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Storytelling for Fundraisers | Tom Ahern | June 18, 2018 · 1 1 Storytelling for Fundraisers | Tom...

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    Storytelling for Fundraisers | Tom Ahern | June 18, 2018

    This is what your target audience looks like.

    “I’m getting push back from management that it’s too cheesy and sickly sweet.”Moceanic student, on how her new appeal was received internally; 2018

    © 2018 Tom Ahern 2

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    © 2018 Tom Ahern 3

    “WHAT IF EVERYTHING I KNEW WAS WRONG?”

    © 2018 Tom Ahern 4

    The 100% Fallacy•We could get a 100% response rate. (Giggle.)•Anyone can be our donor (Values must match.)•Any donor is a great donor (WRONG!)•Once acquired, a new donor is likely to stay a long time: “Ours for life.” (4-6 years.)•We need younger donors. (Low ROI except for monthly giving.)

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    The person in charge of direct mail

    was disgusted.

    “Abysmal!”1.6% response rate for acquisition

    5© 2018 Tom Ahern

    The person in charge of direct mail

    didn’t know this.

    Respectable acquisition response rate?

    ½ of 1% and up(mail 200, receive 1 gift)

    6© 2018 Tom Ahern

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    Cumulative renewal response rate annually

    40-70%

    7© 2018 Tom Ahern

    © 2018 Tom Ahern 8

    The 100% Fallacy•We could get a 100% response rate. (Giggle.)•The shiny new thing will save us (Delusional.)•Anyone can be our donor (Values must match.)•Any donor is a great donor (WRONG!)•Once acquired, a new donor is likely to stay a long time: “Ours for life.” (4-6 years.)•We need younger donors. (Low ROI except for monthly giving.)

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    A. What percentage of crowd-funding campaigns reach goal?

    [ ] Almost all[ ] About 50%[X] A third or less

    © 2018 Tom Ahern

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    A. What’s a good response rate for a print donor newsletter?

    [X] 5% of your list gives[ ] 25% of your list gives[ ] 50% of your list gives

    © 2018 Tom Ahern

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    © 2018 Tom Ahern 11

    The 100% Fallacy•We could get a 100% response rate. (Giggle.)•The shiny new thing will save us (Delusional.)•Anyone can be our donor (Values must match.)•Any donor is a great donor (WRONG!)•Once acquired, a new donor is likely to stay a long time: “Ours for life.” (4-6 years.)•We need younger donors. (Low ROI except for monthly giving.)

    Source: Mark Phillips© 2018 Tom Ahern 12

    EVERYONE CAN FIND A HAPPY MATCH HERE

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    © 2018 Tom Ahern 13

    The 100% Fallacy•We could get a 100% response rate. (Giggle.)•The shiny new thing will save us (Delusional.)•Anyone can be our donor (Values must match.)•Any donor is a great donor (WRONG!)•Once acquired, a new donor is likely to stay a long time: “Ours for life.” (4-6 years.)•We need younger donors. (Low ROI except for monthly giving.)

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    A. How likely are volunteers to give money, compared to non-volunteers?

    [ ] Half as likely[ ] Just as likely[X] Twice as likely

    © 2018 Tom Ahern

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    88% of dollars raised comes from 12% of the donors

    ~ Jay Love, Bloomerang, quoting the Fundraising Effectiveness Project; April 2017, via Pam Grow

    15© 2018 Tom Ahern

    © 2018 Tom Ahern 16

    The 100% Fallacy•We could get a 100% response rate. (Giggle.)•The shiny new thing will save us (Delusional.)•Anyone can be our donor (Values must match.)•Any donor is a great donor (WRONG!)•Once acquired, a new donor is likely to stay a long time: “Ours for life.” •We need younger donors. (Low ROI except for monthly giving.)

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    A. How long will an average donor give to a charity?

    [ ] 1-3 years[X] 4-6 years[X] 7-10 years[ ] more than 10 years

    © 2018 Tom Ahern

    Monthly donors

    © 2018 Tom Ahern 18

    The 100% Fallacy•We could get a 100% response rate. (Giggle.)•The shiny new thing will save us (Delusional.)•Anyone can be our donor (Values must match.)•Any donor is a great donor (WRONG!)•Once acquired, a new donor is likely to stay a long time: “Ours for life.”•We need younger donors.

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    19© 2018 Tom Ahern

    “87% of millennials donated to charity last year” ~ Huffington Post

    Is THAT where the real money is? Low ROI ... unless

    you acquire them as monthly donors.

    Tom Ahern | © 2018 20

    Source: Richard Shotton tweet

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    © 2018 Tom Ahern 21

    The 100% Fallacy•We could get a 100% response rate. (Giggle.)•The shiny new thing will save us (Delusional.)•Anyone can be our donor (Values must match.)•Any donor is a great donor (WRONG!)•Once acquired, a new donor is likely to stay a long time: “Ours for life.”•We need younger donors.•All donors are created equal.

    Not all donors are created equal: the $100 split

    ...the control group got an emotional appeal and a personal story about a participant in the nonprofit’s program; the test group received the same letter, plusan additional paragraph talking about the “rigorous scientific methodologies” on which the nonprofit’s program was based. Jerry Panas, April 2018

    The researchers found an interesting split in the data: effectiveness data significantly harmed response among smaller (under $100) donors (.6 percentage points lower response rate) and helped response among larger ($100+, but you probably guessed that) donors (one percentage point higher response rate).

    One might say (and I do) that this highlights a dichotomy in how people give: smaller gifts are heart gifts; larger gifts are head gifts.

    Nick Ellinger/The Agitator/January 2018

    22© 2018 Tom Ahern

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    © 2018 Tom Ahern 23

    The Biggest Fallacy of All?

    •“Donor communications are easy. If you can read and write, you’re good to go.”

    24

    Source: Tom Belford, The Agitator

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    25

    Branded

    Generic

    Tom Ahern | © 2018 26

    Source: Mark Phillips, April 2018

    ONLINE GIVING, AS IT IS NOW

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    © 2018 Tom Ahern 27

    This new research produces TWICE as many donations. Are

    you keeping up?

    © 2018 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com 28

    The cover on the right raised 317% more in gifts; they changed 8 things

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    © 2018 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com 29

    The cover on the right raised 317% more in gifts. Why?

    Warmer name

    © 2018 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com 30

    The cover on the right raised 317% more in gifts. Why?

    Subtitle clarifies purpose of publication

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    © 2018 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com 31

    The cover on the right raised 317% more in gifts. Why?

    Big face and eye contact draw reader in

    © 2018 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com 32

    The cover on the right raised 317% more in gifts. Why?

    SIMPLE and FAST: One story, not two

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    © 2018 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com 33

    The cover on the right raised 317% more in gifts. Why?

    Front-page boss has been replaced by the story of

    someone the donor helped

    © 2018 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com 34

    The cover on the right raised 317% more in gifts. Why?

    Old focus: what programs doNew focus: what donors do

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    © 2018 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com 35

    The cover on the right raised 317% more in gifts. Why?

    “You” is in the small type, at the end of an article few will read

    © 2018 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com 36

    The cover on the right raised 317% more in gifts. Why?

    “You” in the BIG type

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    They’re the only fundraising activities you can hope to succeed at with almost no

    training...

    37

    “I see so many small organizations on these never-ending event & grant treadmills....”

    Source: Pam Grow, 2018, 20K Twitter followers

    © 2018 Tom Ahern

    38© 2018 Tom Ahern

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    The median amount donated or sponsored in the last year is $100.Charitable Giving in the USA 2017, Charities Aid Foundation

    © 2018 Tom Ahern 39

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    A. Which gives you the highest Return on Investment (ROI)?

    [ ] Direct mail appeals[ ] Events[X] Gifts in wills (bequests)[ ] Major gifts fundraising

    © 2018 Tom Ahern

    You spend $1, you make how

    much?

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    How to DOUBLE your fundraising revenue

    • Move 10% of your donors to monthly giving.• Persuade about 3% of your donors to upgrade their

    giving to the $500 level or higher.• Get 5% of your donors to include you in their Wills.

    Hilborn Charity eNEWS, via Future Fundraising Now, 2017

    © TOM AHERN 2018

    Comparisons of Lifetime Value (LTV)

    •LTV of a one-time donor (U lose $): $50/average?•Gives same amount for 10 years (rare): $500•Converts to $10/monthly gift for 10 years (conversion takes work): around $1,200•Becomes a $1,000/annual donor: around $9,000•Leaves a charitable bequest: $50,000 or more

    Looking at LTV helps you prioritize your activities and investments. It is Dr. Adrian Sargeant’s most important metric.

    42© 2018 Tom Ahern

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    LTV tells fundraisers to focus on...

    • persuading more donors to sign up as monthly donors

    • moving mid-value donors into higher giving

    • marketing charitable bequests

    43

    Dr. Adrian Sargeant, the world’s foremost researcher into fundraising matters

    © 2018 Tom Ahern

    © TOM AHERN 2015 44

    Why this workshop isn’t called“how to market planned giving”

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    © TOM AHERN 2015 45

    © TOM AHERN 2015 46

    “Some say bequests constitute at least 80% of so-called planned gifts; others say 90% or more…”

    Source: Mal Warwick

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    © TOM AHERN 2018 47

    The Plan

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    How to market bequests (minimum)

    •Make a list of anyone who’s given 3 times or more.•Create a Legacy Society (a special group to join and be honored by).•Send your list a letter once a year, asking them to consider joining your Legacy Society by adding charity to their Wills.•Repeat ad infinitum.

    © TOM AHERN 2018

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    “I see so many small organizations on these never-ending event & grant treadmills....”

    Source: Pam Grow, 2018, 20K Twitter followers

    How bequests saved a charity...

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    2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016TOTAL $4,517,759 $5,154,302 $6,653,715 $5,320,060 $5,729,104 $6,345,489

    bequests $731,643 $745,751 $2,258,660 $1,912,605 $2,521,307 $2,510,340

    annual donors

    21,846 21,017 19,872 17,508 16,893 15,484

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    Had your predecessor 10 years ago fired up a competent bequest marketing program, today your organization would be swimming in money.

    So, what’s your excuse?

    It takes one letter annually.

    Put bequest marketing on your calendar for next week. Nothing happens until you start.

    © TOM AHERN 2018 52

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    © TOM AHERN 2018 53

    Soon, too

    CDC life expectancy

    looms

    retiremajor illnessmarry 1st time

    © 2018 Tom AHERN 54

    They’re called “life events.”We all have them.

    21 8131 41 51 61 71

    have kidsbuy 1st house

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    29%

    43%

    15%7%4%

    2%

    WHAT are you waiting for ????When did people leaving a gift to charity in 2015 write/amend their wills?Source: Mark Phillips, Bluefrog

    Bequests come in quicker than you might assume = within 1-4 years.

    55

    © TOM AHERN 2018 56

    The prize?

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    “All but the biggest major gifts are chicken feed in comparison to legacies.”

    Stephen Pidgeon, How to Love Your Donors (to Death) (2014)

    © TOM AHERN 2018

    Source: Pareto Fundraising

    58

    Sources of giving in Australia

    © TOM AHERN 2018

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    59

    Source: Pareto 2015

    © TOM AHERN 2018

    60www.seantriner.com © TOM AHERN 2018

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    Same data inc legacies (bequests)

    www.seantriner.com © TOM AHERN 2018

    © TOM AHERN 2018 62

    The rich are irrelevant.

    (Good to know.)

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    63© TOM AHERN 2018

    ...there is no correlationbetween either income or wealth with the likelihood of giving by bequest.

    64

    Source: Mal Warwick, quoting Robert F. Sharpe, Jr., around 2005

    © TOM AHERN 2018

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    [Bequest] marketing ... is about getting a small number of very large gifts from your ‘average’ donors. These are the donors who aren’t on your radar screen already, who aren’t interested in tea and banana bread with a planned giving officer, but who are very loyal to your cause.

    © TOM AHERN 2018 65

    It may seem counterintuitive, but actually, those with the greatest net worth are not normally your best or most likely prospects for a bequest.

    You need to look for men and women who are long term and consistent donors. This is especially true of those who give four or more times a year, several hundred dollars a year. They are your very best prospects for a bequest.

    The greatest percentage by far are bequests from men and women who leave estates of $2 million or less.

    © TOM AHERN 2018 66

    Source: Jerry Panas, August 2016

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    © TOM AHERN 2018 67

    Trending

    68

    “The ASPCA asked this question of its database: Who exactly leaves us bequests? The answer: donors who give often but not very much.”

    Kevin Schulman, DonorVoice webinar, Sept 2016

    © TOM AHERN 2018

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    The strongest predictor of likelihood that someone will make a charitable bequest:

    childlessness

    69© TOM AHERN 2018

    Source: Russell James III, 2014

    In Australia, Germany, Italy and the US, the proportion of childlessness among women in their late 40s has doubled over the past three decades.

    2012 Yale Center for the Study of Globalization

    © TOM AHERN 2018 70

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    Start a legacy society.

    © TOM AHERN 2018

    © TOM AHERN 2018 72

    “You can’t thank them when they’re dead.”

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    © TOM AHERN 2018 73

    What is “social proof”?

    “Hey, look! People like me do things like

    that...”

    74

    Editor: Sally Kirby Hartman

    “Synthetic family”

    © TOM AHERN 2018

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    © TOM AHERN 2018 75

    Source: Seattle JFS 2018

    Where’s the social proof?

    76

    Look to your board first.

    Encourage ALL board members to make bequests ... and publicize these in your newsletter and other publications. Source: Marts & Lundy.

    © TOM AHERN 2018

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    “I always find the best way to get rid of a bad board member is to ask them for a legacy - they usually resign on the spot!”Richard Radcliffe, 2018

    © TOM AHERN 2018 77

    Keep your expectations in check...

    “A recent look at one charity I've worked with found 50% of those saying they had left a gift in their will had gone on to do so.”

    Stephen George, Sept 2016

    © TOM AHERN 2018 78

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    © TOM AHERN 2018 79

    The advantage of endowment?Eternity of a sort

    How do we deal with the existential challenge of knowing we’re mortal? We seek “symbolic immortality.”

    Dr. Claire Routley

    © TOM AHERN 2018 80

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    © TOM AHERN 2018 81

    Source: Lisa Sargent

    © TOM AHERN 2018 82

    What he saw in permanent endowment: “He liked the fact that he will be doing something good with his money long after he is gone.”

    Source: Sally Kirby Hartman, 2015

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    © TOM AHERN 201883

    Oldest endowment?Est. by bequest 1249 at Oxford.

    84

    Have an offer for info.

    (Because it’s a multi-step sale.)

    © TOM AHERN 2018

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    85© TOM AHERN 2018

    A plain-spoken information piece people can request.

    > NO jargon!2011

    20152017

    86

    “Dr. Death,” mega-researcher Richard Radcliffe

    © TOM AHERN 2018

    A “Joy Brochure,” not a “Death Brochure.”

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    © TOM AHERN 2018 87

    All fundraising copy should sound like someone talking.

    -- George Smith, Tiny Essentials of Writing for Fundraising

    © TOM AHERN 2018 88

    Key brochure messages

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    © TOM AHERN 2018 89

    “Bequests are life-driven, death activated....”

    Essential point from “Dr. Death,” Richard Radcliffe

    90

    Writer: Sally Kirby Hartman

    © TOM AHERN 2018

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    © 2017 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com 91

    Translation: In suffrage for the souls of benefactor members (collected May 2018)

    © TOM AHERN 2018 92

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    © TOM AHERN 2018 93

    You donʼt have to be rich to make a meaningful charitable bequest.

    People want to give back. A legacy gift is a fabulous way to do just that.

    © TOM AHERN 2018 94

    Family first....

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    © TOM AHERN 2018 95

    NEVER stop talking about it

    REPETITION IS YOUR BEST

    FRIEND

    “Drip, drip, drip. Planned gifts are prompted by life events – death, birth, marriage, health, travel, retirement.” [People write or rewrite a will on such occasions.] “That’s why it’s so important to have a regular cadence of marketing messages. Because you never know when the time might be right.”

    96

    Source: 2012, Jeff Comfort, Georgetown; via Phyllis Freedman’s Planned Giving blog

    © TOM AHERN 2018

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    © TOM AHERN 2018 97

    Send reminders

    © TOM AHERN 2018 98

    You can be a FRIEND of the COLUMBIA GORGE forever! Just add a gift to your will ... and join our popular FOREVER GORGEOUS LEGACY SOCIETY.

    You can be a FRIEND of the COLUMBIA GORGE forever! Just add a gift to your will ... and join our popular FOREVER GORGEOUS LEGACY SOCIETY.

    In email footers:

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    © TOM AHERN 2018 99

    On your website’s homepage:

    “Hero Shot”

    © TOM AHERN 2018 100

    Recurring ads in your newsletters

    “Hero Shot”

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    “Hero Shot”“Hero Shot”

    Ads in publications your donors will see© TOM AHERN 2018

    © TOM AHERN 2018 102

    Ads in your newsletters

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    © TOM AHERN 2018 103

    Essential!One more time...

    104

    “It never occurred to me!”“It never occurred to me!”“It never occurred to me!”“It never occurred to me!”“It never occurred to me!” “It never occurred to me!”“It never occurred to me!”

    © TOM AHERN 2018

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    Send your best prospects a special letter every year, warmly inviting them to join the Legacy Society.

    105© TOM AHERN 2018

    Opening: Thank your donor deeply ... humbly ... for years of help.

    Middle: Put the Legacy Society offer in front of them, without coyness. Ask for their consideration, not an immediate action. “Next time you review....”

    End: Thank your donor some more.

    PS: Offer free information about charitable bequests.

    106© TOM AHERN 2018

    My simple letter formula

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    Myfreehow-toe-newsletter…www.aherncomm.com

    © 2017 Tom Ahern | www.AHERNCOMM.com

    I subscribe!

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