Thursday, February 25, 2016
This semester I am co-teaching a graduate course in Nonprofit Fundraising with my colleague, Dr. Bob Grimm, who is the Director of the Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership at the University of Maryland. One of the books we are using for the course is The Generosity Network, which I highly recommend.
One of the themes of the book is that when donors are engaged as partners and time is devoted to developing relationships between the organization and the donor, amazing results can occur. Rather than taking a more traditional “transactional” approach, the book encourages developing “transformational” relationships with donors.
One of the recommendations of the book is that organizational leaders should be prepared to share “stories” about the organization and those they serve in order to more effectively communicate the mission of the organization. This did not come as a surprise to me as I think effective fundraisers have been doing that for years. But it is a good reminder.
A bit more unique, however, is the book’s suggestion that we – anyone who does fundraising – should be prepared to tell our personal life stories of our connection to the nonprofit with donor prospects. And we should ask our donor prospects to share their life stories with us. Reading this made me realize that I tend to be more traditional and reserved when it comes to sharing my life story with others – especially a donor prospect!
But I think that the point is that we should stop thinking about donor prospects as donor prospects and more as “people” who happen to be donor prospects. And we should attempt to engage and build a relationship first, as people, before we start talking about mission and money.
Certainly, developing relationships with donors takes time, and you won't have the time to do it with everyone. But for those for whom you can put in the time it can lead to transformational relationships and transformational gifts. And it starts with that human connection. What’s your story?
For more ideas on how you can lead breakthroughs in your organization, follow this blog and check out my web site at www.SheehanNonprofitConsulting.com You will find free resources you can download, including a Breakthrough Strategy Workbook that you can download at no cost. You can also check out my book, Mission Impact: Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, and buy it if you are interested. And you can follow Sheehan Nonprofit Consulting on Facebook.
Posted by Dr. Rob Sheehan at 7:07 AM
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
This blog is dedicated to the first wave of Baby Boomers (born 1946 – 1964) who will turn 70 years old in 2016. Are you ready for them?
Much has been written about the importance of organizations getting ready for the Boomers to retire – such as my recent blog. But are you ready in other ways?
The Baby Boomers represent what will be the healthiest and wealthiest retirement generation that America has ever seen. You need to be prepared for them as:
*Volunteers & Board Members. Once they retire, most Boomers will still be quite healthy and they are altruistic. They can be exceptional volunteers and Board members. But, you need to prepare the right kinds of volunteer opportunities for them. Most Boomer retirees I talk with want to be given volunteer work of real substance. These are not people who want to stuff envelopes. You need to consider how they may serve your nonprofit as “quasi-staff” so you can tap into their talent and experience.
*Donors. Nonprofits have the opportunity to develop real relationships with Boomers. They will be less interested in just writing a check. Let them get close to what you do, involve them, and take a long term approach to their philanthropy. They will live for many years beyond retirement and your nonprofit could be their favorite new cause. But you need to tailor your approach to them and their lifestyle.
*Service Recipients. For the Boomers who are well off and healthy, nonprofits can look at creating special “fee for service” programs for Boomers – especially in the areas of the arts, education, and health. Special exercise programs for Boomers are popping up in many places, for example. For those who are not so healthy or well off, nonprofits can expect a surge in service needs in a variety of areas from hunger to addiction to transportation to health care.
Get ready for the Boomers! There are a lot of them. Their birth year will peak in 1957, so we have years to go until the largest cohort reaches 70. The aging of this generation represents opportunity and challenge for making even more of a Mission Impact.
Posted by Dr. Rob Sheehan at 3:50 AM