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Get Personal to Raise More Money

Posted by Scott Barron on Nov 25, 2016 10:30:12 AM

Most of the donations to your school will be made because someone asked for them, and if you get personal with your fundraising messages you will raise more money. Schools who customize their communications are more likely to:

  1. Retain donors for longer periods of time
  2. Generate more loyalty
  3. Create higher levels of donor satisfaction. 
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Topics: Fundraising, Engagement

Fundraising Book: Giving and Getting in the Kingdom by Mark Dillon

Posted by Scott Barron on Apr 20, 2016 11:16:40 AM

Fundraising is a top priority for many school leaders, so you may be looking for a way to improve your approach to donor cultivation. If you are connected with a Christian or similar faith-based school, I highly recommend the book, Giving and Getting in the Kingdom: A Field Guide, by Mark Dillon.

Mark is an unusually talented fundraising expert. He served in the development office at Wheaton College for 19 years, most recently as the VP of Advancement and Alumni Relations. Having led capital and annual fund campaigns that raised hundreds of millions of dollars, Mark is fully qualified to give advice on this topic.

He is now the Executive Vice President of the Christian Education and Non-Profit division at Generis, an Atlanta-based fundraising consulting company that advances the missions of churches, Christian schools, colleges, seminaries, universities, and non-profit organizations.

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Topics: Fundraising

Assessing Donor Relationships

Posted by Scott Barron on Oct 13, 2014 9:58:24 AM

How would you assess the quality of your relationship with the people who donate or invest in your school? Obviously, raising money to fund your vision requires deepening the connection with donors who have the capacity, the conviction, and the commitment to you and the organization.

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Topics: Webinar, Fundraising

Fundraising Lessons from Summer Camp

Posted by Scott Barron on Sep 23, 2014 9:26:07 AM

Have you ever played or witnessed cage ball games at camp? Summer camps often feature teens playing two or three games a day with giant multi-colored canvases filled with air. To keep the ball airborne takes at least three teens jumping into it, achieving the objective of directing the massive ball into the goal posts to win.

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Topics: Fundraising

Creating that Christmas Carol Moment

Posted by Scott Barron on Sep 18, 2014 9:29:53 AM

Have you ever wished you could see the consequences of your choices before you made them? Of course.

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Topics: Webinar, Fundraising

Four Fundraising Features of LinkedIn

Posted by Scott Barron on Sep 10, 2014 8:40:14 AM

The Network of You is bigger than you think, and LinkedIn provides a cost-effective and time-efficient way to leverage these relationships to engage donors. Even if you only spend ten minutes per day on the site, these four fundraising features of LinkedIn should become a core part of your donor development strategy.

Network Expansion

Use Linked in to connect with parents, donors, community leaders, thought leaders, faculty, and even prospective faculty. Connecting requires sending an invitation to each person based on your current relationship: colleague, classmate, business associate, friend, or other. The "friend" option is the easiest because it doesn't require qualifying the nature of your relationship. LinkedIn provides a template message that should be edited to personalize your brief connection invitation. You might include acknowledgement of the person's achievement(s) and suggest a dialogue in the near future about an opportunity to collaborate.

Once connected, you will receive status updates posted by the person along with having access to their network through direct or indirect introductions. If one of your connections knows an executive in your community with whom you would like to build a relationship, you can request an introduction through LinkedIn and the system makes the process simple. (Hint: An iPad app that will show the scope of your LinkedIn connections and help you connect the dots is ProInsights. I use this app frequently to analyze opportunities and set up meetings.)

Donor Research

With the wealth of background data available through LinkedIn, you should never have a "blind" conversation with a donor. Learn what is important to each donor and his/her sphere of influence by researching what is being posted by or about the person along with the other people and organizations with whom he/she is associated. Learn the language and issues of your donor's world so that you're able to demonstrate genuine interest and preparation. By gaining common language and understanding you position yourself as a professional advisor who can establish shared vision and an investment proposal.

Introductions & Recommendations

Look for ways to connect people in your school community who share common interests. They may be in the same industry, share the same hobbies, or perhaps they attended the same university. You can introduce them through an email that provides a few sentences on each person, or you might set up a time to meet for lunch.

LinkedIn also makes it very easy to write a professional recommendation for people in your network. Such a recommendation can be accepted and displayed on their public profile as a testament to their valuable qualities. Make it a goal to write one introduction and one recommendation each week. This would only take about fifteen minutes and the mutual benefits will be well worth the investment of your time.

Community Engagement

Donor relationships shouldn't be one-sided, where you expect them to invest time to learn about the school but you know nothing about their goals and interests. (This is especially true of your board members) Listen to and engage with people from your community who are active on LinkedIn. Participate in the dialogue on select groups that supports awareness and relevance. You may even be able to start a LinkedIn group for your local community, then invite the real estate agents, business owners, executives, and civic leaders to join.

As Zig Ziglar once said, "You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want."

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Topics: Webinar, Fundraising

Fatty Foods Fundraising Fiasco

Posted by Scott Barron on Aug 26, 2014 3:43:13 AM

Georgia's Board of Education decided to exercise the state's right to determine how the children in its schools will raise money and eat. No "damn Yankee" nor anyone from D.C. is going to keep these Peach State students from participating in the sale of unhealthy foods during the school day. (Dadgumit!)

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Topics: Fundraising, Leadership

Fundraising Wisdom from an Expert

Posted by Scott Barron on Apr 17, 2014 4:42:31 PM

Today I had the privilege of interviewing Terry Axelrod, Founder and CEO of Benevon. Her company offers a sustainable system for fundraising that we have used and highly recommend. With Terry's many years of experience and success as an adviser and coach, she is more than qualified for guru status when it comes to fundraising wisdom.

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Topics: Fundraising, Board Culture

The School Fundraising Portfolio: 3 Types of Events

Posted by Scott Barron on Apr 9, 2014 8:47:16 PM

When planned and executed wisely, fundraising events are part of a cohesive portfolio intended to advance the mission and vision of the school. Here are three different types of events to consider:

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Topics: Fundraising, Events

School Fundraising: Centralized vs. Decentralized

Posted by Scott Barron on Mar 4, 2014 2:16:41 PM


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Topics: Fundraising

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