Switching gears a bit this month, I want to take time to reflect on some current events. I also want to remind us all that what we do matters, and that innovation and out-of-the-box thinking must continue in order to propel our industry forward and enable the missions and work of the organizations we support.
Finally, organizations are using technology to complement and strengthen their fundraising program. But is this really the case? I’m not sure. In one conversation, I heard about how excited an organization was that it could marry its online and offline sustainer programs.
Whether or not you have money to burn, no one likes to waste money. And anyway, the government frowns upon burning their paper. So why are so many nonprofits squandering their resources on mailings to bad addresses?
Sustainer. It’s the buzz word in nonprofit fundraising for the past few years. And there’s good reason for it — sustainer programs are one of the most valuable segments within a fundraising program because of the compound effect of the gifts.
With the 2016 presidential election campaign in full swing, many Americans are now more focused on the issues that mean the most to them. Naturally, election years bring surges in donations for political candidates and causes. So if you’re a non-political organization, how should that affect your fundraising this year?
The Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation held its latest semi-annual conference in Washington, D.C. February 18 and 19 at the Renaissance Hotel (the other is held in New York City in the summer). More than 700 fundraisers and representatives from the companies that serve them gathered for the two-day event that featured a keynote speaker each day, a jam-packed schedule of education sessions, and lots of networking as usual morning, noon and night.
Recently a prospective client made a second visit to our facility in Hagerstown, Maryland, to do a deeper dive into our capabilities and how we’d handle the nonprofit organization’s direct mail responses. As part of that process we asked the Director of Development to bring samples of their primary direct mail packages to review.
With the current prevalence of digital media, I’m often asked if traditional direct mail is still relevant for nonprofit fundraisers. And despite the constantly changing digital landscape, the answer is yes — it’s definitely relevant. When I was in college, beepers were all the rage and cell phones weren’t even in existence. In the past decade, we’ve seen phones evolve from “just a phone” to complex mini computers. Who knows what the next communications development will be?
I’m not sure about you, but after the sub-zero temperatures and the relentless snow that we experienced this winter, I’m happy to see blue skies and the spring flowers blooming outside my office window.
Springtime is about renewal and getting a fresh start. For many nonprofits, it marks the beginning of a new fundraising season. This allows organizations to open the door to new and creative ideas to engage and interact with donors.
So what can you do to impress the new donors you’ll be attracting this spring? To help get the ball rolling, I’ve listed a few ideas: