Fundraising’s Wellness Check
Mix of postal mail and online giving
- Are you regularly, both offline and online, communicating need and providing opportunities to donate?
- Is your website donation form functional and logical? Is it easy to make a gift online, and is it clearly (and actually) secure?
- Are your mailings offering both an easy way to give via the mail and a simple way to respond online? Can you track online gifts back to the source (i.e., are you using unique URLs for each mailing?).
- Do you have a good balance of reporting on success and asking for gifts? Do people know that you are using donations wisely to accomplish results—but that the job is not done and you (and, therefore, they) need to do more?
- Are you paying attention to complaints and rethinking areas that are generating the most complaints? Do you have procedures in place to handle complaints quickly and professionally? Are you keeping complaints in perspective?
- Are requests to “take me off your mailing list” increasing? If so, is there something you can point to that has led to that? Do you offer options for receiving mail other than “everything” and “nothing”? For example, can you mail only quarterly?
- Are your receipts being received by the donor in a timely fashion? Are they accurate, both in terms of the amount and the designation (if any) requested by the donor? Do they convey genuine gratitude or feel perfunctory?
Going into the last months of the year with a healthy direct response fundraising program can result in both exceptional income and stronger relationships with donors—and momentum for moving into 2016. However, this old dog knows that healthy programs are seldom by chance; they take attention to detail and constant monitoring so donors feel like a valued partner, not simply a transaction.
How healthy is your fundraising program these days?
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.