News & Insights

Wow First Time Donors

October 18, 2016

As we enter the busiest season of giving, remember how essential it is to get first-time donors to make another gift. Retaining current donors is far more cost-effective than acquiring new ones.

So, as you plan out your year-end mailings and wrap-up your events, make sure you really wow those first-time donors, whatever the gift amount! Number one is thanking them (not just sending a tax receipt) in a timely manner. Lay out a plan to acknowledge donors of different levels—a personal phone call, letter, card, survey, email, acknowledgement on social media, and/or welcome packages are all great options!

Figure out what might be most effective for your organization and your donors and tweak it each year accordingly.

Best regards from the Fladeboe Team

Get Emotional

September 21, 2016

We mentioned in our previous post that people don’t always do what they say they will. We don’t always do good when we feel good, either.

Fundraisers often feel the need to provoke positive feelings, like happiness. Maybe sadness, but often with a happy ending. While these are powerful feelings and can often elicit action, the emotions of fear, anger, and disgust are also powerful.

Don’t shy away from these “negative” feelings. If that is your story of your cause, tell it. When people feel strongly, whether positive or negative, they are more likely to donate. Often the most controversial or uncomfortable story can incite the biggest boon for your cause.

Here is a great post that discusses this phenomenon a little more and gives some examples on how to use emotional appeals.

Best regards from the Fladeboe team


July 1, 2016

Summer is often a slower time for donations, so it’s a great time to polish up your follow-up plan – one for all types of donors and all types of situations. People who attend an event but do not donate should receive a different follow-up than someone who donates. Someone who gives online should receive different follow-up than someone who gives through the mail.

Follow-up can be as simple as an email, or as personal as a phone call. The best plan includes a variety of touchpoints: email, newsletter, social media, phone call, and/or letter.

There are unlimited ways to customize your follow-up procedures. Remember that it’s always about the donor (not about you or your organization), so create an experience based on the their perspective. Whatever you do, make sure you welcome people into the organization authentically, offer additional ways to get involved, request feedback, and establish an ongoing relationship.

Best regards from the Fladeboe Team

Donor Focused

August 18, 2016

Hopefully your events went well and you have some energy left to regroup before the fall fundraising season starts.

Remember that the most important thing in all of fundraising is the donor. You can have the best, most diverse fundraising plan that includes email, direct mail, and social media, but if you haven’t thought about the donor through it all, your fundraising will fall flat.

How do you know if you are focusing on the donor? First, look at fundraising research that is based on results. Surveys can be insightful, but often what donors say they will do is not what they actually do. Base your fundraising strategies on sound data and then do your own testing to see what works best for your organization!

Second, use the word “you” often! Write about how great the donor is—they make the miracles in your organization happen. Here is a great look at the progression of good, donor-focused fundraising copy.

Best regards from the Fladeboe Team

Mission Front and Center

May 26, 2016

At your various events this summer, remember to keep mission front and center. Occasionally when planning events, the event can take on a brand of its own. We might give our 5k a catchy name and a fun new logo, but in doing so— our mission can get lost.

Take the time to view your event experience like an outsider. Will the people who attend your golf tournament know which organization is putting on the event and how the funds raised will be used?

When your organization’s mission has a strong presence at your events, the attendees will feel a stronger connection. And that connection will lead to lifelong donors!

Best regards from the Fladeboe Team

Auction Tip

Raise Those Paddles

Many of our clients ask us whether using bidder paddles (“on a stick”) or bidder cards (no “stick”) is really necessary for the live auction. Bidders can just raise their hands, right?

It’s true raising hands can work. However, we’ve found having a bidder paddle or card really makes a difference in an auction. Practically, a bidder card is much easier for an auctioneer to see than a hand. Once an item is sold, it is very easy to record who won the item. All the auctioneer has to do is call out the bidder number and winning amount. The same applies to a fund-a-need – it’s easy to identify guests pledging at each level by calling out their bidder numbers.