Conference Roundup: Every Dollar Counts
* Weigh the results against acquisition and deep reactivation efforts. “Low-dollar donors may prove an efficient way of offsetting attrition,” Zeltsar added.
For those fundraisers and development directors who still don’t buy into the importance of small-time donors, Zeltsar advised considering a few more facts.
Low-dollar donors make good prospects for planned gifts, and they help build a strong base of renewable donors who demonstrate higher renewal rates and more frequent giving.
They also help an organization build a larger file of donors, Zeltsar said, which gives it the opportunity to spread awareness to a broader group of people.
Strategies and plans aside, Kacey McGowan, associate director of marketing and development with Paralyzed Veterans of America and session co-presenter, said that fundraisers must realize that times have changed.
“It’s an unfortunate reality, but the economy is weighing heavily on all of us,” McGowan said. “Nonprofits need to understand the challenges and what they’re asking of donors and what they’re dealing with in their lives.”
She pointed out that pocketbooks are much lighter than they were eight years ago and that donors are forced to stretch their dollars a little more for everyday necessities like gas, which has risen $2.44 per gallon since 2000, and milk, which has gone up at least $1 per gallon since 2000. “That money could have gone for extra things, donations,” McGowan added.
Fundraisers need to recognize that donors may be sacrificing to give what they can. Just because their donations are small doesn’t mean their value is, she added.
PVA recognized the importance of small gifts, did some testing and found a cost-effective way to mail to all donors, even low-dollar ones.
In the test, the organization sent address labels to $5 donors; smaller cards to those who gave more than $5 but less than $10; upsized cards to donors who gave more than $10 but less than $15; and upsized cards with embossing and die cut to those who contributed $15 or more.