James E. Sullivan

Many of today’s nonprofits are struggling with declining memberships, ever-shrinking budgets and a serious slackening of retention rates from their core donors. It’s an increasing dilemma among some of the largest, and smallest, nonprofits in the country. What could be one bright spot in this increasingly dark world of donor prospecting and acquisition is the advantage of permission-based online direct marketing and branding for your organization. These types of campaigns deploy opt-in email to highly targeted donors, which could help keep your retention programs strong, increase donor awareness of what your organization is doing and even develop your own unique nonprofit “gear”

Assume that you have just stepped into the marketing job for an established nonprofit organization. Your predecessor has disappeared in the midst of planning a 100,000-name prospecting mailing, leaving you with a clever new package, ready to test against an established control; an updated housefile; and a yellow sticky note on your computer screen that says: “Set to go. Just have to order the lists. Call our broker.” Where do you begin?

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