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Jun 8, 2024

Prize Inside

⚒️Some of you know that Julie and I are selling our current home and downsizing a bit. We're moving to an AirBnb in the final weeks of this chaotic remodeling effort, while our awesome Palestinian contractors complete the finishing touches.  Because of this, the audio versions of these newsletters will be a little hit-and-miss.  I'll record them when I'm away from hammers and saws and let you know when they're available!👷

In the meantime, you can listen to previous recordings by visiting The Breakthru Podcast

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👋Raise your hand if you remember Cracker Jacks.  Oh man, those little cardboard boxes of caramel popcorn and nuts were amazing, weren’t they?  But the true magic of Cracker Jacks, for me as a kid (and maybe even an adult?), were those beautiful two words on the front of the package.

Prize inside.  I can hear Jean Shepherd's* voice in my head as I remember opening a box of Cracker Jacks to “get through” the caramel deliciousness for that temporary tattoo, or that plastic ring, or that novelty whistle…  What a fun memory.

Just as those Cracker Jack prizes brought excitement and joy, there’s a profound prize in the work we do in the nonprofit sector. This prize isn't a fleeting trinket…it’s something with an unforgettable impact.  

The prize we offer creates a better world for those we serve.

So, how do we ignite the same sense of excitement and participation for our financial partners? Let’s use the extraordinary Cracker Jacks as a metaphor to explore three delightful ways we can do just that:

Storytelling: Bringing the Vision to Life

🍿Caramel and nuts:  One of the most compelling ways to excite potential partners is through storytelling.  Regularly update your partners with newsletters, videos, and personal letters that highlight success stories. Invite beneficiaries to share their stories at events or through recorded messages. When financial partners see and hear the impact, their investment encourages a sense of growing excitement.

🎖️Prize inside:  When givers hear about a child who now has access to education, a family who has a safe home, or a community enjoying clean water because of supporters who have given, the tangible outcomes of their contributions become a highlight to celebrate.

Engagement: Creating Personal Connections

🍿Caramel and nuts: Host exclusive events where financial partners can meet with staff, beneficiaries, and other supporters. Use technology to offer virtual tours of project sites or live Q&A sessions with those on the ground. Personalized engagement helps partners feel like integral members of the team, fueling their enthusiasm and commitment.

🎖️Prize inside: Givers get to connect personally with the mission and the people benefiting from their support.  They will discover the joy of participating in a prize where their support is making a significant difference.

Transparency: Demonstrating Impact and Accountability

🍿Caramel and nuts: Provide regular, transparent updates on projects and financials. Use visual aids like charts and infographics to illustrate progress and impact. Celebrate milestones. Openly discuss challenges and how you plan to address them. When financial partners see their dollars at work, it builds confidence and excitement for a growing cause.

🎖️Prize inside: Build trust and show that financial investments make a real difference.

Just like the thrill of finding the prize in a box of Cracker Jacks, there’s a special excitement in the work we do together. And let’s be sure to share that with our financial partners!  By sharing powerful stories, creating personal connections, and maintaining transparency, we can inspire them to continue their journey with us toward a better world.

Let's keep that spirit of discovery and joy alive, one impactful story at a time.

See you next week!

* The co-scriptor and narrator of the movie “A Christmas Story”

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If you haven't taken advantage of some of the resources I've created to help major gift fundraisers, take a look now!  Initial calls with me are free and "no strings attached".  Sometimes folks feel like they need to wait and not 'bother' me until they have a pressing issue.  No need for that...just make the call. 🕺

Here's where you can access a lot of content for free:

* Follow me on LinkedIn - You'll get short pro-tips and reflections on major gift fundraising every day between 5-7am pacific.

* Breakthru Newsletter - As you've seen here, these are longer weekly posts (audio and written) sent directly to your email.

* Breakthru Blog - the newsletter from the previous week gets posted here each week for everyone (so email subscribers get it a week early).

* Breakthru Podcast - Interviews with high net worth givers about how we as fundraisers can get better at inviting them to the party.  And audio readings of Breakthru Blog posts.

Before getting to the PAID stuff:

My opinion is that no small ministry with a tight budget should be spending more than $3-5k (total) for major gift coaching/consulting.  Most of you will be good-to-go spending far less than that.  This was a major issue for me when I was a frontline fundraiser - major gift consultants were an expensive 'black-box-of-confusion' for me.  That stops now.

Here's the PAID stuff:

* Online Catalyst Course - This is a full brain dump of my 28+ years of experience - good, bad, ugly.  It's built around the fundamentals, the sacredness, and the fun, of major gift fundraising.  It's infused with Henri Nouwen reflections.  Many people can take this course and they will be 'cooking-with-gas' and not need any additional coaching from me on the core systems.  I'm grateful that this course has gotten *great* reviews.

* Live coaching with me - I refer to this as "brain rental".  The ROI on live coaching, as you might imagine, is extraordinary.

Finally, be sure to connect with my colleague Ivana Salloum.  She's super awesome and can help with scheduling and access to resources, etc.

I look forward to hearing about your good work!


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