What if there were no new donors? That was the first question nonprofit veteran Roger Craver asked in his presentation, “Where It’s At! A 12-Step Program to Get You to Tomorrow,” at the first ever FundRaising Success Virtual Conference & Expo held last Thursday (and available on-demand until Aug. 24). Craver, founder of DonorTrends and editor of TheAgitator.net, said that is the reality today — with declining acquisition rates, rising acquisition costs, declining retention rates and declining income playing factors.
The key, he said, is to act today like there will be no new donors tomorrow and stop looking for the silver bullet.
“The real magic lies in the fact that we need to start loving our donors,” he proclaimed.
In order to do just that, Craver outlined 12 steps to help your organization survive and thrive into the future.
1. Focus on retention
“There is nothing more important than working on keeping what we have,” Craver said. Fundraisers should know their donors’ giving histories and tendencies, including their preferred channels of communications/giving, gift amounts, frequency, etc., and upgrade/downgrade accordingly.
And of course, “every fundraiser worth his or her salt should know what the retention rate was five years ago, three years ago, now, and what it will be in the future — and what you’re going to do about it.”
2. Focus on share of wallet
Craver stressed that retention is not enough; you must be aware of what he calls “mission competition.” In other words, how much do your donors give to you compared to the other organizations they donate to? There are literally hundreds of thousands of nonprofits competing with you for your donors’ money. How do you fit in and compare? “Look to increase the share of giving to your organization,” Craver said. Use external tools such as merge/purge reports, wealth screening reports, and applications like TrueGivers to learn this important information.