5 signs your fundraising is in trouble

5 signs that your fundraising might be in trouble (it was hard to do only 5):

1. You mail all your donors in every impact. Direct mail is highly efficient and can have astounding ROIs but only if you “get” the concept of targeting by giving patterns, gift sizes and seasonality.

2. You aren’t connecting your online giving with your offline strategies. If you’re not connecting email, websites and direct mail you’re missing out on income (plus it’s really easier than you think).

3. You don’t make it really, really easy for your donors to give online. Please don’t make me register to give a gift. Please . . . new donors probably aren’t going to go to the effort (and many current donors probably won’t either). And put your URL near every call to action and remind the reader that they can give securely and easily online to “help more quickly.”

4. Your donor acquisition strategies look different than your cultivation strategies. Acquire donors the way you’re going to cultivate them. Donors won’t respond well to bait-and-switch on offers, topics or design.

5. You’re not wrestling with ROI. If you’re not wondering how to fairly and accurately assign responses and ROIs, then you’re probably not integrating enough. You really ought to be having conversations about how phone campaigns fit with direct mail and Facebook. You really ought to be debating how donors acquired online compare with donors acquired through FSIs (free-standing inserts usually in newspapers). If you’re not, you’re probably not integrating strongly enough.

Those are my top 5. What about you? If you don’t do fundraising, and many of you are on the marketing side of things, how would you adjust these for marketing? What did I miss? Love to know what you think.

Steve Thomas
Partner, Oneicity

(photo credit: Kyle May)

Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas

4 thoughts on “5 signs your fundraising is in trouble”

  1. Mary Helen Harris

    Not sure you missed anything, but I would love to hear what you left out…why only five? As for telemarketing campaigns and direct mail…I didn’t do both in the 1998 Texas Republican Party Campaign and still raised over $1,000,000. for that campaign to re-elect George Bush Governor. That was 1/3 of the operating budget for that campaign. Would still love to hear what else is on your mind!

  2. Pingback: Fundraising-Wochenrückblick vom 26.03.-01.04.2012 | sozialmarketing.de - wir lieben Fundraising

  3. The very first point (You mail all your donors in every impact) is also a sign of trouble in online fundraising campaigns. Just because it is cheaper to send out emails to your entire list does not mean you can stop targeting individual segments online. The more targeted your are in any type of appeal, the better impact and ROI you will see.

    This will also help you connect online and offline strategies by taking into account seasonality and other patterns of each solicitation type.

  4. @Jennifer–great point, many think that email is free…until they calculate the cost of an “unsubscribe.” Thanks for the great thinking. Appreciate you adding to the conversation.

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