“We are able to sustain a higher net investment to acquire those donors that we would not otherwise be able to afford,” Donahue says, adding that, on average, the organization invests about $19 to $20 to acquire one donor, but has at times invested as little as $7.
Donahue says the development staff uses these numbers to educate those at the board and executive level of the need for continued investment in acquisition, explaining that a $19-per-donor acquisition cost is worth the investment when the organization sustains an average donor value of $45 to $50. It’s also important in forwarding the organization’s mission, as Donahue says more than 90 percent of its membership file votes in both general and off-year elections. While most nonprofits usually lose money on reinstatement and tend to regard it as more of an investment in the future, NARAL Pro-Choice America nets money on its reinstatement program.
Seeking second gifts
Moving away from issue-specific prospecting and acquiring donors on a mission-focused platform has helped more than just the organization’s reinstatement efforts. It helps members develop an affinity for the cause from the start of their relationship with it and, as a result, they’re more likely to continue or increase that support.
“Whereas previously they gave based on a piece of legislation, now they’re giving because they’re connected to our root mission and to the successes of our federal presence on the hill or our grass roots presence in the states as it relates to reproductive rights,” Donahue says.
Around the same time NARAL Pro-Choice America restructured its acquisition/reinstatement program, the Internet emerged as a new DRM and fundraising frontier. Like many nonprofits, the organization has been using the Internet to do follow-up touches to members, sending them e-mail versions of campaigns they’ve received via direct mail or by phone.