Your Fundraising Product Mix
In most organizations, donors are not homogenous. Sure, they may all be alumni of the same university or residents of the same community. But how they choose to spend their time differs, as does what their donor "love language" is. Events, email, visits, direct mail, phone calls, filling out surveys, listening to a recorded podcast—you name it and there's a donor somewhere who prefers that form of communication.
How many legs are on your stool?
While most nonprofits have to draw the line somewhere when it comes to methods of communication with donors and would-be supporters, achieving a minimum amount of balance is essential. If you've ever had the experience of sitting on a one-legged stool, you know that the least little thing can send you sprawling because keeping your balance is tough.
But when you add a couple more legs, you can handle the bumps that come along. And so it is with fundraising. Relying on multiple fundraising "products" gives your income—and thus, your program funding—more stability. So how do you select your product mix?
Who is donating to your nonprofit organization today? Yes, investing in the next generation is important. But raising money today is essential or your organization may not be there for that next generation. What are your current donors responding to? What means of acquiring new donors are not only acquiring donors, but bring in donors who give again … and again?
If you're looking to achieve balance but have a limited budget, you know you can't do it all. So instead, focus on a mix of fundraising products that cover the largest portion of your demographics. In other words, if you can only do three things and you have three distinct demographic groups, make sure one fundraising product is aligned with the preferences of each group.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.