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BloomCon 2015 - Tom Ahern

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  • 2014 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com 1

    BloomCon Presents

    All You Need to Really Know(really) [yes, really]

    by Tom Ahern | Jan 14, 2015

  • Shanon Doolittle2

  • The worlds most profitable insight:

    Donor communications arent really about your organization. Theyre really about the donor.

    3TOM AHERN 2014

  • The worlds 2nd most profitable insight:

    Donor communications are a customer service experience.

    4TOM AHERN 2014

  • The worlds 2nd most profitable insight:

    Donor communications are a customer service experience.

    5TOM AHERN 2014

    I liked that! I didnt like that!

  • 6The gift of joy

  • 7TOM AHERN 2014

    The gift of joy

  • 8Editor: Michelle BrinsonTOM AHERN 2014

    The gift of joy

  • What story are you telling me about me?

    9TOM AHERN 2014

  • Communications are a mirror held up to donors. They see themselves in

    what you say.

    2014 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com 10

  • 11

    KINDCARING

    COMPASSIONATEHELPFUL FRIENDLY

    FAIR HARD-WORKING

    GENEROUS HONEST

    Source: psychologist Jen Shang, quoted in the NY Times 2012

  • 2014 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com 12

    Youre in my home:

    Why are you here? Bad guest or good?

  • To make ME feel good!!!

    13 2014 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com

    Important!

    Wanted!

    Needed!

    Proud of myself!

    Happy!

    Pleased!

    Entertained!Surprised!

  • 18 bits of jargon to eschew

    14

    Source: Katya Andresen, Nonprofit Marketing Blog, Network for Good

    1. Capacity2. Empower3. Enhance4. Indigenous5. Partnership 6. Development 7. Systemic8. Community 9. Innovation

    10. Superlative 11. Outcomes12. Support 13. Sustainable 14. Resources 15. Dignity16. Facilitate 17. Diversity 18. Fostering

    Tom Ahern | 2014

  • 18 bits of jargon to eschew

    15

    Source: Katya Andresen, Nonprofit Marketing Blog, Network for Good

    1. Capacity2. Empower3. Enhance4. Indigenous5. Partnership 6. Development 7. Systemic8. Community 9. Innovation

    10. Superlative 11. Outcomes12. Support 13. Sustainable 14. Resources 15. Dignity16. Facilitate 17. Diversity 18. Fostering

    Tom Ahern | 2014

    Huh?Why are you dragging this tone-

    deaf, insider rubbish into my home?

    Cant you please understand? Jargon prevents empathy!

  • You have your long story.

    You have your current stories.

    They are all donor stories.

    16TOM AHERN 2014

  • 2014 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com 17

    Yes, I donate....

    Jane | Age 89 | Widowed

  • vision enemy hero

    servedSource: Stephen Pidgeon and Tangible

    18 2014 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com

  • vision enemy hero

    servedSource: Stephen Pidgeon and Tangible

    19 2014 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com

  • Every 15 minutes someone in the UK begins to lose their sight. Today, with your help, we can give them the practical support needed to rebuild their shattered lives.

    2014 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com 20

    Source: Stephen Pidgeon and Tangible

    Vision

    Hero

    EnemyServed

  • hero defeats enemy

    21 2014 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com

  • 22

  • 2014 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com 23

    donors make sad happy

  • Humans are driven by a will to establish meaning in their lives. They need purpose. Thats your real job, in donor communications: to bestow purpose in exchange for support.

    24

    Source: Neurologist and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, via the For Impact blog

    2014 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com

  • If there are no problems to solve, donors have nothing to do.

    25

  • 26

    Joy!

    Need

    Joy!

    2014 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com

    Need

  • Welcome to the family

    27TOM AHERN 2014

  • St. Judes welcome package #10 envelope: THANKS! Your St. Jude welcome materials

    are enclosed. Personalized, one-sided letter (for $10 gift) gushes, Ive

    just received the marvelous news youre the newest member of the St. Jude family. Marlo Thomas

    P.S.: I know there are many worthy charities that ask for your help. Please know how honored we are that youve chosen to support the work of St. Jude.

    Inserts: thank you from patient, thank you from parent, small notepad, reply slip with a gentle ask for extra gift

    28 Tom Ahern | 2013

  • 29 2014 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com

    70+% of first-time donors in the U.S. do NOT make a second gift.

  • Appeals, thanks, & newsletters work together. You ask. You thank. You report. You ask. You thank. You report. You ask. You thank. You report.

    30

    The virtuous circle...

    2014 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com

  • Appeals, thanks, & newsletters work together. You ask. You thank. You report. You ask. You thank. You report. You ask. You thank. You report.

    31

    The virtuous circle...

    2014 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com

    The part the charity cares about

    The part the donor cares about

  • 32 2014 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com

  • And by the way...

    You ask (and flatter). You thank (and flatter). You report (and flatter).

    You cannot flatter too much.

    33 2014 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com

  • 34

    Source: Neuromarketing blog

    Even when people perceive that flattery is insincere, that flattery can still leave a lasting and positive impression of the flatterer.

    2014 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com

  • 35 2014 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com

  • 2014 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com 36

  • 2014 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com 37

  • 2014 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com 38

    Beginning of mail

    End of mail

    Elapsed time: 1-3 seconds

  • 2014 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com 39

    Thousands of messages. Three piles.

    1. Cant ignore.

    2. Can safely ignore. 3. A bit interested.

  • 40TOM AHERN 2014

  • ABOUT US

    ABOUT US

    ABOUT US

    ABOUT US

    ABOUT USABOUT US

    ABOUT US ABOUT US

    ABOUT US

    ABOUT USABOUT US

    ABOUT US

    ABOUT US ABOUT US ABOUT US

    41TOM AHERN 2014

  • ABOUT US

    ABOUT US

    ABOUT US

    ABOUT US

    ABOUT USABOUT US

    ABOUT US ABOUT US

    ABOUT US

    ABOUT USABOUT US

    ABOUT US

    ABOUT US ABOUT US ABOUT US

    ABOUT THE DONOR

    42TOM AHERN 2014

  • To some, this might come as a shock:

    Youre in sales.43 2014 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com

  • Fundraisings customer is the donor.

    44TOM AHERN 2014

  • Unified theory of donor communications in 2 words:

    Customer satisfaction

    45TOM AHERN 2014

  • Fundraisins no aboot the Munnie, Lassie!

    Alan Clayton most recently; from Ken Burnett; from Harold

    Sumption, architect of Oxfam

    2014 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com 46

  • Please stop staring at my wallet. Youre making me

    uncomfortable.

    TOM AHERN 2014 47

  • 48

    My free how-to e-newsletter www.aherncomm.com

    2014 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com

    I subscribe!

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