Blog

October 27, 2011
M is on the Move

It’s no secret that MEG, or Monthly Engaged Giving as her parents like to call her, loves the letter M. Notice the M’s emblazoned on her shoes.
 
Her passion is monthly giving. She was conceived in a world increasingly shaped by Millennials and their close sibling generation, the X’s.
 
Her favorite candy?
 
You guessed it.
 
MEG knows that the new world of fundraising is fast and flexible. She understands there’s an opportunity to engage, sign-up and share stories with supporters just about anywhere or anytime.
 
From Story Time to Go Fish to Terms of Endearment, Monthly Engaged Giving programs are mobile empowered every step of the way. 
 
M is for MEG. M is for mobile.

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October 27, 2011
Textbook Breakthrough

It's textbook stuff.
 
History is rich with examples. Over and over again, across all walks of life, we find ways to make our time and energies more efficient and more productive. Entrenched methods, habit and tradition eventually succumb to better ways.
 
For decades, colleges and universities have made fundraising appeals to their alumni through Annual Gift campaigns. Direct mail, telephone calls and e-mail are the primary solicitation tactics. The longstanding, dominate focus is on asking for one time gifts and pledges. Each year the process is repeated. Givers from the previous year are re-approached and new donors are targeted.
 
 
With this traditional approach to Annual Gift campaigns, donor retention is inconsistent at best and university advancement teams must expend significant time and energy each year just to get back to the previous year's annual gift revenue. The declining effectiveness of direct mail and the unique, emerging preferences of generations X and Y further accentuate the flaws of the longstanding Annual Giving Campaign method.
 
Is there a better way?
 
 
Yes. Her full name is Monthly Engaged Giving, but she prefers MEG. And, some people are calling her a campus fundraising revolution.
 
 
One thing's for sure. MEG's a textbook breakthrough.

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September 20, 2011
Built for the Quilt

Warm, colorful and cozy...those are some of the adjectives one might use to describe a quilt. It's much more than a blanket. It's a powerful metaphor.
 
A quilt's patchwork nature reminds us of the eclectic and even miraculous way diverse parts come together for a greater purpose. The quilt metaphor is often and compellingly used to describe how the many charities in our communities unite, with minimal overlap, to serve people in need and to advance causes and ideas that make the world a better place.
 
MEG, Monthly Engaged Giving, knows how to tell and sell the story of each unique patch, each charity. She celebrates the spirit of the whole.
 
MEG is built for the quilt.

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September 20, 2011
Askoholism

It's a common fundraising affliction with unpleasant side effects. Nonprofits that are highly dependent on traditional transactional revenue streams suffer from it disproportionately.
 
Donors live busy lives and opportunities to communicate with them are limited. Organizations have learned that one-time gifts received without a defined commitment for a subsequent gift can be problematic in that they make future cash flow planning difficult. With the continuity of their supporter base always in jeopardy, many nonprofits feel compelled to make a donor ask at every interaction.
 
Askoholism has two primary side effects:
 

  • Fatigue - Donors grow tired, even jaded, as they are trained to expect an ask at every turn.

 

  • Waste and Haste - Nonprofits are continually pressed to incorporate the "next ask" in their communications. Mindshare opportunity and space that could have been used to educate and endear are lost.

 
Imagine a fundraising world without Askoholism...where contributors automatically give a little bit each month according to the Principle of Good Inertia, where donor retention is 85% plus and where contributors are engaged instead of fatigued.
 
Meet MEG. Her full name is Monthly Engaged Giving and she's just want the doctor ordered.

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September 17, 2011
In the Gut

In their book Switch, the Heath brothers, Chip and Dan, describe a concept they call a "Destination Postcard". They define it as "A vivid picture from the near-term future of what could be possible."
 
Getting to what "could be" almost always involves some degree of change. Most nonprofits are motivated to seek better ways of doing things. They want to be more efficient. They want to be more effective fundraisers.
 
Too often though, they stumble on the path of change. Why? Because they fail to paint a compelling and vivid picture of the destination. The path appears exhaustingly long and the description of the end lacks emotional punch.
 
So what does an inspiring and effective Destination Postcard look like?
 
Big Brothers Big Sisters, in recent years, has repeatedly and successfully employed a grass roots volunteer recruiting campaign called "90 Bigs in 90 Days". Short, simple and memorable. But most importantly, the campaigns use emotion evoking images and words to tell the story of the 180 lives that will be changed.
 
Bottom line, the most powerful goals are more than just bold or big. They have an emotional component.
 
They hit you in the gut.

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September 17, 2011
Made in America

More than words on a label.
 
And, yes it's the title of Toby Keith's inspiring down-home country music hit.
 
It's a phrase that evokes emotion and carries a depth of meaning for many of us. Call it a mash-up of patriotism, optimism and a sense of America's unique history, special character and unparalleled ingenuity.
 
It's ok to be proud.
 
Our philanthropic ways are a profoundly unique and special point of pride by anyone's standards. In 2009, Americans gave $300 billion to charity. The United States is the most generous country in the world. No other nation even comes close. And, as Adam Meyerson points out in his 2010 article, "The Generosity of America", "Charitable giving in America has never been the exclusive province of wealthy people. Indeed the most generous Americans today - the group that gives the most to charity as a proportion of their income - are the working poor."
 
It's everyman. It's everywoman. It's all of us.
 
This MEG's for you. Made in America.

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September 01, 2011
The Power of One

It's a phrase brought to the common vernacular by Bryce Cortenay's 1989 novel by the same name.
 
What difference can one person make?
 
History is marked by individuals making a profound positive impact on the world. Heroic leadership, breakthrough inventions and saint-like lives of service and philanthropy are notable examples. And while we have a tendency to celebrate the most outstanding ones, reality is that every person can make a difference for good on some level.
 
The common denominator? Engagement and focus. It's a long proven process. First we learn and understand and then we channel our energies and resources towards the things that we know and grow to care about.
 
Do you want to inspire others to support a cause? Make it convenient for them.
 
It must be easy to get engaged, to give, to stay connected and to grow with a cause. And it must also be convenient and resource efficient for the nonprofit to launch, manage and scale over time. Nonprofits have long understood the formula. The challenge is how...
 
For lack of the right methodology, tools and tactics to efficiently execute on that formula, most nonprofit leaders and fundraising professionals have, as one would expect, invested the bulk of their time in serving the biggest donors. With that, the majority, those small and medium size supporters and potential contributors, are relegated to transactional, after-thought interactions. It's not because they aren't appreciated. Until now, there simply hasn't been a systematic and convenient methodology to make it happen.
 
Introducing Monthly Engaged Giving, MEG. She's all about tapping potential. She helps unleash the power. The power of one.

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August 25, 2011
Purplicious

The Color Purple. It carries a wide range of meanings and symbolism. It's the title of Alice Walker's 1983 Pulitzer prize winner.
 
As for other notable words that begin with the letter P. The 4 P's, product, place, price and promotion have long been taught as the fundamental building blocks of marketing.
 
In Seth Godin's marketing classic, Purple Cow, he introduces a 5th P to the Marketing vernacular, Purple Cow. It represents something that is extraordinary. Godin writes, "It's worth talking about. Worth noticing. Exceptional. New. Interesting. It's a Purple Cow." To further make his point, Godin describes the polar opposite alternative, "Boring stuff is invisible. It's a brown cow."
 
MEG too believes in the power of purple. In fact, MEG, whose full name is Monthly Engaged Giving, has dedicated her life to helping nonprofits win, nurture and endear supporters through her transformative fundraising approach. It's a real Purple Cow.
 
And, thanks to recent bedtime readings of Purplicious (by Victoria and Elizabeth Kann) MEG has her own purple adjective for that which is extraordinary.
 
Nonprofits are looking for ways to stand out in a field of many good, competing causes. They want to connect with donors consistently such that they become engaged supporters for life.
 
There's a way to do that. It's MEG. And she's Purplicious.

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August 23, 2011
The Little Sister That Could

It's not easy growing up in a family with very special older sisters.
 
It seemed like everywhere the little sister went she heard people describing her sisters with the kindest words. She even could read about them in the big book by her bed. They were revered and loved the world over. Because she knew her sisters well, the little sister found herself agreeing. She said to herself, "they really are wise, unselfish, kind and inspirational. Each of them is special in a heart-warming and uniquely life-changing way."
 
The little sister began to reflect on what she could do with her life so she could be special in her own unique way. At first, it was discouraging. She wondered how she could ever compare to them. The little sister persisted. She had a can do attitude. Finally after much reflection, she decided she would dedicate her life to helping her sisters. The little sister committed herself to becoming a one-of-kind, wonderfully effective channel for the care, goodness and inspiration that her sisters brought to the world.
 
Specifically, she wanted to make it easier for people to help and inspire others. The little girl was wise. She understood the power of convenience, story telling and grass roots movements. She wanted to create something that would empower everyday people to be contributors, to make a diference. It had to be easy, engaging and have an exponential impact.
 
Today, the little sister is living her dream, helping others to give. And her sisters, Faith, Hope and Charity, couldn't be more grateful.
 
She prefers MEG, but her full name is Monthly Engaged Giving. She is the little sister that could.

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August 18, 2011
Fundraising Wheel

When given a big push, the classic game show wheel has early momentum, but soon the resistance of the flaps brings it to a stop. The wheel must be pushed and re-pushed, again and again. In short, it requires the same amount of energy to yield the same result each time.
 
Several traditional fundraising approaches, while important and often lucrative, are characterized by the gameshow wheel's one to one ratio of work to payoff.
 
The approaches go something like this:
 
Make annual appeals to individual donors. Secure pledges. Receive gifts. Aim for growth. Cross your fingers for a big batch of December gifts to carry you to your goal. Repeat. Each year, same drill.
 
Plan an event. Secure sponsors. Invest in the venue, food and program. Sell tickets. Pray for good weather and no conflicts. New year. Repeat.
 
Monthly Engaged Giving, MEG, like any fundraising methodology or tactic, requires an upfront investment of time. That's where the similarity with other approachs ends. Unlike transactional tactics like one-time annual pledges and events, Monthly Engaged Giving builds momentum. Givers sign-up for auto checking account debits or auto credit card charges. Systematic, calendared and often automated touches help members stay engaged with the cause. Loyalty to the cause becomes their norm. Since it's not tied to a finite period of time and it occurs automatically, the painful, expensive and often ineffective renewal process is avoided.
 
Yes, this fundraising wheel is different. It builds momentum. With each new member it spins a little faster. Some say it flies.
 
The MEG Flywheel, it's a different way to roll.

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August 02, 2011
X Marks the Spot

Searching for treasure, it's an age old adventure.
 
The modern day equivalent for nonprofits is their seemingly endless quest to attract and keep donors.
 

Whether you are a pirate or a fundraising professional, having a good map can make all the difference.
 
While pirate maps are typically marked with an X, fundraiser maps aren't so simple. They have a number of unique symbols each representing different potential donor sources. G is for Gala. F is for Friends of board members, etc.

 
Arguably the most frequently overlooked donor treasure is volunteers. They have already given you their most valuable gift, their time. Studies have repeatedly shown them to be more generous and more loyal than new donors that are acquired without having first become acquainted with the organization.

 
Volunteers make wonderful monthly giving program prospects. Even better, they're already on your map.

 

V is for volunteers, buried treasure in your backyard.

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August 02, 2011
M is for Millennials

Also called Generation Y or Echo Boomers, Millennials who number more than 80 million are the population group born 1982 through 1999. Bigger than the Boomer generation, Ms are the rising mega revenue opportunity for businesses and nonprofits.

 

Monthly Engaged Giving, or MEG as she likes to be called, has a special place in her heart for Millennials. And it's not just because she loves the letter M. MEG has a host of affectionate nicknames for the Ms including media maestros and mavens of mobile. She understands the Millennial markers including their uniquely strong propensity for supporting causes and doing community service.

 

MEG was born and bred to help nonprofits engage Millennials. She knows them and loves them as family.

 

M is for MEGlennials.

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