MEGables December 2017 - Volume 4

Built to Last...Part 2 of 3

Monthly giving programs are only as strong as the giver experiences they deliver and as the people and processes that guide and systemize them.

Some programs are shooting stars that rise and quickly burn out. Others steadily grow and then hit a plateau, where they linger. The special ones are those that take flight and keep growing year-after year.

What do the special ones have in common?

Long-term thriving monthly giving programs are intentionally launched and strategically nurtured with special care for the three Ps: Product, People, and Process. 

Product – As described in the previous edition, MEGables Volume 3.

People – Vision, tenacity, and consistency are the critical qualities of the leaders and doers that launch, lead, and manage long-term successful monthly giving programs. Usually there are two individuals (two roles) working in tandem, a dynamic duo of sorts, that are especially vital to launching and shepherding the most enduringly successful programs.

One half of the duo is the visionary leader. She or he is the one who sees monthly giving as a strategic fundraising priority. This leader understands that monthly giving delivers a predictable and growing revenue stream and becomes a relationship framework for systematically engaging donors with the mission of the university or organization. Additionally, the visionary leader knows that a monthly giving program is part of a donor relationship continuum and serves as a sort of farm system for cultivating givers that often go on to become major givers and legacy donors. Using his or her influence power and tenacity, the visionary leader garners top leadership and staff support and wins investment approval for the program. That leader takes the critical next step of finding the other half of the “dynamic duo,” the right person to handle the day-to-day marketing and operations execution of the program.

The other half of the duo helps operationalize the program. She or he should be adept at establishing processes and with building relationships. With mentoring and support from the visionary leader, this day-to-day program manager is the people-power that allows the program to get past the fragile program infancy stage in which many monthly giving efforts fail. The manager puts the processes in place that allow the program to scale and get to critical mass for sustainability. A rule-of-thumb for critical mass is membership of 100 to 150 monthly givers.

Departures of one of the two or the duo before the program reaches critical mass often is a significant setback. The longer the tenure of the dynamic duo, the more predictable the monthly giving program’s growth trajectory will be.

The second P, people, is the most vital of the three Ps. Only people have the capacity to inspire, create, manage and adapt. That said, without a carefully crafted first P, Product, as described in MEGables Volume 3 (insert link to MEGables Volume 3 here) and the third P, Process, your monthly giving program will not realize its full potential. 

Stay tuned for MEGables Volume 5 in January 2018 to feature Built to Last...Part 3 of 3 with a primary focus on the third P, Process.


MEG Grows with Young Pros and Alumni Advocates

 Given their own giving capacity and those of their personal connections, it’s natural that Executive Board members would be integral to nonprofits’ and universities’ major gift outreach and capital campaign efforts.

But what about Young Professional groups and Alumni Advisory Councils and Class Agents?

Some of the fastest growing Monthly Engaged Giving, MEG, programs engage young professionals and alumni advocates as monthly givers and recruiting champions. Their personal networks may not all be ready to entertain major gift asks or to buy $4,000 event table sponsorships. With that, for these groups, appeals to fellow alumni, friends, family, and other professionals for modest monthly gifts feel downright comfortable.

It happens naturally, and by design.

MEG grows with young pros and alumni advocates.

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With the switch, study participants could not consistently differentiate between butter and margarine. In another separate test, he asked participants to taste test the "white" margarine against a "yellow" version of the same margarine that had been wrapped in foil. In those days foil was a sign of quality.

The yellow margarine wrapped in foil was the overwhelming winner evidencing how consumers' transfer their favorable perceptions of the packaging, design and color, to the product itself.

The result?

Cheskin's recommendations were implemented. His client's margarine sales soared, the product category saw explosive growth and the principle of Sensation Transference was validated by consumer behavior.

What does all this have to do with fundraising and Monthly Engaged Giving?

Offering monthly giving as a bland, undifferentiated option without unique branding, engaging stories and creative design is like going to market with white margarine in wax paper. It might win a few members, but it isn't likely to endear your supporters and it certainly won't yield the revenue results that you need and want.

MEG, Monthly Engaged Giving programs are different by design. They're custom crafted with real substance and unique and engaging packaging.

Sensation Transference. Yes, it's a MEG effect.

MEG (Monthly Engaged Giving) is TwelveX's "Monthly Giving In-a-Box" fundraising methodology for recruiting new givers, engaging supporters, and boosting retention like never before.

twelveXgiving.com  |  913-254-3585

 

MEGables November 2017 - Volume 3

Built to Last...Part 1 of 3

Monthly giving programs are only as strong as the giver experiences they deliver and as the people and processes that guide and systemize them.

Some programs are shooting stars that rise and quickly burn out. Others steadily grow and then hit a plateau, where they linger. The special ones are those that take flight and keep growing year-after year.

What do the special ones have in common?

Long-term thriving monthly giving programs are intentionally launched and strategically nurtured with special care for the three Ps: Product, People, and Process. 

Product - When crafted and managed well, monthly giving programs provide a unique and consistently engaging giving experience for their members. The better the product ("the giving experience"), the more monthly givers that will join and continue supporting the mission. While there are multiple elements that come together to create that consistent, special giver experience, two elements are vital.

First, the monthly giving program must have a unique identity. That special brand, which typically includes a signature program name, tagline, and logo, "connects" the giver to the organization or university and mission, signaling to the giver that he or she is part of a special group that is working together to advance the cause.

Second, the organization or university, must methodically engage members with brand consistent communications and opportunities, such that the product ("the giving experience") continues to be vibrant and valuable for them. Those touch points are channels for mission specific people impact stories and even volunteer experiences that illustrate the power of their monthly giving. The best practice process for delivering consistently special monthly giver experiences is well described as "Systemizing the Love".

Though the first P, product, plays a vital program role as the substance of members' monthly giving experience, it is critically interdependent with the other Ps, people and process.

Stay tuned for MEGables Volume 4 and Volume 5 that will feature Built to Last...Part 2 of 3 and Built to Last...Part 3 of 3. In turn, they will focus on the other two Ps, people and process.


Sensation Transference, a MEG Effect

 Why are product marketers so obsessed with packaging?

Many would argue that Louis Cheskin's widely accepted, principle of Sensation Transference should get much of the credit...or blame.

Sensation Transference is Cheskin's coined name for his discovery that most people simply transfer their feelings about packaging to the product or service as a whole.

This principle has been repeatedly confirmed over time through independent research. With that, Cheskin orchestrated a 1940's "Margarine versus Butter" research experiment that proved the theory.

At the time, margarine was white in color and was not very popular relative to butter. For the experiment, Cheskin changed the color of the margarine to yellow, the same color as butter. 

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With the switch, study participants could not consistently differentiate between butter and margarine. In another separate test, he asked participants to taste test the "white" margarine against a "yellow" version of the same margarine that had been wrapped in foil. In those days foil was a sign of quality.

The yellow margarine wrapped in foil was the overwhelming winner evidencing how consumers' transfer their favorable perceptions of the packaging, design and color, to the product itself.

 

The result?

Cheskin's recommendations were implemented. His client's margarine sales soared, the product category saw explosive growth and the principle of Sensation Transference was validated by consumer behavior.

What does all this have to do with fundraising and Monthly Engaged Giving?

Offering monthly giving as a bland, undifferentiated option without unique branding, engaging stories and creative design is like going to market with white margarine in wax paper. It might win a few members, but it isn't likely to endear your supporters and it certainly won't yield the revenue results that you need and want.

MEG, Monthly Engaged Giving programs are different by design. They're custom crafted with real substance and unique and engaging packaging.

Sensation Transference. Yes, it's a MEG effect.

MEG (Monthly Engaged Giving) is TwelveX's "Monthly Giving In-a-Box" fundraising methodology for recruiting new givers, engaging supporters, and boosting retention like never before.

 

twelveXgiving.com  |  913-254-3585

 

MEGables October 2017 - Volume 2 Game changing monthly giving insight

Systemize the Love

What allows monthly giving to become monthly engaged giving?

Love does. 

"Monthly giving" looks something like this from the donor's perspective:
Soon after receiving an initial thank you for my "recurring monthly gift of $__", I begin to receive the organization's or university's general e-news. A drumbeat of other communications by mail, email, and even by phone, soon commences. They let me know about special events, giving days, etc., and they ask me for additional gifts. At the end of the year, a general "thank you for supporting _____" letter arrives along with a giving summary and tax receipt.

Am I feeling the love? Not so much. Why not? Because, there's nothing special about my experience. I'm lumped in with every other donor. It feels generic and "transactional" just like when I used to give one-time gifts.

 Does the university or organization appreciate my giving? Of course they do. Ok, so what's the disconnect? 

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Love is hard work. It takes intentionality, careful planning, and disciplined execution to methodically love on one's donors. As M. Scott Peck famously said, "...love is an action, an activity...love is as love does." So how can we "bring the love" and transform "transactional" monthly giving into monthly engaged giving?

 

First, we embrace the wisdom that "love" and engagement grow when donors believe that they are part of something bigger than themselves.

 

A first step towards inspiring that sense of belonging and unique appreciation is developing a cause-specific, endearing brand for your monthly giving efforts.

A named program signals to donors that they are more than just a "sustainer" or "recurring donor". They are part of a special team with a shared purpose.

The next step is to craft a year-round member "love" (engagement) plan. Examples of common "love" plan touches include branded communications with giving impact stories, welcome/thank you SWAG items, member-specific volunteer opportunities, and dedicated appreciation receptions. The member touches and benefits are designed to engage monthly givers around the brand, the mission, and the impact they are making with their faithful monthly giving.

Developing a monthly giving program "love" plan is actually relatively easy. It's the discipline of "consistent doing" that prevents most organizations and universities from delivering on the ideal of monthly engaged giving.

So...what do those that truly deliver monthly engaged giving do differently?

They systemize the love. They create specific processes, they calendar the supporting steps, and they assign responsibility and tasks to specific team members. Finally, they intentionally manage and adapt the system over time.


Love for the Marvelous, Modest Many

 What if the everyday people could have charitable giving experiences once reserved for big money givers?

Fundraising campaigns have long been conceived as relatively short term endeavors, usually 1-3 years in length and with a dominant focus on courting large gifts from foundations and wealthy individuals.

Those individuals and foundations typically receive a plethora of love and recognition in the courting, gift payment and campaign success celebration phases.

They often have their names prominently displayed, and enjoy special "insider" experiences relative to the university or cause.

MEG, Monthly Engaged Giving campaigns bring that kind of memorable, engaging experience to everyday people.

In contrast to the traditional campaign, MEG programs are perpetual campaigns designed to recruit and engage donors of more modest means, everyday small and medium size donors.

Because monthly givers are predictable long-term supporters their revenue value individually and collectively supports special treatment, custom branded monthly giver communications, special insider news and volunteer opportunities, etc.

A new charitable world is rising. Everyman and everywoman donors are feeling the love too.

MEG is all about those givers...the marvelous, modest many.

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