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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.