5 ideas for new name/donor prospecting

October 27, 2015       The NonProfit Times      

The double whammy faced by fundraisers these days is a daunting one: shrinking active donor files and shrinking prospecting budgets.

During the 2015 National Catholic Development Conference (NCDC) annual event and exposition, Mark Etling of the Missionary Association of Mary Immaculate acknowledged the twofold problem but advised against the most tempting method of dealing with it; that is, drastically reducing or cutting prospecting for short-term growth in net revenue.

Such a step looks good after Year 1, Etling said, but very bad for years 2 and 3 and any following.

He said there are two bottom lines — dollars and donors — and both are worth caring about. There is net revenue, yes, but a donor file should be looked at as an extremely valuable asset, worth millions of dollars over time.

Instead of cutting back on prospecting, Etling made the following suggestions to improve new name prospecting:

* Think about cooperative databases — co-ops — to expand the universe of donors;

* Don’t suppress the organization’s lapsed names forever in the merge-purge;

* Make donors available for exchange. Name protection is a myth. Donors are also giving to other organizations;

* Mail to “super-dupes,” donors who are lapsed to the organization’s file but are giving to two or more other organizations; and,

* See what’s working for you.