How to design a system of mission-infused events using Benevon's systematic process for assessing the merits of your current special events and strategically infusing them with your mission.
During the Missionizing Your Special Events webinar, we will cover:
- The four basic types of non-profit events
- 17 soul-searching questions to ask about each event
- Strategies for infusing your organization's unique mission into every event
- How to design a year-round system of events that builds long-term donor relationships and decreases development staff burnout
Come prepared to be an active participant in this engaging webinar. If you already own a copy of Missionizing Your Special Events: How to Build a System of Events That Engages Donors Who Will Stay With You for Life, please have it handy during the webinar, as the book will be referenced throughout the webinar. The book is not required for the webinar, but if you would like to purchase a copy in advance, you may order one here.
Recorded June 20, 2018
Melissa: Hello, everyone. We’re going to get started. My name is Melissa Lound and I’m joining you from our Benevon office in Seattle. I want to welcome you all to the webinar, “Missionizing Your Special Events.” The webinar today will be led by Benevon founder and CEO, Terry Axelrod. Again, thank you for joining us. Now I’ll turn it over to Terry.
Terry: Hi, everyone. Great to be with you all today. Thank you for joining me as we talk about how to missionize your special events. Really exciting topic and we have a nice turnout today. And many of you, I’m assuming, are putting on lots of special events and are perhaps on what we refer to endearingly at Benevon as the Special Events Treadmill. We’re finishing up golf season and we’re going to be getting into the holiday season and then before you know it, it’s the spring season with spring galas. Every single season is one event after the next. For those of you who are already familiar with the Benevon model you’ll know that this is a mission-focused model. This is an organic process for deeply-engaging individuals in your mission.
So, today’s webinar is about how to take what you’re already doing and turning it into a system that will forward that deeper commitment and deeper engagement of individuals. And many, many people we talk to say, “How are we ever going to do that? Oh, no. Darn. I can’t get the slides to remove. Let me see what I did wrong here. I might need a little more help. Here we go. I got it. So, here we are. So, the Benevon model. Thank you again for being with me, and I’m going to walk you through this and really highlight what is shown in the books that I’ve written about this. I wrote a whole book about this called, “Missionizing Your Special Events.” How to build a system of events that engages donors [phonetic] who will stay with you for life. And I’ll be talking at various points in the webinar about some of the types of events, these four types of events. We take everything that you do event-wise. So, start kind of making a mental list, if you will, of the events that you put on. And not just fund-raising events. I’m talking even internal programmatic events, all those kinds of events. How can you missionize them? And I’ll come back to this slide. This is out of page 21 out of that book. And so, if you like what you’re hearing today and you stay with me the whole time then we’ll be sending out a little paper to who complete the webinar and there’ll be a little survey question at the end and we’ll give you a white paper which is part of what’s in this book. So, if you’d like that I think you’ll see how the book can be helpful to you. And hopefully how the whole Benevon model can be helpful to you. Okay. So, let’s get going.
So, the first type of event. The very first type of event is the Point of Entry. Remember when I showed you the four events? And I’ll come back. You’ll see that slide a few times throughout this. So, Point of Entry. What is that? That is what we call a sizzling one-hour get-acquainted event about your mission. So, if I were a funder and I said, “You know, I’m thinking about making a 25,000-dollar grant to your organization but first I need to learn a little bit more about you. Can I take a tour”? Most of you on the phone I would suspect would say, “Yes. We can do a tour. We know how to do that.” And what you’d show me would be more a tour of your facilities or a tour of your programs. Which are great. But it’s not got the depth of a Point of Entry. A Point of Entry goes way deeper. This is the core, the most essential element of the Benevon model and by far the most important of the events. This is generally an event that groups are not doing when they come to Benevon. If you’re doing some kind of a tour you may be able to modify it content-wise to be like this, and then I’ll talk a little bit about how you fill those tours in a minute. So, you don’t ask anyone for money at a Point of Entry. You give them facts, basic emotion, emotional connection to your work and you capture their names with their permission.
I’ll give you a walk-through of how this is done. So, the way that people are invited to a Point of Entry, again, is quite different. We don’t put things on... If you’re doing a tour right now you’re probably putting stuff on Facebook and social media and saying, “Come one, come all.” Or if you’ve ever thought about volunteering for us this is a good... Kind of an open-house kind of event... That is not what we mean by a Point of Entry. A Point of Entry is privately hosted by someone who already knows your organization. Either a board member, a volunteer or is someone who didn’t know you very long ago but they were invited by someone else that they knew to a Point of Entry and they got so enthralled with your mission that they now want to become what we call, “An ambassador.”
So, the typical agenda for the Point of Entry and you would do these twice a month if you’re going to follow the Benevon model... So, if you’ve got an existing tour you may want to modify it. But again that would not be a Point of Entry unless people are invited privately. All of you would be in my book club and I would invite my book club because you already know me... To come and learn about this wonderful organization that I’m involved. You’re really coming out of obligation to me and as a good friend. And I tell you in-advance while you’re there you won’t be asked for money but they’re going to call you once afterwards to get your feedback and hopefully to see if there’s anyone else in your would that you might like to invite so that you could perhaps become an ambassador and host a private Point of Entry like I’m doing. So, when you get there you know what to expect and you’ve got a bunch of friends there or people... You certainly know the host well. If you don’t necessarily know everyone there... You usually would know most of the people. So, a friendly environment. You’re greeted at the front door by, in my case... The school where I did this, a student. There’s a little sign-in table. And at every point, every one of our events, every one of the events I’m going to be describing to you today... Every one of them has some way to capture people’s names with their permission.
So, it’s the end of leaving your business card in the bowl for a drawing... We all knew what that lead to. A lot of mail and phone calls we didn’t really want, this model is permission-based. So, people know in-advance they’re going to be giving you their basic contact information so that you can call them afterwards one time. Okay? So, everybody fills out a little three-by-five card. And then if they’re there a few minutes early they can chat or look at the photos on the wall. So, usually there’s something mission-focused to draw their attention to. And then we start right on time with everybody seated at usually a round table or a rectangular table. It’s more like a, “Friends around a kitchen table.” There’s no Power Point. There’s no fancy microphones or speakers. It’s very much more informal. And I would be the first person to welcome you if I’m your friend from the book club, the ambassador. And I would again say, “Thanks to all of you for trusting me and coming out today to learn about this fabulous organization. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard my story about why I’m involved here. “And then I would tell something a little more personal about my connection to this so that people would understand. “And while you’re here today my greatest hope is you’ll be thinking about other people in your world, because the very best way you can help us is to spread the word.
So, if there are other people in your world that ought to know about this, through your work or your alumni association or your church group or your yoga group, that would be great. So that when you get a call from Susan in a couple of days to follow up you’ll give her your feedback and perhaps agree to become an ambassador. Next piece of this, you’re going to do these twice a month. As I said, each one hosted by an ambassador. So, the ambassador will be different every time that you do this. Okay? Then there’s the visionary leader talk. So, that would be the visionary leader... Would be your CEO, your executive director who speaks for five minutes. And again this is not something most people get on a normal tour if you’re just taking a walk-through of a hospital or your clinic or your domestic violence shelter, wherever. You’re not going to normally have the CEO or executive director there. But we require that at this for five minutes. They talk about themselves for two minutes, one minute on the results that you’re producing in what we call, “The Free Bucket Areas.”
So, we take all that you’re doing in your organization. If you have 10 programs or 20 programs or six programs we divide them into three broad bucket areas. Perhaps it’s supporting individuals, strengthening families, building community. Three broad areas that encompass all the buckets... All the programs so nothing is left out. And your vision for the future is then... Excuse me. So, the results is bragging about one thing that’s been accomplished in each of those bucket areas. And then the last two minutes are the vision for the future with enough of a gap between where you’re at and where you’re going that the guest can see a role for themselves in helping you to fulfill that. You don’t want to sound like you have it all figured out or they’ll go around to the next place down the street. Then everybody gets up and we walk around. We take a tour. We go to three stops. And each stop focuses on one of those bucket areas where we tell a myth, a myth-buster fact, a story and then need.
So, in the example we work with a lot of groups that do transitional housing. So, they’ll take people on a kind of... One of their buckets is around the transitional housing apartment up on the third floor in a lovely, older, clean, three-story walk-up apartment building. And we walked up there and we got into this sunny, bright room and the woman taking us on the tour said... There was no furniture. Completely empty, completely clean. She said, “Maybe people don’t know this, but the average age of a homeless person in our community is just nine years old. And this morning we said a very bitter-sweet goodbye right here in this room to Maria and her nine-year-old son Johnny who had been with us for six months, which is twice as long as the average family stays with us... But they’d come from a terrible domestic violence situation. They’d had need for job training, school... Johnny had been kept home from school quite a bit the last year, there were health issues, mental health issues, housing, finance, transportation... You name it. Lots of pieces of their lives to put back together. So, by the time they walked out of here this morning to start their own lives and their own new place of their own there were a lot of hugs and tears as we said goodbye to them. And for every family like theirs that we’re able to help we have to say no to eight other families. Which is why our greatest need is for one more case worker that would allow us to serve an additional 40 families per year.
So, that kind of gives you a sense of the tour stop, but everything I said was in third-person. I was telling you about Maria and Johnny. Most of the tour stops on a Point of Entry... In fact, all of them have to be... The stories are told either first-person through a letter or an audio tape. We don’t use any video tape. So, letter or audio tape. Or they can be told third-person by... But if they’re told by a case worker, for example... It needs to be a case worker who knows the family. Someone who worked with them directly. It can’t just be someone who heard about someone. And notice when I talked about the need. The need, we don’t say how much money we need. We say what that money would buy. And most people don’t really care even that you need a case worker. What they care about is how many families that case worker would allow you to serve. So, you’ve got to take it all the way out. All three stops, you’re going to do that with a myth, myth-buster fact, a story and a need. And then we go on to a live testimonial where someone whose life has been changed by your work shares that story.
And again, if you’re doing these twice a month you’re going to need a lot of testimonial speakers. Or, one testimonial speaker who’s on the premises all the time for example. An employee or staff member like at the school where I started this. We had a teacher who had been a student at the school years before and he’d come back to teach. So, he had the story. And he told it every time we did a Point of Entry. It was amazing as a rap-up person. And then, finally the ambassador comes back and says, “Thanks again for being here. Hope you’ve been thinking about other people who would like to know about this so when Susan calls you in a couple days you’ll answer her call and give her feedback and perhaps offer to become an ambassador because that’s the very best way you can help us. You may not think you know people, but in your workplace, at your church or children’s soccer team, other families... There may be an already-made group of people that is the easiest way.
So, that’s the Point of Entry. That’s the first type of event in the Benevon model. Then there’s the follow-up call just to walk you through kind of how the other events fit into this. The second step in the model is a one-on-one follow-up call. And out of those follow-up calls our metric is that you must generate at least one new ambassador out of every batch of 10 people who comes to a Point of Entry. So, if you’re doing two Point of Entry events per month, which is our metric, then we would want at least two new ambassadors to be generated every month. And they host the next tours so that the ripple effect starts to happen quickly. Okay? Stay tuned. We’re going to get to some other of the events in a minute.
The follow-up call, this gives you the outline of what you cover in the follow-up call with an emphasis on getting into their particular bucket area of interest. Is there any way you could see yourself being involved? These are always made two or three days after the Point of Entry and they’re always made by a staff member. Not by the ambassador. Not by the person who invited them because then that way the guest is freer to share openly, including saying that they’re not interested. Which is what we call being blessed and released. And blessed and released, we expect about 50 percent of the people to be blessed and released, meaning that they are not... You may put them in your database but you don’t mail anything to them. You don’t call them again afterwards. You just keep their names there because they may come back to you. But we want to be respectful of people who are not interested.
But notice that fifth question there. Is there anyone else you can think of we ought to invite to a Point of Entry? And even people that you bless and release may very well say, “Yes. I don’t want to get more involved myself, but I’ve got a whole group here at the office that I think ought to hear about that.” Or, “I’ve got a friend who’s involved in that field.” Or who has a child with that illness. Something like that. “And I want to talk with them about that and maybe we can host a whole group. The easiest way, again, to have points of entry be successful, because they all must be hosted and filled by one person. They can’t be a few people here and a few people there... Is to have ready-made groups. For example, your employees or a team of folks from the office that would want to know about your work. Okay? So, we don’t ask for money.
The third step in the model is where we ask for money, and this is the Ask Event, at step number three. But everything between steps two and three is what we call, “The cultivation super-highway.” And this is where we hasten the ripening of the fruit, kind of, so-to-speak. It’s a little crass way of putting it, but we look at the... Well, I look at the Point of Entry like a first date. You don’t tell everything on a first date. You’re just getting acquainted. So, before we can ask people for money in step number three we’ve got to cultivate them a little bit more with subsequent dates. We call those contacts. So, each of those contacts can be a little mini personal event of its own. Those are usually people who agree to one-by-one come back. For example, we had a lady who came to the Point of Entry as a guest of someone, and she, in the follow-up call, said, “This was amazing. I want to invite more people.” And she proceeded to become an ambassador many times over. And in the subsequent follow-up, the people that she sent got... We did what we call, “The dating process.” And they became very engaged in this. And many of them ended up becoming ambassadors themselves and hosting other points of entry.
So, that’s what we want. The Ask Event... By the time people come to the Ask Event they should really be ready to give. They should have been through the Point of Entry and a couple of dates that are focused in on the aspect of your work that most moves them. So, they’ll be focused in on things like, “Oh, I’m really interested in that transitional housing program.” Or, “The dental clinic.” And you’ve invited them back to learn about that. And you can have a little event... Some of you will have regular events that are kind of naturally happening in the course of your organization’s life. Maybe it’s a job, a graduation or a ceremony when somebody gets a new job. Or you might... Whatever the accomplishments that are happening within your program, those are the kinds of little mini-events that you can invite people back to for subsequent dates. But we don’t want it to be a big invitation thing for the dating. It’s much more personal. So, perhaps they want to come back and meet the teacher, the music teacher. Or they want to talk with the person in the art program. Whatever. You’re going to zero in in what they’re...
So, often those subsequent dates are more one-on-one. Okay. Asking for money. Two ways to ask and I’m going to focus today on the free one-hour Ask Event. So many of you have Ask Events. You have fundraising events. I was just on a call earlier today with a gentlemen who said, “Oh, yeah. We’ve been doing the Benevon model for years. We do those events every year.” And I said, “Well, good. Do you do the points of entry”? And he said, “What’s that”? So, a lot of people think... If they know of Benevon they think, “Oh, this is just this Ask Event thing. We’re already...” There’s a lot of those going on in our community. That’s pretty common these days. I don’t think so. Let me just tell you why. So, the free one-hour Ask Event is only hosted... The tables are all hosted by people who’ve been ambassadors. The only people who host a people... Fill a table of 10 or more at the Ask Event are people who’ve already done the same thing at the Point of Entry. So, they’re inviting those same people except for the ones that are blessed and released to come to sit at their table at the Ask Event.
So, in other words we don’t just call board members up and say, “Fill a table.” We don’t just say, “You’ve never hosted a Point of Entry but we need bodies in that room at the Ask Event,” because then those people... For those people, the guests who come, they’ll be giving... If they do give out of guilt and obligation to the table captain, not to your mission... So, when those people go off your board or stop being involved with you the donors walk out the door too. That is not what we want. We want donors who are already... We want people coming to the Ask Event who are already... Had already made up in their own mind that this is a good thing. And the Ask Event is strictly for the purpose of asking them for their money, of actually getting that first gift.
So, we do a lot of one-on-one asking in the Benevon model. More than half the money groups raise is from one-on-one asking. I’m not going to stress that as much today, but I’m going to tell you about how the Ask Event works. So, let’s just say you’ve been invited by me. I’m your friend, the table captain. I was your ambassador. I invited you. You’re in my book club. I invited you to come to the Point of Entry. And you liked it. And you have been wanting to come back. You’ve come back and met with people at the school a couple of times and I finally call and say, “Would you like to come to the Ask Event”? And you’re driving there, and you get out of your car and who’s there to greet you? Two little girls that are adorable. And great music as you go up the escalator. You can hear the organ music in the ballroom even though you can’t see it. Name tags are waiting out in the lobby area for you. You grab your name tag and go into your table and you find your friend, the table captain, who’s waiting there with a big handshake or a hug. And you sit down and take your place. The program starts right on time.
So, it’s just one hour and you know in-advance you’re going to be asked for money because when I invited you I said, “It’s a free event and it’s a fundraising event. We call it a free fundraising event.” But it’s just one hour. Our event was a breakfast. So, the first person to speak when we sit down is a board member who welcomes everyone and then introduces what we generically refer is to The Short Emotional Hook. So, this is a part of the program where, in our case, we had the pastor and the little girl do an invocation prayer. It was really beautiful. In the first three minutes everybody was pretty much moved to tears. But you can do a song, a poem, many other things. But something short and punchy that says to people, “We’re not just here for breakfast or lunch. We’ve really got an agenda in mind.” And then the board member comes back on and says, “Enjoy your breakfast. While you’re eating take a look at the table tents in front of each of you. There’s a story written about one of our students and a photo of themselves or a drawing telling your about their life.” And then, while you’re eating you feel a tap on your shoulder and it’s a young child with a basket of apples making their rounds to each person at your table saying, “Thank you for coming,” and giving you an apple. It’s not about the apple. It’s really about the icon tact. When we work with the Alzheimer’s Association it’ll be a volunteer with a ribbon on their badge saying volunteer and they’re passing out packets of flower seeds. Guess what kind? Forget me nots.
When we work with nursing homes I’ll pass out a little greeting card like a holiday greeting card and a pen, and say, “Please write a message to one of our residents.” It might be the only card they get this holiday season. Breakfast is over and up comes the visionary leader. Again, this is your CEO or executive director who does a bigger... Kind of a bigger talk. It’s still only five minutes but the vision is big. Everything is timed and just at the energy and focus of this event. And again in that book that I’ve written that I mentioned at the beginning there’s more detail about that talk. And then, the seven-minute video needs to move people to tears three times. Not two times. And these are not tears of sadness. These are tears of joy and inspiration. So, you want people really moved at the video. It doesn’t need to be expensive. Not fancy music or narration. Just zero right in on three stories, one about each of... A family or a person that was impacted by one of your three bucket areas. You need three stories, so one for each bucket. And then we end with a live testimonial where someone gets up and talks about how your organization changed their life.
At our school we had 10 kids from the choir come up. And sure enough, they were kind of squirmy. They were squirmy and we didn’t want to give the microphone to do a testimonial talk. So, we had a lady interview them, and she asked them three questions. What do you like about going to school, what’s your favorite subject and what do you want to be when you grow up. And these kids were amazing. They all had a vision for their lives that was clearly instilled in them from the school. “I want to be a pilot. I’m going to be an engineer.” You could have heard a pin drop in that room. By that point there were nearly 1,000 people at our first Ask Event. And you’re kind of wondering to yourself, “How are they going to do this fundraising part? What am I going to do”?
The last element of the program, the free one-hour Ask Event, is the pitch. And you know it’s coming. I warned you it was a fundraising event. And you’re thinking to yourself, “How are they going to pull this off and what am I going to do”? The pitch person, the one who asks for the money, we refer to endearingly as a credible school teacher-like person, credible in that they are truly linked to your mission, and school teacher in that they will follow a script. If you’ve ever written a script for someone who’s asking for money you know you might think you’re going to almost have a heart attack if they’re going to botch the whole thing up.” And in fact we’ve seen a lot of botched-up pitches. Many of them, because people don’t practice. They don’t rehearse and they don’t follow our pledge card format. So, I’ll show you how we did it. The man at our school was our board chair at that point. He came up and said, “I want to thank you all for coming today and for your commitment to learning about our school and to supporting our school.” He said, “If you believe in what you’ve seen today we’ve got something we want to invite you to join.” And then that top-right corner you’ll see 600,000 dollars. He said, “We’ve got a short-fall of that amount in our budget and about 600 kids. And if you believe in what you’ve seen today we’d like to invite you to become a founding member of our Sponsor of Students Society.” And he walked through these three giving levels, each one making five-year pledges. So, 1,000 dollars, 10,000 and 25,000. And those are the number of people on the right that each signed on for five years.
Now, the IRS requires you must report all pledges as if they are received on the day they are pledged. Therefore, by IRS standards we just raised over 500,000 dollars just from that first line along. And by the end if you look at the top-left we had 850 people there, which was fewer than we expected. And please don’t try doing an event nearly this big. The only reason we could do it that big was because we had put on so many points of entry and we were able to meet the metric of having every table captain be someone who was an ambassador and at least half... We had 85 percent of their guests... Had been through these tours and through the whole dating process. So, there was a lot of, shall we crassly say, ripened fruit in the room. And that’s why from less than 15 percent of the people up at the top, we raised nearly a million-and-a-half dollars just from those top three levels. That doesn’t count the fourth box there where people could make a fill-in-the-blanks gift and they could give any amount they wanted for any number of years.
And then we had that fifth box for people who, even if they had checked above one of the boxes, might have other ideas or they wanted to sell stock or transfer real estate or just give you some advice. We were happy to give them all a call. So, after the Ask Event where if I was on the phone making these follow-up calls to all these brand-new donors, asking them, “What did you think? Any way you could see yourself getting involved”? And most of all, “Anybody else you can think of”? And people started saying, “If I had known how great that event was going to be I would have invited other people.” That seems to be the natural human response when people feel they’ve made a real contribution from their abundance as opposed to a one-time donation from scarcity. And they started telling me names of people I’d never heard of. I was writing them down.
I finally caught myself and said, “Here it is the day after this Ask Event where you just gave so generously.” We’re thinking, “We ought to have this event again 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 event and you’d have between now and next year to do the fourth step, in introduce people by inviting them. How? To a Point of Entry. Become an ambassador. Invite them. We will educate and inspire them there. We will follow up with them and bless and release them. About 50 percent of the people are blessed and released. And continue to cultivate through the dating process the people who want to stay with us. So, by the time they’re sitting at your table at the Ask Event next year they’re going to be the people who are ready to give. Or they don’t need to give at all. By following this process it continues to grow. And those people are coming back. The donors who already gave are coming back to something we call, “The third kind of an event: A Free Feel-Good Cultivation Event.” A Free Feel-Good Cultivation Event is not free tickets to the golf tournament or free tickets to the gala. It is a ready-made event. It’s something mission-focused that you’re already doing. You don’t need to invent a Free Feel-Good Event.
For example, at our school we had to a graduation. Once a year we had a big graduation in June. So, all the students were there. The parents were there. It was amazing. And 30 minutes before the graduation started we had a reception in the little room next door where we invited all the big donors. Those donors, we had... The principal came up to the podium and he bragged about the test scores and the grade-point-average which were incredible. Then we had a grandmother and her grandson talk about the impact of the school on them, and then everybody was invited to go into the big room to stay for the graduation as much as they’d like. You see, if you do it right this Free Feel-Good Cultivation Event at step four, services, the point of re-entry in step one... And suddenly these people are once again getting the facts. There’s the principal with the statistics and test scores. The emotional hook was the grandmother and grandson. That was really emotional. And then capturing the names with permission at the Free Feel-Good Event was no problem because we had invited the people. We had all their names.
So, therefore three days later I was on the phone calling all those new donors who had just come to the Free Feel-Good Event and thanking them again, “What did you think of the principal? What did you think of the grandmother? Any other way you could see yourself getting involved? Anybody else come to mind”? Constantly deepening my relationship with this person leading up to the next Ask. Now, within six months we had to do a capital campaign. So, we did more of these points of re-entry which are the Free Feel-Goods which is the third type of an event. So, we knew we needed a capital campaign. We didn’t have it. We had to raise three-point-two million. We were evicted from our building. What were we going to do? So, we had to find a new source of capital and we only had those new donors. It was within six months of the first Ask Event at the school. So, we put together and started putting on little points of re-entry just for the existing donors about capital.
So, those donors that made those five-year pledges, we invited them in small batches of people to come to evening one-hour events where we talked in small groups, or we invited them to come to learn about the capital needs. WE showed them the architect’s drawings of the new building, the pyramid chart of the number of gifts it would take us to get to three-point-two million, the naming opportunities associated with it. You know, name the chapel or the gymnasium after your family. It took us six months. That’s all. We raised three-point-two million from 18 of the same donors who had just come to the Ask Event and joined the Giving Society.
So, my point is that the people who make those five-year pledges, that’s not just about the money. They’re with you on the mission. They don’t have to make a five-year pledge. They could give you a fill-in-the-blanks box. So, therefore the people who do make the five-year pledge, it’s even a bigger thing. They’re telling you, “We’re really with you on the mission. Keep in touch. Cultivate me. Engage me in more.” It doesn’t mean I’m going to give you all the money you ever need. It just means I’m with you on the mission.” So, there you have it. That’s the capital campaign. So, I want to just go into the other types of events now and spend some more time on that. And I will be taking questions later on in the webinar. So, please do submit your questions on the little text box there on the screen so that Melissa can read them to me when we get to the question and answer part of the webinar.
So, four types of events. Let’s go back and review. We have the classic Point of Entry as I told you. That happens twice a month and it’s always hosted by an ambassador. Always a private event. Not a public open-house. Hosted and filled with 10 or more people. Then we have, underneath it, the Point of Entry in a box. So, that’s where only after you’ve done the points of entry in your office, even if you think, “Well, it’s confidential,” or, “We have what we endearingly at Benevon call ‘boring office syndrome,’” you still need to practice doing a Point of Entry in your own office. That’s how you’re going to learn how to tell the stories. The book will give you a lot of detail, and we’ve got a video tutorial program I’ll tell you about at the end if you want to get really sophisticated about it, especially if your organization is small. It’s designed for them. So, a smaller-budget organization.
So, I’ll tell you about that at the end. So, the classic Point of Entry and then the next is the Point of Entry in a box. This is where, after you’ve done it for a while, you can take it out on the road into a board member’s conference room, a church basement...It’s not a rotary presentation, and I’ll get into that in a minute. It’s not a little 20-minute dog and pony show out in the community where you get a few minutes on someone else’s program. It’s where people know in-advance that they are coming just to hear about you. For example, you may have... Just thinking of one particular board member. She works at a community college. And when we asked her to be an ambassador she said, “Well, who would I invite”? And we said, “Well, wait a minute. You’re above the community. You’ve got all kinds of incredible programs there. What about if we go to the department that’s related to housing or homelessness or social services or the environment and we ask them if they would like to host one of these events,” because they’re always trying to learn about what’s going on in the community.
So, a ready-made group. You would have to take the Point of Entry to them and do it what we call, “In a box.” And there’s information in the book about how to do that. But you can’t just start off doing them in a box. You’ve got to actually start off doing them in your own office until you’re good enough at telling the stories and you see what really resonates with people and you take them around on the tour. You’ll refine it quite a bit before you can take it out on the road with props. And when you do it on the road, Point of Entry in a box, it’s the same content as what you do in your office. But instead of them being able to see the work going on or whatever you take some props with you. And you can even do it... What we call a Four Corners to where people are sitting at a conference table in the middle and they kind of rotate their chairs to the four corners of the room where you have a display, the stories, the props and even the testimonial speakers. That’s one of the derivatives.
The next derivative is the one-on-one Point of Entry. Now, we don’t teach this much anymore. But some of you are still doing this where you’ve got... A certain person is coming to town and you don’t want to say no, and you don’t have time to put a whole group together. But if you’re going to do a one-on-one Point of Entry use the techniques I’m giving you about how to give on a great Point of Entry. Don’t just take them on a walk-through tour. I actually attended a tour. I guess you could say I was in the little VIP group for an organization here in Seattle this week, and it was a fabulous organization but it was just a small little group of us. And they didn’t really... They could have done so much more to convey the depth of their mission. It was very good at showing us... It was super impressive to see all that they were doing, but had they added a few stories, had they had us talk with the real people there that were learning and benefiting from what they were doing it would have really gone deeper and sunk way in. So, that’s the one-on-one Point of Entry. Just taking people through. But use the principles of your group Point of Entry. Use the same stories and the tour stops and the bucket. And then there’s the pre-Point of Entry. Now, the pre-Point of Entry is...
Well, I’ll go back and tell a little bit about that. Let me get into the details of it a little bit more. So, here’s your Point of Entry. You’re going to have... Everything in the box here, you’re going to see that showing up in every one of the types of events I’m going to show you. The give them the facts, give them a piece of the emotion and capture their names with permission. So, Point of Entry, the guests are invited word-of-mouth. I’ve already covered this. Let me move on. You’re going to do those twice a month. Two times a month, the privately-hosted points of entry. Next, you’ve got the Free One-Hour Ask Event. So, that again, people are sitting down. You give them the facts, the emotion in that box down there and you’re going to capture their names with permission. How do you have their names? Because their tables captains invited them. They’ve sent you a list in-advance of who’s going to be coming. And you probably have their names because you already had their names in your database because they came to your Point of Entry. Right? Once a year you do this. You only have one Point of Entry event... Excuse me, one Ask Event per year.
So, the groups that come to Benevon’s trainings... We have a training in Seattle in September, they will start doing their points of entry. They bring a team of people and we customize this all for them and design their Point of Entry. Amazing. And by October they will be putting on points of entry twice a month leading up to an Ask Event the following year. The end of the following year. About nice to 10 months later they’ll be putting on their Ask Event. So, you only need one Ask Event per year but two points of entry minimum per month. Next event is the Free Feel-Good Cultivation Event, and I talked about that a little bit, how you do that. Free, it’s an event you’re already having anyway like a recognition or Awards dinner. A music program, for example, a science fair where you invite people to come a little bit early to perhaps a little reception, have them sit down. You’ve got to be sitting so they can pay attention. We don’t just have them walking around holding a wine glass in their hand and chatting while you’re putting on your program. But you give them the facts. And again like at our graduation we had our principal sharing specific statistics and then we had the emotion of the grandmother. And we had their names already and we do the follow-up. So, that’s all part of what Free Feel-Good is all about. And then the next kind of an event... Actually, Free Feel-Good’s twice a year.
So, every donor you’ve got, once they are a donor we expect you to have three contacts with them per year. They need to come once to a Free Feel-Good, one of your two Free Feel-Good events and at least two other personal cultivation contacts, meaning one-on-one generally. So, this is a pipeline filling system for major gifts. That’s what we want is for you to be cultivating these donors individually. We don’t just take their five-year pledge as an end-all gift. We use it as the door-opener. We take it as a sign that they want to be kept in touch with. And then we have number four, the Point of Entry Conversion Event. These are the events that most of you are already doing that you call fundraisers. This is why many people get on this webinar with me is because they’re thinking, “What the heck do I do with my gala? How am I going to convert my gold tournament? How am I going to stop having one of these a month or four of them a year”? And, “I feel like we’re on this treadmill. We’re not building anything. We’re not deepening our relationships.
So, we call those Point of Entry Conversion Events in that they are a pipeline filler for potential ambassadors. We don’t really need for you to keep doing them. In fact, if anything we would like you to stop doing them altogether but we are smart enough to know that most non-profits are busy doing them and they need the money. So, they’re not going to go cold-turkey. But just to look at the details of it, this is number one here. Events you call fundraisers. People think they’re coming for a gold tournament. But how do you do that? How do you know if you’ve converted successfully? By the end of the golf tournament can people answer these two questions? Namely, the name of your organization. Will they even remember it without looking down at the name on the free t-shirt you gave them? And what does your organization do anyway? Most golfers, if they were just invited to play a round of golf for a day with a friend for a charity golf outing are not even going to be able to tell you that.
So, we say that you’ve got to have a sit-down portion either before... Usually it’s at the Awards lunch or the Awards dinner kind of a thing. And that’s where at some point in the program we hear from the visionary leader and we hear their story, the visionary leader’s story and usually a live testimonial, someone talking about how your organization changed their life. That’s just a short program during a golf thing. It might be a total of 10 minutes and you’ve captured the names of everybody there as you already know them. So, then you’re going to follow up afterwards and recruit table captains out of that and also do more special points of entry. That’s where you get more ambassadors. But this is not nearly as efficient as a regular Point of Entry. This is a bunch of work and it’s only generating for you, obviously, one-time donors. People who are making a one-time gift usually because their friend invited them to come and play golf with them in that example. But many of these other events, if you’ve got a gala, you could ask some questions if you’d like in the Q and A period coming up here about a gala and how to convert a gala. We have to do that all the time and help our groups with that.
So, ideally in our model after using the Benevon model after a while you would not be doing any of these events. Most groups when they come to Benevon are doing two or three events and they learn about our model and they say, “Oh, we can now do the points of entry. That would be great twice a month. And we could do the Ask Event once a year and we’ll do the Free Feel-Good Ask Event once a year and we’ll do the Free Feel-Goods. And eventually they see they can convert eh sponsors they have from some of their other events to sponsor their Ask Event and do away with all the labor-intensive part of putting on some of those other events so they can spend that time cultivating the new donors they have for more significant gifts down the road. So, again this is a pipeline filling system for major gifts. That’s what we want. So, this is a sample script. This is in the book also for Point of Entry conversion.
So, here we are. We’re at the golf tournament. And in the red have the [INAUDIBLE 0:41:04] say at the beginning of the 10-minute program, “We here at our organization wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t take advantage of the fact that you’re all here to tell you a little bit more about what we do.” And that’s when they would say, “Let me tell you as the CEO of the organization why I do what I do. Let me share with you a story about the lives we’re changing every day. In fact let me introduce Bob here with his son John to tell you about how our organization changed their life.” And when they come back up you’re going to say, “Now that you’ve learned a little bit more about our work,” at the golf tournament. “Some of you may find you’d like to know more about our work first-hand or just to be kept informed. There’s a little card under your plate. Fill out a card and give it to your table host. You can even set it up in-advance so that the table hosts know,” at the golf outing in this example, “That they know that they will each be hosting a tour.” So, you can even have someone say, “Your table hosts have already agreed to host a tour.” Again, we would love for you not to be spending as much time putting together golf outings, granted if it is what we call a third-party event where someone else puts on the outing for you and you just go and get the check and talk about your mission, that’s fine. But all that work that goes into putting these together... And most of the money we find from gold, and many times from the gala, is the money that sticks if you will. The net of the event is probably almost equal to the amount that comes in on the sponsorships.
So, imagine if you didn’t have to do all that work and you just could get that money from the sponsorships. That’s what we mean by applying that to your Benevon-style Ask Event. So, as they’re filling in the cards, this is another thing. If you’ve been moved and inspired by what you’ve heard we’d love to have you come and take a tour. So, we talk a little bit about the tour. This is all the kind of script that we give you about how to convert an event and we want you to begin doing that. Okay. Let’s move on to... This is really fun. I love this part. This is the soul-searching questions right out of the book. So, in our book there are... I think there’s 17 soul-searching questions. Ways that you could... If you’re, for example, a development person thinking, “How do I get my board to understand this? They just keep coming back with more and more good ideas for events because they went to an airplane pull [phonetic],” or, “They went to a polo match,” or they went to whatever kind of event they went to they think we ought to do one of those. They don’t realize that means me doing it. That’s a lot of work and I don’t know that I have any more bandwidth to take on more.
So, if you want to help them analyze the events and the impact of them use these questions. Why are we really having the event anyway? What is the point of this event? Is it friend-raising? Is it fundraising? Is it just because everybody in town does one? Is there an expectation that it’s actually going to raise any money? Tell the truth from the beginning. As many people find, “No. We really never thought we’d raise any money from that. We just wanted to make friends.” But a lot of people say that after-the-fact as a justification for why they didn’t raise any money. So, if you’ve got a dollar amount that you’re actually aiming to raise you need to say what that is and have a darn-right good plan to get there. What have you said in the past to justify not reaching the goal? How attached are you to this type of event? And then number five, my favorite questions. What if someone just walked in and wrote you a check for the total dollar goal. Would you still even have the event? So, how would you answer that? Would you say yes? Would you say no?
We ask this question at our two-day workshops where there’s a whole team from an organization. And it’s amazing. Even at the same table, if it’s all from one non-profit some people will say, “I’d get rid of that thing, no question about it,” and others would go, “Heck no. That’s the best thing we got going.” So, it’s a really important questions. If someone just wrote you a check for the net amount. You didn’t have to do all that work. Would you still have it? And then number six, thinking ahead to the next event, if you don’t make the goal what’s going to be the reason? It’s amazing to me how people already know why they’re not going to make their goal, and they keep doing it. I don’t understand. Okay. Number seven. If the event is supposed to be a fundraiser do you even know how much it actually nets? I’m amazed also. People just don’t want to hear that number. They’re so busy working on it they’re just trusting that it’s building something good. How many people did it take? Volunteers, dedicated fundraising staff and what’s the opportunity cost? What else could they have been doing with that same amount of time? We say a major gifts officer who’s really doing major gifts and focusing on it is going to bring in a lot more money probably than most galas raise if they just focused on cultivating the donors assuming you have the donors. You can’t just ask them to go out and find wealthy people in the community who don’t know anything about you and have them give you money.
Number 10, for how many months in-advance have you been worrying about it? How long, how far in-advance? What’s the lead time the people are putting into these? We have many groups where there’s one person who spends a whole year on one event and it does not necessarily net what it should to cover all that compared to them being available to go out and meet with people individually and do one-on-one asks. And do you know from the beginning that you’ve got fixed costs? If you’re having to sell out that theater, sell out all those tickets and it seems like, “Oh, there’s only 1,000 tickets and they only cost X amount each,” that’s still a lot of work for somebody. And guess who ends up holding the bag if it doesn’t come together? Is this even the right kind of event for your organization? We have groups that are faith-based groups that have casino nights. We have groups serving the homeless that do fancy home tours. What kind of message does that send to people? Does this type of event, number 13, give you enough predictors of the result? Are there ways along the way...? Are there points along the way for you to bail out if it’s not working? Are there escape hatches so that you don’t get caught will all those 500 empty seats at that opening night that you just sold all the tickets to? 14. Is this event the best way to maximize the giving potential of each donor? Again, you can bring a lot of wealthy people to a gala, and if there’s not the right trip to whatever country they want to go to or the right bottle of wine they may sit with their money in their wallet. Many groups now are doing the fund-need, which I think if you’re going to have a gala and auction the fund-need as a good way to identify people who would give you money just for your mission. They don’t need anything in return, and those are people that I think make great potential ambassadors and Point of Entry guests.
So, you certainly would want to get them there, talk about that. Okay. And what would you think, number 15, if you had to sit through that program? Is it way too long? Is it boring? What are you building for future years? Anything? And now, on the scale of one to 10 how excited are you about producing the event? Because you may be the one that has to do most of it, and not only that but excite other people about it. So, you better be sure you are on board with this and that it wasn’t just handed to you at the last minute and told, “Turn this thing into a success.” Okay? So, next piece of this, we’re going to be talking about... Here we go. System of events. Here we are. So, this is out of the book also. This is a very important page in the book where we take everything that you’re already doing, you list it down the left side there under current events and then you decide, what are you going to convert it to. Are you going to convert it to a pre-Point of Entry where you get people to come? Pre-Point of Entry, actually I didn’t say much about that. A pre-Point of Entry is like a rotary presentation or a community where you’re invited out to speak at something for 15 minutes. Those are not points of entry because why? You’re not there for an hour, you do not have permission to ask people... People didn’t sign up just to come to hear about your organization. They’re in a group thing that they come to every week and you’re the speaker of the day.
So, you cannot count those names and treat those people as if they came to a Point of Entry at all. So, a pre-Point of Entry... Pre-Point of Entry feeds your Point of Entry. So, just to finish on my rotary example there... Which is great. If you get invited to speak at one of those places, darn well take that opportunity. But when you’re there... Before you even go the person who invited you, if they’re a member of that group you want to ask them if they would consider hosting a Point of Entry after the rotary presentation in the next couple of weeks. Choose a date, a time and usually that’s the same person who will get up and introduce you before you speak at the rotary presentation, your 15 minutes or 10 minutes or 20 minutes. And in fact during that time when they are introducing you they’re going to say, “This is a great organization. Here’s why I believe in it and I hope that many of you will get excited because if you like it today I’m going to be hosting one of these little tours in the next couple of weeks. In fact there’s even a little card on each of your tables if you’d like to come.
In other words the guests know that person. That’s one of their members. And if he or she says, “I’m hosting this and you’re welcome to come fill out a little card,” that’s a lot different than you saying, “I’m going to call every one of you and find out if you’d like to take a tour.” You don’t have permission to do that. So, that’s a pre-Point of Entry. It’s kind of a feeder, a way to take people who are coming to just get a little taste of your mission. Not because they were invited by an ambassador but because they just had to show up at their meeting every week. Okay. So, my point is you list all of the events on the left. And the events that you list on the left are not just your fund-raising events. That’s where you can list your music program, your science fair, anything that’s happening that you do programmatically because look at... As you go across you might want to take that music program and turn that into, for example, a point-of-entry tour stop. You might want to... The second column over, point-of-entry event. They might want to have... “Gee, the music program would be a great stop on our three-stop tour.” Point of Entry in a box. Are you going to convert some of those events to that? Each one of these, I’ve described what they are. And if you need a refresher it’s in the book.
But you look at, what could you convert it to and what’s the ideal month, the second column from the right there? What’s the ideal month to have it in? When would you like to have it, and if you’ve got them all glommed up in one season of the year and you’re thinking, “No wonder I’m stressed out,” you might want to spread them out a little. But we use this chart for groups that come to Benevon because everybody, when they come to us... To our two-day training with their team of seven people or more they always already have a bunch of stuff they’re doing. And they’re thinking, “How are we going to fit Benevon into that? Because we’ve got to do two points of entry a month and one Ask Event a year for Benevon? Plus the golf and the gala and whatever else all we’re doing”? So, want to show them that everything, if you list it down the left, can be converted into something that fits into our model. Or, in the far-right column, eliminate it. So, you could add an event, which we certainly don’t encourage you to do, but there’s some times people say, “We’re not doing points of entry at all. We better add them.” Converting an existing event...
So, again that would be the golf tournament or the gala, how to convert that into a more mission-focused event that you can then follow up with people and have them join... Have them become ambassadors. When do we want to eliminate it and by when? So, some groups will say, “Yes, we want to eliminate.” Here. Let me show you an example. There we go. So, this is a chart that’s filled out already. There’s the golf outing on the left and we’re going to eliminate it now on the far-right. And there’s the corporate-sponsored gala. We’re turning that into a Point of Entry Conversion Event. So, we’re going to insert during the middle of the gala... One of the live auction items might be a fund-need thing, where we hold up our paddle and people just bid and give money for whatever it is. It might be a new piano for the school or it might be scholarships or something that the school or organization really needs. And by when will we convert that, are we going to convert it by year one and eliminate it year two? That’s what we’re going to do with the gala, thank you very much. And there’s our ideal month for Marc. Graduation in June, chess classes will be a tour stop monthly, and the same with the tutoring sessions.
So, that kind of leaves you seeing over time... We’ll be able to phase back things and incorporate everything we want to keep so that we can begin to do the points of entry twice a month and have the minimum twice a month and have one Ask Event per year. Okay? There you have it. Our system of events. And let me just tell you some of the resources available to Benevon just for a couple of minutes and we will take questions. So, get your questions in there. Okay. So, first thing about resources is our E-News. This is the gateway to everything Benevon. If you like anything you’ve heard today and you want to be kept informed, every Monday we send out a very meaty blog with a lot of good content about subjects like this all about sustainable funding. So, you need to go on our web site and sign up. Some of you may have signed up when you signed up for the webinar. But it’s an opt-in kind of a thing, and you need to sign up for that if you want it every Monday. It has a lot of... Anything new we’re doing is announced there first. Here’s what it looks like. Get Benevon updates.
Next, our books. So, if your budget is small, if it’s half-a-million dollars a year or less I recommend you get started with the books. Here’s the prices on... The middle item is a DVD, not a book. And it is available for free on our web site. You do not need to buy it, but some people really like it and it comes as part of this package deal. So, you can see the prices down below. But you will want this. The DVD is 55 minutes to sustainable funding and it is free on the web site if you want to get that. But if you want to buy it all, there it is. And I would say, if you are going to try the model on your own you’ve got to have the books at a minimum. And I’m going to show you, if you’re small... Bigger organizations should be coming to us. Free videos I mentioned. Bloomerang [phonetic] is our software partner. We have a special customized Bloomerang for Benevon. Inexpensive, we-based, really easy to use, very intuitive just like on your... You can put it on your cell phone. And customized with all the Benevon fields.
So, if you’re interested after today you’re going to get a little pop-up survey and you can let us know, “You know, I’d like more information about that bloomerang program you mentioned.” And then we have live introductory sessions. There’ll be one coming up in Denver. If you live in the Denver area you can attend that for a couple of hours and hear from our presenter about the Benevon model and ask questions. And then we have webinars like this. There’s a couple more coming up before the end of the year... Or actually before the end of the summer, and you can find out more about them on our web site. So, the next one is, “How to Engage Your Community,” in July and then, “The Five Metrics for Getting It Right,” in August. And then we’ve got the video tutorial series. This is something brand-new. It just came out about two months ago, and this is a six-part... Excuse me. Five-part series launching the Benevon model video tutorial. It’s going to be five videos. It is designed as a companion guide to the Benevon complete starters which are the books for organizations with a smaller budget, 500,000 or less, that want to get started but can’t come to a workshop yet.
So, what it includes is access to all five... The five-part video tutorial series for six months, so you don’t get it forever, and you can work with a whole team of your own to customize it. It gives you nine worksheets to be used in conjunction with the videos. And here are the topics. So, you’re going to learn about how to leave a legacy... And they’re actual worksheets. So, if you have three or four or five people sitting with you you’ll be able to design a sizzling Point of Entry, figure out your whole what we call, “Treasure Map,” for ambassadors, how to do the follow-up calls and get the metrics there and how to customize your events. All of that is part of the tutorial series, which we have a special on now because it’s still new through the end of July. 595 dollars. It’s half-off. So, it’s really outstanding if you’re a smaller group. Notice it does not give you anything about an Ask Event. So, if you want an Ask Event you’re not going to be finding out how to do that here because the purpose of the video tutorials is to show you and help you customize the hardest parts of the model. Which is, how to get the machinery going, the Point of Entry. How to get the fly-wheel going in the right direction. Our hope is that you’ll do that and then get strong enough that you can come to Benevon with a full team to one of our workshops and we can show you all the rest of it, for how to put on an Ask Event as well.
So, if your budget’s larger we’d like you to consider coming to one of our two-day workshops where we can customize the entire model. You bring a team of seven people. Your executive director or CEO, a development person who serves as the team leader, one other staff member is optional and then two board members minimum, and the rest of the team are volunteers or other board members. Each person agrees to be an ambassador. One of your first ambassadors. And in the course of the two days you’re sitting at your own round table in a room of eight or 10 other non-profits and we will customize the model just for you. Your team will design each piece of it, and they leave with a plan, a timeline and a coach that you will love by then who will stay with you for the full year, coaching you towards an Ask Event. You get about eight coaching calls. So, it’s quite rigorous as far as... And really plentiful as far as the support that you will need.
So, if you’re interested, after today we have only two more workshops coming up this year. These are both in the last part of this year which means that they will set people up for putting on their Benevon first Ask Event in the last part of next year. It takes almost a year to get all the metrics right to have enough points of entry so that you can have a successful Ask Event. So, if you’re interested in either Seattle in September or Orlando in November let us know. The tuition is 19,000 dollars. The average raises over 200,000 in the first year in cash and pledges. So, you’ll have an opportunity to let us know. There’s the book. I think we’re going to end on that slide, and I think with that I will ask Melissa. We’ve got about 15 minutes there which is a nice amount of time for questions. So, do we have questions, Melissa?
Melissa: Yeah. We have a few. So, Linda asks: If you are a small agency where do you get the funding for that first free Ask Event? Was space and food donated by the hotel you held your first event at? That is most likely the biggest expense for this type of event.
Terry: Excellent. That is a great question, Linda. And no. Nobody donated anything for the first event for us. We actually had to... We got a sponsor. So, we had somebody who helped underride it, and we went to the... We knew, because the way the model works if you read all the metrics you can kind of predict how much money you’re going to raise and we certainly are pretty good at that. After 22 years we’ve worked with almost 6,000 non-profits. So, we have a lot of experience in what it takes to predict. And therefore we weren’t concerned about taking the risk. But I will say it’s not that expensive because you’re not giving them a hot breakfast. There’s not a buffet. It’s a pre-set cold breakfast. People are only there for 60 minutes. So, you’re talking about coffee and a bagel or a sweet roll and maybe some juice and granola. It’s that kind of a breakfast, all set out on the table. You don’t have serving people bustling in and out because you don’t want to distract anyone from the program. And even if you do it as a lunch it’s going to be maybe a cold Caesar’s salad, a nice Caesar chicken salad and then the dessert is already set out on the plate on the places right in front, and maybe some iced tea on the table that’s already there.
So, it’s quite inexpensive to put on. Certainly inexpensive compared to some of the bigger kinds of events a lot of people are doing. And we’re able to predict pretty well how much you’re going to raise. So, you can either take it out of the money that you raise or have a sponsor underride it. And certainly if you can get the venue to help you and underwrite it do it. But we don’t count on that at all. It’s surprising. It’s a great question, and I’m asked that often but it is surprisingly inexpensive to put this on compared to some of the other events. There’s not a lot of risk because you can get a smaller... You can scale it according to lunch and how many people are coming. You can make your ballroom... Either you just have fewer tables, order less food. Okay. I think that’s a long enough answer for... A good question.
Melissa: Okay. Beth asks, if you could give a job description for the table captain.
Terry: Yeah. Well, the table captain’s... Hi, Beth. Table captains, the main thing is they have to have been an ambassador. What we don’t want... We don’t want one table captain to come in and fill a table who’s never hosted a tour that year. Not just like they hosted a tour five years ago and gee, they’re on the board. They know what we do. Let them just fill a table. Why? Because guess who’s going to be sitting at their table? People who’ve probably never come to a Point of Entry. This is going to be their first date. We do not want the Ask Event to be the first date. It needs to be the culmination of the dating process. People are ready to give by the time they are invited. So, the number one criteria for a successful table captain is that they have been an ambassador. It doesn’t mean they are wealthy. It doesn’t mean that they have already been a big donor to you. Many times the table captains will make their first gift right there at the Ask Event by joining the Giving Society. So, that’s the first criteria. Second is that they will follow through. Just because they say they’re going to be a table captain, and even if they’ve hosted a Point of Entry, will they be there on the day of the Ask Event? Will they follow through with their people and e-mail them and be sure that... Call them first to invite them, but e-mail subsequently to be sure that they are coming. And do they even have a backup list of people that they could... An ideal table captain, Beth, would be someone who’s hosted two points of entry. I did this at an organization I was involved in. That way I had about 20, 25 people as my pool of people who’d come to the tours. And as you recall I said earlier about 50 percent of the people are blessed and released.
So, if I brought 25... Say I brought 24 people. I’m down to 12 that still are excited about this organization, and those are my pool that I call to invite to sit at my table. But what if only eight of them can come? At the last minute a couple of them back out, so I’ve got to fill my table. And I can do that with a couple of new people. It’s all right to have maybe two out of every 10 people be people who’ve not come to the Point of Entry. That’s what we had at our first Ask Event at the school where you saw we raised a million-and-a-half dollars. We had 85 percent of the people in the room had been on a tour in the first year. And not just a tour but all the dating process. So, the real thing for a table captain is that they’ve got to be passionate about your mission, have been an ambassador and be willing to follow through. You know who these people are. Most of you know your board members. You know your volunteers. Don’t pick the people who aren’t going to follow through. Don’t pick the people who are just going to put it together at the last minute and show up with a bunch of new people at your event. That is not this. It’s fine if you want to do that. Just don’t call Benevon and don’t bother doing the points of entry. Just go ahead and keep putting on a gala. It’s the same kind of thing. It won’t build something long-term because people won’t be giving to the mission. They’ll be giving to please their friend and they won’t pay through on their pledges. Our guests, our track record on pledges is 95 percent of the people pay off those bigger pledges. 95 percent. And that’s because they’ve been cultivated. They wouldn’t think of not paying it off. If anything they pay it off early. Okay, Beth. Again, probably too long an answer. Melissa, are there more questions?
Melissa: We have a couple more. Janet asks, “What is your reason for using audio but not video recordings for the POE?” She says her boss and her disagree on this.
Terry: Well, do they disagree with each other or do they disagree with me? I don’t know who they disagree with, but I’ll just tell you, Janet. We have tested this over and over again. And I know it’s controversial and I know everybody loves video. But what we find with video is that people sit back and absorb, and they’re not as participatory. We really have to invent and engage and imagine if you’re listening to an audio tape. And the best thing is not even to have audio tape but to have the real person there telling their story or to read a letter from them. We don’t really like video at all at the Point of Entry. We’ve just found it too canned [phonetic]. It’s just a little too sterile. But we do want a video at the Ask Event. A really good one, although not expensive, back to Beth’s question about the pricing. You don’t want to have... You don’t want to have to spend too much on putting together a video. So, again it’s not about the fancy music or the narration. It’s about the stories that are told. And honestly even groups we work with that have huge budgets for video can really botch it up on the video if they don’t get the stories right. It’s not about the production values. It’s about the stories. Okay?
Melissa: Okay. And one last question which is, if we are considering sending a team to a workshop who should be on our team?
Terry: Oh, good question. Thank you for that. The answer is, the team... The ideal team makeup... And even if you try this on your own if you want to use the video tutorial program you would need to have a team because there’s no... If you’re going to try this on your own as a development director you’re just what I endearingly call, Perpetuating the Myth of the Magic Development Director who can save the day, burn out and move onto the next organization.” Once again the turnover rate. So, if you conversely have a team of people... A perfect team for us is seven to 10 people. And again, Benevon’s been around 22 years. We have experimented with every possible configuration of team you can imagine, and this is what we’ve arrived at and it really works. Seven people minimum. You must have the CEO or Executive Director because you’ve got to have that visionary leader. Not just for their five-minute talk but you’ve got to have their heart in the game about this.
Secondly you must have a team leader. That’s usually a development staff member. Minimum half-time the first time that you’re using the model. It becomes full-time quickly. A lot of our groups have way more than two points of entry per month. They get going on this. You get a lot of ambassadors, you might be doing five. We have one group that does 16 points of entry per month. That’s more than a half-time job for somebody just to help organize those and do all those follow-up calls, let alone the dating process. So, the second person is the development person. At least half time. So, you need a visionary leader... I’m telling you who’s on the team. Visionary leader, development person is at least half-time, one other staff member of your choosing... So, that could be a marketing and communications person, another development person, a program person, a CFO that... Then two board members minimum. Two to four board members, but minimum of two. Usually it’s the board chair and the board development committee chair. And then two or three... You round out the rest of the team with volunteers, donors, other former board members but not any more staff. All the rest of the team have to be not staff members. And if you want to have 10 people in groups that come to Benevon we charge 19,000 dollars for the two-day training and the year-long coaching that’s all included in that package. But a lot of groups bring 10 people because they know that all of the first people you bring... All the people you bring to the workshop are your first ambassadors.
So, the more people you have trained in this the more points of entry you’re going to have at the beginning which scales the whole model well right from the very beginning. So, those other people are all going to be... I was talking to a man this morning that works a residential program for people with intellectual disabilities, and there are a lot of family members there whose loved one is living in their community that really cares. So, they’re going to bring some of the parents and siblings of the residents to be on their team along with the other people that I’ve mentioned. Board members. Even former board members. And definitely donors. Many of you already have donors who love you. You even have board members who will say, “Boy, why do we keep doing that gala? Isn’t it getting a little old? There’s got to be a better way to build something long-term and sustainable.” So, those are the very board members that you want to put on your team because they’re frustrated. They’re going to help you. They’re going to love this because they’re going to finally have a system. Okay? Any other questions, Melissa, or shall we begin to wrap up?
Melissa: We did get a couple quick questions right at the end there.
Terry: Let’s go. So, let’s do one more. We’ll do one more and then we’re up. Okay.
Melissa: Okay. Rachel asks, Are volunteer opportunities suitable for the Free Feel-Good Cultivation Event?
Terry: Let me thing about that. Volunteer opportunities for the Free Feel-Good. You mean having them come back and volunteer in your soup kitchen as a Free Feel-Good? No, I would say better, Rachel, for a second date kind of opportunity. If they come on the tour and they say, “I’d like to stay involved.” And you say, “Well, we have an open slot on Thursdays to serve lunch. Would you like to come in for that”? That would be fine for a second date kind of a thing. But the Free Feel-Goods are usually a little... It’s a little more of a mission-focused event that’s going on, and then you put a little reception right before it. Often maybe a job graduation. I don’t know what kind of program you have, Rachel. But if you’ve got... People may be going through job training or some kind of a family celebration. I think that would be more of a Free Feel-Good. But the second, that’d be fantastic for the second date, any kind of volunteer opportunity like that.
But don’t get confused and let the Point of Entry become a feeder for volunteers only because... And definitely do not use the Point of Entry as a volunteer recruitment event. You want to have your volunteer recruitment events, keep them separate, and once somebody says, “I want to be a volunteer,” then you can invite them to a Point of Entry to learn about the other programs that you might have, to learn about the rest of the organization. We don’t want... We don’t want you to quote, “Water-down your Point of Entry guests,” with people who are really coming just to learn how to volunteer because that’s a really different thing. Okay? Having said that, the Point of Entry will bring you a lot of volunteers. A lot of people will just say, “This was amazing.” And in the follow-up call they’ll say, “Do you need any volunteers”? Or, “Gee, I saw on your wish list that you need volunteers. I’d like to be part of that. How can I help”? And then you can say, “Well, we look for volunteers for the soup kitchen every Thursday. Would you like to become a regular volunteer”? That’s a little different. So, the answer is not exactly, Rachel, but sort of. Okay?
All right. I think that’s it. I think we’re down to an hour and 15 minutes. Thank you all so much for joining me today. I hope this has been really helpful. I hope you’ll consider getting the book or all the books, or the video tutorial or certainly coming to one of our workshops. You’ll be getting a survey when you hang up. If you finish... If you answer the brief questions on the survey you’ll be getting a white paper called, “Nine questions to ask yourself before organizing a special fundraising event.” Nine questions to ask yourself. And tomorrow you’ll get a little e-mail with a list of links to all the resources that I’ve mentioned. So, there you go. I really look forward to talking with you all again. Join us again for another webinar and I hope to see some of you soon. Thanks everyone. Bye-bye.
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Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential
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