Setting a Course for Growth
It's one of my favorite seasons of the year — the release of the annual Chronicle of Philanthropy Philanthropy 400 listing. I always enjoy browsing the report to see who's on, who's off and who's gaining ground.
But let's face it. That report is about 400 nonprofits; that leaves 1,079,700 more in the United States alone that didn't make the list. Yet, the work they are doing is important.
Regardless if your goal is to break into the 400 listing or not, we all know that more net income would be a great assistance to our programs. And, we also know that these massive nonprofits didn't get that big just by wishing on a star. So consider the following strategies that are "best practices" for many large nonprofits. Are there some you need to implement to help you have your best year ever in terms of income?
Successful nonprofits don't say 'goodbye' easily
The 2012 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report from the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Urban Institute found that in 2011, every 100 donors gained through acquisition was offset by 107 donors lost through attrition. Yes, that's an industry average, but I dare say some of your 2010 donors failed to give in 2011. Did you just accept that as "the way it is," or are you fighting to win them back?
Of course, some donors stop giving because of death or a change in income; it's hard to argue with those causes. But what really bothers me are those donors who stopped giving because they just didn't think their gifts were really making a difference or doing what was promised.
If we want to grow our income, one of our deliberate strategies has to be donor renewal and donor recapture. Battle for those donors; you need their ongoing support if your organization is going to grow.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.