Holliston, Mass.

All donors are not created equal. As in the for-profit world, the most financially valuable ones are the ones who undertake long-term relationships with an organization — those who embrace a nonprofit’s mission and make donations again and again. In a perfect world, fundraisers would be able to discern these individuals from the 70 percent of newly acquired donors whose first gifts are also their last, and invest in them accordingly.

Fundraisers who want board members and upper management singing the praises of direct-response fundraising have to convert them. In the session “Managing Up: Helping Your Board and Senior Management Become Direct Response Evangelists” during the 2008 New York Nonprofit Conference earlier this month, co-presenter Bryan Terpstra, vice president of client services for Holliston, Mass.-based direct-response marketing firm L.W. Robbins Associates, said that fundraisers must change board members’ minds by speaking their language. First and foremost, fundraisers who want board members on their side need to avoid fundraising jargon. Board members and senior managers can’t relate to terms like “donor retention” and “donor pyramid,”

Let me preface this by saying that I’ve been told that I’m too hard on myself (and, unfortunately, on everyone around me — but that’s another story). I hope you’ll agree (with the first part, anyway) when I fess up to the misgivings I’ve been having about some of our editorial content. I’m mainly talking about our weekly e-letter, the FS Advisor, and our newest e-letter, Giving 2.0. We’ve been rather short-staffed for what seems like forever, and I’ve been losing sleep (yes, literally — how sad is that?) over the fact that a lot of our e-letter content has been picked up

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.)

Unlike the tax v By MAURA SZENDEY and BRYAN TERPSTRA For most of us, when we hear the word "audit," our gut instinct is to run and hide. We've been trained to think an audit means a review of our finances, and sometimes that can be downright scary! But there are other types of audits that can be a lot less stressful and have a big impact on your bottom line. There are two common, basic audits, for example, to help evaluate the annual performance of a direct marketing program: a creative audit and a file audit. For nonprofits with mail programs

More Blogs