How DonorSearch Delivers Fundraising Excellence and Positive ROI

Nonprofits face multiple challenges at once in our turbulent economy. Macroeconomic factors like continued high inflation are putting the squeeze on organizations in every sector. This means they must make wise investments promising high ROI. But they must also turnaround industry-wide trends like steep donor count declines. Thankfully, more organizations every day are discovering DonorSearch provides the answer to both these challenges.

Let’s start with Return on investment. ROI is a classic concern of corporate America. Yet many fundraising leaders believe it is vital for nonprofits to also consider this business metric. Tom Ralser, Principal of Convergent Fundraising Solutions, makes the case for nonprofits to focus on ROI in his book, ROI for Nonprofits: The New Key to Sustainability. Ralser’s approach may be too business-focused for many in the nonprofit community. However, he makes vital points—such as the fact organizations, now more than ever, must act wisely when spending their budgets.

But what about the deeper issue—the decline in donor counts, especially giving from individuals? In previous posts we’ve discussed the latest numbers on giving as covered by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Although there is good news in the world of philanthropy, such as 78% of donors planning to give the same or more in 2024 as compared to 2023, challenges still abound. Individual giving is projected to fall to 62.8% of overall giving, down from 64% in 2022. This is a big concern for organizations relying on individual donors to fund their worthy missions. But how can we measure results on reversing the trend of declining individual donors?

DonorSearch Senior Vice President Nathan Chappell explains the answer lies in what practically every DonorSearch client experiences when working with our expert team and AI-driven data approach. “Most every nonprofit we work with goes through a great revelation when they receive their first report of DonorSearch AI data. In a true ‘Eureka!’ moment, they learn of a tremendous number of engaged community members that they have never reached out to before. When I’m asked how much we concentrate on driving ROI for clients, I like to explain we don’t focus so much on ROI—we emphasize driving the things that naturally result in good ROI, like uncovering potential donors who have never been on their radar with wealth screening and other data services.”

Matthew Cook, Executive Director of Blue13 Dance Company shared his related story with DonorSearch. Specifically, our data helped him kick start his arts nonprofit into high gear. Before this, Cook was no stranger to DonorSearch. He successfully used our data to drive a campaign with the Pacific Opera Project to fund a rehearsal space and offices. This greatly improved his organization’s ability to make opera more accessible to the public. But at Blue13, he faced a new challenge—an almost complete lack of traditional fundraising material like an email list, and no staff for outreach.

His first call was to DonorSearch.

As Cook explains, “My goal with using DonorSearch in this organization is to have a two-to-three-year plan to learn our base, make targeted asks, and also use prospecting tools and the mailing lists. Part of the strength of DonorSearch is that I can ask the software to give me a list of names of people that have shown to support dance in my county… And when I tell it, ‘Give me art supporters in this county, this county, and this county, and prioritize 500 names…’ I’ll get a list of 500 names. I will create a postcard with a QR code on it that introduces that household to our company and perhaps giving them a discount ticket to the show. I’m really starting from scratch in terms of building the philanthropic base for the company and I think DonorSearch is essential in this process because there is no other way to get the word out in such a streamlined use of financial resources.”

Cook’s experience in using DonorSearch to essentially build a fundraising organization from scratch at Blue13 exemplifies how we help clients find their community, leading to positive ROI. Cook himself made this point, explaining: “If I could say one thing to a prospective client looking at DonorSearch, it will be that you will make your money back. It will easily give you a return on investment in the first year depending on how much time you want to invest in learning the product. It’s the first product that I’ve used that I have felt was intuitive, that had the support I needed, and that was accurate. There are so many resources out there that will estimate who in our base will support you, but this has, by far, been the most accurate with many people that I’ve compared with. And we’ve made our money back within the first couple months.”

DonorSearch Executive Vice President and Co-Owner Sarah TeDesco commented, “Matthew Cook’s experience with DonorSearch at both the Pacific Opera Project and Blue13 are typical of how we help clients improve their fundraising efforts. When a nonprofit has the right data on their community, they uncover new prospects they’ve never considered before, and are able to concentrate on the best way to connect with donors of all types—further strengthening their relationships. A positive ROI is a natural outcome of a fundraising team equipped to do their best work every day.”

To learn how we can help your organization reinvigorate individual giving and drive positive fundraising ROI, please contact DonorSearch for a demo today. And if you are an experienced non-profit professional interested in helping new nonprofits build for future success every day, please consider a career with DonorSearch.

Additional Resources

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