These are dark times for direct mail fundraising. Response rates are down (and have been trending lower for more than a decade). At the same time, costs of paper, printing, and postage keep going up, usually faster than inflation.
So direct mail is dead, right? The sooner you stop using it for fundraising, the better. Right?
Not so fast.
Jeff Brooks takes a sober and non-panicked look tells at direct mail to see that it isn’t dead. It’s not even sick. But it’s changing, like everything else.
Shaun Horan starts this thought piece with: “Nothing splits a room like asking this question: should you ask for a gift from a prospective donor on the first meeting?”
So, what are his reasons? Click below to find out.
For a long time, philanthropy has been defined as “the giving of money to nonprofit organizations.” However, this definition is quickly becoming obsolete.
It’s evolving towards a meaning that is more appropriate to today’s giving paradigm and less industry-driven: that philanthropy is “the action of transforming the social wellbeing of others through generosity.”
The fundraising pyramid has long been the gold standard in the nonprofit industry to “group” donors. But it’s an odd way to represent a community of philanthropists — it’s a misrepresentation of what’s actually taking place through the process. The evolution of philanthropy forces us to re-imagine this structure.
Community Funded explains more.
Stephanie Harvey, fundraising manager from Little Village, shares her thoughts on this year’s Status of UK Fundraising 2019 Benchmark Report.
One outcome is the decreased confidence in charities. Stephanie elaborates: “We have all seen the negative news with various stories being uncovered of late, and like others we were disappointed and angry about what was shared in the press. Just because we work in the sector, doesn’t mean that we are immune to the bad press – and perhaps it’s also shaken our trust in the sector.
“However, I also believe that we reflect the wider public view that whilst we might not like the current public face of charities, we still like the ones we know and support.
“So, what advice would I give to anyone who doesn’t feel confident, or feels their non-profit needs to do more?”
Read Stephanie’s advise below.
The cost of acquiring a pound of charitable income has grown swiftly since the start of the century.
The latest edition of the UK Civil Society almanac contains a section on the cost of generating funds, which shows that in the year to March 2001, adjusted for inflation, the charity sector spent a total of £3.1bn on generating funds. Now it’s £5.9bn. That’s an increase of 90 per cent.
The sector’s income, meanwhile, has grown by 50 per cent. So the cost of raising money has grown by around 33 per cent in real terms.
Each pound spent on raising income now yields around £4.16, down from somewhere around £5.50 per pound at the start of the century.
David Ainsworth examines the causes of the change.
Brain science is commonly taken into consideration when developing marketing and communication strategies, particularly concerning visual content. After all, the best way to influence behavior is to understand its drivers. And behavior is driven by our psychological brains. At the same time, basing a strategy on invalid data can quickly waste time and resources.
Unfortunately, when it comes to understanding our visual brains, plenty of myths clutter the published universe. To save everyone a lot of wasted effort, Samantha Lile at Visme
has debunked 10 common myths about our brains and their visual abilities.
How to deal with rich people? John Baguley writes in this blog:
“I have worked on many highly successful capital appeals and a few that didn’t quite reach their target. Time and again that failure was due to the inability of the team to engage with wealthy people as human beings and not as representatives of all that is wrong with society. The feeling was often that they ought to give because they were rich, with no thought about real engagement over time with their kindness and goodwill.
“Crucially, this sometimes manifested itself in the act of asking, which I have seen done almost as an act of bravado to show the person asking was not afraid of the task but, unfortunately, that resulted in a slightly offensive demand lacking any humility.”
Read this blog for John’s tips on dealing with the rich.
We’ve covered tips on how to write successful appeal letters before, but this list by Marc Pitman really breaks it down into eight easy-to-implement steps. This blog simply can’t be ignored.
What does Jennifer Coleman-Peers mean by ‘radical transparency’?
It’s about pushing beyond the norms of honest and open practice to be open to the extreme, to share all the most important aspects – both the good and the bad – and in doing so to build trust in who we are and what we do because everything is there to see.
It tells your supporter that you have confidence in the commitment, vision and expertise of your organisation, and that despite its inevitable failings (because we’re all only human) it is working in the best way it knows how to make the biggest possible difference to your cause.
For more information on how radical transparency can make your charity and your leadership become more authentic, please read Jennifer’s blog below:
Most organizations have plenty of donor prospects, without having to go outside and look for prospects who aren’t connected to you.
Claire from Clairification Fundraising Coach suggests you don’t start with the most out-of-reach prospects. You can be a major donor prospect rainmaker without having to go outside or reach too far.
Even small current donors may be juicier prospects than “whale” donors with no connection to you or your cause.
It’s as easy as ABC: Access. Belief. Capacity.
It all boils down to this:
- Who you know you can get to.
- Who believes in your mission.
- Who has capacity to give.
These are the folks with whom you’ve already got a foot in the door. They are your best prospects for upgraded giving, presuming you’ve treated them well.
For more details, visit:
Award-winning fundraiser Emily Casson shares nine brilliant tips to start your journey on social media fundraising advertising. Facebook advertising is a great tool to start, or grow, your digital fundraising. Emily started using Facebook advertising nearly three years ago and now recruits over 10,000 new regular giving donors a year at a positive ROI, plus many more event participants, legacy pledgers and other supporters. Follow the link for some top tips that apply whatever your budget or cause.
A Giving Day is a 24 hour digitally driven fundraising and engagement campaign with the goal of rallying a university’s or nonprofit’s community behind a particular cause.
The original and most famous Giving Day is #GivingTuesday and has since been embraced by universites and nonprofits across the globe looking to run their own campaigns.
In this plan from Hubbub, you will gain a clear idea of the steps required to launch a successful Giving Day campaign. Much of this is targeted at universities, schools and colleges, but is applicable to the whole nonprofit sector.
Good fundraising ideas don’t come around that often, but every now and again an idea comes around that transforms the sector. Here is the story of how the Movember Foundation started in 2003 and turned into a major event raising over £400m.
Be inspired and perhaps try that idea in the back of your head (or under your nose…).
An exploration of the intersection of compliance and ethics programmes and behavioural science may not immediately strike you as a top candidate for your summer reading list – especially a fundraising reading list – but it would be a mistake to miss out on this review of a research paper by Meredith Niles. She considers how the learnings could be applied to fundraising to provide us with some well considered new perspectives.
This long read by John Baguley from International Fundraising Consultancy is split into several parts and what the team has learnt as they gear up to the firms 20th anniversary. focus on their top 20 tips to help us fundraise more effectively.
These 20 key facts every fundraiser should know: some are basic and some are outside any box we have ever found. None should be forgotten as we seek to grow our income and influence.
Part 1: https://groupifc.com/blog/2020-vision-in-fundraising/
Part 2: https://groupifc.com/blog/2020-vision-in-fundraising-part-ii/
Part 3: https://groupifc.com/blog/2020-vision-in-fundraising-part-iii/
Part 4: https://groupifc.com/blog/2020-vision-in-fundraising-part-iv/
The Institute of Fundraising (IoF) recently launched Good Asking – a report on why charities research and process supporter information. They worked with leading academic Dr Beth Breeze from the University of Kent, to survey over 300 fundraisers to understand why they process and research information about their supporters, and what the benefits are for donors, charities and the wider public.
The purpose of this report is to shed light on the importance of fundraisers and their work. If they are to be successful, fundraisers need to conduct research to facilitate the efficient and accurate matching of donors and the causes they might wish to support, and to do so in a way that makes the experience as pleasurable as possible for the generous donor.
THE REPORT FINDINGS INCLUDE:
- 90% of fundraisers believe that conducting research enables fundraisers to better communicate and tailor their work to the interests and priorities of donors
- Most (88%) fundraisers believe that conducting research reduces the levels of unwanted or irrelevant mail sent out
- A representative survey of the general UK population found that almost two-thirds (60%) of those who prefer charities to communicate in a tailored way with them, think that charities should be able to use information that is publicly available, for example doing Google searches or drawing on newspaper articles, in order to tailor their approach to their supporters.
The report also highlights that:
- Two-thirds of major donors believe that a ‘more professional approach’ by fundraisers has been a key factor in the development of philanthropy in the UK
While organizations focus on their development goal and raising money through major gifts, events, direct mail, grants and online, it is often stewardship and retention that fall by the wayside.
According to Adrian Sargeant and Elaine Jay, a 10% increase in donor retention can enhance the lifetime value of your donor base by up to 200%.
Those are sobering statistics and make it pretty clear what we should be focusing on. Here, Danielle J Vermenton provides 10 tips on how to embrace donor retention.
Retention is one of the Big 5 KPIs to measure, but why is it so important?
A 10 percent improvement in attrition can yield up to a 200 percent increase in projected value, as with lower attrition significantly more donors upgrade their giving, give in multiple ways, recommend others, and, ultimately, perhaps, pledge a planned gift to the organization.
In this sense the behavior of “customers” and the value they generate appear to mirror that reported in the for-profit consumer sector, where similar patterns of value and behavior emerge. Indeed, the marketing literature is replete with references to the benefits that a focus on customer retention can bring.
Adrian Sargeant explains more in this article.
Reinier Spruit discusses how we’re in the relationship building business and how we need to measure and register every response.
Ironically, we must quantify the relations with our donors, so we can improve the quality of the contact we have with them.
There are a ton of metrics we can track, and should track, like email open rates, sign-up rates per hour, one-off cash donations and appeal response rates. But there are 5 that are simply much more important. Mainly because they are the building blocks for making sensible decisions for the longer term.
I call them the Big Five. The Big Five are Volume, Expenditure, Income, Retention and Return on Investment.
Find out more by clicking the link below:
Philippa Christoforou has been part of the OxReach team at Oxford University Innovation since 2016. Since then over £200,000 for social good projects originating at the Uhttps://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-crowdfund-philippa-christoforouniversity of Oxford has been raised.
But why crowdfunding? Why not just apply for grant applications? What is the benefit to the project in watching the pledge count slowly creep towards the target, whilst the anxiety builds that we might not make it?
Here, Philippa describes her experience of crowdfunding and the benefits gained.