Pssst … Don’t Tell the Big Guys
• Fundraising goals should be set and analyzed annually, not campaign to campaign.
• Never consider acquisition efforts and renewal efforts as mutually exclusive. Acquisition campaigns bring on new donors, whereas donor/renewal campaigns are money raisers. Always budget for some losses within an acquisition program.
Nonprofits of all sizes have fundraising resources at their disposal. The key is to use them for all they’re worth. In this case I’ll focus on the biggest resource you have: the donor file. If, for example, Special Olympics’ fundraising strategy was to mail every donor name on its file or call every name on its telemarketing list each time it conducted a campaign, I can assure you that its annual revenues would not be what they are now. Managing and maximizing donor effectiveness can mean the difference in thousands (even millions) of dollars each year for these organizations. The same is true for you.
How you can do it:
• Look at your donor file in a scientific light.
• Segment your file with an inexpensive file audit. Then strategize to get the most out of each group of donors. This will mean communicating with some groups more often and some groups less often (or even not communicating with some of them at all anymore).
• Rent and exchange your file. It is a misconception that allowing your donor file to be used by other organizations will anger your donors. If done properly, sharing your file will provide another source of income and make available good lists that you might not otherwise have access to.
• Communicate with your major donors in a different and more personal way. Call them, send handwritten letters, thank them, invite them to events, and let them in early on news and announcements.