Picture it for a moment…
There I was. In my first job as a development director. I was tasked with creating a development department from the ground up. And I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.
I don’t need to tell you it was challenging!
Thanks to a successful local businessman, this particular organization had run a hugely successful capital campaign five years prior, raising over $5 million for a new facility.
And what had they done since?
Nothing. Not a thing.
- Major donors were ignored.
- Not a single foundation grant proposal had been written in five years.
- The businessman who had spearheaded the capital campaign was deceased and none of the data from that campaign was available to me.
- The organization had no website.
- The organization’s annual membership campaign had been outsourced to a succession of different mail-houses. The resulting product was a mess (and donors noticed). Members of the community were angry and the campaign had steadily lost donors and dollars for the past five years.
And the more I dug, the worse things looked.
The closest I’d come to fundraising experience was reviewing grant proposals. I had no clue where to start.
Frankly, I thought that I’d taken on more – much more – than I could handle.
But, after emerging from head-desk mode, I sat down at my desk and mapped out my very first fundraising plan. I made:
- A plan for grants
- A plan for public relations
- A plan for a website (the organization didn’t have one), and
- A plan for growing individual donors
So what happened then? Fast forward a short 12 months and we had:
- Raised nearly $150,000 in foundation support, the majority of it general operating support (who’s got time for all those grant reports?)
- Increased our individual giving by a full 25% – and reduced costs by 31% (boards always love that part, and when you practice retention fundraising it’s easy to do)
- Begun successful outreach to local businesses, bringing on corporate sponsors like Whole Foods
- Established a weekly column in our local newspaper
- Launched our first website fully equipped for online giving
- I’d landed my first major gift for $250,000!
So, how’d I do it?
The first thing I did was to query our database. Did I pull a report of our major donors? Nope. By then we didn’t have any. Instead, I queried our database for 20 loyal donors. These were donors who had given every year for five years — despite the lack of anything remotely resembling a thank you. I wrote a letter of introduction asking why they had supported the organization. I sent it out, along with a brief survey and a stamped, self-addressed envelope.
You see, I knew that the heart and soul of my fundraising plan would be to learn what our donors’ motivations were.
Eighteen responded. Several sent in checks, although I hadn’t asked for money. Three eventually became major donors.
Since then, I’ve taken a number of *fundraising* and *development* classes. I even set out on the CFRE path at one point.
But not one fundraising training I ever took ever came close to that initial revelation. Your donors are your best teachers. If you take the time to listen. Those 18 donors taught me more about effective fundraising than any class I’ve taken – before or since.
I just started as the Development Director in March. I borrowed your letter (with some tweaking) and added a short questionnaire. I sent out a lot more than just 20 letters – I mailed 86 letters on June 21st, but it was well worth it. To date I have received 33 envelopes – and I say envelopes and not responses because one just had a check without a questionnaire! That’s a 38% return! Out of the 33 envelopes, 30 mailed back questionnaires and 8 mailed checks totaling $1,175 (the highest check being $500).. My boss was SHOCKED! He had no idea that I sent anything out, but he was extremely happy that I did!
Donor surveying will help you uncover your best planned, major, and even monthly giving prospects. And if you’re planning a capital campaign any time soon, you should start with a survey.
How are you regularly surveying your donors? Join us for the newest course in our roster, Raise More Money With Donor Surveys | Basics & More™. You’ll discover how to raise more money by actively listening to your donors.
Over 5,000 Smart Nonprofits Have Gotten Smarter With Basics & More™. Here Are Just a Few
“Based on the excellent advice presented in your Monthly Giving course, we’ve increased our monthly donors by 242% in just 7 months! We’re excited to keep building on this success in the coming school year.”
Rachel N. Rodriguez, MPA, MSW
Development Director, Mountain Mahogany Community School
“There is truly NO better small shop resource!!!”
Dr. Janet Buchanan, CFRE
Vice President, Philanthropy
Carroll Lutheran Village
“After we implemented the simple Reply sheet recommended in one of your webinars after just three months we’ve already added 40 new monthly donors! Thanks so much Pam!”
“This is a great course for both novices and old hat fundraisers. Pam brings in the top fundraisers of the day and even if you’ve been fundraising for a long time they will give you new ideas to add to your repertoire. The techniques you will learn will help you not only in your year-end but all year round. I highly recommend this course for anyone who wants to have the opportunity to learn from the best in a condensed and cost-effective way.”
Development Director, CEPAD USA
Last fiscal year we had our best year ever. We reached out to lapsed donors and also segmented the database for our annual appeal. The result was a 15% increase in the number of supporters (I currently prefer the word “supporter” to “donor”) who gave to our organization. Pamela, thank you for everything you do.
Katherine DiGiulio, Ph.D., CFRE
Mission Advancement Director
Congregation of Notre Dame
See what’s included in this four-week course.
Week One (December 11): Feedback & the Future of Fundraising
Discover why customer donor service is more important now than ever before.
Week Two (December 18): Developing Your First Survey
What is the purpose of your survey? In Week Two you’ll begin drafting your first survey to uncover potential major gifts, planned gifts, or monthly donors.
Week Three (December 26): Incorporating Surveying & Feedback Throughout Your Donor Communications.
Week Three’s module goes beyond creating your survey to include lessons in incorporating feedback throughout your website, social media, and donor communications.
Week Four (January 2nd): Utilizing Feedback in Communications Planning.
How will you track and use your survey responses? In Week Four you’ll learn how to make the most of your survey responses and how to incorporate your donor responses into your fundraising materials.
LIVE Feedback Session
Submit your donor survey for a live feedback session to review questions, your approach, your audience, and more.
“I intend to implement the three stories every board member should be able to tell from your video interviewing Christopher himself on Storytelling for Board Members (from your e-course Nonprofit Storytelling – which my marketing director and I went through together, discussing what we want to share and implement with board and staff. I highly recommend it!).”
Ruth Jones, Director of Fund Development, Presbyterian Manor
“I had great success with the last course I took with you. My first EOY appeal campaign (sent mid December, a 4 page letter and lots of ‘yous’:) came in 38% higher than the previous year so far! And envelopes are still coming in. Very exciting.”
Margo Reveil, Cook Inletkeeper
“If you are struggling with creative ways to connect with your donors, then Pamela Grow’s newsletter course is just what you need.
I took this course last year and was able to immediately put some of the ideas and suggestions I learned from her class to work. Donor-focused newsletters can bring in a lot of funds for your nonprofit if done right. Take this course and start off on the right foot. Otherwise, you’re leaving money on the table.”
Michelle Sanders Brinson
Nashville Rescue Mission
Mandy Fischer, Development Manager, Intervale Center
“I have thoroughly enjoyed and greatly benefited from all of the valuable classes you have offered! You are an amazing support for small nonprofits and I share your website with other nonprofit friends that I meet.”Renee Scott, Executive Director, Gilead House
Would you like personal coaching guiding you through developing your organization’s survey questions? With Pamela’s Grow Consulting Implementation (GCI), you’ll not only receive access to the four-week class, Pam will also work with you personally, step-by-step, to help you plan, build and launch your donor survey, from start to finish. Whether you’re contemplating a capital campaign, need help identifying prospective major donors, or are starting your organization’s first legacy program, donor surveying can help. GCI is your ultimate solution. GCI Grow Consulting Implementation is priced at only $1500 and you’ll receive: I’ve never been available for personalized help quite like this. Should you choose to take advantage of this opportunity, I’ll be coaching you every step of the way and holding you accountable as you take the wisdom gained from the webinar and class and implement everything you learn, finding ways to make it work for your organization – and your donors. I’ve only got 10 8 of these spots available and if you act now, one of them could be yours. Questions or concerns? As always, I’m only an email away. And if you’d prefer a free 15 minute consultation to gain additional insight about this offer, email my assistant and we’ll schedule a call.
Do you need to take it to the next level?
Would you like personal coaching guiding you through developing your organization’s survey questions? With Pamela’s Grow Consulting Implementation (GCI), you’ll not only receive access to the four-week class, Pam will also work with you personally, step-by-step, to help you plan, build and launch your donor survey, from start to finish.
Whether you’re contemplating a capital campaign, need help identifying prospective major donors, or are starting your organization’s first legacy program, donor surveying can help.
GCI is your ultimate solution.
GCI Grow Consulting Implementation is priced at only $1500 and you’ll receive:
I’ve never been available for personalized help quite like this. Should you choose to take advantage of this opportunity, I’ll be coaching you every step of the way and holding you accountable as you take the wisdom gained from the webinar and class and implement everything you learn, finding ways to make it work for your organization – and your donors.
I’ve only got 10 8 of these spots available and if you act now, one of them could be yours.
Questions or concerns? As always, I’m only an email away. And if you’d prefer a free 15 minute consultation to gain additional insight about this offer, email my assistant and we’ll schedule a call.
The price for the four-week course, including all PDF modules, three recorded webinar trainings, live webinar, worksheets, podcasts and more is just $99!
Register for this Course$99
Raise More Money with Donor Surveys | Basics & More
Grow Consulting ImplementationCould you use more personal attention for your donor survey? With Pamela’s GCI, you’ll not only receive access to the four-week class Nonprofit Donor Surveys, Pam will also work with you step-by-step to help you plan, build and implement your first donor survey. We'll help you create a powerful survey and identify key targets to exceed your goal. This package comes with four 45 minute coaching calls.$1500
SHORE Centre from Planned Parenthood Waterloo Region
“I just purchased your year-end fundraising course and it’s incredible! And this is coming from a person who took SEIU’s PAC from 9.2 million to 21.5 million in 24 months. You are just incredible!”Hayden L. Mora
This course is taught by Pamela Grow.
Pamela Grow is the founder of Basics & More™ Fundraising, providing comprehensive training to over 5,000 nonprofit organizations worldwide. She is also the author of Simple Development Systems: Successful Fundraising for the One-Person Shop, considered by many to be the bible of small shop fundraising.
A pioneer in creating online trainings for nonprofit professionals, Pamela created the first online nonprofit storytelling class in 2010, as well as the first online nonprofit stewardship training. Partnering with Chris Davenport of the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference, she created the landmark program, 100 Donors in 90 Days, and The Donor Retention Project. In 2016, Pam developed the curriculum, branding, and launch for the Veritus Group’s Major Gift Academy, the seminal online training for nonprofit major gift officers
In 2010 Pamela was named one of the 50 Most Influential Fundraisers by UK’s Civil Society magazine, and she was recently named one of the Top 25 Fundraising Experts by the Michael Chatman Giving Show. She’s been featured by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the Foundation Center and Small Shop Savior, a weekly column of NonprofitPRO Magazine.
“Last week, I received my first $100,000 gift. I have such great stories to tell about the good work we do. It’s easy to be passionate when you’re doing what you love.I do not have any staff and my board has set a goal for me of $1 million by December 31, 2014. I really received the reigns of the foundation in late October. Since then, I have raised nearly $325,000. My annual appeal was very successful.
Using your book, webinars, classes, etc. I am moving forward nicely!
As your emails always say, Yes, you have my back!”
Teri Donaldson, Executive Director, The Futures Foundation
“As the new Associate Director of Development at a not-for-profit senior retirement community, I was told that year-end giving was almost non-existent therefore, no real effort had been put into a campaign. The rationale was donors were bombarded with requests and we were always at the bottom of their list. Taking cues from Simple Development Systems (I purchased two years ago), I came up with a plan in mid-September and presented to my boss. Her words were, ‘Okay, what do we have to lose?’ The campaign used direct mail, email and social media. The direct mail had three pieces that dropped in late November, early December, and late December. I used a letter from the CEO, a letter from a resident, and a postcard — all telling a story. And it worked! Not only did the year-end giving increase by 54%, we raised awareness and received several compliments. HUGE win and, hopefully, a great start to our 2017 fundraising.”
Shelley Hill, Associate Director of Development, The Legacy Senior Communities, Inc.
“I wanted to thank you for this course. I wanted to share that for the first time in our five years, we raised over 100K in program revenue and I think it was in large part due to this course and what I implemented. I need to look further, but program revenue for Q42015 was 28.7k. For Q42016 program revenue was 42k! Amazing! I will be back for more learning from you…thank you for serving those of us who feel called to bring hope to the world!”
Brooke F. Sulahian, President & Co-Founder, Hope for Our Sisters, Inc.
Q. How does this online course work?
A. Every Monday, you’ll receive an email with a link to a password protected page containing that week’s recorded webinar and downloadable resources. Written guides are 10–15 pages in length and can be printed or read directly on your computer or pad. You do not need to be present for any live webinar trainings.
Q. It’s the holiday season. We’re working on our year-end campaign and will be off during the third week of class. How does it work if I miss a module?
A. No worries. Basics & More™ courses were designed with your busy schedule and personal freedom in mind! You’re welcome to proceed at your own pace — and you’re granted lifetime access to the materials upon registration. Loads of tools, tips, and insider secrets will be coming at you in droves, and you may not be ready to implement it all at once. And that’s perfectly fine. Learn how one Basics & More™ student applied the lessons – months after the class.
Q. Can I share the course with my development associate?
A. Yes, you can. The structure of this course, as well as the majority of the other offerings on my roster, are designed to bring your entire team on board — working, learning, and implementing together. Creating a culture of philanthropy means empowering your board members, staff, and volunteers about the most effective ways to fundraise. In keeping with my philosophies, your purchase price includes up to eight additional registrants. Promptly after your registration is processed, you’ll receive a Welcome email with instructions on adding team additions. If you don’t, please contact my assistant.
Q. Is there any personal support during this class?
A. Absolutely. Throughout the duration of this course, you’ll have direct email access to me. Email me your questions, bounce ideas off me, and talk about how to implement the strategies at your own organization. Additionally, you’ll gain access to a private Facebook group created specifically for this course. From start to finish, I’m committed to helping you succeed!
Q. Is this class guaranteed?
A. Yes. This class, like all of my Basics & More™ courses, is 100% unconditionally guaranteed. If you are unsatisfied with this course for any reason, I will refund your purchase price in full, no questions asked. That’s my guarantee to you…you will love this course!
Q. How do I register for this class?
A. Use the registration button.
Q. I’m a consultant and I think this program would be good for a few of my clients. Do you have a referral program?
A. We do. We offer a 30% affiliate payment for every registration. Sign up here for the Basics & More affiliate program. You might also consider enrolling yourself and using the teachings in creating your clients’ year-end fundraising programs.
“Simple Development Systems is AMAZING. I am so glad we signed up for it — it has been an incredible support for me and our Development Associate. We don’t have a senior development person — it’s just me on top of being executive director, and your program has had JUST the right approach for us. I feel like we are doing things more effectively and efficiently — the webinars, resources, newsletters/emails, it has all been terrific. I am recommending it to other folks right and left!”
Julia R. Wilson, Executive Director, OneJustice
Since 2010, Basics & More™ fundraising fundamentals eCourses* have helped thousands of nonprofit organizations all over the world grow their funding exponentially. Basics & More™ trainings have included:
- nonprofit storytelling
- stewardship (Power of Thank You)
- nonprofit communications, including direct mail, money-making newsletters, email marketing and more
- board fundraising
- major gift fundraising
- foundation grants
- fundraising planning and developing a case for support
- creating your organization’s culture of philanthropy, and more
Courses are priced at under $100, and enrollment includes up to eight team members. Many of your peers are using Basics & More™ trainings to bring everyone on board.
Our referral program is one of the most generous in the industry. For every Basics & More™ enrollment, you’ll receive a 30% commission. Click here to sign up.