Will You Stand Out in 2013?
As the year comes to a close, I have been thinking about "why." Why is donor acquisition less effective than it was in the past? Why are so many first-time donors failing to give again? And why are once-faithful donors no longer giving?
On the one hand, we have so many more ways to communicate with our donors than we did even 15 years ago. E-mail has made communication much less expensive, and reporting back to donors can be almost instantaneous and filled with photos to "prove" our words.
On the other hand, there are now more than 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States, all going after the same discretionary dollars from donors. The country has been back and forth in terms of the economy for several years. (Whether we're still in a recession, heading for a recession or out of the recession, unemployment is still high and consumer confidence is only slowly inching upward.)
Once you catch your breath this year-end, I encourage you to think about how you can help your nonprofit stand out in 2013 and increase fundraising results — and therefore, the great work being done. Some fodder to help jump-start your thinking follows.
As an instructor of fundraising, I have listened in the course of an evening to a couple dozen students present a 90-second "elevator speech" on nonprofits of their choice. And frankly, other than the names, too many of them sound just alike.
Take, for example, nonprofits working with the homeless in a large city. One may have more beds, and one may be the oldest, while a third works with more teenagers than the others. But other than those nuances, they all sound alike to me. And my cynical side says, "Do we really need all these nonprofits doing the same thing? And with so many working on it, why haven't they 'fixed' the problem?"
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.