Home > The Gardner Report > IdealWare, Gail Perry’s Mistakes, Database Best Practices, Appending

Have you heard of IdealWare?
If you have yet not heard of IdealWare, take a few minutes today to visit its website, www.idealware.org. This Portland, Maine not-for-profit specializes in researching, reporting and then training NPOs in using technology. It is an awesome resource. Check it out! Your time will be well spent. Look through the reports and also the upcoming webinars. All are very affordable.

On May 23rd we joined an Arkansas Coalition for Excellence (ACE) webinar put on by IdealWare. It was a 90-minute interactive session focused on how to use social networking to enhance NPO communications. What we liked best was the targeted and crisp delivery by Andrea Berry. We were also impressed by the follow-up details emailed to participants the next day. The details reinforced the class.

There are two notes from that session we want to share:

1. Make sure that you use social media to enhance your brand and achieve your mission. IdealWare suggested SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely).

2. Use Linked In as a personal relationship system. Connect with friends in the
profession and to build and manage your network.

Thanks to ACE for bringing IdealWare to the attention of Arkansas NPOs! And, if your NPO is not a member of ACE, you are missing a valuable resource. Join. Today.

Gail Perry Shares Mistakes
Gardner & Associates recommends regularly checking out www.gailperry.com. Her feature Fired Up Fundraising contains a range of useful ideas. She is a Southern fundraising consultant who shares a wide range of applicable ideas. She, too, offers sessions. Check out Gail Perry.

G&A likes her review of the five common Mistakes NPO’s make with their board members. Our summary includes:

1. Allow them to think that fundraising is all about “asking for money.” When it should really be about building relationships and sharing information.

2. Ask board members to make cold calls. Most board members fear rejection. Ask them to engage donors and prospects by sharing their own experiences as a leader of your NPO.

3. Spend their valuable time on low dollar prospects. Instead, focus board members on specific high-value prospects to maximize their volunteer time and talents.

4. Avoid crisis mobilization for fundraising. Focus on building long-term relationships.

5. Fail to provide training, structure, coaching and support.

Database “best practices” considerations
Your NPO’s database is your access to prospects and donor stewardship. It is the heart of your fundraising. However, maintaining it is not exciting or pressing. It is easy to ignore your database. That is like not servicing your vehicle. It will work for a while, but sooner or later you will have a breakdown. And then, the timing is always devastating.

Summer is an ideal time to work on your donor and prospect database. Investing time now to update records, check on key prospects, streamline files, update software and generally get ready for the coming year are all elements of a successful annual check up and tune up.

G&A recommends setting aside one day a week for four consecutive weeks to concentrate on your database. Plan it out. Schedule it. Break it into sequential parts:

1. Start with the critical element update contact information.

2. Update cultivation details and include next step strategy notes.

3. Assess campaign codes or indicators. Add new codes for anticipated campaigns or initiatives.

4. Build in a calendar with reminders and targets.

Gardner & Associates recommend a five-point “best practices” protocol:

1. Capture the details of each prospect conversation immediately afterward to record details exactly and to outline and schedule next steps.

2. Include as much verbatim comment in the notes as possible to capture the prospect’s level of interest, connection or emotion. Include the interviewer’s assessment regarding readiness and strategy.

3. Each successive contact should be built on the discovery details of the previous conversation. That is the progression. It is the key to moves management. Without details the process is hollow and unsupported.

4. Each new contact should build and refine the strategy leading to “the ask”.

5. Include in the record details of notes, gifts, follow up and other details of the relationship (attendance at events, invitations to be sent, significant dates to remember or target.)

Consider appending your database this summer!
What is appending? Appending refers to purchasing the names of donors available through a nearby mailing service. For cents you can identify a prospect who already supports similar charities.

Determine their services and pricing offered by nearby mail houses. Determine how they can help manage your NPO’s mail and email lists. Price their cost for appending your database with additional prospects. You may find that their service can help your NPO increase its annual giving effectiveness and efficiency.

G&A client, Food Bank of North Central Arkansas, has steadily built its database by budgeting several hundred dollars each year to add names to its list. FBNCA has found appending to be a cost-effective way to continue to grow its database.