Tag Archives: Major gift

Predictive Analytics: a nice overview infographic

How nonprofits use analytics for fundraising.  An infographic on Twitpic
Thanks to the fine folks at Bentz Whaley Flessner (@BFW_Social) for this great infographic. Yay Donorcast!


Why didn’t he give this year?

In response to a question posed about best practices for donor reclamation, I did not address appeal methodologies.  Instead, I addressed a common fundraiser response I see all the time. Sometimes fundraisers hesitate to contact a lybunt/sybunt personally to ask for a gift renewal — we wonder if the past donor is no longer interested in our mission, or is not satisfied with something, or doesn’t want to be contacted.  We use appeal methods that do not best match our intention, like direct mail or e-mail, methods that make it harder for donors to engage in an active dialogue about reasons for giving, or for not giving again.

It’s a big step to approach a lapsed donor with a clear perspective; it is very easy and natural to apply our own values to others’ actions. Is he not renewing his support because we addressed his envelope incorrectly, didn’t plan to include more racquetball courts in the new athletic facility, doesn’t like the organization’s alignment with a political initiative, etc., etc.? My advice is: Do not presume that the donor lapsed because of something your organization did or didn’t do. When it’s all said and done, very few of us have the psychic abilities needed to guess why he didn’t give.  Many donors lapse for reasons we might never know, like big purchases, lifestyle and work changes, and new priorities in their giving plans.

In my experience, nothing beats an in-person meeting for re-engaging a lapsed donor and further understanding donor motivation. My advice is to revel in the opportunity to ask ‘will you renew? why or why not?’  It is a chance to ask direct questions and get answers you can use to create the case statement that will help the donor, and other lapsed donors by extension, make a renewed commitment. If you can’t meet in person, try personal phone and personal mail — your response should reflect your ability to handle the scale and cost of the recapture program.

Donor motivation internal dialogue, Colbert-style

I am struggling with a study on donor guilt  — how does it feel to be a consistent annual donor who has to cut back on giving or eliminate npos from his/her giving list?  So in that spirit, here’s “Formidable Opponent,” Stephen Colbert debating Stephen Colbert on charitable giving.

Stephen Colbert:  But, I could take care of my minimal needs and send the rest of the money to the poor.

Stephen Colbert: Okay, think about this: You could buy a $100,000 Mercedes S600, or you could buy a $10,000 pile of crap from Korea and give the left over 110,000 to…

Stephen Colbert: An orphanage?

Stephen Colbert: Whatever lets you sleep. One day, you go to check on your orphans. It’s raining, and you don’t have the benefits of that fine German engineering. You spin out of control. You’re like a loose lawnmower blade. And what’s that ahead? It’s your orphans! They’ve come out into the street to thank you for your selfless gift.

Stephen Colbert: Get out of the street orphans!

Stephen Colbert: Oh, I forgot to mention: They’re deaf.

Stephen Colbert: Noooooo!

Stephen Colbert: Yes. Yeah, tragedy. Tragedy all because you didn’t care enough to make a difference for yourself.

Stephen Colbert: Wow. You’ve really opened my eyes, Stephen. Say, um, does it have to be a car?

Stephen Colbert: No, it could be a really sweet boat.

Post-AFP International Conference 2009 – notes & observations

The 2009 AFP conference in New Orleans is but an 8-hour old memory.  But I am already thinking about its agenda and execution, and I am ready to drop a few notes here, just to clean out my brain:

People who know me will understand that my first thought runs to the epicurean:  Serve Food!  Make it the first priority for sponsorship next year, and advertise that food will be served.  This is a basic Hierarchy of Needs issue — the attendees were hungry and, in a city of wonderful cuisine, did not stay in the marketplace to eat $10 boxed sandwich lunches and the random Twix bar (mmmm, Twix).  Vendor booth staff stood idly by during the lunch hour.  This is why fundraisers serve a nice bowl of cubed cantaloupe at their events, to encourage people to attend and entice them to stay.  Basic fundraising rules apply to events run by trade organizations too, so as a service to the vendors, keep the attendees nearby.

And, on the subject of vendors, reconsider closing the marketplace after the plenary and late-afternoon events.  We were re-directed out of the general meeting hall to the lobby, not through the marketplace.  Lots of unstomped purple carpet is a waste in Any environment, but justifying the cost of a booth is easier when the first-day energy is high and traffic is heavier.  And as a side note, tell the guards asking for a vendor permit to chill, man.  No need to go all ‘Cops’ on me when I was making a purchase at a booth!

Cafe du Monde beignets and mocha lattes.  Nuff said.

Please add a full track on social networking and technology integration, and don’t try to do it alone.  Team up with NTEN or the SXSW event coordinators to put a full-day pre-conference session together.  Not only will the average age of attendees drop (a nice batch of potential retainees and future attendees here, my friends), but we fundraisers who have used a lot of traditional and “ROI-proven ” appeal and managerial approaches with great success will now have the opportunity to include some of the “tech-only-all-the-time” devotees in discussions about these same techniques and the traits they share with the new media.  I see a marketplace-wide hand-holding and Kumbaya moment here, people!  In addition, let’s give those of us who might feel overwhelmed by the pace of new social networking concepts get a chance to invest in intensive training in a safe and comfy environment.  I’m here to serve as a generational bridge, people!  Six lanes, even.

Give Josh Birkholz his own session, or three or four.  Bring in more analytics vendors and consultants.  Josh is a great speaker, and he needs more time to answer the volumes of questions that completely monopolize the Q&A sections of our sessions.  Attendees want to know more about what the analytics folks are doing.

And we need a better  understanding of new IRS positions as revealed by commissioner speeches and legislative (fed and state) interpretations and rulings — our boards deserve an advanced education for our EDs and development directors.  Some interesting stuff going on out there with implications for all of us…  I know a great potential speaker — high-level and rapid presentation awaits.

What does it say about us as fundraisers that there are attendees lining the walls, sitting on the floors, during sessions on basic major gift solicitations?

Props to AFP for adopting the FEP reporting module as the very first standardized report for all segments of all sizes!!!!  Credibility for the field is only increased by improving ROI assessment methodologies and, as FEP research proves, retention appears to be one of the leading challenges to the industry as a whole.  Rock on, FEP!  Special props to Bill Levis, Cathy Williams, John Joslin, Wes Lindahl, Lilya Wagner, Josh Birkholz, Adrian Sargeant, the software companies and their committee contacts and their tremendous investment of time and money, the Urban Institute, CASE, APRA, and all the other players in making this project a reality (I know I’m forgetting people and organizations — apologies with a promise to update this post later).

Nice hotels, great shuttles, awesome AFP staff (Joanna Heilig saved my butt!), thoughtful consideration and restraint in use of promotions and session materials and trinkets during this economy (glad to see my speaker gift expense go to the AFP Foundation instead of plastic-ware this year — but the crow in me really does like shiny things on my desk, so when times are better…), wonderful weather, attractive space, a warm congenial feeling all around.  And New Orleans people are such great hosts — go spend tourism dollars there!

I want to speak again next year … look for my proposal, dear program committee.