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MCPHS Leadership Giving Piece

Case Study Download: MCPHS University’s Leadership Giving Program

Within an annual giving plan, there are different initiatives targeted at different segments to personalize asks and connect with donors more effectively. One segment that organizations typically target is leadership donors. Leadership giving communication is an opportunity for organizations to speak to donors that have invested at a higher level in a different way than non-donors or other donors.

“BCG provides knowledgeable, fundraising-savvy, and most importantly highly responsive team of professionals with which to work throughout the course of planning, developing, and executing a project. From initial ideation of project concept to the development of print materials and their distribution to constituents, BCG has earned our trust as a worthy collaborator.”

– Lawrence Townley, MS, Executive Director of Development Operations, University Advancement

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, MCPHS University, had a leadership giving initiative to connect with leadership donors and communicate the importance of donor contributions.

BCG Connect collaborated with MCPHS University on this initiative that produced successful results for this campaign. What did that collaboration entail? Learn more about the creative ideas, campaign steps and results in the following case study.

Personalization in your direct mail pieces can take your campaign to the next level. What is important to Donor A? What is important to Prospect B? What about Donor C, D, E? Segmenting your donor base and personalizing asks and messaging based on certain factors can increase your chances of their donation. You always want to target the right people with the right message at the right time.

Targeting leadership donors and implementing a leadership giving campaign can be a strategic element of your annual giving campaign. For more information on leadership giving or to request leadership giving samples, let’s connect!

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BCG Staff Writer
BB&N Annual Fund Direct Marketing Plan

Case Study Download: BB&N Optimizes Their Annual Fund Direct Marketing Plan

How important is an annual fund direct marketing plan? Extremely! Annual fund marketing plans help with budgeting, forecasting, consistent outreach, benchmarking for the next year, and overall strategic preparation for fundraising efforts. By having a fully integrated marketing plan that has a consistent look, theme, and message to it, constituents can expect an update or outreach from your organization throughout the year. This can lead to more engagement, more loyalty, and more donors.

Buckingham Browne & Nichols (BB&N) partnered with BCG CONNECT for their FY17 annual fund direct marketing campaign. Through collaboration, BCG CONNECT and BB&N discussed a theme, goals, and timeline for the year for their annual direct marketing initiatives.

 “Reflecting back on FY17, BCG CONNECT helped us create a fully integrated marketing look throughout our appeals and stewardship pieces. It has been a wonderful partnership.”

-Audrey Wallace, Associate Director of The BB&N Fund

BB&N knew the importance of consistently reaching out to and engaging with donors. Download this case study to view a sample of what was sent out each month and some results of their campaign.

Consistency is key to branding. Here are three benefits to having fully integrated, consistent branding for your appeals:

  1. It gives your organization a personality and identity that constituents can relate to.
  2. It effectively delivers and reinforces key messaging.
  3. It drives donor loyalty and brand recognition.

BCG CONNECT works with clients on their annual direct marketing plans to ensure constituents are consistently being reached throughout the year. For more information on how BCG CONNECT can help your annual fund direct marketing campaign, connect with us!

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BCG Staff Writer
Annual Funds Deserve Annual Plans

Annual Funds Deserve Annual Plans – Is Yours Ready for FY’18?

The long and winding road to annual giving success starts with developing an annual fund plan. Annual giving is complex and having a roadmap ahead of time allows you to prepare for the possible speed bumps and detours. Your road to annual giving success begins today for the next fiscal year – it’s time to start planning!

A strong annual fund campaign requires extensive and comprehensive efforts that organizations need to plan well in advance. By doing this, annual fund objectives are clear, concise, and compelling as well as more apt to be strategically aligned throughout the fiscal year. However, according to Annual Giving Network’s 2016 Report, 67% said that they do not typically have a plan in place prior to the start of a new fiscal year.

Take a step back for a moment and think, “Did my annual fund have a documented, thought-out plan for FY’17?”

If your answer is, “Yes, it did!” – wonderful! How are you going to improve it for FY’18? It’s imperative to use as much data as you have gathered to determine what worked, what didn’t work, and how the plan can be improved. Some questions you might want to ask yourself:

  • Did I have a campaign across multiple channels (direct mail, email appeals, a coordinated social media campaign, and a telephone push)?
  • Did I segment the data to target the right people with the right message?
  • Did I thank donors for their previous donation and ask for another small gift at the same time?
  • Could I have incorporated 2 annual giving days instead of 1?
  • Should I have implemented a challenge day?
  • Could I have leveraged any yearly events to push annual giving (i.e. Pi Day, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, March Madness, the Organization’s Founding Year)?
  • Did I tell donors how their donation impacted the organization?

There is always room for improvement by implementing innovative and creative ideas to your program.

If your answer is, “No, my annual fund didn’t have a strategic plan,” then you’re in luck – there is always time to put a plan in place. You might be thinking, “Where do I start? When do I start? What do I include in this plan?” Before summer, you should ideally have your approved plan in place ready to be executed for FY’18. This would put you at the perfect spot to be organized for the year and ready to strategically get donations in. Here are some guiding questions to fuel your annual giving campaign for your road trip to success:

  1. What is the theme of your annual fund? – by having a thought-out, annual theme, the annual fund can have a more succinct, consistent message upon multiple touchpoints.
  2. Do your social media pushes have consistent branding with your annual fund campaign? – as more campaigns implement social media, it’s crucial to have consistent branding across channels to connect all of the pieces for donors.
  3. Are there any yearly events that you want to include in your annual fund campaign? – if you’re focused on a certain theme for the year, you might want to consider incorporating certain events/holidays into your campaign. For example, if the founding year for your institution was 1718, you might want to implement a Giving Day on January 7, 2018 (1/7/18). If you have a theme of focusing on different departments throughout the year, you might want to focus on athletics in March and hold a March Madness bracket challenge. If you’re focusing on raising funds for a new math center, you might want to hold a giving day on Pi Day, March 14th (3.14).
  4. How will you segment your data? – knowing who your donors are helps with segmenting data as you want to ensure you are targeting the right people with the right message at the right time. Personalizing asks based on specific donor interests increases your chances of their donation.
  5. Did you thank your donors? – donor retention is a major factor of your annual fund. Maintain your relationships by thanking your donors and let them know how their gift impacted the organization! When they feel appreciated, they are more inclined to continue contributing to the fund in the future.
  6. How did the campaign do and how are you going to improve it next year? – during your current campaign, you should start thinking about next year’s campaign. Ask yourself questions like, “Should we do this strategy next year? Which approach was most successful? Which approach did not perform as we had hoped? Is there anything going on in the environment that might have impacted positive or negative results for our campaign?” By having improvement at the forefront of your mind, annual fund campaigns are more likely to succeed even more.

An annual fund campaign needs to be kept vibrant, updated, and innovative. These efforts need to be revisited and monitored constantly to ensure the annual fund is meeting or exceeding expectations. In order for aligned initiatives to be effective, goals need to be set and the prior year’s campaign needs to be evaluated at the completion of the campaign. When evaluating the campaign, it’s important to take into consideration the dollars given, participation rates, average gifts, and cost-per-dollar-raised. This will aid in establishing a benchmark that will be beneficial in setting realistic goals.

What do you think would happen if donors heard from you consistently the first year throughout the year and only one time the year after that because an annual plan wasn’t implemented? The purpose of an effective annual fund plan is to establish consistent giving habits in your donors. If they feel as though you only reach out when there is a crisis or when there is a sudden need, they won’t feel the emotional connection as they would if they had received consistent outreach explaining how they can make an impact. Retaining donors is a key contributing factor to developing and executing an annual fund plan.

As a proud partner with our clients, BCG Connect has worked strategically with numerous organizations to develop and improve their annual fund marketing campaigns. Some of the most successful campaigns were planned well in advance of the start of the fiscal year. If your goal is to work with a partner that can help develop a strategic, impactful annual fund marketing program, connect with us to learn how BCG Connect can help you!

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BCG Staff Writer
8 Fundraising Trends

8 Trends to Spring Your Annual Fund Marketing Forward

There’s something intricate about annual fund marketing – especially if you want to go beyond the basics of annual giving and create actionable strategies that will help you expand your program for long-term success.

It’s our goal to leverage our industry knowledge when working with clients to provide them with optimal marketing solutions for their fundraising program.

With spring around the corner, it’s time to start comprehensively assessing your annual giving program and determining how to take your program to the next level – how do you relate to these 8 trends?

  1. Implement a Strong Multi-Year and Annual Plan. Developing and maintaining a strong annual fund plan provides the opportunity to comprehensively assess your annual giving program, articulate short and long term objectives, and align all objectives with the plan appropriately. This advanced planning offers the opportunity to revisit initiatives regularly and stay up to speed with expectations. As a key step to long term success, effective annual fund planning is built from strategic development, partnerships, and long-term connections with donors.
  2. Stewardship, Stewardship, Stewardship. Annual giving professionals always need to keep at the front of their minds that stewardship is a key element of annual giving. Great stewardship is crucial to high retention and should be encouraged at all levels of the donor pyramid, including thank you notes all the way to donor impact stories in different types of publications.
  3. Have You Implemented #SocialMedia Into Your Campaign? If you haven’t increased your social media presence yet, now is the time to do so. Having a campaign that shows consistent branding, from the direct marketing all the way to social media, increases the engagement of the potential donors. Donors tend to feel more involved and having numerous touchpoints is important to donor relations.
  4. Mobile is King. At the CASE D1 conference, it was stated that 14% of all online donations are made by a mobile device. It is vital that your donation page, along with any corresponding emails, attachments, or graphics on social media, are mobile enabled. Similar to the importance of mobile with the annual fund, convenience is a significant factor in getting donations through the door.
  5. Big Data and Personalized Analytics. Big data and predictive analytics are evolving annual fund giving. By analyzing donor engagement and giving over their time with the organization/institution, engagement with them improves significantly. When you know about what they are passionate about in association with the organization/institution, you can tailor a personalized approach to them that could increase the chances of a donation.
  6. Storytelling is Not Just for Children. Tapping into your donor’s emotions can engage them, connect with them, really show them exactly what you want them to see and how you want them to feel. By providing better stories, you can raise more money because people are more dedicated and proud to support the fund. Storytelling can be incorporated in appeals, giving days, challenges, stewardship, among others. Take a step back and really tell the donors why their donation is impactful, who it has helped, and why they truly make a difference no matter the amount they donated.
  7. “What Was My Impact?” – Respond to Your Donors. It’s important donors know that their donation goes to a larger cause – that it is truly impacting something. Impact reports, case studies, stories, statistics are all vital elements to provide to your potential donors to show how exactly their donation helped. Did it help fund a new building? Did it provide more resources to the organization/institution? Tell them! They want to know their impact and by providing tangible information of what their donation helped, they will be more inclined to donate again.
  8. Change is Constant. Successful annual giving programs effectively adopt the changes that will work, while still maximizing the old tools that continue to work. The saying typically goes, “Out with the old, in with the new.” However, it is rather a delicate balance between using the old with the new. Learning how to adapt the new with the old can improve the likeliness of a successful annual giving program. For example, doing a direct mail piece highlighting a giving day can be complemented with a social media campaign incorporating the branding of the Giving Day.

These are just a few of the annual fund trends that should be on the forefront of your mind when developing your annual fund program. Do you need any help incorporating any of them into your campaign? We’d love to connect with you to share how we can help strengthen your campaign!

P.S. Attending the CASE District II conference in Baltimore? Let us know if you will be attending – we would love the opportunity to connect with you there!

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BCG Staff Writer
Dan Noonan, VP of Business Development

BCG Names Dan Noonan Vice President of Business Development

BCG has named Dan Noonan as Vice President of Business Development. Noonan will be responsible for leading BCG’s sales team and working with the marketing team in order to align sales and marketing goals.

Dan Noonan started with BCG more than a decade ago. Since joining BCG in 2005, he’s served as a consultative partner to his clients to help improve their marketing programs. His goal is to develop custom solutions based on a thorough understanding of clients’ needs, goals, and objectives.

Dan has shown an authentic commitment to his client’s success by enriching fundraising programs for nonprofits from coast to coast. He brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise and I know that he will have an even broader impact through this new role,” said Charlie Noonan, President. “After we acquired BCG more than 14 years ago, we committed to offering a spectrum of products and solutions to meet our clients’ needs. Dan has been at the forefront of that effort.”

Dan Noonan’s promotion to this leadership role is one part of BCG’s overall expansion plan. As of June 1st, the sales force has also grown—filling a newly created Account Executive position—with plans for continued company growth in the future in order to keep up with increased demand for services.  

“BCG’s investment in clients is unparalleled. I’m excited to help BCG continue to grow, to lead efforts to help more organizations thrive, and to continue to ensure our long-time clients’ success,” said Dan Noonan.

Dan Noonan holds a BA in psychology from Wheaton College. He lives in Charlestown and is a loyal Boston Celtics fan and avid golfer. He can be reached at dnoonan@bcgconnect.com.

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Fundraising Appeal Letter Hacks

Stand Out From The Crowd(ed Mailbox): 5 Fundraising Appeal Letter Hacks

Add some muscle to your next appeal letter to help it stand out in a crowded mailbox.

During the holiday season, everything that comes into your mailbox, from bills to credit card offers, are adorned in festive colors and glitter. So, it helps to add something special to an appeal letter to ensure that it will stand out from the colorful crowd.

Have your next appeal letter move into the spotlight, no matter the time of year, by including one or more of these strategies:

1. Include Images in the Letter:

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Adding photos to the body of the letter helps to give a face to the story, to the need, and to the reason a donor is giving. Photos also help engage a reader in the letter by helping them make a personal connection to it.

2. Add a Colorful Buck Slip Alongside the Letter:

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This mailing insert, approximately the size of a dollar bill (which is how it gets its name), provides room for additional graphics, images, and appeal information that can help enumerate the impact of a donation.

3. Use Color and Unique Typography in the Body of the Letter:

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By adding color and typographical emphasis, the reader can easily find the most important parts of your appeal letter. This also helps to break apart larger blocks of text to be easier to read and thus keeps their attention longer.

4. Add Artwork or a Tagline to the Outer Envelope:

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The envelope is an important part of the overall appeal package, but is so often overlooked (both during the design process and once it’s in the mailbox). The design of it helps to encourage the donor to open it.

5. Personalize the letter by including:

  • The recipient’s last gift amount: this helps to remind the donor of how much they previously gave and also gives them a point of reference for another gift.
  • A targeted ask amount: by personalizing the appeal letter with a specific ask for each letter, rather than a general ask, this helps to give the donor an understanding of how they can specifically help.
  • The recipient’s class year: by referencing a specific year, you help remind them of their experiences at the school and the reasons for giving back.
  • Add a P.S. line that repeats the call to action: use this important part of the letter to summarize the entire message – the ask, deadline, and call to action – so that when the reader’s eyes go to the bottom of the page, they have all the information.

What techniques have you used? These 5 ideas are just some of the wonderful strategies available. What have you found to be helpful?

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Bentley University's Philanthropy Week

Spotlight: Bentley University’s Philanthropy Week

#bentleygives
Bentley created a week of on-campus activities, all centered on philanthropy.

For 2015, this week of events was creatively branded with the slogan, “Bentley Runs on Philanthropy,” a spinoff of the Dunkin’ Donuts “America Runs on Dunkin'” slogan. This played well into the week’s events, which were full of coffee and running.

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Above: Branding the campaign: “Bentley Runs on Philanthropy”

Calling all coffee lovers and do-gooders…
To kick off the giving week, students were given free coffee and donuts. Then, it was their turn to “pay-it-forward” by buying a friend’s coffee. Next, they were asked to donate to Relay for Life with spare, coffee-cup change – every penny counts!

This all led up to the final event – the “Neon Run,” an organized race where students dressed to match the neon theme in glowing garb. It was a chance to show their school spirit, run with friends, and of course enjoy a cup of coffee (waiting for them at the finish line). This was a way to get students involved with supporting the Bentley Annual Fund – their registration fees were donated to the Annual Fund.

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It just goes to show – giving back can be fun too!

Success!
Bentley has had great success with this strategy over the past couple of years. In addition to getting students involved in their annual fund even before they become “young alumni”, Philanthropy Week continually:

  • Raises awareness of the Bentley Annual Fund – teaching students why it’s important to give back
  • Fosters a philanthropic culture among students
  • Provides a fun incentive for students to make a donation

View complete portfolio of event materials (crafted by Boston Color Graphics) here.

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The Current Environment of Annual Giving

The Current Environment of Annual Giving

Recently, the BCG team attended CASE’s Senior Annual Giving Conference, and we want to share some great information we learned on the current fundraising climate, donor retention, acquisition, reactivation, and who to target and when.

5 things you should know:

  • Today, 60% of all schools are making 2 or more asks per year and have success with multiple ask programs.
  • New Donors who give their first gift of $100 or more have a 71% retention rate
  • The longer lapsed the harder to reactivate. Those who are 1-2 years out are the best prospects to reactivate.
  • Parents are great donors and should be the first target for major gift officers.

Download more need-to-know facts from the Senior Annual Giving presentation.

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