There will undoubtedly soon be a flurry of articles reporting on 2018 year-end giving. You don’t need to wait for an article because you are already tracking where you stand as you move into 2019. You either:
- Completed a January to December fiscal year and determined that fundraising income is up, down, or about the same. In other words, you met your dollar goal or you didn’t.
- Are midway through a July to June fiscal year. You have run the numbers to compare where Q1 and Q2 of this fiscal year with the past two years. (You are reviewing these numbers, yes?)
If there is hand wringing taking place over a decline in fundraising income let it be short-lived. While donors care little about your fiscal year timing your CFO and CEO do. More important you know that the resources which donors contribute helps your nonprofit to change or even save lives!
If overall income is down it is worth your while to run some key metrics (see 6 Metrics Fundraisers Can Use to Improve Their Growth in Giving). Why? Because as the article suggests, once you determine what has transpired you can use the information to identify tactics which will help improve the numbers. In particular, I suggest looking at lapsed donors and asking questions such as:
- How many Lybunts are there overall? Is the overall number significantly different from this time of year in past years?
- Are there any key characteristics which these lapsed donors have in common? For example, are these primarily one-time or memorial gift donors? Are these donors who have given for several consecutive years and typically have given during your year-end appeal but didn’t make a gift this year?
- How many of these donors came to you for the first time as a result of attending a fundraising event?
After answering these kinds of questions you can begin to determine what steps to take. For example:
- Lapsed donors who had given for multiple consecutive years would be worthy of further focus. In this case, you might want to re-solicit the group via email if your budget doesn’t allow for a mailing:
We missed you at year end
Here’s a reminder about how your gift makes a difference:
Insert a short story about a recipient (include a photo if possible)
Would you make a gift to help Suzie today? (This is a link to your giving page)
- Donors who have not given frequently or who are first-time donors who attended an event might be treated differently. If as noted in this @TheAgitator article, Letting Go of Donors, the donor is long-time lapsed or has only given to the golf tournament for a couple of years, you might “bless and release them”.
As @StevenShattuck from @Bloomerang suggested during a recent DonorSearch Flash Class, you might send a short survey to lapsed donors to test their continued interest. You will find Stephen’s slides here.
You can also use the free Fundraising Effectiveness Project tools to measure your growth (or lack of) in giving. Or you can contact me or at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask about a development audit. Like a fiscal audit, a development audit helps you determine how you can more effectively and efficiently raise more money to change and save more lives.
No matter what steps you take here’s hoping they help you move the needle in the correct direction. Best wishes to you for a successful and for a truly happy new year!