What not to cut from your fundraising budget in hard times

Another great cartoon from The Marketoonist:

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This could be a nonprofit. But the thing we cut is donor acquisition.

When things get tough, acquisition is an easy target. After all, it’s usually a net-negative activity, so when you cut it, the bottom line instantly looks better.

What you don’t see is what you’ve done to the future. You’ve eliminated future revenue. One season of cancelled acquisition means 7 to 10 years of depressed fundraising — because of the donors who aren’t there to give.

Hard times are hard. They force tough decisions. But cutting donor acquisition merely means you will prolong the pain for years into the future.


Comments

2 responses to “What not to cut from your fundraising budget in hard times”

  1. Anita Springer Avatar
    Anita Springer

    I work with an organization that sends one fundraising letter a year, at year-end. They use one letter for all donors. They have not yet, but are starting to incorporate personal visits and possibly personal solicitations. Is it absolutely necessary to have a different letter for donor acquisition prospects (ie would be their membership base) and one for repeat donors and upgrades? It is a small organization that feels they do not have the staffing or the budget to do all that.

  2. Anita Springer Avatar
    Anita Springer

    I work with an organization that sends one fundraising letter a year, at year-end. They use one letter for all donors. They have not yet, but are starting to incorporate personal visits and possibly personal solicitations. Is it absolutely necessary to have a different letter for donor acquisition prospects (ie would be their membership base) and one for repeat donors and upgrades? It is a small organization that feels they do not have the staffing or the budget to do all that.

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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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