Kristal Frazier will provide strategies that will empower you to become confident in your next virtual ask.

Full Transcript:

Kristal: Okay.

Steven: All right, Kristal, I got noon, Eastern. Is it okay if I go ahead and get this party started?

Kristal: Let’s do it.

Steven: All right, awesome. Well, good afternoon, everybody. Just barely afternoon if you’re on the East Coast, and good morning if you are out West of the East Coast, I should say. If you’re watching the recording, I hope you’re having a good day no matter where you are. We are here to talk about “The 3 V’s of Virtual Communication.” Oh, yeah, going to be a fun one.

Thanks for being here, thanks for taking the time. Maybe it’s your lunch hour, I always appreciate a full room here. I’m Steven, I’m over here Bloomerang, and I’ll be moderating today’s discussion, as always.

Just a couple of quick housekeeping items, just want to let you all know that we are recording this presentation. We’ll be sending out the slides and the recording later on today. So, if you have to leave early or maybe just want to review the content, don’t worry, we’ll get all that good stuff to you before the end of the day, I promise.

But most importantly, if you are listening live, we would love to hear from you. There is a chat box and a Q&A box. Send in your questions and comments, we love for these sessions to be interactive. We’re going to try to save a little time at the end for a formal Q&A. But don’t be shy, don’t sit on those hands. A lot of you already saying hello. Say hello, introduce yourself in the chat, if you haven’t already. We just love to know a little bit more about who we’re talking to, that’s always fun. And you can also send us a tweet, I’ll keep an eye on Twitter, in case you are a tweeting-type person, which we appreciate.

And, if this is your first Bloomerang webinar, just want to say a special welcome to you, folks. We do these webinars just about every Thursday. This is the last session of our kind of the first half of the year, a webinar series here. But we’ll be back in the second half of the year with probably 25-30 more sessions. We love doing these webinars.

But if you’ve never heard of Bloomerang beyond the webinars, we are also a provider of donor-management software. That’s what Bloomerang is, it’s a donor database. So check that out. Maybe think about making a switch or, if you’re just curious about what we have going on, visit our website, all kinds of videos you can watch, kind of get a sense of what we’re all about. So that’s there, just for context.

But don’t do that right now, don’t mosey over onto our website because we are going to have a great presentation from my good buddy, Kristal Frazier, joining us from beautiful Houston. Kristal, how’s it going? You doing okay?

Kristal: I’m doing good. Hi, Steven, very glad to be here and chat with you again and featuring attendees about communication strategies.

Steven: You’re one of our favorites. It wouldn’t be a year of the Bloomerang webinar series without you, Kristal. I think you’ve done maybe two or three presentations? You did an awesome presentation last month for our buddies down at Kindful. And, dang, I’m just so excited to listen to you. I won’t take up too much of your time. But, if you all haven’t heard of Kristal, you got to check her out. Subscribe to all of her stuff over at FundJoy LLC, she’s helped a lot of people raise a lot of money over the years. And speaks all over the place, she’s got a lot of clients.

She really was gracious in fitting this into her schedule, which I appreciate. And you are not going to be disappointed. Super, you know, active in the nonprofit community, down in Houston. And I don’t know how you do this, Kristal, with all the things you’ve got going on. But happy you’re here. And I’m going to turn it over to you because you got some really good stuff, I got to peek at your slide. So I’m going to stop sharing. We’ll see if we can get your slides going here.

Kristal: Thank you so much. All right, can you see me?

Steven: I can see you but not your slides yet.

Kristal: Okay. All right, I’m going to share my slides. I’m going to say [inaudible 00:03:33] everyone. Glad to be here. And I love working with Steven and Bloomerang. And I’ve actually worked with Kindful, last month, and that was super awesome. So just glad to be . . . I feel like I’m a part of the Bloomerang-Kindful family. I recommend them to everyone. Their donor database, it’s fantastic. I received such great feedback. So just glad to be here, and I want to share this with you so you can be ready for your next virtual ask. So let me share my screen. And, Steven, let me know when you can see my PowerPoint.

Steven: Yeah, looks like it’s working. Nice.

Kristal: Okay, cool. All right. So, as Steven said, if you have any questions, put them in the Q&A box. You can put them in the chat box as well, but we prefer Q&A, I prefer Q&A because it’s easier to track your questions. Okay, I know Lauren [Kotling 00:04:29] raised her hand. So, if you have a question, definitely put it in the Q&A box.

So you can see my slide here. Now, Steven titled this, which is a great title, is “The 3 V’s of Virtual Communication,” that is correct, that is what we’re going to go over. And it’s really how to communicate your cause in 2021. This presentation could have several titles because there’s so much to it. You also have a handout that Steven sent prior to the presentation starting, maybe an hour before, I believe, he sent it. So check your email for that. And also you have a copy of the slides, so check your email for that as well, a link.

So what I am going to do is we’re going to take questions at the end. But I will check in halfway through the presentation to see if there are some questions. If there are a few, then I’ll, of course, stop and answer those right away. Okay, so be sure to put your questions in there, if you have any. And ask anything about communication, what you’re focusing on. You can make statements such as, “We’re doing this. What do you think about that?” You know, get your feedback, absolutely. So, while the presentation is going, I’m going to close my camera and come back when we do a Q&A in the midpoint. Okay? So let’s begin.

Let’s get past all the legal stuff. And so my mission with this presentation and really with my whole business is I want to provide you strategies to empower you to be confident in your next virtual ask. Now, I do understand that some places that are opening up again, and I’m even going to a gala, later this year, a fundraiser. It’s the first one that I have gone to in the last two years, of course, and so it’s a luncheon gala. And that is even tentative on the response, as well as how people are feeling, you know, getting back out there. So the virtual world, the virtual asking world is still here. Okay? So that’s what I want to focus on and give you strategies for that.

So this is our agenda. So we’re going to talk about how to communicate with authenticity, how to use your voice to convey your message, that’s one V. Using your organization’s vision and your messaging. I want to talk about how you can inspire your audience using imagery and creative communication. And then we’re going to wrap up with how you establish your organizational values through messaging. Okay? The mission, vision, values that may be on your websites, on your nonprofit’s websites, we’re going to talk about how you can incorporate those in your messaging. Because what you’re sending out in social media, newsletters, when you’re doing these Zoom presentations and making virtual ask, all of this ties back to your mission, your vision, and your values. And I want to show you how.

So the first one we’re going to talk about is communicating with authenticity. I came up with this presentation and a lot of my presentations talk about communication. Okay? Because, being a introvert, used to be, okay, I think a little bit is still in there, being an introvert, it was hard when I started fundraising earlier in my career. And this is probably . . . I’m going to date myself but I think I’m coming up on 15 years, just about. So doing this for so long . . . in the beginning, it was very, very difficult for me to, number one, raise money. Number two, to get my point across. And so I had to come up with ways that made it easier for me to meet my benchmarks, to be successful, and get the results I needed for the nonprofit I was working for at the time.

So how to communicate with authenticity? You want to stay true to your organization’s mission, values and vision. You want to keep your goal in mind. Your goal when you’re making these virtual asks, and really any ask, is to build connection and community. You want to have a connection with the donor, with the volunteer. Okay? And that is how you get the results of them buying into your organization, buying into your message, wanting to donate.

Intentional authenticity, it results in increased volunteer engagement. Why is this important? Because I sound like a broken record saying this, I’m going to say it again, volunteers make your very best donors. Volunteers may not be your major donors but they are your monthly consistent donors. Okay? And that is extremely important in your fundraising efforts, to have some type of volunteer program.

Now, if you’re saying in your head right now, “We have five volunteers,” or, “because of the pandemic,” you know, “some of our volunteers are not active with us,” this is the perfect time to re-engage those volunteers. We’re starting to open back up, there may be more that you need done within your nonprofit organization that can justify and, maybe you had less they could do virtually. This is the perfect time. I receive emails all the time for the organizations I volunteered for, that they’re restarting their programs, they’re looking for this type of volunteerism, this year in 2021, going into 2022. So this is prime time for you to re-engage those volunteers. Volunteers are already friends and fans of your organization and your mission because they’re giving something just as valuable, or more valuable, than their donation, and that’s their time. That’s why they make your very best donors.

How to communicate with authenticity? Let me give you a few scenarios. Okay? So this is Scenario Number 1. In-person meetings with donors are not possible. Okay? Your organization has decided that they’re not doing in-person events or anything of that nature for this year, maybe you’ll wait till next year. Not everyone feels this way but some still do, some nonprofit organizations are still waiting. Ask for a Zoom briefing with your major donors. If the response is low, record and send to view later. 

Now, let me tell you what I did with one organization that was totally against doing this. Okay? I did a mock Zoom briefing. So I did a briefing of my own organization. Okay? I showed that to them, and what happened is I said, “You can take this briefing as if it was yours.” Say they did one. They could put it on their website, they can put it in their newsletters, and they can run it across all of their social media channels. That Zoom briefing of where your organization is at becomes a video. 

What I did for them when they finally decided to do it is pull the audio from it and they can make that a podcast and they put it on their website. That is from one action from one Zoom briefing. There is a way that you can work to fill your social media channels with great content, to fill your website with engaging content, and also your newsletters, if you’re wondering what to put in your newsletters and not be redundant. People like pictures, video over words. Because when you think about, when you’re on social media and you’re scrolling, you stop when you see a picture or video quicker than, say, words. It’s a visual aspect of communicating with someone. It makes a huge difference.

If you have any questions about these scenarios, please put them in the chat box or the Q&A box.

Scenario Number 2, volunteer engagement has decreased within the last two years. This is the case with some organizations because they didn’t have really anything for the volunteers to do on a virtual level. Use your communication channels to highlight current volunteers by using testimonials with a call to action. So what you want to do is, if your volunteer engagement is low and you’re wondering how to re-engage, you use what has worked in the past. You take your testimonials, you take everything that you’ve used in the past, that you have on your websites, and you put that content out, you put it in your newsletters. You already have permission because you’re already using it, so you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. This is how you re-engage people into your organization. If you can’t meet with them virtually, if you can’t have an event virtually right now, it’s just not going to happen for your org, this is the way that you re-engage.

Scenario Number 3, your current campaign is doing better in the last two years been in the history of your organization. I put this scenario on here because in the last, I would say, three webinars that I did, I received the question, “How do we re-engage donors, lapsed donors, when we have received more donations in the past two years than we ever have? Like we broke records last year.” And that is true for some organizations, how do you do that? 

The consensus was, when I asked them to put in the chat box what are they doing with this information, and they say, “Nothing,” because they’re scared to tell donors they’re doing well. I challenge you and I encourage you, as a nonprofit professional, to switch your thinking, to think about this as, “It’s great that this is the best that your organization is doing,” you can only do better from here. You know, power of positive thinking. You can spin that when you are talking to donors, you can spin that when you’re talking, when you’re making the virtual ask. This is the best opportunity for you to share what your organization is doing right, that people are so concerned with your organization that they wanted to help you during the pandemic and beyond. Switch the writing. Switch the context. Whatever you’re telling people, whatever you’re writing in emails, any communication, you are suggesting how people should feel.

When they see nonprofit stories, when they see all of this information that you’re putting out there, it’s a suggestion on how they should feel about your organization, your clients, and the work that you do. So it’s okay to have wins, it’s okay to be successful in challenging times, and it’s okay to share that information. Absolutely.

So the question, “How do I communicate our cause in 2021?” This is the question I want you to ask yourself. So we are going to think of this as the communication pivot, the changes in your messaging in 2021 and beyond. So let’s see what the focus was in 2019. Okay? Consider this when you reflect back on what your nonprofit has been through and where you’re going. So, in 2019, into 2019, all of 2020, messaging was focused on the pandemic impact, the impact it had on your organization. Right? Then your messaging was focused on your mission and helping to fulfill it to maintain. That may have been some of your organization’s focus. And the last one, on the column on the left, your messaging was focused on shifting into services and operational changes. You may have downsized your staff. You may had to shift some of your services to new initiatives, to keep going, to serve your clients in a different way that they may have not needed before. That was the focus in 2019, 2020.

So year, and Steven said this at the beginning, year is half gone. This is the last presentation in the first half of the year. I cannot believe it will be July pretty soon. Okay? So 2021 is halfway gone, and that’s why I have that graphic there of 2021 and 2022. Because this is the way I always have to be forward thinking. I’m thinking into 2022 already for the nonprofits that I work with because of the plans, what we want to focus on, how we want to keep momentum and build on the successes in 2020, how we want to move forward.

So going forward, if you look at the column on the right, your messaging may be focused on post-pandemic needs. If your needs have changed as an organization, if the needs of your clients and who you serve has changed in your organization, if your programs have changed and you’ve added programs, all of what I just said should be in your newsletters and your messaging. I have an organization that they don’t even like sending newsletters. So I have them doing Zoom calls, they put that Zoom video within like a newsletter format, and that’s what they send to their constituents. Why not, if they don’t want to do an actual written newsletter?

And before this question is asked, since we’re talking about communication, the question that I receive at every webinar is, “How often do we send a newsletter? How often?” Now, there are organizations that send it weekly, there are some that send it monthly, and there are some that send it quarterly. There is no right answer with how often you send your newsletters. You really have to look at your donor database and you have to understand what works for your donors. Do you have better opens and clicks, you know, your analytics for your newsletters? Do you have better analytics when you send it monthly versus quarterly? Then maybe monthly is the way to go. When you send it weekly, do your analytics, do they suffer and you have decreased opens because they’re receiving it too often? You have to look at that.

When I do newsletters for organizations, I send them twice a month. That’s my standard, that may not be the standard for yours. How often you send it is important but what is even more important is the content you’re putting in it. So don’t focus so much on the frequency as much as the content you’re putting in it. This is the content going forward. The first one we talked about, post-pandemic needs. The second one, focus on your vision and forward thinking. On all your websites, you have a mission and a vision, you may have nonprofit pillars or organizational values on your website. That is your focus, the vision going forward. And the last bullet point, your messaging should be focused on informing donors of the changes in your organization and your needs going forward. The right column is really about forward thinking in your messaging.

So we’re at voice, vision, and values. And, in about 5 minutes, I’ll see if we have any questions. These are the three V’s that we’re going to talk about. So the first one is your voice, how to use your voice to convey your message. Now, before I go on about this, I know that I run into, when I’m working with nonprofit professionals, they’ll say, “Well, why is this so important? I know how to speak. I know how to speak to people. I know how to ask for money,” blah-blah-blah-blah. There is nothing wrong with having kind of like a self-audit and see how you come across to people. 

It was interesting because one of the exercises that I have people do is I will have them do their own Zoom video, as if they’re making the virtual ask. Not inviting anybody on the call, just having a Zoom video. When it is recorded and they can see it, I want them to play it back. And you will be shocked at how people are flabbergasted at how they come across. That is why I’m doing this webinar, this presentation. It’s a staple in the presentations that I do because, even when I did this myself, there were some tweaks that I needed to make big time. Okay? Voice was being one of those. Softening my voice sometimes. Watching my pitch sometimes. The power of pause, we’ll talk about that. Okay? I can talk all day every day and twice on Sunday and I had to make sure that I would slow down so people can understand. Because excitement comes into play. Okay? So that’s why we’re talking about voice.

So expression. In the pandemic, we realized the power of expression through a virtual platform. So how do you tell your nonprofit story through a computer screen if you do not have a staple nonprofit story? I encourage you to leave a comment in the Q&A box and say, “I need help with my story,” or, “I need pointers,” or, “I don’t know where to start.” And, of course, I’ll let you know a quick and simple way to start with your nonprofit story, if that is you.

So how do you tell it through a computer screen? Well, your excitement about your projects and programs, they resonate with the donor. So one simple exercise that you can do, if you don’t know where to start, it’s your nonprofit’s website. Someone in your organization, or a third party, went to great lengths to create a fantastic website for your nonprofit. You have so much information on there to draw from. Because when you’re making a virtual ask, you cannot assume that the donor, the prospect, whoever you’re speaking to, knows everything about your nonprofit. They have your website memorized and they know exactly where you stand now in your organization. Your website is your best friend when you’re doing these virtual asks.

So, on here, you see mission and vision, that’s one thing that you want to have in the forefront of your mind. You want to talk about your programs and your services. Okay? Your client testimonials use those, you already have permission, don’t need to reinvent the wheel, don’t need to wait on another testimonial. You already have them there. Annual reports, this is the number one tool that I use in my virtual asks. And it works almost every time because everything is there. Our past donors, our current donors, our funders, the grants we received, what we’ve done in the last year, our successes. Maybe our challenges. Everything is in that annual report. Statistics. You know, you have results from your programs, how many people you served, how many people you’ve helped. The lives you have changed. Okay? The increases from this year versus two years ago. All of that you can use in your virtual ask. So mission and vision, programs and services, your client testimonials, your annual reports, and your statistics. And let me move this Zoom thing out of the way. All right, there we go.

All right. So, remember, when you are making a virtual ask, even when you’re getting back out there and doing it in person at events or your galas, your programs, people care less about titles and more about the reason you’re contacting them. It is the absolute truth. When I work with organizations, I don’t have an executive title. I have the title I have right now. They could care less. They want to know the reason that I’m contacting them, however I’m contacting them. I have secured more asks in the morning than any other time. I am not a morning person because I want to be . . . I am not a Monday person because I want to be, I am a morning person because I am forced to be one, because it is the best time to make an ask. It is the best time for a virtual ask.

I have peers before, two years ago, they would have dinners and all of these type of luncheons and everything with prospects and lapsed donors. They would do all of these presentations late in the day. And I was one of the few doing it in the morning. The same way I would have breakfast with someone is the same way that I make a virtual ask on Zoom, the exact same way, in the morning. I’m not talking about 7 a.m., maybe 9:00, 10:00, 11:00. I have looked at the statistics and I have better numbers when I make the ask in the morning.

Ask for financial support or extend an invitation to your next event. Some of you may have already taken virtual off of your event planning. That is fantastic if you are doing some things in person because you can get back to what works. But if you have not, then extend an invitation to your next virtual event. If you don’t have a virtual event coming up, one simple one to do is a briefing of your organization. That one briefing can turn into your social media posts for one month solid. It can be your newsletters for the next two months, if you send newsletters twice a month. It can be your newsletters for the next two months. You don’t have to worry about it. There are ways to distribute what you’re doing with one action.

And what is the donors’ giving history? Prospect research, I tell you, it’s a separate presentation, it’s a separate whole other topic. But perform your prospect research before you talk to donors. See what they’ve given to in the past and what they’re interested in.

Now, one thing I want to say about this last bullet, bullet point, is your donors’ initiatives may have . . . and let me see how we can do this. Hold on, I’ll turn my camera on because I’m about to look at questions. So your donors’ initiatives and their priorities may have changed in the last two years. A program that they gave to, within your organization, they may want to do something different. This is why I am encouraging you to reach out. This is why segmenting, and Steven has talked about this so much, segmenting your donor database, it is critical. And “segmenting” is a fancy word for separating your monthly from your major donors. 

Your lapsed donors, whatever you consider lapsed is one year of not giving lapse, is five years not giving lapse. Whatever your organization considers. Separating those donors and really re-engaging them in your organization, because you’re going to approach them in different ways. A monthly donor is different than a lapsed donor, okay? So you’re going to approach them in different ways. And their initiatives and priorities may have changed. Okay? They may want to give to something different. This is why prospect research is so important. Okay?

I was doing prospect research on a potential donor and I found . . . this is so funny. I found out more about him, looking at his Twitter profile, than any other database social media profile, white papers. And because he has all of the other stuff I’m mentioning, I learned more about his sort of profile. Very social, very entertaining, always at a fundraiser or charity event. Just by looking at it, I could tell what he has given to, what he is interested in, and I know what to talk about. I was ready, ready with the conversation. He was actually shocked I knew so much. It’s out there. It’s out there in social media.

So voice. Expression. In the last two years, I have secured more asks using a virtual platform versus email or phone. Some of you may be asking for an appointment that way, via email or to meet with them, then you meet with them virtually. That is a way that works. What I have noticed some people doing is sending, you know, blanketed emails to all of their donors with the exact same message, and then they’ll have a button, “Click here to donate.” That’s fine too. With your major donors or lapsed donors, you’re trying to get back into your organization. The interest, when you want the increased interest, you want to have a virtual platform so you can see them and engage with them that way.

All right. Before we talk about tone, I am going to see if there are any questions. So let’s see . . . we have Q&A. Okay. So let’s see. Two. Okay. “The answer, I applaud the graphic Kristal used, very creative.” Oh, thanks, Michelle. Thanks so much. My middle name, ha-ha-ha. And it says, “Let’s remind people that the newsletter guru, Tom Ahern, suggests to send physical newsletters. Statistically proven.” Thank you so much for that reminder. And I am familiar with Tom and his work, so I wholeheartedly agree. Absolutely.

So let’s go to the Q&A. Let’s see. This is from Michelle again, “Do you call prospects to arrange a virtual meeting?” Okay. So this is a great question. So, when it comes to prospects . . . oh, okay, thanks, Steven, for . . . he is always on it, question just disappeared. Thank you. So, when it comes to prospects, I always put them in categories, usually generationally. I have gotten to the point that I do not make phone calls. I do emails. Now, in the beginning of my career, I was always on the phone. See, we’re talking 15 years ago, so I was always on the phone. So early 2000s . . . oh, time is just flying. So early 2000s, the phone was my best friend, okay, before I had a cell phone. Now that’s moved into email. Okay? Now, Michelle, you will be surprised that I am reaching out to people via LinkedIn. And that’s the only platform that I will reach out to them. I won’t do it on Facebook. I won’t do it on Twitter.

So there is a social media caveat that I say when it comes to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. And I want everyone to remember this, that Twitter is fast, Facebook is friendly, and LinkedIn is formal. Twitter is fast, Facebook is friendly, LinkedIn is formal. Because . . . and you can go to my LinkedIn profile . . . afterwards, not now. You go to my LinkedIn profile and you can see that it is streamlined, it lets people know who I am, it’s very serious, no jokey joke or any emojis on my posts or anything like that. So my profile lends to me reaching out to people. I will reach out to people on LinkedIn or I either email them requesting appointments. I let them know who I’m representing, I let them know the initiatives and what we need help with, and I reach out that way.

I haven’t made a phone call in two or three years. At least in two or three years. No, I take that back. If you know that in Texas we had the winter storms, in Houston area, because of the winter storms, the only way I could still work was my phone. My cell phone. Other than that, I have not reached out in two or three years. So that is the way, via email. Because my LinkedIn profile is optimized, I’ll use LinkedIn. I stress that your LinkedIn profile needs to be optimized, it needs to let people know who you are and what you represent. If you have a shell of a profile and no information, I promise you, you will not get a response. I get responses because my profile is linked to that.

Let’s see, hold on one second. All right, Haley, “In what ways are you using your annual reports in conjunctions with the ask? Are you pulling parts of it or are you sharing the report during your ask? How often would you do this? As far as I am aware, we haven’t used our annual report at all in our asks.” Thank you, Haley. So, with the annual report, I will send them a copy via email, but the point of me saying that I am using that in my ask because I’m pulling parts of it.

Now, let me say this. When I pull an organization’s annual report, I usually go to their website. Number one, if it’s not on their website, or, number two, if it is and it’s not robust with statistics and, you know, praising what they’ve done, the results they had and how they’re moving forward, I do not use it. I bypass it totally. So it has to be an annual report that includes stats, that includes a list of their donors, the grants that they’ve received, thanking the funder for this amount of money helping them in this year, I’ve seen annual reports with that. And also a message from the executive director of how they’re moving forward. I take part of that message and I use it in my ask, that our leadership is focused on this. It’s half of my job, if I can find the annual report or if they send it to me and it’s viable for me to use. So I hope that answers your question.

Let’s see. So Haley’s is answered. And let’s see, Stephanie Fong. Let’s see. Hi, Stephanie, “My organization provides two key services addressing different needs, with different goals and client bases. How do we tell this story as one story? Or do we tell them is two separate stories?”

This is a great question, Stephanie, and this is what you can do. You know, when you’re making an ask, if you want that donor, potential donor, to donate to whichever program. If you have a program in mind where you want them to donate to, you start with my ABC nonprofit, our two programs are 1 and Program 2. I am here to talk about Program 2. If you’re just letting them know what you all do, then you can say it in the beginning, then you talk about Program 2, and then you go from there focusing on that.

If you want to show them the variety and what you’re doing for your clients as a holistic standpoint, then you talk about both programs. But, if this prospect, if they’re shifting to giving to a certain program, focus on that one. Don’t confuse them with two. If you have a prospect that you think they will just give in to your organizations and won’t care which program you put towards, then you can, of course, talk about both. Your ask is driven. Everything you talk about, besides your introduction, it is driven by what that prospect has given to in the past and what they’re interested in after you talk with them. You may change your entire ask in your mind just after talking with them for 10 minutes. And I’ve done that. You have to be ready for it too. Okay, great question.

And let’s see. I’ll answer one more and then we’ll get back to it. And I’ll answer the rest later. Let’s see. Anonymous, “What platforms and ways do you recommend to perform prospect research? Are there any suitable for very small money-type orgs?” I started out, and anonymous attendee has been answered, and then Stephanie. So let me X out of this.

So the platforms, there are many platforms that you can use. Okay? I don’t suggest any of them, and I’ll tell you why. You can pay money if you’re very new to it. If you are, you said, you know, budget-restricted, almost all of my prospect research comes from social media, LinkedIn, how active they are online. Google Alerts that I received, because you can set up Google Alerts on pretty much anything. I will set up Google Alerts on prospects that I have been tracking for years, donors I’ve been tracking for years. Anything that’s online about them, I get an alert right away. So anything that they have put online. I started out using databases, LexisNexis. There are so many that you can use, I used almost all of them. And it’s gotten to a point, because information is so readily available to us, that it’s just not even worth it. So it’s really doing your search online, using the social media platforms, the networks.

And also, when you type in someone’s name, it pulls up all of their business information, where they’ve worked . . . unfortunately, it’s just so much information out there that, at this point, I don’t really need one of those databases. And you may find you won’t either. Foundation Center also has lists that you can use. Foundation Center and GuideStar are now Candid, C-A-N-D-I-D, candid.org. Go on there and search the list that I’m referring to for prospect research. Great question.

So we’re still on voice. So tone. Okay? I’ll answer the rest of the questions afterwards. Great questions, you guys. So we’re talking about tone. So ask yourself the question, how do you come across on the computer screen. What’s your body language? The attitude you present is assumed to be the attitude of your organization. Now, I can tell you, if you look at these eggs, on Monday, I’m the one on the right, okay. Usually by Tuesday, I’m the one in the middle. And then, by the end of the week, if I haven’t finished or made all of my emails or virtual asks, I’m the one on the left. Okay? So your attitude and your demeanor, they change so often throughout the week. So you have to remember, when you are getting online and ready to make these asks, be aware of how your body language and everything that you’re presenting to the screen, how it comes across. Okay?

The power of pause. When you talk endlessly, people either do two things, they zone you out, okay, or they end the conversation before you have the opportunity to ask. If you are making virtual asks, and then people are saying, you know, “Oh, I have something to do. I have to get offline,” you have to wonder, “do they really have something to do?” They may or it may be you need to pause when you’re speaking.

So tips for introverts. Let me give you tips for introverts, extroverts, and if you’re both. Okay? So you want to focus on info and stats about your cause, rather than your thoughts, appearance, or external factors. Because I can tell you, once you talk to somebody virtually, especially virtually, after the first 30 seconds, your appearance is kind of in the background and then they’re focusing on what you actually have to say. That’s with anything. Okay?

The next one ambiverts. If your personality is a mixture between introvert and extrovert features, you want to remain in the neutral position during the conversation. You’re in the best place because you won’t rattle on but you also won’t be shy. You have the best of both worlds. Okay? Ambiverts, push your personality because you have a good balance already. You’re in the perfect position to hold a great conversation in making the ask.

Extroverts, you want to dial it back. Okay? And I can be this sometimes, absolutely. Because the excitement and the outgoing nature of your personality is great for communication but it needs to be in moderation. It’s okay to have pauses, it’s even okay to have awkward pauses, it may lead to rambling. Okay? So don’t be scared, don’t be fearful of a pause. 

I am ambivert. Sometimes I’m introverted, sometimes I’m extroverted. When I am talking with a potential donor, I am all the way live. I am on, I am ready, I am pumped. I am the best version of my communicative self that I can possibly be, when I am talking with a donor.

So, remember, you want to listen attentively. You want to try to keep your distractions to a minimum. Don’t miss your cues. Your cues are simply, if you have a prospect who looks confused, that’s your opportunity to alleviate their fears or alleviate their confusion and talk about your programs. Whatever they’re confused about, you can change that and get back to your narrative. Okay? Focus on your purpose of asking them and focus on your programs, what you’re asking them for.

Have an agenda in your head but not written down. When I’m teaching people about doing the ask, a lot of them want to have an agenda. And so I’ll do like a script with them. And so that’s great that you want to do a script, but then, once you have that script down, you have to throw it away and you have to really gauge how the conversation is going by the person that you’re speaking with. Okay? Pause when you talk. You want a conversation that flows, not a conversation that is forced. Leave filler words out of the conversation, it doesn’t belong.

Vision. Using your organization’s vision statement and your messaging. Your vision statement answers the question, how will the world look once your mission is complete? How will it look? What’s the reason you exist? What do you hope to eradicate as an organization? It’s important to include that vision statement in your messaging for three reasons, these are so important. And I’m glad that Steven already sent the presentation to you so you can have this.

Vision statements explain who you are, including your programming focus. Okay? Your vision statement is what you want to eradicate, how you see the future for your clients, and your region, or, if you’re a national nonprofit, that’s your vision statement. Your vision statements highlight your why, which includes the services that you offer.

You ever noticed, in this presentation, I keep saying “reiterate what you do”? Because, number one, people easily forget. Number two, people need to be reminded. We are bombarded with so much information. That’s usually why I will do an ask in the morning. Because think about it, even if you’re not a morning person, you are ready to go, you’re feeling good, you will retain more information in the morning, my thought, than, say, speaking with them at 5:00 in the afternoon. And then I’m also aware of time zones. Okay? That plays into when I meet with them as well.

Also, third, your vision statements communicate the heartbeat of your organization. Your mission is what you do. Your vision is the future picture of what you see happening as a result of your mission, you fulfilling your mission. That’s your vision statement, and you want that in all of your communication. You want it in your ask.

And there is a fourth one, but it’s really not a fourth, but I want you to remember, it is important for donors to understand the culture of your organization. Your vision statement, think about it, it’s the ending of your nonprofit story. Because whatever story you’re telling now is about your mission, maybe a testimonial, your stats, and the vision is complete. It’s the completion of it, what you hope to see.

You can use image imagery and creative communication. So infographics. Now, before you freak out, I am not a graphic designer. Okay? At all. But I know that, when I send an email saying, “I want to meet with someone and talk with them or LinkedIn,” if I can send an infographic representing our organization and what the stats, our programs, it is literally like a mini blueprint for them to look at. It’s compelling. It’s several messages in one. And let’s face it, it’s not boring. Okay? It’s just not boring. And you’re contacting people who may receive hundreds of emails a day. I got to find a way to stand out. That is the way that I do it.

This is one infographic, I don’t use it anymore, but I contacted this company, and they were more than happy for me to use it. So I received permission and I used it for so many years when it came to contacting funders or donors who were interested in giving to education within this region. I use this infographic so much in my email communication almost every time I would receive a response back, even if it was . . . “I can’t really help right now but this is great and it gives me something to think about for the future.” I mean I always receive good feedback. It doesn’t necessarily have to be your infographic, it may be statistics from another organization. But you may have to create your own. So I’m going to show you how you can create your own very carefully and simply.

So, with infographics, there are three categories. Problem or pain, you’re telling what’s wrong with your region or the world and how you’re going to fix it. Contrast and comparisons. And then your annual report, it’s an infographic within itself. You can take literally all the statistics in your annual report and make an infographic out of it. So these are three ways that you can use infographics.

Now, there are many resources to create them. The only one I use on this entire list is Canva. Canva is your very best friend. I don’t work for Canva. I’m just a super fan of Canva because it makes it easy for someone who does not have any graphic design experience, and I do not. So Canva, I highly recommend.

Now, your values. Your values are your organization standards. The words you choose, they’re your pillars. So they’re just as important as your mission and vision statements. And if you notice when you go to, say, a nonprofit’s website, there’s a reason why they have a page of “who we are” and they’ll put mission, vision, and underneath sometimes you’ll see values. That’s important to include in your communication.

So you want to do four things with your values. You want to develop. You want to emphasize. You want to include. And you want to incorporate. These are the four things you do with your organization’s values. Number one, you want to develop keywords that describe who you are and what’s important to your org. “It is important for my organization to help with X. So we can see Y results and then our vision is Z.” Okay? Those are your values. When developing them, think about what you want to include in your communications.

Emphasize your org’s values by using the pillars in social media and website pages. Use them everywhere, people need to be reminded specifically in your newsletters. Don’t be shy about this stuff, people need to be reminded all the time. Include your board and staff to aid in your executive staff, to aid in the values messaging, especially if they have reports, say, they have websites or social media channels tied to your organization. I know some executive staff, they create profiles just for their organization that’s separate from their personal. You want to show consistency in your brand and use them on those communication channels as well.

You also want to incorporate your values into grant proposals, white papers, annual reports. Everywhere you can. Websites should be on here again. As a grant reviewer, the second thing I do is I go to an organization’s website to see what they’re about. This presentation isn’t about grants but it’s always about grants, that’s part of what you all do I’m sure, so, hey. Just letting you know, as a grant reviewer, the second thing I do is go to a website. The first thing is I look at your budget. Okay? So it’s very important to have those values incorporated in your communication.

So one quote I always remember when I am speaking with someone new or say if it’s a lapsed donor and I haven’t spoken with them in a while, and it says, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But they don’t ever forget how you made them feel.” That’s the same with customer service. Think about the customer service you received that’s great. Think about customer service that you received that is bad. It’s the same idea, the exact same idea.

So there is a donor connection matrix that I created a few years ago. It is five actions that you can do 20% of the time so you’re not filling your newsletters with one action 100% of the time. So you want to break it up a bit so it’s not boring. Use this matrix, you can find it at fundjoy.org if you click the purple bar.

Any questions? All right, Steven, that is the presentation, but I have more questions. Hold on one second . . . let’s see. Before I do these questions, did you have anything to add, sir?

Steven: Thank you. That’s all. You’re awesome. All the chats are coming in just, “Oh, great tip. Great tip. This is great. This is great,” so it’s fun to see that. I’m just like jotting down notes. Man, so many good tidbits. Thank you, Kristal, for doing this. You’re always an awesome presenter. So I just want to say thanks. There’s a lot of questions here, I don’t know that you’ll want to hang out for the next three hours, but yeah, you can answer as many as you want, honestly. The floor is yours.

Kristal: All right. So let me see. Let me go from the bottom up because I can see they get more complex. So Michelle said, “Great presentation.” Thank you very much, Michelle. I appreciate that. 

Let’s see, Judith . . . oh, I’m so glad Judith asked this question. LinkedIn is going to hate me but I’m going to say this anyway, she’s asking, “Should we upgrade to LinkedIn Premium?” I don’t see a reason to do that. I still have regular . . . a lot of people believe I have premium. I don’t. All I did, Judith, was optimize my profile, embed keywords in my descriptions, all of my posts to, when people are searching for certain things, they go right to my profile. When you send a LinkedIn message there, you’re making the ask or want to meet with somebody, they’re going to go to your profile. Think about what you would want to see if you were that prospect. That’s what you do. If you want to do LinkedIn Premium, of course, that is your choice. I did it early when LinkedIn was available and I haven’t done it since. So that’s my stance on it.

Let’s see, “What about Instagram?” I have tried Instagram, someone anonymous said this, I have tried Instagram for making virtual asks. Because the platform does not lend itself to that actual action, I have not had the greatest success. LinkedIn is the undisputed champion of me making virtual asks and actually getting appointments and results. It just is. And like I said, I don’t work for them or anything like that but I think it’s because it’s a professional platform. It’s about your career. It’s not Facebook where it’s about you, you know, being connected with your family and friends. And Twitter is basically a news feed. So LinkedIn is a little different.

Let’s see. “There seems to be an issue with the purple bar.” You know what? I will get with Steven afterwards. If it’s not working for you, because on some browsers there seems to be an issue, specifically Chrome. So, yeah, I will make sure . . . Steven, can I send you the matrix? Okay. All right, then I’ll do that then. Thanks, Andrea. That was Andrea.

Let’s see. Jody had the same thing. Okay, Diane. I’ll send it to Steven, no worries, and he’ll get it to you. And that was Diane and Jody. Thanks so much.

And Rebecca, “How do you engage potential volunteers when your organization work is systems level rather than boots on the ground? Is there any way that you can have people do things virtually? Send emails for you to be your . . . ” You know what I suggest too? Social media ambassadors. You know, I think that’s a great title for volunteers. Because they can promote on social media for your organization. Whether you want them to have access to your profiles or not, that’s a different story, what I always suggest is that a volunteer create a new profile that is representative of that organization. And they can do it that way, reposting your information.

Another way is to have Facebook Events. If you’re having a Zoom briefing, any gala, you want to create a Facebook Event because, number one, it’s free. Number two, whenever someone clicks on that event, their entire friends list is notified. I have 5,000, when you click on that event, your friends list is notified. When I share it, they all get it. If I comment on it, they all know. Okay? Almost nothing’s private. So that is a great way to get your message out there, and I repost, I retweet, I re-linked in posts, all of that. That’s a great way.

Let’s see . . . thanks, Rebecca. And let’s see . . . oh, Jody said thank you. You’re welcome. Tanya, “Are there better strategies of asking in terms of demographics?” Yes. So this was a generational thing. I’m generation X, what I find with my generation is that we like email, sometimes phone, it depends. Let’s see. With millennials, I noticed that email or even messaging will work. And someone brought up Instagram, I’ve been successful that way. Okay? Your prospects will represent a range of generations, you have to do what you think is pertinent to that actual generation. Great question, Tanya.

And, let’s see, “Click-through rates, improved during COVID or the same?” I noticed, with the organizations I worked with, their newsletters were open. Number one, people were home more. Okay? Remember that, they were home more. Number two, people were tied to their email, they were tied to their social media channels because of the restrictions that we had. I still notice that click-through rates are just as good as they were last year. So it seems to continue.

“What is a Zoom briefing? Great presentation, I’m eating all it up.” Thanks, Tanya. A Zoom briefing is a Zoom video. You know how we’re doing this webinar right now? You have one of your executive staff or you, as the development director, you say what’s going on with your organization, you take that, because it’s a briefing, you’re briefing people about what’s going on within your org. You take that, you put it on your website, put on your social media channels, you put it in your newsletters, you fill it with great content that you can use over and over. There’s an organization called LoveYourBrain, they did a Zoom update. They are still using that Zoom update in their Giving Tuesday’s campaigns. And I guarantee it’s at least 5 or 6-years-old, they’re still using the same video, the exact same one. I think it’s fantastic.

Let’s see . . . and let’s see, the other ones I’ll do . . . I’ll send them an email. Is that okay? Or do you have time? Do you have another webinar?

Steven: No, you’re okay. No, you’re fine.

Kristal: Okay, are you sure? Okay.

Steven: Yeah.

Kristal: All right. All right. So let’s go from the bottom again, hold on. So . . . no, Michelle’s been waiting the longest. Okay, “How do you make it attractive to people to desire to watch a virtual update? Let’s be real, it’s so hard to get people to even talk on the phone. What’s the catch?” Do it as audio. Do it as audio. Label it a podcast. Now, I received flack for this because I’ve done this for several organizations and it’s worked for them.

The only flack or negative connotations I’m receiving from people who haven’t done it yet. If you don’t have time to do a full-fledged podcast, you can take the audio. Because Zoom offers it, it’s not anything you have to do. Zoom offers it. You take that audio, you put it on your website. People are more apt to listen to audio as they’re going about their day. I usually listen to podcasts when I’m driving because it just lends itself to it. You know, it keeps me focused and in a good mood. Like you can do podcasts or audio instead of video for your virtual update. But doing that audio and that video and have it on your profile, it’s better than not doing it at all. So you can even have links in your newsletters and everything. I understand that we do live busy lives and it’s hard to get people’s attention these days. These are the different ways that you can do it, instead of doing a norm.

Leanna says, “What do you recommend for major donors who are also monthly givers? We typically send three mailed campaigns a year to our major donors.” Perfect. Those major donors, you’re sending them three campaigns a year and you’re probably, I’m going to guess, Leanna, that you’re sending your monthly donors a newsletter a little more often. Maybe once a month you’re sending it to them. Keep doing that. You want to still separate . . . you’ve segmented your major donors, that’s how you know they’re major and monthly. That’s fantastic.

Leanna is doing exactly what we should be doing. She’s segmenting her database. Steven has talked about this 100 times. Yeah, so Leanna gets applause. Okay? Applause. So that’s what you want to do. So do the three mail campaigns and then also send them as a monthly donor. It’s not too much, okay. They expect it and it’s okay. If they’re brand new, as a donor, what I do suggest is sending out an introduction email saying that, “Thank you so much for,” you know, “considering to donating to us,” or something like that. And then you tell them, “You will receive a newsletter, usually twice a year, as one of our major donors,” whatever you title your major donor, say that. “You will receive it twice a year. Thank you for your continued consistent giving. And you may receive one of our standard newsletters once a month.” If you let people know what’s coming, you’re more apt to keep them as a monthly donor. Okay? And, as a major donor, you let them know what is actually coming.

Let’s see. Anonymous person asked, “When you are making cold asks to new connections, do you ask them for a Zoom virtual meeting to discuss the ask? Do you tell them you are looking for financial support and want to discuss it with them?” Yes. Yes. You don’t want to be shy about this, you don’t . . . because let’s see. The opposite would be me contacting someone and saying, you know, “I would like to meet with you via Zoom. Do you have time next week?” That gives them no indication of why I’m contacting.

And I received emails like that. And you know what I do with those emails? I delete them. Because, number one, I need to know the agenda before we meet, because people love to waste time. Okay? Love to waste . . . your time is precious. People love to waste your time. So that’s the consensus. If you’re not telling me why we’re meeting, then we have a problem. Most major donors are already giving to organizations already. If you tell them, “I’m Kristal Frazier. I represent ABC Nonprofit organization and I want to talk about our new programs and initiatives and how you, as a potential donor, can help us in reaching our goals. Is there a time next week that I could meet with you to discuss?”

That’s it. I include sometimes that infographic so they get a snapshot. That’s the point of the infographic, it’s quick. People look at that and they know exactly what your organization stands for. But, by all means, let them know that you’re going to be asking for money.

Yes. Let’s see. Tom. Hi, Tom. “Speaking of social media ambassadors, how can we convince our board members?” Don’t you love this one, Steven? Don’t you love . . . you know, this is ending with one of the best questions of the entire webinar.

Steven: You got to elbow them really hard [inaudible 01:09:41]. Come on. Do it.

Kristal: Goodness. Oh, let me tell you, I am going to be very tactful when saying this. One of the things that’s challenging in the positions that we all have is dealing with board members who are not, not to use a pun, on board with social media and communicating. Even fundraising actually. So how do you get them to share and post is . . . one thing that I’ve done with reluctant board . . . [inaudible 01:10:17] raised her hand. You can ask the question in the chat. One thing that I have . . . let me bring up the . . . I don’t see the chat anymore. Oh, there it is. One thing I have done, Tom, getting back your question, I apologize, one thing I’ve done with board members who are reluctant is I ask them to create a new profile. If they don’t want to do that, I’ll say, “Well, you know what? I’ll turn questions into statements, that way there’s no room for you to say no. You know what? I can just create a profile for you, just let me create a profile for you, your name, everything. Is that okay?”

And then I’ll send them a link to the profile, give them the password. That has worked because that way, on that profile, they can post and share the organization content. At the very least, Tom, they should share the newsletters, the link to the newsletters that you all are creating. It’s less work for them to do. They really don’t have to explain anything. They can actually just use the newsletter as their base point. But, as a board member, to get that motivation, it’s something that you would have to do on a regular basis so they can know the importance of their role as they’re the biggest and the brightest social media ambassador that you have in your entire organization. Okay? They’re it. And that needs to be reiterated to them.

They mean so much to your organization because, what do people do when they go to your website? They look at your About Us and then they look at your executive staff or your board members. And we know all your board members are on that website, people are holding them accountable in their role to represent you well. And that’s one way that they can do it without a whole lot of work on their part.

All right, I think that’s it for the questions. I see the comments. Thanks everybody. I’m so glad you liked it. And I will send the information I need to Steven about the donor matrix, connection matrix, so I’ll send that to him. Sorry about the link, guys. I swear, technology. What you going to do?

Steven: That’s okay. I’ll get it out to them. We’ll make it happen. Something’s always got to go wrong, right? Some little thing. 

Kristal: I swear.

Steven: This is awesome, Kristal. Thanks for hanging out and doing all those questions. That was some extra labor, so thank you, thank you.

Kristal: You’re welcome.

Steven: And, yeah, I told y’all it was going to be good. So thanks for hanging out. Especially if it was over your lunch hour, I always appreciate that. Dang, I don’t know what to say, except we’re going to send everything out later on and you can relive all this good advice or share it with a friend. And that is it for the first half of the year of 2021. I can hardly believe it. But we got through I think 25 webinars. So this was a really fun way to hit that kind of mid-year break. We’re going to take next week off. I hope you don’t mind. I’m taking next week off, hope you don’t mind.

But we’ll be back in July. I think we got four sessions in July, including our buddy Sherry Quam Taylor who’s going to talk about maybe if you’re leaving some money on the table, you know, prospect research, like Kristal was talking about, maybe you’re not asking for enough from people. Maybe you’re taking a no as a final no, instead of a “not now” kind of thing. We’re going to talk about that stuff, July 15th. Not too far away.

I think we’re also going to have a session on July 8th that we will get you all invited to. So be on the lookout for that. And, hopefully, we’ll see you again in July. So we’ll call it a day there. Like I said, look for an email from me, I’ll send out all those goodies from Kristal, including that matrix. And, hopefully, we will see you next month. So have a good rest of your Thursday, have a good rest of your week, have a safe weekend. And we will talk to you again soon. Bye now.

Kristal: Thanks, everyone. Bye-bye.

Steven: Bye.

Kristen Hay

Kristen Hay

Marketing Manager at Bloomerang
Kristen Hay is the Marketing Manager at Bloomerang. From 2018 - 2020, she served as the Director of Communications for the Public Relations Society of America's local Hoosier chapter. Prior to that she served on several different committees and in committee chair roles.
Kristen Hay