In their UK Giving 2012 publication, the Charities Aid Foundation and National Council for Voluntary Organisations found that UK charitable giving has decreased over the past year. This trend, along with decreasing governmental support, has increased the urgency to identify new donors and increase donations from existing donors to fill the resulting gap.
Across the fundraising community, conversations are being held with regard to the best methods to find new prospects, such as searching for individuals in wealthy postcodes, with significant job titles, and even with certain pertinent terms in their house name. The expectation is, of course, that such individuals may be more likely to give at significant levels...
In these times of higher costs and shrinking donor prospects, it’s extremely important to manage your current donor relationships. Your best donors are your current donors. That’s not to say you should let your prospecting go. Instead, it means you need to keep a high-touch with your current donors, while you are out prospecting for new donors. Don’t fall into the common trap of thinking that a regular donor will always be there for you.
How to Keep in Touch
You need a plan. This plan is a nurturing and promotion plan. You want to retain your current donors and encourage them to increase their gifts (as they are able!) You also want them to network on your behalf...
We all need a plan. Whether in our personal or professional lives, we all need a plan. Fundraising is no different. Our recent webinar on 6 Easy Steps to Creating a Written Fundraising Plan covered setting goals, action plans and ways to keep your plan on track. Keep in mind that the key word is “written.” It’s not a true fundraising plan unless it’s written out and not just in your head. As stated by Sandy Rees of Get Fully Funded, “the fundraising plan is a blueprint for success.”
Before beginning your plan it is important to determine how much money you want to raise. Make sure this is a specific dollar amount and not simply a goal of “raising more than last year.”
Look at your organization’s historical data from the past two years. Look for trends to see what’s been working and what hasn’t been working. When looking at what might not be working for your organization, try to understand why it isn’t before deciding not to continue with it.
So, what are the “six easy steps”?...
Sometimes, when a catch-phrase is obvious, it becomes a bit of a cliché. Everyone banters it around, with various different meanings and it can get easily dismissed as a fad. However, ‘donor-centered’ is more than just a catchy slogan. Instead, it’s a key to maintaining your funding.
That gets right to the heart of the matter doesn’t it?
If you type “fundraising goals” into Google, you’ll get over 11 million results in less than half a second. Wow! That’s a bit overwhelming. What makes sense? And whose advice will net results? You want a simple yet accurate way to make a plan. You have important work to do!
Setting your goals
Out of all those websites in your search results, one of the recurring views is setting SMART goals. What does SMART mean?
Are you tired of playing “pin-the-tail-on the donkey” with your marketing?
Do you send every marketing and fundraising appeal to everyone on your donor, client and/or prospect list and hope you reach enough responsive prospects? Do you struggle to find new prospects who have an interest in your cause? Do you dream of being able to target the right message to the right subgroup? Or increasing your response rate while lowering marketing costs? If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you are not alone.
Every nonprofit wants to market their products, services and/or mission efficiently and effectively, but few have the resources they believe are needed to make substantive changes in approach. Sure, the Salvation Army, the Red Cross and the United Way can purchase sophisticated prospect lists customized to their unique needs. But what about the local food bank, nonprofit theater, or free clinic?
I have been hearing a lot about affinity scores and engagement models lately. It seems to be the buzz in prospect research and university advancement circles. And with good reason. We all know that a wealthy constituent is just that – a constituent – until s/he engages and aligns with the organization. When you have identified a wealthy constituent who is also engaged with, or has an affinity for, your organization; now you have a prospect.
So what is an affinity, or engagement, score? And how do I get one?
"When it comes to collecting social media data, most of us are hoarders. We like to ramble off the number of followers or retweets we have and pat ourselves on the back or shake our fists at the sky depending on our expectations. The trouble is: data that doesn’t inform decisions is a waste of space.” says Danielle Brigida, from the National Wildlife Federation, in a recent post We Heart Social Data: But What Do We Do With It?
How you can use your social data
Social data comes from various outlets. It’s not just your online presence; it is in-person meetings, networking events, phone calls and even gossip. With all of these social data points in your database, it can be hard to know what to do with them. However, nonprofits have a major opportunity to use social data to asses a prospect’s life and passions.
I recently gave a presentation at the Independent Education Spring Development Conference on data driven fundraising and shared some techniques for leveraging big data and analytics in fundraising strategy. This is a topic I’ve been speaking to for the past few years and I’ve watched interest in and dialogue around it grow. As I delve into some key points below, I want to remind you to keep reading. Data, analytics and strategy sound like a large nonprofit’s mantra—indeed that is true. However, it is also realistic and opportunistic for smaller organizations (and everything in between). As a philanthropist, technologist and advocate of the nonprofit sector, I’ve seen charities of all shapes and sizes use data driven fundraising with remarkable success. This is what savvy organizations are doing today and is proven to be a solid gold tactic for growing individual gifts. It is also what every thriving nonprofit will be doing tomorrow.
So let’s get going.
Ronald McDonald House Charities Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana (RMHC-CNI) is wrapping up a $30MM campaign to fund the world’s largest Ronald McDonald House, at 14 stories and 86 guest rooms. They have raised $27.9MM to date!
WealthEngine is proud to have played a part in this successful campaign, providing data and analytics to help the staff identify, qualify and develop strategies for approaching major donors. “I needed very specific, immediately actionable information that our board members could use and be successful with. When I took over the campaign management, we were in a stall. I wanted to quickly breathe life into the campaign and regain momentum,” shares Lisa Mitchell, Director of Capital Campaigns. WealthEngine was able to provide a targeted list of 147 capacity-qualified individuals connected to at least one member of the RMHC-CNI board. Read more about this successful campaign.