Geared Up for Growth
In October, FundRaising Success held its fourth annual Virtual Conference & Expo, a daylong, online gathering that allowed fundraisers to listen to and interact with some of the industry’s most respected and innovative fundraisers. Our closing session was a panel discussion focusing on things nonprofits need to think about and do to grow and thrive in 2014 and beyond.
- Ellen Cobb Church, CEO of Craver, Mathews, Smith & Co.
- Marc Pitman, founder of FundraisingCoach.com
- Jeff Jowdy, founder and president of Lighthouse Counsel
- Kristin McCurry, principal at MINDset Direct
- Dane Grams, director of direct response at the Human Rights Campaign
- Jo Sullivan, then executive director at Save the Chimps
Here’s a transcript of the session:
Angie Moore: What we have today covers everything from getting new donors to retention, getting more people to do more things, how to grow, how to get more money … the sky’s the limit on this. Ellen, why don’t you kick us off on the concept of getting new donors as we move forward?
Ellen Cobb Church: The phrase that pays for the last few years has been retention, and rightly so. Retention needs to continue to be a key metric that we all pay attention to and strive to improve upon. But if we don’t have anyone to retain, we’re not going to thrive. So don’t cut acquisition. If you have cut it recently, please add it back now.
There are three channels that you should be looking into to acquire donors: Obviously, direct mail, but you need to mail smarter. Cooperative databases have been around a long time, and they’re gaining popularity every year in the nonprofit sector. They’re a great way to find new donors and expand your available universe. So talk to your list broker and find out which co-ops will work best for your organization, and keep on top of all the new ones that are coming onto the market. You should really be using co-ops in every merge.