Campaign Challenge: Do It For Mom
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Mama Mia

Every day is Mother's Day in fundraising

We talk about the "maternal instinct" as the need to nurture, protect and care.

Tenderness mixed with fierce protectiveness. "Don't mess with a mother bear," they say.

The mix of tough and gentle qualities that we ascribe to mothers can be applied to fundraisers, too.

Mother Always Knows Best

Being a non-profit fundraiser is like being a mother: you want your kids to eat vegetables instead of pizza because you know it's good for them, even if they don't want it. Fundraising can be like pleading with your kids to eat their vegetables. Sometimes, you can reason with them. Sometimes you can cover the veggies in cheese. Sometimes you just have to nag and nag, not letting them up from the table until their plates are clear. You know what's good for the world, so make it happen. They'll thank you for it later.

Tough Mother

You hear stories about mothers lifting cars to save their children - feats of amazing strength brought on by the protective instinct. Your organization is capable of amazing world-changing action. Remember: your mission is powerful. Don't second-guess your "right" to make a difference. When you raise funds or awareness, you're standing up for what you believe in.

Mom Genes

Traditionally, intuition and sensitivity are female characteristics. Sometimes fundraising and development can weigh in on the traditionally male end of the spectrum as a demanding job with high stakes and even higher pressure. Whether you're a male or female fundraiser, it does pay to listen to your instincts and be sensitive to your donors' needs. Don't second guess your instincts as a fundraiser - your "softer" side can really help.
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Do It For Mother

Mini Campaign Challenge

It's been shown that people give more when there's someone watching.* They give regularly when they do it for or because of someone they care about.

Next month the USA and many other countries will celebrate Mother's Day on Sunday May 8th. (Sorry UK readers.)

So this month we have a challenge for you: launch a mini campaign "In Honor of Mom", to celebrate Mother's Day.

Here's what you do:

Encourage your donors to make a one-time gift on behalf of their mothers. Then, send them a certificate with the donor's mother's name on it.

Donors can give the certificate as a gift to a mother in their life - say, their own mother, grandmother, wife, aunt, neice, friend, sister or cousin - or keep the certificate as a memorial tribute for a mother (or grandmother) who has passed away.

You can make this mini campaign as simple or fancy as you'd like. Here are some pointers to help you along:

  1. Decide if you'll go digital or snail-mail for this campaign. If you usually send solicitations by email, maybe a mail campaign will be a pleasant surprise for your network. Usually send by post with low returns? Consider an interactive digital version to maximize impact and minimize cost.

  2. Pick a recommended donation amount. If you're doing a paper mailing, keep in mind postage and supplies cost. We'd say $25 or more for an email campaign, $50 or more for mail.

  3. Whichever way you send the solicitation, decide how you'll send the certificate. You can send the certificate by mail, or you can have a digital certificate that donors can print themselves. We think it would be more meaningful to receive an actual certificate in the mail.

  4. Using Microsoft Word? When you open a new document, you can select a template from the hundreds they have built-in. They're easy to edit and customize, and you can use the Mail Merge function to quickly produce many at a time. A quick Google search will also bring up hundreds of templates, too. Some printing stores or office supply stores have fancy paper with foil edges and pre-designed certificates with curly script. You choose what works best for your organization's style.

  5. When asking for donations, make sure you request the name of the mother to be recognized.

  6. Make absolutely sure to include a letter of thanks/acknowledgement with the certificate.

  7. Consider making a "hall of fame" or a "wall of fame" on your website. A list of mothers and acknowledgements is a lovely way to make a more permanent public tribute. Ask your donors if they'd like to include their mother's name on the public tribute page.
Want a bigger fundraising challenge?

Peer Effect

Read this fascinating study (.pdf) on social influences in fundraising, from Harvard University and the Robert Wood Johnson Fellows.

It really is true: people give more when others give, when a big name donor gives, or when they get public recognition for a good deed done.
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