1. Direct Mail in a Capital Campaign? & 2. Intro to Millennials in Fundraising, Part II

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Sections of this topic

    1. Is There A Role for Direct Mail in a Capital Campaign? by Hank Lewis

    First, a quick look at Direct Mail. But, since The Fundraising Blog currently has a Direct Mail Expert addressing that topic, I’ll be very general in my observations.

    Direct Mail is the tried and tested tool for Donor Acquisition – (see the postings on “Direct Mail” at Direct Response Fundraising) – but a Capital Campaign is definitely not about Donor Acquisition.

    The success of a Capital Campaign relies on obtaining a sufficient number of major gifts/commitments to reach its goal; and, major gifts are (almost always) obtained through personal (face-to-face) cultivation and solicitation, not through Direct Mail.

    A Capital Campaign should, in fact, be able to reach its goal relying only on major gifts. That doesn’t mean there’s no place for Direct Mail in a Capital Campaign, quite the contrary. Direct Mail can play an important role in a Campaign’s success.

    So, isn’t success in a Capital Campaign measured in dollars?, in reaching its goal? Not completely !! Success is based on a number of elements:

    1. If we reached or exceeded our dollar goal.
    2. If the campaign leaders are happy with their roles, effectiveness and recognition.
    3. If those leaders would be willing to “do it again.”
    4. If the major donors now want greater participation with the organization.
    5. If prospective major donors have been identified for the next such effort.
    6. If corporations and foundations were “impressed” with the broad support, and would, therefore, be more likely to provide support in the future.
    7. If the people who comprise the nonprofit’s “community” feel that they are an important part of the successful effort.

    And, those last two items are where Direct Mail plays a part in a capital campaign. That role is not in the dollars that can be raised in response to mailings, but in the number of people/donors that can and wanted to be a part of that major fundraising effort.

    Of course the dollars are welcome, but Direct Mail in a Capital Campaign is about getting a broad range of people to feel that they are part of the nonprofit’s “community” … and its success. The greater the “community’s” participation, the greater the potential support of the nonprofit on an ongoing basis … from corporations, foundations and individual constituents.

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    2. Millennials in Fundraising: An Introduction – Part II by K. Michael Johnson

    Last week, I introduced you to the Millennial generation and highlighted their increasing presence in the workforce. I also pointed out that many in older generations find Millennials to be entitled, distracted, and even downright obnoxious.

    But are we truly that different, or is this characterization just the typical “kids these days” attitude every generation has toward the ones that follow?

    Well, the data is all over the place. One thing that can be said with absolute certainty is that we Millennials are the first generation to grow up connected to the internet. In fact, many Millennials don’t even remember a time before broadband.

    According to data from the U.S.Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Millennials are more optimistic about the future, as well as more ethnically diverse than previous generations.

    And there is some data to validate the popular view that we were raised by over-indulgent, hovering parents, who solved all our problems for us and made sure that all of us (not just the winners) got trophies in every activity. All we had to do was show up, and we got an actual award !!

    So, we Millennials clearly grew up in a very different world. And as a result, we have a unique perspective about work.

    Our transition into the workforce has certainly caught the attention of the media and the broader business community. Whether perception or reality, much of the conversation around Millennials in the workforce tends to fall within one of three categories:

    • Millennials are very tech-savvy, yet always multi-tasking and unfocused.
    • Millennials are entitled and self-absorbed, how can anyone manage them?
    • Millennials want to make a difference, but have little loyalty to and faith in institutions.

    Given our desire for impact, it makes sense that many in my generation seek work in the nonprofit sector. This is a good thing, and should be encouraged.

    But, in many ways, we’re not wired like the fundraisers who have gone before us. We have much to learn and there are, indeed, pitfalls to avoid. There are also new opportunities to be seized.

    Stay tuned – I have some advice for my fellow Millennials in fundraising. And I have some thoughts about how older colleagues and managers can have productive and (dare I say it) enjoyable working relationships with us.

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    K. Michael Johnson is a major gift officer at a large research university
    and the founder of Fearless-Fundraising.com,
    where he discusses the inner game of deeper relationships and bigger asks.
    You can contact him at K. Michael Johnson.
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    The Fundraising Series of ebooks ??

    They’re easy to read, to the point, and inexpensive ($1.99 – $4.99)
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