Top 4 Major Donor Fundraising Strategies

major donor fundraising

In order to create an impact, you need the support and action of your donors. Major gift donors, in that sense, play an integral part in helping your organization create change. In a 2017 study conducted by the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, it was reported that 88% of gifts were contributed by 12% of donors. Now, fundraising fits well within the 80/20 rule. So, since it’s confirmed that the majority of gifts given come from a small percentage of donors, it’s clear that each donor must contribute substantial gifts. The question is: what are the best ways to find and cultivate relationships with major gift donors?

When it comes to major donor fundraising, you want to be able to pinpoint which donors are worth pursuing; forge and nurture relationships with them; and create the “ask”. Let’s explore the necessary steps you should take to create the best major donor fundraising strategy.

Major Donor Fundraising Strategies: Top 4 Ways to Enhance Your Efforts

1. Determine What Qualifies as a Major Gift for Your Organization

Before you identify, cultivate, and solicit gifts from major gift donors, it’s necessary for you to determine what qualifies as a major gift for your nonprofit. Major gifts (which are the largest monetary gifts your organization receives), as a donation type, are varied. In short, every organization determines the size of their major gifts differently.

This can be dependent on the size of your organization, the length of time it’s been around, and what you’re fundraising for. For example, a gift over $5k may be large for some organizations, such as a local theatre company. Meanwhile, other organizations may consider gifts over $100k to be major gifts, like a state university. To establish a major gift starting point, it’s important to evaluate and understand the largest gifts your organization has received in the past. It can also be helpful to identify your top individual donors and determine what their propensity and capacity to give is. This should be determined in relation to their giving history with your organization and organizations similar to yours. Additionally, you should make sure that your major gift range aligns with organizations within your industry. Adopting a similar major gift range ensures that your organization isn’t being unintentionally undervalued.

2. Identify Optimal Donors and Prospects

Before you can cultivate deep relationships with major gift donors, it’s important to understand who in your database, has major gift potential. That’s the next step in major donor fundraising: conducting a wealth screening and modeling your best donors.

Ask yourself: which of our donors has given the most in the past few years? Which of our donors give on a recurring basis? And, which of our donors displays a passion for our mission and our initiatives? Screenings help you pick up on key attributes like an individual’s wealth, income, lifestyle, and affinity. This allows you to find, segment, and prioritize your prospects and donors accordingly. So, you can identify what each individual’s propensity and capacity to spend is.

The next best practice in major donor fundraising is a major gift model. Once you know what your major donors look like, and once you’ve identified common traits among them, you gain a clearer impression of who to target. Using WealthEngine data in combination with information from your organization’s database, we can create a custom algorithm to determine who would be most likely to contribute major gifts to your organization. These can be people among your list of donors who haven’t been reached yet or prospective donors who exist beyond your database. Additionally, you can score prospects to see how they compare in relation to your best donors. Screening and modeling allow you to hone in on your most relevant donors. So, you can focus all your energy on developing long-standing relationships with them.

3. Personalize Your Outreach Strategy

Now that you’ve identified which donors have an ability and willingness to donate major gifts, it’s time for the next step: reaching out. One way to develop a relationship with major gift donors is to personalize your outreach. You can personalize your outreach through tailored messaging, creative touchpoints, and donor involvement in other areas of your organization.

When donors decide to contribute major gifts, they aren’t giving to your organization at random. They’re giving because they feel connected to the work you’re doing and want to make an impact by funding your services. So, by sending your donors messages that highlight their individual interests, you have an opportunity to bridge the gap between what they value, personally, and how your organization works in alignment with those values.

So, your organization can communicate with donors through standard channels like direct mail, email, or invitations to public events. You can also take your efforts a step further and generate personal ‘thank you’ videos; send major gift donors or prospects ‘insider’ updates; invite them to observe your projects as they come together; or even invite them to intimate events where they can meet with the CEO and senior staff. This gives them an opportunity to discuss upcoming initiatives they may have a vested interest in. Involving donors in other areas of your organization is an integral part of your major donor fundraising strategy. By inviting them to see your programs in action, they have a greater opportunity to deepen their passion and interest in the work you do.

4. Implement a Stewardship Program

The final step in your major donor fundraising strategy is to express gratitude for your donors. Once you’ve begun cultivating and nurturing relationships with major gift donors and prospects, it’s important to engage in stewardship. Donors are the catalysts for all your major goals. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to enhance the programs and services you have in place. So, if major gift donors aren’t treated as key players, they may not feel that the impact they’re making is valued.

Essentially, you want to continue communicating with your donors so you can effectively meet the gift intentions and expectations they’ve set out. Show your donors how their gift will be used and what kind of effect it will make on your cause. It’s also important to express thanks in multiple ways. You can do this in-person, publicly (in your newsletter or on your website), in a handwritten note, or on a phone call. Recognition like this will inspire major gift donors to give again and again. Not only are they doing something of value, but their contributions are also being put towards something actionable.

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Above all, make sure to follow up with your donors so they know how their gifts have been used. By showing them that you created something impactful because of their contributions, they’ll see themselves as agents for change. Now, and for the future.


Planned Giving Tools: Screen & Model to Pinpoint Donors

planned giving tools

Now that you know about the basics of planned giving, it’s only natural to wonder: how do I know who to approach? And once I’ve figured out who to approach, how do I know they’ll want to give? Let’s explore which planned giving tools you can use to identify your best donors and prospects for planned giving.

Identifying Donors for Planned Giving

No matter how big or small your database is, there are segments of donors within it who may be thinking about planned giving. So, it’s important to understand who in your database you should begin approaching for planned giving. All of this information can be gathered using two planned giving tools: wealth screenings and modeling.

Planned Giving Tool 1: Screening

The first planned giving tool in your arsenal is a wealth screening. By conducting a wealth screening, you can see which donors have the greatest propensity and capacity to give. Not only can you segment your audience based on basic demographic information such as age, but you can also append your database with wealth attributes. So, you can easily understand an individual’s giving history (what/how much they’ve donated in the past) and estimated giving capacity (what/how much they’re likely to give in the future). This will help you understand how to spark their interest and, as a result, expand your reach to donors just like them. For example, for planned giving, you could screen your donors for 3 key qualities:

1. Donor Age

When it comes to planned giving, it’s necessary to reach donors at the right time. Not only based on the average age most donors get approached for planned giving, but also based on the age the donors you’ve approached in the past. It’s important to ask yourself: what is the average age most of our existing donors we have approached about planned giving? For most nonprofits interested in boosting their planned giving base, they begin approaching donors in their 40s.

2. Giving History

Tracking individual giving history in your wealth screening can also be an advantageous planned giving tool. Bequests may not come from individuals who have given large gifts in the past. If anything, donors who have given on a recurring basis over many years may be the most likely to be interested in contributing a legacy gift. It’s these donors, who have forged a long-standing relationship with your organization, who will feel inclined to create change with your cause beyond their lifetime. So, it’s important to ask yourself: how often does this individual give to our organization? Have they attended our events? And, have they volunteered with in the past?

3. Propensity and Capacity to Give

As important as it is to identify individuals who have given in the past and who are receptive to discussing planned giving, the big question is: will they feel inclined to give? And even if they do, will they be able to contribute as much as they can?

But, wealth screening is just the first planned giving tool in your arsenal. If you want to expand your reach and initiate conversations with prospective donors, you can create a prospect profile. In short, by creating a planned giving model, you can identify prospects who look just like your best donors.

Planned Giving Tool 2: Planned Giving Model

The next planned giving tool in your arsenal is a planned giving model. Now that you understand the commonalities among your planned giving donors, you have a clearer impression of who to target.  For example, you may find that donors in your database who have decided to make legacy gifts are men over the age of 50 who have dogs. These are what your best planned giving donors look like. So, what if you want to reach prospective donors? But, not just any prospects. Prospects who will be just as likely as your existing donors to give.

By using predictive modeling, our data scientists employ WealthEngine data along with your data to create a unique, custom algorithm. Using this algorithm, we can predict who’s most likely to include your organization in their planned gifts. This model can help you score prospects to see how they fare against your best donors. You can then rank your prospect lists by order of similarity to your best. Essentially, with the planned giving model,  you can easily evaluate who, within your database (and beyond) are likely to contribute planned gifts. Not just in general, but to your organization specifically.

Using planned giving tools like screening and modeling allow you to gain greater insights into what makes your planned giving donors unique. You’ll be able to personalize your outreach and forge lasting connections with donors that inspire them to give.

Driving the Donor Journey: Guide to Descriptive Modeling

Boost your fundraising using WealthEngine’s modeling tool. Discover your next best donors you have yet to connect with.

Stay tuned to our planned giving series as we explore more related topics beyond planned giving tools. Next, we will explore the best ways to discuss planned giving with your donors.

Planned Giving Definition: What is Planned Giving?

planned giving definition

Ever wondered how planned giving can benefit your nonprofit? Keep reading to find out- let’s begin with a planned giving definition along with information on the three primary ways donors contribute planned gifts. In other words, here’s all you need to know about planned giving in a nutshell.

What is Planned Giving?

Planned giving is also referred to as gift planning or legacy giving. In a nutshell, it is a donor’s intention to contribute a major gift to an organization, beyond their lifetime. So, unlike an annual gift (an outright gift made for current use), a planned gift is for the future. Essentially, donors make arrangements for planned gifts in the present but they are actually doled out at a later date. Additionally, the major gifts contributed by a donor can be made as a part of their financial or estate plans.

So by definition, planned giving is not limited by donors’ current wealth. Unlike the value of donations, donors contribute on a recurring basis, planned giving enables them to contribute gifts that they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to make. The gifts donated end up being larger and aren’t dependent on one’s regular income. That’s why most planned gifts contributed by donors take the form of life insurance, equity, or real estate holdings (among others). Thus, even if a donor consistently contributed small gifts, their planned gift can be of a much higher value.

Top 3 Tax Vehicles for Planned Giving

In order for an individual to leave behind a major gift, planned gifts can take many different forms. They can take the form of real estate, personal property, life insurance, or even cash. However, the majority of donors seem to gravitate towards 3 primary planned giving options:

1. Bequest

A gift (typically cash; personal property; real estate; stocks; or bonds) left behind in a will for a group, individual, or organization. There are four types of charitable bequests:

  • General Bequests: gifts of property taken from the assets of an estate.
  • Demonstrative Bequests: gifts that come from a source, such as a bank account.
  • Specific Bequests: gifts of personal property such as cash, jewelry, or other tangible assets.
  • Residuary Gifts: gifts that come from the remainder of any debts or expenses that have been paid along with other bequests that have been made.

Additionally, out of all the planned gift options a donor could choose from, bequests are the most popular.  In a 2016 study conducted by Indiana University, it was reported that 42% of all planned gifts (given by donors in their subsample) were bequests.

2. Annuity

A fixed sum of money paid to an organization each year. So, this typically takes the form of a simple contract between a donor and a charity. Also known as a charitable gift annuity, a donor transfers cash, security, or assets to a cause in exchange for a partial tax deduction. They can also receive a lifetime stream of annual income from the charity itself.

3. Trust

A legal entity whereby an individual holds or invests property as its titular owner. This can be for one or more beneficiaries. Additionally, there are two types of charitable trusts:

  • Charitable Remainder Trust:  a tax-exempt trust created to reduce an individual’s taxable income by dispersing their earnings to the beneficiaries of the trust over time. The remainder of the trust goes to the organization outlined in the trust.
  • Charitable Lead Trust:  this is the inverse of a charitable remainder trust. The trust provides financial support to multiple causes over a specified period of time. The remainder of the trust then goes to the other beneficiaries (family members, friends, etc.)

Motivations Behind Planned Giving

Above all,  planned giving preserves a donor’s legacy. Donors first begin thinking about planned giving when they are nearing retirement age, between the ages of 40 and 60. So, donors may give to organizations that act in accordance with their personal values and beliefs. As a result, their planned gift symbolizes the relationship they’ve cultivated with the cause they’ve given to. If anything, they want their contribution to help secure the future of the organization. It also represents their commitment to positively impacting communities in actionable ways.

Driving the Donor Journey: Guide to Descriptive Modeling

Boost your fundraising using WealthEngine’s descriptive modeling tool. Discover your next best donors you have yet to connect with.

We hope you enjoyed learning about planned giving in a nutshell. Stay tuned to our series as we explore more related topics beyond planned giving’s definition. Next, we will explore modeling and how to leverage it to identify your next best planned giving donors.

Wealth Signal: An Overview of Your Most Important Scores

wealth signal

Effective donor and customer engagement starts with gaining a deep understanding of your constituents. What their interests are, what their giving and spending history is like, and how they’re likely to donate or invest in the future. Let’s explore how WealthEngine’s Wealth Signal will help you make informed decisions on which prospects are the best to engage.

What is Wealth Signal™?

Wealth Signal is a visual indicator of the relative strength of an individual’s propensity to give (P2G); net worth; income; real estate holdings; estimated giving capacity; donations; and connections. By tracking these parameters, you are able to determine how best to grow your pipeline. Additionally, you have the insights to generate more donations & sales, and achieve your business objectives with ease.

Furthermore, the Wealth Signal gives you a quick view of what an individual’s propensity, capacity, and intent is in terms of giving or investing. It allows you to gather donor, customer, and prospect information efficiently while also providing you with the insights to make a quick appraisal of a prospect.

Wealth Signal: Visual Breakdown

Similar to a cell phone carrier bar signal, the bars displayed for each parameter indicates the range of relative strength, from the low to high end of the scale. For instance, 5 bars indicate that an individual’s score is on the high end. This implies high financial strength, monetary value, and influence. By contrast, a lower number of bars or a single bar would suggest the opposite.

This strength is also indicated by color. The high-end of the scale (4-5 bars), is in green; the middle of the scale (3 bars) is in yellow; the low end of the scale (2 bars) is in red. So, this simple visual now gives you a bird’s eye view of the most relevant scores on any individual profile.

Wealth Signal: Ratings and Scores

Wealth Signal tracks 7 wealth indicators, including:

1. P2G (Propensity to Give)

The Propensity to Give (P2G) score is a proprietary score that represents propensity for general philanthropic giving. It’s a two-digit number. The first digit represents the overall category, on a scale of 1-5, along with a text description. Additionally, the second digit is used to subdivide and rank individuals within that category. So, in both cases, the lower the number, the better the score.

2. Net Worth

Net worth, as it is displayed in Wealth Signal, indicates the range in which the difference between total assets and total debt for a household is likely to fall. This is a primary indicator of an individual’s overall wealth.

So, while sifting through multiple profiles, the net worth Wealth Signal will help you segment and determine which prospects best match your existing donors or customers. It’s these potential donors or customers who will be most likely to give or invest.

3. Income

Income indicates an individual’s regularly accrued funds. So, based on the strength of an individual’s income in Wealth Signal, you can determine how much of a donation or investment you could receive from that individual on a recurring basis.

4. Real Estate

Real estate, in Wealth Signal, indicates a range estimating the total value of properties owned by an individual. These insights may help you evaluate whether someone invests in real estate or would be a potential candidate for a legacy gift.

5. Estimated Giving

Estimated giving displays a range, estimating how much an individual could give in the next 5 years. So, the estimated giving strength is informed by an individual’s giving history and assets among other things. Additionally, this section helps prospect researchers determine how much an individual may give in the future.

6. Donations

Donation strength indicates the value of gifts given to causes by an individual. This signals to nonprofits how much a donor has given in the past. So, they are better able to understand their donor’s potential to give in the future. Are they a hidden gem with an untapped capacity to give? Are they a high-impact donor? Or can they be upgraded?

This metric (along with estimated giving) can also be of significant value to wealth managers. This can also help managers understand an individual’s philanthropic interests beyond business. So, based on these insights, they can tailor their outreach in ways that are relevant & personal. Additionally, they can offer them specific investments such as Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs).

7. Connections

Connection strength displays the number of familial and business connections an individual has. So, the more connections you have, the easier it is for you to potentially get introduced to other high-impact donors or wealthy prospects.

The parameters tracked with Wealth Signal allow wealth managers and development organizations alike to understand their prospects deeply. At first glance, you’re able to easily visualize an individual’s propensity and capacity to give or spend. But, Wealth Signal goes beyond that. The parameters tracked, along with their strength, give you a comprehensive, high-level understanding of an individual’s motivations and behaviors. This also allows you to personalize your outreach. As a result, you can begin cultivating and nurturing lasting relationships with your prospects.


See the Wealth Signal for Your Prospects

Test drive WealthEngine to see your prospects’ estimated net worth, income, giving capacity, connections, and more.

WealthEngine9 or WE9, our newest release, is transforming the commercial prospecting landscape. Explore how our Engagement Science™ speeds up the way you screen, analyze, find insights, and predict outcomes through modeling.

The State of Charitable Giving in America: 3 Key Trends

state of charitable giving

The state of charitable giving in the United States is shifting. As time goes on, there seems to be a decline in charitable giving nationally, which is impacting donations. The question is: where can we see this change occurring? And, how do we re-inspire donors to give?

Rick Dunham, as a board member of The Giving Institute and Chair of the Giving USA Foundation, assists in publishing the most widely respected annual report on giving in the U.S. Let’s explore the 3 key trends on the state of giving in the United States from his talk at the WE Prosper Summit 2019.

3 Ways Charitable Giving in the U.S. is Changing

Among the ten topline issues in giving identified by Rick Dunham, there are 3 key trends that are most important:

1. Giving has grown by 3.85% between 2016 and 2018, but has since slowed

Between 2016 and 2018, the United States experienced major growth in the area of giving. This was especially evident in 2017. However, in 2018, giving rates had decreased. Not substantially, but enough where organizations could be influenced by these flatlining rates in the future. If anything, giving by individuals fell 1.1% in 2018. This was the first time giving has dropped under 70%. This leads us to consider: was this drop in charitable giving in 2018 an anomaly? Or is this decline representative of a new trend? Is this drop telling of a shift in donor behavior or donor motivation?

Interested in learning more about Rick Dunham’s take on the state of charitable giving? Catch a recap of his keynote at WE Prosper 2019!

2. Tax law (and possibly tax reform) has had different effects on households in 2018

The drop in giving experienced in 2018 could be explained by the influence changes in tax law or tax reform has had on households across the U.S. Rick Dunham suggests that four dynamics with tax reform could have impacted the state of charitable giving:

  • The standard deduction was raised to $24k for a household. So, if a family itemizes less than this amount in deductions, they may lose the incentive to give.
  • There’s an expanded incentive for high net worth individuals who have the ability to give up to 60% of their adjusted gross income. Individuals could give more, but they may have run into state or local tax issues. So, this may have caused a depression on the potential to give more.
  • With the tax reforms passed at the end of 2017, there was a major surge in giving. So, many donor-advised funds (DAFs) were set up as a result. But, this also led to deductions were capped and the highest income bracket decreased from 39.5% to 37%.
  • Finally, with the tax efficiency of giving, many people decided to pull their giving into 2017 rather than 2018.

Based on these charitable giving statistics from 2018, it seems as though changes in tax laws and tax reform may have contributed to the decline in charitable giving we’re now experiencing. However, there’s no hard evidence to support that tax law changes caused this shift, but they may be a contributing factor. Organizations will only be able to tell in the coming year when more data can be collected on the state of charitable giving in 2019.

3. The number of non-donor households is increasing

The number of non-donor households in the United States is continuing to increase. This past year alone, many recipient organizations such as the arts, health, and human services experienced no growth whatsoever. Meanwhile, other sectors such as religious, educational, and public benefit organizations saw a decrease in donations received. And this isn’t simply representative of philanthropic depreciation now.  If anything, the number of non-donor households has increased by 20 million households since the year 2000. The question is: what is driving this increase? And if donors are feeling less engaged, how can you reach them effectively?

How to Engage Donors as Giving Rates Decline

The challenge we’re facing now (as highlighted in Dunham’s three key trends and the charitable giving statistics of 2018) is that giving is declining. And it’s becoming substantially harder to find donors who are willing and inclined to give. So, how do we navigate this decline and motivate donors to give?

By targeting your outreach using predictive analytics, you can narrow your search and reach prospects who have the greatest propensity and capacity to give to your organization. So, instead of reaching all donors and waiting to see which individuals will give, it’s better to identify and communicate with individuals who fit the profile of your existing donors. Have the prospects you’re reaching out to given to organizations like yours in the past? And is their demographic information similar to those who donate to your cause?

Once you’ve gathered that information, it’s easier to understand the motivations, interests, and values of your donors. At that point, you can begin personalizing your messaging to communicate with them in engaging ways. These are the tools that will allow you to cultivate and nurture long-lasting relationships with your donors.

Catch a Recap of The State of Charitable Giving in the U.S.

Interested in learning more about the ten topline issues influencing giving in the U.S.? Watch Rick Dunham’s talk on the state of charitable giving in the United States, presented at the WE Prosper Summit 2019.

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DC Central Kitchen: 3 Key Qualities That Engage Donors

dc central kitchen

DC Central Kitchen, a nonprofit organization that combats hunger and poverty through job creation and training, prioritizes forging genuine connections with their donors. Not for the purposes of soliciting major gifts now, but to ensure positive change for the future. Let’s explore what DC Central Kitchen’s CEO Mike Curtin believes the first rule for all righteous entrepreneurs is.  And how you can use this to inform your donor engagement strategy.

Webinar: Build & Grow Your Mid-Level Donor Program

Interested in learning how to build and grow your mid-level donor program? Register for our webinar this Wednesday at 1 PM!

The First Rule for Righteous Entrepreneurs

In 2017, Mike Curtin ideated 8 rules for righteous entrepreneurs. These rules act as a guide to help businessmen and women. Not only to help them remain focused in their incrementalism, but also to help them remain donor and community-centric. What is the first rule? Stand up for your principles even if there are risks.

So, what does a steadfast commitment to your mission translate to in forging personal connections with your donors? By establishing clear principles, the connections you create are to uplift humanity.

3 Key Qualities that Connect with Donors

As outlined by Mike Curtin, there are three key qualities involved in standing up for your principles that connect deeply with donors:

1. Personal Commitment

Donors invest their interest and funds in organizations that devote themselves to be of service to their mission. So, they want to know what your values are and how your organization commits to it in different areas. By letting your donors observe how you seek to amplify your values, you’re willing to be held accountable by them so you can realize your values in actionable ways.

2. Trust

Donors, when they make their decision to give, want to feel they can rely on the actions and intent of your organization. So, once donors feel they can depend on your organization to follow through on your pursuits, they’re more likely to support your efforts.

3. Transparency

Donors want to remain engaged and aware of your actions as an organization. By remaining open about your practices and actions, donors feel motivated to give to your organization. In short, they see that their gifts will turn into something actionable. Additionally, they will also feel that their contributions will actually have a significant impact. By keeping your donors involved in your journey, and outlining the steps you’re taking to meet your goals, donors can identify the areas in which they can help.

In Practice: How the First Rule Saved DC Central Kitchen

For DC Central Kitchen, their commitment to these 3 key qualities resulted in a major gift of $2M that saved their organization. After receiving news that they would no longer be receiving funding from the city, DC Central Kitchen reached out to prospects and donors. They wanted to continue to function in ways that aligned with and allowed them to stand up for their principles. Although they received recognition from their community, many were unwilling to take action in their support.

However, one donor, who had forged a close bond with a member of the DC Central Kitchen team, wanted to do more. This donor got to know a DC Central Kitchen staff member, discussed her commitment to the cause, and why she chose to contribute to their work.

What the team didn’t know was that this donor’s spouse was one of the most successful fund managers in the country. So, when the organization contacted donors and prospects for help, they turned to them. Not for a gift, but for a bridge loan to get their organization through this contract discussion so they could take the next step. The couple gave them a loan, and not only was it forgiven, but it transformed into a major gift. This was all based on the relationship they had cultivated with that couple.

Importance of Forging Deep Connections with Donors

When engaging donors, it’s imperative to cultivate and nurture relationships with those who align with your values. By segmenting your audience and investing time communicating with those who display interest, donors are bound to give.

In short, that’s exactly what DC Central Kitchen did. By remaining committed to the mission of their organization, they cultivated significant relationships with interested prospective donors. So, these donors didn’t just give to DC Central Kitchen to satisfy a temporary need. Their contribution created lasting change, allowing the organization to continue to serve others. The creation & implementation of a personalized engagement strategy is at the core of connection. It’s what allows organizations to uplift humanity.

Catch a Recap of The First Rule for Righteous Entrepreneurs

Interested in learning more about the best ways to engage your benefactors? Watch Mike Curtin’s talk on the first rule for righteous entrepreneurs, presented at the WE Prosper Summit 2019.

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5 Tips to Enhance Your Giving Tuesday Plan

giving tuesday plan

Want to boost your fundraising and engage your donors? Follow these 5 tips to enhance your Giving Tuesday plan.

Giving Tuesday, which marks the beginning of the charitable giving season, is a great opportunity to meet your fundraising goals. In 2018, nonprofits raised $380 million collectively. Not only is this a great way for you to meet your campaign goals now, but it’s also an important time for you to cultivate relationships with existing and prospective donors. Let’s explore ways you can enhance your campaign come December 3rd.

Webinar: Build & Grow Your Mid-Level Donor Program

Interested in learning how to build and grow your mid-level donor program? Register for our webinar this Wednesday at 1 PM!

5 Tips to Make Your Giving Tuesday a Success

1. Determine A Specific Goal for Giving Tuesday

As you gear up for Giving Tuesday, it’s important for you to identify a specific goal for your campaign. It’s important to ask yourself: what is a project that would serve those who we are trying to help, now? Some organizations fall into the trap of using Giving Tuesday as a way to fundraise in general for their cause.  However, by creating a specific goal to meet the day of, your donors are able to visualize and better understand what they’re funding and the subsequent outcome. So, donors are able to clearly see the ways they’ll be able to create change.

It’s also important, as you come up with a specific goal, to express it to donors in ways that are succinct and accessible. If the goal is easily understood by them, achieving it feels more like a collective effort, on your part and your donors.

2. Screen Your Donors Before and After Giving Tuesday

As you approach Giving Tuesday, it’s important to evaluate which of your donors has the greatest propensity and capacity to give now and in the future. So, for your Giving Tuesday plans, it is important to conduct wealth screenings to focus your fundraising efforts. For example, if you have donors who give sporadically, this is a good opportunity to reach out early. By engaging them effectively, and understanding where their interests lie, donors may feel more compelled to give. Screenings also provide you with demographic information, like donor occupation. This is also an opportunity to encourage your donors to set up matching grants. By doing this, you’re able to increase your number of donations with ease and engage more people the day of.

After Giving Tuesday, you also have the opportunity to identify trigger donors or donors who gave significantly. If these donors contributed major gifts during this campaign, they may feel inclined to do so with future ones.  Be sure to approach them for planned giving, major gift opportunities, and any capital campaigns you have in motion. Screenings also allow you to identify underperforming donors who have the ability to contribute more than they are currently. This knowledge allows you to tighten up your future Giving Tuesday plans. You can tighten up your communication strategy and find new and innovative ways to engage them going forward.

3. Amplify Your Social Media Presence

Another key tip to enhance your Giving Tuesday plan is by amplifying your social media presence. This can be done by planning posts ahead of time. By doing this, you can personalize your engagement and articulate your organization’s progress. This keeps donors engaged throughout your campaign.

Another way to enhance your social media presence is to create posts, based on nonprofit storytelling, that highlight the goal you’re trying to achieve. This can be done by showing pictures of the community you will be helping or by honing in on stories of individuals who will be positively impacted by the donations you receive.

By humanizing your goal, and showing who specifically will be impacted, donors feel more inspired to give. They see, more clearly, who their donations are helping and how they will help them. Engaging in nonprofit storytelling also gives you an opportunity to amplify your organization’s mission. So, you have an opportunity to highlight the ways you plan to create change in the future, and identify new areas where donors can get involved.

4. Keep Your Donors Engaged On the Big Day

As important as it is to keep your donors updated on your progress during Giving Tuesday, it’s also necessary for them to feel engaged and incentivized. By creating activities or offering them rewards during the day, donors have tangible and intangible items that keep them motivated. Breaking up the monotony of the day by rewarding donors for contributing allows them to feel valued.

Not only does this encourage them to donate more, but this can also motivate donors who have given to tell members of their community to give. If they, themselves, felt excited and inspired to give based on what they received, why not extend that excitement to a prospective donor? It’s important to keep your Giving Tuesday plan donor-centric. The more your donors feel that they are an integral part of your process, the more they’ll want to help.

5. Express Gratitude for Your Donors and Encourage Them Moving Forward

The final tip to round out your Giving Tuesday plan is to express gratitude for your donors. By acknowledging your donors and the impact they made, they have a greater perspective on how their donations ripple out. It was their actions that took your goal from an idea to a tangible reality.

Expressing thanks to your donors also gives you an opportunity to highlight the goals you have for the remainder of the year. If your donors were inclined to give during Giving Tuesday, and encouraged members of their community to give, there’s a good chance that they will want to do more. Update donors on how their contributions influence your Year-End-Fundraising goals, and what they can do to round out their efforts. Let them know how they can remain involved, and take this time to cultivate and nurture them.

WealthEngine’s 2019 #GivingTuesday Toolkit

Want to gain more tips on how to appeal to your donors leading up to Giving Tuesday? Check out our #GivingTuesday Toolkit to gain access to text templates that will help tighten up your donor engagement strategy.

Millennial Millionaire Report Gains National Attention

WealthEngine’s new Millennial Millionaire Report, created jointly with Coldwell Banker, has been in the news a lot, including national TV and major publications:

Want to see what all the hype is about? Download A Look at Wealth 2019 and get inside the minds of millennial millionaires.

6 Questions High Net Worth Donors Ask Before Donating

high net worth donors

Want to capture donations from billionaires and other High Net Worth Donors? Be ready with thoughtful answers to these 6 key questions.

High Net Worth Donor Motivations

As a nonprofit, we’re sure High Net Worth Donors are a priority for you. The question is: how do you engage them as effectively as possible? This all starts with familiarizing yourself with the needs of your donors. Today’s High Net Worth Donors focus on giving with purpose. They want to be philanthropic in ways that are impactful, actionable, and informed. But, what are the wealthy looking for when they give before deciding where and how to contribute major gifts?

James Lintott, the co-founder of the Sterling Foundation, consults and speaks with wealthy families, estate planning attorneys, and wealth advisors around the nation.  He works with all of them to manage the philanthropic goals of high net worth families. Let’s explore the 6 key questions he believes High Net Worth Donors will ask before giving you their money:

Webinar: Build & Grow Your Mid-Level Donor Program

Interested in learning how to build and grow your mid-level donor program? Register for our webinar this Wednesday at 1 PM!

1. Do I Have A Chance to Make a Difference?

When deciding whether or not to give to an organization, High Net Worth Donors (HNWD) are less concerned about tex benefits, ego enhancement or short-term immortality. In short: major gift donors aren’t giving for selfish reasons. They aren’t giving to preserve their legacy and enhance their worth through philanthropic contributions. If anything, they are more concerned about the ways in which their donations will transform into action.

They don’t know where the line between ‘good intentions’ and ‘actual results’ lies, and they rely on their nonprofit to ensure that their contributions will be used to make a difference. And, even when a donor doesn’t know exactly what area they want to invest in, they know they have a burning desire to do good.

So, the primary question you have to answer when your donor comes to you is: what won’t happen if you won’t get this money? By posing this question, your donors will consider what they’re pouring their money into and what their motivation behind giving is. In short: is this something they have a vested interest in? And will they regret not giving to this cause?

2. Am I Afforded Expert Help?

High Net Worth Donors seek out experts for almost everything. So, it’s incredibly important that your donors feel that they are making informed decisions with their money. Essentially, your donors want to know that they can trust your expertise. Donors may have questions such as: why should I contribute to your organization? How? And, what’s the best tax vehicle through which I can give?

If they have any questions regarding tax implications or specific questions about your cause, you need to provide them with the necessary resources. This could be done through your organization itself or by connecting them with external resources and people that would be even more beneficial. Show them where you are getting that talent who’s done this before or the ways in which you are educating yourself in this endeavor.

3. Will My Gift Yield Measurable Results?

High Net Worth Donors are more inclined to give once they have a greater understanding of where their money is going. They want their major gifts to transform into actionable change. So, these types of measurable results help generate long term relationships with donors.

If they are given evidence that their contributions will result in positive, lasting change, they will want to contribute in the future. Not only are their intentions valued, but they are acted upon by the causes they want to see flourish. So, not only will your cause be able to secure gifts now, but they will in the future as well by showing clients measurable results.

4. Do I Have Flexibility?

Your High Net Worth Donors aren’t concerned with digging into the intricacies of your organization. Their primary focus is to make a difference. So it’s important to consider what resources your donor may need to realize their goals. This requires you to think outside of your organization. What partners can you include for them to realize their goals? What investments do you need to make?

Instead of getting trapped in standard practices, it’s important to consider what can do to help your donors achieve their goals. Think: what can we do to get the difference? What will solve the problem? The more flexible you are in the planning stage and in your ability to provide resources, the more likely High Net Worth Individuals are to donate.

5. Is There A Way to Involve My Family?

For many High Net Worth Donors, giving is not an individual venture. It involves every member of their immediate family, especially their children. By doing this, HNWDs are collectively encouraging, nurturing, and involving the next generation in giving.

They want them to enhance their skill set to review grants and build their decision-making skills. Especially if their children are to manage the family foundation later on, it’s crucial that they have a space to develop their passion for philanthropy. If your cause is able to afford these opportunities. to younger generations, HNWDs are likely to take an interest because their children can extend their efforts, and invest in their own projects.

6. Is My Gift Tax Deductible?

Many High Net Worth Donors consider their gift tax to be the last good deduction left. Charitable deductions, in a sense, help them see the path towards lasting change. Although High Net Worth Donors are more interested in making a difference with their contributions, it’s still necessary to outline the benefits they will receive.

By letting donors know if their gift entitles them to a charitable contribution deduction against their income, you’re providing them an additional incentive to give. Not only are they acting altruistically, but they’re also able to receive tax relief.

Catch a Recap of Serving Today’s High Net Worth Donor

Interested in learning more about the best ways to engage your benefactors? Watch James Lintott’s talk on how to serve today’s high net worth donors, presented at the WE Prosper Summit 2019.

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Nonprofit Storytelling: 4 Ways to Deepen Engagement

nonprofit storytelling

In most (if not all) nonprofits, there is a greater emphasis on personalization. With the emergence of new technologies, it’s becoming easier for organizations to segment donors and personalize outreach according to their donors’ experiences, interests, and life stages. This is particularly evident in nonprofit storytelling.

Now, not only do donors want to receive messaging that speaks to their values, but they also want to forge connections with the organization they’re contributing to. As exemplified by Jay Scott, Co-Executive Director of Alex’s Lemonade Stand, donors want to hear stories about and from the people they’re helping. They want to understand those individuals, their stories, and give in ways that are impactful.

Webinar: Build & Grow Your Mid-Level Donor Program

Interested in learning how to build and grow your mid-level donor program? Register for our webinar this Wednesday at 1 PM!

So, let’s explore the four necessary things you should do to tell a story with impact:

4 Ways to Forge Deeper Connections with Donors

1. Dig Into Your Organization’s Backstory

A key step in successful nonprofit storytelling is to discuss your history. The first story that should connect with your audience is your organization’s origin story. How and why was your organization created?  And, how are you amplifying your mission today? These intentional tellings of your story can garner a community of loyal followers. So, if they believe in your mission and how you’re attempting to create change, donors and prospects will commit themselves to spread your story.

In Jay Scott’s case, almost all the donors that visit the Alex’s Lemonade Stand site are far more interested in the history of the organization than what is being done with the donations they’ve received. They want to know how they got started and how their organization is inspiring people to do more.

2. Focus on Deep Content in Nonprofit Storytelling, Not Just Personalized Messaging

Deep stories, like Alex’s, do more than encourage people to give for the sake of giving. Jay Scott demonstrates that stories are vessels for empathy. They allow you to create bonds with prospective and existing donors. Stories like Alex’s galvanize people into giving. Not only do they understand what is going on factually, but they also deeply feel the reality of the situation outlined before them.

The most impactful stories exist beyond the written word. They exist beyond the simplistic intention of collecting donations so your foundation can gain traction or attention. A truly salient story is one that digs into and illuminates a greater truth which may ordinarily feel abstract or intangible. That’s what inspires donors to give— not an anecdote illustrating why they should give, but a truth that allows them to connect, empathize, and humanize the individuals in the story.

3. Segment Your Audience

In nonprofit storytelling, not everyone will connect with the same story. So, it’s important to remain true to the stories you collect. Then, you can determine which donors will connect with which truth. Once you’ve segmented your donors, you can send tailored messages that are relevant to their interests and experiences.

Communication, from then on, is primarily donor-centric. You’re highlighting their wants, needs, and motivations, instead of showing donors why they should give to your organization. At Alex’s Lemonade Stand,  they send out personalized messages to hundreds of thousands of donors. Just by subject line alone, donors open these emails 2-5 times more than those on regular distribution lists. But, this isn’t about creating messages that are likely to be opened. It’s about bringing the attention of interested people to stories that speak to them. That’s where all significant change starts.

4. Amplify Your Intention Through Imagery in Nonprofit Storytelling

Imagery is an essential element in impactful nonprofit storytelling. Images can forge connections with readers just as much as written stories. For instance, Jay Scott noticed that when they left out Alex’s picture from their newsletter, his donors had something to say about it. Why? By seeing Alex’s picture, people were able to put a face to the story they were reading.

In that sense, images make nonprofit stories more tangible.

They allow you to humanize the cause and donors are able to see the individuals impacted by the gifts they contribute. So, the retellings no longer seem abstract. They’re real.

Catch a Recap of Using Storytelling to Personalize Your Message and Grow Donors

Watch Jay Scott’s powerful retelling of Alex’s story, presented at WE Prosper Summit 2019.

Start Now–>