Donor behaviour

Published on March 9, 2016 by

Why fundraising appeal metrics suck

Why fundraising appeal metrics suck


During a masterclass with Roger Craver of The Agitator fame, one of the things he talked about was the reliance on lag indicators.

Lag indicators are things like appeal metrics – income raised, response rate, average gift.

Or the traditional RFM (recency, frequency and monetary value) model often used during data selection for an appeal.

But these measures only give you a snapshot of what donors have done in the past. They don’t give you a view of how they will behave in future.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t track these things. But relying on them alone to make ...

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Published on February 5, 2016 by

Is your charity embarrassed about the cost of fundraising?

Is your charity embarrassed about the cost of fundraising?

Does your charity view fundraising as a cost or investment?

Because this has a huge influence on your donor relationships.

Most likely, your charity has donors that ring up and complain about you wasting money on “expensive” mailings.

What do you tell them?

This is the response of a charity that has an underlying belief that fundraising is a cost.

“I’m so sorry… I hate getting mail too… yes, of course I’ll take you off the mailing list.”

It’s the response of a charity embarrassed about asking for money.

Note that 99% of the time, such complaints amount to less ...

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Published on July 3, 2014 by

Will your donors trust you – even after a scandal like this?

I was initially outraged by this case. But it highlighted some important questions about donor relationships.

If you keep up-to-date on non-profit news then you’ll probably be aware of a $24.6 million settlement involving a US veterans charity and their fundraisers.

You can read about it here and here. But it basically involves the charity paying lots of money to its fundraisers and never getting an acceptable return on that investment. The upshot is that very little of the funds raised ever went to veterans.

(Experienced fundraisers know that you often lose money on acquisition of new donors ...

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Published on May 14, 2014 by

Beware! Are your EOFY appeal letters as good as these?

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve seen the first of the EOFY appeal envelopes arrive in my mailbox.

The verdict?

I’m impressed.

Aside from my own clients, I support several non-profits. In previous years, they’ve had – shall we say – rather lacklustre direct mail.

But several have really lifted their game this year. Improvements include:

1. Very well crafted propositions – specific rather than generic offers I’d really be interested in giving to.

2. Very good use of story – these non-profits seem to have actually gotten someone out there to interview beneficiaries. Rather than plonking in a ...

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Published on September 5, 2013 by

Thoughts about retention

Some fantastic speakers after the first day at the Fundraising & Philanthropy Forum.

First up I wanted to share with you some thoughts from Martin Paul (from More Strategic) about retention.

Here's what he said:

1. Take retention seriously. Charities are obsessed with getting more donors and spend a fortune acquiring them. But what we spend on retention - keeping the relationship alive - is miniscule.

2. Acquisition is expensive and unpredictable... And the real measure of successful acquisition is how many donors you keep after 5 years.

Well, that blows away short-term thinking on ROI.

3. Donor engagement is ...

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