The 11 Commandments of Fundraising - Part 1
E-mail, direct-response TV, radio, newspaper ads, social media, corporate sponsorships, events, telemarketing — these are just a few of the valid options for fundraising, some of which may be appropriate for your organization. You won't know if you don't explore them.
Commandment No. 3: Thou shalt not bore
Is your newsletter the "same old, same old" issue after issue? Was the last time you added new content to your website in the Bush administration? Do you use the same photos so much your donors feel like they belong in the family album? Have you asked your major donors to fund the same projects year after year, without adding new dimensions to make them fresh and exciting?
Your donors deserve to learn something new about your programs on a regular basis. The stories you tell them will encourage them and show them that their gifts are making a difference. Keep your content fresh and your design appealing, and your donors will anticipate hearing from you.
Commandment No. 4: Thou shalt not pander to ...
A board member, a major donor, a vocal staff member - who is it that is influencing your strategies? "I would never read a letter more than a page long," one tells you. So you reduce all your mailings to one page without testing the results.
I once had a board member suggest we cut out everything but receipting since the bounceback gifts it generated had such a good return on investment. (Apparently he forgot that the direct mail, major-donor cultivation and telemarketing generated the gifts that led to those receipts.) Another time, we didn't do data overlays because a mid-level staff member in the IT department thought it was offensive.
Yes, you want to be collaborative and a good team member. But don't let a single person's opinion make you forget what you know about good marketing. Test, test, and test some more - and use that "opinion" to formulate your strategy.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.