The Kindly Brontosaurus 🐱🐉Aug 10, 2022
So, the only thing we have more of in my neighborhood than kids is construction. And you know how much kids can be fascinated with backhoes and big mounds of dirt and cement mixers. It definitely makes my trek to and from work interesting. As soon as I enter the neighborhood entrance, the real-life game of Frogger is on. Braking for basketballs, swerving around dump trucks, and occasionally putting the car in park just to get out and move a Barbie electronic car out of the middle of the street. It’s an adventure.
With the constant flurry of activity, you’d think we’d be expecting just about anything until one night at dinner. It was a beautiful evening, so we decided to enjoy a nice meal on the back patio watching the sun set. Then, in the middle of our meal, one of our cute little neighbor girls, who shall remain nameless to protect her innocence, appears out of nowhere, skipping through our back yard.
Allow me to digress just a bit to first say, it’s not unusual to see kids taking a shortcut through our back yard—it happens all the time and encourages Rocket to make a big ruckus. And second, it needs to be said that skipping is highly under-rated. Literally, it makes you happy just to see someone skipping. Plus, I don’t think it’s even possible to be unhappy while skipping. What on earth happened in our lives that we ever stopped skipping? Anyway…
Here we are just enjoying a juicy burger off the grill and we see our adorable neighbor skipping across our back lawn with a beautiful red bouquet. Seriously, this bouquet was huge, probably 50 buds. Well, not really buds. Actually, not flowers at all. Nope. But beautiful, nonetheless. She was skipping along wearing a radiant smile on her face and carrying a gorgeous and ginormous bouquet of red utility flags. Yep. Red utility flags. And she could not have been happier. She had taken something seemingly useless (to her) and made something beautiful. And she happy as a lark!
She made eye contact. Then smiled proudly. She entered as quickly as she left. Then, we laughed. So hard. I’ve told this story many times. I just love it. I just love her spirit. And I love what it can teach us.
Left Brain Marketing Methods: Just like red utility flags, we all have guidelines, rules, regulations that we need to be mindful of. Maybe there are ways we can use, what might seem like barriers, as strengths.
Right Brain Marketing Moxie: Creativity is everywhere if you’ll just look for it. But oftentimes, we get so caught up in the complexity of the work that we don’t leave any room for it to show up. Nary a skip in our step. Yet, if we don’t create non-threatening marketing that attracts our donors, they can’t take action on our requests.
Truth be told, if we’re good at what we do, we can take those legalistic utility flags and make some beautiful bouquets, if we tried.
Let’s give it a shot!
Left Brain Marketing Methods: Like utility flags, rules are there for a reason. The problem with rules when you work at a nonprofit is that you have to understand them—after all, you work there. However, that’s not the job of our donors. They’re out living their best lives. They’re planning vacations, solving massive problems at their own jobs, spoiling grandchildren, celebrating birthdays, sending kids off to college, etc. It’s not their job to understand the regulations that apply to nonprofits or philanthropy in general. That can be used as a true advantage. It puts you in the driver’s seat so that you can show your donor’s how mutually beneficial it is to donate to your cause.
Let me use an example to clarify this point. Take RMD’s, Required Minimum Distributions. Many people 70 ½ or older don’t realize that they can’t keep retirement funds in their account indefinitely. So, when they hit the age of 70 ½ they are then Required to take a Minimum Distribution. Oftentimes, they simply assume that they, themselves, are required to take them—even if they don’t want or need them. They haven’t been educated in the fact that they can transfer these Distributions to a charity. And donors who know they can give the Distributions to a charity, might not know that the transfer must go directly to charity and not to the donor first.
In a perfect world, an accountant or financial planner would have communicated this message to their clients. But it’s not a perfect world. So, they may need someone just like you to explain how it’s done and how easy it is to give that IRA Charitable Rollover directly to you. And they’ll be thankful for your knowledge!Yes, rules and regulations exist, they’re like philanthropic utility flags. But that doesn’t mean they’re all bad. In fact, if you understand how they work, the information can be beneficial to your donors and your organizations.
Bottom line, use your Left Brain Marketing Methods and get to know how these rules, laws, and guidelines to help your donors help you. You’ll get bonus points if you can explain it so simplistically that even the crustiest regulations will show your donors a charitable opportunity that they’d like to leverage.
Right Brain Marketing Moxie: Does your marketing need to be attractive to our donors? Yes. Do donors take action more frequently when your marketing is attractive? Also, yes. And, finally, do your donors always act on your attractive marketing requests? Clearly, no. There are a lot of variables at play and we simply won’t ever know if our message hits the right person in the right way at the right time. We do our very best and it does work, but it’s not perfect. People aren’t perfect. Life isn’t perfect. We’re shooting our shot, making our ask, and organizing those utility flags into the most beautiful bouquet we can muster. Then we stick that stamp on top of it, skip to the post office, and mail it into the messiness of someone’s life and hope for the best.
But fear not. This is where the Kindly Brontosaurus comes in. The Kindly Brontosaurus is a concept taught by Zoe Chance in her book, Influence is your Superpower. To make her case, Chance says that successful salespeople go back to their clients 6-7 times after getting a no. Six to seven! Furthermore, she said that average salespeople only go back three times. Three! But an average fundraiser, after hearing the word no (or maybe seeing no action at all), never goes back. Zip, zero, nada. But you’re no average fundraiser! You’re an outstanding fundraiser! After all, you’re reading this blog and working to improve your fundraising game.
You see, it’s all about persistence! The Kindly Brontosaurus doesn’t take no for an answer. It’s a strategy that combines a passive response with a persistent reply. You keep going back for more. You keep asking. You keep being creative. You keep being kind. You keep educating. You keep attracting them to your mission. You keep checking in. You keep educating. You keep layering your messages throughout the year and probably throughout years. In simple terms, you keep skipping into their mailbox, happily showing up.You’re not being high pressure because you’re using your Right Brain Marketing Moxie to be non-threatening. You communicate, you check-in, you continue to ask, and you wait. Persistence in a nonaggressive format is a cool combination that’s hard to resist IF you have prequalified your donors. That means, your donors must have both an Affinity for what you do and the Capacity to do something about it. That’s qualified! Even the Kindly Brontosaurus will fail if the asks are going to unqualified candidates that could be ‘or current resident’. You’re better than that!
With the case of an RMD, perhaps the donor received your message just a month too late for them to do anything about it. A new reminder about the RMD next year might the perfect timing. Or maybe they are only 69 and can’t quite take advantage of the RMD just yet. You’ve planted a seed that they can’t act on…yet. Layering your messages annually keeps your organization top of mind.
Just because a donor says no or doesn’t act at all, doesn’t mean it’s a forever no. Every kid who ever asked their parent for a dog knows this to be true. So, keep up your good work!
Keep taking those philanthropic utility flags and wrapping them up like beautiful bouquets. Teach your donors in the most simple ways how they can give generously to you; ways that are mutually beneficial. Thank them big-time when they follow through with a yes. Ask them like the Kindly Brontosaurus who is gentle and thoughtful and doesn’t take no for an answer. Use your Right Brain Marketing Moxie to ensure those asks are as non-threatening as possible. Then layer those asks annually so when it does hit their mailbox at just the right time—that perfect time when their Affinity intersects with their Capacity—you’ll be their designated charity of choice.
And when they do say yes, I’d suggest skipping to the bank for a change. If there was ever a time to skip, it’s when a donor supports your mission as much as you do. That, friend, is skip-worthy indeed!
All My Best,
dawn brown creative, llc.
P.S. Fundraising is hard, even though you make it look
oh-so easy! ♥
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