ROI

No More Special Events: A Look At The WHY

Tom has stood on podiums (literally) for 30 years and shouted NO MORE SPECIAL EVENTS

This works as a napkin message – It’s powerful and simple.

I don’t do the ‘standing-on-a-podium’ thing, but I’m not above shouting IN ALL CAPS to make a point:

NO MORE SPECIAL EVENTS!

I get the occasional challenge, “But Nick, events are how we build relationships!”  Or, “Our event gets the word out!”

In years and years of doing this, no one has ever said, “Our event is our CASH COW!”

WHY are you doing the event?  Is it to raise money? Or, is it for MARKETING? (Start with WHY.)

It’s really helpful to make a distinction between MARKETING and SALES. Here is a great nugget to bridge the relationship between MARKETING and SALES:

It is the job of marketing to provide qualified leads for sales.

I hear many people who want to defend events with a marketing rationale. If you want to run events as a part of your MARKETING STRATEGY – great! Just don’t PRETEND your events are great fundraisers. And if MARKETING is the end goal, then how much are you telling your story at that golf outing?

Also, if you’re going to do an event to ‘BUILD relationships’ then it begs the question – what is your strategy to MAXIMIZE relationships?

NB: We’ve been on this rant for a few decades now. There are events that raise money – a lot of (net, net, net) money. Here are some examples:

  1. The EVENT is the IMPACT. There are some organizations whose impact is using a community’s ability to raise money. For example, Pelotonia here in Central Ohio, which has raised over $100M for cancer research. They are in the event business: the money they raise from one event a year is given directly to cancer research (read: curing cancer!). Pelotonia is in the EVENT BUSINESS – most organizations (i.e., you) are not.

  2. But what about WALL STREET?!?! Those ‘guys’ (I think, often citing Robin Hood as a model) all get in a room and give MILLIONS! This is an anomaly, not a model.  When you can get a bunch of hedge fund titans in a room to throw their egos behind your philanthropy, have at it!

  3. RECOGNITION EVENTS.  These are events where the money was not raised, but simply RECOGNIZED, at the event. In all of these cases, I submit that more money could be raised if we were clearer on the WHY.  While the organization might be ASKING because of an event, people aren’t GIVING because of the event; they are giving because of the IMPACT!
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The #1 Measurement for a Successful Development Operation

Reposting one of our most popular nuggets from Tom about how to measure success and productivity in your Development Operation.

RETURN-ON-INVESTMENT: What every Investor wants from their investment and what every For Impact organization should want from its development/advancement/fundraising effort.

I feel this concept is completely absent or totally misunderstood from our sector – Something I want to help change.

With all due respect to the industry, I just don’t get it. An organization invests money and resources in their development/fundraising operation (whether it’s a one-person shop or 50 people in the college advancement division) but doesn’t measure that RETURN-ON-INVESTMENT. I’m not sure how else you would measure productivity or success without making ROI the #1 barometer.

ROI is very simple to calculate. It’s a numerator/denominator math problem:

  • Here’s how much money we Raised (the numerator).
  • Here’s how much money we spent/Total Expenses (denominator).
R – TE = NET, NET, NET CHECK/FUNDS to support IMPACT!

In the For Impact approach, the development function ‘write checks’ to the IMPACT.

R ÷ TE = ROI and COST OF FUNDRAISING.

For example, if you are a hospital foundation raising $2M a year in ‘fundraising Revenue and your total expenses are $1M then your ROI is 2X or 100%; and your cost of fundraising is 50%.

There are two ways to increase your ROI and decrease your cost of fundraising:

  • Increase the Numerator (Revenue)
  • Decrease the Denominator (Expenses)

In our For Impact world, our own benchmarks are as follows:

  • 3X is minimum model/benchmark.
  • 4X is great.
  • 5X is something you should be very proud of.

If you’re running a Campaign within an existing development operation or as a separate initiative, I believe the cost of fundraising should be a nickel (five cents on the dollar.) That would give you a 20X ROI.

If you are a For Impact leader, senior staff, executive director or a board member, I hope the above gives you some sense of comparison.

Note: One last example of why ROI is a completely different level of thinking than simply “This is how much money we raised this year.” I can guarantee a small not-for-profit organization an additional $100,000 this year – Hire two ‘major gifts officers’ at $50,000 apiece. Send them to For Impact Boot Camp. I guarantee that they can go out and raise $100,000 in the next year (combined.)Same thing would be true with a larger organization at $1M. Hire five major gift officers at $200,000 each. I’m fairly confident if they followed any sales process they would each be able to raise $200,000 in the next year for a total of $1M.

Ok, I think you get the point.

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Memorable Experiences as Powerful Predisposition

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we are going to use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: COMMIT TO BETTER PREDISPOSITION.

33Napkins-18-SpecialEvents

You’ve seen our rant on “No More Special Events.”  If not, I’ll summarize here: SPECIAL EVENTS ARE NOT ‘SPECIAL!’

They rarely generate income anywhere close to the corresponding staff and volunteer effort and time – Even though we’ve spent more that half the year selling tables, sponsoring golf holes or lining up silent auction items.

P.S. Not only do your volunteers and staff hate these Non-Special Events, so do all of the ‘INVITEES’ … who clearly don’t want to go to another ‘un-memorable, time-away-from their-family’ auction, gala, ‘fundraiser’!!!

Instead, MAKE EVERYTHING YOU DO A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE!

A ‘MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE’ is about your Vision, your Message, your Impact.

Every ‘MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE’ is an incredible PREDISPOSITION OPPORTUNITY.

A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE isn’t about the number of people in attendance, it’s about getting the best people in attendance. Instead of selling tables, think about getting the best 10 prospects you have in the room (preferably your room) and knock their socks off with the IMPACT.

 

 

 

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Master Prospect List – QPI Rating System

We have used the MPL tool to run hundreds of campaigns and major gifts initiatives. It’s simple and powerful. Rate your top prospects to create a Master Prospect List in descending order of importance. Then focus all your time (literally) on your top ten prospects — you will be amazed by the results.

Download the excel file.

Each prospect receives a rating in each category 1-5 (5 being the highest). The sum weighted total of ratings in each of the five categories will give you the Qualified Prospect Index – You need to visit with anyone 90 and higher today!

Definition of Key Terms

Relationship Manager (RM)

This is the person within your organization that manages the relationship — does not have to be the point of contact but must responsible for thinking about this prospect every day.

Natural Partner

This is a person, internal or external to your organization that has the closest relationship to the prospect.

Capacity
Weight: 7

This number is the prospect’s capacity to make a major gift – a gift level that is worthy of one-on-one time with a prospect. This is not an indication of what you think the prospect WILL invest in your organization – it is an indication of what you think the prospect COULD give.

For example:
5 – $1MM
4 – $100K
3 – $10K
2 – $1K
1 – Unknown

Relationship
Weight: 6

This is an indication of the prospect’s relationship to your organization or to your cause. If this prospect is on your board it should be a five (5). If, for example, you are the American Cancer Society, and this prospect is a cancer survivor, the rating should be a five (5) even with no gift history.

For example:
5 – Specific interest in our organization or cause
4 – Heavily invested in our cause or within a sector or geography in which we operate

Timing
Weight: 3

Generally timing is always a five (5) unless you have specific knowledge otherwise.

Gift History
Weight: 2

What is this prospect’s giving history to your organization? You might determine that a five (5) on the rating scale indicates lifetime giving of $100,000+ or ten consecutive years in your Leadership Society. Below is an example using higher numbers.

5 – Has given multiple lifetime gifts and/or has given $1M lifetime
4 – Has given one or multiple gifts and/or has given $100k lifetime
3 – Has given one or multiple gifts and/or has given $10k lifetime
2 – Has given 1 lifetime gift and/or has given $1k liftetime
1 – Has never given and/or has given less than $1k lifetime

Philanthropy (or Gut Feeling)
Weight: 2

This is a measure of the prospect’s general willingness to give. Has he or she supported other organizations? Is it a foundation (5)? Do we have a good feeling about them? Give it a 5! This is also where I take into account the person who reaches out to us first or has said, “I want to help.” or “I want to do something big, can we talk?” Give that a 5 as well.
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97/3: Focus on the Top

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we are going to use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: Finalize your MASTER PROSPECT LIST.

97% of all your INCOME (SALES/REVENUE) will come from

3% of your PROSPECTS (Portfolio/Community/Family).

This is a fact. Don’t fight it. Deal with it.

97/3 just reinforces the need to find your BEST and most QUALIFIED prospects!

The whole ‘80/20’, Pareto the Italian Economist thing is soooooo 1980. (Actually, it was in the 18-somethings.)

A quick parable/metaphor to reinforce this concept.

Lions, Mice, and Antelope.
A lion can hunt, capture, kill, and eat a field mouse. But the ENERGY expended is greater than the caloric content of the mouse. If a lion spent her whole day hunting and eating field mice, she would slowly starve to death!

A lion cannot live on mice. Lions need antelope. Antelope are BIG. Antelope take more planning, persistence, speed, and strength to capture and kill. But, once killed, they provide a huge feast for a lion and her pride.

A lion can live a long and happy life on a diet of antelope. She will die ‘chasing mice.’

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R.O.I.

RETURN-ON-INVESTMENT.

What every ‘Investor’ wants from their investment and what every For Impact organization should want from its development/advancement/fundraising effort.

I feel this concept is completely absent or totally misunderstood from our sector – Something I want to help change.

With all due respect to the industry, I just don’t get it. An organization invests money and resources in their development/fundraising operation – could be a one-person shop or 50 people in the college advancement division. I’m not sure how else you would measure productivity or success without making ROI the #1 barometer.

ROI is very simple to calculate. It’s a numerator/denominator math problem:

  • Here’s how much money we Raised (the numerator).
  • Here’s how much money we spent/Total Expenses (denominator).
R – TE = NET, NET, NET CHECK/FUNDS to support IMPACT!

In the For Impact approach, the development function ‘write checks’ to the IMPACT.

R ÷ TE = ROI and COST OF FUNDRAISING.

For example, if you are a hospital foundation raising $2M a year in ‘fundraising Revenue and your total expenses are $1M then your ROI is 2X or 100%; and your cost of fundraising is 50%.

There are two ways to increase your ROI and decrease your cost of fundraising:

  • Increase the Numerator (Revenue)
  • Decrease the Denominator (Expenses)

In our For Impact world, our own benchmarks are as follows:

  • 3X is minimum model/benchmark.
  • 4X is great.
  • 5X is something you should be very proud of.

If you’re running a Campaign within an existing development operation or as a separate initiative, I believe the cost of fundraising should be a nickel (five cents on the dollar.) That would give you a 20X ROI.

If you are a For Impact leader, senior staff, executive director or a board member, I hope the above gives you some sense of comparison.

Note: One last example of why ROI is a completely different level of thinking than simply “This is how much money we raised this year.”

I can guarantee a small not-for-profit organization an additional $100,000 this year. Hire two ‘major gifts officers’ at $50,000 apiece. Send them to For Impact Boot Camp. I guarantee that they can go out and raise $100,000 in the next year (combined.)

Same thing would be true with a larger organization at $1M. Hire five major gift officers at $200,000 each. I’m fairly confident if they followed any sales process they would each be able to raise $200,000 in the next year for a total of $1M.

Ok, I think you get the point.

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1x 10x 50x

If a Qualified Prospect is giving you $50 (let’s call this ‘1x’) in response to a mail campaign, any sort of an event or even ‘totally unsolicited’ then he or she would likely give 10x in response to a one-on-one, personal visit. And 50x if the visit includes a dialogue around the funding plan and an ask.

This is not scientific, but far from arbitrary, as way of thinking about:

  • The potential of your existing relationships (if we visit!), and,
  • Why we need to be doing more visits!

We often hear “we need more prospects” but often find that existing relationships are not being maximized and in some cases, not even being spoken to! Think about this:

  • 1x is clearly emotional. I’ve seen a lot of people cry at events, but the giving is still impersonal and ‘charitable’ in nature.
  • Sitting with someone one-one-one (or 2-1) allows you to listen and respond. It makes the ask personal and seems to trigger another level of discernment in giving – increasing a commitment to an organization ten fold (10x).
  • To get the big, big gifts (50x) we need to walk our Qualified Prospects through a funding plan and have a dialogue around the ask. These conversations are much more strategic.

I often share a story of a school that threw a large gala where they asked everyone to “prayerfully consider giving at a level that was significant.” The school was frustrated – They had a $1M prospect giving $10K and $100K prospects giving $2K.

As much as the prospects liked the school they had no context for how much money to consider. They had no way of guessing that $1M might be the linchpin for the campaign and there was no discussion that gave the committed families and supporters a framework to think bigger.

To put it simply, in this case and many others, you need to tell them what to pray for!

This school went back to each supporter with a complete funding plan. The $1M dollar ask, for example, was a discussion around WHY they needed $1M and what it would enable the school to do (students/faculty/campus, leverage, leadership, timing, etc). The prospects had context in which to consider the ask and many of them increased their gifts by five times and some by 20 or 30 times!

I’ve met with billionaires and many, many millionaires. Trust me, nobody has disposable income. Nobody is going to guess that a $1Million will help. $10K or $50K is a lot to anyone! It’s not until we show up that we can get 10X. It’s not until we dialogue about 50X that we can get 50X. (Read more about The Bystander Effect and Philanthropy here.)

In closing, consider asking yourself a few questions: Is it easier for you to visit with every current funder and ASK (10X) or to get ten new prospects to give? From there, is it easier to get your best prospects to 50X or to get 5-10 more visits?

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Return on Energy (R.O.E.)

Earlier this week we reminded you of our thoughts on a VOCABULARY CHANGE for the sector. Two big shifts are from ‘donor’ and ‘donation’ to ‘investor’ and ‘investment.’

And, obviously, you would know what every INVESTOR wants from their investment: A RETURN (ROI).

As a For Impact Leader or Social Entrepreneur, you know that you can DELIVER on that RETURN with your Impact, giving your prospects the chance to save and change lives.

There is another return that we use quite often that seems to really grab people’s attention:
 

RETURN ON ENERGY

 
What (exactly) is your RETURN on ENERGY? (In this case, ‘ENERGY’ means both physical and mental TIME and FOCUS.)

Is the end result worth the ENERGY?

Are you working on your Top 3% or still expending a lot of (wasted) ENERGY at the bottom?

This seems to be especially big for organizations trapped in a transaction-based system of special events (life-sucking, volunteer-draining) with often and incredibly low RETURN ON ENERGY:
 

 
If that describes your organization, then think about this rhetorical question:

What would happen if you did away with one event?

And then, you focused all that energy (time, urgency, people, resources) on building a great relationship with one or two prospects who could invest $1Million in your vision?

 

 

Remember:

Special Events As Fundraisers: They’re not special and they raise minimum net dollars for your impact.

Major Gifts: Raise the most money at the least cost.

97/3: 97% of the money/investments comes from 3% of your family: focus on the 3%.

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