Friday, February 28, 2014

Webinar Recap: How to Build Strong Ties with Wealthy Donors

SPEAKERS: Curtis R. Simic, Cynthia Simon Skjodt
HOST: Holly Hall

How do we engage donors?
  • Make Connections
  • Gather information on their desires and interests now. What are their current engagements with the community at large? Research their annual givings.
  • Be a good listener, not just a talker.
  • Always remember that the relationship is institutional too, not just personal with the program officer.
  • It takes time.
  • What are the connections to our organization, mission, and specialties?
What do you look for in a major donor prospects?
  • Linkage – personal ties
  • Interest – past giving
  • Ability – to give
How do we approach a wealthy donor? 
  • Listen and ask questions that will lead them to open up to you.
  • Ask yourself: what is important to this donor?
  • Ask mutual contacts to connect you with the donor.
  • Listening is key! (Listen for what is not being said and what is being said).
  • Think about the donor’s circumstances and perspective.
  • Our job is to bring the conversation back on track. Follow the thread that is being left out by the donor.
Donor’s Perspective:
  • Keep donors engaged. Make them feel like they are a part of the organization.
  • Don't send generic mailings--make it personal. 
  • Ask them to visit the facilities or projects so that they are able to see the final product of their donation.
  • Invite them to events and gatherings.
  • Seeing the project at hand; seeing the need of the money and the difference it’ll make.
Top Errors in Major-Gift Asking Process

1.       Inadequate stewardship on previous gifts. Failure to ensure donor feels satisfied that previous gifts made a difference.
2.       Failure to follow up on donor concerns. (Concerns and objections are a normal part of the process).
3.       Asking too early/under asking/not asking.
4.       Lowering the ask too soon.
5.       Not listening to the donor.
6.       Asking for something the donor does not want.
7.       Not considering what the donor wants.
8.       Not engaging the donor in a full relationship.
9.       Asking husband and ignoring a wife or adult child.
10.   Not going to the donor to ask.
11.   Asking in the wrong environment.
12.   Surprising the donor.
13.   Having the wrong person ask.
14.   Not using an asking team. (Asking team includes people that are strategically linked to the donors interests and linkages – includes a peer, someone they respect and trusts, and the development officer of the organization).
15.   Failure to follow up regularly during the process.
16.   Not paying attention to timing.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

War on Poverty, Part III: A Closer Look: State by State

Blog Feature: Yesenia Rojas

As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, it is important to see the effects, progress, and problems taking place at the national level and also among all 50 states.
The Half in Ten report "Resetting the Poverty Debate: State of the States 2013" provides fact sheets and tables highlighting data and other information that evaluate a state’s poverty rate. They analyze unemployment insurance coverage, affordable housing, gender wage gap, etc, and show how inextricably linked the War on Poverty is to other factors in our communities.
One of the most important causes is unemployment insurance cuts; a strong trend in the data shows southern states like Florida and Georgia lead the nation with worsening coverage numbers.
What can we do? A call to action is necessary.
The Center of Budget Priorities explains that "approximately 5 million Americans are expected to lose emergency unemployment benefits over the next 12 months," without a doubt the shocking state-by-state impact numbers should urge citizens to contact Congress.

If our government does not invest in social programs the future of this war seems dismal.
Social security, food stamps/SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), Medicare/Medicaid, and federal support for education should all be well funded so that our wavering economy may be sustained.

The safety net programs provide security and support both nationally and at the state level.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

War on Poverty, Part II: Supporting the Solutions Nationally: Education & Social Progress

By: Yesenia Rojas 

While unemployment rates increase and wages continue to plummet, many families are facing dire challenges, such as: increased housing costs, access to child care, and meeting other basic needs. If wages are not accommodated to suit the basic needs of breadwinners, then we have no fighting chance to stay afloat.
What can we do? Support assistance programs. As congress considers reckless cuts this new year, we must instead fight for their funding.
Even though our economy has experienced growth since the recession, not every citizen has felt the effects of these changes, meaning that intelligent and strategic investing is pivotal. The fiscal dialogue should face and tackle the issues that will impact the War on Poverty in years to come:
      Backing a fruitful economy that will serve everyone regardless of tax bracket.
     Making sure all citizens can feel the effects of a successful financial boom, not only those at the very top. Creating new jobs and supporting social agendas that will propel positive and fair change should be of utmost importance.
   14.5% of U.S. women are in poverty and make only close to 76.5% of what their male counterparts do. Although females are predicted to participate more in the workforce than men in the next 5 years these numbers are proof that Americans can do more to employ and support families. 
Data shows that between 1959 and 1973 America was able to "cut our poverty rate nearly in half" with the use of strong safety net programs—these programs are undeniably a driving force to achieving success in this war.
What benefits will we reap? Only the strongest foundation for eliminating poverty in future generations; the financial support system required to educate them. As the workers of tomorrow we must ensure that college is affordable for all students: race, ethnicity, gender and class cannot play a role in impeding success.
Everyone in our country should be allowed the opportunity to succeed; after all, freedom and equality are fundamental American values.
Our economy should reflect this financial abundance, making the future generation and their contributions crucial to our War on Poverty in the next 50 years.

Although the Half in Ten report states that "we haven’t responded well enough to the economic and family changes that have occurred,” the decisions we make now on policy support, education, and social funding will deeply affect the strength of our antipoverty programs and essentially our economic stability.