Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 12:00pm

posted by
Anne Byrne,
Professional-in-Residence,
ASU Lodestar Center


Question: We would like to increase our donations.  Is the upcoming Arizona Gives Day a good opportunity to do this?

 In the days leading up to December 10, my email and Face book page lit up with information and requests to participate in 2013’s Colorado Gives Day (coloradogives.org).  The requests came from organizations with which I have a connection as a former staffer, or in one case, by my son who works for the organization.    His appeal was my favorite – he asked all his family members across the country to donate to his environmental advocacy group in lieu of a birthday gift to him.  Does this represent a new level of maturity on his part?

I made my modest gifts, despite living in Arizona, and these, combined with over 88,000 other gifts raised over $20 million in one 24 hour period to support Colorado nonprofit organizations.  Wow! The organizations I supported raised $55,000, $35,000 and $25,000.  

Arizona nonprofit organizations can participate in our own Arizona Gives Day on April 9, 2014.  Presented by the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits (arizonanonprofits.org), and Arizona Grantmakers Forum (www.arizonagrantmakersforum.org) , and sponsored by FirstBank, Arizona Gives Day provides a terrific opportunity to use the power of social media to build support from existing and new donors and contribute to a thriving philanthropic culture in our own state.

Arizona Gives Day was launched by the Alliance in 2013 and raised over $1 million from 8500 donors who contributed to 647 nonprofit organizations.  This was a great start, and hopefully this year’s results will blow the top off last year’s results.  

 In order to do so, Arizona organizations should be preparing now to maximize their results.  The Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits has tools and resources available to help. (http://www.arizonanonprofits.org/content/arizona-gives-day-0)

The beauty of Arizona Gives Day is that its success depends on organizations using tried and true practices for donor solicitation, cultivation and stewardship within a social media context.  Last year’s participants reported that 77% received donations from new donors, demonstrating Gives Day’s power at attracting new donors. 

Effective fundraising, in all its forms, depends on establishing and building relationships with potential and existing donors through connection to the mission and activities of the organization.  The best way to create relationships is through personal contacts, and Arizona Gives Day lays a powerful foundation to turn these personal contacts into donors.

Here is how my son Patrick did it with Colorado Gives Day:  He reached out to his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins through his personal email.  He wished us well, updated us on his work with Conservation Colorado (http://conservationco.org/) and directed us to his personal fundraising page within the organization’s page at Colorado Gives. Here there were pictures of Patrick and a description of why the organization’s work was important to him personally.  He described how much he loved Colorado for two primary reasons – the Denver Broncos and its natural beauty.  He added humor and personality to his appeal and making a gift was an easy click on the screen.  Immediately upon making my gift, my name showed up, along with his personal fundraising total and  the organization’s  overall total, providing immediate feedback on the impact of my gift.

When I spoke with Patrick before Gives Day, he expressed some concern about doing his part, feeling like he didn’t have the connections to be successful.  As it turns out, he raised over $1000, and it was relatively easy. Patrick did what it takes to raise funds from individuals – reached out to his contacts, shared why the organization was important to him and the positive impact of its work, and asked us to participate.  Gives Day added urgency to the cause and the feeling each donor was part of something significant, which we clearly were.  Just what would happen if you take your own staff, board and volunteers and replicate Patrick’s success.  Just 10 people could raise $10,000 in one day!

In order to have continued success, Patrick and his organization need to carry on making positive impact and building relationships with me and all the other donors who participated in Colorado Gives Day.  They are off to a good start, if my email inbox is any indicator!

So jump on board with Arizona Gives Day and make the effort required to make it successful for your organization and our state It will benefit your organization and the mission you serve, as well as the many diverse purposes and impacts of nonprofit organizations throughout Arizona.  We can make Arizona Gives Day 2014 a success!

 At age 23, Anne Byrne was the founding executive director of Denver’s rape crisis center, an organization that continues to flourish today, over 28 years later. Byrne went on to build a nationally recognized, multi-site summer and after school tutoring program for inner city youth. With 25 years of experience as an executive director of emerging nonprofit organizations, Byrne, who is aProfessional-in-Residence at the ASU Lodestar Center, brings valuable expertise and perspective to the "Ask a Nonprofit Specialist."

Comments

Here is Patrick's response and further advice:
Sweet! One thing that we have found to be successful about the personal pages is that it makes people feel like they are supporting you. Also, we have found that offering incentives to the staffer who brings in the most money, and particularly the most donors really helps. The # of donors one because it builds your list and helps diversify your donor pool. Plus, we get to embarrass our ED if we hit our goals, which is fun. I've attached a picture of Pete gathering petition signatures for strict carbon pollution standards on the 16th st. mall dressed as the Green Lantern. We also emailed all of the donors who gave with a link to vote on what costume he would wear, which helped with donor engagement.

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