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How Your Donors Can Get You More Donors

How Your Donors Can Get You More Donors

We get a lot of strategy-related questions here at Grassroot. One of the most common from our donor-focused clients is,

“What’s the secret to getting more donors?”

Our answer usually surprises them:

Start with the ones you have.

The reason is simple. Your current donor profiles will tell you a lot about what you’re doing right—and what you can improve on. We produced a tip sheet on donor acquisition here that covers some of the basics, but let’s talk about the underlying approach.

The most important thing to understand is that when we say, use your current donors to help shape future campaigns, what we’re really talking about is using the data they generate.

Details like when they donated, how much they gave, and how often they come back.

But that’s just the beginning. If you know the basics of your donation patterns, you can apply some demographics—where the donors live, what other causes they support, etc.—and get a pretty good idea on which ones can become even larger contributors and where to look for similar donors. And just like that, you’re getting not only more donors, but also from your current donors!

The effort starts with a breakdown of your current donor data. You can do this by hand with a lot of math and cross-referencing.

We have a better way, however. It’s called DonorTrends.

Our software will organize and analyze your data. From there, donors can be categorized factoring in myriad data points: demographics, whether they are current, lapsed, etc. Then comes the fun (and financially rewarding) part: analyzing the results and developing strategies build around what you’ve learned.

You’ll gain insight on your lapsed donors, lifetime values, upselling opportunities, and much more. You’ll get a customized, confidential report that provides high-level breakdowns, detailed analysis and a customized action plan. You’ll learn where to invest more, and where to cut back. (Growth is the ultimate goal, but saving a few pennies along the way doesn’t hurt, right?)

In short, you’ll get what you need to jump-start your next donor campaign, with strategies that focus on both your existing donors and the biggest opportunities to gain more.

The key to all of it lies within your donor data.

Need more convincing? Check out these samples from a DonorTrends report:

Grassroot Communication | Donor Trends

Want us to take a look and tell you what your data says about what you should consider when planning your next campaigns?

Schedule a consultation with Susan and we’ll take the next steps!

How To Find New (and Lost) Donors

If you are involved in a nonprofit that relies on individual financial gifts, donor acquisition is surely one of your constant challenges. Instead of seeing it as a goal or a destination, consider getting and keeping donors as a recurring part of what you do—a rewarding journey that never ends.

Below we’ve compiled our best practices for donor acquisition in one place.
Have any questions? We’re always ready to help!

Grassroot Best Practices for Donor Acquisition

Know your donors.
Before you try and acquire new donors, it’s important to understand who your current donors are.  What are their demographics, or common attributes? Where did they come from–past campaigns, events, board outreach?  What do they care about? What motivates them to give to you?

Make a plan/budget and set goals
Every campaign should have a plan and specific goals. Goals need to be specific, measurable and attainable. Look at your past acquisition history and see if you can increase new donors by 2%.  If you haven’t engaged in new donor acquisition – figure a goal based on the average return of a direct mail campaign.

Lists: Choose carefully.
All lists are not the same, so carefully consider the type of list you want to use.
Some examples:
• Demographics – based on the qualities of your current donors.
• Subscribers – publications that would be of interest to you donors.
• Donors – compiled list of donors to similar causes or donor of organizations that have a similar or complementary mission.

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Consider your creative.
If you’re doing a mail piece, you want it to stand out. Consider a size not often used, such as 6×9 in or 5×7 in. Don’t be shy about color, either. Make the most of your package with a full-color envelope or letter. If you’re limited to two-color, be sure the make the most by adding an illustration or a tag line. People want to be seen, heard, and understood. Be sure to personalize throughout your letter and reply materials to help create that personal feel.

Tell a story.
Showing is always better than telling. Use an emotional story from someone who has benefitted from your organization to demonstrate the difference your donor can make.

Show your achievements.
Don’t be afraid to brag a little. New donors want to know about your success and plans for your mission going forward. Get them excited to be part of something meaningful.

Integrate across channels.
The days of a single-channel campaign are gone. Use your messaging across all your platforms to amplify your message’s reach. Many who receive a letter will go to your website to seek more information, and it may take a few impressions—a letter and then a boosted Facebook post—to catch their attention.

Test!
Improve your campaigns’ effectiveness by trialing parts of it as you go. Try different envelopes, two-color vs four-color, or even different copy. Measure the results and apply what you learn in future campaigns or even later in the same campaign. You might also try adding something extra—like a pen, or a keychain, or an offer to provide a thank-you gift for a certain donation level—and see if response rates change.

Track all of your results.
Every campaign provides insightful data you can learn from. Whether it is response rates from certain lists or understanding what motivates your donors to give, mine your data for clues that will help you create better campaigns down the road.

Grassroot Communication | Donor Trends

Want to glean more from your data?
Check out DonorTrends and learn how  to target your donors and prospects:
https://grassrootcommunication.com/fundraisers/donortrends/

Call or email us today to talk about your next project.
Susan@grassrootcommunication.com -or- 540-428-7000 x3032

DATA RE-SET: What Does Your 2019 Tell You About The Future?

Your 2019 campaigns are in the books. Did you meet your goals? If so, congratulations! If not, don’t fret, but don’t sit idle, either. The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to take a deep dive into the previous year’s efforts and gain insight on what needs changing to deliver better results. Several years ago, the New York Society of Association Executives wrote an article on the basics of benchmarking. What was true then is still true today: a simple but diligent approach to benchmarking goes a long way in maximizing your fundraising program. Let’s take a look at what NYSAE recommends, and how you can tackle it.

 

Step 1: Set Goals.
It sounds simple, but don’t be fooled. Successful benchmarking starts with definable goals that are neither too general nor too specific. Every fundraising effort wants to increase donation totals year over year—so that is too generic. Hitting a certain numeric goal may be too specific. The best goals target opportunities while feeding into the obvious target of improving results. For example, increasing the average donation from current donors could help generate more revenue without expanding the giving pool. Conversely, getting more of a certain type of donor—first-time donors, younger donors, etc.—may help broaden the donor pool in a way that helps sustain future drives. NYSAE suggests starting out with three specific goals, but the actual number is up to you. We suggest you pick at least one, but no so many that tracking and analyzing it becomes unmanageable. If you’re already setting goals, then you’re on your way—simply make sure they are measurable, they align with your overall organizational targets, and work with the data you have or can collect.

Step 2: Evaluate Your Data
Again, sounds simple right? But if you identify a goal that requires data you don’t have, you need to either change the goal or collect the data. Say you want more donors under age 35. Do you have a way of identifying donor age? If so, you can do some digging and determine recent historical trends. If not, could you collect the data without creating too much friction among donors or potential donors, who may be reluctant to hand over personal information? Don’t be afraid to set goals that require new data, either. It could be something simple, such as the timing of donations following certain mail pieces. (Maybe, for instance, you’ll find that donations generated by a third reminder is not worth the expense.) It may be ambitious, such as trying to put your existing donors into income brackets in an effort to identify those most likely to increase their giving. If the goal is important enough, it is worth exploring whether you can link donor patterns to the applicable data. Bigger picture, understanding the data you have can help shape the entire benchmarking process. You may discover that you don’t have the data you need, or you may have a treasure trove of information waiting to be parsed. (We bet it’s the latter—but we’ll get to that soon enough.)

Step 3: Analyze Your Data
Once you have your targets and some historical data, it’s time to do some benchmarking. Where were you five years ago? Two years ago? This can help you set realistic expectations on where to go next. Another key factor: understand the bigger picture. If you set a goal to increase your average donation by 10%, but the average in your sector, or bigger-picture national average, is closer to 5%, ask yourself if the goal is realistic. Once you’ve locked down your organizational goals and validated bigger-picture trends, it’s time for a quick review. Does your list of goals still make sense? Did the da-ta-dive uncover anything that merits consideration the next time you start your goal-setting? Revisit your goals every quarter or so and don’t be afraid to make any adjustments in your goals or your tactics. Let the data help guide you!

Looking For A Jump Start?… Benchmarking and setting goals are beneficial activities that should be part of every fundraising organization’s DNA. But there’s no need to wait for an entire donation cycle to get actionable data. One of the areas we’ve been helping clients with is using their existing data to glean trends and actionable insight—a benchmarking jump-start if you will. We call the new service Do-norTrends, and it’s making a difference for our clients. In one case, we launched a lapsed-donor campaign after running its data through the Donor-Trends software. We were able to determine the donors that were most likely to return and targeted them in a dedicated campaign. The result: a boost in reinstatement numbers and a growing bottom line. In another case, we targeted likely new donors based on past activity. Using that information, we brokered and tested three new lists, segmenting each letter slightly to speak to that specific audience. The client acquired more from that one campaign than it has over multiple campaigns in prior years. Each example started with existing data that the client was collecting on its donors. The DonorTrends software analyzed it and pointed out unique trends that each organization could use to develop action plans. The results speak for themselves.

Your Data—Your Future No two organizations are the same, and neither are their donor profiles. Understanding how your donors are performing is the key to targeting your campaign efforts and generating results—from boosting overall donations to reducing your per-do-nation mailing and marketing costs. It all starts with your data.

Ready to gain new, actionable insight from your data?
Contact Sherene Rapoport • Ph: 540.428.7000 x3032 • E: susan@grassrootcommunication.com

ARTICLES CITED: https://www.nysaenet.org/nysaenet/resources1/inviewnewsletter/2013/april2013/inview512_article5

Female Donor Trends: A 2018 Survey Breakdown

Fundraising professionals know that all donors are not the same.
As women become even more powerful forces in supporting causes, organizations should be mindful of the trends that link female donors together.

One of the best regular surveys on donor trends is the Global Trends In Giving (GTG) report. Produced annually by the Public Interest Registry and Nonprofit Tech for Good, the report surveys thousands of donors around the world, and highlights trends that range from what types of charities get the most donations, to the methods donors prefer.
The report also does a detailed breakdown of male vs. female donors. Let’s take a deeper dive into the 2018 report and gain a better understanding of female-donor activity. The 2018 version, available at https://givingreport.ngo/, includes data from 6,057 donors from 119 countries. It was conducted from late April through June 2018.

Female Donor Trends

While the entire dataset is interesting, our breakdown will focus on two subsets: female donors—the focus of this article—North American respondents (which combines both the U.S. and Canada). Note that this doesn’t mean a U.S.-based charity should not pursue donors from around the world; in fact, the survey found that 31% of all donors gave to a cause based outside of their country. That said, gaining a detailed understanding of your most likely donors—those in your country—should be the foundation of any campaign.

In the GTG survey, 65% of the respondents were female. Among GTG’s key findings; female donors were most inspired to give as a result of social media (32%), followed by email (26%) and website outreach (17%). Males, on the other hand, preferred email (30%), social media (24%) and the web (19%).
Other key results from the female respondent data subset:
45% are enrolled in a monthly donor program
42% donate to crowd-funding campaigns
35% give tribute gifts
67% volunteer locally
92% are regular voters

Each of these tracked closely with male donor data results except for the tribute-gift response—only 21% male donors report giving tribute gifts.

Now let’s look at some key figures from the North American donor subset. While the following trends represent all North American donors, note that 70% of those respondents were females. One of the most significant takeaways: 56% of North American donors say “they are most likely to give repeatedly to an organization if they receive regular communication about the work the organization is doing and the impact that their donation is making,” the survey found.

Among giving methods, 60% prefer credit card, far out-pacing the next-highest category of mailing in a donation (17%). Not surprisingly, the top five causes are tightly bunched: health and wellness (12%), children and youth (11%), animals and wildlife (9%), faith and spirituality (9%), and human and social services (8%). Recognition is important, but many North American donors do not want to see resources (such as paper) wasted in the process: 68% prefer to be thanked for their donations by email, 20% by print letter, 5% by print postcard, 3% by social media message, and 3% via text message.

The survey noted that the influence of email- and website-generated donations in North America makes a .org domain more important as a rusted source, as 73% of respondents report they trust the .org extension—the highest percentage among world regions. North America also has the highest rate of Baby Boomer donors (41%) and donors who have charitable giving in their last will and testament (20%), the survey found.

While each target donor broken down into very specific subsets. Big-picture surveys such as GTG can help, but the most accurate read comes from analyzing your own donors and prospective donors, and detecting unique trends.
If you don’t know where to start, give us a call—we’d be happy to sit down with you.