which has shaped a lot of how and why I approach my work now. One of my earlier mentors introduced me to a quote by Maya Angelou who was a wonderful poet and civil rights activist; “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – and that is how I approach fundraising, by giving people an opportunity to feel good about what they are doing. I focus on how it makes the donor feel and the impact it creates for our beneficiaries. For me, it is all about creating lasting relationships and genuine connections. So, today’s topic of endear me really resonates with the way I work.  

I believe it is important to talk with your audience, not at your audience. Creating a 2-way conversation, means giving back and not just taking. Donor recognition and gratitude are a must-have, not a nice-to-have. Delight, delight, delight and endear all the way!

Several years ago now, I had a wonderful volunteer at one of my earlier orgs. A vibrant and dedicated soul who was pushing 80 years old. When I left that organisation, she chose to come along with me to my new org. This volunteer used to write birthday cards, call donors to say thank you, reconnect with lapsed supporters and generally be our resident “endearer” who made each and every supporter feel special, connected to cause, and strengthened the sense of community and belonging. Now we can’t all be lucky enough to have such a treasure like this, but we can all learn from her. Whether it is leveraging our technology to make supporter journeys personal and customised or sticking to grassroots tactics and picking up the phone at every chance we get. It is important to plan and make time for these moments. Even if it can’t be every day, but perhaps scheduled twice a year to share gratitude and impact and keep those relationships alive. Our funding is a by-product of the relationships we make, a necessary by-product yes, but without these relationships, the bottom line runs dry.

(You can view the full session show notes from the Endear Me stage here).

Regardless of the path you choose to take, your journey towards donor-centricity should be underpinned by 4 core principles:

(Ref. LemonTree – The Donor-centricity e-Book – Page 30).

Remember, trust and loyalty, are the building blocks of any long-lasting relationship.

If you’d like to hear more from the likes of Cassandra and your fundraising peers, we invite you to join the LemonTree Donor-centric Collective; a community built for fundraisers. The community attracts 1000+ fundraisers across Australia, ranging from small to large NFP’s and guess what…its completely FREE! Enjoy member-only access to community luncheons, webinars, our LinkedIn community group, the chance to speak on behalf of your cause, and most importantly be involved in the donor-centric movement!

The 8 Steps (& 4 Principles) to Becoming More Donor-Centric

The 8 Steps (& 4 Principles) to Becoming More Donor-Centric

Having explored some of the barriers to donor-centricity, it’s time to focus on the 8 steps you can take to help your organisation become more donor-centric.

At LemonTree, we define donor-centricity as: “The continual dedication to increasing the depth and breadth of your donor understanding, so you can connect more meaningfully, collaborate more effectively, and – most importantly – genuinely care for your donors in order to create ongoing value exchange, build trust and increase loyalty.”

Much like the relationship we have with each of our friends, the members of our family and the people we work with, there is no single, linear path you can take to build trust, earn loyalty and nurture a long-term, sustainable relationship with your donors. However, there are some critical steps we can take to create the right environment for a relationship to flourish.

It’s a bit like growing a lemon tree. You have to do some groundwork first before you can expect a seedling to grow into a fruit-bearing tree. You need to consider the type of lemon tree you want to grow, the seed itself and whether it’s viable, the soil, the pot, the light, the positioning, the climate, the water, the fertiliser, and so on. You have to cultivate the perfect conditions for your lemon tree to grow. Even then, with all your nurturing, it can still take upwards of three years for it to produce fruit…and some trees never will.

The same is true when it comes to creating a donor-centric environment. You need to be in it for the long-haul. This isn’t a quick ‘low-hanging-fruit’ strategy (excuse the play on words!). It takes time and effort to cultivate the perfect conditions for your donors to grow – but it’s an effort worth taking because it leads to long-term, sustainable relationships.

8 steps to cultivating a donor-centric environment

Step 1 – Maximise the quality of your data: the most important asset you own right now is the data on your donors, both past and present. When it comes to data, quality is just as important (perhaps even more so) than quantity. Data is your key to building sustainable relationships between your donors and organisation, so be sure to practice good data hygiene!

Step 2 – Find ways to collaborate: your own data will only ever tell you so much. Donor-centricity is a commitment to increasing the depth and breadth of your donor understanding. Finding ways to partner and aggregate data insights will fuel your donor understanding and lead to best practice communication and donor management.

Step 3 – Ensure strong donor governance: your donors are the life source of your organisation and the beneficiaries you serve. Without your donors, the solution to your cause disappears. Protect your donors by introducing strong governance practices for all your donor engagement processes. Remember, protect your donors to protect your cause!

Step 4 – Recognise their life stage: a donor’s ability and willingness to donate to your cause will vary in both time and dollars as their circumstances change and evolve. Always take into account the life stage and household composition of your donors in order to provide the most engaging experience.

Step 5 – Listen to their needs & wants: “seek first to understand, then to be understood” – so Stephen Covey told us. To build trust in a relationship you need to listen to and understand the wants and needs, hopes, fears, likes and dislikes of the other party. Only by understanding and capturing your donor preferences can you communicate with them in a way that will resonate, connect and build trust.

Step 6 – Lifetime value & share of wallet:  with a wider donor understanding of engagement, a level of sustained giving over longer periods is achieved. History has shown us when donors are over-communicated to, they suffer donor fatigue and reduce overall giving. Factor in share of wallet when calculating lifetime value. Know what is fair and reasonable for your donors.

Step 7 – Optimise your communication: sometimes silence really can be golden. Your messages, channels and the timing of your communication should be based on your donor insights. It’s not always about when you have something to say, it’s about contacting a donor when and where it is appropriate for them.

Step 8 – Nurture & grow: just like any other relationship, it takes time for donors to get to know, like and trust your organisation and the work you do. Invest the time in leveraging your knowledge of your donors, your cause and its beneficiaries to find common ground, make connections and demonstrate your value. Grow the size of your donor pond, by nurturing tomorrow’s givers, today.

Regardless of the path you choose to take, your journey towards donor-centricity should be underpinned by 4 core principles.

4 Principles of Donor Centricity

  1. Donors are people, not ATMs: loyalty will be created by treating donors as equally as important as your cause itself.
  2. Knowledge is power: the best, most engaging donor experiences will be created by leveraging the data, analytics, insights and observations available to you.
  3. Relationships are ‘give and take’: trust will be created by having meaningful, two-way conversations that foster reciprocity and fair value exchange between you and your donors.
  4. It’s a marathon, not a sprint: create the maximum return on your investment by measuring the lifetime value (LTV) of a donor, not just the campaign value.

These principles are the cornerstones of creating a donor-centric environment. They are non-negotiable. They are a mindset. They are a manifestation of your intent to connect, collaborate and care for your donors…whichever path you choose to take to get there.

If you’re on the journey to donor-centricity, why not join LemonTree’s free Donor-Centricity Collective (DCC)? As a member of the DCC, you can learn from your peers, share your experiences, ask questions and keep up-to-date with the latest strategies to become more donor-centric…AND be part of a movement to help grow sustainable giving in Australia! Simply click here to sign up for free.

…..

Next up in this series:

  • The different stages of the donor relationship and how they impact donor-centricity

Previous:

Barriers to Donor-Centricity: the Challenges you Face

Barriers to Donor-Centricity: the Challenges you Face

After defining donor-centricity and explaining why we believe it should be a strategic priority for NFPs, it’s worth us exploring some of the challenges you may face on your journey towards donor-centricity.

Commercial entities recognise that sustained competitive advantage comes from having a customer-centric approach across all levels and teams within their organisation. Only when the customer permeates the hearts and minds of the entire organisation – regardless of seniority, department or title – will the company start to reap the rewards of trust and loyalty from their customers.

The same is true for NFPs. Donor-centricity needs to permeate the DNA of your charity in order to be truly effective.

And therein lies perhaps the biggest barrier to donor-centricity: your organisation itself.

Its ethos, culture and leadership.

Its vision, strategy and core values.

Its programs, targets and KPIs.

Its operating model, revenue streams and decision-making processes.

Its hiring policies, onboarding and development opportunities.

These elements all need to be conducive to first understanding your donors at each stage of their life; and then infusing these insights into all areas of your business to help inform decisions, shape strategies, determine priorities, set goals, build your brand, establish a connection and ultimately create a unique and ongoing value exchange for your donors that leads to trust and loyalty.

All of which, of course, rely heavily on the technology your organisation uses; the quality of your donor data and even the very language you use to communicate with your donors. These too present additional potential barriers to donor-centricity.

Then there are the external factors to consider. The ratio of NFPs to active donors, resulting in everyone ‘fishing from the same pond’. The subsequent over-targeting and communication overload that leads to paralysis of choice, desensitisation or message fatigue. All this even before a global pandemic is thrown in the mix, threatening our way of life as well as life itself.

Yes, the path to donor-centricity is undoubtedly full of obstacles and challenges: internal and external, known and unknown.

But they are not insurmountable.

Because your organisation has a secret weapon.

You.

A champion, not only for the cause your organisation represents but for the donors who so generously give their money in support of its beneficiaries.

A voice, always asking “what will this mean for our donors?”

A rally cry, encouraging everyone in the organisation to put the donor first, always.

No matter what hurdles NFPs face on their journey to donor-centricity, their success will be that much greater – the outcomes that much more meaningful – if they have someone like you in their corner.

So don’t be afraid to be that constant presence, that constant reminder that sustainable giving stems from sustainable relationships built over time and based on trust and loyalty. And that begins with a donor-centric approach throughout your entire organisation.

If that sounds daunting, don’t worry – we’re here to support you. In fact, there’s a whole community of people here to support you…and we’d love for you to join us at LemonTree’s free Donor-Centricity Collective (DCC). As a member of the DCC, you can learn from your peers, share your experiences, ask questions and keep up-to-date with the latest strategies to become more donor-centric…AND be part of a movement to help grow sustainable giving in Australia! Simply click here to sign up for free.

…..

Next up in this series:

  • How to become more donor-centric
  • The different stages of the donor relationship and how they impact donor-centricity

Previous: