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.
Propsect researchers should already be adept at verifying their sources but is that good enough to spot fake news?
In this blog, Jennifer Filla shares her method (including a Venn diagram).
Discovering your best fundraising prospects does not boil down to a single piece of criteria. There are several qualities that can help identify the potential donors who can give the major gifts that will lead to your organization’s success.
Here, Kim Becker Cooper – Marketing Director at DonorSearch, shares her five key identifiers.
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.
The majority of Development Directors are hired to grow income. In keeping with the ads and job descriptions, the charities are poised for growth and keen to hire an experienced fundraiser to lead the charge. The job interviews focus on a DD’s ability to raise funds, lead a team and be a senior team player internally.
BUT then they start the job – and slowly the extent of THEIR “problem” unfolds: “I have been hired to grow the income, but I can’t do my job because…”
It’s not that recruiters are being purposefully misleading or doing anything wrong per se, they are genuinely trying to recruit good people, and if asked at interview stage they will answer questions honestly. But they are not proactively hiring to solve a problem.
Hire to solve your problem
Michelle Benson describes common problems during recruitment of Development Directors and provides guidance on how to solve them.
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.
Ivan Wainewright acknowledges that buying a new CRM system or fundraising database is a daunting challenge for most charities and not-for-profit organisations, so he has written this book to feature issues that smaller not-for-profit organisations need to consider and be aware of.
This free book has been written for people whose day job is not the procurement or implementation of new databases, so it’s extremely helpful for any fundraiser thinking about stepping outside of their comfort zone.
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.
Creating a presentation powerful enough to stay in your audience’s mind is key whether you’re presenting to potential prospects, showing off your incredible KPIs at your board meeting or sharing best practise with other fundraisers at the next CASE conference!
Visme has put together an incredible selection of free presentation templates that will ensure you stand out.
Every week, Mary Cahalane provides expert fundraising advice in her blog – I could easily reshare her blog here every week (hint – sign up to the Hands on Fundraising blog).
Anyway, Mary’s post at the beginning of the month really stood out for offering links to loads of free content to help fundraisers get creative. There are sites listed which offer free photos, photo editing, graphic design, office tools but what really stands out is the list of writing tools!
Miss it, miss out!
At the end of 2016, when the ICO fined several charities for breaching the Data Protection Act 1998, Ian MacQuillin, wrote a fascinating philosophical piece on how charities are perceived by different types of people.
Even though this feels like a long time ago, it’s still as relevant today as it was back then. Whenever you feel that GDPR and data protection are not your friend, have a read of this.
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 Guidance prepared by the Data Protection Network is a practical tool aimed at helping commercial and not-for-profit organisations to assess whether or not they can rely on Legitimate Interests as a lawful basis for processing personal data under the GDPR.
The Guidance covers:
- Understanding what Legitimate Interests are
- Identifying areas of processing where Legitimate Interests may apply
- The Legitimate Interests Assessment (LIA) – the 3 stage test
- Transparency and the consumer
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.