4 “Don’ts” for Your Fundraising Program in the New Year

Fundraising Program
Date Published
Bill Blinstrub

2018 will be here soon, and with it a new year of fundraising opportunities! 

Before you commit to the same old plan, here a few things to NOT do with your fundraising in the new year.

  1. DON’T Cut Donor Acquisition – I get this call every year from at least one organization – “Hey our budget is tight; we need to cut acquisition.”
      And you know what call I get the following year? It goes like this “Hey, our donor file is way down from last year, so is revenue, and we have no idea why. What happened?”
      Here’s what happened – When you stop acquiring new donors, your donor file shrinks because you’re not accounting for attrition. The scary thing is, the loss can occur incredibly fast. And building the file back up can take YEARS. Better to NOT let that donor file shrink.
      The lesson here? Don’t cut new donor acquisition!
  2. DON’T Ignore Low-Dollar Donors – It’s tempting to cut lower dollar donors from direct mail fundraising mailings to meet budget, but don’t totally ignore these folks. Low-dollar donors make good targets for monthly giving. Low-dollar donors are also great prospects for planned giving. Continuing to mail them keeps them engaged and primes them for these opportunities.
  3. DON’T Work Without a Testing Plan and Goal – Testing is essential to keep your fundraising programs moving in the right direction. It allows you to identify new themes that donors respond to, new package ideas that save money, and new segments and lists to open up your audience. And it keeps the organization’s message fresh.
      You should have a long-term testing plan. Each test should have a hypothesis and a purpose that ties back to your program goals. When you plan and coordinate your testing for the long term, you can better test multiple variables over time, which will minimize risk and optimize learning.
  4. DON’T Ignore Digital – Organizations can no longer ignore the efficiency, effectiveness, and popularity of digital channels in fundraising. If you aren’t out there, other nonprofits will be, and they are going after YOUR donors. Emails, website optimization, Facebook, Google Grants, and AdWords are all essential tools for fundraisers in today’s market.
      Do NOT fear new technology! These digital channels offer organizations a critical opportunity to connect with donors in a more personal way, and help bring them closer to your cause. It also allows the donor a choice for how to donate and interact with your organization. (TIP, a digital/social media audit, is a great first step in understanding your organizations standing in the digital world.)
      Create a calendar that includes all of your direct mail, telemarketing, emails, website updates, and social media communications, and assign responsibilities for each.

Keeping these four tips in mind can help you avoid starting the new year without a BANG!

Still unsure about digital and want to talk about it? We love to talk digital!  Contact us today!

About the Author:
Bill Blinstrub
Senior Account Executive, Agency Services

Years in the industry

6 in Fundraising, 20+ in direct mail and marketing

Role at the Company

I develop and execute client strategy, as well as provide results analysis and budget management. I am the key face-to-face client contact, advising on all fundraising activities, best practices, trends, whatever my clients need! If my client needs something, I make it happen!

What excites you about your work at AFG?

I love the people, and the culture. AFG really creates a positive, proactive environment that empowers me to fully immerse myself in serving my clients. No idea is off limits, new thinking is encouraged, and everyone works together to meet one common goal.

What are your hobbies/interests outside AFG?

I am an avid- but not fast- runner. I enjoy competing in road races whenever possible. Its a great way to experience a new city/place, and I love running “unplugged”, no headphones. I love to hear the sounds of nature around me. Running really allows me to connect with a place and its people.

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