In its whitepaper Courting the Mid-level Donor, fundraising consultancy Carl Bloom Associates offers these tips for doing just that: * Study giving history. Although base-level donors often are one-up givers, you might be able to develop some mid-level donors among them by studying giving history for multiyear donors who tend to increase giving amounts. Consider testing a stretch appeal to these individuals with a special offer that emphasizes recognition, as described in the next point. * Plan your mid-level offers carefully. These donors will want meaningful opportunities to participate in your mission, including invitations to special events, lectures and behind-the-scenes meetings with staff. And
No one wants to listen to complaints every day. Whether the complainer is a spouse (“Put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher!”), one of your kids (“Why can’t you take me to the mall?”) or a donor (“Stop sending me so much mail!”), it might seem easier to ignore the situation than to do something about it.
But just as you don’t want your spouse to file for divorce or your child to hitch a ride to the mall from a stranger, you also don’t want a valuable donor to say goodbye to you.
The growth in recent years of online contributions to disaster-relief organizations clearly illustrates that Web fundraising has come of age. Consider the online giving that the American Red Cross has generated following major disasters: $64 million related to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks (2001); $140 million in the wake of the Southeast Asia tsunami (2004); and $479 million after Hurricane Katrina (2005). Also telling is that the percentage of individual donor funds raised online (excluding corporate contributions) grew from 29 percent for Sept. 11 to 55 percent for the tsunami, illustrating that donors have become increasingly comfortable giving over the Internet.
One of the most frequent questions I hear as a fundraising consultant is, “Do you believe in using premiums to recruit donors?” It disturbs me, because it almost always is positioned as a “yes” or “no” question. But it’s really not that simple.
On one hand, premiums can be viewed as a wonderful cure to the problem of low response rates. The offer of a low-cost/high-value item as a reward for a contribution often will generate much higher response rates than offers that provide nothing.
Let’s face it. As direct-response fundraisers, we don’t spend enough time trying to renew lapsed donors. Most of our effort goes into acquisition and current-donor programs — and for good reason.
Current-donor mailings generate the bulk of your income, so that’s always your first priority. And even though most acquisition mailings lose money in the first year, they do create future donors. (Note: If you’re making money or breaking even on your acquisition mailings, you’re doing a great job. You should request a raise from your boss immediately, and write to us here at FundRaising Success and tell us how you’re doing it.)
Sending a timely, relevant thank-you letter in return for a gift is the prudent and polite thing to do — both in our private lives and in fundraising. It’s all about preserving a relationship, communicating appropriately, and establishing and maintaining a personal style.
Ms. Manners taught us the rules of etiquette when writing personal thank-you notes, but what about a donor program with thousands of people to thank? What are the rules? And who gets to write them?
The failure to immediately obtain second gifts from new donors is a grave error. In fact, many new-donor acquisition efforts stink because of this failure.
As a fundraiser, one of your primary obligations is to acquire new donors so your organization’s revenue will increase. This means, of course, that you need to acquire more new donors each year than you lose to offset natural attrition.
Puzzled about why your online donors aren’t renewing? Simple ... they’re different, those donors who give online. For a time, prevailing conventional wisdom was that a donor acquired online is most likely to renew online.
And the great hope was that online donors would be so much cheaper to re-solicit because we wouldn’t have to spend money on postage and printing and production … we could just e-mail them!
Fundraisers radically modify the value proposition with prospects and donors when they offer incentives for giving. Albeit engaging, some experts consider the technique to be short sighted, for renewing premium-acquired donors can be arduous and cost prohibitive.