4 Keys to Justifying Donor Acquisition to Your CFO/CEO/Board
If your nonprofit has any hope of survival in the long run, it must invest in donor acquisition. But with tight budgets, acquisition often is one of the first things nominated for the chopping block.
“Acquisition is a long-term investment, but we tend to be measured in the short term,” said Becky Graninger, account supervisor at relationship-marketing agency Merkle, during a presentation at the DMA Nonprofit Federation’s 2011 Washington Nonprofit Conference.
Graninger moderated the session “Asking Up: Making the Acquisition Justification to Your CFO/CEO/Board.” During the presentation, speakers Chris Griffin, managing director of the Arthritis Foundation’s direct-marketing program; Kay Keenan, founder of ConversationOnNetworking.com; Emily McManus, manager of new market channels at Catholic Relief Services (CRS); and Jim Rowley, deputy finance director of the Republican National Committee (RNC), provided ways to justify the investment in donor acquisition.
Give your CFO (or CEO or board) a break
Keenan said that when she was hired at Big Brothers Big Sisters as the chief marketing officer, there was very little respect for the marketing team. So she found out very quickly that she should get close to her CFO.
“The CFO always delivers the bad news,” Keenan said. “I made it a point to stop and say good things to him. I made it my path to stop by his office, ask for lunch, develop a relationship. And I always tried to make sure he had a good sense of what marketing was doing — made him understand what we did on the marketing side was all so that our organization could serve children.”
Developing that relationship with her CFO really helped him understand and appreciate why marketing did what it did and how it helped Big Brothers Big Sisters carry out its mission.
Keenan also said that you should be a teacher. At first, when her peers asked her questions about marketing activities, she became defensive. Then she realized people weren’t questioning her because they were unsure of her abilities; they questioned her because they wanted to understand.