We have been around for a long time, we do great things for lots of people, more people need us now than ever before, we tighten our budgets, and our Annual Giving Program is giving us less and less money.
So what do we do? Stop mailing out the letter, change our message, and try the on-line Social Communities? We have to figure this out or we will be in trouble.
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Does this sound familiar? Is “The Great Recession of 2009” starting to have more and more impact on your fund raising efforts? Though you have heard stories about getting involved with on-line giving, you haven’t heard many success stories - but still, what’s your choice? You don’t think you have the skills to make the on-line thing work – so what do you do?
If any of this sounds at all familiar, download our Changing Your Fund Raising Approach, and our Annual Fund Raising Questionnaire. Learn how to capture the hearts and contributions available within online communities.
In the Fall of 2008, the world of Fund Raising changed, and I believe this change will be forever.
The idea of Donations, as a way to help pay for needed and relevant causes has been around for a long time but, over the last 25 years, the concept of Development or Advancement has grown until it now is a very large industry. I was told that in my city of Seattle, Washington, in the early 70’s you could hold a meeting of all the fund raisers in the area and there might be 25-30 people that would attend. In the Fall of 2008, it would probably be more like 10,000 individuals.
Every “501” has a Development concept and, if you have a cause or effort of any size, you most likely have a small team of people that focus on 2-3 of the major elements of the profession. First is the basic of the Development Officer in charge of major Gifts. These individuals are responsible for finding people with some capacity to have the potential to make a gift that would have some impact on the organization, or a group of gifts that when packaged together can create an endowment, enhance a capital project, or support a program for a cause that they feel needs their help.
The basics of development is the idea that once someone is engaged, given a reason or case for support, is cultivated and feels strongly about the mission of the organization, values of the way the organization acts, believes in the financial stability of the organization, and finally and most important, beliefs that the organization leader is capable of delivery on the promise, the Development Officer makes the request for the major Gift. This process is almost the same for the world of Planned Giving, and though the timeline of these gifts is less understood, these are very important elements of any good Development organization.
“The Great Recession of 2009” has definitely had an impact on these two parts of the Development operation, but the place where the Development world has been the most impacted is at the head of a thriving Non-Profit and that’s the Annual Giving Program. The concept of an Annual Giving Program is the basic future for any organization. This is the front door to any Non-Profit and is the precursor to the future success of any Non-Profit. For the last 10 years, this effort has mostly been summed up with a direct mail letter request. If there is one program that has the potential for a complete crash, it is the basic Annual Giving direct mail program. So let’s put a few assumptions on the table before I describe the cultural transformation that will be required to save this very important element of any Development effort.
- It is widely known that the best and most effective way to get either a large Gift or a Planned Gift is to have an individual make between 7 and 15 Gifts – regular giving is the most important predictor of a future larger gift.
- The Annual Direct Mail Letter response rate has been declining for the last 5-7 years, costs are going up and results are down.
- The effort at creating an on-line giving option has been okay, but has not replaced the revenue lost from the direct mail programs.
- There is a whole new element to this effort called “Social Technologies” – Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, Blogs – the new world of social communities.
- The people who currently are in the Development business are not at ease with the new technologies and though they might participate in some personal use of the new behaviors, not many organizations have successfully figured out how to change the overall Annual Giving Strategy and make all of this work together.
At Loyalty Solutions Group, we have designed a very clear and easy approach how, over a 2-year time frame, to take all of the elements and migrate this very important aspect of your Development operation into the Annual Engagement System of the future.
For a detailed step-by-step approach, download our Changing Your Fund Raising Approach, and our Annual Fund Raising Questionnaire. Learn how to capture the hearts and contributions available within online communities.