This is the first in a series of guest posts by Howard Freeman – Founder and Principal of Zoey Creative Development, a charitable giving consultancy in NYC serving both organizations and also individual philanthropists.
There is not a ministry which I’ve heard or read about that doesn’t need to raise more money, or raise more money this year than last year. If you’re in the group that still needs to raise money, here are tips to find more, raise more, and sustain more.
A METAL DETECTOR WILL FIND THE NEEDLE IN THE HAYSTACK
Most ministries and even churches go to “the same pockets,” leaving these individuals and families worn out and even discouraged, especially if they hear from the leaders only around the end of the fiscal year or during campaigns.
What most organizations fail to do, though, is look at steady givers deeper in their database or even to do research on them.
Considering “prospect research,” however, appalls a lot of Christian organizations.
But just as some churches should consider a press release, even though that seems counter to “what churches do,” organizations of all types should know what giving capacity their constituents have.
At the last two organizations I worked for, we used a research tool that my firm now uses with our clients. At my most recent organization, using this at the beginning of a campaign translated into more than $100,000 of unanticipated gifts in the first two months, making the tool cost less than $0.03 per dollar raised. It became cheaper as more gifts came in.
If you don’t want to invest in using a research tool, consider these measures to find more gifts and more donors among older and younger constituents:
- Ask people to make monthly gifts, not end-of-year only gifts. Monthly gifts can accumulate to be larger, and it develops their spiritual discipline of giving.
- Ask older church members or constituents to consider a charitable gift annuity (CGA), even a deferred CGA. They can name themselves as beneficiary, or they can name one of the pastors as beneficiary to benefit years from now. A portion of a deferred annuity can potentially be written immediately to the bottom line.
- Ask your younger constituents to volunteer for something. Studies show that most people aged 35 or younger who make a financial gift to an organization have first volunteered at that organization.
Next time we’ll discuss ‘raising more’ money. Our recommendation is a bit unorthodox—according to fundraising textbooks, that is.