A new fiscal year has begun for most fundraisers. Before you start checking to do’s off your list, have you completed an August Fundraising Audit? Fundraising (development) Audits look back at the last fiscal year and ask some key questions about fundraising performance.
Sure you reported overall numbers to your supervisor, development committee, or board. But did you also consider questions such as:
- What is our donor retention rate? (Not sure what this means? Read: https://bloomerang.co/retention)
- Which donors are not renewing their support?
- What number/percentage of first-time donors who made a first-time gift at an event made a repeat gift?
You, your staff, and volunteers probably spent countless (literally uncounted) hours planning, implementing, and follow up on one or more events last year. But consider this cold, hard fact shared by Bloomerang:
“After all, new donors require significant resources to attract and secure, and over 60% of those hard-earned first-time donors never make a second donation.”
Yikes, that’s a lot of time, effort, and money down the drain!
Want to boost first-time donor retention? Consider redirecting some event planning energy to these five tips from Bloomerang:
- Offer multiple giving opportunities at your event.
- Take advantage of storytelling opportunities.
- Utilize event technology that enables recurring giving.
- Promote ways to get involved after the event.
- Make your follow-up communications count.
Numbers two and five hit home for me.
- How many events have you attended where you ate great food, drank terrific wine, or danced the night away . . .but by the time the night was over learned nothing about the nonprofit that the event was benefitting?
- Can you count on more than one hand the number of nonprofits that have contacted you, with a communication other than a thank you for coming or a solicitation, following a fundraising event?
If you do nothing else, at or after an event, I encourage you to remember these words from a former community foundation director:
“Tell the story, tell the story, tell the story!”
As the great Jerrold Panas said people give to change and save lives. Tell a story, one story, about a person whose life was changed or saved by your nonprofit. Tell the story at your event — better yet if confidentially isn’t an issue, have a client tell their story.
What about that follow up note? A volunteer could send a short thank you note with a brief story included. Need ideas about how to tell the story? You can’t go wrong reading advice from Tom Ahern:
Planning to use your newsletter to tell your story? Tom will perform another type of audit for you, he will review and comment on your newsletter: http://www.aherncomm.com/audits/
I survived an Ahern Audit! What’s more, Tom’s advice led me to spend lots of time telling the story, in some cases just in the newsletter headlines.
Considering an August Fundraising Audit? Fill out this form: https://i5fundraising.com/contact/ Let’s talk about how a customized fundraising audit can inform your fundraising for FY 18.
Sophie Penney is the founder and President of i5 Fundraising https://i5fundraising.com/. Sophie’s mission is to help you raise more money to change and save more lives.