4 ways direct-response fundraising might break down

Is your fundraising program going where you need it to go? It might not be. Here’s a look at how things can go wrong from Mike Duerksen on LinkedIn:

  1. Your entire fundraising model is direct marketing. Direct response is the foundation of sustainable fundraising. But much (most) of the revenue is generated by person-to-person relationship building.
  2. You’re addicted to new donor acquisition without any regard for donor retention. Getting new donors at a reasonable cost is great. Keeping them is better.
  3. You don’t have a strategy/plan/vision to build a program that stewards a first time giver to eventually become a legacy leaver. An effective fundraising program is more than direct response. It includes major donor programs, mid-value donors, planned giving, and probably others. If they’re operating in silos, you may be missing all kinds of opportunities to serve donors well and build ongoing streams of revenue.
  4. You want “scale” without having un-scalable conversations. Real conversations with donors — by phone, mail, email, text, and more is what can make you a preferred charity for many donors.

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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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About the blogger

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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