Three Steps to a Great Fundraising Buffet

17/07/2012 at 09:30 Leave a comment


Delighted Melissa Wyers of Breakthrough Strategies agreed to write this post with me! We were having a great discussion about donors, outreach, social media channels and of course fundraising. Melissa mentioned this idea of a “donor buffet” and I asked if we could share a post.

We agreed that fundraising theory about treating and reaching each donor as an individual remains true. We also agreed that segmenting our donors is important. However, in 2012, an integrated direct mail and online program really requires offering our donors a fundraising and communications buffet. The buffet is offering consistent messages, stories and outreach across all channels – hard copy direct mail, email, social media channels, email signatures, thank you letters even voice mail greetings.

With or without Amazon-like information on donor behavior, donors move around, change giving patterns, jump channels and hear from friends and families on a variety of platforms. Thus a really yummy fundraising buffet is a necessity; information and message need to be consistent especially during a campaign.

So what is a fundraising buffet? How do we get donors and prospects to nibble and share plates? It is the ability of a nonprofit organization to effectively share messages and stories across platforms. It is about being truly strategic in fundraising outreach as well as collaborative in internal and external communications. It means themes and graphics are used consistently to present your campaign and brand effectively. And as in any buffet – donors not only want to come back for more,  but invite friends to join them!

Three Steps to Your Fundraising Buffet

  1. Make sure the fundraising buffet of messages are tasty! Information should be clear and adapted to “fit” all channels as appropriate – hard copy, email, website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, text to give, blog, thank you letters and email signatures.
  2. Engage your online prospects, donors, friends, followers in the fundraising buffet/campaign – invite them to “eat”, act, give and share and get back in line for more! The on-line section of your fundraising buffet is all about dialogue.
  3. Update the fundraising buffet regularly. No one likes a stale buffet! An integrated strategy needs to include a short and long term timeline for updates, messages and stories of information, shout outs and thanks. Be sure to include large and small bites on your buffet – tell story in first person via videos and photos and through your staff, Board and donors. Remember even though the heart of the meal may be the roast beef include plenty of fabulous desserts as that’s what people want even if they shouldn’t and often what they remember and tell their friends about the next day.

So there ya go. Start cooking up a truly integrated fundraising buffet now, so it’s ready for your next campaign.

Entry filed under: Fundraising, Nonprofit fundraising, nonprofit social media, Storytelling. Tags: , , , , , .

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