10 Reasons Why Most Major-Gift Programs Suck!
Most major-gift programs we have evaluated are judged on whether they made their overall goals each year. That’s one criteria. However, we find that seems to be the only criteria. When that is the only criteria we find, it’s masking some bad donor behavior.
See this illustration to show my point.
If you just look at the bottom-line numbers, you see that overall the file grew by 21 percent. Pretty good, huh? But the problem is that this revenue came from new sources. Look at the current caseload. It decreased in value by 49 percent. These are current donors who failed to give a gift from one year to the next. What happened?
What we find is that donors are not renewing their giving year to year by as much as 40 percent to 60 percent each year. This tells us there is a cultivation problem.
Think about it.
In a healthy direct-response program with low-end donors, those attrition rates would not be acceptable. But, in a major-gift program it’s outrageously sad. Here are good folks who have made a significant investment in your organization, and for some reason they failed to continue that investment.
More often than not it’s because someone is not paying attention to these donors.
So, start evaluating your major-gift program by first looking at how your donors are giving year to year. Overall, we want to see as little donor attrition as possible and value actually increasing year to year. Not through new donors coming in the door, but by current donors increasing their investment in your organization.
If you like baseball, tennis, golf, Gregorian chant, jazz, rock, good wine and deep conversation, then you’ll like to hang out with Jeff.
If you are passionate about fundraising, Jeff will inspire you to be a true “broker of love” for your donors, helping you bring together a donor’s desire to change the world and the world’s greatest needs. Jeff believes that if nonprofits truly want to grow and obtain more net revenue for their mission, it will come through creating, building and successfully managing major-gift programs. The Connections blog will give you inspiration and practical advice to help you succeed. Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit fundraising experience and is senior partner of the Veritus Group.