State of the Sector
Jo: So does every CFO out there. Stop using stamps and they’d all be in heaven!
Roger: When they throw away the postage meter, they’ll be in big trouble.
Margaret: There seems to have been a real gold rush mentality about the Web a few years ago. Did organizations get scared off when they realized it wasn’t going to translate into immediate money?
Roger: Fact, at least for now, is that the ’net when used in combination with the phone and mail will work, but not solo.
Polly: Yes, Roger. Our clients’ online efforts are driving up direct-mail results.
Roger: The problem lies in the siloing of the functions. Webmaster didn’t talk to the fundraisers … fundraisers didn’t talk to the webmaster … the executive directors talked to neither.
Roger: Absolutely, Polly. Same here.
Roger: Like any other part of our craft, it takes time for rules and principles and discipline to emerge. We’re getting there, but it will be several more years ’til the rules of integration and multichannel communication are understood in a way that’s financially helpful and predictable.
Margaret: You all seem to be in agreement. Let’s look into the future a bit. In a sentence … what is the biggest — and most immediate — challenge fundraisers face in 2008?
Kurt: Stock market. It’s so volatile. Coupled with the mortgage collapse, I think many mid-level donors (and some high-level donors) will be restricted.
Polly: There are several challenges, but here’s one: a willingness to invest in acquisition.
Roger: For most, the willingness to invest not only in acquisition but in understanding loyalty and retention.
Jo: The understanding and implementation of R&D.
Polly: Yes, Roger, cultivating new donors — after spending so much to acquire them — is essential!
Roger: The big problem for the last five years has been retention. Still fairly easy to acquire new donors, but far more difficult to retain them.