Terry Axelrod, Benevon Founder & CEO, recently joined us for a webinar in which she introduced us to Benevon’s systematic process for creating sustainable funding by engaging and developing relationships with passionate individual donors who truly love your mission.
You can listen to the replay here:
Steven: All right, Terry. My watch just struck 3:00 Eastern. Is it okay if I go ahead and kick us off officially, my friend?
Terry: You bet.
Steven: All right. Cool. Good afternoon, everyone, if you are on the East Coast and I guess also good afternoon if you’re on the West Coast because it’s noon there. Thanks for being here for a very special Tuesday edition of our Bloomerang webinar series, “An Introduction to Benevon: Creating Sustainable Funding for Nonprofits.” My name is Steve Shattuck and I am the Chief Engagement Officer here at Bloomerang and I’ll be moderating today’s discussion.
Just before we get started, just a couple of housekeeping items for you. I would encourage all of you to use that chat box right there on your screen. We’re going to try to save some time for Q&A at the end. Don’t be shy about sending me and our guest any questions or comments you might have. We’ll try to get to just as many of those as we can before the 4:00 Eastern hour. You can follow along on Twitter if you are a Twitter-type person. You can use the #Bloomerang and our username is @BloomerangTech and you can even chat Benevon @Benevon today.
Just a final thing on technical difficulties. If you have any technical difficulties, we find those are usually connected to your own internet connection. Our software and sound quality is usually only as good as the speed of your internet connection. If you are listening by your computer, I would encourage you to try to dial in by phone if you have any trouble. Usually the phone quality is much, much better. So if you can do that and you don’t mind doing that, you can find a phone number in the email from ReadyTalk that went out just about an hour ago.
Just in case this is your first webinar with us, I want to say a special welcome to you folks. We do do these webinars just about once a week. Sometimes we get crazy and do them twice a week, like this week. We’re really excited to do that as well. But in addition to all the great educational content we put out there, our core business at Bloomerang is donor management software.
So if you are interested in that, if you are perhaps in the market for new software or a new CRM, check us out. You can even watch a quick video demo and get a look at the software. You don’t even have to talk to a sales person if you don’t want to. So we’d love for you to learn more about us after the conclusion of today’s presentation.
But for now, I am super, super excited to introduce today’s guest. She is Terry Axelrod. Hey, Terry, how’s it going?
Terry: Just great, Steven. Just absolutely great. I was sipping my tea. I’m so excited. Go ahead.
Steven: That’s okay. I’m a tea drinker too. I think that’s why we’re good friends. Terry, I just want to brag on you for a little bit. Some of you may know we have just announced a close partnership with Benevon. We’re really excited about that. Benevon has been telling so many people about Bloomerang over the last six months or so that we thought, “Why don’t we have Terry on so she can tell all of our friends about Benevon, which we love?”
Terry has been fundraising for over 30 years. She created the Benevon model after serving as a development director at a private inner-city school. While she was there, she implemented and designed fundraising programs that raised over $7 million in just two years and since starting Benevon, she has trained over 5,000 nonprofits over the last 20 years and has raised I don’t even know how much money, certainly in the millions.
I am just so excited for Terry to tell you all about the Benevon model and their philosophy on fundraising. I’m going to pipe down and turn things over to Terry. So Terry, why don’t you take it away for us, my friend?
Terry: Fantastic. Thank you so much, Steven. That number is over $1 billion. We just finally did the math on it. This past summer we had a big conference and sure enough, our groups, we tallied up because they turn in all their results. We were over $1 billion raised from groups using our process.
A big thank you to you at Bloomerang, Steven. Really grateful to Jay Love. Our relationship goes back a long ways and I’m very excited to be with everyone today to share what we’ve learned at Benevon and also in honor of our new announcement of our Bloomerang for Benevon product that will be coming out probably next month, we’re going to be having a whole private label version of Bloomerang just for groups that are interested in the Benevon model.
I’ll talk now about the Benevon model and kind of a new way, some of you may be familiar with Benevon or you may have heard of it. You may think you know what we do. So the way I’m going to present this is a new way, kind of something new we’re doing just to start off the new year to help dispel some of the myths and really zero in on the key metrics that are essential for building long-term sustainable funding.
So some of you may be familiar with the very popular concept now called culture of philanthropy. This was a slide that came from, I’m just looking here down at the bottom, from CompassPoint. Yeah. My eyes aren’t too good, sorry. From CompassPoint, this is right out of one of their reports, The Underdeveloped Report, some of you may have heard or read.
The culture of philanthropy is kind of the gold standard within nonprofits really trying to shift the culture within the nonprofits so that most people act as ambassadors, all kinds of staff. I think it started in the healthcare world.
I first heard of it maybe 15 years ago at the hospital we were working with, where they talked about they wanted to bring about a culture of philanthropy so that the doctors and nurses and anyone, the janitor on up in the hospital, if the patient were to say, “Thank you so much. I’m so grateful,” that person would know how to accept that gratitude, how to promote philanthropy, how to view fund development as a mission-aligned program within the organization so that fund development isn’t just kind of off to the side in that dark office where that bad fundraising thing happens but that everyone in the organization feels that it is a key element.
It’s mission-aligned just like programs are where there are all kinds of systems established to support donors and where the very top what we call visionary leader is committed and personally involved in the fundraising process.
Now, you might think that that would be the end all if you could have that culture of philanthropy. I certainly would have thought that 15 years ago. But now that we’ve worked with over 5,000 nonprofits to implement and customize our Benevon model, we’ve developed a whole sensitivity and appreciation for something that we call a culture of engagement. You see, those terms that I describe back here under culture of philanthropy, those are, if you look at them closely, they’re all pretty much internal. They’re within an organization. They’re about the culture within the organization.
What we have seen is that with deep engagement of individuals from the community, the culture shifts beyond that and this culture of engagement becomes a way that the entire community breathes oxygen into the organization. So it’s not just an internal thing anymore. Everybody in the community knows your mission. You’re no longer that best kept secret.
For those of you who work at organizations that are already not a best kept secret, let’s just say, for example, you worked at the American Red Cross where everybody pretty much thinks they know what you do. By bringing about a culture of engagement, people actually do discover what you really do and they get connected to it in a deep way.
So this is a process. What I’m going to show you is a process for bringing that about, a process for bringing about a deep culture of engagement. This is a model that, as you heard from Steven, I developed over 20 years ago and we’ve now tested with so many groups, but it’s a systematic process, not for just bringing about a culture of philanthropy but for bringing about a culture of engagement.
What we’ve discovered over these 20 years, it finally hit me that most of the groups we work with show up at one of our trainings with seven to ten people. So if you take the 5,000 organizations and multiply that by seven or ten, you can get a sense of how many human beings we’ve interacted with over the last 20 years and at least a third of those are board members. A third of those are staff and another third are volunteers who are not board members.
So we actually have a ton of data from people who have come through the program and we’ve learned a lot about when you have a model about how to modify it so that it will actually be successful every single time. As I present the model to you today, I’d like to zero in. I’ll come back to this slide from time to time to show you the different metrics that we have found to be critical. Many of you, if you have heard of the Benevon model at all, may already even think you’re doing it. You may be what we call self-implementers.
I’ve written a book and have a new book coming out that we’ll be selling through our relationship with Bloomerang, which I’m very excited about a whole package that we’re going to put together with the software and the publications and some webinars. We’ll talk about that later and on into the next few months as that comes out. But the book also stresses these key metrics. So we’ve got a lot of science behind this. So as I go through, I’ll come back to this slide and add in those five metrics as we go.
So the first thing in the model, it’s a circle when you look at it, it’s not a pyramid. It’s actually a circle in shape. Hang on a second. I’ve got to get myself back to pushing the right buttons. There we go. Okay. You think of this circle like an old fashioned toy train track on the floor going round and round. You want to get those donors on the track with you and have them go round and round with you for life. They start at step one with something we call a point of entry. A point of entry is what we call a sizzling one-hour get acquainted event about your organization.
Now, many of you, actually, let’s just say I’m a funder and I’m thinking about possibly making a $25,000 grant to your organization. I call you and I say, “I’d love to come out and see what you do. Before we make a grant, we like to check out each organization. Can I do that? Can I take a tour?” How many of you would say, “Yeah, tour? We can do that. We can arrange something?” Odds are, what you would show people would be what I would call a tour of your facilities or a tour of your programs.
A point of entry, on the other hand, is what we call a tour of your mission. You’ve got to give people the facts about your organization, but only at the most basic 101 level. You don’t want to overwhelm them with your 901 level knowledge about your organization. You’ve also got to give them something we kind of crassly refer to as an emotional hook.
You see, as individuals, we are emotional donors who are looking for rational reasons to justify our emotional decisions to give. So if you only give people facts, they’re going to say, “Well, that’s very interesting, but I hope other people give you a lot of money.” Conversely, if you only give them emotion, they will say, “Pass the tissue. I’m moved and inspired, but does anybody here know what they’re doing with the money?” So you’ve got to intertwine the head and the heart brilliantly. So before people know it. They’re saying, “This is really good. Tell me more.”
Also at a point of entry, you’ve got to capture the names of the people who come to the point of entry with their permission. So it’s the end of leaving your business card in a bowl for a drawing. We all know what that led to, a lot of mail and phone calls we didn’t really want. The point of entry is all permission-based. Everyone who comes to it is coming with . . . they know in advance that they are going to be not asked for money at all.
So the first key metric is that if you’re going to use the Benevon model, if you should choose to use this model, you must have a minimum of two of these sizzling point of entry events each month and each one of the point of entry events must be hosted and filled with 10 to 15 guests by someone we call an ambassador.
So let’s talk about that a little bit more. Point of entry, what would that look like? So if I’m an ambassador, I’m someone who loves your organization, I’ve been on a tour myself. I’ve attended one of these points of entry and I’ve fallen in love with your organization. When I get a call after the point of entry, someone has said to me, “Would you be interested in hosting another tour like that?” And because I’ve been so moved, I say I would.
So let’s talk about how the typical point of entry would go because each one is going to be hosted by an ambassador. This is different than your public open houses or put it on Facebook and come one, come all. That’s a different thing. This is actually a very private event that’s hosted. The reason people come to it is out of their relationship with their friend who invited them. It might be their yoga group or their book club. It’s usually a readymade group of people who already have a relationship with the ambassador. So let’s look at how the point of entry really works.
The first thing you’ll be doing is, as I said, twice a month. You choose a time, the best time to have them. At our school, we did it at 8:00 on Thursday mornings. We started with a greeting. People were greeted right at the front door usually by one of our fabulous students.
There was a little sign in table where people fill out a little 3×5 individual card with their contact information and they know that they’re going to be asked to do that because their friend who invited them can tell them, “They’re going to ask for your name. They’re going to call you one time afterwards to get your feedback, not to ask you for money, but get your feedback on what you thought of it.” So they’re very happy to sign in. They will even give you, believe it or not, a phone number where you can call them at.
Then if they get there early, there’s a little time for them to mix and mingle, looking perhaps at photos on the walls or a photo book. At our school, we were in the lunchroom so there was a lot of excitement early in the morning as the students all arrive. It was kind of wonderful to watch just the room happening. Then the bell rang and the kids ran off to class and we mopped off a couple of tables, sat down and while everybody was seated, we kind of pushed the tables together, made a square.
So it’s a very informal point of entry. You’ve got people seated around a table. There’s no PowerPoint. There’s no podium. There’s no microphone. It feels kind of like having your friends sit around your kitchen table. The first person who speaks is the ambassador, the host. They welcome everyone and they say . . . we have a whole script for this. It’s in the book, how to welcome your people and let them know you are what we call an ambassador.
I’ve invited you all here as my book club or my yoga group because I care so much about this organization. In fact, you’ve all heard me talk about it quite a bit. My greatest hope is as you’re walking around today that you’ll be thinking about other people in your life, perhaps someone from your work or your alumni association or your kid’s school that you might be inspired enough that when Susan calls you in a couple of days to get your feedback, you’ll tell her you’d like to host a tour like this too.
Then we move on to the visionary leader. That’s the CEO, executive director or the top person on the payroll who speaks for five minutes. This is a very special talk, this visionary leader talk. It’s not your typical . . . some of you on the phone I’m trusting are visionary leaders who are the CEO or executive director.
If I were to ask you to get up and talk about your organization in front of a group of people, what I’ve learned out of doing this for a number of years is that most visionary leaders kind of have a readymade talk in their head. They wind them up and there they go. I’ll just tell you the facts and the numbers and the geography, all the technical stuff. We have this many programs, this size budget. We’re in these many catchment areas. It’s over-talking.
So we have a very specific agenda for this call. It is a five-minute call, sorry, a five-minute talk. It first starts with a personal connection. So that’s two minutes. That’s the hardest part for most visionary leaders is to talk about their own connection to the mission. What is it that has them working there? Why this place? Why this organization? People want to know that the person they’d be investing in, the leader of the organization has their heart in the right place.
We spend a lot of time coaching our visionary leaders on that two-minute element. In fact, I was on a call just before this with a group where we did that. The man really broke down. He was so moved. He hadn’t really remembered the incident that had gotten him back into the field he was in until the coach worked with him and it was very, very powerful.
We don’t need people to be breaking down emotionally in front of a whole group, but we needed him to get in touch with that so that he could convey to people the depth of his passion in this two-minute personal connection, then one-minute on the results, where the visionary leader brags about something they’re most proud of in each of what we call the three bucket areas.
So we’re going to take your mission, in fact, a lot of people think of Benevon as helping with their marketing and their positioning and their mission statement. We take all that you do and divide it into three very broad, understandable areas of impact that we call buckets. So I’ll say a little more about that as we go on. But we want the visionary leader here to brag about something in each one of those areas. It might be hope, health, and healing, something like that. We want to brag in each thing real quickly.
Then two minutes on their vision for the future. Where do you see this organization going? Now, again, every visionary leader has a huge vision and the problem we have when we work with them is that their vision sounds too handled, if you know what I mean. It sounds like they’ve got it all figured out and everybody thinks, “Well, she’s got the whole game done. I’ll go off to the next nonprofit that needs my help.” So we’ve got some work to do to be sure this talk conveys the gap, if you will. From here to there, I’ve got the vision of where I’m taking the organization, but I’m going to need some help to get there.
Next we get up and take a tour three stops, each one focusing on a different bucket area, something different that your organization does. We don’t just cherry pick three of your eight programs and call those each buckets. As I said, we cluster them. If you have eight programs, we will cluster them into three broad buckets. It might be supporting individuals, strengthening families, building community.
I can give you a little example maybe of a tour stop. I don’t know if any of you on the phone work in the area of transitional housing. That’s kind of halfway between being homeless and being back on your own. I took a tour of a transitional housing program. It was a very nice, clean, three-story walkup older apartment building, about 10:00 in the morning, bright sunny morning and we walked into the empty apartment that the family had just vacated.
The woman taking us on the tour said, “Many of you may not know this, but the average age of a homeless person here in our community is just nine years old. That’s because we have so many children that are homeless. In fact, just this morning, we said a very bittersweet goodbye to Maria and her nine-year old son Johnny. They had been with us for about six months, which is almost twice as long as the average family stays with us.”
“But they came to us with so many issues. They’d come from a terrible domestic violence situation. Maria had not been working. Johnny had been kept home from school much of the last year. There were health issues, mental health issues, job training, finance, housing, transportation, you name it. We had a lot of work to do together. We were very, very proud and kind of bittersweet this morning as we hugged and said goodbye to Maria and Johnny as they launched themselves into their new lives.”
“As proud as we are of them, for every family that we can say yes to, like Maria’s family, we have to say no to eight other families. That’s why our greatest need is for another caseworker that would allow us to serve another 40 families a year and greatly reduce our waiting list and our waiting time.” So that gives you a sense of what a tour stop is like.
I told that to you third-person when I told you that story, but really we work with groups to tell the stories either first person by using a letter from the client or the family, an audiotape with a photograph. We don’t have any video, no video at all at the point of entry. Then if needed, it could be a third-person story from a case worker or a family member talking about their sister or their mother, whatever. But we try to change that up quite a bit so the point of entry really moves quickly and has a lot of variety in it, but also very, very powerful stories.
We end with the point of entry with a live testimonial, often back in the main kind of conference room where it started. Although at my school where I started this, this wonderful inner-city school in Seattle, our testimonial was right at the front door kind of in the little vestibule area. People thought the tour was over and down from this old rickety staircase came a very handsome, tall third-grade teacher who had been a student at this school himself and his dream had always been to grow up and be able to come back and teach there. Sure enough, he told this story.
It was extremely moving and people by the end were just blown away and saying, “I had no idea you did all of this here.” That’s what you all want to hear. “I had no idea you did all of this here” and that’s when the ambassador steps back in and says, again, like I said, “Susan will be calling you in the next couple of days.”
“My greatest hope is when she calls you, you’ll be able to say yes if she asks you if you’d like to be an ambassador. And if you can’t, that’s fine, but the best way, the very best way you can help us is by spreading the word about what we’re doing. That’s what we need more than anything. So thank you and have a great day.” So that’s kind of the end of the point of entry.
The second step in the model is where we are able to do the follow-up. So follow-up is key. There’s no point doing a point of entry at all if you’re not going to do follow-up. Figure you’re going to have two of those point of entry events per month, 10 to 15 people. You’re going to be doing about 30 follow-up calls per month. So this is a lot of work to do, but it’s going to be well worth it. So here’s the second metric. The second metric is to get a minimum of one new volunteer ambassador out of each point of entry event.
So what do I mean by that? Out of every 10 to 15 people who take the tour, when you’re making the follow-up calls and they’re usually made by a staff member who is usually the development person, we call that person the team leader. In those calls, at least one out of ten, we had one group, their very first point of entry, all ten guests said that they wanted to be an ambassador. You kind of get a sense of how quickly this can mushroom if it’s done well.
So let me walk you through the follow-up call. When I was working at the school, I did these on the second or third day after the tour after the points of entry. This was my favorite part, so you don’t want to skip over this. If you’re going to do the model at all, you must do the follow up calls and you must do them in a timely way. You cannot dole them out amongst many people. You need one person who’s in charge of all of them. That person ideally is a staff member.
So the first thing I’d say is, “Thank you for coming.” You’ve really got to mean it in this day and age for people to take their time to come out and learn about you. It’s practically a miracle. “What did you think of our cute kids, our great teachers? What did you even think of the weather?” Your job is to just get people talking so you can get to know them a little bit better and then be quiet and listen, listen for what are the hot buttons that this tour might have triggered.
For example, we had a woman whose mother had a disease that was one of the seven strains, this organization was working to cure a disease that had seven strains in it. When they said to her, “What did you think?” The woman said, “I’m most interested in that third strain of the disease. So when you call me back, let’s talk about that. I’d like to come back out and meet with someone involved in that.” So you’ve really got to be listening for which piece, which aspect, which bucket area most impressed them, most lit them up.
Number four, “Is there any way you could see yourself becoming involved with us at all?” This is where people will usually say, “I’d like to be an ambassador,” but they might say something else. It’s fine.
Number five, “Anyone else you can think we ought to invite to a similar point of entry.” Now, about 50% of the people who come to the points of entry will be what we call blessed and released. These are going to be people who say, “It’s really not my thing,” or, “I love it. It kind of is my thing, but I’m too busy.”
So it’s all built in to our formulas that about 50% of the people, so 5 out of every 10, will say to you, “I really am not interested or I can’t keep going with this. Thanks anyway.” You’ve really got to listen to that because we truly bless and release those people. We don’t put them on a mailing list. We don’t secretly call them back in a year and say, “Don’t you want to come back?” We let them go and trust that they will come back if they’re supposed to.
So the last question though, “Is there anybody else you can think of?” often leads to people saying, yes, they really would like to be an ambassador. But not everybody is really interested. We definitely have some people who will tell us, “No, I’m not.” I have one funny story of a man who, when I asked him, “Is there anybody else?” he started off saying, “I’m not getting involved with you,” but when I said, “Is there anybody else?” he said, “Absolutely, you’ve got to call my wife,” and his wife is still involved with us at the school over 15 years later and it never would have happened had I not followed all the steps.
Okay. So on to step three where we finally get to ask for money. Notice we didn’t do any asking at steps one or two. We wait until the fruit is ripened, so to speak, in step number three. Everything between steps two and three is what we call the cultivation superhighway. This is kind of where we hasten the ripening of the fruit, so to speak. It’s a little bit of a crass analogy, but it does communicate.
Another analogy we use is that the point of entry, we think of that step one, point of entry as like a first date where you don’t tell everything. So in this follow up process, now that somebody says, “Yes, I am interested in knowing more. I’d like to come back and learn about the research you’re doing on that disease my mother has,” whatever it’s going to be, those contacts are what ripens the fruit and those contacts are like second and third dates where people come back and say, “Now you can tell them a little bit more.”
So let me give you an example. You all have people like this. We had a woman who came to our school. When I called her to follow up after the point of entry, she said, “I already know what I want to do.” She said, “I’m on the board of the ballet here in Seattle and the ballet has a wonderful program where we go into inner-city schools, we teach dance to the children. I’d like to be the matchmaker between that ballet program and your school. What do you think?”
Now, you have to know I’m thinking to myself, “Lady, were you even paying attention when I took you on the tour? Didn’t you know?” We don’t have any books here. We don’t have any paper. I realized in that moment that I had done a pretty poor job of conveying to her what we really needed.
Then when I started telling her all the things we needed, she said, “Oh, I didn’t realize that. Let me see what I can do.” She kind of put on her volunteer hat and went to work for us in a volunteer way and how she cultivated herself, how she managed that dating process, if you will, is by inviting various . . . everybody does this differently but how she did it was by inviting various friends of hers to come and take the tour.
As they would take the tour, so, she served as an ambassador many times. As her friends took the tour, they got more involved, they became ambassadors and she got more involved. So by the time we got around to asking her for money in step number three, she was kind of wondering what took you so long. I’ve been waiting for somebody to ask me, “Why hasn’t anybody asked me for money yet?” So kind of a funny story.
So in our model, there are two ways to ask for money. Number one is one on one. The Benevon model is a pipeline filling system for major gifts. So we’re really looking not about putting on little events, not about putting on big events, but actually about engaging and developing deep relationships with individuals.
Most of the nonprofits Benevon works with are not the big universities and big hospitals but already have a steady pipeline. A big university, think about it. They’ve got alumni that are graduating every year over time. They want to give back. They’ve got usually a pretty sophisticated major gifts department with people who each have a portfolio of a certain number of donors that their job it is to get to know them and ask them to give more and more over time. The nonprofits Benevon works with, they don’t have either one of those. They don’t have a pipeline, if you will, they don’t have a ready-made pipeline and they don’t have a systematic process.
This model is designed to give you both. That’s what we do. That’s why these groups have raised so much money. I said the billion dollars at the beginning. They didn’t raise that from an event. They raised that from major gifts. So how we start you is the very first year, at the very first part of our process is with one on one asking for a leadership or challenge gift that is announced at this free one-hour ask event. I’ll talk about this. I’m going to come back to this slide in a bit.
Let me just say first of all that we’re going to talk about the ask event. Many people when they think of Benevon, they think, “Oh, I know that Benevon thing. It’s just that ask event.” Remember, this is the third step in the process. This is not the first step or the second step. The only reason for having an ask event in the Benevon model is if you have done all of the work with the points of entry and the cultivation of the donors.
So let me go on and I’ll show you some of the metrics as we go along with this. So at my school, just to go back to the school, we had already had over 1,000 people take the tours and at this point many of them were like the lady from the ballet where they’ve gotten really engaged and they thought, “Why hasn’t anybody asked me for money?” We needed the money badly.
So I went back to my database. You’ve got to have a fabulous database, which is why we are so excited about our relationship with Bloomerang and why we’re developing the Bloomerang for Benevon process, because it is essential to be able to track all of this, which you’ll all be able to do with that product if you choose to use it.
I went back to my database and I read my notes on all of these over 1,000 people that had taken the tours. From that, I went back and I looked at all the people that had been the ambassadors and I went back to the 100 ambassadors and called them one by one and said, “Would you be willing to be a table captain at this free one-hour ask event that we’re going to have in about four months. They said, “What?” The first time we did this, nobody even knew we were going to have an ask event. They said, “What?”
They said, “That’s right. It’s free to you to attend. You don’t have to pay anything. It lasts for one-hour. People are in and out in 60 minutes. Breakfast or lunch will be served and yes, it is a fundraising event. People will be asked for money at the end of the hour but there’s no minimum and no maximum. So what does no minimum mean?” It means you don’t have to give anything. No maximum, sky’s the limit. As much as anything we want people to come to learn about our wonderful organization, it will be our job to inspire them when they get there or they don’t need to give at all.
Now, what we’re looking for, and this is kind of getting into some of the other metrics, is that we want to have 100% of your table captains at this event. Here’s my formulas. I’ll show you how I put this together for the school. I wanted to have 1,000 people at the event. Now, we don’t let our groups now with Benevon, if you were to work with us, we wouldn’t let you have an event more than 300 people, 200 to 300 people is kind of our sweet spot for the size of an ask event. Why is that? That’s because that’s about how many points of entry you can have in a year in order to ramp up to get that number of ambassadors and that number of guests at their table.
So to kind of work it forwards and backwards, we were able to do that though because we’d had probably 1,500 people take the tours right away in the first year. So we were able to aim for 1,000 people. We wanted half of them to be what we call the ripened fruit kind of crassly, meaning they’d come through the whole dating process and 100% of their table captains would have been their ambassadors. In other words, all the table captains are the ambassadors, 100%.
Let me show you this next metric here. One hundred percent of ask event table captains have been successful ambassadors in the prior 12 months. Guess who’s sitting at their table? All of the guests except for the ones who got blessed and released. So these are all people sitting at their table who are wondering and already willing and wondering, “I’d like to get more involved. When are they going to ask me for money here?” I’ll go ahead and show you the next metric also, which is that a minimum of 40% of the ask event guests have attended a point of entry event in the prior year. So absolutely we’d like it to be more.
In fact, it’s my school where I started this, we had over 80%, I think we had about 85% of the people in the room at our first big ask event, had already been through the whole dating process, which is why we were so successful. I’ll show you the pledge cart on that in a minute.
Okay. Let’s go through the program for the ask event. Remember, everybody who’s there, at least half the people, will be people who have come through the whole process, ideally all of the people will have been.
So the program starts. At our school, we did it on like a Wednesday morning. It was a dark, rainy November morning in Seattle and before the clock even started, you’d arrive. You’d see outside, we had it downtown at one of the nice hotels. Standing right outside the hotel front door were two little girls in their plaid uniforms and their hair braided holding hands looking up at you smiling at 20 after 7:00 in the morning saying, “Good morning, are you here for the breakfast? Go right this way.”
Let me back up a little bit. Then you’d walk inside to the base of the escalator and you’d see two older boys and their blazers and ties. They’d shake your hand, big strong handshake, a lot of good eye contact, “Go right this way up the escalator. Thank you for coming.”
You get to the top of the escalator and as you were going up, you couldn’t see the ballroom that was set for 1,000 people, but you could hear the voices of the children in the choir standing on the risers in the empty ballroom belting out their favorite school songs to amplified organ music for getting in the mood.
You see, this event is choreographed like a theatrical production. You’ve got people with stopwatches and walkie-talkies all behind the scenes. So anything you can do to impact people’s mood before the clock starts is to your advantage. Those cute little girls, the good looking boys with the handshakes and the music, nothing like music to affect a mood.
By the time you’re at the top of the stairs, you’re thinking maybe this won’t be so bad after all. You go inside, you grab your nametag from outside in the lobby and go inside and great your friend, the buddy, the table captain with a handshake or a big hug. You take your seat and you’ve got your happy little nest for the next hour. The program starts on time like clockwork even if the room isn’t full, you start on time with a welcome, usually from a board member who’s thanking everyone for being there and then what we call the short emotional hook.
At our school, we had an invocation from our pastor and a little girl in the second grade. People were in tears in the first few minutes. We had people, might read a poem, a little song, sometimes if we’re working with a domestic violence group, they might have an audiotape of someone dialing for help on 911 emergency line, something like that. It’s very short, but it makes it clear to people, “We’re not just hear for breakfast.”
Then back comes the board member saying, “Enjoy your breakfast and while you’re eating, take a look in front of you at your place, there’s a little table tent, a little card in front of you that has a story of one of our students on it. Also pass that around because there are ten different ones at your table so you can learn about our kids.” Also, while you’re eating, you feel a tap on your shoulder.
At our school, we had little kids passing out baskets with apples. Some people do a holiday greeting card, like if it’s for a nursing home. Please fill out a card, this might be the only card our residents get this year. When we work with the Alzheimer’s association, they might pass out flower seeds, packets of flower seeds, guess what kind? Forget-me-nots. So something that’s a little memento of the event. But it’s really not about the gift. It’s about the people passing it out, that these are people right in my community who would benefit if we were to get involved.
Program starts, breakfast is over, up comes the visionary leader. This, again, this the executive director, CEO, head of the school, the top dog, so to speak. That person gives a very powerful visionary leader talk, following a similar format to that five-minute talk, which this talk is no longer than that either. It’s still five minutes, but it tends to be a little bit bigger. We work with our groups a lot on the vision and the need for this so that it’s very clear and syncs up with all the other program elements.
Then there’s a video. We don’t have video. Absolutely no video at the point of entry. But for the ask event, you must have a video, seven minutes and it moves people to tears three times, not two times, but three times. Why? Because it’s all about those vignettes, those stories that relate to each of your three bucket areas. So the video is not a lot of talking heads and fancy music and narration and all that. It’s really just three very simple, very powerful close up shots, stories of people whose lives have been changed thanks to your work.
Then there’s a live testimonial. Someone gets up and talks about how your organization changed their life. Now, in our case at the school, we wanted about ten kids from the choir to be doing this part and they were too little to give them a microphone, too young. So we had a lady interview them and she asked them three questions. First question, “What do you like about going to this school?” “Oh, I love my teacher, the hugs I get. I love my hot breakfast.” “What’s your favorite subject?” “Math and science and reading.” They couldn’t wait to tell you how much they loved the academic subjects.
But it was the last question she asked them that mesmerized the whole room. She said, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” In that moment, these little children started to say the kinds of things they had written on those little table tent cards, things like, “I want to be the first one in my family to graduate from high school, to go to college and I want to be a teacher.” They were amazing what they had written.
But they didn’t just write that. They wrote the whole story out. “This is my third foster family. This is the longest I’ve ever stayed at any school and I’m hoping to finish my first year here this year, which will be the fifth grade. If I could, I’d want to go all the way through the eighth grade here,” which was as high as our school went.
“Then if I could go on to high school, I’d be the first one in my family to graduate from high school and if I could graduate from high school, I’d want to go to college so I could be the first one in the family to go to college so I could become a teacher and come back here and teach here like Mr. Baker.” Very, very moving what the kids wrote on those cards, but it was something else, again, to hear them say it.
There they were standing up in front of a large room, almost 1,000 people and one by one when she said, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” each child knew what they wanted to be. This school had given each child a real vision for their lives. “I’m going to be a teacher. I’m going to be a pilot. I’m going to be an engineer.” You could have heard a pin drop in that room of nearly 1,000 people. Now you’re sitting there thinking to yourself, “Wow, I didn’t know too much about this place a couple of hours ago. Now I can see if I were ever going to get involved in something like this, this one would be a very good one.”
You are now ready for the final element of the program, what we call the pitch. Now, you know it’s coming. I warned you when I invited you that you were going to be asked for money. Now you’re thinking to yourself, “I wonder how they’re going to pull this off and what am I going to do?”
The pitch person, the one who asks for the money, needs to be someone we refer to endearingly as a credible school teacher-like person, credible in that they are truly linked to your mission and school teacher-like in that they will follow a script. You don’t just get to bring in a big name speaker or someone who’s well-known in the community who isn’t truly linked to your mission.
Every single person who speaks at this ask event needs to be the real deal. They all have to have their heart in the game. We do not need to have any talking heads at all. Schoolteacher-like in that they will follow a script. So if you’ve ever written a script for somebody who’s asking for money at a fundraising event, you know you think you’re almost going to have a heart attack wondering if they’re going to stick with the script or botch it up.
The person who did our pitch at our first ask event was fabulous. He was our board chair. He got up and he said, “My name is so and so and I’m the chair of the board and I love this school.” He told his own story about how he had gotten involved with the school, which was very, very moving. He said, “Most of you didn’t know how much we were going to ask you for today. You only came because you trusted your friend who invited you. So when we thought about what to ask you for, we realized we ought to tell you what it is we really need.”
He went on to tell them the story about how we had grown the school, how we’d given raises to the teachers, causing a shortfall in our operating budget of about $600,000 every year and how we had about 600 kids in the school. He said, “If you believe in what you’ve seen today and you’d like to help to support the ongoing operations of our school into the future, you have an opportunity today to become a founding member of something we’re just launching called the Sponsor a Student Society. Now I’d like to pause and ask the table captains to pass out the pledge cards.”
You see, there was no pledge card conveniently waiting at your seat so you could fill it out and leave early. He said, “Let me walk you through this.” Box number one said, “If you would give us $1,000 a year for each of the next five years, you would be making up the operating shortfall for the equivalent of one student.”
Now, notice how I said that, “Making up the operating shortfall for the equivalent of one student.” Out of 850 people in the room that day, we did not get 1,000 people, 115 of them checked that box. Now, the IRS says you must report all pledges as if they are received on the day they are pledged. Therefore, by IRS standards, we had just raised over $500,000.
He went on. He said, “We know some of you are capable of giving even more. If you’d give us $10,000 a year for each of the next five years, you’d be sponsoring 10 students.” Eight people did that. Then he said, “We know some of you are capable of giving even more. If you’d give us $25,000 a year, you’d be sponsoring a whole classroom of 25 students for each of the next five years,” and four more people did that.
He paused and said, “I want to thank those of you who have just become founding members of our Sponsor a Student Society. Now I’d like to ask the rest of you who may not have checked off a box yet to tell us in box four how much you’d like to give and for how many years.” In other words, a fill in the blank box leaving the donor right in the driver’s seat, which is the only place to leave your donors.
Some people said, “I’ll give you $100 once, $50 twice,” whatever they wanted to give was absolutely fine. The last box, we had written it in. It said, “Please contact me. I have other thoughts to share.” This was for the people even if they had already checked a box above, perhaps they had stock to transfer, property to sell you, good friends on the board of a big foundation, whatever it was, we were happy to give them a call.
So when you stand back and take a look from fewer than 130 people on the right, out of 850 people at the top, which is less than 15% of the people who were there that day, we had raised nearly $1.5 million when you include the pledges. I wanted to know why. We were absolutely shocked that we had done this well.
So I got back on the telephone the day after the ask event and I started to call all these people in the top right there in the blue box, all those people, 127 people there. One by one, I called them. I said, “Thank you for coming.” Let me skip ahead to what I said. Actually, I’ll tell you the metric here. Let me just say the metric before I do it.
I said the metric now is that number five, a minimum of 10% of the ask event guests must join the multi-year giving society at one of those three giving levels. So if we had, let me go back to this slide right here, that would have meant that we would have had out of 850 people at the top, we would have had at least 85 people join one of these three levels. You can see we had way over that.
So minimum of 10% of the people in the room at the day of the event must join this giving society at one of these top three levels, 10%. But that means 90% of the people don’t join one of those, which is great. There’s no pressure. People can check that box or the contribute x in the fill in the blank box, we call it, or they don’t have to give at all.
So moving ahead, let me move on to the follow up calls, so, the next day I got on the phone. I started calling all the big donors, the top donors. I called them first and thanked them. I said, “What did you think?” They would not stop talking. They were so excited. They said, “If I had known how great that event was going to be, how terrific the school was or that I was going to give you all that money, I would have invited other people.” That seems to be the natural human response when people feel they’ve made a true contribution from their abundance as opposed to a one-time donation from scarcity. They started telling me the names of all their friends, “My daughter-in-law, my next door neighbor, my buddy from the health club. They all should have been there.”
So that was kind of my cue. I woke up to this. It really wasn’t like I planned to do this at all, but that kind of hit me. I said, “Here it is the day after the ask event where you just gave so generously. We’re thinking we ought to have this event next year. Would you be willing right now while you’re excited about this to agree to be a table captain at next year’s ask event? You would have between now and next year at this time to do the fourth and final step, introduce others. Introduce those friends and family.”
“How can you do that? By becoming an ambassador and inviting them to a point of entry, where we will educate and inspire them, we will follow up, bless and release them if they’re not interested or continue to cultivate them with that dating process so that by the time they’re sitting at your table next year at the ask event, they will be the people who are ready to give or they don’t need to give at all.”
By following this process year after year after year, it continues to grow. So let’s go back to this slide. Remember what I said about Benevon is not about an event. I’ve just spent a lot of time telling you about an event, but Benevon is really a one on one asking major gifts model. So let’s just say you already have some one on one, some individual donors that you would like to fold into this process.
Perhaps those will be the people that you will cultivate for a leadership or challenge gift that would be announced at the ask event right before you make the pitch at the ask event to inspire more giving. Or let’s just say you have donors who are in another part of the country that love you very much but it’s not anywhere near where your ask event is going to be happening. Perhaps you’d be putting on some small points of entry in those parts of the country and then just asking them one on one to join your giving society after you’ve had the first ask event and giving birth to it.
So whichever way you ask, you’ve got to include two ingredients. First, these units of service. So even if you’re asking somebody who’s in another part of the country, you’re not going to just say, “Would you give us some money,” you’re going to ask them to join the giving society. Once you’ve given birth to this giving society, you’re going to ask them to give at one of these three levels.
Next, you’re going to ask them for a multiple-year pledge. Multi-year pledges are very key in our model. A lot of people, when I was trained in major gifts fundraising, I was always told the only time you can ask for a multi-year pledge is if it’s for a capital campaign or an endowment, a very large gift where the donor will want to spread it out over time. We have found quite the opposite.
I’ll tell you why I think that is. I believe that people who check one of these three boxes are telling you something. They’re saying, “I can read the form. I get the point. I see that I could instead of checking that top box and making a five-year pledge to give you $1,000, I can check the fourth box and for example, in the fourth box, the fill in the blank box, I can give you $1,000 a year for one year. That’s still a lot of money. You would keep in touch with me. You would probably call me on a regular basis or come and visit me and I’d probably keep giving if you cultivated me properly.
Therefore, by virtue of the fact that I choose box one over box four, I’m telling you something critical. I’m saying I know I don’t have to make a five-year pledge to you. I want to. That is magic. That is the permission of the model. That’s the permission that allows you to say to people, “I know that you’re really with us.” We don’t invite them back year after year to the ask event, although they’re always welcome if they’re a multi-year donor, but we aren’t aiming to have that ask event get bigger.
We’d much rather cultivate those higher donors at what we call these generically free feel good cultivation events. They happen in step four over on the left there in the blue, step four because why? Think of a big university. They’re not inviting you to the galas and the auctions. They’re working with you one on one for major gifts.
So what’s a free feel good cultivation event? It’s not a gala. It’s not an auction. It’s not free tickets to the golf tournament. No. It’s a small, mission-focused event that’s focused in on the aspect of your mission that those donors are most interested in. At our school, it was our graduation because our donors wanted to see that our kids graduated. That was a big deal. The graduation ceremony lasted for several hours and only happened once a year.
So we had about a 30-minute reception right before the graduation where all of our big donors were invited to a little small room. The principal spoke and he bragged about the test scores and the great point averages of the kids and where they were going off to school next. Then we had a grandmother and her grandson get up and tell the story of their journey through the school. Then people were invited to go in the big room, the auditorium for the graduation and stay as long as they like.
You see, if you do it right, this free feel good event in step four serves as a point of reentry. Just like the first time point of entry in step one, we gave people the facts. So there was the principal with the test scores and the grade point average. The emotion was the grandmother and the grandson. Capturing the names with permission was no problem. We already had the names. These were our donors. We had invited them to come. So we knew who they were.
Therefore, three days after the point of reentry event, the graduation, just like three days after a first-time point of entry, I was calling and thanking them, “What did you think of the grandmother, the test scores, the graduation ceremony? Did anybody else come to mind that you would like to know more about our school? Anything else? Any other feedback?” That constantly brought us new ambassadors. Every single time we saw people, we did this kind of follow up and we got new ambassadors every time.
So donors like this, the idea of the model is that these donors who are making these kinds of gifts right here, this is all for unrestricted operating funds, unrestricted operating funds. That’s what you want to think about always. Then what happened was within six months of our first ask event at the school, this is still painful for me to recall, we had to do a capital campaign.
We were getting evicted from our old, very run down school building and had to raise $3.2 million very quickly to renovate a new campus. Where were we going to find the donors? The only donors we had were the ones that had just come through this process. This was within six months of our first ask event.
So we started putting on little points of reentry, kind of evening, small batches of these multi-year donors, of our bigger donors. We invited them to come and see the architect’s drawings of the new building, the pyramid chart with the number of gifts it would take us to get to $3.2 million, the naming opportunities, name the school after your family, the gymnasium after your family, the kitchen, the chapel.
It took us 6 months, 18 of these same donors who had just joined the giving society at the breakfast 6 months before, we raised $3.2 million and got back to work. Right after that is when I left the staff of the school, I went on the board. The woman who came in after me as the second development director was there for three years.
She had no experience in development or even in the nonprofit sector. She was a smart business woman and quite frightened to take on this challenge because we had done so well to kind of step in and keep it going and I said to her, “Just follow the system.” I was following a system step by step, don’t deviate. She took the job and tripled the results. By the time she left, she was there for three years, so this is five years into using the whole process. I was there for two years and she was there for three.
By the time she left, we had over 500 donors who were in our giving society, 500 multi-year donors. That’s when the board said, “I wonder how much money we’d need to have invested at 5% so the interest alone would equal” what I call our treadmill number was, which was by then $600,000 a year.
They decided that we would need a $15 million endowment. This word endowment was not even in our vocabulary. We didn’t even have books at the school, but sure enough, by the end of the seventh year, we had raised $15 million and gotten our school off the treadmill once and for all, very, very powerful lesson for us to know that.
So these donors right here, the donors who are making these five-year pledges, they become your pool, kind of your family, your pool that you go back to. All these gifts that they’re making here on this sheet, on this pledge card are for unrestricted money, but these are the same people you go back to for the bigger things, like capital, endowment and even restricted major gifts. We had people who out of this pool of donors, the same pool, some of them helped fund a library and a technology center. Many people got way more involved than just giving their annual gift. Not everyone, but many did.
So there you’ve got it again, the five key metrics. I think I’ve covered them all pretty thoroughly. You’ve got really the essence of the Benevon model.
Let me tell you a little bit about some of the resources that are available. I’ve got some of this right here. After today’s webinar, you’ll be getting an email link to these resources. So you’ll get an email that has all the goodies in it. Also, as you shut down the webinar, which I hope you won’t do for a while because I’m going to take questions and go on until about 15 minutes after the hour if you’d like to stay, I’m happy to do that and answer lots of questions, so whenever it is that you shut down the webinar, there will be a survey that pops up.
I would appreciate very much, myself and the folks at Bloomerang would appreciate it because we’re going to ask you what you thought of this. This is kind of our debut run here doing something like this, “Would you be interested in Benevon itself, the Benevon program, the books, all of that?” which by the way, the books are available on our website only right now. We don’t have them offered any other way yet.
So I’ve written several books. There are two that we sell right now, the main one being a step by step guide to getting it right and it’s sold in a package with the book about missionizing your special events. So a lot of you already do special events and you can actually look at how to use this model to bring the mission into those events and use those events to forward this whole process.
But also in the survey, we’re going to be asking, “Are you interested in any more contact about Bloomerang for Benevon?” which we’re going to be rolling out in the next month or so and we’d be delighted to let you know about that if you’re interested. So please do fill out the little pop up survey. There are only a couple questions on there and it would greatly help us to know kind of where to go after this.
Also, we’re going to be having some, as I mentioned earlier, some special packages. So as this all unfolds over the next few weeks, those of you who are interested in buying the software, subscribing to the software, which I am so excited about because it’s going to have all this process built into it, so points of entry, you’ll be able to track who comes to what, who was an ambassador, who got blessed and released, who’s going to be cultivated to be a table captain, all of that.
That is all going to be detailed in the book so there will be a little package where people who buy the software and the books are also going to get a couple of webinars that explain in detail, Steven is going to do a webinar on walking you through the very specific Benevon fields that will be there in Bloomerang to explain how to customize it for your use.
I’m super excited about our relationship with Bloomerang. I really feel this is the beginning of a wonderful new era for both organizations. So I’m really, really grateful. I think with that, Steven, I think I’m ready. I don’t know that I covered everything you had wanted me to cover, but maybe I can turn it over to you and you can open up to take questions, okay?
Steven: Sounds good. Thanks, Terry. That was awesome. Great overview. We have a lot of questions here. I know we’re right up against the 4:00 Eastern hour. If you all have to drop off, no problem. You won’t hurt our feelings. We’re going to stay on for at least a few more minutes to answer some of these questions, as many as we can, certainly before dinner time.
So Terry, we’ve got some great ones in here. My buddy Ben from Calgary is wondering what are some examples of good ambassadors? What are some of those characteristics that you think make ambassadors successful, Terry? Are they board members? Are they key volunteers? What kind of people make for good ambassadors?
Terry: Really great question. Really great question, Ben. Thank you. The one thing we don’t want to do with this model is bring it over to the board and go, “Guess what? Here’s the new thing, the new flavor of the month, the flavor of the year is now we want you to be an ambassador.” Board members are on to that. It’s, “What’s the new way to get in my wallet or get in my rolodex?”
Everybody is always . . . they’re so suspicious having been burned, even board members you bring on promise them, “Okay, we’ll never ask you to do fundraising.” If you bring this topic up, they’ll think, “This ambassador thing, this is just a new way to get my friends to give money. Why don’t I just go ask my friends for money?”
So the answer to the question about who makes the best ambassadors is very, very simple. Who has the most passion for your organization? Is it a mom of a child that you served? Is it a teacher out in the community who loves what you do? Is it a volunteer who’s been with your hospital association for many years? Is it a board member? Is it a former board member? Is it a staff member? We need people who are so passionate about what you do that your organization really needs to be their thing, Ben. It’s not like they’re just doing it to help you out and they need to be people who really follow through.
So we look at an ambassador as a short-term volunteer assignment. We say if somebody says, “I want to be an ambassador,” we say we need them to host and fill their point of entry event within three months. So it’s all one-time, they only do it once. They don’t have to do it once a year and we certainly do not require ever that every board member be an ambassador. Just to go off a little bit on that. If you’re going to use the model, you’re going to need a team and the team is usually a team of seven to ten people.
Our ideal configuration for the team, we want the CEO or the visionary leader, the development person, maybe one other staff person, then two or three board members and two or three volunteers who are not board members. So we want a nice mixture on that team. Each one of those seven to ten people, Ben, needs to be an ambassador. The core team that you start with, those are your first ambassadors. They each agree to host one tour within three months of getting started with this.
Then the goal, like I showed you in the metrics, is to have at least one new ambassador come out of each point of entry that they’ve hosted so that people only really have to do this once. After that, once you’ve kind of gotten the model going and you have these points of entry refined, it takes a little bit to get the point of entry to be really sizzling, but once you get it good enough, then you put on one for your board.
The board members, what we find is over time, those board members love it and they will say, “This is why I got on the board in the first place. Now I can see what you’re doing. I have a group of people, maybe from my office or my friends or my kids’ school or whatever,” then some board members will come forward and very authentically volunteer to be an ambassador, but we never require it of everyone on the board, okay?
Steven: Makes sense. Great. Terry, there are more than a few people who have asked this, the variation of the same question. I’m going to read Susan’s version of it. “Is there an organization that is too small for the Benevon model?” It sounds like Susan is a one-woman shop in addition to the ED. Is that too small? Is there any sort of size limitation to being successful with this model?
Terry: I love that question. Thank you, Susan and all the rest of you who may have asked it. To come to Benevon, if you want to actually have us work with you and train you, which we say that the minimum budget size for an organization is about $400,000. That tells us that the size of the staff and the team and all that, you’ve got the scale that you could actually pull this off using our metrics and coaching.
If you want to try it on your own and you’re smaller, absolutely you can get started with it. That’s why I wrote the book, the book is step by step guide to getting it right. You can do this with . . . we work with groups that have no staff at all and they have really powerful volunteers.
We have even done this with groups that aren’t even a 501(c)(3) yet. They haven’t even filed, but they want to get started. They don’t have any venue. They don’t have any office. They do the points of entry in people’s homes or living rooms and they do all the elements of the point of entry, but it’s for what they plan to do. What is the need in the community?
So absolutely, my hope, Susan, and others who ask is with the software and the book and the webinars, you will be able to get started. Then later in the year, we’re going to be unveiling something very powerful, like a one-person course in Benevon that people will be able to do electronically with a little bit of coaching in it. It’s a very cool thing we’re doing.
I don’t want those of you who are listening who have a bigger budget to think that you should try this on your own. It’s only for the small ones that can do it on your own. If you’re bigger and you try it on your own, you’re going to reinforce that the development director can pull off miracles without anybody else. It won’t work in a bigger organization to just do it with one person. Does that make sense?
Steven: Love it. It makes perfect sense.
Terry: I hope I answered it, Susan. If not, send in another question.
Steven: Terry, we’ve probably got time for one more. This is another question that a lot of people asked a variation of. What about organizations who don’t necessarily have a physical location or a building? So they’re sort of locked out of maybe inviting people for in-person tours. What advice would you have for those organizations that are maybe a little bit more virtual or don’t necessarily have a brick and mortar facility to show off?
Terry: Absolutely, no problem. Many of our groups do not. They will do them in . . . we actually, there’s a chapter in the book and we teach this a lot about what we call a point of entry in a box, where you take the elements of the point of entries, stories, props that might demonstrate like a little teddy bear, we worked with one of the Red Cross chapters that gave a teddy bear to a little child when there was a house fire and a blanket and they brought that along.
You can do the points of entry in people’s offices. You can do them in people’s homes. You can do them in a church basement. You do not need a physical location. Honestly, some of our groups, even if they do have a physical location, it’s confidential, they don’t want people going through it. So we can bring it to life elsewhere.
Now, having said that, if you do have a physical location, even one that what we generically refer to as a boring office, we would rather you have it there than have it off the premises because people will be able to see what you really do.
I remember a group I visited with in Florida. They worked with children who had been abused and domestic violence and such. It was a large organization. I remember taking a tour, going on a point of entry in their office. There was not one staff member there but there was a very large room with cubicles all the way along the perimeter around the whole square of the room. There must have been at least 40 cubicles. Not one person there. They took us in that room and started telling the stories.
We walked over to one of the cubicles. All of them had little bulletin boards behind and pictures and thank you notes from family members and they took us over to one and had an audio tape recorder, this was in the old days when we they had cassette tapes, we pushed a button and there was a cassette tape of the case worker saying, “Thank you so much for stopping by my desk. I’m sorry I can’t be with you. I’m out visiting a family, probably someone like if you look up on my bulletin board, there’s a picture of the Smith family.” Then she told her own story about a family.
So it really brought it to life in ways that the staff all said, “There’s nothing to see here. We should never do the point of entry here.” We said, “Yes, there’s so much that people can fill in the blanks that you don’t even see because you all work here every day.” We really do prefer that you have the point of entry in your own office, even if you don’t have much to show and many of you do have a lot to show. Okay?
Steven: I love that answer. I think everyone has something to show off, even if they don’t necessarily have a building. So I’m glad you said that.
Terry: Thank you.
Steven: Terry, this is great. I know we’re a little bit over time. But I think we got through a majority of the most frequent questions, but for those who we didn’t get an answer to, Terry, are you available maybe offline to take questions maybe via email or phone?
Terry: Absolutely. When you get that little popup survey, just write in a little question right in. I’ll look at all those probably tomorrow. We’ll check them all out. So please just feel free to contact us directly. Thank you, Steven. Thank so you much for having me today and for our new relationship. We’re very, very excited. Yes.
Steven: We’re excited. It was definitely the least we can do, since you’ve been spreading the word about Bloomerang. So no problem. Thank you to all of you who listened in today. It looks like we had over 250 folks. I know it’s a busy time of year. I really appreciate all of you hanging out with us for an hour or so today. You’re probably doing a lot of year end receipting and thank you’s. So I appreciate you being here.
There are a lot of resources on our website as well that you can check out. They’re all free. They’re all downloadable. Of course we have our usual webinar series. We had a special treat this week having two webinars. But our next webinar is only two days from now. We’re back on the usual Thursday schedule. Amy Eisenstein, a nice follow up to this presentation, for sure. She’s also going to talk about major gift fundraising. She’s got some new research to share with us. She’s always got new surveys and data to share. That will be a really good one. We’d love to see you back here in a couple of days.
If not, we’ve got lots of other webinars that are scheduled out almost through March, I believe. You may see a topic there that is of interest to you. If you find something, register and hopefully we’ll see you again on another webinar. So we’ll say a final goodbye to all of you and Terry, thanks again for joining us and be sure to fill out that survey after the webinar closes. We’d love to hear your thoughts. So have a great rest of your afternoon. Have a great rest of your week and we will talk to you again soon.
Terry: Thanks, everybody. Bye-bye.