Your Current Fundraising Ladder of Effectiveness
It is interesting to take a brief look back at the first quarter of 2020 just prior to the COVID-19 wave that shook the world. Classy noted in an article predicting 2020 trends that nonprofits that embrace flexible work environments would keep key fundraisers. A resurgence of the “election effect” could happen as the political climate heats up. Donor-advised funds and blockchain for good will increase, and the need for greater transparency will occur.
Through technological innovations, 2020 will see integrated giving empowering everyday donors. The rise of giving experiences and conversations about sustainable impact will be the order of the day. One question is: Will fundraising trends change once the pivot occurs from COVID-19-related causes back to original organizational priorities? That is something to think about while we focus on current fundraising.
The Fundraising Authority notes that quick fundraising is not typically good fundraising. In these times however, many nonprofits need funds now more than ever before. Organizations need to come up with a strategy now to raise funds.
Five quick fundraising methods you can use to get your organization back on track are :
- Reaching out to your current donors now, and ask them through calls and mailings to give.
- Run a mini campaign with a specific goal and time frame to generate interest and urgency.
- Pre-sell a future event, and use the proceeds for current needs.
- Ask your top-level donors to host viral fundraising events on your behalf.
- Cut costs around the edges to immediately eliminate 5% of your budget with the hope of not cutting the budget deeper later.
Amy Eisenstein encourages fundraising professionals to stay calm and carry on, convene your board, meet with your donors more frequently, cancel events but don’t refund the money, stay the course on a capital campaign, thank your donors, don’t make assumptions and ask donors for what you need. Make sure you provide outreach and focus plus relevance for your donors.
PNC Insights have explored new strategies to maintain fundraising efforts during this crisis. The nation understands the importance of nonprofits to provide a variety of resources to those in need, which is expanding at an alarming rate. Organizations must maintain fundraising efforts at this time. That said, because of social distancing at present, in-person meetings are out. Travel to and from areas for visits is restricted. Cybersecurity is a must since dependency on the internet is at its highest level than ever before.
Incomes could be dramatically affected because of the shaky economy and stock market. Communication with organizational lifelines must remain. Phone calls with others including donors and prospects are definitely in. Video chat should be used, if possible, to provide a face-to-face look. Utilize email that includes attachments to provide information of progress. Expand your social media possibilities and webinars for informational updates. Fundraising must continue and seek best of class ways to stay ahead of the competition until the usual channels of communication are back to normal.
The existing fundraising ladder of effectiveness through research shows the ladder steps of effectiveness from the most effective to the least effective ways of generating revenue. The ladder, as depicted from the Moran Company, shows this typical fundraising effectiveness tool is as follows:
- Personal Visit
- Personal Letter
- Mailing or emailing current supporters
- Special event
- Door-to-door cold calls
- Mailing from a cold list
- Traditional advertising media
The typical fundraising ladder of effectiveness as depicted from Arroyo Fundraising is as follows:
- Personal face-to-face meeting either with two people or solo
- Personal letter on personal stationery
- Personal telephone call
- Personal email message
- Personal phonathon call
- Impersonal letter, direct mail or email
- Impersonal telemarketing call
- Fundraising special event
- Door-to-door canvassing
In my opinion, the fundraising ladder of effectiveness for now should be:
- Personal Face-to-face meeting on video chat or other technology
- Personal visit to donor home on their lawn (brief cultivation tool only with social distance) with gift
- Personal telephone call
- Personal letter
- Personal email
- Social media (using various means)
I would keep contacts personal if possible. I would focus fundraising on COVID-19-related priorities or other priorities that would have the greatest impact based upon your organizational focus. You must show your prospects, donors and friends the organizational mission impact you are making. They understand the current environment and struggle for all.
You must make sure you are communicating with your key constituencies. Your “short-term” ladder of effectiveness needs to be as personal and targeted as possible for now. That focus will also help your tightening budget. Think hard about your short-term fundraising priority focus while contemplating when your organizational fundraising priority pivot will occur — hopefully sooner than later.
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.