Improving Your Fundraising Events

Improving Your Fundraising Events

Running, walking and cycling fundraising events that feature participants who raise money from friends have been around longer than Al Gore and the internet. However, this is one area where nonprofits have effectively utilized online technology to advance event fundraising. Social media and peer-to-peer networks are a perfect fit for raising more event dollars. This past fall I attended a conference and met Mark Becker, the Founding Partner of Cathexis Partners. Among other things, Cathexis Partners develops CRM and CMS software solutions that help nonprofits maximize their existing tools. I am very impressed with their offerings. Mark works with many organizations that do peer-to-peer fundraising events. As we began talking he identified a great need of his clients’ to analyze their events with the same discipline as their direct marketing colleagues. The DNA of direct marketers is different. They live and breathe metrics tracking retention, up-gradation and acquisition. They do this because they know the first step to improving performance is measuring performance in these three strategic areas. So Mark challenged us to develop an affordable analysis specific for events that does just that. You can click here to download a PDF sample of the report we call the Event Growth Analysis (EGA). This analysis helps organizations identify and prioritize the strategic area they should focus upon to best improve their fundraising. Oftentimes we can get confused with fundraising tactics. There are a zillion tactics to improve your event’s fundraising performance. The key to success is using the right tactic at the right time. When it comes right down to it, all fundraising tactics fall under one of three...
How to Choose a Crowdfunding Platform

How to Choose a Crowdfunding Platform

Now that I have convinced you (hopefully from my last few blog posts) that you should embrace crowdfunding as a viable fundraising channel for your organization, where do you start? First step is to choose the right crowdfunding platform for your organization. To help you out, I have put together this list of 10 questions you should ask before settling on the right platform for your organization. 10 Questions: 1) What percentage or fee does the crowdfunding platform take out of the revenue you raised? Some platforms don’t charge anything, others will take a percentage of what you raise, and some will charge only a small posting fee and not take any portion of funds raised. Be sure to also identify if there are credit card processing fees above and beyond the fees the platform charges. 2) Do you receive the funds you raised even if you do not hit your fundraising goal? 3) What support services (if any) does the platform offer? Also be sure you know who is responsible for creating your crowdfunding page and if you can post updates/changes throughout the campaign. 4) Is there someone that you can talk to when you need support? 5) Will you receive your donor list? This is an important question! Some platforms do not provide you with the list of donors that contributed to your campaign. 6) Who is responsible for communicating with donors about the campaign once it has ended? An important part of the process, you want to be sure your donors receive information about their dollars at work. 7) What kind of payment platform is used?...
Unsustainable Trends Part II: The Aging File

Unsustainable Trends Part II: The Aging File

My business partner Bill’s blog Unsustainable Trends seems to have struck a chord with many of our friends in development roles. To continue this conversation, let’s take a look at one of the reasons your donor file might not be generating as much revenue as in the past. Your donors are over the hill, literally. The chart below shows an example from a typical client database. On the vertical axis, I have plotted each donor’s 5-year value from 2008-2012 (0-12 month active donors, scored at start of 2008). On the horizontal axis, we have the donors’ ages on January 1st, 2008. Here’s that hill we are talking about. It doesn’t take more than a second to notice that there is a distinct downward trend in LTV starting just after the age of 60. Here’s where you should get really freaked out. The chart below shows the average age of a donor on that same file by lifecycle and year.  Before running this data, I expected to see Multi-Years aging. This was no surprise and I thought perhaps that was the extent of our problem. However, what scares me even more is that there is no help on the way. The rising red line for new donor age is the most alarming piece of this study. In an ideal world we’d see the red line moving in the opposite direction, meaning that we have found a way to tap into a younger donor base. At the minimum, we’d want to see this line remain flat, meaning that we are catching people at a particular stage in life as they reach it....
My Fall Mailbox

My Fall Mailbox

How full was your mailbox this fall? I received an even 51 impacts this fall from October 1 – December 31. That’s an average of 4 pieces per week. Eight (8) of these impacts were direct mail acquisition kits: Three (3) gift catalogs from Heifer Two (2) appeals from Low Country Food Bank One (1) each from: o Rails to Trails o Southern Hope Humane Society o ACLJ I received 43 impacts from ten (10) organizations I currently or have previously supported. Of these, 6 were gift catalogs: Three (3) from World Vision One (1) each from: o Food for the Hungry o India Partners o Samaritan’s Purse And two (2) were annual reports (World Vision and Food for the Hungry). The remaining 35 impacts were appeals and newsletters (it’s hard to tell them apart anymore): Seven (7) from Samaritan’s Purse Six (6) from The Salvation Army Five each (5) from World Vision and Food for the Hungry  Four each (4) from Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education Two (2) from CRU One (1) each from Hope for Life Homes and King’s Schools. As I reported previously, since the USPS bundles delivery of nonprofit postage kits together, many of these appeals arrived on the same day of the week. I should note, I never respond by mail anymore. Since 2009, I either go online or use bill-pay to make my donations. But I should also note, direct mail impacts do remind me to make my donations, even though I am not using the reply device or CRE. So, what did your mailbox look...