Category: Campaigns

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Write a Superb Case Statement

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA A superb case statement communicates to the donor why funds are urgently needed and why philanthropic support makes sense. It’s critical for that to occur on the first page of the case, as this sample does so well, since many people will only read that page. “How can we ever say no?,” the cover page asks. Right from the start the key question is posed and driven home. When executed well, a case statement inspires your donors to invest in your future — and become ambassadors for your mission and vision. Most people associate Cases

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Text to Give

Use Text Messaging for Donor Stewardship

Text messaging is an important — and largely underused — donor stewardship tool.  Advanced fundraisers have been slow to fully embrace text (aka SMS) messaging largely out of fear that they are intruding on their donors. But as texting has become the primary form of communication for many of us, it’s time to move past that fear and embrace texting as a central piece of your larger donor communications strategy.  Text marketing has an incredible 98% open rate — and most messages are read within the first 30 minutes of delivery. The average American sends more than 40 texts per

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Our 2022 Crystal Ball

Our 2022 Crystal Ball

By Brooke Bryant, Ph.D; Robin Merle, CFRE; and Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA As we approach a new year, fundraisers continue to navigate an unsettled landscape. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, calls for racial justice, changing donor expectations, and a tight labor market have been central themes in 2021 — and they will continue to influence how we approach our work in 2022. Against that backdrop, we offer these 12 fundraising trends to watch over the next 12 months: The 12 Biggest Nonprofit Trends for 2022 Donors Will Give More Generously Equity Must Be Front and Center Hybrid Is Here to Stay Megadonors Will Be

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Gift Charts

Gift Charts Are Fundamental

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA The adage “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” applies to gift charts. A gift chart shows giving levels from low to high and informs fundraisers on how many donors they need at each level of giving to reach the fundraising goal. As such, gift charts are central to careful development planning. They are also useful for all sizes of nonprofits — not just large campaigns or large organizations. Taking a short amount of time to make, a gift chart will deepen your ability to manage your time and staff resources to focus

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Six Steps To Setting The Right Fundraising Goal

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Knowing how much revenue you’re raising is essential. It seems obvious doesn’t it? Yet many fundraisers don’t know how to go about setting the right goal. There’s often silence whenever I ask a Chief Development Officer or the CEO, “How much revenue are you seeking to raise?” Recently, Jane, a mid-career Development Director, was honest with me: “That’s a seemingly simple question, she said, but I really don’t know.” I am empathetic. There are many good reasons why we fundraisers do not know our goal. For example, organizational budgets may not have been shared, or

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Cash Reserve & Capacity Campaigns

Cash Reserve & Capacity Campaigns

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Cash reserves and capacity funding are in dire need throughout our sector. If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, this article is for you. Are you continuously juggling cash flow? Is your agency’s credit line at its limit? Is your client base growing faster than your donor support? Have funders asked you for stronger program outcomes, but your quality assurance (Q/A) department is nonexistent or understaffed? Is a new program needed, but you lack planning funds to test it? Is your I/T capability not up to 21st century demands? If your answer

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How To Set A Campaign Goal

How To Set A Campaign Goal

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Setting your right fundraising goal at the start of a campaign is very important. Why? Consider these two top reasons: First, large fundraising drives are not done frequently. Because of their infrequency, it’s important to make sure you’re asking for all you need. Once you ask, asking again at a large level usually can’t be done until five or ten years pass. Second, people decide on the amount of their gift in proportion to the goal. A $100,000 goal, for example, is unlikely to attract a gift larger than $10,000, whereas a $1 million goal

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Scaling Your Campaign (an Interview with Bob Serow, Senior Consultant)

Scaling Your Campaign (an Interview with Bob Serow, Senior Consultant)

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Shawn Jones: In your experience, have you seen a dollar “range” of fundraising campaign goals that work? Is there a goal that’s “too low” for a campaign to gain momentum? Bob Serow: Campaign goals are all relative to the culture of the organization and their capacity to raise money. If you have a real grassroots, niche nonprofit that raises an annual fund of a couple hundred thousand dollars a year, then a campaign goal of $1.1 to $1.7 million will grab people’s attention. But the campaign case for support must be compelling. The key is that the goal should be an exponential

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Build Relationships With Your Trustees and Inspire Them To Give

Build Relationships With Your Trustees and Inspire Them To Give

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Often trustees will pressure us fundraisers to state which philanthropists we know and if we can get them to give to their cause. After 20 years as a fundraiser, no matter the cause or the organization, trustees still ask me, usually very early in the conversation, to list who might fund them. Ideally, I have previously done my own prospect research on the board members so that I know their giving history and can work this into the conversation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to talking about the profile or attributes of the donor

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