How to Write A Solicitation That Cuts Through the Noise

In the age of multi-layered marketing, our attention spans are juggling multiple news outlets, social media channels, and promotional materials. 2020 is a difficult time to be a fundraiser and crafting a solicitation that cuts through the noise can be even more challenging. Here is your guide to writing a strong fundraising appeal that generates gifts. Provide a resonating cause and a strong author Before drafting your appeal, consider what cause resonates most with your audiences. Have you done a fundraising campaign in the past that was successful? Chances are, that cause will likely resonate well again. Donors are more…

How to Tell an Engaging Ongoing Story with Campaign Updates

You’ve worked hard gathering a team, building your campaign and marketing the launch. Now, you can just sit back and let the funding roll in, right? Wrong. One of the biggest mistakes that campaign creators make is thinking people will automatically give once the initiative is live and accepting donations. Even if you have a beautiful online fundraising page filled with compelling content, you are still responsible for keeping (and gaining more) momentum throughout the life cycle of the campaign. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is through marketing updates.  Studies show that updates more than double the…

Lessons Learned from a Meeting of the Minds

It's been a month since the Meeting of the Minds conference on the campus of Cal Poly Pomona. However, as I've gotten the distance I've found that many of the topics I heard are still poignant for where we are in today's fundraising paradigm. My team and I heard from several wonderful speakers: Ryan Lawrence, Lynne Wester, Rodger Devine, John Taylor, Bob Burdenski, among others. The topics ranged anywhere from Managing Our Expectations Toward Millennials to Creating a Culture of Engagement and Giving. You can see the full schedule here. But a golden thread I heard woven throughout is the…

How to Write a Compelling Fundraising Email Sequence

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Asking for monetary support can be a challenge, especially navigating how to appeal to potential supporters without them tuning out. The trick to avoiding this phenomenon is completely based on the presentation of your cause and the manner in which you make an engaging ask. We've dissected the core components of creating an amazing fundraising email sequence below. Tell Your Story [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image="9142" img_size="full" alignment="center"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text] Like any good story, your fundraising email needs a hook – an opening line that creates a need to keep reading. Most people see fundraising emails and skim over before sending it to spam. Give…

How to Write the Perfect Fundraising Email

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image="9030" img_size="full" alignment="center"][vc_column_text] Asking for money can be awkward, sometimes leaving you feeling like a bother to the other person. The trick to avoiding these feelings is in the presentation you give and the manner in which you ask. Use these tricks and you will have the perfect fundraising email, helping you to avoid negative feelings. Tell a Story Like any good book, you need a hook – an opening line that creates a need to keep reading. Most people see fundraising emails and skim over before sending it to spam. Give them a reason to stop and keep…

How to Create a Compelling Fundraising Story Using Images

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image="8880" img_size="full" alignment="center"][vc_column_text] You've heard it a million times: “a picture is worth 1,000 words.” But in reality, it’s worth 60,000. The human brain responds to images and videos 60,000 times faster than plain text. The power of images isn't just how quickly we derive meaning from them, but also the amount of meaning we associate with them. A single image can be emotionally resonant, evoking an instinctive response that trumps language. Many images stand alone as iconic representations of powerful movements or events, like the Tank Man during the Tiananmen Square protests or the photo of the starving…

How to Boost Donor Retention with an Inspiring Welcome Email Series

Nearly one-third of all annual giving happens in December, so there is no better time to follow-up with supporters than in the new year! Learn how to craft a compelling welcome email to keep your hard-earned donors around. While we still suggest a multi-channel approach to everything you do, including stewardship, email is an easy way to give thanks, introduce your community to your mission and vision, and seed upcoming opportunities to amplify their impact.  Open rates on a welcome email series can average over 50% and if you include a call-to-action, you could experience click-through rates at nearly 15%. That's an extremely…

Fundraising Relationships & Storytelling: The PERMA Model

What do relationships have to do with storytelling? As many of you know, we’re in the process of developing the next iteration of our platform. Each month, our entire team comes together for two days of collaboration around a specific element of the overall process (story curation, donating, sharing, competing, engaging, etc.). We bring in guests, including clients and industry experts, to articulate overall challenges and what features would make their day-to-day lives easier. We’ve invited leadership from disruptive companies to join us on-site to challenge us to look at an opportunity through myriad lenses. We’ve also been fortunate enough…

Building a Better Narrative: Powerful Storytelling for Your Online Fundraising

People have been sharing stories since before they had words to tell them. Today, it remains one of the main ways we communicate. Whether it’s as formal as journalism or novels, or as casual as chatting with friends, the tales we tell help construct our world and our world view. Some stories, however, have greater staying power. When it comes to telling the story of your organization or cause, you want to catch people’s attention in a way that inspires them to act, as well as in a way that makes them remember you in the future. Be deliberate in…

How to Write Fantastic Crowdfunding Campaign Email Updates

In this post, you will learn: Why each group in your community needs updates during your fundraising campaignWhen it's best to send an updateWhat should make up an update (with included templates) First, let’s talk about the different types of supporters and donors you are trying to communicate effectively with. We find it's best to update your networks roughly by these groups: Supporters: The early supporters are often also the most invested in your success. Tell them how much the campaign has raised in the first few days, and at regular intervals, as well as what you intend to do…

Writing a Great Crowdfunding Campaign Press Release

Crowdfunding campaigns can benefit from media attention by extending networks beyond campaign creators' individual communities through a quality press release. It's generally accepted that traditional press releases don't have the same kind of readership they once had. One main reason for this is that in general, we don't consume news the same way we did even 10 years ago. Instead of shuffling out the front door for the paper to read over breakfast, we're more likely to scroll through our Twitter feeds to see what's up in the world around us. In this post, you will learn: Elements of effective…

Giving Day & Crowdfunding Campaign Video Creation Guide

Creating campaign videos can be extremely helpful in engaging your community. Learn how to easily put together an impactful video. First things first, before you ever hit record you need to write an outline. It doesn't have to be a script, just organize what you want to say. Your video should be attention-grabbing, short (2-3 minutes), and to the point. Here are the most important elements to include: Introduction Introduce yourself and your team and explain why you're championing this effort. Introducing yourself might seem like a "duh," but it helps establish credibility. Make sure to speak directly to the camera to…

Katie Haystead

Katie Haystead

Senior Vice President, Partnerships

With over a decade of experience working with K12 schools and higher education institutions’ fundraising efforts, Katie Haystead now oversees the partnerships team at Community Funded. Her passion for partner success and satisfaction aligns with Community Funded’s priorities and Katie’s unique background is well suited to manage the day to day operations of our partnerships team as well as new market acquisition.

Prior to joining the team at Community Funded, Katie served many roles within the Fundraising Division at Ruffalo Noel Levitz. Her experience ranges from working onsite and remotely with clients executing phonathon programs, developing annual giving strategies, onsite consultations and also developing multichannel strategies allowing for strong synergy between annual giving channels and creating strong major and planned gift pipelines.

Katie is based in Metro Detroit and is a graduate of Central Michigan University, where she worked for the phonathon for 3 years while working towards her History Major.

Kim Jennings

Kim Jennings

Senior Generosity Strategist, Generis

Kim Jennings, CFRE is a skilled fundraising leader who believes in the power of Christian education to raise up thoughtful, strong, committed leaders who can make our world a better place for all.

Kim Jennings

Todd Turner

Director of Digital Strategies, Generis

In addition to his 11 years overseeing Chuck Swindoll’s Insight Living Ministries communications department, Todd Turner has worked as a digital strategist for faith based organizations across the globe..

Kim Jennings

Jennifer Perrow

Senior Generosity Strategist, Generis

Jennifer is a skilled fundraising and communications professional who helps ministries articulate vision, communicate mission, and raise abundant funds to advance Kingdom priorities.