One of the greatest parts of being away at a conference is connecting with colleagues and meeting new peers in the industry. Often times, the expectation of being present at a conference is that you’ll pick up new knowledge, specifically in your area of expertise and it’s only natural to be drawn to topics that you’re already familiar with. If you’re a major gifts fundraiser, it’s only natural to attend those sessions and so forth. In Bernard Ross’s master class, he ended off a fantastic presentation with a bit of encouragement, and that was to attend a session on a topic that was completely brand new or one which you think might be of absolute no use to you. What great words of advice!
On that note, we attended a session on middle gift fundraising with great case studies from Children’s Hospital Philadelphia, Environmental Defence and the Foundation Fighting Blindness. Quite often, the middle gets overlooked and it seems these charities all started their middle donor programs as somewhat of a test, with great pay off. Most of these programs are conducted via direct mail with a sprinkling of stewardship events. That got us thinking, where does online fit in with a middle gift program? Perhaps high touch, highly personalised email stewardship and segmented appeals with high gift strings online for the middle tier. Or maybe online is the place to show case donor impact with video and testimonials.
The main learning from the conference was that fundraising is all about integration and that no charity can rely on one particular channel and ignore the others. A session by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology showcased this to great effect. They have spent the last two years growing their list in multiple channels with a lot of success.
Bridge was especially rewarding this year as we were lucky enough to have three sessions accepted this year. Go to SlideShare to find copies of our presentations:
Sheetal Persaud and Geoff Handy of the Humane Society of United States, What’s Hiding Behind Your Petition? Finding Donors through Advocacy