Category Archives: Hangin’ with Henry

Hangin’ with Henry and talking about your first visit with a donor prospect


As most of you know, DonorDreams blog has dedicated the first Thursday of every month for almost the last year to featuring a short video from Henry Freeman, who is an accomplished non-profit and fundraising professional. We affectionately call this monthly series “Hangin’ With Henry”  because of the conversational format around which he has framed his online videos. This month we’re talking about Making People Comfortable During a First Visit. I thought this video would be a night follow-up for my blog post published two weeks ago titled “Can we all please agree that ambushing donors needs to stop?” where I shared tips on how to set-up a meeting with a prospect/donor without ambushing them.

For those of you who subscribe to DonorDreams blog and get notices by email, you will want to click this link to view this month’s featured YouTube video. If you got here via your web browser, then you can click on the video graphic below.

OK, I understand that Henry is talking about “the first visit” within a major gifts initiative context. However, doesn’t everything he said still apply to other resource development work, especially when sitting down with a new prospect during a cultivation visit?

I think one of the things that I loved the most from Henry’s video is how he talks about leaving your fundraising agenda at the door during your first visit.

So, let’s stop here and focus on leaving your agenda at the door. How have you successfully done this? What have you focused on instead? What clues in the conversation where you able to pick-up on that gave you permission to go back and open the door on your fundraising agenda?

We can all learn from each other. Please use the comment box below to share your thoughts and experiences.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

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Hangin’ with Henry and talking about Heart vs. Head Fundraising


As most of you know, DonorDreams blog has dedicated the first Thursday of every month for almost the last year to featuring a short video from Henry Freeman, who is an accomplished non-profit and fundraising professional. We affectionately call this monthly series “Hangin’ With Henry”  because of the conversational format around which he has framed his online videos. This month we’re talking about Heart vs. Head Fundraising. I guess it only seemed appropriate with Valentine’s Day less than two weeks from now.

For those of you who subscribe to DonorDreams blog and get notices by email, you will want to click this link to view this month’s featured YouTube video. If you got here via your web browser, then you can click on the video graphic below.

I hope you enjoyed this month’s featured video. I not only enjoyed it. I loved it! Here were a few ah-ha moments I walked away with:

  • I was reminded that donors are like snowflakes and each one is very different (which is the essence of donor-centered fundraising, right?).
  • Good fundraising professionals can recognize this truism and adapt their approach when it comes to cultivation, solicitation and stewardship.
  • Just like how different donors are motivated by different head vs. heart messages, there are different types of fundraising professionals who are better at one or the other approaches.

When I worked for Boys & Girls Clubs of America as an internal consultant, my toolbox contained a PowerPoint training they called “Closing the Gift“. It was contained the organization’s teachable point of view for how staff and volunteers at local affiliates should go about soliciting donors. This process included 12 steps that volunteers were encouraged to follow. Doing so would minimize the fears associated with asking for money and maximize the effectiveness of the solicitation.

Here are those 12 steps:

  1. Make your gift first
  2. Think about the kids (in order words, stop obsessing and thinking about the money and start thinking about why you are doing this)
  3. Choose good prospects to solicit (aka no cold calls)
  4. Pick-up the phone and schedule the in-person meeting
  5. Prepare for the meeting
  6. Talk about the kids (aka discuss the case for support)
  7. Share your commitment
  8. Ask the donor to “consider” a specific gift amount
  9. After making the ask, BE QUIET
  10. Answer questions
  11. Schedule date/time to “follow-up” if they needed time to think about it (aka don’t leave the pledge card behind and schedule time to circle back to complete paperwork)
  12. Express gratitude for their time and consideration

Over the last 10 years, I’ve made a lot of money working with clients on this 12-step program. LOL It might look easy, but as people always say . . . “The devil is in the details“.  😉

However, while “Hangin’ with Henry” this morning and listening to his thoughts about heart vs. head fundraising, I was reminded of something new to which I’ve recently been exposed with regards to making the ask.

Last month, I was onsite with a capital campaign client and I needed to train a group of volunteers on how to make an effective, “by the book” solicitation. Rather than reach in my toolbox for my standard training curriculum, I was allowed access to another fundraising professional’s toolbox.

seven faces philanthropyWhile much of the process was the same, this new training incorporated some of the ideas put forth in the book “The Seven Faces of Philanthropy: A New Approach to Cultivating Major Donors” written by Russ Alan Price and Karen Maru File. In a nutshell, the book identifies and profiles seven types of major donors and offers detailed strategies on how to approach them.

The following are the seven different “types of donors” identified and profiled:

  • The Communitarian
  • Devout
  • Investor
  • Socialite
  • Altruist
  • Repayer
  • Dynast

I won’t give away anymore of what characterizes these seven groups or the strategies they suggest you use to approach each type of donor because I suspect the authors would like you to buy their book.  🙂  If you are in the market for good professional reading, I highly recommend this book.

So, as I listened to Henry and Joan chatter about heart vs. head fundraising this morning, I found my thoughts drifting back to the training session I facilitated last month.

Some of the volunteers around the table LOVED the “seven types of donors” wrinkle and other volunteers absolutely HATED the idea and preferred the simpler 12-step approach.

This got me thinking.

Henry said in the video that there are “heart donors” and “head donors“. He also said there are fundraising professionals who are more adept with each approach. After my experience last month, I would apply this thinking to fundraising volunteers, too.

As I get to the bottom of my cup of coffee this morning, I am left with the following questions:

  • Are you a heart fundraiser or head fundraiser?
  • After identifying which type of donor you’re dealing with, are you capturing it in your donor database or CRM?
  • When recruiting fundraising volunteers, are you using this “heart vs. head” lens to develop a diverse prospect list? Are you also using this lens as part of your prospect assignment exercise?

As I always say, we can all learn from each other. Please scroll down and share your thoughts and experiences (or take a crack at answering any of the aforementioned questions) in the comment box.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

Hangin’ with Henry and talking about organizing your resource development efforts


As most of you know, the first Thursday of every month has been dedicated to featuring a short video from Henry Freeman, who is an accomplished non-profit and fundraising professional. Last month, we didn’t share one of Henry’s information videos and instead opted to highlight his recently published book–  Unlacing the Heart. (To re-visit last month’s book review, check out the post titled “A book every fundraising professional MUST read!)

We affectionately call this monthly series “Hangin’ With Henry”  because of the conversational format around which he has framed his online videos. This month we’re talking about The Top Down Principle The Key to Organizing Your Office, Your Time, and Your Work.

For those of you who subscribe to DonorDreams blog and get notices by email, you will want to click this link to view this month’s featured YouTube video. If you got here via your web browser, then you can click on the video graphic below.

I chose this month’s video because the last five DonorDreams blog posts all focused on how to develop a written resource development plan for your organization. Henry does a nice job of making the case for being:

  • thoughtful / mindful
  • strategic
  • tactical

I believe that today’s video puts the last few weeks of posts in context. What do you think? Please use the comment box section to share your thoughts and experiences.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

A book every fundraising professional MUST read!


henry freeman bookI do a lot of reading as a non-profit consultant and blogger. I subscribe to other people’s blogs (e.g. Marc Pitman, Jeff Brooks, Seth Godin, etc). I subscribe to e-newsletters (e.g. Tom Ahern, Pamela Grow, etc). I allow companies like Blackbaud, DonorPath, Network for Good and Convio to send me awesome whitepapers, eBooks, etc.

I love to read. I believe you cannot thrive (let alone survive) in our industry unless you’re a lifelong learner and committed to continuous improvement and evolution. There are lots of ways to achieve this goal. I prefer to read.

So, when my friend — Henry Freeman — told me that he just published a book and wanted to sit down and talk about it, I couldn’t resist an invitation like THAT.

I won’t go into the details, but I walked away from that meeting with a suspicion that my life was about to change (or at the very least, my life was about to become clearer). After consuming Henry’s book in two short airplane rides, I am now totally convinced my life has been touched and I am different.

Here is a short excerpt from Henry’s book — Unlacing the Heart — from page 2:

“One of the most visible hats I wear is that of a fundraising consultant. As is true of most professions, a rather generic title like “fundraiser” tells you very little about who I am and what I actually do. When someone learns that I am a fundraiser, the conversation usually drifts off into a discussion of his or her work and occupation. Yet I do no see myself as a person who simply helps organizations raise money. I am a person blessed with the desire and capacity to hear people’s stories and help them build their dreams.”

I felt the same way after reading Penelope Burk’s book, Donor Centered Fundraising. However, Henry’s book added to that experience.

When I read Penelope’s book, which was full of data-facts-figures, I understood more deeply why I loved resource development and fundraising. The idea of “donor-centered fundraising” resonated with me because I never saw myself as a “solicitor of funds“. I loved the relationship building aspect of resource development and felt a sense of fulfillment when talking to people about their philanthropic passions and working with them on finding ways to make their vision a reality.

When I read Henry’s book, my epiphany was that “philanthropy” is spiritual in nature. Relationship building requires finding a sacred and vulnerable space for both the the fundraising professional and the donor. AND this isn’t a fundraising tactic. It is a human trait that good professionals who love their jobs just so happen to possess (or ultimately find inside themselves).

Here is a short excerpt from Henry’s book — Unlacing the Heart — from page 98:

“For fundraisers and members of most professions, the “hat we wear” clearly states that our presence in the room with another human being is primarily grounded in what we do to pay the bills. Indeed, few people will trust you (nor should they) if at any point you try to disown the professional role that brings you to their door and into their lives. There are, however, many opportunities to move relationships to a deeper level while still working within the boundaries framed by the professional roles we play.”

If you are someone who loves the spirituality aspects of philanthropy, then you’re going to love this book!

If you are someone who loves the relationship building aspects of resource development, then you’re going to love this book!

If you are someone who loves the storytelling nature of fundraising, then you’re going to love this book!

Philanthropy is so much more than asking people for money in an effort to sustain our non-profit institutions. Henry demonstrates that so clearly through a series of stories about:

  • his journey to El Salvador
  • his mentor relationships with Henri Nouwen and Herb Cahoon
  • his professional relationship with Margaret
  • his personal relationship with Alfredo

As I read this book, I found myself moved to tears, which is how I know Henry was unlacing my heart and helping me tap into what I love most about philanthropy and my job. I am confident that he will do the same for you.

This book is a “MUST READ” for anyone who works in our field and aspires to find meaning and fulfillment in this work.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

“Hangin’ with Henry and talking about Keeping the Ask Simple


As most of you know, the first Thursday of every month has been dedicated to featuring a short video from Henry Freeman, who is an accomplished non-profit and fundraising professional. We affectionately call this monthly series “Hangin’ With Henry”  because of the conversational format around which he has framed his online videos. This month we’re talking about Keeping the Ask Simple (aka applying the K.I.S.S. principle to asking donors for a contribution).

For those of you who subscribe to DonorDreams blog and get notices by email, you will want to click this link to view this month’s featured YouTube video. If you got here via your web browser, then you can click on the video graphic below.

After listening to Henry for almost seven minutes this morning (and I wasn’t even done with my first cup of coffee), I was left thinking the following:

  • Face-to-face solicitation is the most effective form of solicitation (even though Henry was talking mostly about mail and email solicitations)
  • There is a serious risk of burying the donor in lots of collateral material and talking the donor’s ear off, especially if the person doing the asking is apprehensive about doing so
  • Fundraising professionals should probably only give volunteer solicitors nothing more than an internal case for support document (aka their talking points), an external case for support document (aka the campaign brochure) and the pledge form

This video also reminded me of an awesome training my former employer developed that turned every solicitation into a series steps. As I reflect upon those steps in the warm glow of this morning’s video, I now appreciate how they were trying to make in-person solicitation a simple exercise for volunteers.

checklistFor those who are curious, here are those 12 steps to a simple and effective face-to-face solicitation:

  1. Don’t call your prospect until you’ve inked your pledge form
  2. Don’t think about the money . . . think about the client who will benefit from this potential contribution (and keep doing so throughout the entire process)
  3. Make sure you have a connection or relationship with the prospects you’ve chosen to solicit because cold calls are scary and not very effective
  4. Pick-up the phone and ask your prospect for time in their calendar (guard against accidentally asking for the contribution while you’re on the phone)
  5. Prepare for the meeting (e.g. review the case for support doc, FAQs, etc)
  6. When sitting down with the prospective donor, talk about what is in the case for support document (e.g. org mission, community need/s that the org is trying to address, what the org is doing to address those needs and the effectiveness of those programs, etc)
  7. Share your personal commitment to the campaign and the organization (e.g. your gifts of time, talent and treasure and why you are doing so)
  8. Ask the prospect to join you by considering a contribution of a specific dollar amount (e.g. “we’re hoping you will give some thoughtful consideration to making a contribution of $XXX to support the programs we just talked about as well as everything else this organization does for its clients)
  9. Be quiet and let the donor give your request some consideration (and the first person to speak should be the donor)
  10. Answer the donors questions
  11. Set-up a time to follow-up with the donor if they aren’t ready to immediately ink the pledge form (e.g. never leave the pledge form behind and always walk out of the meeting with a definite date and time to touch base again)
  12. Express your thanks and gratitude for their time (because their time was a gift unto itself)

I love this list because as Henry expressed in his morning’s video, volunteers need tools to help them keep the solicitation meeting simple and following this 12 step process could very easily help keep the in-person meeting focused and short.

matt damonThis morning’s video also reminded me of another YouTube video a friend sent me a few days ago. It is a montage of video clips featuring actor Matt Damon in the HBO television series “Entourage“. The YouTube video illustrates the emotions, fears, and mistakes associated with asking your friends and colleagues for a charitable contribution.

The person who posted the Entourage video clips blocked my ability to embed the video into my blog. So, you need to click here to watch that video directly on YouTube. But don’t forget to circle back to this post and finish up our discussion.  😉

So, what are you thinking this morning after watching two great YouTube videos and reading this post? How do you help your fundraising volunteers “keep it simple“? How do you keep it simple when soliciting donors? How many mistakes were you able to spot in the Matt Damon video clip? Please scroll down and share your thoughts and experiences in the comment box. We can all learn from each other.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

“Hangin’ with Henry” and talking about Determining Gift Capability


Good morning DonorDreams readers! As most of you know, the month of May was dedicated to the Nonprofit Blog Carnival, which took us out of our regular blog rhythm. So, when I checked the calendar this morning and saw that it is the first Thursday of the month, I realized it is that time again. Uh-huh! You guessed it. We’re “Hangin’ With Henry” today and talking about what goes into determining a donor’s gift capability.  

For those of you who subscribe to DonorDreams blog and get notices by email, you will want to click this link to view this month’s featured YouTube video. If you got here via your web browser, then you can click on the video graphic below.

After listening to Henry for the last six minutes, I was struck by:

  • how well he hits the nail on the head with what considerations go into evaluating a prospect (he obviously has a lifetime of experience under his belt)
  • how many different methods and strategies I’ve used to help clients determine  a suggested ask amount for their annual campaign, major gifts program, and capital campaign donors

I used to be convinced there was a right way and a wrong way (or a better tool than another) when it came to prospect evaluation, but now that I’m a little older my opinion has changed. You will get to a good place for your campaign and your donors as long as you and your fundraising volunteers take into consideration the following principles that Henry talked about:

  • financial capacity
  • relationship / connectedness to your mission and organization
  • philanthropic orientation

As for tools and approaches that I’ve used, it typically depends on the client and their culture of philanthropy (or lack thereof) which dictates their level of comfort and willingness to engage in these discussions.  The following are just a few approaches and tools that I’ve found helpful.

Peer review

peer reviewThis is as simple as sitting down with a group of volunteers and talking about your pool of prospects. One simple tool that I’ve use is something I call an “A-B-C-1-2-3 worksheet“.

Using this tool, volunteers first assign every prospect an A, B or C rating that relates to their willingness to give to your organization (e.g. are their a hot, warm or cold prospect). Then volunteers do the same thing with a 1, 2 or 3 rating which simply assigns a prospect to a specific level on your campaign range of gift chart (of course there are likely more than three gift levels on your ROG and you’ll add as many numbers as there are levels).

Staff aggregate everyone’s worksheets, use giving history to set preliminary ask amounts and facilitate consensus building discussions with fundraising volunteers.

Moves Management

moves managementMajor gifts work is usually more in-depth and the tools change a little (e.g. nine cell grid, individual prospect cultivation plans, Moves Management tools, etc). Prospect evaluation typically is done in small teams that include the following individuals:

  • Natural Partner (someone close to you, knows prospect well, and has the ability to open that door)
  • Primary Player (might be the prospect’s BFF, but someone with whom they definitely have a hard time saying NO)
  • Relationship Manager (this is a staff person who helps with Moves Management, strategy, tracking and accountability)

There are lots of different tools involved in this process. Bill Sturtevant is one of the most well-respected experts in this area. You’ll want to definitely read his book “The Artful Journey“. You can also sneak a peak at some of the tools I’m referencing by checking out Bill’s presentation handouts from a Minnesota Planned Giving Council conference in 2009.

Another expert with great tools is our featured guest this morning — Henry Freeman. You might want to check out his website for interesting resources.

Data Driven Prospect Research

prospect researchI’m sometimes frightened by how much data is available out there on each of us. I’ve personally used all of the following tools for prospect research:

  • Google (OMG … there is tons of data you can find with a simple search)
  • 411.com (I go here to find contact info and confirm family relationships)
  • Facebook (I check-in here to see if their privacy settings are turned off. It is amazing what you can learn about someone’s family, social network, interests, etc from this social media site)
  • LinkedIn (I look around this site for work info, professional network, etc. I also use it to help me create prospect lists of natural partner, primary players and campaign volunteers/solicitors)
  • A variety of pay-for-service data providers like WealthEngine or Blackbaud’s Target Analytics (and this is where your mind gets blown with all of the info you can get)

If your organization engages in prospect research, please scroll down to the comment box and answer one of the following questions:

  • what methods have you used to determine your donors’ gift capability?
  • what tools have you use and which ones did you like?
  • if you’ve used pay-for-service providers like WealthEngine, what advice do you have for others?

Please take a minute to share your thoughts and experiences. We can all learn from each other!

If you want to purchase a complete set of videos or other fundraising resources from Henry Freeman, you can do so by visiting the online store at H. Freeman Associates LLC. You can also sign-up for quarterly emails with a FREE online video and discussion guide by clicking here.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

“Hangin’ with Henry” and talking about group solicitation strategies


It is the first Thursday of the month, which can only mean one thing at DonorDreams blog. We’re “Hangin’ With Henry” today and talking about fundraising shortcuts like the group solicitation.  

For those of you who subscribe to DonorDreams blog and get notices by email, you will want to click this link to view this month’s featured YouTube video. If you got here via your web browser, then you can click on the video graphic below.

After listening to Henry for the last 6 minutes, I was transported back in time to my earliest fundraising solicitations as a District Executive working for Boy Scouts of America’s Northwest Suburban Council. While part of their Friends of Scouting annual campaign pledge drive model was based on in-person, one-on-one, face-to-face solicitation, the bigger part of it was group solicitations in front of gatherings of parents at Cub Scout Pack Nights and Boy Scout Court of Honor events.

I honestly don’t miss dragging the old slide projector and screen all of the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago. LOL

As I listened to Henry, everything rang true. I learned the hard way that highly capable donors lowered their philanthropic sights when solicited in a group setting.

I also remember learning that the smallest dollar amount mentioned during my presentation usually resulted in scads of pledge cards with that number on it. It was with this lesson that I re-trained myself to do the following during my group asks:

  • Stop saying: “Even a gift of $25 makes a difference.”
  • Start saying: “People who pledge $150 tonight will walk out with a complimentary Norman Rockwell coffee mug.”
  • Bring a box of donated chotskies (e.g. yo-yo’s, baseball cards, etc) and tell parents their kids were welcome to a free gift if they allowed them to bring their pledge cards to the front of the room.

Ahhhhh, those were fun days when fundraising was new to me and every day brought a new lesson.  🙂

(Note: Hindsight is 20/20 and I’m not very proud of some of the group solicitation tactics I employed even though I became one lean, mean group solicitation machine compared to my fellow co-workers. Needless to say, I was nothing more than a transactional fundraiser who couldn’t say “donor-centered” if I tried.)

Henry did indicate there can be an appropriate time and place for your organization to employ a group solicitation strategy. For example, some non-profit organizations are very successful with Terry Axelrod’s annual campaign model that you might know as Benevon.

If your organization uses a group solicitation fundraising strategy, please scroll down to the comment box and answer one of the following questions:

  • under what circumstances do you use a group solicitation?
  • what are a few “lessons learned” that you feel comfortable sharing?
  • how do you ensure that larger donors aren’t lost in the shuffle and contribute less?
  • how do you create a sense of urgency for donors to ink their pledge cards on the spot?
  • what post-solicitation follow-up strategies do you use with pledge cards that walked out the door?
  • what pre-solicitation cultivation strategies and post-solicitation stewardship strategies work best for you?

Please take a minute to share your thoughts and experiences.

If you want to purchase a complete set of videos or other fundraising resources from Henry Freeman, you can do so by visiting the online store at H. Freeman Associates LLC. You can also sign-up for quarterly emails with a FREE online video and discussion guide by clicking here.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

“Hangin’ with Henry” and talking about event fundraising


It is the first Thursday of the month, which can only mean one thing at DonorDreams blog. We’re “Hangin’ With Henry” today and talking about return on investment and special event fundraisers. When do special events make sense? When don’t they make sense? 

For those of you who subscribe to DonorDreams blog and get notices by email, you will want to click this link to view this month’s featured YouTube video. If you got here via your web browser, then you can click on the video graphic below.

After listening to Henry and Joan talk for 10 minutes about special event fundraising, please scroll down to the comment box below and share your thoughts and experiences to any of the following questions:

  • What role(s) do special events play in your organization’s comprehensive resource development program?
  • How do you monitor the effectiveness and ROI of your special events? Is there a tool you use? Are there specific metrics your track carefully?
  • What strategies do you use to bridge special event donors to other campaigns and efforts in your organization?
  • Have you ever had to eliminate an event from your annual fundraising plan? What was that experience like? How did you prepare and transition donors?

Please take a minute to share. Why? Because we can all learn from each other! And the comment box is just calling for your help and feedback.  😉

If you want to purchase a complete set of videos or other fundraising resources from Henry Freeman, you can do so by visiting the online store at H. Freeman Associates LLC. You can also sign-up for quarterly emails with a FREE online video and discussion guide by clicking here.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

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