American voters still have the blues, what about donors?

American voters still have the blues, what about donors?

Before running surveys for non-profits, I was a political polling nerd. While perusing the latest results I decided it would be interesting to run an experiment. All the major polling organizations have their own version of tracking the mood of American voters. I wondered what would happen if we asked our nation’s donors the same questions. I chose a mood indicator used by several organizations and conducted an online poll1  of 600 donors from across the United States. Mood indicator: “All in all, do you think things in the nation are generally headed in the right direction, or do you feel that things are off on the wrong track?” To be a donor, the respondent had to have given a gift to a non-profit organization not including a Church or other house of worship in the past 12 months. I am using the latest report from Rasmussen2 to compare the voter results to our donor study. In short, the mood of American donors is similarly divided on political lines. Conservatives feel much less optimistic about the future than liberals. This was expected since we can assume there is an enormous degree of overlap between donors and voters. However, while liberal voters are divided in their mood, liberal donors are a majority optimistic. See below. Without tracking this over time our interpretive power is limited. For example, we do not know whether these are highs or lows for any group and therefore cannot judge these results in the context of current events. There is however one conclusion that can safely be drawn from this data: Liberals who make non-profit donations are...
Quick, You’ve Got 10 Seconds

Quick, You’ve Got 10 Seconds

A website visitor decides in the first 10 seconds whether or not they will stay on your page. In other words, by the time you finish reading this sentence, you’ve either lost potential donors or you’ve convinced them to at least spend a little more time getting to know you. According to an article by Unbounce, we may be neglecting the most important element to increasing our rates at which someone decides to stay on our site.  We want to test photos and headlines or call to actions, but we really should be focusing on our Unique Value Proposition (UVP). Yesterday, Jeff Brooks referenced this article and talked about how to fix your fundraising Unique Value Proposition on his blog Future Fundraising Now. I recommend you read the article to understand what your UVP is and how to communicate it. Now that you have read his article, you may be asking yourself, how do I evaluate if my website is communicating my UVP. Well, here is one way…create a word cloud of your home page. For example, here’s a word cloud from the home page of our old Analytical Ones website (forgive me for the self-promotion here). The words that popped like growth, fundraising, analysis, actionable, insights explained what we do but we realized we were not communicating our benefits of what we could offer to our clients. After a rebranding effort and a website redesign, we tested our UVP again by creating a new word cloud. Here are the results:   Notice the new words that are in larger font (the clouds give greater prominence to words that...
Why Direct Mail Acquisition is Still Viable

Why Direct Mail Acquisition is Still Viable

What? I know, most of our blogs address the unsustainable trends in fundraising, particularly in the area of direct mail acquisition. However, recently I completed an analysis that was so surprising, that it might breathe some new life. The graph below shows the percentage of active FY14 large gift donors for a national organization whose first gift was attributed to a direct mail acquisition kit. About one-in-six of the Majors and more than one-in-four of the Mid/Major donors first gift was through traditional direct mail acquisition. Think of it another way, take away direct mail acquisition and a significant chunk of your future large donors will also go away. Obviously, this requires a different approach to cultivation. It’s imperative to identify these direct mail donors with potential and treat them differently. Fortunately, there are analytical tools that can help you do this. (Connect with us and we can tell you more about our mid and major donor modeling services). So the next time you are getting pressure from your board to chop your direct mail acquisition budget, show them this graph, and ask them if they are willing to write a check for the difference. Follow...