Strategies to help you win new donors, lift the performance of current donors and keep active donors longer

Our Top 5 Most Popular Blogs of 2016

As we close out 2016, we wanted to take a moment to thank you for reading, sharing and commenting on our blog posts. We hope you were able to use a few of our analytical insights to win, lift and keep your donors and supporters. We also thought you might enjoy looking back at the most popular blogs of 2016. Our top posts focused on how the election affected – or didn’t affect – holiday giving, the value and scarcity of dual channel donors, major donor modeling, how direct response ROI is connected to net revenue and one reason direct mail continues to work. In case you missed any of these posts, here are the links to our top 5 blogs of 2016: 1. How the Election Results Will Affect Holiday Giving 2. Dual Channel/Schmual Channel 3. The Power of a Major Donor Model 4. The Correlation Between Direct Response ROI and Net Revenue 5. To Have and to Hold Thank you and Happy New...

The Frustration of Volunteering

This past year, my family and I have been volunteering for Lutheran Social Services to help refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan relocate to Savannah. I admire the work that Lutheran Social Services does with refugees. It’s a huge job and they do so much with so little. And because of a lack of resources, they rely heavily on volunteers. One of our jobs has been to help coordinate volunteers. And I learned something this past year. Volunteers, well, they just aren’t reliable. It’s not that they are flakey, it’s just that volunteers, even retired ones, have very busy lives. I would say the amount of time we have spent just trying to coordinate volunteers to help is many more hours than we have spent directly assisting refugees. I confess, I don’t get my “volunteer kicks” by doing administrative and menial tasks. You might be the same. And while as a business owner, I know the critical role of administrative tasks, I don’t enjoy being on the phone begging people who have “signed up” to show up. As fundraising consultants, one of our common recommendations is that the nonprofit “engage their donors with volunteering opportunities.” I now understand why the typical response from the client when they hear me say this is a sigh and roll of the eyes. It does seem the amount of staff time, effort and resources to recruit, train, coordinate and manage volunteers just isn’t worth the result. And that’s a shame. One solution is Psychic Pay. My business partner Joe Churpek blogged about this a couple of years ago, you can read about it...

Election Results Are Not Expected to Affect Holiday Giving

Analytical Ones conducted a survey of 300 active donors in the USA on Nov. 10 & 11, immediately following last week’s Presidential election. The objective of the study was to assess whether donors expected to give more, less or the same based on the election results.

Disaster Donor Retention

As our managing partner Bill recovers from Hurricane Matthew, it’s a good time to look at the trends of new donors who respond to natural disasters and their following year retention – or lack thereof. Below is a graph for a social services nonprofit in an area hit by a natural disaster in FY13. This graph shows the number of new donors acquired each year. There was an 88% spike in the number of new donors in FY13, then a 58% decrease in new donors the next year. Here is the overall retention for the same organization. Their overall Retention dropped 12%, from 53% to 46% in the year after the disaster (although retention recovered nicely in FY15). And in FY14, Second Year Donor Retention dropped 30%, from 26% to 18%! Often, there’s little that can be done to increase these new donors’ retention. They are motivated to give by the disaster and may not be converted to give to the organization’s overall mission. In surveys, many donors don’t even consider themselves donors TO the organization, but instead to the event. “I gave to Hurricane Matthew”, NOT “I gave to XYZ Organization.” Still, these donors should receive all of the stewardship that COULD make them convert to a long-term donor: prompt thank you letters thanking them specifically for their gift to the disaster (not a general thank you referencing general programs), follow-up information about the cause they’ve supported and how they’ve helped, and thank you phone calls for certain levels of giving. But, even more importantly may be to plan for the future: budget for the increase in mailing costs...

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