Cover Story: The Art and Science of Fundraising
And to that, ultimately, is what Bennett herself attributes the phenomenal growth of both her department and the donations it brings in.
A new approach
A petite dynamo of a woman, her personality underscored by the bright-red business suit she’s wearing on the day of this interview, Bennett leans in for emphasis to declare that “the days of mass marketing are over.”
Like many nonprofits in the new millennium, the ADA has taken a more donor-centric approach to development. And while the idea smacks of warm fuzzies and soft-focus, “let’s get together over a wine spritzer” attitudes, under Bennett the relationship-building ideal has taken a decidedly hardcore spin. The ADA development staff tracks every interaction it has with donors and prospective donors, and nothing is left to chance.
ADA uses the popular Moves Management® concept developed by the Institute for Charitable Giving to trace each donor or donor prospect’s involvement with the organization, from interest to giving to upgrading. Bennett’s philosophy: The organization-wide capture and sharing of information must be “consistent and systematic.”
“As of this year, we’re all on one database; everyone has the same kind of information,” Bennett says. “It’s a very managed strategy; we can see on one file how many times an individual is touched by ADA and have one picture of what our constituent does.
“It’s not rhetoric; we measure this. We all collect and share information for the good of the donor and the organization,” she adds.
Elly Brtva, managing director of individual giving, explains that the Moves Management concept makes it easier for all segments of the development department to work together in cultivating donors.
“ADA has made a major investment in hardware and software to support its fundraising efforts,” she says. “Our system is the best to track and understand donors and how they impact every part of the organization — whether it’s buying a diabetes book, supporting our advocacy efforts, participating in School Walk for Diabetes or giving a direct mail gift.