DonorSearchDonorSearch

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.

read more

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.

read more

By chris

5 Big Benefits of Fundraising with Wealth Screening

This post was written by Jeri Alcock CFRE, West Coast Sales Manager at DonorSearch. If you could accurately predict the future you’d be a very successful person. You’d spend your days trading stocks at the exact right moment and catching kittens just as they fall from trees. You could be a crime-preventing, disaster-avoiding, money maker. Such seemingly far-fetched dreams. We might not have found a way to predict the world’s future, but we have uncovered a way for fundraisers to predict donors’ futures — prospect research. Prospect research is talked about a lot on this blog, which is quite reasonable given that it is DonorSearch’s specialty. When performing a prospect screening, you’re taking a holistic approach to donor analysis. You want the big picture of a prospect’s giving future, so you look at a combination of worthwhile factors. Take a dash of past giving, a teaspoon of nonprofit involvement, a pinch of real estate ownership, some secret ingredients, and mix it all together to whip up a batch of predictive donor profiles. In thinking about the ingredients that go into creating a prospect profile, we can typically see the various data types dividing into either wealth markers or philanthropic indicators. With wealth screening, nonprofits are looking at wealth markers in particular. Wealth screening is about giving capacity rather than willingness to give. A screening of this sort will answer one key question: How much can this prospect afford to give? Now, you’ll need to look at philanthropic indicators to see if that prospect will actually make the moves to donate, but wealth screening tells nonprofits what their prospects are capable of

read more

By chris

15 Fundraising Success Metrics to Start Tracking

Measuring your performance is a crucial step that nonprofits must take to succeed. There’s no better way of isolating and troubleshooting any ongoing problems. And worry not, there’s no shortage of methods of measuring performance. They’re called fundraising success metrics here, but they are also often referred to as key performance indicators (KPIs). These metrics are the analytical tools nonprofits need to continue raising more and more funds. If you’re looking for the top metrics that your nonprofit should be tracking, this list of 15 has been split into four separate categories. Skip around and see what stands out as a must-have KPI for your nonprofit. If you’re looking recommended tools to track your fundraising metrics, we’ve got a short list we recommend:
  • DonorSearch’s Online Tools – Our suite of online tools is ideal for any nonprofit who is interested in learning more about their donor’s previous charitable giving, real estate holdings, and political giving.
  • Fundraising Report Card – A free tool for nonprofit executives who want better insight into their organization’s analytics including donor growth, donor acquisition, and donor retention.
  • 360MatchPro – A perfect platform for medium to large nonprofits who want to understand how much they could raise from corporate giving programs and identify their largest matching gift opportunities.

General Fundraising Metrics

These are the big KPIs. They’re the ones most organizations are tracking. They give you a picture of your fundraising success and can point you in the direction you need to go. Remember — you won’t get far with any of these metrics if you have inaccurate or incomplete information on your donors. Perform prospect research to complete your donor data files.

1. Cost Per Dollar Raised (CPDR)

Cost per dollar raised is one of the most commonly referenced fundraising success metrics. CPDR answers a very simple question. Did we raise money, lose money, or break even? The definition and means of calculation are explicitly stated in the metric’s name, but let’s walk through the process to provide any necessary clarification. To determine cost per dollar raised, divide expense by revenue for the given fundraiser you’re examining (event, direct mail appeal, etc.). If the expense and revenue are equal, you broke even and don’t need to carry out any calculations. If expense is higher than revenue, you lost money. Your calculation will yield a number more than one. The opposite will be true if you raised money. To keep things simple, imagine you held an event that cost $500 and raised $2,000. Just from looking at the dollar amounts, you know you made money, but if you want to see the exact cost analysis you would do as follows: $500/$2,000 = .25 In this instance, for every dollar you raised, it cost your nonprofit $0.25.

2. Fundraising Return on Investment (ROI)

Fundraising return on investment is equally as popular a metric as cost per dollar raised is, and it’s very similar. Instead of dividing expenses by revenue, you divide revenue by expenses. Once you’ve divided the two amounts, a number greater than one indicates that you’ve raised money. Most organizations tend to favor one of these first two metrics over the other, like ROI over CPDR, for example. They both provide near identical information. The differences are almost negligible. Your organization’s preference will probably boil down to the means by which you’re looking to improve. If cost cutting is a priority, nonprofits would likely be more interested in cost per dollar raised; whereas, return on investment is a great indicator of the effects of making strategic changes to increase revenue.

3. Donor Retention Rate

Does your organization track how many donors it retains on a year-over-year basis? It needs to be. Let’s face it: the time it takes to cultivate donors is a time-intensive process, and after all the work engaging your supporters you don’t want to have to do the process all over again with a whole new set of supporters. Of course, you can always continue to grow their donor pool through acquisition, but you don’t want to waste all your efforts. Maintaining donors through retention is just as essential as acquiring new donors.  The two sides of the fundraising coin work best in conjunction. Your acquisition and retention rates should be improving concurrently. However, more often than not, nonprofits place much stronger emphasis on acquisition than retention. Acquisition of new donors is an expensive endeavor, though. Retention is more cost effective. Tracking your retention rate can reveal a lot about your organization’s performance, including:
  • How your nonprofit should prioritize communication with supporters.
  • If your organization is acknowledging donors in a thoughtful and immediate fashion.
  • The ease in which donors are able to give via your various donation methods.
Track your retention rate to see how your organization is doing and discover if your retention practices need improvement. If you do have an undesirable rate, look to your stewardship practices first, and make sure you re-evaluate with an eye for retention. What is your acknowledgment process? When do you follow up? How do you continue communications? Check out Razoo’s blog for 10 ways to improve donor retention rates, including ways to respond to the data you receive.

4. Donor Growth

Donor growth is what one might consider a domino metric. If donor growth is down, it’s likely that it didn’t get that way on its own. Lack of donor growth, or worse donor loss, is often the result of multiple factors. Measuring your donor growth ensures that you’re paying attention to your overall performance and puts your nonprofit in a situation to address any concerns early and quickly. Use this metric in conjunction with some of the others on this list to determine exactly why your number of donors isn’t growing. Essentially, you’ll be back-solving.

5. Conversion Rate

In order to determine conversion rate, you need a goal action and a list of donors you’d like to complete that action. The goal action could be anything from attending an event to responding to a direct mail letter, but the most common goal action involves donations. Typically the rate will be investigating how many prospects donated to a specific campaign or took an action as a result of a specific request. To find the rate itself, divide the number of people who completed the goal action by the total number of people who were given the opportunity to do so. Then multiply the number by 100 to get a percent. Let’s take a simple example. Say you sent out an email to 100 donors, asking them to follow a link and make a donation online. Of those 100, 30 followed the link and took the requested step. Therefore, your conversion rate in this instance was 30%. Conversion rate is one of the most cut and dry methods of evaluating the success of a given request for action.

6. Gifts Secured

This indicator is as standard as it sounds. How many gifts did your organization secure through the month? The quarter? The year? Tracking gifts secured over time is another way of saying you’re tracking donation growth. To delve even further into the data, you can separate the gifts by type:
  • major giving
  • planned giving
  • mid-level gifts
  • small gifts
  • annual fund donations
  • monthly donations
You’ll see crossover among some of the categories, but the more in-depth you go, the better you’ll be able to adjust and plan for the future.  

Giving Level Metrics

read more

By chris

3 Determiners of Donor Giving Capacity

Although most of us wish it were a science, determining donor giving capability is more of an art form. Prospect research reveals pieces of data about donors and then does the difficult task of analyzing what those data points mean. That result, a prospect research output, is donor giving capability. It is determined by three factors:
  1. Connection to Your Cause
  2. Philanthropic Propensity
  3. Wealth Markers
Some researchers start and end with wealth markers, which is a real detriment to giving capability accuracy.

In this article, we’re going to give you the lowdown on all things donor giving capacity, which includes:

  1. A discussion of the three determiners of donor giving capacity.
  2. An investigation into the accuracy of capacity scores.
  3. A summary of major gift capacity scores.
Let’s open with point one, the three determiners. Think of the giving capacity determiners as legs on a tripod, all necessary and all doing their part. 

#1: Connection to Your Cause

This is the number one way to determine donor giving capability. The best indicator of a new donation is a past donation, or, at least, a past involvement, such as volunteering. Cause connection can be evidenced by:
  • Past giving
  • Event attendance
  • Support on social media
  • Volunteerism
  • And more
A prospect without an interest in your cause isn’t much of a prospect at all. A prospect with a strong interest in your cause is the strongest type of prospect you have.

#2: Philanthropic Propensity

There are prospects hiding everywhere, donating to causes just like yours, and are essentially great donor candidates in waiting. Someone who has a proven commitment to nonprofits is going to be more likely to donate than someone who does not. Consider the two following examples:
  1. Holding a board seat for another nonprofit.
  2. Charitable giving outside of your cause.
Let’s discuss those one at a time. First — Holding a Board Seat for Another Nonprofit Think about all that holding a board seat entails. If you’re looking for philanthropic propensity indicators, this is as good an indicator as any. Members of a nonprofit board clearly understand the ins and outs of nonprofits. They know what it takes to run a successful organization. Board members also inherently have a demonstrated vested interest in charitable work. They certainly know the value of philanthropy. Second — Charitable Giving Outside of Your Cause In terms of indicators, this is a runner up behind giving to your organization specifically. Past donations mark prospects as people of action. They may not have donated to your cause yet, but that could be for a reason as simple as lack of awareness.

#3: Wealth Markers

These are typically what first come to mind when contemplating the factors that contribute towards giving capability. Wealth markers have their limits though, which we’ll go on to discuss in a moment. Common wealth markers include: Real estate ownership: Often used as a top marker, real estate ownership has a direct correlation to charitable giving. Besides demonstrating wealth, certain real estate amounts actually correlate to a higher likelihood of giving. For instance, prospects who own $2+ million in real estate are 17 times more likely to make a charitable contribution than an average prospect

read more

1 2 3 4