AFP – Megacommunities

Presented by Reginald Van Lee

Mr. Van Lee of Booz Allen Hamilton, provided an overview of how megacommunities can help with sustainable globalization.

Mega problems — i.e., natural disasters like Katrina; energy sustainability; financial crisis; armed conflict/terrorism; public health crisis; climate change — demand a megacommunity response.

A megacommunity response is much different from the normal response.

Regular response is …

  • Single perspective
  • Maximize objectives
  • Organization bound
  • Limited openness / trust

Megacommunity response is …

  • Shared ideas
  • Optimize system
  • Transcend boundaries
  • Remain independent while working across sectors on common interests

Megacommunity defined:

Collaborative network of organizations in which civil society leaders/NPOs, business and government interact according to common interests. Such common goals are unachievable without each other as partners.  Each entity continues to maintain unique priorities.

Megacommunities made up of all three sectors have vital, overlapping needs that converge within an easily adaptable structure.

Megacommunity Recruitment and Process:

Find the Right Convener — an influential person is needed to attract and keep the right people in the room.  This choice , which is often an NPO – must be carefully researched and vetted.

Recruit the Right Facilitator –focused attention is needed to find the right leadership to facilitate a dynamic, …Learn More

AFP – Social Media

It is critical to have a year-round social media relationship management approach to renew and grow donors, especially those acquired through web-based giving programs.

Start posting and tweeting your cause now… jump in!  If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?  Learn by doing.

Based on top – down, here’s what social media NPOs are using the most …

1. Facebook
2. Twitter
3. YouTube
4. LinkedIn
5. Flickr
6. MySpace

  • Purpose for Facebook – engaging in dialogue is more important than the content presented, otherwise people would go to websites.
  • Purpose of Twitter – showing a way for people to want to learn more about your cause and guide them to your site

You should have a lot of engagement from your postings and tweets — otherwise, you’re just spamming.

“Twitter is about approach, transparency and immediacy” – Jack Dorsey, Twitter Co-Founder

Twitter could be especially useful for universal messaging during an annual fund or capital campaign … Get a campaign hash tag.

Your online voice is so important.  Dell’s company voice resonates authenticity through the voice of Lionel, the principle communicator.

Give your voice a rest and don’t …Learn More

AFP – Securing Future Growth

Here are some tips:

— Monthly bank account deductible gift phenom

Automatic monthly deductible giving from bank account technique is widely and successfully used in Canada, Australia and Europe, but not so much in the USA.

Canadian charities at the height of recession had a monthly giving increase of 10%.

It’s a win all around. Studies show that people who opt out of monthly deduction program are not affected by the offer.  Also if people do choose to participate, monthly deductions, they also give to cause requests for cash gifts.

Monthly donation request fits nicely in the four stages to securing future growth

1) Prospect Solicitation

A 4-page prospect solicitation letter continues to pull the most revenue.  Include such tactics as a deadline, specific request amount, stories in addition to offering the automatic monthly deduction.

2) Honeymoon maximization

Once receive first cash gift, ask again within next 4-6 weeks.  Data shows that donor is most likely to give again in this time-frame, followed by decreased responsiveness.

In between 1st and 2nd gift or the honeymoon period, make 3-4 non-ask contacts …

  • Thank in genuine manner. Keep personal with I / you pronouns.
  • Find out their support motivation and provide check-off
  • …Learn More

AFP – Planned Giving

Planned giving refers to donors (usually major and long-time supporters) who, during their lifetime, plan on leaving gifts to favorite causes after they die.  Upon death, proceeds from these planned or deferred gifts are distributed to the designated tax-exempt organization.  Here are some planned giving ideas:

— Offer donors the gift option of donating their IRA as a planned gift

— Vital for both donor and NPO to have a signed Declaration of Intent.  Such a document includes information as to …

  • whether the gift is restricted or unrestricted
  • what kind of planned gift channel – i.e., bequest, life insurance policy, securities, trust, etc.
  • recognition preference to help encourage others to make an exemplary commitment.

Click here for a sample declaration of intent and edit to fit your cause’s deferred giving program.

— Cultivation schedule for a new and current planned gift donors can include initial recognition email, annual report, newsletter, anniversary note, birthday card, class picture (new members only), etc.

Click here for an example of AFP ‘s Omega Circle recognition site.  Tailor this information to your planned giving program.


Posted by: Linda Brown Rivelis, President …Learn More

AFP – Tweak the Environment to Make Change More Likely

Overview of presentation by Dan Heath, co-author of Switch.

To create a safer, more orderly highway system, someone thought up painting lane markers.

To attract more funding at less cost of time and energy for both NPO and donor, someone thought up monthly giving through automatic bank deduction.

At the Amsterdam airport, the urinals in the men’s restrooms featured a spillage problem that was not related to plumbing or urinal design.

A perfect example of tweaking the environment to make change more likely is that some clever someone thought up the idea to paint house flies at the critical drainage point in all the urinals.  Point and aim … no more spillage!

Dan Heath”s stories had us all howling!  We learned and laughed a lot.  Get his book – Switch. …Learn More

AFP – Making the Switch – How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

Overview of presentation by Dan Heath, co-author of Switch.

1) Finding the Bright Spots

Humans tend to obsess over failures rather than successes.  Scientists state that left to our natural tendencies “bad is stronger than good”.  They purport that the human condition pays more attention to bad aspects and weighs negative information more heavily than positive.  No surprise there!  We need to pay attention to the successes, the “bright spots”.


A study of children in a community showed that 65% were malnourished and sickly.  A doctor was asked to fix the problem.  He took a different tack away from the problem and decided to focus on what was working –the 35% of community children who were healthy.

He visited their mothers and asked what they were doing to keep their children healthy.  They told him they fed their children 4 bowls of smaller portions of rice whose nutrients were more easily absorbed than the 2 larger bowls of rice that other children consumed.  The mothers also added bits of fish/shrimp and/or greens to the rice.

The doctor prescribed this diet to families throughout the community.  Within 3 months,  the majority of children recovered their good health. The doc  …Learn More

AFP – Annual Giving with Millenials

What hasn’t changed …

  • People don’t give gifts, they support causes
  • Bad data base/list results in bad annual fund – clean and segment files
  • If you don’t ask, you don’t get
  • If you don’t thank, you don’t get renewal

What’s not working anymore with Gen X/Y…

  • Standard line phone, address, email aren’t enough … Need cell phone numbers for text messaging.  Ask for mobile numbers on website donation form and telemarketing forms
  • Regular unrestricted annual fund campaigns … Push for choice/restricted gifts, activism through social networking
  • Past communication technique … Use social media and send message to campaign list and ask for people to follow

General Marketing has been …

  • Developing message
  • Identifying channels
  • Conducting transactions
  • Being good stewards of contributions
  • Building giving amounts and renewals

In addition, need to understand and build in data mining to accommodate Generation X and Y (19-37 years) as …

  • Tech savvy and caffeinated by multi-media
  • Of the mind that activism, volunteerism and donating go hand-in-hand as one unit, not separate
  • Communication patterns spike in  – Early am with face-to-face;  Mid-day with postings, tweets and texts; Evening with face-to-face
  • Social relevance is key – make your desired impact clear
  • Peer/customer reviews are desired  —
  • …Learn More

Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) 47th International Conference

Take a gander at some sustainability trends that we heard over the recent 3-day AFP Conference in Baltimore. Would love your take on this information and how you would apply it to your work..

Topics to be discussed include social media, planned giving, postings/tweets, gen x/y’s annual giving outlooks.

Enjoy! Serve better!

Posted by: Linda Brown Rivelis, President …Learn More

AFP Conference – Baltimore

The AFP National Conference was held in Baltimore this week.  I attended on Tuesday, hoping to get some pointers on online fundraising and social media strategies.  I also looked forward to the opportunity to talk to other fundraisers and find out how they were holding up on the past year’s epic fundraising challenges.

My first session was Online Fundraising – What’s in Store for the Next 50 Years.  Vinay Bhagat, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer for Convio, Inc. in Austin, Texas was one presenter, along with Pam Loeb, Principle at Edge Research, a marketing research company.  Convio provides software and services that help nonprofit’s to view constituent behavior by tracking online activities and analyzing this information to design online fundraising and advocacy campaigns.  The purpose of the session was to help nonprofits gauge their cultivation activities toward different generations of donors. This is what I took away from this session:

  1. While older generations (Matures) still prefer to mail in a check, younger generations (Gen X and Gen Y) are more inclined to go online. This is no big surprise.
  2. Content is King, even when working online.  What you say has to engage your donor. Good writing is still necessary. 
  3. …Learn More