Face-to-Face

Face-to-Face

Recently, I attended the Bridge Conference in Washington, D.C. While there, I was struck by two simple things. First of all, it sure can rain in the capital… I was in a meeting at one of the restaurants on the lower level of my hotel when one of the fountains began to flood somehow from the afternoon thunderstorm. I flashed back to the scene in the film “Titanic” when all the well-dressed people were running up the stairs to escape the water. It was quite remarkable! But more importantly, it just re-enforced for me the importance of being face-to-face with people. As an introvert, I absolutely love technologies like Google Duo, Facetime and ZOOM which allow you to have client meetings without leaving the office. Anything that helps avoid the hassle and expense of going to the airport is okay with me. However, nothing beats having the opportunity to sit down with another human being over coffee or a meal and just have a real human conversation. That’s true with your donors, too. And while it may be more difficult for some organizations, I think it’s absolutely necessary that you have some real face time (not the Apple kind) whenever possible. We humans (even us introverted ones) need this kind of interaction every now and...
Pledge Conversion Recommendation

Pledge Conversion Recommendation

Here’s a crazy out of the box idea. We all know the power of the donor who gives month in and month out. This idea will both save you money in the long run and could possibly generate a lot of monthly revenue for your organization. But it is also a bit risky. Particularly if you are still only comfortable with traditional direct response. Start with the donor segment of 60+ months lapsed with 3+ gifts. These are donors who have showed commitment in the past but haven’t given you anything in five years. Send them a request to re-join your cause with a monthly EFT gift. Have four super easy gift ask handles: $2 per month $4 per month $5 per month $10 per month Now here’s the risky part. On the outer envelope put some teaser copy in effect to: “This is the last time we will ask you for a gift. Ever.” In the letter, thank them for their past support and affirm that you are still doing work worthy of support. Recognize that it’s been a while since you’ve received a gift and that there are several reasons why people let their membership lapse. Write that this option would hopefully be easier for the donor’s time, energy, and budget while also being beneficial for the organization. And then you can never mail them again. Ever. Realistically, any response you receive is more than you’ve received from them in the past 5-years anyway. If it works well, try your 48-59 months lapsed donors...
Retiring the Term “Donor Engagement”

Retiring the Term “Donor Engagement”

I woke up this morning with the need to cease using the term donor engagement. It needs to be laid to rest. This is a serious personal drag because it now means I need to remove all those blogs we have written on the topic. But nonetheless, I am retiring the word from my vocabulary. I think you should too. Here’s why:  It’s a top down word. You’d never here a donor say: “I’m going to engage with my favorite nonprofit organization today.” Donor engagement is an institutional term. And if we are truly to be donor-central, then we must retire the words and ways that don’t support that goal. The term is a euphemism. When development people say donor engagement they really mean is “let’s engage the donor with the hope that they give us more money.” Let’s be honest: donor engagement has become synonymous with donor cultivation. Language is important. I believe donors want their nonprofits to sound like real people who are working in great movements to change the world for the better. I think we need a new term, and it needs to be honest. What do you...
The Exponential Importance of Second Gift Timing

The Exponential Importance of Second Gift Timing

Check this out! This graph shows the the five-year value of a donor based on how quickly an organization converts a new donor into a second gift donor. The correlation is astounding. New donors that give a second gift within the first 3-months have LTVs nearly twice as high as those who give at the 12-month mark. This demonstrates that it is worthwhile to spend money cultivating a second gift early in your relationship with a new donor. What’s also surprising is the value of donors who convert 13-24 months after their initial gift. This is encouraging. Don’t give up on a new donor than didn’t convert in their first year. However, less surprising, new donors who wait 25+ months to convert have much lower LTV rates. All this indicates the need to have strategies in place encouraging the second gift ASAP for your newest...

Simplicity Before Complexity

            This is the second blog post in a guest series by Steven Screen of The Better Fundraising Company. Last time we asked the question: is there a certain kind of story that leads to fundraising success? For the donor files that Analytical Ones showed were doing really well, were there any commonalities in the “stories” those organizations were telling their donors? What we found was that the organizations that outperformed their niche tended to follow a similar pattern. And it was so simple I could summarize it in just 4 words: Ask, Thank, Report, Repeat These organizations tended to do four things really well: 1. They were very good at the art of Asking their donors for gifts 2. They Thanked their donors promptly and emotionally 3. They Reported to their donors on what their gift had accomplished 4. They Repeated the Ask, Thank, Report rhythm multiple times each year, and they repeated the same ideas and offers throughout the year. Mastering the Basics Now, of course it’s more complex than that. If you read this blog you know that. But you also know that a LOT of nonprofits chase shiny things instead of mastering the basics. And I’m here to tell you that it’s the basics of Asking, Thanking and Reporting that seemed to propel the successful organizations. Whenever I or my co-founder, Jim Shapiro, speak at conferences we ask the audience if their organizations are good at Reporting to donors on what their gifts accomplish. Usually about 15% to 20% of the hands go up. That means 4 out of 5...