Cover Story: Feeding the Need
And even those donors weren’t really getting the message, Shoemaker adds. Contributions came in fits and starts from some; others were one-time deals. Donor-loyalty levels weren’t where they should have been.
“To put it bluntly, they would give once and get off the file,” Shoemaker says.
Everyone involved with the new program at A2H seems to agree that helping donors feel more connected to the cause was key to turning around the direct marketing income.
That includes Domain’s Tim Burgess, who attributes the “remarkable improvements in fundraising” to, among other things, helping donors and potential donors get a solid understanding of the work that A2H does.
Other factors in A2H’s success, he says, include its careful attention to the fundamentals of fundraising, its commitment to growth and its passion for its cause.
A look at numbers
Just how remarkable were the improvements? In the fiscal year ending June 2002, revenues from individual donors increased 65 percent to $5,593,256 from $3,379,926. The number of current donors who continued giving into the next year (an indicator of donor loyalty), jumped up to 58 percent from 42 percent. The number of active donors increased to 35,762, an increase of 29 percent over the previous year.
In the fiscal year that ended June 2003, individual donor revenue increased another 56.1 percent to $8,730,506. Donor loyalty increased to 63 percent from 58 percent; and the number of active donors was up to 50,679, an increase of 41.7 percent over the previous year.
Following are some of the steps A2H took to secure its fundraising transformation, many of which focus on creating better relationships with donors and potential donors by satisfying their desire to know precisely how their money is being spent.
1. Increase reporting of accomplishments so donors would better understand how their gifts were being used.