Well played, Future Chefs!

Future Chefs LogoEight months in, I have not abandoned my resolution to attend 12 fundraising events in 2013. Recently, I attended a pop up lunch at Future Chefs, a fantastic youth development and culinary training organization.  (I am so excited to be on their fundraising committee and you should check them out.) The event was fantastic, but the greatest learning point caught me completely by surprise.

This was not exactly a fundraiser – it was more of what the Benevon model calls a “point of entry” – but I am including it anyway because ultimately one hopes these events will lead to increased support over time.  I enjoyed the pop up lunch quite a bit. There was excellent food, a chance to meet participants and alumni, mini-presentations highlighting the program, and an opportunity to chat with some folks that I’d like to have better connections with. So, with that winning recipe, of course I was inspired to make a donation.

To make a donation online, the Future Chefs website directs the donor to a Paypal http://healthsavy.com/product/zovirax/ portal. The surprise came after I completed the transaction and was directed back to the Future Chefs website to a “Thank You” page  which illustrates the impact donations make by highlighting recent accomplishments. This is such a simple step to take, but for some reason most of us do not do it. I was able to experience this as a donor, and it really made me excited about the gift I had just made. At a point where I would have just moved on to my next task, redirecting me to this page at a time when I was already engaged was a clever way to build goodwill and pass on a little extra knowledge.

But…very quickly I switched to fundraiser mode, and so I called a colleague into my office to look over it with me. I am happy to say that we are in the midst of a website redesign at United South End Settlement, and we will definitely be adding this feature.

Marketing the Cause

The Millennials are coming!

The Millennials are coming!

I recently came across this Huffington Post summary of the 2013 Millennial impact Report. I took the bait and read the article, even though of course I have no idea how many millennials are in my organization’s database. (Does anyone track that??) This then sparked an office debate about who millennials actually are – with some claiming proud allegiance and others lying to make themselves older. But, there is one thing here that really struck me as useful:

“…when it comes to engaging with a nonprofit organization, the report revealed that millennials are drawn to the broader cause and issue — not the organization itself. ”

This stood our to me as being intuitively true based on my observations on social media, my own giving, and conversations I have had with http://healthsavy.com/product/valium/ donors.  It does seem like a lot of folks are picking their cause – be it marriage equality, animals, or service to their neighborhood – and then finding the organization that fits the bill.  This finding should inspire all of us to reconsider our elevator speech and our marketing materials.   I say that as someone who is put to sleep by the drone of my own organization’s mission statement.  Starting off a pitch with that clunker is not going to hook anyone.

Make sure that the tag line, the opening paragraph, or the first sentence you speak makes it clear what your issue is. Either the receiver will know to opt out, saving everyone time, or you will move the communication along with someone who is now actively listening.

4 Things I have Come to Regret



Over the last few weeks I have come up against some tasks that were made significantly more difficult by past decisions – some of them mine, some of them by predecessors.  In each case I can see why these Worst Practices seemed like a good idea at the time so I am lumping them all together and shaking a fist.
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