I’ve decided to offer my advice to those with inquiries concerning their fundraising troubles … a sort of “Dear Abby” column for the fundraising forlorn. I’m even willing to dole out this advice free of charge. Those with questions need not fear a monthly retainer bill or any other type of charge. Just please don’t tell any of my clients I’m giving it away for nothing!
Since this is a new idea, I have no letters to answer — yet (though I expect my inbox to swell within minutes of delivery of this month’s issue) — so to start the ball rolling, I’ve simply forged some on my own, based on questions I frequently hear. I’m hoping it’ll inspire readers to offer their own queries.
I come to you with an urgent problem. My boss has told me that
I need to conduct “regression analysis” concerning previous fundraising campaigns for my organization. I hate to admit it, but I don’t even know what regression analysis is. I don’t want to appear stupid to my boss … can you please help me by explaining this term?
This term is a catch-all phrase for any type of analysis that utilizes previously gathered information. For example, if you want to figure out if men or women are more likely to respond to one of your fundraising solicitations, you can take the response data of previous campaigns and compare these results to the initial audience. Let’s say the results show that 50 percent of the original audience was male, yet 75 percent of your respondents are female … then you’ve figured out that women are your best prospects. Regression analysis also can be used to determine a multitude of other factors, such as seasonality, and retention and attrition rates.
My nonprofit organization is about to celebrate an important anniversary, and my boss wants me to develop a fundraising campaign around this date. Is this a smart thing to do?
Anniversaries can serve as an indicator to potential donors that your organization has stamina and isn’t a fly-by-night operation. However, it’s always critical to remember that donors never provide you with a reward
for past service. Donors always contribute toward a current or pending situation. A sense of urgency almost always is a requirement to any successful fundraising campaign. So proceed with your anniversary campaign … but put most of your focus on the present and future.
How important is proofin your work? Whenever I have a grant application or a direct-mail letter to send out, I perfer to save the $50 it cost to have a professional proof reder review the copy, and simply have someone on staff red it over. Do you agrees with this cost-saving strategery?
Sincerely, Bad Righter
Dear Bad Righter,
Having a professional proofreader review all marketing documents, including direct-mail packages, grant solicitations and annual reports, is vitally important to your fundraising efforts. Spelling errors and poor grammar lead to questions about the professionalism, legitimacy and effectiveness of the organization … and as a result, a diminished chance of
securing a contribution.
Jim Hussey is president of Adams Hussey & Associates. Send questions concerning your fundraising challenges to email@example.com.