Donor Relationship Management

They're Out There
November 1, 2006

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.

How to Make Your E-Newsletter a Superstar
October 31, 2006

Atlanta-based international humanitarian organization CARE was recognized as a “Superstar” by peers at GetTogether 2006, GetActive Software’s third annual user conference, in Baltimore in mid-September, for having the “best recurring e-newsletter.” Tobias Smith, Internet strategist for the organization, took some time to speak with me about what it is that makes the 4-year-old monthly e-newsletter, CARE Connections, successful. Smith describes CARE Connections as the anchor of CARE’s large, complex e-cultivation effort at raising funds and encouraging advocacy. The goal of the e-newsletter is to bring people back to the Web to view the content that’s there. The e-newsletter includes feature stories, educational content,

Speed and Relevance Key to E-Newsletters
October 31, 2006

According to the report “Email Newsletter Usability: 165 Design Guidelines for Newsletter Subscription, Content, Account Maintenance, and RSS News Feeds Based on Usability Studies” by the Nielsen Norman Group, a firm that helps companies develop customer-centered strategies and processes, individuals have stronger reactions to e-mail newsletters than they do to Web sites. For one thing, e-newsletters are more personal than Web sites because they arrive in recipients’ inboxes. They also have a social aspect in that they can be forwarded to friends and colleagues, according to the report. Because of this, e-newsletters present an opportunity to create a greater bond between recipients and

11 Strategies to Avoid Getting Your E-Newsletter Caught By Filters
October 31, 2006

As the amount of e-mails sent to consumers and donors has increased, the use of e-mail filters to sort spam and unwanted e-mails has as well. An e-newsletter that gets caught in a filter and fails to get delivered is a missed opportunity to touch a would-be donor or build a relationship with a long-time constituent. Nancy Schwartz, president of marketing and communications firm Nancy Schwartz & Company, says there are techniques that nonprofits can employ so their e-newsletters don’t get caught in filters. She touches on these in the article “Avoiding Filters — 11 Tips for E-Newsletter Success,” which appears on her

Five Tips for Making the Most of Blogs
October 24, 2006

Search engine optimization, blogs and RSS are all the rage these days for marketers. But how can they best be used? This was the topic addressed in the session “Blogs, Podcasts and RSS: New Tools for Customer Acquisition and CRM” at the Direct Marketing Association’s 2006 Annual Conference & Exhibition in San Francisco last week. Stephan Spencer, president and founder of New Zealand-based Web design and consulting company Netconcepts and a co-presenter of the session, says that these technologies can be used by for-profits and nonprofits alike. Blogs — which are basically Web sites made up of journal-like entries — can

Eight Ways to Engage Donors While Raising Funds
October 3, 2006

Whether the mission of your organization is to raise awareness, support a cause or help find a cure, raising money will always be a major need. For nonprofits, finding and keeping donors is one of the essential keys to success. But donor retention is not always easy. A good way to increase your donor pool is to examine your constituents and identify those already invested in your organization. Your activists are therefore key fundraising prospects. Follow these basic guidelines and expand your donor list significantly. 1. Identify your goals. Develop an image of what success looks like and determine how you will measure your

“Thank You” Done Right Goes a Long Way
October 3, 2006

In a session she presented at the AFP International Conference on Fundraising in Atlanta earlier this year, Penelope Burk, president of Cygnus Applied Research, a research-based fundraising consulting firm located in Chicago, talked about a study her company had done in 2003. Questioning 267 charities and 145 donors, the study aimed to find out if improvements made to an organization’s back-end service — e.g., thank-you letters, personal phone calls, etc. — could increase donor retention and generate a more rapid increase in gift value among retained donors. The study unearthed interesting findings. First of all, Burk says her company learned that most

Online DRM Strategies
October 1, 2006

Unlike offline DRM, online donor cultivation doesn’t begin until donors opt in to receive communications from you. From that point forward, organizations should begin the process of fostering a two-way communication with constituents — meaning the collected set of people who donate, volunteer, serve on the board, or benefit from the services of your organization — and make efforts to understand how to get them involved, says Jeff Patrick, president of Common Knowledge, a Dallas-based consulting firm that provides services that help nonprofits use the Internet to fundraise, advocate, market and communicate to constituents.

Newsletters Done Right
October 1, 2006

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.

Different Party, Different Tactic
October 1, 2006

It might be an off year for big elections, but political fundraising never takes a hiatus. You can be sure that even with almost two years left in the current presidential administration, copywriters around the country, from every political party, are gearing up for the next big push.

Well-known political direct-mail strategist Hal Malchow recently spoke with FundRaising Success about raising money for political campaigns and how to connect with political donors. Malchow also is an author and president of Washington, D.C.-based communications firm MSHC Partners Inc.