How to Practice the Better Way of Doing Fundraising

Originally Posted to Jeff Brooks’s Blog

Is your fundraising stuck in low-involvement mode, where you have to communicate with your donors a lot, and you get low response rates, low average gifts, and have low donor retention?

If so, you aren’t alone. That’s the way a lot of fundraising works these days. Transactional. Impersonal. And it just barely works. In the old days, it worked quite well. Which is why so many organizations use it. They seem to hope the clock will magically turn back to those days.

There’s a better way. You might call it relational fundraising. Donor focused.

Or, as the MarketSmart blog calls it, engagement fundraising. Here’s how you do it: The 8 core components of engagement fundraising and why you desperately need them:

  1. Acceptance of the Pareto Principle. (Knowing that 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your donors tells you that you can — and should — focus your fundraising time and money at your 20%.)
  2. Understanding of why people really give. (Hint: it’s not because of your excellent processes. They give because it makes them feel good.)
  3. Employment of a feedback loop. (Make sure you’re listening to your donors!)
  4. Valuable engagement offers. (It’s not only about money. Give your donors other ways to change the world through your organization.)
  5. Lead generation efforts. (Always look for ways to learn more about your donors by giving them opportunities to talk back and otherwise engage with you.)
  6. Cultivation efforts. (Keep the conversation going!)
  7. Dashboard. (Make your efforts and donors’ responses easily visible so you can react and respond in time.)
  8. Conversion efforts. (Ask when they’re likely to give.)

Learn more with Jeff’s upcoming live webinar How to Create a Newsletter That Motivates Donors to Give and Give Again: The Proven Formula for Success