Talking Back: Fundraising Challenges 2005
What will be the greatest challenge facing direct mail fundraisers in 2005?
Scott Swedenberg, CEO of direct mail fundraising firm Mail Enterprises, Birmingham, Ala.: “The number of active donors has been decreasing over the last couple years. Also, donors and potential donors are being bombarded with more media messages — including direct mail — than ever before. Direct mail fundraisers have the huge challenge of finding a way to break through the clutter and still touch someone’s heart.”
Kelly Mahoney, president of direct-response fundraising firm Newport Creative Communications, Duxbury, Mass.: “Nonprofit executives will be faced with the challenge of doing more with less in 2005. Generating more donors, more revenues, a better cost-per-dollar-raised and other success metrics — while keeping expenses and resources to a reasonable level — will be all-consuming. ... Given some of the recent USPS proposals that could mandate First Class postage for nonprofit mailings that combine both fundraising and educational messages, now is a good time to test other ways of reaching both donors and prospects. Diversify beyond direct mail in anticipation of future changes in postal and regulatory environments. ... Optimize your program by allocating a percentage of your resources to testing each quarter. Testing strategies should revolve around those variables that make the most impact on your bottom line. Efforts should focus on driving wholesale change in an effort to significantly boost revenues and the number of sustainable donors.”
Todd D. Hendricks, senior director of direct response, ASPCA, New York: “The biggest opportunity in 2005 will be for organizations to tie together their outbound fundraising communications to speak with one voice and provide donors and potential donors with multiple ways to respond. Tying together the Internet, direct mail, television, radio, telemarketing and other direct-response vehicles has never been more important. Donors will respond and communicate in the manner they prefer. It is critical to make the preferred portal available to them. The organizations that recognize and react to this will be the organizations that continue to grow.