Feb. 21, 2006 By Abny Santicola Presenting for a session on "Disaster Fundraising" at last week's DMA Nonprofit Federation 2006 Annual Washington Nonprofit Conference, Julie Hambuchen, marketing director for Portland, Ore.-based international relief and development agency Mercy Corps, outlined the four key lessons her organization learned from the disasters of 2005. Disaster fundraising is part of Mercy Corps' mission, but it also stresses long-term solutions for affected areas. As long-term providers of relief, Mercy Corps knows it must capitalize on the intense initial media coverage given to disasters. In her session, Hambuchen said coverage typically peaks and fades and therefore it is
DMA Nonprofit Federation
You’ve been hearing about proposed postal-rate increases; rules against personalizing mail pieces with your donor information and thanking donors; new, expensive accountability measures; and rules against e-mailing potential donors.
So is it time to hit the panic button? No, but this also is no time to allow yourself to continue on, unfamiliar with the legislation and other changes that could affect your organization’s fundraising efforts.
Following is an update on some of the issues the Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation is monitoring.
Debra Neuman is on intimate terms with the tsunami that devastated southern Asia in December 2004. Just as you would never refer to a friend as “the Bill” or “the Mary,” she calls the killer storm simply “tsunami” — no preceding article — as though the word should be spelled with a capital T.
In every nonprofit’s life, there comes a time when questions arise about the general health of its database.
This could come as a result of a new initiative to push the organization ahead. It could stem from a mandate to raise additional funds within a certain period of time. It could be a desire to increase brand awareness among donors and prospects. Or perhaps the organization has recognized the need to identify, communicate and track its audiences’ activities.
Let me raise a glass to the good folks at the DMA Nonprofit Federation for their truly well done Leadership Summit in Denver last month. Being as it’s a workday, it’ll have to be iced tea, but champagne would be much more in keeping with the degree of kudos warranted.
The conference was attended by a smallish group of nonprofit professionals ranging from the heads of development at organizations of all sizes to the top dogs at some of the sector’s most respected agencies, consultancies and vendors.
For those of us who manage prospecting campaigns, there is a span of a month or two between ordering lists and dropping the direct-mail appeals in the mail stream. Usually that time is spent putting the finishing touches on the creative packages and getting the materials ready to go.
But while we fuss over the creative, something else is happening that’s every bit as important to the campaign. Down in the data crypt, thousands, and perhaps millions, of names from many sources are brought together for a complex process called a merge/purge.
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?
Acquisition means bringing in new donors, as many as possible. But with donor-list universes shrinking and the cost of acquisition rising, fundraisers are left in quite a quandary.
The Senate’s Governmental Affairs Committee and the House of Representatives’ Committee on Government Reform hosted the final hearing on postal reform in late March. There, U.S. Postal Service officials had one last opportunity to present their proposals for reform of the USPS.