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Top 5 GivingTake Blog Posts

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What better way to find out what is on the minds of our advancement colleagues than to see what they are reading about on blogs. Rather than conduct a survey, let’s look at what topics are being read most by thousands of advancement professionals.

The Copley Raff GivingTake Blog has been publishing for three years now (hard to believe), and here are the top five most read posts:

The traditional (and frankly easiest) way to evaluate a direct mail program is to determine net revenue and the number of donors you keep, gain, and lose. A mature and well managed program will invest in acquisition, end the year with more donors and, if you are really good, achieve an overall higher average gift to boot. Results are evaluated annually or semi-annually to inform the next budget cycle strategy. If this is your approach to valuing your mail program you will be challenged to sell greater investment in the program to your boss… especially these days.

Consider taking a longer, more detailed, and sophisticated view of direct mail value. While all of the above is obviously important, it is important to acknowledge that “unexpected” windfalls, such as significant bequests, are often from longtime $25 direct mail donors. These are the ultimate rewards from a regular mail solicitation program that keeps your mission and need for philanthropy in front of your lower profile and oftenoverlooked donors and stakeholders…

Supermarkets do it. Telecommunications companies do it. Public health departments do it. Police departments do it. They use geographic information systems (GIS) mapping to improve the way they do business. It is about time the advancement profession uses it. We at Copley Raff are finding many applications for this technology to help elevate programs to the next level.

GIS mapping has widespread applications to the work we do, and for almost any nonprofit sector. This technology enables fundraisers to plot on a map the location of your: $100+ donors; loyal donors; subscribers; patients; alumni; food recipients; ticket buyers; gala attendees and so much more…

#3 Warming Up to a Cold Call – 10/17/2011

Cold calls. Even the moniker of these usually dreaded method of outreach is, well, cold. But the best gifts, and relationships, always emerge from conversations, and they’ve got to start somewhere. I was recently asked address a meeting of chief advancement officers representing specialty post-graduate colleges. When asked what they would most like to learn about, the group came to a quick and universal consensus: how to make cold calling easier.

Here’s one hard, cold fact to consider: an advancement officer should never be in a position to make a “cold” call. There should always be a pretext for the call. For example, call…

It takes more than wishful thinking to get a share of the big gifts.

I just read about Harvard receiving another eight-figure gift, substantially adding to its huge endowment coffers. And here you are, an advancement officer for a venerable institution, wondering what it is about Harvard that enables it to habitually attract such large gifts. As a consultant, I encounter this wonderment from my clients regularly. So I’ve begun asking the people who make those large gifts…

Did you know that the word “news” actually comes from the terms north, east, west, and south? … meaning that information – positive and negative – truly does come from all over. And, in a way, advancement officers, CFOs, and consultants in the development world are newscasters, constantly delivering updates on the state of affairs in their organizations. A much under-appreciated skill in this vein is that of delivering unwanted news, which seems to surface more often than everyone would like. After all, have you ever witnessed a CFO deliver disappointing or even alarming financial news to a board and directors and then seen leadership leave the meeting with a spring in their step?

The consultants of Copley Raff wish you a successful and inspiring 2014!

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