Building and maintaining a culture of philanthropy is hard work. It is deep work that takes years to build and moments to destroy. But having a healthy culture of philanthropy makes work more fun and makes fundraising easier. It’s worth having a periodic check-up to assess how your institution is doing.
Answer these questions for your institution:
Alumni support (or Grateful Patient support)
Stewardship and Donor Relations
Other questions to think about:
How did you feel about the assessment? Where are you doing well? Where should you improve?
As always, comments and questions are welcome and encouraged!
PS - If you liked this post, you might also like these:
PPS - If you found this article helpful, please comment and let me know. Also subscribe to Real Deal Fundraising so you don't miss a post! You'll get my guide to Call Center Games for Free!
I work from home and it is difficult to get enough movement when you walk basically to the kitchen, your office and then to your bedroom every day. I had gotten lax in my exercise regimen (what there was of it) and was waking up feeling stiff and sore every morning.
So, for these reasons, I decided to challenge myself. I wanted to do two things every day: at least 20 minutes of yoga and get 10,000 steps. I add a daily entry indicating that I have done it on my Facebook profile with a status update and the hashtags: #yogaeverydamnday and #10Ksteps. Probably it annoys more than 3/4 of my Facebook friends, but I don't care. In my opinion, I'm helping them with their own practice of scrolling past things that annoy you.
By Day 10, something weirdly amazing started to happen. I had had a terrible day. My kids had gone bonkers. It was a weird, off day and I basically ate my weight in Mexican food to cope. It was 9PM, my children were finally asleep and I only had like 3,000 steps.
What did I do? I stayed up until midnight and got those damn steps, that's what I did!
I could have just stopped posting about it on Facebook and no one would have noticed or cared. But, at this point, I was invested. I didn't want to stop for one bad day and have to "start over" with another 30 days.
Intractable stubbornness had set in. That stubbornness made me do it because I wanted to, just because. Even though it was hard. Even though there were no gold stars and no one would have cared if I stopped. Now, I'm on Day 15 and I'm starting to see more and more benefits, but the biggest is just the satisfaction that I didn't freaking quit.
Why am I posting about stubbornness on a blog post that's FUNdraising Friday? For a few reasons:
All that said, where in your work can you activate the power of intractable stubbornness? What areas of your personal life could benefit from the same mindset?
People love a good theme.
They will deny it but it is true. Ask for $25 and it falls flat. Ask for $20.16 in honor of your Class of 2016 and suddenly the same group is completely inspired.
Throw a Faculty-Staff Campaign kickoff and it is just another reception with peach tea. Throw a Glee inspired Lip Sync Contest with an ironic high school prom theme and it’s something no one has ever seen before.
Is your leadership annual giving society threshold $1,000 per year? What if it were named for your first president or most beloved president? What if the threshold were based on your founding year, for instance $1,904? (You could have special lower levels for young alumni.)
When I worked for The University of Southern Mississippi, our team started the Aubrey K. Lucas Society. It is named for our longest serving president, who also happens to be our longest consecutive year donor. He is famous for wearing bow ties. Each year those donors who have given a gift in each of the last three fiscal years gets a black and gold bow tie-themed car decal. Who would ever want to miss a year of giving? It's too fun to miss out on.
The key is that the themed events and ideas are specific. They show off the unique character of your institution and your personality as a fundraiser. Therefore they work on two levels: they are fun and enjoyable but they also reinforce and strengthen ties to your institution.
Go ahead and embrace the theme. Your job will be more meaningful and fun. Your donors will be amused and happy to participate in something fun and original.
Jessica Cloud, CFRE
I've been called the Tasmanian Devil of fundraising and I'm here to talk shop with you.