Book Review: ‘Responsive Fundraising’
I recently read the book “Responsive Fundraising: The Donor-Centric Framework Helping Today's Leading Nonprofits Grow Giving,” written by Virtuous CRM’s Gabe Cooper, founder and CEO, and Mckenna Bailey, sr. content marketing strategist. It’s an easy read, and it follows a lot of what I just read in John Haydon’s book, “Donor CARE.”
It’s about connection. It’s about listening to the donor. It’s about suggesting. It’s about being as personal as possible. It’s about building trust.
Cooper and Bailey describe the importance automation can play as part of the personalization process. Because the reality is that while we as fundraisers may want to be as personal as possible, it’s just not doable without automation.
In every chapter, Cooper and Bailey describe how that will work. If you’d like to hear Cooper explain how, check out this free virtual conference — he’s one of the presenters.
In the book, for example the authors describe how you can use automation for nurturing a first-time donor. With most email programs now offering email automation, that’s very doable; although, of course, it takes a bit of time to think it all through and actually make it happen. I would love to have seen some examples of a welcome email series.
What’s less clear to me as the reader is how and where I can find out the number of Twitter followers for my donors in a quick and easy way, unless I sit down and research some of my top influencers. I’m curious about things like adding geo-location and social influence tags to donor profiles. I would have liked to have seen some actual examples of what those look like. And where can I find that information?
As many of us know, changing systems is often a really hard process. Sometimes existing donor base CRMs don’t have a lot of space to add additional information. And adding information to donor’s records is going to become even more complicated. Some organizations are very hesitant. And frankly, with the recent privacy regulations in Europe and the changing California privacy laws, we need to make sure that whatever we find out from our donors occurs with their permission.
I’ve seen a huge increase in the number of surveys recently, both online and offline. It’s a great way to get additional information about your donors. It’s a great way to get more personal, as long as donors want this.
The responsive fundraising framework provides a great basis for how best to approach your donors. Responsive is always good, especially when it comes to donors communicating with nonprofits. And yes, automation plays an important role, but let’s not forget that the donor must be the ultimate driver in how far we can go in that personalized approach.
As long as there are donors who don’t want to give out their email address, or their phone number, or their credit card information to make a gift, we have to tread very lightly. So stay curious. Find out from the donor what they’d like to share, and you’ll do alright.
Erica Waasdorp is one of the leading experts on monthly giving. She is the president of A Direct Solution, a company serving nonprofit organizations with fundraising and direct marketing needs, with a focus on monthly giving and appeals. She authored "Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant" and "Monthly Giving Made Easy." She regularly blogs and presents on fundraising, appeals and monthly giving — in person and through webinars. She is happy to answer any questions you may have about this great way of improving retention rates for your donors.
Erica has over 30 years of experience in nonprofits and direct response. She helped the nonprofits she works with raise millions of dollars through monthly giving programs. She is also very actively supports organizations with annual fund planning and execution, ranging from copywriting, creative, lists, print and mail execution.
When she’s not working or writing, Erica can be found on the golf course (she’s a straight shooter) or quietly reading a book. And if there’s an event with a live band, she and her husband, Patrick, can be found on the dance floor. She also loves watching British drama on PBS. Erica and Patrick have two step sons and a cat, Mientje.