Butter Over Too Much Toast: Managing the One-Person Nonprofit Fundraising Shop
"What? I've got goals to reach, and I don't have the luxury of picking and choosing," you say. "I've got to keep it all going."
Yes, there are goals, I told Lisa. Let's look below the obvious — the dollars — and ask, "How do I get there?"
Money is not the driver in fundraising. Yes, you read that right.
It's not about the dollars as much as it's about your supporters — your donor investors — and your organization's relationship with them. Take a long look. How's your donor retention?
I suspect your rate of retaining donors from one year to the next is much lower and perhaps even less than you are prepared to admit. Here's a hint: The overall retention rate for nonprofit organizations is now just under 40 percent.
Commercial enterprises have an overall customer retention rate of over 95 percent. Say that to yourself, "ninety-five percent."
Companies who sell everything from cosmetics to automobiles are over 100 percent better at giving their customers and clients sufficient reason to come back than nonprofits are at getting a donor to do the same. OUCH!
Raising your retention rate just 10 percent will solve your immediate revenue needs. Think about it. Giving a donor sufficient reason to give again will meet the challenge of your monetary goals.
OK, now you've got your donors coming back and clamoring for more. Now what?
If your retention is high and many — if not most — of your supporters are at or near their true financial capacity, then the place to focus is acquiring new donors (even as you continue to retain your current investors). This broadens the base and allows for ongoing revenue growth. Think tilling a garden to the physical limit, then — and only then — adding additional acreage.
Larry believes in the power of relationships and the power of philanthropy to create a better place and transform lives.
Larry is the founder of The Eight Principles. His mission is to give nonprofits and philanthropists alike the opportunity to achieve their shared visions. With more than 25 years of experience in charitable fundraising and philanthropy, Larry knows that financial sustainability and scalability is possible for any nonprofit organization or charitable cause and is dependent on neither size nor resources but instead with the commitment to create a shared vision.
Larry is the author of the award-wining book, "The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising." He is the Association of Fundraising Professionals' 2010 Outstanding Development Executive and has ranked in the Top 15 Fundraising Consultants in the United States by the Wall Street Business Network.
Larry is the creator of the revolutionary online fundraising training platform, The Oracle League.
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