In fundraising, as in life, variety is the spice.

You’ve heard it said that variety is the spice of life for we humans. The axiom applies as well to the fundraising programs of nonprofit organizations. As seasoned fundraisers know, it takes all kinds to get and give the billions of dollars that come to Canadian and American charities year after year.

Check out the following findings, harvested from here and there around the internet. Then shake up your strategies.  Bite into a new challenge. Savor the sweet taste of success.

Doing it your way. Over the years, I’ve had a lots of folks tell me they’re happy I do what I do, but they could never ask for money. When I probe a bit, I find they’re speaking from a stereotyped version of fundraisers.  You know — the out-going, people-loving, easy-talking extrovert who’s never met a “no” that he or she couldn’t convert to “yes.”

If that’s not you, but you’re in a position that requires you do some asking, click on over to the Asking Matters website where you’ll find a quiz and accompanying audio presentation that will help you find your style and use it well.

Women’s way of giving. Research continues to show that charitable giving in North American has a decidedly feminine flair. Consider, for example, the following from Causes Women Support, a product of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

  • Female-headed households are more likely or as likely to give as male-headed households in every charitable sub-sector.
  • The top five areas in which female-headed households are significantly more likely than their male counterparts to give are international, community, religion, health care, and youth and family.

Next generation donors. Following up on their 2010 look at the giving patterns of millennials, consulting firms Achieve and Johnson, Grosnickle & Associates have taken another run at understanding the newest generation of donors. Billed as providing “new insights and deeper understanding of Millennial donor interests, engagement and motivations” the 2011 report doesn’t disappoint. Included among the findings are the following factoids:

  • 93% of surveyed Millennials gave to nonprofit organizations in 2010, with 10% giving $1,000 or more during the course of the year, but the bulk of giving was distributed in small increments to many organizations. 58% of respondents said their single largest gift was less than $150.
  • 57% of Millennials gave in response to a personal ask and 49% gave online. However, when Millennials were asked how they prefer to give, online giving took the top spot, being identified as the method of choice by 58% of respondents, with personal requests dropping to 48%.
  • 84% of Millennials said they are most likely to donate when they fully trust an organi­zation, and 90% said they would stop giving if they do not trust an organization.
  • 85% of Millennials are motivated to give by a compelling mission or cause, and 56% by a personal connection or trust in the leadership of the organization. Only 2% of Millennials were motivated to give by celebrity endorsements.

Key take-away: “For nonprofits, one of the biggest lessons here is that we cannot make assumptions about Millennial donors. Instead, we need to embrace both their progressive ideas and deeply rooted values. We need to listen to them and respond, rather than making as­sumptions and reaching out to them according to those assumptions.”

Engaging elusive prospects.  Wendy Hatch, a principal with the Alford group and star of this week’s Movie Mondays for Fundraising Professionals, talks about finding ways to engage potential donors when there doesn’t seem to be a clear path to them. She tells a great story about a potential donor who was not too interested in an organization. She then talks about what the organization did that truly transformed the person into one of their largest donors.

Here’s the link to the video. (If you’re not a subscriber to Movie Mondays, you’re missing a great FREE resource. Subscribe today.)

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