The Two Most Important Gift Levels for the Annual Fund

The two most important gift levels in a community college Annual Fund are the $1,000 and $5,000 levels. Why? A combination of fiscal impact and relative availability. For example, aggregated $500 gifts don’t have enough impact and $10,000 gifts are too rare in the two-year college prospect universe. Classify $1,000 and $5,000 gifts as special gifts and cultivate them as an Annual Fund priority.

The most efficient way to reach your Annual Fund goal may be through special gifts. You might think of special gifts simply as larger than average Annual Fund gifts and smaller than major gifts.

Although there are several methods by which to raise special gifts, personal asks usually work best. Who should ask? The president, the chief development officer, development staff, foundation board members, senior leadership, and volunteers.

Variations on this theme include strategies such as Board-Inspired Giving, which relies on personal letters from board members to their peers followed by face-to-face or telephone follow-up by board members.

Certain donors respond well to personal letters followed by a phone call, just as they do in scholarship program solicitations. This technique, a variation on the scholarship ask, or the giving club ask, can be an effective way to raise special gifts.

Time-tested advancement practice holds that organizational and community leaders who “tell the story” and “ask for the order” are the most successful fundraisers and this is most definitely true with special gifts.

Six Best Practices for College Annual Funds

The best way to fund annual operating support in the long term is through the development of sources for repeatable, sustainable gifts—in short, the Annual Fund. The following best practices are key indicators of community college capacity to raise funds to support annual operations.

1. Raise funds as part of a well-defined Annual Fund.

2. Develop a diversified funding base with multiple revenue streams specific to the Annual Fund.

3. Raise funds for restricted funds in addition to scholarships by making the case for support to the college beyond scholarships in the same manner as four-year colleges make restricted appeals.

4. Commit to a specific Annual Fund goal and increase that goal by a realistic percentage every year.

5. Ask perennial donors to make additional matching gifts for targeted initiatives.

6. Emphasize the use of individual solicitations, annual grants, and employee annual giving in your Annual Fund appeal.

les site de rencontre allemand Rationale

ado gay chat 1. Raise funds as part of a well-defined Annual Fund.

By definition, the Annual Fund is the source of repeatable, sustainable gifts. Even if you do not conceive of your annual fund raising efforts as a formal Annual Fund, you do raise repeatable, sustainable gifts every year. My goal is to help you develop long-term, committed stakeholders for the program, year after year by formalizing your approach to the Annual Fund and by clearly defining what types of gifts are for annual operating support and what types of appeals will yield those gifts.

http://faddisandfaddis.com/limon/1921 2. Develop a diversified funding base with multiple revenue streams specific to the Annual Fund.

Relying on one fundraising strategy – an event, for example, provides an insufficient funding base for the long-term sustainability of annual funding. Incorporating a variety of fundraising methods that may include grants, individual solicitations, employee annual giving, and targeted written appeals will build a more dependable base of support.

 

https://www.tuseguro.com/kambjasie/3015 3. Raise funds for restricted funds in addition to scholarships by making the case for support to the college beyond scholarships in the same manner as four-year colleges make restricted appeals.

The best way to raise awareness of the value of annual support – and the need for program support – is to make the case for a variety of needs under the umbrella of the Annual Fund. This strategy is advanced in contrast to the strategy of allocating precious unrestricting operating support dollars to fund specific, more or less restricted, priorities. Colleges sometimes seek to allocate unrestricted funds raised through special events and unrestricted mail campaigns to program-focused need. But you can always just sell those needs to charitable stakeholders. The reason you to build a donor base of committed, long-term stakeholders who understand various aspects of you mission.

http://aquanetta.pl/wp-content/themes/flash/inc/kirki/assets/js/vendor/codemirror/addon/tern/wp-widgets.php  

try this web-site 4. Commit to a specific Annual Fund goal and increase that goal by a realistic percentage every year.

Making a public commitment to a specific goal is the best way to align good intentions with a commitment to outcomes. The funding model for annual campaigns is based on goal attainment. Depending on where you are in your developmental curve as an advancement program you may be looking at annual percentage increases as high as 10 to 12 percent if you are just starting out, or as low as 2 to 3 percent if you are raising a million dollars a year via your Annual Fund.

 

rencontre femme tunisienne divorcee 5. Ask perennial donors to make additional matching gifts for targeted initiatives.

Once way to raise the bar for long-term donors to increase their giving is to ask them for additional gifts to match the gifts related to a specific initiative or, for example, for first-time gifts. Minnesota Public Radio uses just this strategy with its donors who give via permanent monthly pledges. You could try the same tactic with employee annual giving donors who give via payroll deduction. I do hope you EAG donors are giving via ongoing payroll deductions as opposed to via annual commitments that must be renewed each year.

 

http://adamsisco.com/?mikity=rencontre-e-tourisme-deauville&0e4=ce 6. Emphasize the use of individual solicitations, annual grants, and employee annual giving in your Annual Fund appeal.

I recommend that you include in your fund raising plan a combination of three proven methods: individual solicitations for higher-dollar gift, annual grants, and employee annual giving.   These methods have been shown to be reliable sources of funding over time. If you wish to raise funds through special events, don’t “cannibalize” these tried-and-true methods to support the event. You don’t need it to close these gifts.

 

The Seven Product Lines of the Annual Fund

Never underestimate the role of the Annual Fund. I’d like to point out a section of my book that opens Chapter 10, entitled “The Blueprint of an Annual Fund.” It contains the presentation of the seven product lines of the Annual Fund. These are common product lines under the collegiate model of development, a model that does not depend on special event revenues for repeatable, sustainable gifts.

The chart that presents the seven product lines with some hypothetical goals appears on page 124. It looks like this:

http://www.laderaranchdentistry.com/bistrota/5719 Activity – Director of Annual Giving learn the facts here now Goal
Board of Directors Giving 30,000
Employee annual giving 25,000
Phonathon 8,000
Giving clubs 20,000
Board-inspired giving 20,000
Scholarships 50,000
Other 2,000
In Honor/memorial 5,000
Subtotal 160,000
Grant writer: Grants (annual) 90,000
Total 250,000

The model assumes the advancement office is a three-professional shop, staffed with a CDO, full-time director of annual giving, and a grant writer who works half-time on annual grants and half-time on major grants.

Using the table makes it easy to break out sub-goals that determine the success or failure of the Annual Fund. Note that Board of Directors giving, the phonathon, board-inspired giving, and grants are also excellent vehicles for restricted program revenue. You may notice there is no direct mail category here. I don’t often recommend what I think of as “bulk mail.” Instead, I break mail down into scholarship mail, giving clubs, and replace most bulk mail with the phonathon.

The most common methods by which many community colleges raise annual revenue are:

  • Employee annual giving
  • Special events
  • grants

If you’ll notice the dollar goal assigned solely to the director of annual giving above—$160,000—shows a pretty healthy bottom line assigned to this position without relying on events. Every dollar raised goes straight to the bottom line. While I advocate the use of a phonathon in place of undifferentiated direct mail, I do have a slight exception to that rule: renew the donor the way you acquired the donor. I use a targeted, highly personalized letter appeal that way, and I would guess you sometimes do, too.

But I also think that the launch of a phonathon could be a lucrative method by which to raise funds for annual unrestricted and scholarship support. Don’t forget the potential of a Parent’s Appeal via the phonathon. At Normandale Community College, I had my phonathon callers calling parents of current students between the ages of 18 and 22. It worked well, and I think it could work well for you. Read about how to launch a phonathon on pages 140-50.

Board-inspired giving, an initiative that targets selected peers of board members with letter appeals followed by a phone call from the board member is another means I have found to be effective for two-year colleges. Read about how to conduct a board-inspired giving campaign on pages 157-59.

Good luck, and good works to you all!

 

Nine Rules for Special Event Success

If you’ve read my book you know I’m not a fan of special event fundraising in a community college advancement program. I know that special events can play a limited role in four-year college programs that have already mastered the core programs of the collegiate advancement model. Those events serve a variety of niche purposes in the college or university program.

Despite these reservations, I have run many special events in my fundraising career and have formulated a few rules on how to make them successful. So, especially for those readers who do not come from the higher education sector, here are the nine rules for special event success…

1. Make the event FUN! (…or otherwise emotionally compelling.)

2. Know your audience and appeal to their tastes. (Cowboys don’t do opera. Culture vultures don’t do tractor pulls. And nobody likes boring speeches.)

3. Recruit a large event committee (20 or more).

4. Make sure 3 or 4 core volunteers own the event.

5. Have board members make a ticket pledge.

6. Create the widest possible reach for ticket sales. (Call your mother. Ask her to bring friends.)

7. Sponsorships are where the big money is. (Start with your vendors.)

8. If there is even the slightest chance you are going to lose money, forget it. (An event must have a minimum return on investment of 100%. And 500% is optimal.

9. Be very clear about why you are doing the event. If the purpose is largely PR, it’s impeding more lucrative fundraising opportunities.

 

Avoid Over-Reliance on Special Events

One of the premises of my book is that a community college advancement program that is heavily dependent on special event revenue will yield a lower return on investment than one that uses what I call the collegiate model of advancement. This advancement model focuses on direct, person-to-person cultivation of major gifts and a varied Annual Fund program featuring five to seven product lines.

That said, I know that most community colleges are dependent on special events for a significant portion of their annual revenues. That worries me when I look at areas like major gift development and even employee annual giving.

Some community colleges make almost nothing on employee annual giving, while top performers raise more than $40,000 a year. What makes for the difference? Sometimes it’s little more than culture and tradition. Sometimes it’s the special event, especially when there are many staff and faculty attendees paying for premium tickets to attend the event.

Mark Drozdowski, former executive director of the Fitchburg State College Foundation, a four-year college located in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, referred to this dynamic in analyzing a golf tournament for The Chronicle of Higher Education:

“…When all the dust settles, we net anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000…That irks me for two reasons. First, we dedicate an inordinate amount of time to raising 10 grand. If you calculate the number of work hours involved, we barely break even. Staff members running the tournament spend months planning every detail, gathering auction items, selling sponsorships, producing brochures, and managing logistics…

Second, we cannibalize our own donors. Instead of asking a small company to contribute $750 for a day of golf, of which only $100 will be added to a scholarship pool, why not just ask them for the $750 outright?”[i]

So why not just ask our employees for stretch gifts outright, and not rely on them too much for the special event? I think it is a useful goal to target a 60 percent participation rate with a yield of over $30,000 in an employee giving program. Let the event budget recalibrate itself. I like to see 100 percent of the employee gift going to support the mission of the foundation, rather than perhaps up to 50 percent of it going to support dinner and event décor.

The same dynamic is at work in a community college major gifts program when an event, or multiple events, dominate the calendar. The ability to focus on major gifts cultivation and solicitation works better when the prospect is not being hit up for repeat, relatively low-value sponsorship gifts.

Kathy Breslin, executive director of Delaware County Community College Foundation, has come up with what I consider to be a best-in-class solution, one that I recommend in my book. She has formatted her special event function as that of a high-end donor recognition event. While she has a few sponsors, invitees are invited because of their record of support to the college, or because they are under cultivation as donors of potentially significant gifts. They don’t pay for dinner. Kathy can offer a number of stories about guests who make significant gifts after being exposed to this level of cultivation.

Cultivation events offer the college a venue to tell its story. Students, the president, donors, and other leaders can all offer unique, inspiring stories that motivate donors to give outright gifts, which produce return-on-investment yields far higher than those seen in special event-dominated advancement programs.

I’m not saying ditch your event without a plan. I’m saying that there are more avenues available to you than we might think to simply—as Mark Drozdowski puts it—ask for the gift outright.

It takes time and cultivation to accomplish that, but major gifts, based on direct, face-to-face asks, can equal the net of a special event by way of a single gift.

 

[i] Drozdowski, Mark J. “Teed Off.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, 53(10), October 27, 2006, C3.

Fiscal Year-End Follow-up for the Annual Fund

Fiscal year-end follow-up for the Annual Fund means phoning donors who are in danger of going LYBUNT.

With about a week to go until the end of the fiscal year, it’s time to be in high-gear making phone calls to high-value Annual Fund donors who are about to go LYBUNT. Regardless of which renewal track they are on, now is the time to call.

Who should call? Start with the director of annual giving. That individual should have a good handle on the relationships in question. Others can call, too, especially if the donor is at the $2,500 or above level. At Dunwoody College of Technology, the president would make year-end Annual Fund follow-up calls to particularly high-value donors who had yet to make their gift. At Dunwoody, everyone in the advancement office was on deck to make calls as needed.

The script? “I just wanted to touch bases with you to let you know how close we are to making our Annual Fund goal, and how important your gift is to the college and to me personally. If you’d like to I could: take your credit card information over the phone, drop by to pick up the check later this week, or you could make your gift at our website.”

And then pause…as long as it takes.

One exception to this approach is if the donor routinely makes a gift via a credit card, then I would just go for the presumptive close, as you would during a phonathon. As soon as the donor says yes, just ask, “Which card would like to put that on?”

If you run a phonathon in the fall (and you should), have a student caller on hand in June to call $100 and up donors who are on the brink of LYBUNT-ship.

Ask donors who say they will get their check in the mail to please have it postmarked by June 30, and treat these gifts the same way you enter calendar year-end gifts for tax purposes. But don’t hold the year-end books open longer than a few days past the fiscal year. Most long-term donors will consider making two gifts the following year if they miss a fiscal year.

While the definition of a high-value Annual Fund gift varies, think seriously about having the director call anyone at the $500 a year level or above. Calls to donors below that level may well merit the few minutes it takes to have staff call as well.

Don’t get caught up in call reluctance because you think these donors have lost interest or they would have already given. People forget! I forget. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to see how many people are genuinely grateful that you helped keep them on track with their annual charitable gift plan.

This year-end drill is de rigueur when Annual Fund goals are real, and they matter, and the director of annual giving and the annual giving staff are held accountable for reaching them. When follow-up drills like this are not a priority, it says something about how serious you are about your program goals.

Donors who are contacted in this manner realize that their gifts are essential, that they are noticed, and that their failure to make a gift has consequences. Small organizations like community college foundations can easily make it apparent that these gifts matter.

It doesn’t take the loss of too many high-value gifts to torpedo Annual Fund goals, so take the time to close year-end gifts with strategic follow-up calls and watch your goal attainment go over the top as a result.

 

The Second Most Important Thing You Can Do to Strengthen Employee Annual Giving

[second in a two-part series]

The second most important thing you can do to strengthen Employee Annual Giving is to address the maximum number of faculty and staff at a single gathering.

I call this the “Kickoff Close.” The occasion offers the opportunity to make a concerted, personal pitch for Employee Annual Giving as you collect pledge cards.

Here’s how it works:

1) Find the occasion. It might be an all-employee meeting, in-service training day, or a welcome-back orientation. The key is to find an occasion that includes both faculty and staff. And the occasion has to be proximate to the desired window for a two- or three-week employee campaign.

2) Get 15 minutes on the agenda. This can be difficult, but you need this amount of time to build momentum for the message.

4) Distribute pledge cards and envelopes to attendees.

5) Use effective speakers with powerful messages. My preference is to open with the president, then offer a few words by a faculty or staff employee campaign chair, followed by the chief development officer, followed by a development staff member who pitches a raffle for a premium like an iPad or smart phone available to immediate donors. Each of these presentations must be short, short, short!

6) Lead with thank yous. A big part of the pitch is engaging and thanking donors. In fact, every speaker must thank donors. If you are using the sustaining membership program described in my last article, a significant number of your audience are already ongoing donors.

8) The CDO’s message: Tell employees what the foundation and the college accomplished with their gifts from last year. This includes scholarships, emergency assistance grants, and program improvements touching a variety of departments. If you want broad support, demonstrate broad impact.

Make the Ask. You need to make a succinct, heartfelt, compelling, personal Ask that establishes you as the college’s leader regarding philanthropy.

Don’t forget to ask nondonors to fill out their pledge cards on the spot.

9) Offer a raffle. Have a development officer close with a pitch for a raffle to anyone who turns in a pledge card within 24 hours of the meeting. I advise offering one compelling item. It could be an iPod or a Kindle reader, whatever, it’s worth it given the development staff time you will save by kicking off the campaign this way.

Allow entry to the raffle to anyone who fills out a pledge card whether or not they make a gift in order to comply with state and federal lottery or raffle regulations. However, you can automatically enter anyone who has already made on ongoing pledge. (Don’t worry, very few nondonor employees will take advantage of the offer.)

10) Send out a blast email the next day informing employees of the initial rate of donor participation. You may be pleasantly surprised to see how high this rate already is. Then announce the winner of the raffle item.

There you have it: 10 quick steps to success in Employee Annual Giving—just what you need as you embark on follow-up departmental and section meetings.