Donor Insight. Fundraising Action.

State of the Fundraising Union

Posted by Caity Craver on 02/2019

State of the Fundraising UnionTonight the US President will deliver the State of the Union address.

If you had to stand before an assembly of marketing and fundraising professionals, how would you report on the ‘State of the Fundraising Union’?

Here’s my outline (please add your own standing ovations and forced tears when needed:)

The State of the Fundraising Union is muddled:  bad news mixed with hope.

  • Although there are new and uncertain factors at play — increased digital complexity, tax reform, an uncertain political and economic climate — the basic and fundamental threats remain the same.
  • We face serious challenges, like donor retention and acquisition response rates, but have made progress in certain areas like average contribution size and monthly giving.
  • Our resolve is stronger than ever but our strategies for success are myopic and outmoded.
  • We’re at war with three enemies: Donor AttritionInefficiencyCompetition.
  • We can’t hold on to our donors. Donor retention continues to decline, yet fundraisers still set in motion the same contact strategies  (“more is better”) they have for years with diminishing results.
  • We continue to mismanage spending and investment; not aligning our cost to reactivate with our cost to acquireNot protecting our acquisition spend by investing more in retention.  As a result, millions of dollars are left on the table each year.
  • For every 100 donors gained, 99 are lost. What are you doing to keep your donors from fleeing?
  • We’re dependent on a very small segment of donors to maintain revenue growth. Think about this – only 2 out of 100 donors will give a gift above $5,000 this coming year – can’t we improve on this?
  • Our mindset is outdated. The nonprofit sector is decades behind our for-profit counterparts. When will we learn that doing the same thing will yield the same results?  Do something different and innovative today!
  • Our fundraising methods are increasingly inefficient and costly. There are better, proven, and more effective ways to allocate a marketing budget, but many fundraisers are too fearful to buck the status quo.
  • There is hope.  Fortunately, some forward-looking organizations are applying smart, math-based logic to meet today’s challenges head-on.  Learn from each other.  In short, stop wasting time and money.
  • We need to inspire our donors. Anger, excitement, and passion translate into engagement. What are you doing  to motivate and instigate your tribe?

Improve the State of Your Fundraising. Take action:

  1. Know your numbers. Understand the fundraising vital signs / metrics that matter most.
  2. Evaluate efficiency. Are you contacting the right donors with the right frequency?
  3. Uncover donor lifetime value and assess investment strategy. [you can calculate this in minutes]

Do something today to impact revenue, response, and retention. We're here to help.


Topics: Donor Retention, Fundraising Strategies, Trends, growth in giving

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We know how many capes you have to wear. Fighting the good fight, trying to raise money to fund critical programs. We're here to help. We're using this space to collect tips and trends that will help strengthen your fundraising superpowers.  Together, we'll fight Fundraising Foes like donor attrition, downgrading, and rising costs. 

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