How not to waste your time in fundraising

What do you do to improve donor retention? The Agitator can tell you a few things that won’t do that trick, at Looking For Retention In All The Wrong Places:

The sad fact is that far too many fundraisers … overly exalt ‘strategy,’ ‘brand,’ ‘creative’ and ‘program’ while assigning mundane importance (and investment) in ‘service level’ actions and donor experiences that occur in call centers, around events, with the fulfillment of premiums and in proper acknowledgements.

Here’s The Agitator’s list of things you should invest in to improve retention”


  • Donor Service centers (inbound calls and email response).
  • Events.
  • Premiums.
  • In-person fundraising.

I’d add these boring things to that list:


  • Frequent-enough communication (one of the main causes of lost donors is failing to connect with them often enough).
  • Clean data.
  • Specific, compelling fundraising offers.
  • Prompt and relevant receipting.

So many fundraisers are chasing the “glamor” things like branding. That’s not where you’ll find success. Most of success in fundraising comes from excelling at the “boring” stuff. That’s where you should be putting your energy.


Comments

2 responses to “How not to waste your time in fundraising”

  1. “Frequent-enough” as in your point about communications above can be extremely hard to define. For larger nonprofits like mine, donors tell us they don’t like the “firehose” of communications they receive from us. To complicate matters, one man’s treasured newsletter is another’s spam.
    We must listen very carefully to determine the appropriate frequency.

  2. “Frequent-enough” as in your point about communications above can be extremely hard to define. For larger nonprofits like mine, donors tell us they don’t like the “firehose” of communications they receive from us. To complicate matters, one man’s treasured newsletter is another’s spam.
    We must listen very carefully to determine the appropriate frequency.

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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