Find the Gold in Your Fundraising This Fall
We all know that year-end fundraising is the most important season of all. About half of your donors will make only one gift a year, and most of them will make it between October and December.
And this year, the stakes could not be higher. Donors have narrowed down the number of organizations they support, and they are making fewer gifts.
Here are your two top priorities for your year-end fundraising this year:
- Get last year's donors to renew their gifts.
- Get your lapsed donors back into the fold with a renewed gift.
It's not the greatest time to be going after brand-new donors. Studies are showing that nine out of 10 donors are not going to consider a gift supporting a new organization right now.
So focus your attention on your loyal, true believers: your current and lapsed donors.
Renew your current donors first
Why? Because this is your money in the bank. These are the easy gifts. So go get them first and get them now. Clearly these people love, love your organization and your cause. They believe in you. They just may believe passionately with a deeply emotional connection to your work. They've voted with their money that you are a priority in their lives. This is the time to be all over your current donors — with love, of course.
But whatever you do this year, beat the bushes, deploy the troops, be all over last year's donors and encourage them to renew. Tell them why it's so very important, this year, right now. Give them a sense of urgency and a reason to give now. Ditch the high-flown, lofty language so many nonprofit folks like to use. Talk to them like they are friends and family: personal, authentic, casual.
Go after your lapsed donors — with vigor and love
It's your lapsed donors who may not be getting the special treatment that your current donors are getting. BUT … they have already voted in the past that they believe in you. They voted with their money.
And maybe they drifted away because you didn't shower them with enough appreciation. Maybe they drifted away because their finances got tight.
But I bet you can get them back into the fold! Try a phonathon to all lapsed donors that says: "We love you! We miss you! We want you back!"
Now, I don't know about you, but if an organization said this to me, I just might come back! What would you do? See, the tone of this appeal above is charming. It's friendly. It's casual and fun. It can capture a donor's heart.
Just look at all the lapsed donors in your database. Add up the value of their gifts. Then, after you faint over the total amount of money that has slipped away from you, get to work. Organize your board members into a phonathon, and call your lapsed donors. It's an easy call to make. And it sounds like fun — something that's in short supply these days.
Studies have shown that securing business from a new customer costs 10 times more than it costs to get more business out of a current customer. This also applies to nonprofits: It costs far less to upgrade a current donor or to renew a former donor than it does to secure a new funder. So let's take the kinder, gentler route. FS
Gail Perry is a fundraising coach and consultant, and author of "Fired-Up Fundraising: Turn Board Passion Into Action." Reach her at GP@GailPerry.com