The elusive donor (or prospect)

September 15, 2017

Where are the donors and why are they hiding from us?

There is a great theory that it is much better/easier to keep a customer than to acquire a new one. The same can be said with respect to fundraising — it is much easier/preferable to keep your existing donor (and steward them) than it is to acquire a new donor.

Fundraising is about relationships. Nobody in their right mind would ask an individual for a gift the first time they meet them — it is just not done. It takes a while to find out what the donors’ interests are, where you can find common ground and how you can, together, change the world. It is a conscious move from transactions to relationships. So, by definition, it will take a while to cultivate.

BUT, once you have fostered the relationship with that donor it is just the beginning. Donors need some attention (not just when you are asking them for a donation).

Think of this process from a cost/benefit mindset. To acquire a direct mail donor (the most prevalent form of donor for any organization), it is generally accepted that the reasonable cost per dollar raised would be between $1.00 and $1.25 (taken from Fund-Raising: Evaluating and Managing the Fund Development Process, J.M. Greenfield, 1999, New York, New York, John Wiley & Sons). Furthermore, it is generally accepted that the reasonable cost per dollar raised for a direct mail renewal is between 20₵ and 25₵. That is making the process 80% more efficient!

So, why are donors so elusive? The answer is quite simple — have you given them a reason to care about you? It is all about the relationships — being with the donors through the good times and the bad (donors will/should be your strongest advocates).

So, if you haven’t called a donor today DO IT!!!! I promise you that it will be worth it.

Due to next Friday being a Jewish holy day, there will not be a posting.

L’chaim to you all