After the Webinar: Fundraising Tactics, Tips, and Ideas. Q&A with Julie Bank

Webinar presenter Julie Bank answered a number of your questions after her webinar, Fundraising Tactics, Tips, and Ideas for Municipal and Non-Profit Animal Welfare Agencies. Here are just a few of her responses.

 

Audience Question: What was the name of the Vet Med site? I think she’s referring to the University of Florida’s program. 

Julie Bank: It is actually the University of Florida online vet medicine program. But the term is a little misleading, because while it does go into a lot of detail about how to run an animal organization, right? And the veterinary side of that, it also has leadership classes. And this class I’m talking about in fundraising development. It’s vetmed.ufl.edu And it is great if you’re looking for a master’s level programming, it’s a great online program. They have people from all over the country, as well as internationally, that are taking a master’s level course. And this is just one of the courses. And I’m the instructor of that, so I’d love to see you.

 

Audience Question: So, piggybacking on that question. Can we take the University of Florida class by itself, or do we have to do the whole master’s degree program to be able to take the fundraising class? 

Julie Bank: Well, they have the master’s program, but they also have a certificate program. So, you can’t take the program as a standalone thing, but you’ve got it as part of the certificate. Which is a much shorter program than the master’s program.

 

Audience Question: How do we get our board more involved in fundraising? 

Julie Bank: Right. So, we’ve talked about that, actually, in the first one, so I do encourage you to go look at that. But first thing is, how you set up your board and your first place. It’s important that when you’re recruiting people, you’re recruiting people with the understanding that fundraising is part of their job. Last time we talked about the board’s job is four things –  it’s to set overall strategy, it’s to have fiscal oversight, it’s to supervise and oversee the executive director/CEO/ president or whatever you’re called, and then the fourth piece is fundraising. So, people, when they’re coming on the boards should be expected to fundraise as part of their expectation. Sometimes groups will have a give-or-get, meaning there is a dollar threshold that they’re either required to give themselves or find in the community. And then they also have, when they’re doing the onboarding of new board members, they go through fundraising as part of that. The other thing is to make fundraising part of your regular communication at board meetings. So, you’ll want to look at how much money was raised. You’ll want to engage them in things like writing thank you notes, when they’re at board meetings, making phone calls to people, and communication about strategy. And the third thing that I’ll talk about is also making sure that they are held accountable for the major givers. And one way for that to happen is to give them a group of people that they are personally responsible for making calls, sending thank yous, setting up meetings, and all that kind of stuff. So, those are just three things to think about, but there’s a lot more on boardsource.com to learn more about how to get the board more engaged.

 

Audience Question: Julie, many of our audience members work for very small organizations. If we were to start someplace with incorporating new fundraising ideas, where should we start? Or maybe, more specifically, what tactics should we consider or not consider? Particularly those that are hugely labor intensive, like you were talking about earlier.

Julie Bank: Right. So honestly, I would go back to that 80/20 rule. So, your first strategy should really be to identify a list of individual donors. So, the individual person and having the infrastructure set in place to accept the donation in the first place, make sure you’re making your case. Make sure you have opportunities for them to give and that giving is put it in the right categories, and just starting to build those relationships is really key for anybody starting out, but having that like infrastructure database, because once you start collecting that, and once you start looking at that, then you start making phone calls to people you start sending out ask, you make phone calls, you send them an e-mail. You have different categories for them to give, and you start small. But, again, that’s going to be much more effective for you than creating five fundraisers that are taking a lot of your time and aren’t necessarily going to bring in the rate of return for you. So, I would start with the infrastructure, and then immediately go into individual giving options, which includes making the ask. So, if you’re going to make a social media post about a particular dog that you’re rescued, make sure that there’s always a way that they can engage in the bottom of that. So, you’re going to always say, And to help other animals like this animal, please donate to our health fund, or whatever you’ve called that. So just start small, but the individual donor is really where you need to be spending your energy.

 

Audience Question: I recently took over the social media for our organization. Do you have any tips or hints on how to maximize our fundraising efforts through apps like Facebook, Tiktok, and Instagram? So, do you want to expand a little bit more on your thinking about using social media? 

Julie Bank: There were just a couple of things, and then there’s a whole presentation in itself, by the way. You might want to consider having that next. But a couple of things to think about are, first of all, what stories are you sharing? So, when you’re looking at stories, you’re going to want to make sure that you’re telling those stories that share active things that people can engage with. So, whether it’s an individual animal that you have taken in and fixed its broken leg or a program that has helped a customer and the community, you want to actively show that. So, that’s more than just this is fluffy and fluffy needs to get adopted. It’s more looking at the programming and things that you’re sharing that show the active part of who you are. The second thing you want to do is always make sure that you have a call to action as part of that. So, the call to action should be “If you like this work,” or, “If you want to help dogs like this get more broken bones fixed, here’s how you can donate,” or “If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, to help us with the pet food bank, please put it here.” Whatever you can to use a call to action, It should be part of most of your fundraising efforts. And I’ll also say, use campaigns. As I had mentioned in the presentation, to have a campaign where it’s on your website, front, and center as soon as they click on it. It’s in your social media, you’ve sent out a mailer digitally and not. So, you’re making sure you’re spending time building up your database of names, that you’re going to mail things to. All of that use is looked at as a strategy versus just a one-off thing. And the one-off thing is great, but it’s not part of a strategy, which is going to get you a bigger bang for our return.

 

Audience Question: Julie, does having a fundraising program, mean we have to have a single person whose job it is to be a fundraiser? Or can fundraising still be effectively done by spreading it across multiple people, in your organization who have other duties as well? What are your thoughts? 

Julie Bank: So that’s a great question. That is also something that we talked about in the first webinar. So, I encourage you to go look at that piece in the webinar. But you need to have a culture of philanthropy in your organization. So even if there is one person that is assigned to the task, that doesn’t mean the entire organization is not key. So, I’ll just give you an example. You might have somebody who’s responsible for that task, but you’re asking a major donor to fund your medical program. Well, if you’re going to do that, one of the strategies you might use is to bring them in for a tour so that they could see your medical room. When they’re in the tour they’re going to want to talk to your veterinarian and they’re going to want to hear what the veterinarian or the vet tech or the volunteer who works in the veterinarian space does. Because we spoke a lot about a gift to people, so they want to know what is actually happening and who were the people behind that. At the front desk, you want to make sure that your staff is friendly and positive, and ask people for donations at the front desk. So, it really is an entire culture. And when I said earlier about your organization is ready. Part of that is looking at what the culture of your organization is, and how you can move that culture to be a culture of giving and openness for giving. And then you still need to assign that one person who’s kind of doing the database, or that one person who ultimately has that task. But they’re going to be working with everybody in the organization to ensure that it’s happening at every piece and every level of your organization.

 

Audience Question: Julie, you talked a lot about researching and qualifying your donors. How exactly do you do that? Can you talk a little bit more about the steps in this area? And Maria, specifically, wanted to know, if are there any privacy issues or considerations that we should keep in mind when talking about individuals like this? 

Julie Bank: Yeah, so I’m going to answer the second part first. When you start bringing in donors, all of that is private information, which is again, another reason to have kind of a separate database with controls —– on that, because donors don’t want you selling their lists. Donors don’t want you talking about their gift with other donors without permission. So, you do have to be very careful when you are keeping people’s private information, and that you don’t share it, and it’s not accessible to 800 people in your organization, who unfortunately, you can’t control the dissemination of information, so, that’s number one. But when you are looking at doing research, there are many different types of research, and I’m going to start with research on the donor themselves. So, when your first meeting with the donor might be, “Tell me about yourself.” And what you’re doing is listening. You’re not talking, you’re not maybe not asking for a gift on that first conversation, you’re hearing from them about what they’d like, what they want to support, what their pets are like, what their birthday is. You’re building that relationship as part of that, and that is research. The other thing that you can do is, look online, and anything that’s online is public information. So, things that you’re looking at online is you want to know things like whether they have a pet. What are the other places that they donate to in your community? And how much did they get? And a lot of that you could just find right online on people’s websites, you’ll see them at events, and you’ll see them acknowledged in annual reports. So, you’ll want to take the time to just research these folks online to see what is public record. Then, if you want to go as far higher, there are companies out there that do wealth management research for you, but you can also go to things like a grant center in town if you have one of those, to try to see if you can research that. But I would say being acutely aware, I tell you, right now, as a person who does fundraising, I can’t go into the community without taking a look at who, every time I go see a show, I look at that back page and go, oh, who’s given to this? Or if I go to a museum, I always take a picture of the wall where they acknowledge their donors. And then I start overlaying my donation like what I see in the community, with my donor database, and I start saying, Hey, they’ve only given us 50 bucks, but they gave that organization $50,000. So, what is going to be my plan for that individual to move them up the list? So those are just three things with research, but I do thank you for bringing up the privacy issue because donors do expect a sense of privacy when they are giving to an organization.

 

Click Here to Watch a Recording of Fundraising Tactics, Tips, and Ideas for Municipal and Non-Profit Animal Welfare Agencies

 

 

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