What's Driving Your Fundraising?
There are, indeed, extraordinary opportunities for nonprofit enterprises whose leaders demonstrate insight, take calculated risks and maintain perseverance in building on their winning strategies. Those opportunities include engaging constituents through innovation, technology and communications.
However, those leaders also face unprecedented challenges: an avalanche of information, multiple channels and products, changing demographics, fierce competition, and unprecedented scrutiny of charities. Above all, the lack of risk-taking capital and the resultant
risk-averse attitude of many nonprofit leaders prevent new models of engagement.
Navigating these opportunities and challenges demands a new way of doing business. The 8-S Model is not a series of separate and distinct tactics used simply to increase revenue. Rather, each “S” offers a comprehensive and integrated constituent-engagement strategy. Ignoring or leaving out even just one will depress both engagement and giving.
S1: Strong donors
Many nonprofits are not intentional about recruiting donors with high expected long-term value at the least possible cost. How does one determine long-term value? The key factors are monetary value of the donor’s first gift, frequency of the donor’s giving, date of the donor’s most recent gift and the donor’s longevity with the charity.
For many social-sector organizations, the biggest challenge is not acquiring new donors but, rather, failing to retain them. New donors often have the potential to be transformed into advocates — those who speak out for a charity’s cause and become fundraisers themselves. The first step along this road is a new “donor treatment” with compelling, differentiated offers, thereby encouraging second, third and on-going gifts — while ensuring that donor recruitment, cultivation and retention costs are controlled.
Many donors, especially those in their 20s and 30s, want to do more than just give money. Charities that are thriving in a recession recognize this and offer opportunities to serve their causes — that is, to engage, volunteer, advocate, recruit and even exercise influence on the charities’ behalf — in mutually transforming relationships. Historic, even iconic, examples include the United Way, the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Each has a long history of communicating its mission, vision and values to its supporters and engaging them in local volunteering opportunities.