We All Need Each Other—Why Going Solo Doesn’t Work: Direct Response is Beautiful
Folks we have to stop this. We need to realize that to have a really successful, growing major gift program, you need a really strong direct response program. And, the direct marketers and their bosses need to understand that part of their success should be evaluated by how many of their donors move to a major gift caseload.
All boats need to rise together.
Let me give you a quick example of one client of mine that did this right. Back in 2001, while working for The Domain Group, which was one of the largest direct response agencies working with nonprofits at that time, I was the account lead on major national nonprofit charity we just landed.
At that time they had roughly 50,000 donors and brought in about $4 million in revenue in their direct response activities. At that time, they had no major gift team. So, essentially the majority of their donations came from direct response.
What did we do? Because this charity had forward-thinking leadership, we invested heavily into their direct response program (now hold on major gift people, this gets good). We went from nine appeals to 18 appeals, from navel-gazing newsletters to "donor-amazing" newsletters (I just coined that, but you can use it ), where we talked about how donors gift's made a difference and the needs that had to be met. We became incredibly aggressive in new donor acquisition.
Two years into working with this client we started to see donors rise to the top. So much so, they had to hire their first major gift officer. Each year that number started to increase. And, each year, they had to hire more major gift officers.
Where are they now? They have well over 400,000 donors and bring in over $50 million in revenue, and now more than 40 percent of that revenue comes from major donors. Remember, 11 years earlier there was virtually nothing coming from major donors.
If you like baseball, tennis, golf, Gregorian chant, jazz, rock, good wine and deep conversation, then you’ll like to hang out with Jeff.
If you are passionate about fundraising, Jeff will inspire you to be a true “broker of love” for your donors, helping you bring together a donor’s desire to change the world and the world’s greatest needs. Jeff believes that if nonprofits truly want to grow and obtain more net revenue for their mission, it will come through creating, building and successfully managing major-gift programs. The Connections blog will give you inspiration and practical advice to help you succeed. Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit fundraising experience and is senior partner of the Veritus Group.