Fundraising Facts Over Fundraising Feelings

Fundraising Facts Over Fundraising Feelings

We have entered an interesting season in America. Seems like “facts” are being treated like just another opinion. And the consequence is that if facts and opinions are equals, then making your direct response fundraising decisions based on feelings is an equally valid approach. And that would be a mistake. A HUGE mistake. I was reminded of how feelings can misguide us. We completed one of our Offer Forecasting studies last month. Offer Forecasting leverages online surveys to predict whether donors will open a direct mail piece. It also measure donors’ likelihood to give to a certain offer. Before our latest Offer Forecasting study went into the field, everyone at Analytical Ones made friendly wagers on which of the nine offers we were testing would be rated the highest by the donors. Knowing the client and their donors as well as I do (I mean I’ve worked with the client for years, plus I have 20-more years of direct response experience) I was pretty confident that the offer I chose would win. And my pick came in dead last. In. Dead. Last. My business partner has a great saying when fundraising “experts” try to predict how donors will respond. She will say emphatically: “Repeat after me. YOU are not the target audience!” This why we at Analytical Ones always base our recommendations solidly on the facts. And though it may be trendy at the moment to go with your feelings, we implore you to use fundraising facts over fundraising feelings in...
Our Top 5 Most Popular Blogs of 2016

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

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

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 results. (In this study, an active donor is defined as a person who is 35 years old or older and has made a financial contribution to a nonprofit organization, beyond a church or other house of worship in the past 12 months.) The objective of the study was to assess whether donors expected to give more, less or the same based on the election results. The findings are: Overwhelmingly, donors (84%) said they would not change their fall giving patterns. These percentages were the same whether the active donor voted for Trump or for Clinton. Of the minority that said they would change their giving patterns, twice as many said they would increase their giving as decrease their giving. To learn more about donor’s intentions and find out which charitable causes are most likely to experience a decrease in giving, download our free Post Election Donor Survey results. To do so, please provide your name and email address below.   Your Name (required) Your Email...
Disaster Donor Retention

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...
Acquisition Ideas for Small Nonprofits

Acquisition Ideas for Small Nonprofits

A friend recently asked me for some ideas on how to start growing a donor base for a small nonprofit who doesn’t have a lot of money to spend. This seems like that’s always a question, whether you’re working with a small nonprofit or a large one: What are some creative ideas to acquire new donors without spending a lot of money? As I told her, I’m always great at coming up with ideas as long as someone else will do the hard part – doing the work. So, I thought I’d pass along some thoughts. One of the first things I would recommend to look at is any resources that the organization has for an online campaign to start to build up a donor file. Who are your board members and what resources do they have? Do they have companies with websites and could they devote a section to your cause? Do your board members or does your organization have a relationship with local media like the newspaper or a radio or TV station that could help with a campaign to drive people to your website? Do you have a way to launch a concentrated online campaign around a particular issue? In addition to a lightbox on your home page, you could have other sites (like those board members’ company sites) drive potential donors there. I once had a client who launched a big campaign in conjunction with a car dealership (the owner was a board member) and the car dealership sponsored TV commercials for the organization to drive people to give (pun intended). Just some thoughts to...