Practical Advice for Modern Fundraisers

THOUGHT·FUL

adjective\ˈtht-fəl\

: serious and quiet because you are thinking: done or made after careful thinking   : done or made after careful thinking: showing concern for the needs or : showing concern for the needs of feelings of other people

Did your appeals really make money and how much?

Cost Per Dollar Raised (CPDR) and Return On Investment (ROI) are the most important statistics you generate from your fundraising activities. We use these numbers constantly. Not just for each appeal that you produce but for your overall fundraising program.

I realize that meeting your income goal is the MOST important number you track but understanding how you got that number is vital. What it cost for each dollar raised, your overall cost to raise the money and how much each new donor cost. This last one is important since acquisition is expensive and we have to track those donors carefully. In fact, I am working on an upcoming blog all about acquisition.

RETURN OF INVESTMENT
To figure the ROI, you simply divide the income by the expenses. Example: You earned $2,000 and spent 500. (2,000/500 = 4) If the number is greater than one, you made money. In essence, you earned four times what you spent.

COST PER DOLLAR RAISED
To figure CPDR, you do the opposite you divide the expenses by the income. Example: You depend $500 to raise $2,000. (500/2000= .25 or $.25) So it cost you a quarter for every dollar you raised. Not bad.

COST PER DONOR
To figure this one out, you need to know a few things: the total cost of the mailing, the amount raised, and the number of new donors. This is a simple example of how to get the CPD.

$10,000 investment less $2,500 income = $7,500 loss divided by 250 donors = $30 cost per donor. You will want to use this information to track how long it takes for the acquisition to pay for itself. At a $30.00 CPD, this should only take a year or so depends on your overall renewal campaign.


So why are these important? They are important because they take into account expenses. Too many times we put all of our focus on gross revenue, and we feel great when we say we raised $800,000 or a million dollars. But too often if you look closely at your renewal mailings you find that the net income was far less. To me, your ROI must be greater than one, and your CPDR should be no more than $.50.

You have not doubt noticed that I am focusing on dollars not the number of donors. We will look at those statistics in a later post.

 

 Green Article.*

What's up with GIVING TUESDAY!

So what are you doing for GIVING TUESDAY (#GivingTuesday)? In case, you have somehow missed this event/movement over the last few years here is what Wikipedia says about the day – “It is a movement to create a national day of giving at the beginning of the Christmas and holiday season. GIVING TUESDAY was started in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation as a response to commercialization and consumerism in the post-Thanksgiving season.”

Some major companies and non-profits nationwide participate in GIVING TUESDAY each year and the numbers are growing. Even credit card companies and TV networks have taken to promoting the day. So what can you do?
1. You can gear your Annual Appeal to the day.
2. You can add an extra note to an already prepared Annual Appeal.
3. You can create a #GivingTuesday online and social media campaign.

Let ‘s start with #2. Assuming you have completed design and pre-production for your appeal, and it will drop before Thanksgiving but you didn’t include a #GivingTuesday ask – no worries. Have a quick insert created that simply says something like “Make it a great Tuesday. Make your gift on Giving Tuesday“ and you are done. Short, easy and thoughtful.

I believe that #3 is the key to the day. So much of the promotion for Giving Tuesday is geared toward online giving so why not go with the flow. Initially, I would create a thoughtful pre-Thanksgiving e-news blast that ideally builds off of the design of your annual appeal. Reuse some of the images or the language from your appeal so that it matches and reinforces your Annual Appeal. If your Facebook Page and your Twitter account are a part of your campaign (and I hope they are), you should build a series of tweets and post to go out starting on Thanksgiving Day. Obviously, the Thanksgiving Day one should emphasize the holiday and thoughtfully give a nod to #GivingTuesday. The rest of the series can be more direct.

Remember to talk about “Why” a gift to you is important not just what you can do with the gift but why your organization should get the gift. Be sure to include photos or graphics. These will reinforce your message and typically increase your reach. Plan on sending out some posts/tweets on #GivingTuesday. Maybe these tell a single story, or they are designed to encourage people to tell their story about your organization or cause. Check out this "Shared Article" on social media.

On GIVING TUESDAY plan on spending a good portion of the day sending and responding to post and tweets in real time. It is very important that your posts are pre-planned, but you cannot pre-plan for new opportunities that come from your followers. Be ready to respond quickly.

Also, be sure to send two or three emails that day to your email list. Build them off the same themes as your Appeal and your social media post/tweets.

The next day use both email and social media to thank everyone for donating and commenting.  That is the only thoughtful thing to do. In fact, be sure to track your Likes, Re-tweets, and hits for the next few days. Using the hashtag will tell you how well your GIVING TUESDAY campaign did.

And remember to use the #GivingTuesday and your organization’s hashtag in all your post, tweets and even emails to be a part of the movement.

P.S. As for #1 Next year start early and include GIVING TUESDAY in your Annual Appeal planning. Fundraisers today must thoughtfully take advantage of every reasonable opportunity we can to increase support.

* Article originally appeared in 2015

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