We’ve dedicated four issues in 2009 to our Fundraising 101 series, which we hope will offer a solid look at some of the more fundamental issues involved in nonprofit fundraising. We start this month with a look at direct mail. In April, we tackle acquisition; in June, it’s special efforts, including monthly giving, lapsed donors, capital campaigns and planned giving; and, finally, we look at
e-philanthropy in October.
Whether you’ll be reading as a fundraising newbie looking for some entry-level guidance or as a seasoned professional looking for a refresher course to smooth the waters in this tough economic climate, we hope you’ll find these special reports immensely helpful.
PACKAGE OF THE YEAR Gold: Habitat for Humanity International Special Development Appeal (Craver, Mathews, Smith & Co.) Silver: Rhode Island Community Food Bank Annual Review Brochure (DaVinci Direct) Bronze (Tie): Tuskegee Airmen — Charles McGee Campaign (Fundraising Strategies) CARE November/December World Report (Merkle) ACQUISITION (50,000 OR MORE MAILED) Gold: Utah Food Bank 2007 Thanksgiving Donor Acquisition (L.W. Robbins) Silver: Wildlife Conservation Spring 2007 Acquisition (Schultz & Williams) Bronze: Mail Call Hurts (Gum Version) (Fundraising Strategies) ACQUISITION (FEWER THAN 50,000 MAILED) Gold: Tuskegee Airmen — Charles McGee (Fundraising Strategies) Silver: Bidawee “Welcome” (SCA DIrect) Bronze: Adaptive Clothing Gift Tag Package (Fundraising Strategies) RENEWAL (50,000
There’s a lot to be said about failure. Mainly that it stinks. No, seriously — failure helps you appreciate success a little more, right? And on a less existential level, it can teach you a lot about what not to do next time around. That’s no more apparent than in the world of direct-mail fundraising efforts. And from what we hear, it happens to the best of them. So to prove you’re not alone when one of your ideas isn’t as all-fire successful as you had hoped, here are a few failure stories from fundraising pros. Hear Ye, Hear Ye … Don’t Traumatize Your
“When everybody loves the package, it’s probably going to fail. Never go ‘outside the box’ without first testing a small cell, and make sure an established winner carries the fundraising load. … But of course, don’t stop pushing the limits. You have to learn from your mistakes. And if you never bomb, you’re probably not pushing hard enough.” — Steve Maggio, president, DaVinci Direct, in the article, “From the Ashes,” appearing in the April edition of FundRaising Success.
For this week’s Advisor, FS asked a number of agencies and other companies that serve the nonprofit fundraising sector for tips on making the most of the client/vendor relationship. Here are some more of their thoughts. “1. Treat your agency like a partner, not a vendor. 2. Invest in testing. 3. Share and discuss all data as a team to drive strategy. 4. Hire the best you can find and then trust them, based on past performance. 5. Be willing to take calculated risks in order to achieve creative breakthroughs.” — Steve Maggio, president and chief creative officer, DaVinci Direct (www.davinci-direct.com) “Consider [your
Ah … it was a great run. But a tricky one. For the past few years, I’ve been wrestling with the challenge of letting FundRaising Success Senior Editor Abny Santicola do her thing without the rest of the Target Marketing Group catching on to how fabulous she is.
Wow! Who ever thought the Gold Awards could be so exciting? The sun was setting on judgement day, and we had a tie for Package of the Year. A first! So, I polled our four judges — Steve Froehlich, director of development analytics at the ASPCA; Tim O’Leary, vice president of McPherson Associates; Paul Bobnak, director of North American Publishing Co.’s Who’s Mailing What! Archive; and FS Senior Editor Abny Santicola. After some soul searching and spirited debate, they weighed in: two for one package and the other two for the other package.
Remember the old days, before Al Gore invented the Internet? Direct mail was king in the direct-response fundraising world. Then came the Web and the predictions that it would dominate all other media, making books, magazines and newspapers obsolete. And, oh yes, direct mail was on its way out.
Breakthrough creative. Everyone wants it. Few achieve it. If you’re on the client side and want to get the most out of your creative partners, here are a few tips on how to play the muse to your creative team. 1. Provide useful background In the “olden days” before the Internet, I used to ask all new clients for annual reports, articles, press releases, direct-mail samples and other printed materials to get a feel for the mission, tone and voice of the organization. Today, much of that background information is available online. It’s generally a good thing, but only if the client Web
As we gathered information for last month’s special section on e-philanthropy, we spoke to a number of folks whose comments didn’t make it into print. Following is a sampling of those comments. Some came from our own interviews, while others (marked accordingly) were in response to Katrin Verclas’ request for comments from members of the Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network, of which she is the executive director. — M.B.