Year-End Giving: Renewing or Refreshing?
Your donor acquisition program is shaped by the nature of your cause or charity. Do you have members? Is a single, passionate idea the primary driving force behind your mission? Do you have grateful clients — individuals whose lives your organization has changed for the better? Do you have “alumni” in whatever form? What are the core characteristics of your true believers? Understanding the character and parameters of your organization and then applying this knowledge in a strategic way will yield the right program for you.
Renewal — scalability and the joy of friendship
Acquiring new donors on a continual basis is the critical activity in achieving sustainability for your fundraising program. To make your organization’s fundraising efforts scale, however, you must devote concentrated, ongoing effort to renewing the donors you already have. When donors figuratively (or occasionally, literally) walk through the door of your organization for the first time, it’s a sure bet that their first investment in your organization will be a nominal one. Nominal for them, that is.
As you renew a donor and carefully build the relationship with that person, the donor’s level of investment will rise. The goal of a successful donor renewal program is to move the relationship with that investor to the point where the investor’s gifts to your organization are commensurate with his or her financial capacity to give. As a rule of thumb, a “commensurate” gift will be made somewhere between the third and fifth investment a donor makes.
When you consider that gifts come to your organization with a disproportionate level being contributed by a relative few (generally 80 percent of what you raise comes from 20 percent of your supporters), it’s easy to see that renewing your donors, and renewing them consistently — and at a high level — is critical to achieving scale in your fundraising.
An internationally recognized philanthropy and fundraising thought leader, Larry C. Johnson trains the staff and volunteers of worthy causes to achieve real impact through the creation of reliable, growing revenue streams. He emphasizes principles before methods as the key to long-lasting success. He stresses the simple, the practical and the joyful.
Larry is the founder of The Eight Principles, the premier brand for educational products and services in relational fundraising and philanthropy. The Eight Principles provides digital education, live workshops and structured coaching to nonprofit organizations.
Author of the award-winning book, "The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising," AFP named Larry Outstanding Development Executive in 2010. The Wall Street Business Network ranks him in the Top 15 Fundraising Consultants in the USA. Larry is a graduate of Yale University. Larry speaks widely and serves on numerous nonprofit and corporate boards, including The Philanthropy Council of The Carter Center, the philanthropy of the 39th President of the U.S.