CURRENTS Article This article looks at how higher education institutions are working to keep their communications fresh and engaging through multiyear fundraising campaigns. It discusses how institutions are using websites and microsites, video, and traditional communication channels to engage and inform stakeholders and donors.
Demonstrating the Difference
CURRENTS Article Stewardship and donor relations officers, as well as other advancement professionals, must increasingly be able to answer one big question: How do we know that what we're doing is working? Underlying this question is a desire, sparked by an evolution in the thinking of donors, to help donors understand the effects of their gifts.
Anatomy of an Endowment Report
University of Georgia
This interactive guide walks through the components of the university's endowment reports sent each fall to donors and donor representatives of all endowed funds. Reports reflect the fiscal status and growth of each fund. They are developed by the Office of Donor Relations & Stewardship, which works closely with Financial Services to ensure accurate and timely reporting. The university's Report to Donors is also available.
Sample Collection The CASE InfoCenter maintains this collection of education institutions' infographics and data visualizations used to convey advancement-related data and stories.
Good Question Does the InfoCenter have resources that discuss best practices for designing infographics? What about examples of infographics created for advancement purposes?
How to Write Fundraising Materials That Make More Money
Product This book gives tips on how to write fundraising materials that inspire giving among first-time donors and keep existing donors loyal.
Seeing through a Donor's Eyes
Product This book helps fundraisers write well-reasoned, emotionally satisfying case statements to support all fundraising efforts, not just capital campaigns. The author says that fundraisers must get beyond an insider knowledge of their organizations and see through their donors' eyes in order to create effective fundraising materials.
Donor-Centered Thank You Letters: Your First Step to the Next Gift
Article In this blog post, Penelope Burk, author of Donor-Centered Fundraising, offers 20 characteristics of great thank you letters based on her research with donors.
Donors Optimistic About 2011 Giving
Article Fundraisers have the power to increase donor retention and gift value by communicating measurable results of giving, reports a new survey on donor giving in North America.
Persuasive Development Writing -- Fall Session
Conference Designed for professionals who write for development, this conference gives you hands-on training to improve your fundraising results.
How "Wow!" Experiences Create Lifetime Donors
Kristina Leroux for Network for Good
Article This article presents 10 components of an ideal thank-you letter, and links to a free webinar on the topic of creating great donor experiences.
Good Question Our institution is about to begin charging gift fees. Do you have examples of how other institutions are communicating about this fee to their different audiences?
¿Cómo desarrollar los artículos correctos?
CURRENTS Article Michael Kiser de Virginia Tech analiza la forma en que logró que las comunicaciones de desarrollo centraran su atención en índices que no fueran las cifras. Ahora, su oficina escribe sobre los resultados de las campañas y vincula sus mensajes con los objetivos estratégicos de la universidad. Por ejemplo, en lugar de escribir un artículo cuando la universidad recibe una donación importante, espera hasta que el dinero de esa donación se haya utilizado para construir las nuevas instalaciones y escribe sobre lo que éstas significan para la escuela. Los lectores externos no sólo consideran que estos artículos son más interesantes, estos artículos también le brindan al público interno una mejor idea de lo que se logra con la recaudación de fondos.
Outlook: Saying What We Mean
CURRENTS Article The retired vice president of the University of Wisconsin Foundation pens this opinion column on the dark side of some of the most common development phrases. Does anyone really want to describe their best friend as "low-hanging fruit"? Ick!
Developing the Right Stories
CURRENTS Article Michael Kiser of Virginia Tech discusses how he successfully shifted the focus of development communications away from numbers. Instead, his office now writes about campaign outcomes and ties its messages to the university's strategic aims. For example, instead of writing a story when the university receives a major gift, he waits until the money from that gift has been used to build a new facility and writes about what that new facility has meant for the school. Not only do external audiences find these stories more interesting, but such stories give internal audiences a better understanding of what fundraising does.
Effective Storytelling Can Build Support, Increase Giving
Article Good, old-fashioned storytelling makes for compelling copy in educational websites and marketing campaigns and can lead to increased interest and support from targeted audiences. That's according to an expert on communications for nonprofits and a recent presenter of a CASE Online Speaker Series.
Stewardship: The Webb Schools - Bronze Award
Best Practice A goal of The Webb Schools' 2007 annual giving program was to do a better job of stewarding constituents in a creative and cost-effective way. Staff implemented two new online strategies: an e-newsletter for class agents that provided current news to share with classmates, and a flash movie for reunion classes. Staff also redesigned an existing holiday greeting to omit the solicitation and serve simply as a greeting and thank you. These three strategies spread goodwill among constituents, motivated class agents and increased annual giving totals. As of December 31, dollars raised and number of donors reached an all-time high.
How to Write Successful Fundraising Letters
Product Revised and updated edition offers explicit instructions for producing powerful fundraising letters. This book will be helpful for those who write fundraising letters for colleges, universities and other nonprofits; for the leadership of nonprofits; and for anyone who wants to be a more effective writer.
CURRENTS Article Generic mass mailings won't receive the response rates you seek. Your fundraising messages have to resonate with donors personally. Just make sure you know your donors well. This article describes some simple, affordable tools you can use to target your communications efforts.
Write-Minded: Making Things Right
CURRENTS Article When your institution makes a mistake that offends a donor, a well-written apology letter can soothe tension and restore trust. Even in embarrassing circumstances, an apology can also provide an opportunity to connect with a constituent and to demonstrate the responsibility and integrity of the institution and its people. Sincerity, responsibility, sensitivity, and a positive attitude are vital. Sarver provides suggestions for wording and advice on following up.
AdvanceWork: Count the Ways
CURRENTS Article ANU's three-tiered communications strategy is a thing of poetry.
Write-Minded: Global Vision
CURRENTS Article Cultural, historical, linguistic, and legislative factors affect how people interpret what you write. When writing for an international advancement audience, keep in mind these possible sources of confusion: 1) terminology, because the same word can mean different things in different countries; 2) titles, which vary within and between countries; 3) idioms and jargon, which can be hard for people from other cultures to understand; 4) differences in educational and legal systems; 5) sweeping generalizations, which can be offensive or inaccurate; and 6) references to location and money.
Write-Minded: Everyone's a Critic
CURRENTS Article Collins provides advice on responding to letters from angry donors. When donors request a change that can't be made, make sure you let them know you are not simply dismissing their opinion. Keep a calm and rational institutional voice. Avoid being defensive or combative. When you finish the letter, let it sit overnight so you can give a second look with a fresh perspective.
Write-Minded: Noteworthy Thank-yous
CURRENTS Article Writing thank-you notes to donors is simple if you remember the basics. When thanking someone for a significant gift, make it sound believable, and be specific and personal. For small gifts, take a more realistic view of the gift's impact. To ensure that your best supporters always feel appreciated, write notes that recognize their ongoing commitment. Be sure to fact-check and proofread.
Write-Minded: In Time of Sorrow
CURRENTS Article When a donor dies, writing a sympathy letter is a difficult but required part of the development officer's job. Take care that your words are in proportion to your actual relationship with the donor. Be sincere, not effusive. Refer to the donor's connection with the campus. Acknowledge past generosity by talking about the people and programs the donor supported in a way that illustrates how his or her memory will live on at the institution.
How to Write for Development
Product This book covers the basics of writing for fundraising: how to create effective proposals, annual reports, case statement, brochures, annual giving materials, solicitation letters and deferred giving messages.