Are You Engaged in 'Mop & Glo Fundraising'?
Have you ever used Mop & Glo to clean your floors?
You'd think this stuff was a magical gift from the gods of cleanliness. It’s advertised as "Beautiful Floors Made Easy.” Plus, it's versatile. They tell you it will clean, shine and protect tile, vinyl, hardwood—you name it.
I used to think Mop & Glo was the greatest product known to man. When I first looked at my home, I admired the tile flooring in the kitchen. “Just a squirt of Mop & Glo keeps it beautiful,” the owner told me.
And it did—for years. Once a week, I’d mindlessly squirt on the Mop & Glo, run a damp mop over my tile and step back to admire the shine.
Until the day came when there was no shine left to admire. I looked down and realized that my once beautiful tile was black with grunge. What’s more, that grunge was stuck to the floor like superglue. I had to consult Google on how to get rid of the caked-on grime. And it took me a week, laboring, on my hands and knees, on four or five tiles at a time, to bring my tile back to its pristine, pre-Mop & Glo glory.
Are you using what I call "Mop & Glo fundraising"?
Well, how do you know? Does any of this sound like you? Year after year, you're piling on more and more events, never taking the time to figure out the real return on investment. (Time is money, you know!) Or you're engaged in applying for more and more grants (with onerous reporting)—and even creating programs around grant “opportunities.” You’re constantly engaged in seeking out new donors, at the expense of serving the donors you have. You don’t know your organization’s donor retention rate.
Don’t be surprised if, years from now, you're left with crap. Because you aren’t working on setting up the systems that lead to long-term relationship building. Instead, you’re focusing on achieving that temporary shine. It’s only appealing until it stops being appealing. And later on, you’re likely to find yourself in an even worse state, one that requires hours of laborious cleaning on your hands and knees. My advice to you? Focus. Zero in on what really counts, and you’ll get to the heart of the matter.
What should you be doing instead?
Let the numbers guide you. Giving USA, The Annual Report on Philanthropy and Atlas of Giving both point, year after year, to where the “big money” in nonprofit fundraising comes from, and these resources give an indication of where you should be focusing your time and effort.
The vast majority of charitable giving (80 percent) comes from individuals. Foundation giving makes up a mere 15 percent—and corporations bring in less than dead people (please tell me you have a planned-giving program). What does this tell you? The people are where it’s really at!
In this age of bright and shiny new objects, generated by an information-abundant planet, economic uncertainties and continued donor attrition, the future of fundraising lies in creating deeply personal, meaningful relationships with your donors. Make sure that your organization’s back-end systems are in place. Put yourself in your donors’ shoes and walk through every step of their experiences. Know your numbers like the back of your hand. Practice retention fundraising. Your direct-mail program will form the pipeline of your monthly and major-gift programs—how are you working it? Do the work now by starting today.
Have you had an experience with Mop & Glo fundraising? I’d love to hear about it.
Pamela Grow is the publisher of The Grow Report, the author of Simple Development Systems and the founder of Simple Development Systems: The Membership Program and Basics & More fundraising fundamentals e-courses. She has been helping small nonprofits raise dramatically more money for over 15 years, and was named one of the 50 Most Influential Fundraisers by Civil Society magazine, and one of the 40 Most Effective Fundraising Consultants by The Michael Chatman Giving Show.