10 Keys To Writing A Speech

“This is my time.”

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That attitude will kill a speech every time.
You’ve probably sat through some lousy speeches. Despite the speakers’ renown, you eventually tuned them out over their self-indulgent tangents and pointless details. You understood something these speakers apparently didn’t: This was your time. They were just guests. And your attention was strictly voluntary.

Of course, you’ll probably deliver that speech someday. And you’ll believe your speech will be different. You’ll think, “I have so many important points to make.” And you’ll presume that your presence and ingenuity will dazzle the audience. Let me give you a reality check: Your audience will remember more about who sat with them than anything you say. Even if your best lines would’ve made Churchill envious, some listeners will still fiddle with their smart phones.

In writing a speech, you have two objectives: Making a good impression and leaving your audience with two or three takeaways. The rest is just entertainment. How can you make those crucial points? Consider these strategies:

1) Be Memorable: Sounds easy in theory. Of course, it takes discipline and imagination to pull it off. Many times, an audience may only remember a single line. For example, John F. Kennedy is best known for this declaration in his 1961 inaugural address: “And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what can do for your country.” Technically, the line itself uses contrast to grab attention. More important, it encapsulated the main point of Kennedy’s speech: We must sublimate ourselves and serve to achieve the greater good. So follow Kennedy’s example: Condense your theme into a 15-20 word epigram and build everything around it top-to-bottom.
There are other rhetorical devices that leave an impression. For example, Ronald Reagan referred to America as “a shining city on the hill” in speeches. The image evoked religious heritage, freedom, and promise. And listeners associated those sentiments with Reagan’s message. Conversely, speakers can defy their audience’s expectations to get notice. In the movie Say Anything, the valedictorian undercut the canned optimism of high school graduation speeches with two words: “Go back.” In doing so, she left her audience speechless…for a moment, at least.
Metaphors…Analogies…Surprise…Axioms. They all work. You just need to build up to them…and place them in the best spot (preferably near the end).

2) Have a Structure: Think back on a terrible speech. What caused you to lose interest? Chances are, the speaker veered off a logical path. Years ago, our CEO spoke at our national meeting. He started, promisingly enough, by outlining the roots of the 2008 financial collapse. Halfway through those bullet points, he jumped to emerging markets in Vietnam and Brazil. Then, he drifted off to 19th century economic theory. By the time he closed, our CEO had made two points: He needed ADD medication – and a professional speechwriter!

Audiences expect two things from a speaker: A path and a destination. They want to know where you’re going and why. So set the expectation near your opening on what you’ll be covering. As you write and revise, focus on structuring and simplifying. Remove anything that’s extraneous, contradictory, or confusing. Remember: If it doesn’t help you get your core message across, drop it.

3) Don’t Waste the Opening: Too often, speakers squander the time when their audience is most receptive: The opening. Sure, speakers have people to thank. Some probably need time to get comfortable on stage. In the meantime, the audience silently suffers.

When you write, come out swinging. Share a shocking fact or statistic. Tell a humorous anecdote related to your big idea. Open with a question – and have your audience raise their hands. Get your listeners engaged early. And keep the preliminaries short. You’re already losing audience members every minute you talk. Capitalize on the goodwill and momentum you’ll enjoy in your earliest moments on stage.

4) Strike the Right Tone: Who is my audience? Why are they here? And what do they want? Those are questions you must answer before you even touch the keyboard. Writing a speech involves meeting the expectations of others, whether it’s to inform, motivate, entertain, or even challenge. To do this, you must adopt the right tone.
Look at your message. Does it fit with the spirit of the event? Will it draw out the best in people? Here’s a bit of advice: If you’re speaking in a professional setting, focus on being upbeat and uplifting. There’s less risk. Poet Maya Angelou once noted, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Even if your audience forgets everything you said, consider your speech a success if they leave with a smile and a greater sense of hope and purpose. That’s a message in itself. And it’s one they’ll share.

5) Humanize Yourself: You and your message are one-and-the-same. If your audience doesn’t buy into you, they’ll resist your message too. It’s that simple. No doubt, your body language and delivery will leave the biggest impression. Still, there are ways you can use words to connect.

Crack a one liner about your butterflies; everyone can relate to being nervous about public speaking. Share a story about yourself, provided it relates to (or transitions to) your points. Throw in references to your family, to reflect you’re trustworthy. And write like you’re having a casual conversation with a friend. You’re not preaching or selling. You’re just being you. On stage, you can be you at your best.

6) Repeat Yourself: We’ve all been there. When someone is speaking, we’ll drift off to a Caribbean beach or the Autobahn. Or, we’ll find ourselves lost and flustered when we can’t grasp a concept. Once you’ve fallen behind, it’s nearly impossible to pay attention. What’s the point?

In writing a speech, repetition is the key to leaving an impression. Hammer home key words, phrases, and themes. Always be looking for places to tie back and reinforce earlier points. And repeat critical points as if they were a musical refrain.

As a teenager, my coach continuously reminded us that “nothing good happens after midnight.” He’d lecture us on the dangers of partying, fighting, peer pressure, and quitting. After a while, my teammates and I just rolled our eyes. Eventually, we encountered those temptations. When I’d consider giving in, coach would growl “Schmitty” disapprovingly in my head. Despite my resistance, coach had found a way to get me to college unscathed. He simply repeated his message over-and-over until it stuck.

Some audience members may get annoyed when you repeat yourself. But don’t worry how they feel today. Concern yourself with this question: What will they remember six months from now?
7) Use Transitions: Sometimes, audiences won’t recognize what’s important. That’s why you use transitional phrases to signal intent. For example, take a rhetorical question like “What does this mean” – and follow it with a pause. Silence gets attention – and this tactic creates anticipation (along with awakening those who’ve drifted off). Similarly, a phrase like “So here’s the lesson” also captures an audience’s interest. It alerts them that something important is about to be shared. Even if they weren’t paying attention before, they can tune in now and catch up.

8) Include Theatrics: During his workshops, Dr. Stephen Covey would fill a glass bowl nearly full with sand. From there, he’d ask a volunteer to place rocks into the bowl. In the exercise, rocks represented essentials like family, job, worship, and exercise, while the bowl signified the volunteer’s time and energy. It never failed: The volunteer couldn’t fit every rock in the bowl. The sand – which embodied day-to-day activities like transporting children, shopping, or reading – took up too much space. Something had to be cut. Usually, it was something essential.

Covey would then encourage his volunteer to consider another option: Start with placing a rock in the bowl, adding some sand, and then alternating rocks and sand until the bowl was full. Like magic, there was suddenly enough space for both, as the sand gradually filled any gaps between the rocks. The message: Maintain balance. Never lose sight of the essentials as you tend to the day-to-day (and vice versa).

Of course, Covey could’ve made his point verbally and moved on. Instead, he illustrated it with household items in a way his audience wouldn’t soon forget. If you have a smaller audience (or a video screen), consider incorporating visuals. Keep the props, storyline, and lesson simple. When you’re done, leave everything out to symbolize your point to your audience. Whatever you do, don’t play it safe. If you do, your speech will be forgotten in no time.

9) End Strong: In 2004, I attended a Direct Marketing Association (DMA) conference. I don’t recall much about our keynote speaker, except that he was tall and southern. I can’t even remember what his address was about. But I’ll never forget the story he used to close his speech.

The speaker was a friend of Jerry Richardson, owner of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. A few years earlier, the Panthers had drafted a fiery wide receiver named Steve Smith. While Smith excelled on the field, he was a nightmare in the locker room. Eventually, Smith was arrested for assaulting a teammate during film study.
Already reeling from bad publicity from other player incidents, Richardson was pressured to cut Smith. But he chose a different path. Richardson vowed to spend more time with Smith. He decided that Smith would be better served with guidance and caring than further punishment. Eventually, Richardson’s patience paid off. Smith became the Panthers’ all-time leading receiver – and scored a touchdown in their only Super Bowl appearance. In fact, Smith still plays for the Panthers to this day.

If the speaker intended to remind me how powerful that personal attention and forgiveness could be, he succeeded in spades. Fact is, your close is what your audience will remember. So recap your biggest takeaway. Tie everything together. Share a success story. Make a call to action. Don’t hold anything back. Your ending is what audience will ultimately talk about when they head out the door.

10) Keep it Short: What is the worst sin of public speaking? It’s trying to do too much! Your audience’s attention will naturally wane after a few minutes. They have other places to be – and don’t want to be held hostage. And the longer you stay on stage, the more likely you are to stray and make mistakes. So make your points and sit down. Never forget: This is their time, not yours.

 

Source Jeff Schmitt – Forbes.com 

http://onforb.es/PsOlcn

10 Restaurant Chains to ask for Donations NOW

This will save you hours of time compared to finding all these fundraising auction item sources on your own. When requesting items for your charity auction, be prepared to provide your non-profit 501(c)(3) number. You should request item donations at least six weeks ahead of time, but some businesses want to hear from you at least 90 days before your event. Many companies also limit their donations in various ways, so it’s best to apply as early as possible. Links are to each company’s donation page. Remember that when requesting any kind of donation, you should always explain “what’s in it for them”. For the company, this would mean explaining the publicity & promotional opportunities their donation provides, the demographics of your event, estimated attendance, amounts raised in previous years, and how the funds that are raised this year will be used.

Canada only. Offers donated products for charity events in communities where they operate.

Canada only. Offers donated products for charity events in communities where they operate.

Regularly makes in-kind donations to local community events and fundraisers

Regularly makes in-kind donations to local community events and fundraisers

Provides $25 gift cards to schools and non-profit organizations. Send your donation request letter to the attention of the General Manager at the restaurant closest to you.!

Provides $25 gift cards to schools and non-profit organizations. Send your donation request letter to the attention of the General Manager at the restaurant closest to you.

$100 gift certificate for a dozen cookies per month for a year (AZ, CO, IN, MA, NE, TX, UT only).!

$100 gift certificate for a dozen cookies per month for a year (AZ, CO, IN, MA, NE, TX, UT only).

Laudrey's, Inc. Donates a $25 gift card to 501c(3) charities that benefit the local communities of our restaurants. Own's 40 different restaurant chains with 450 locations including Landry's Seafood, Chart House, Saltgrass Steak House, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Claim Jumper, Morton's Steakhouse, McCormick & Schmick's, Mastro's Restaurants and the Rainforest Cafe.!

Laudrey’s, Inc. Donates a $25 gift card to 501c(3) charities that benefit the local communities of our restaurants. Own’s 40 different restaurant chains with 450 locations including Landry’s Seafood, Chart House, Saltgrass Steak House, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Claim Jumper, Morton’s Steakhouse, McCormick & Schmick’s, Mastro’s Restaurants and the Rainforest Cafe.

Supports charitable organizations in our restaurants’ local! communities. Contact the Operating Partner or any manager at your local P.F. Chang’s to inquire about charitable giving availability.!

Supports charitable organizations in our restaurants’ local communities. Contact the Operating Partner or any manager at your local P.F. Chang’s to inquire about charitable giving availability.

Provides several printable coupons good for a free pint of ice cream for your fundraiser event (schools and non-profits).!

Provides several printable coupons good for a free pint of ice cream for your fundraiser event (schools and non-profits).

Donates gift cards to nonprofit groups for fundraising purposes. They have a list of criteria your request letter must include, then mail or drop off the request at your local Cracker Barrel.!

Donates gift cards to nonprofit groups for fundraising purposes. They have a list of criteria your request letter must include, then mail or drop off the request at your local Cracker Barrel.!

Provides a restaurant gift certificate to a limited number of non- profit organizations.!

Provides a restaurant gift certificate to a limited number of non- profit organizations.

North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma and Arkansas and California

North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma and Arkansas and California

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone

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Your event is just around the corner, you are at a standstill. You still need Sponsors, Volunteers and to hire that DJ. Stop. Take a breathe. This uncomfortable feeling you have, the uneasiness and restlessness, its part of the job. That is why YOU were chosen out of all the other applicants to do it. The rush of 6 months prior to your event can be overwhelming, exhausting and every day seems to go by faster than the day before. Here are some tips to  keep things in order, stay healthy and accomplish your goals.

START SMALL

Instead of having one main goal – a successful event. Create small goals for yourself including daily goals. For example:

TODAY:

– check emails

– follow up with 10 potential sponsors

– reserve chairs

EAT WELL

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Stress can cause sickness and exhaustion. Keep your body healthy by making time for yourself. You may feel like you do not have time, but you do. Taking 30 minutes – 1 hour a day  for a walk, workout, yoga or reading a book will reenergize your body and create productivity. Besides, wouldn’t you rather take 30 minutes each day and be well or a week off work because you are sick, which will set you back and be more stressful?

SLEEP

You may find it hard to sleep at night with all the worries in your head. However, maintaining a normal sleep pattern 6 – 8 hours a night will absolutely keep your blood pressure down, help you to focus and maintain and proper work day. Don’t worry too much at night, there is always tomorrow! Just leave it at work and enjoy your pillow. Some tips to help you sleep – nighty night tea; lavender pillow spray or a warm bath. Enjoy!

Copyright 2014 Beahm Auction Group

 

 

 

Human centerpieces and performance art served up at gala.

MOCa Galal Centerpiece

How do you even begin to find the words to describe a museum gala for which each and every guest (Eli Broad, even) is required to wear a white lab coat, and at which the table centerpieces are live humans, and the dessert is an offering of edible body parts?

Epic. That’s what the Museum of Contemporary Art’s annual gala was on Saturday night. Titled “An Artist’s Life Manifesto,” the event was conceived by performance artist Marina Abramovic. And it managed to generate its share of controversy before it even got off the ground. The use of humans as centerpieces, which dancer Yvonne Rainer called “exploitative” and “a grotesque spectacle,” manifested itself, in part, in nude prone female bodies rotating in the center of several large round tables. (What was grotesque was that, as Abvramovic put it, she was “allowed” to use nude female bodies, but not male ones.)

Other tables had live human heads poking through. Cards at each place setting instructed guests to “look but don’t touch” the performers. “The centerpiece will observe you. You may observe the centerpiece. No touching, feeding, offering drink, or disrespecting the centerpiece. All communication and connection with the centerpiece must be non-verbal.” And so on.

(If you think the performance art aspect was limited to the efforts of these performers alone, we suggest you try to eat a frisee salad while being silently judged by your centerpiece.) MOCA Gala1

The piece was designed to provoke and disturb, and it worked.The lab coats, which everyone was asked to don on the way into the gala tent, were designed to make guests part of the experiment. They also leveled the fashion playing field — to interesting effect — and made some of the Hollywood pretties look like cast members straight out of “General Hospital.”

The event, which raised $2.5 million for the museum, culminated in a performance by Deborah Harry followed by the offering up of body parts for dessert — in the form of two life-size cakes that were perfect doppelgangers for Abramovic and Harry. After the two ladies plunged their steely knives into their confectionery doubles, reaching inside to rip out the “hearts,” waiters dismembered the toes, breasts, etc., and served them to guests. A surreal scene if ever there was one.

By way of introducing MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch, Broad described the last two years at the museum as a “spectacular turnaround.” The museum’s endowment has doubled and attendance has tripled during Deitch’s tenure, Broad, a MOCA trustee, said.

Deitch called Abramovic “the most influential performance artist working today.”

When the artist took the stage, she said, “it has not been easy to force you all into lab coats. But I like the idea of transformation.” She thanked the 120 performance artists participating in the evening’s work, some of whom had to hold their position and concentration for four hours.

Gov. Jerry Brown and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa were among the high-profile guests. From the art world, Doug Aiken, Ed Ruscha, Kenneth Anger and Mark Bradford were there. Hollywood types included Liz Goldwyn, Dita von Teese, Kirsten Dunst, Gwen Stefani, Will Ferrell and Nicole Richie. There were plenty of fashion folks too — Monique Lhuillier, Jeremy Scott, Chrome Hearts’ Richard and Laurie Stark, Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor, and Cameron Silver. Hedi Slimane was in the house as well. The designer-turned-photographer opened an exhibition at the museum’s Pacific Design Center space on Friday, titled “California Song.”

Before the lab coats went on, some spectacular outfits made a quick appearance. Von Teese was in a Jean Paul Gaultier gown (she had just accompanied the designer to the opening of his retrospective at the Dallas Museum of Art). The artist Rosson Crow was in a fit ‘n’ flare vintage Don Loper gown, and Gelila Puck had her hair in a 1920s coif, in the spirit of her flapper-esque hand-painted James Galanos gown. Scott no doubt was wearing one of his own designs — a gold tuxedo vest sans shirt — and Lisa Eisner had on a festive full skirt trimmed in fur. Wanda McDaniel was representing for her boss, wearing a fun dress with Giorgio Armani’s face on the front.

The white lab coats might have made it hard to see the fashion statements, but they made a statement themselves. As the lab-coated people decamped to the valet line, we wondered aloud about one more piece of performance art.

We’d all make one heck of a flash mob at the local emergency room.

Article via LA Times– Booth Moore and Adam Tschorn

Photos: At top, one of the several tables at the MOCA gala’s “An Artist’s Life Manifesto,” directed by Marina Abramovic on Nov. 12, 2011. At middle, left, Will Ferrell and Monique Lhuiller at the MOCA gala. Credit: Both by Frazer Harrison / Getty Images for MOCA. At right, Deborah Harry performs while being carried onto the stage at the MOCA gala. Credit: John Sciulli / Getty Images for MOCA.

 

Success Secrets of an Auctioneer – One Bid Board

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Restaurant certificates are the foundation of every successful fundraising auction and nonprofit auctions are a great advertising opportunity for creating visibility and brand identity.

What is the One Bid Board?
The One Bid Board is a physical display featuring restaurant certificates at face value. Bidders compete for the right to be the first to win. The dining certificate remains on display and bidders continue to view restaurants name, logo and location for the duration of the auction.

What are the benefits for a restaurant?
• Restaurant logo and location is visible all 300 minutes of the event
• Sales are immediate and in full view of the buying audience
• Multiple bidders can view donation and bid simultaneously
• Display is upright & moves with the audience

What are the benefits for the organization?
• Board preparation is quick and easy and portable
• Reconciliation is simple
• Only one volunteer needed to prepare and manage board
• Board can be created well in advance of the auction
• Lightweight & collapsible for easy transportation

One Bid Board certificate advantages:
• Easy to administer
• Broad audience appeal
• Redemption rate 60%
• Cost effective
• Has lasting impact
• Creates new customers
• Creates immediate sales
• Hours of advertising
• Multiple bidders can write in bid number and win simultaneously
• Simple volunteer and clerking procedure
• Advance preparation quick and easy
• Uses upright portable display, easy transport, move about the venue

How does it work?
The One Bid Board is positioned in front of auction guests during the silent auction. A volunteer hosts the board informing bidders of the restaurants on the board and recording bid numbers. The auctioneer calls out the featured restaurants and announces each one as it sells. The board is moved to where the action is until all restaurants have sold. If restaurants are still available post auction, position the board near the check-out area for further viewing and sales.

How Often Should You Thank Recurring Donors?

thank-you-road-sign

People often ask, is it important to thank a recurring donor every month?  The answer depends on how they gave in the first place.

When the Recurring Donation Comes Through Offline Methods.

When someone becomes a recurring donor offline, say through direct mail, telemarketing, face to face, TV, or any other ‘offline’ medium, Ialways recommend sending an immediate snail mail thank you letter for joining but then after that NOT to send .donors monthly thank you letters.

It costs money to send a thank you via snail mail which defeats the purpose of having someone join as a recurring donor. However, you should send a tax receipt in January of all their gifts, so they have it for their records and, of course, you should always thank the donors in your annual appeals, recognizing them as special.

Online Recurring Donor Receipts: Make them Personal and Special

For online credit card recurring donors, where a monthly thank you email is typically generated automatically, I recommend something slightly different.

Definitely send a snail mail letter to thank the donor for joining the recurring giving program andsend the tax receipt via snail mail (and email) in January.

But you’ll also have to make an extra effort to alternate the monthly thank you receipts. You’re certainly not treating these donors special if you keep sending the same standard thank you month after month. These donors are making a considerable ongoing contribution to your organization so you should treat them special.

While I like PayPal and Network for Good a lot for their ease of use in having donors join a recurring giving program, their email receipts are not great. In the “off the shelf” versions of these services your org can’t change the messages, although customization is available in Network for Good’s Donate Now option.   Just take a look at these automatically generated receipts:

PayPal

You sent an automatic payment

Hello e waasdorp,

You sent an automatice payment to Marstons Mills Public Library, Inc. Here are the details:

Amount: $5.00

To: Marston Mills Public Library, Inc

For:

Customer service URL: http://www.xxxxx

Customer service email: smartn@xxxxxx.org

Customer service phone: xxx-xxx-xxxx

Automatic payment details:

And here’s a Network For Good example

From: donations@networkforgood.org

Date: May 21, 2014 at 6:23:51 AM MST
To: xxxx

Subject: Thank you for your donation!

The following donation(s) were scheduled to be processed today per instructions from pledge(s) you’ve made in the past.

Nonprofit Organization: NAME
Frequency: Monthly

On behalf of your favorite charity(ies), we thank you for your generous support! By making an automated donation online through Network for Good, you have chosen one of the most efficient and cost effective ways to give to charity.

Your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. You may save or print this receipt for your records and the information will be conveniently stored in your donation history for you to access at any time.  This email certifies that you have made this donation as a charitable contribution and you are not receiving any goods or services in return.  This receipt may be useful to you when completing your tax return.

Your credit card will be billed as Network for Good instead of the names of the organizations receiving the funds because your donation is to the Network for Good Donor Advised Fund (tax ID 68-0480736), which will re-grant your donation to the charity/ies you designated.  All donations are final and may not be refunded. Your donation has been processed as follows:

Name: xxx

Address: xxxx
City: xxxx
State/Province: xx
Zip/Postal Code: xxx

E-mail: xxx
Phone: xxx

Total Donation Amount: $10.50

Method of Payment: Visa
Name on Credit Card: xx

Credit Card Last 4 Digits: xxxx
Date: Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Time: 9:23 AM EDT
Reference Number: xxxxxxxxxxx

These have been abbreviated here, but they both continue in this dry legalistic way. And this  ‘standard approach’ does not apply to just PayPal or Network for Good receipts. We can certainly explain why these two are just not able to make it any more personal because it’s not the organization issuing them, they’re just the ‘middle man’ if you will. The sad news is that I have seen even several large organizations with other credit card processing systems where the email receipts are not very good either when they could be much better.

Do the above email receipts seem special to you? Do they tell the donor about the impact their gift is making? Absolutely not. A receipt is not a thank you.

How to Make a Better Impression

But, there is a simple solution that does not take that much time or extra resources, and it WILL make a world of difference to the recurring donor you’re trying to keep and in the future upgrade to higher levels.

If all is well, you should have already coded these recurring donors in your email list as a special segment. If not, start doing this as soon as possible! You’ll benefit from it in the short and long run!

Here is a simple recommendation to address the issue of recurring donor receipts that does not take that much time:

1. Create a special variation of your email newsletter to include a thank you to your recurring donor

I trust that you’re sending out an email newsletter or message to your donors at least once a month. If so, I recommend creating a slight variation of the email introduction that simply says:

Thank you for being such a great member of the Circle of Friends (fill in name of your monthly giving group). You make a difference to the many people (animals) etc. we serve (fill in specifics)… Thanks to you we’re able to have the funds to…    (fill in specifics).

Then go into the rest of your email blast announcing upcoming events and activities… or better yet tell the story about one of your clients. Do not repeat the amount and date of their gift in this email but focus on the fact that they are such a loyal donor to your organization and they’re truly SPECIAL! You should be able to do this in the first few lines of your email newsletter.

This way, it gives the recurring donor that ‘special feeling.’  It’s not a lot of extra work on your part and it’s also less important at what time of the month you send that email. And believe it or not, you can occasionally even include an ask for money in some of those email blasts (but do fit it in with your overall communication strategy! If you’re already in the mail heavily, you may just use those email blasts as reminders.

The long and short of it is, you just told the recurring donor how special they are to your organization and the difference their ongoing gifts make. And, if you get feedback and testimonials from your recurring donors, don’t be afraid to use them. People love hearing from other donors confirming that they made the right decision (joining your recurring giving program)!

2. Send at least four special email thank yous at a minimum

If you are not yet sending a regular email newsletter now, I highly recommend you do at least four special email blast thank you emails to your recurring donors annually. They don’t have to be very long or elaborate, just personal and really appreciative. Many organizations tend to change up their typical snail mail thank you letters once a quarter, depending upon their annual fund schedule, so just make a simple email variation, work in the reference to being a recurring donor et voila!

I’m all for keeping things simple and manageable, so try to use what you already have in place and make small tweaks to accommodate the recurring donors. It is important to treat this special group special. You’ll continue to benefit from these recurring donors, month after month, for many years to come!

And, if you have questions or special email thank you notes to share, please feel free to email them to erica@adirectsolution.com.

Original article by Erica Waasdorp. She is the author of the hot new book, Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant. 

Getting Media Coverage

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When non-profit organizations aren’t out changing the world, they’re appealing to supporters and the public for donations. Fundraising is a constant challenge for non-profit organizations and it’s not because people don’t want to give the money –it’s because people don’t always know that there’s a need. That changes by getting media coverage.

 

Fundraising efforts include direct mailings, advertising, and marketing campaigns. Each of these is costly and there’s no way to guarantee return on investment. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to gain exposure and elicit donations without having to dip into the coffers? You can –they’re called “editorial placements” or as we in media relations like to say “free advertising”.

Newspapers and magazines live and die by their content. If people don’t want to read what they’re printing, they’re in trouble. Being able to offer a print publication (or even a broadcast network) with a story that will entertain, educate, or inspires its readers is a challenge, but well worth it if it’s printed.

Which of the following newspaper placements do you think will garner more public response: an ad placed in the “weekender”or “volunteer opportunity”sections describing your organization and asking for donations; or a touching feature story about how the organization is making a difference in the community?

The feature story will almost undoubtedly send more people to an organization’s Web site than an ad, and the funny this is that the feature story cost the organization nothing to secure.

Why does the public respond more strongly to a feature than an ad?

Because appearing in the media provides instant legitimization. People tend to trust the organizations or people they see in the paper or on TV.

If you run a non-profit animal shelter that is featured on the weekend nightly news’adopt-a-pet segment, chances are the public will think of you first when looking to adopt a pet as opposed to if you simply placed an ad in the Sunday paper every week.

So how do you obtain “free advertising?”By reaching out to the media every chance you get. Smaller organizations that utilize community support can offer personal feature stories on certain overachieving volunteers.

The media loves a good “feel good”story: how one volunteer has made such a difference, how a beneficiary of the organization’s services is thriving now, and so on.

How did your organization start? Did someone sell their business to establish a women’s shelter? Does a local mother care for homeless animals on her farm?

Publicity ideas

Here are some ideas to help inspire you to develop a story for your organization or cause.

 

Every person has a story. Discover the stories behind the people in your organization and make the media aware of them. By “story,”I mean a simple, conversational story –the type you might tell a friend.

Pitching a story to the media doesn’t mean you have to write it and offer it in its entirety. When you pitch a story, you simply let your media contact know about it. They’ll decide if it’s a fit and pursue it further.

To get an idea of the kinds of stories the paper and local networks like, spend a few weeks tuning in or scanning the pages. It will be obvious the kinds of things they’re looking for.

Pay close attention to the journalists and reporters who write on topics related to yours. These are the people you are going to want to contact with your story.

Local outlets want local stories, and this can represent multiple opportunities for media coverage. For instance, if the person your story focuses on lives in a town other than where your organization is based, you can pitch the story to both locales.

Let the world know what’s happening. Hosting or sponsoring an event can garner more attention than a two-line announcement in the calendar section.

What is the story surrounding your event? If you’re launching a clothing drive for professional attire to help women get jobs, highlight a success story, such as a woman associated with your organization who overcame hardships and landed a great job that changed her life.

If you’re hosting a casual fun-day dog show for kids to benefit a local animal shelter, find a pet owner who plans to enter his or her adopted shelter dog.

Even your fundraising events can be promoted through editorial placements. You don’t have to have a high-profile MC or a gala to make the news. If this is an annual event, how do you expect to surpass last year’s donations? How were the funds used? If they built a library or added a wing to a senior center, what’s the story behind that?

Announce Everything

Organizations in large cities face direct competition for donations and media coverage. To help improve your chances of media attention, do everything you can to stay in the news (or at least in the minds of the news writers in your area).

 

Is there a staffing change or new hire (a positive one)? Announce it. If you’ve added a service to your organization, announce it. In sales and marketing, a consumer needs to hear about a product seven times before he or she will buy it, on average.

The same is true for donations to non-profits. The more often the public sees your organization in print or hears about it on the radio or on television, the more likely they will be to consider donating. Keep that in mind the next time you’ve got news to share!

Media relations is about building relationships and having an idea of what the public wants. It’s not as complicated as it may seem, after all, you are the public.

What do you want to read? What would be interesting to you? Talk to your co-workers and friends and find out their opinions.

Identify the media people in your area who cover the types of things you and your organization do and begin to build a relationship. Before you know it, you may have them calling you for a story.

Donation Party 2014

We had such a fantastic evening full of wine, food and good company. Thank you to everyone who joined us and for your support. Guests were treated to a tasting from the following wineries:

Frank Family

  • Frank Family Reserve Chardonnay

DumOL Wines

  • DumOL Clair Chardonnay –  This was one of our favorites – it can be very hard to find this wine outside of the winery, however we did – Lucky us! This winery is a  great location to host a donation party.

Bremer Family Winery

Bremer is a wonderful family winery with lots of places to explore. Located on the slopes of Howell Mountain in the Napa Valley.

welcome

  • Bremer Chardonnay
  • Bremer Clarit

Hunnicutt

  • Hunnicutt Cabernet sauvignon

ZD Wines

  • ZD Wines Chardonnay

During the evening  guests also tasted Premium Olive Oils and Balsamic Vinegars from Pairings located in Roseville. Ending the evening with a delicious dessert was a huge hit. Click here for the Carrot Cake with Ginger Mascarpone Frosting Recipe by Ina Garten’sDELICIOUS!!

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Thank you to Ivy Negal – A  Stella and Dot stylist (Jewelry) set up a pop-up shop so our guests can explore beautiful jewelry throughout the evening. Ivy also donated fabulous bobbles and we were able to earn points to buy Stella and Dot gems for donation.

This event was a success and a really great way to gather items for our upcoming auction. Each guest was asked to support the Active Auctioneers Foundation and bring a bottle of wine for donation towards the next event – January 10, 2015. SAVE THE DATE!

Five Tips for Getting Items Year Round

success

When a group doesn’t do a good job of managing procurement, volunteers feel out of control.  To ease the inevitable aggravation, start procuring quality items year round, using these tips.

1. After the charity auction, take time to write a wrap-up letter to donors with an additional thank you and auction results.  It will help plant the seed for next year’s ask.

2. Build your contact list by following your community’s business section for new businesses opening.  Flag those contacts in your database so you can customize a letter to them related to their first year in business.

3. Year round, have regular – if not as frequent – teleconferences with your committee to discuss procurement.  Discussion of past or upcoming school /nonprofit events can be a time to brainstorm on who will be there and what they said.  “Julie is going on vacation to Mexico,” you might learn, “We should ask them if they’ll ask the hotel for a donation.”

4. To keep it fresh, consider focusing on a different theme every month.  Travel now … food next.

5. Subscribe to at least one magazine or blog that targets your audience – or a developing section of your audience -so you can be more educated about their interests.  For example, if you intend to target an audience of 30-something men, make sure to read about electronics and technology.  You’ll key in on several items to add to your ask list that will be attractive to those guests.