Two events caught my attention recently because of their implications for all of fundraising. The first was a direct-mail appeal letter that provided solid clues about donor trust. The second was publication of a new book about who gives in America. Strategically aware fundraisers can glean valuable opportunities from both.
What will motivate people to give to my fundraising campaign? This is a question you should be prepared to answer in an instant. It’s a question that demands a ready defense, a solid apologetic. And it’s a question you should ask yourself every time you review a fundraising strategy or creative solution. A few weeks ago, I sat down and reviewed some of the direct-mail appeal packages I had received in my home mailbox. It was quite a mixture of fundraising offers — appeals for political and public policy, humanitarian and social services, religious and cultural causes. Some of the appeals completely missed their
There has been a lot of complaining lately about the reliability of the U.S. Postal Service. To which I say, “Bah humbug!”
Stop the complaining. Every business day, nonprofit organizations in our country receive a gift that keeps giving and giving: sharply reduced postage rates courtesy of American taxpayers.
As a fundraiser, you might be asking yourself, “What am I thankful for this Thanksgiving?” Well, here’s one suggestion for what you should be thankful for, even if you don’t know it yet.
One of my colleagues calls them “hidden heavies.” I’ve heard others refer to them as “nuggets of gold.” They’re the donors — undetected — on your donor file today who have the ability to give significantly larger gifts. In fact, not only do they have the capacity to give more, they’re just waiting for you to ask.
I’m convinced that most of the donors who support social-enterprise organizations today would give more tomorrow if they clearly understood the impact of their gifts — if they could experience the power of their support.
And this is exactly why donor-focused newsletters are such a vital part of the donor-communication mix. Newsletters sent to all active donors can do what the typical appeal letter can’t (and shouldn’t) do — educate, nurture and affirm, and report specific accomplishments. As a bonus, newsletters also are excellent fundraising tools.
As your mother said, saying “thank you” is really important. For nonprofit organizations, it’s essential. In fact, if you don’t express gratitude quickly and well, your donors are likely to give somewhere else.
I’m often asked, “How many fundraising appeals should we send to our donors each year?” The question usually comes after some senior executive or board member has complained to a fundraising manager about overly aggressive appeal frequency. Or after a few donors have written to complain about “too much mail.”
As charitable giving continues its steady upward climb and more Americans value the crucial role nonprofit organizations play in sustaining our cultural, social, religious and economic life, a significant threat lingers.
It’s time to identify this threat, speak out against it and unite behind the common cause of advancing fundraising. If we don’t mobilize and speak out, we’ll have nobody to blame but ourselves when the most sweeping, intrusive and draconian federal regulation of nonprofit organizations takes effect.
Why do some nonprofit organizations thrive while others, just as worthy, languish in fundraising mediocrity, barely able to raise enough money to keep the doors open?
Sure, the fundraising environment is getting tougher and tougher every day because of increased competition. But even in this climate, organizations can achieve remarkable results and thrive.