I was asked to post a little bit about myself for a conference website. It’s fitting, I think, to kick off my ‘hundred article in a hundred days’ with a note about fundraising worldview. Here tis:
I worked in higher education fundraising and public affairs in some capacity for 16 years. During that time, I had a bunch of snazzy titles. I really enjoyed my work, traveled the world, asked for millions of dollars in person, and raised a hella lot of money, always making or beating my goals. And I burned out. *sizzle*
So in 2006, I started my own firm so I could take the best of the “old skool” fundraising techniques, add meaningful ROI-proven Web 2.0 (am I a dunderhead because I don’t know what that phrase is meant to represent?) strategies, and increase the number of retained donors and dollars for my clients. The company works with npos in the US and Europe – we’re small but happy, and we drink a lot of overpriced frou frou coffees.
Here’s my deal: I am a member of the Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP) committee, an initiative started by the Urban Institute’s Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy and the Association for Fundraising Professionals (AFP) …props to Bill Levis and Cathlene Williams…, and co-sponsored by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), Council for Resource Development (CRD), Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, and the National Committee on Planned Giving (NCPG). My role thusfar has been to lead the creation of education programs to be used by organizations and chapters world-wide.
Here’s the goal: Change the path of fundraising in a fundamental way. In its 2008 report across 26 sub-segments of the nonprofit market, the FEP results demonstrate that, essentially, five out of every six dollars raised will be lost the subsequent year due to attrition. This is Horrible ROI — it costs more to acquire donors than to retain them.
So I like to consider social network constructs for nonprofits with a clear mission — how will these approaches, in concert with more traditional methodologies, help us treat our donors well enough to increase loyalty and lifetime donor value, to think analytically to predict who of our present donors and prospective donors will likely give more and more often, and to change the fundamental appeal and retention strategies we use to keep the donors we add.”