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Fundraising Compliance & Building Meaningful Relationships

You’ve mapped out an online strategy that engages donors and makes the most of your relationships, boosting annual giving and catalyzing major gifts. Your cultivation efforts are honed in on capturing the hearts, minds, and giving spirits of your donors so that they not only invest in your annual fund, but also make a multi-year commitment to your capital campaign. You’re talking about your mission, building on the clarity of your vision, and launching cost-effective strategies for making all of this happen online. Just don’t forget fundraising compliance. Being compliant helps instill confidence in your donors so their focus stays on your mission. Why does fundraising compliance matter for you? There’s an excellent chance that your organization is incorporated in one of the 41 states that require charitable solicitation registration. There’s also an excellent chance that you have built or are building your fundraising clout to a notable level. Your donors’ networks have become your network, spreading your message and expanding your outreach. You’ve made it easy for donors to give from wherever they are, and online giving for your organization is on the rise. Online giving requires online fundraising compliance. It’s reasonable to wonder where you need to register. In short, you need to register for anywhere you ask! It’s not just about where you are; it’s about where you’re asking. Are you casting a wide net, asking everyone you’ve connected with on your website and through social media to participate in your annual giving? Have you made your “Donate Now” button prominent so that anyone, anywhere can find you and give? Maybe some of your donors have moved away, but remain loyal givers. All of these donors, and their locations, need to be taken into consideration. Don’t trip over technicalities as the money comes rolling in. Register before you ask so you don’t leave money on the table. Determine that you’re meeting all of the necessary requirements. What are some best practices? Let’s keep it simple. There are four key steps to remember if you want to stay on track:
  • Research: You need to know your status in each state. Once you know that, you can easily map out your path to compliance, including which applications to complete and what fees may be charged.
  • Apply: Each state has it’s own application process, so make sure you are preparing the correct forms in the most streamlined and cost-effective manner.
  • Monitor: As with any other submission you make, you’ll want to follow these applications through to approval, for your – and your donors – peace of mind.
  • Renew: Mark your calendar so that once you’re compliant, you stay compliant. Track due dates and fees so that your renewals are on time and complete.

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By donorsearch

Tips to Make Your Year-End Appeals More Appealing

This post is brought to us by Victoria Dietz, Vice President of The Curtis Group. Learn more about The Curtis Group at the close of this article.  As you probably know, 40% of giving occurs in the last four months of the year. Of course, December remains the prime time for when those gifts are actually made. Does your fundraising plan include month-by-month steps for year-end giving? If you haven’t already started your year-end campaign, you’re behind. But if you act quickly, there’s still time to bring in some sizable donations. Ideally, your year-end fundraising will follow this timeline: Here are some of our top tips for maximizing your donors’ year-end giving.

Get your board on board.

One of the first pieces of the puzzle you need in place is board support. All board members should have made meaningful personal gifts and are thinking about other ways to get involved—making calls, setting appointments, giving tours, signing appeal letters and thank-you cards, or maybe considering issuing a challenge gift to the community. Let’s face it: board members will not wake up one morning and think of these ideas themselves. You, as a staff leader, need to communicate with them early at board meetings and through one-on-one conversations to help them get engaged and maximize success. 

Don’t wait until November 29 to send the first communication.

We know starting early is a must. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re asking in September, but it should mean you’re planning and ramping up communication so that when a donor is thinking about where to give toward the end of the year, you have laid a solid foundation and built a great case for a gift. Use the early fall to show impact and tell your story so your organization is top of mind.

Stay on message.

It’s essential have a coordinated message that is clear to donors. When writing year-end appeals, you need to:
  • Use a multi-pronged approach  (in-person, direct mail, online and social media).
  • Make sure written and electronic communications complement each other.
  • Tell strong stories that tap into donors’ emotions.
  • Demonstrate impact.

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What Not To Do on #GivingTuesdsay

This article is brought to us by Eileen Blake, Marketing Manager of AlumniFinder. Sometimes knowing what you shouldn’t do is every bit as important as knowing what to do. Anyone who has ever accidentally put metal in a microwave can tell you how true this is! There are some sure-fire ways to accidentally set back your #GivingTuesday efforts on the one day a year you should absolutely be trying to reach new donors and supporters. Here are a few mistakes to avoid this #GivingTuesday:

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By donorsearch

Treating Event Sponsors as Major Gifts Prospects

Do you dismiss your event sponsors after your event is over? Many organizations are guilty of this practice and it can make an individual or business feel used, undervalued, and less than invested in your organization’s success. Instead of taking an event-centric approach, focus on cultivating long-term relationships with event sponsors. Give them the same level of respect and the same mindset you bring to prospects for major gifts. Kristin Steele of Swaim Strategies said in a recent webcast, “If we can create emotional resonance between our organizations and our donors, we’re going to evolve out of the transactional relationship that we have with them. When people feel like they’re treated like a checkbook, eventually they’re going to move on to someplace where they’re seen as people taking action to change the world.” Steele continues, “The event is an opportunity. When people walk into a room and the event wraps its arms around them and brings them into the organization, they feel like they’re a part of something.” Here are some tips to help you change up your event approach:

1) Research and Target Prospects

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