The Catholic Fundraiser

Meaningful Stewardship…For Your Donors!

Posted by Dawn M.S. Miller on 7/13/16 10:00 AM

I remember the first time I heard the word “stewardship” connected with philanthropy and donors. I was fresh out of college, in my first fundraising role, and trying to absorb as much about the world as possible (I knew nothing at that point). Our fundraising team was asked to brainstorm some unique stewardship ideas. I was hoping to pick up a few pearls of stewardship wisdom and instead everyone was silent—aside from a grumble about thank you notes and lists.

Flash forward 20 years and I certainly hope we have evolved beyond silence, a standard acknowledgement letter (“Thank you for your gift of…”), or running donor lists (“We’ll just put our donor names in the Annual Report.”)

Blah, blah, blah! Where’s the stewardship creativity?

Yes, of course we should continue to send acknowledgement letters, make thank you calls, and use other traditional means to steward our donors. But what can our nonprofits do to stand out? How can we keep our donors engaged and involved? How can we show our gratitude beyond a simple “thank you?”

In a world where we are constantly bombarded with information and data, we need to break through the noise and get to the heart of donor relationships. Here are a few stewardship moves that go beyond the mundane…

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Topics: Donor Development

The Courage to Change

Posted by Jim Dickman on 7/6/16 10:55 AM

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

We all want serenity in our lives. But the missions of our organizations are far too crucial for us to settle for serenity. As fundraisers, we need to have the courage to change what can be changed.

We don’t accept the status quo — it’s not enough.

As long as there are people who are suffering or in need, or who don’t have the same opportunities as everyone else, there’s more we can do. It’s too important to be mediocre.

But how many of us have the courage to actually change all that can be changed?

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Topics: Donor Development

Getting Beyond the “Like” [Free Online Resource]

Posted by Sr. Georgette Lehmuth on 6/22/16 10:00 AM

That photo montage of Sister Mary Francis working in a garden with the Guatemalan orphans got over 300 likes on Facebook (in less than 24 hours)! Naturally, you quickly switch tabs to the crowdfunding website and check if participation in your Feed A Few campaign has skyrocketed, and… nothing. You’re only $15 closer to the goal than you were yesterday.

The Development Dilemma

It’s a real challenge to get beyond the “Like”. You find yourself wondering if nonprofits ever get real results from social media efforts on Facebook. Not to mention the added difficulty of being a Catholic development professional whose mission is less...jazzy?... than some other nonprofits out there.  Some of the predicaments you find yourself in are:
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Topics: Donor Development, Catholic Fundraising Resources

Dos and Don’ts for the Planned Giving Fundraiser

Posted by John W. Jensen on 5/3/16 8:30 AM

Fundraising success is made up of many things. Once you have identified a donor who finds your mission compelling, you have someone you can cultivate for future gifts of all sorts — or someone you can alienate and potentially lose as a donor. The difference is often, to a large extent, within your control.

Most of the basics of general fundraising apply also to planned giving fundraising, but a greater attention to the donor lifecycle is required. And (sometimes more complicated) noncash gifts can be especially important. Because the basics are so critical to fundraising success, it is a good idea to periodically step back and examine the details of how you are interacting with your donors.

Don’t let concerns about your lack of technical expertise be an obstacle to having conversations about noncash gifts. 

In most cases, you will be talking to a donor about making a gift that is simple to understand, such as a bequest or a gift from what may remain in a retirement plan. For more complicated gifts, your role is to generally describe the possible benefits and to interest the person in discussing it with a colleague or advisor.

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Topics: Donor Development, Nonprofit Galas, Planned Giving

About The Catholic Fundraiser

In this weekly blog we share tips, tactics and case studies for professionals in the Catholic fundraising community. Learn how to advance your mission with articles on technology, donor engagement, nonprofit leadership, social media, and emerging trends.

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