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By Jennifer Liu-Cooper

MIND YOUR MILLENIALS

 

Millennials, (those born from 1981-1996) are the future—and current—generation of philanthropists.  As the current major gift prospect population of Baby Boomers retire, Millennials will advance into leadership roles across businesses, governments, and the social sector.

Fact:  Millennials are now the largest living generation (75 million strong)—their income and giving power is only going to grow in the coming decades.  The ability to channel their financial, social, and political power will determine which organizations thrive and fail. 

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By Ryan Ponzurick

Making Your Organization A Donor Retention Powerhouse

Image provided by Flickr. Donor retention is a topic that has been getting an increasing amount of attention by nonprofits but is still greatly misunderstood. With a heavy focus by boards and executives on revenue intake, the nuances of keeping donors engaged can sometimes get lost when reviewing a P&L Statement at the end of the year. Neon One is part of the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, which is the largest dataset of individual giving data in the world. That project looks at hundreds of data points relating to giving information, but there is a particular focus on donor retention. Donor retention is simply ensuring that you keep a donor giving to your organization year over year. The data doesn’t lie on why this is important – when Adrian Sargeant researched lapsed donor behavior, he demonstrated that increasing the level of retention by 10% would improve the net growth in giving for a “typical” charity database by 50% net growth. Yet how can we get to this point? In an environment where we are being asked to deliver results immediately, how can we not only convince our stakeholders that retention is not only important but the key to long term success? The cost to acquire $1 from a new donor averages $1.25, yet retaining a donor comes at a significantly lower cost. Let’s unpack a few strategies to help us become a retention-centered organization.

Understand your current retention rates

In order to know where to go, you need to understand where you are starting from and getting a grasp on your retention rates as they stand will be the first step. Luckily the Fundraising Effectiveness Project has developed free resources to analyze your own data and you will need three simple fields to get a full audit of your situation. When you run through the Fitness Test that they provide, understand that industry-wide retention is very poor. At best, the average retention rate for a nonprofit is 46%, yet it is important to unpack what the reality of this number even is. First-time donor retention rates are drastically lower, typically in the 25% range and a healthy amount of donor retention rates overall are being driven up by increasing amounts of donors giving online.

Establish a data-driven culture

Organizations that are driven (but not constrained) by data are the most creative and high-functioning nonprofits. Having information at your disposal that can accurately tell you about your organization’s performance is empowering. These organizations are able to use their time more effectively — not worrying about “where they are” or “how they’re doing.” They know, because they’ve used the data at their disposal to find out. Certainly, a data-driven culture has an effect on the fundraising side of the nonprofit. The ability for your organization to make decisions based on data and not “gut instinct” or because “we’ve always done things this way” will be the difference between increasing retention and growth in giving rates for your organization or scrambling to make up gaps in your end of the year giving hoping things get better next year. Review where your current retention rates are and make a realistic goal to increase them over the course of the year. Being optimistic yet realistic is the key here and this is why understanding your current standing with your donors will allow you to address retention properly.

Segment your donors

Grouping your donors into easily targeted segments will ensure you can message them properly. The most common reason a donor stops giving to a nonprofit is poor communication and the last type of communication a donor wants to receive is one where your organization makes it clear you have no clue who they are. Data suggests that regardless of the age of the donor, an omnichannel approach to donor engagement will be the most effective way to increase your retention rates. Segmenting your donors to create targeted messages in an omnichannel way will ensure that you are speaking to where the donor is, not where you personally want them to be. If you are donor-centered in your communications then your ability to upgrade a small donor into a major donor becomes much easier. Segmentation is also vital when doing prospect research on your donors, since you will be able to craft a pipeline management strategy that your major gift officers will be able to put into practice much quicker.

Utilize strategy and tactics

Once you have segmented your donors, start to scope out the strategy for engagement and the tactics you will use to achieve your objectives. Many organizations start with the tactical first and try to lead with the flashiest ways to engage donors, such as costly events. Instead, your organization should take a step back and calculate the return on investment it will take to retain the largest segment of your donors. A solid example of this is around how we speak to donors. A strategy your organization would employ is donor stewardship, or the ability to make donors feel welcome. The tactical application of this strategy could come in the form of well-written gift acknowledgement letters

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By donorsearch

Fundraising Strategy: The Gift Range Chart [With Templates!]

The success of your fundraising campaign relies on whether or not your nonprofit has put in the time to develop a comprehensive, data-driven fundraising strategy. With the right fundraising plan in place, the more likely you’ll be able to extend the right asks to reach likely donors and achieve your fundraising goals. The secret to an excellent fundraising strategy? Consider making the most of a gift range chart. Commonly used during the feasibility study phase of capital campaigns, gift range charts are useful tools for fundraising campaigns of any size. With this simple tool, you’ll learn exactly what it will take to successfully reach your fundraising goals.  Even better? Your gift range chart can show your nonprofit where you need to improve in your fundraising strategy, whether or not your fundraising goal is too ambitious, and where to focus your fundraising strategy. Before your campaign begins, you’ll be able determine the optimal size of your asks, the breakdown of your ideal prospects, and which donors you should be engaging. In this post, we’ll help you get the most out of your gift range chart by discussing:
  1. Why you should use a gift range chart.
  2. How to structure your gift range chart.
  3. DonorSearch’s gift range chart template.
Are you ready to learn how to use gift range charts to bring your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy to the next level? Let’s get started!

1. Why you should use a gift range chart.

Without question, gift range charts should be a part of your fundraising strategy arsenal (if they aren’t already). Despite their deceptively simple design, gift range charts can tell you a lot about your fundraising strategy, especially if your nonprofit is looking to embark on a capital campaign. (Looking to sharpen your fundraising strategy? Consider working with a fundraising consulting firm to revamp the way your nonprofit raises money for your cause.) Specifically, gift range charts can let your nonprofit know: =&0=& =&1=&

By donorsearch

Major Gift Fundraising: 13 Expert Tips (Nonprofit Tech Carnival)

jQuery(window).on("hashchange", function () { window.scrollTo(window.scrollX, window.scrollY - 155); }); This month’s Fundraising Strategies & Nonprofit Tech Carnival is all about one thing: major gifts. At DonorSearch, we’ve written extensively about major gift fundraising and the various elements that go into the entire process, from prospect identification all the way through to post-gift stewardship and ongoing retention.  But, you can never learn too much about the major gift process; it is just that important. As we explain in our guide on the topic:

Studies have shown that, on average, over 88% of all funds come from just 12% of donors. That 12% constitutes the donations from your major gift contributors. Given their respective impact on your fundraising total, it’s clear to see why having a robust major giving program should be a priority.

So, we put out a call to the community of nonprofit experts looking for the best advice we could find to help nonprofits of all shapes and sizes improve their major gift efforts. And here’s what you had to say! Following the lead of the preceding carnival host (check out last month’s Annual Fund Development Carnival here), we’ve divided the contributions into categories to help direct you to the advice that is most relevant to your needs. Click on the links below to jump straight to the major gift tips and strategies you’re looking for: Scroll down to read about all of the included resources. (And don’t forget to subscribe to the carnival newsletter to find out how you can get involved!)

General Major Gift Fundraising Best Practices and Strategies

1. Major Gifts: 12+ Actionable (And Effective Strategies)

We’ve already linked to and quoted this guide earlier in the article, but for those who skipped right to the resource list, this guide explores major giving inside and out. It starts with the basics, moves on to how you can start a program yourself, and finishes with advice for improving your efforts. Click here to check out the DonorSearch resource on major gifts.

2. Nonprofit Fundraising: The Ultimate Guide

This Double the Donation resource features comprehensive coverage of the entire practice of fundraising, and it has a helpful section that highlights major giving. A particularly salient segment offers a great piece of advice for major-gift-seeking nonprofits:

Practice your pitch. You never want to go into a major gift meeting unprepared. In order to have the greatest success, you’ll need to practice your pitch and the different scenarios that could play out during the meeting.

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By chris

The 3-Step Guide to Handling a Prospect Researcher Staff Transition

Article written by Sarah Tedesco, Executive Vice President at DonorSearch. Heraclitus said it best when he stated, “Change is the only constant.” Although it is not always welcome, the sooner we accept and embrace change, the better our lives are. That platitude, though easier to take in theory than practice, certainly applies to the way that organizations handle staff transitions. Nonprofits and educational institutions, just like any other type of employer, have to deal with important staff members leaving and the ramifications of those exits. Putting plans in place to handle and account for the transition of employees, especially senior staffers and leaders, is critical to the ongoing success of an organization. Staff turnover is inevitable. Transitional success is a matter of preparing for and adjusting to the change. For a nonprofit, one of the most valuable roles within the organization is that of the prospect researcher. When it is time to transition to a new researcher, you’ll want to be ready to make the process as smooth as possible.

The best approach to handling a prospect researcher staff transition follows three steps.

These steps cover the entire cycle of the transition. Step one should occur before the prospect researcher leaves the position, step two will happen as the transition is occurring, and step three is to be performed once the turnover is complete.

Step 1: Implement Standards and Systems

This is a preemptive step. It is helpful in general and especially useful when your organization is experiencing change. Standards and systems make a position transferable. Prospect research is an extensive process. On any given day, your current prospect researcher could be:
  • Putting together prospect profiles.
  • Ranking prospects according to giving affinity and capacity.
  • Determining the right ask amount for a certain donor.
  • Assisting the fundraisers with solicitation strategies.
  • And much more.

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