Linda Lysakowski, President of Capital Ventures (www.cvfundraising.com), presented an enlightening session in the August AFP webinar. Her topic was how to engage the business community in local philanthropy. From her presentation I took away five helpful insights:
1. Begin your relationship seeking business/corporate volunteers and leverage their interest and familiarity into donations. Linda reminded me of the adage, “ask for a donation and you will get advice, but ask for advice and you will get a donation.”
2. Develop relationships through communications and engagement. Invite a small group (less than 20) business leaders for a brief breakfast (7:30 AM) tour of your NPO. Personalize the tour. Learn their areas of interest and follow up with newsletters and progress reports with them.
3. Focus your business message on four keys. Linda recommended that NPOs hone their message to demonstrate efficiency, define how business support will enhance the NPO bottom line, outline how a business can partner with your NPO and finally, how that business will be recognized.
4. Keep your business case statement to one page. Produce a one-page fact sheet (two-sided) with graphs or charts. Keep text to a minimum.
5. Empanel a business committee to advise your NPO staff and board. Ask your Chamber of Commerce to help you establish the committee to define the impact and return on investment (ROI) your NPO has on your community.
Linda also recommended that NPOs begin using Linked In to connect with the business community. Her clients are seeing it as a way to reach out to business and corporate interests and engage volunteers (back to note 1). She noted that Twitter and Facebook are more personal, while Linked In is business-oriented.
Finally, Linda recommended a business open house or event at the start of the NPO program year to enhance community awareness of your mission, goals and impact.
This is event to seek volunteers and advisors.
CONSIDERING UPDATING YOUR WEBSITE?
The 2011 Cygnus Report related a key response from prospective donors that the NPO website is their central reference point to learn about your organization and mission. It is the first place that a potential donor indicates he/she goes to decide on engagement and/or donation.
In August, Gardner & Associates assessed our own website. We found that the landing page needs to be more informative. We are working to refresh its look and functionality. Once I can get some pictures and graphics, Jeannette Balleza of Scribe Marketing will breathe new life into our website. Keep checking.
This realization came as we worked with several clients on repositioning their websites to more effectively deliver their message.
If you are considering an upgrade, G&A encourages that you spend a little time reading the details on Gail Perry’s website (www.gailperry.com). Specifically, look at the Annual Giving section and review the five ideas she has compiled:
- 20 Best Practices for Monthly Giving Programs
- The Smartest, Easiest and Most Productive Annual Giving Strategy Around
- 8 Important New Fundraising Trends (just to get perspective)
- 16 Provocative Ideas That Will Raise More Money
- 22 Ideas to Make 2011 Your Best Fundraising Year Yet
Reading Gail’s blog will get you thinking. From there, visit the following websites to get some great ideas:
- www.foodbanknca.org uses a template from Feeding America to tell its story. It uses Network for Good to process donations.
- www.livestrong.org integrates message, advocacy and helping into a very user-friendly page.
- www.care.org presents its give messages on a rotating landing page.
- www.alumni.umd.edu also employs the five spot rotations to keep alumni informed and draw them into engagement. Yes, only a Terp would love it.
- www.waltonfamilyfoundation.org rotates its three areas of concentration and tells a powerful story.
- www.wrfoundation.org highlights its four focus areas on the webpage for easy access and navigation.
CONSTANT CONTACT WEBINAR ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA
If you use Constant Contact remember they are scheduling a free 60-minute webinar on September 29 at 11 AM on social media.
It will outline how to develop a social media strategy, promote events, and engage constituents in talking about your NPO and measuring the impact of social media.
Also, check out Linked In as a tool in your fundraising toolbox. As noted in the first article, it can help connect your NPO with the business community.