🍀The Lucky Tree🌳

Mar 09, 2022

You're not a Keebler elf, but you do work in the lucky tree--there is no doubt in my mind. You get to sit on this really cool branch between the most generous people and the most amazing social mission(s). The view is nice from there, my friend. And even on the rough and windy days, Ted Lasso says it best, "I feel like we fell out of the lucky tree and hit every branch on the way down, ended up in a pool of cash and Sour Patch Kids."

If you haven't watched Ted Lasso yet, I highly recommend it. And if you have watched it, watch it again just for the feels. While it does have some strong language, the underlying messages are really heartwarming and applicable to life, in general--even through their metaphor of soccer. (And I'm not even sporty!) In fact, I love Lasso's 'Believe' message so much that I dressed up as his Believe poster last year for Halloween. Clearly, I'm a big fan!

So, this week’s blog features some of the reasons why working in the lucky tree and helping donors meet their charitable goals is so rewarding. And, as usual, I'll highlight some left brain marketing methods with a dash of right brain marketing moxie to give you a few ideas you can try to increase your donor communication results.

Left Brain Marketing Methods: One of the Seven Principles of Influence is Consistency. Did you know that consistency with donor communications is a symbol of stability? It's also a sign of action. Let's talk about using this to your advantage.

Right Brain Marketing Moxie: So often, we try to water down our ideas so they will scale to hundreds or even thousands of donors. But you know the people who have both an affinity for what you do and the capacity to do something about it. Doing less better and concentrating on this minimum viable audience is your real chance to make a true difference. 

Should we do this, Ted?

Left Brain Marketing Methods: One of the Seven Principles of Influence is ConsistencyConsistency can mean a few different things in the nonprofit marketing space. 

  1. It can mean making a plan to communicate with your donors multiple times a year. The #1 reason that people give is because they are asked to give. So, you have to make those appeals. The messages you send throughout the year can be layered, so the story you're telling them builds. Besides, you never know when a donor might respond. Maybe February was a bad time of year for them, but when they hear from you in April, the timing will be perfect. Anyone that you're building a relationship with, in work or in life, needs to hear from you several times a year. Make a spreadsheet and plan your work so you can work your plan--intentionally.

  2. Consistency can prove that your mission is active. Sure, you won't tell them the same story each time you communicate to them, but you'll tell them a piece of your story. It's like a puzzle and each time they hear from you, the puzzle becomes more clear to them. If they only hear from you once a year, they won't know all the good you're doing today. Consistency demonstrates activity. Activity shows progress. Progress shows exactly why your mission is so vital.

  3. Finally, consistency can prove your nonprofit's stability. I actually learned this lesson from a newspaper publisher many years ago. I had failed to let her know about an upcoming annual event we were having. I just assumed since they covered it the prior year that they wouldn't want to give us any ink this year. She assured me that our community likes to see the consistency of events from year-to-year--that it shows an organization's stability. I never forgot that lesson. That's why people celebrate numbered events, like the 10th annual golf outing, because it proves an organization is healthy, vibrant, and reliable. Let that be a lesson to you, too. 

Implementing ideas like this is like a locker room...smells like potential!


Right Brain Marketing Moxie: You know I'm a proponent of customizing messages for your different audiences. If you think you can send a direct mail piece to a 30-year-old single male and an 80-year-old widow and have it speak to both of them equally, I would challenge that notion. Their affinity to your mission may be piqued by hearing the same story, but building their case to give, Simon Sinek's 'Why'won't be clear unless you make it clear. In fact, 90% of marketing fails because donors are never told 'why' they received the marketing piece. Sadly, the remaining 10% doesn't even tell the donor about their best why--a custom why.

That's why donor segmentation is so vital. You can't easily customize messages, with your left brain or your right brain, for the masses. But smaller, targeted audiences that all have something in common are manageable and enable you to customize your whys for donors easily.

Here are a few ideas that work in the month of March, since next week is March 14th or 3.14, also know as Pi Day.

Professional Advisors may need to know that telling their clients to leave your nonprofit as a percentage beneficiary in their will is not only possible, but would be a welcome donation. In fact, you can specifically ask them this, "Won't you recommend a 5% bequest to your clients?". They'll clearly know why they received this message. Using the 'easy as pie' idiom, and depicting how small a 5% piece of pie is, shows that a picture is worth a thousand words--an image they can pass along to their clients. And when you're in Indiana, like I am, Sugar Cream Pie is a must. You can 'mine your own business' by recycling that message for a different audience and sending a similar, yet different, message to your Past and Current Board Members. There is no mistaking why the following message was sent--we needed to communicate a way to give that they might not realize, so they can act and make the necessary changes to their will, estate, retirement, or insurance plans. Take it one step further and you can do a super-custom delivery of an actual pie to your Top 50 Donors. When you're segmenting small groups of 50, ideas like this are not only possible, they are fun and extremely well-received. Our why was a simple and delicious special delivery of gratitude. But what we asked of them was to share the dessert with friends and tell them why they Give Where They Live through our Foundation. Clear, concise, and custom--just for them. And they become instant ambassadors of your brand. Or if you switch up your Gift Acknowledgement Letters (GALs) like I recommend each month, you could easily use this quick Endless Thanks cover for your thank-you receipt--or any thank you card. We work in the lucky tree, my friend. Hopefully, if we fall out, hit every branch, and implement some of these left brain marketing methods with right brain marketing moxie, we'll end up in a pool of cash--Sour Patch Kids optional.

All My Best,

dawn 🍀🌳
[email protected]
dawn brown creative, llc.

P.S. Fundraising is hard, even though you make it look
oh-so easy! ♥

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