Sarah is a Dutch / American fundraiser who has worked for animal protection and human rights organizations for more than 15 years. Since 2015, she heads up the Fundraising department at Save the Children Netherlands. She also (tries to) write occasionally and connect with other fundraisers frequently (especially over a beer).
I’m lucky enough to work in an organisation (and a management team) where fundraising is seen as an essential aspect of our daily work and our shared responsibility as leaders – to serve more children Read more…
Philanthropy as we have known it is changing. And while donors continue to focus their time and money on the causes to which they have the most personal connection, our understanding of ‘community’ has evolved so fundamentally in the wake of globalisation that one may have just as much tangible experience of a starving child a hemisphere away as of the patrons of a breadline around the corner. And yet, despite the increasing sophistication of our donor communications and marketing strategies, the security of our success as Western fundraisers is irrevocable gone. (more…)
‘Donor (or supporter) journeys’ is all the buzz in the nonprofit world, with prominent thinkers peddling the virtues of mapping out the donor experience. But as a fundraiser actually working on the front-line of income generation in a difficult financial climate, I’d like to add a critical voice to the discussion. (more…)
In February I met with fundraisers in Amsterdam to brainstorm how we could engage our various supporter relationships (‘leads’ or prospects) to move them to become donors to our organizations.
And while I suspect that most came to the session “Turning Likes into Cash” to hear the closely held secret to raising donors via social media (spoiler: there isn’t one), I would like to think that most participants left with at least one practical idea that they didn’t have before the session. (more…)
This is the very last 101fundraising blog post of 2012 and incidentally also our 200th. It therefore seems doubly appropriate to round out the year with a retrospective look at the year (almost) gone by. Read more…
This year a number of 101fundraising crowdbloggers are in attendance at IFC, and at this hour we are precisely halfway through the conference. Some of us have given workshops and the rest of us have followed them. We’ve laughed at the good humor of some of the excellent presenters, cried at moving examples of the best DRTV spots from around the world (the award for the best spot went to Action Against Hunger for The Share Experiment), shared a few drinks, and mostly just enjoyed the rare chance to take a break from the “to do” list and share inspiration and ideas with some of the best in our business from around the world. (more…)
In the last blog you read about the Hype cycle (and if you haven’t, please read it here.) A second tool to consider in your planning is one that you have probably seen before: the BCG matrix. This tool divides your offerings into four groups, depending on their market growth and market share. But here’s a retooled version for an acquisition program. (more…)
If your organisation has no difficulty finding and keeping new donors, you are either a very lucky or extremely talented fundraiser, and either way one of few. For the rest of us, it seems a constant challenge to find new and better ways to attract high-quality recruits.
So here’s a few tips to help you keep them, once you do find them:
1. Tell donors both who you are and what you do
My partner and I (he is also a fundraiser) both love our jobs. But someone recently asked us both why we chose our respective organisations, and we realized that we had very different answers. He immediately began talking about the projects and the people being helped. But not about the Christian motivations, the long and prestigious Catholic history or the unique and important role of both ordinants and lay-people in the work. (Which are all true, but just wasn’t part of his spontaneous answer.) For him, the passion is for what they do.
I immediately began over the values and the vision of my organisation – what we believe in and stand for. And I realized that this is fundamentally more important to me than whatever work we are doing at any given moment. For me it’s first and foremost about who we are. (more…)
When Reinier called for someone to write a last-minute blog yesterday, I had coincidentally just purchased a book on social marketing. I have been interested in the subject for some time, but the discussion on the recent 101fundraising blog about donor centered fundraising and public perception really made me think more about how social change organisations leverage donors.
Think about it – our donors are so much more than financial benefactors. They are consumers. And they are, above all else, consumers who feel strongly enough about the work we are doing to actually fund it. In fact, their financial behaviour proves again and again that they share our vision so strongly to actually invest in it. So how many organisations are actually utilizing donors to affect social change?
As fundraisers we have a tendency to keep using the same topics that score the best in terms of response and income. And besides occasional tests, we shy away from talking about the more difficult, longer-term or more complex areas of our work – either because we think we will fail to properly tell the story and convey the urgency; or because assume that in a saturated charity market, donors will perceive another “simpler” issue as having greater priority. (more…)
A few months ago I posted a blog critical of the donor pyramid and asking why it is still so widely used in the Netherlands (and undoubtedly also some other countries). So now I’d like to propose an alternative. The problem with the pyramid is that it is only useful to show one metric – donor financial value. But it doesn’t tell the larger story of engagement – how a donor interacts with and builds a relationship with an organisation over time: the lifecycle.
So what does your donors’ lifecycle look like? And more importantly, are your donors growing in value (whatever that means to your organisation – financial value, volunteerism, advocacy, etc.) over the duration of that lifespan? How can you visualise how your organisation is performing and how you want to be performing? A simple tool that I favour is the donor lifecycle map. The primary purpose of this tool is to show the correlation of donor value with engagement – both of which, of course, should be growing!
I am a numbers nerd; the queen of testing. I have passionate love affairs with databases. And even though, over the years, I’ve done every other fundraising job from copy- and proposal-writing to events to a major gift negotiation — and even knocking on doors asking for petition signatures and “a check as well so that we have the resources to ensure that this legislation passes” (I was 18. Maybe my start in fundraising?) – I always come back to the numbers. Beautiful numbers.
So when I came to work at an animal sanctuary in the Netherlands, I was more than a little nervous to learn that I would be working as a “donor contact” at a nine day donor visitation event. (“You mean I have to talk to people? For nine straight day? In Dutch?”) (more…)
A number of fundraising headlines have proclaimed the donor pyramid to be dead. And working in America, I hadn’t heard too much about it since my early days in fundraising (way back in the ’90s!) except an occasional chuckle and a “that old thing!” retort at its mention. It used to be that in America, where major gifts represent a large share of fundraising income, the pyramid could illustrate which 20% of donors contribute 80% of giving income.
But even before my time as a fundraising professional, the pyramid had already come to be seen as a very simplistic measure of success. So naturally, I too thought it was dead until I moved to the Netherlands, where it’s alive and kicking (and screaming). In fact the donor pyramid is not just alive here in the Netherlands – it is beloved.
Why exactly? Is it that the pyramid is actually so useful or is it that there are no good alternatives?
De donateurpiramide is in een groot aantal artikelen over fondsenwerving al vaak dood verklaard. Als fondsenwerver in de VS, heb ik er al vanaf de jaren negentig weinig meer over gehoord. Vroeger was het zo dat in Amerika -waar major gifts een groot deel van het totale fondsenwervingsinkomen uitmaken- de piramide een instrument was om te laten zien welke 20% van je donateurs 80% van je totale inkomsten vertegenwoordigt.
Maar al voor mijn werkzame tijd als fondsenwerver, werd de piramide beschouwt als een simplificatie van de werkelijkheid. Voor mij was de donateurpiramide dan ook morsdood. Totdat ik naar Nederland verhuisde waar de piramide ‘alive and kicking’ bleek. En niet alleen dát, maar hij is ook nog eens erg geliefd!
Waarom eigenlijk? Komt het omdat de piramide echt nuttig is of zijn er misschien geen goede alternatieven?
Last fall I attended my first IFC. Being a bit of a data geek, I most looked forward to a workshop entitled “new product development.” I expected to go and hear about all of the fabulous new database and CRM tools on the European market. Silly me. The session turned out to be about the process of developing fundraising “products” – as in ways and benefits of giving – within your own organization. What I had always heard termed simply a “gift type” in America.
Fast forward six months and I am writing a paper on product marketing for a management course. Here it was again. So I had to ask myself, “How can I, as a fundraiser, use any of this in my program?”
It turns out that product marketing has a lot to do with the way that we think about raising funds. And applying a commercial marketing “checklist” to our fundraising strategy can give us some valuable insights about the way that our donors experience our service. So it is useful to consider each of the seven “Ps” when designing your fundraising strategy. Following are some questions you can ask yourself in your planning.