Donor acquisition is a stressful initiative for many nonprofit fundraisers. Organizations often operate from a position of scarcity and acquisition efforts tend to be costly with less-than-inspiring returns on investment. Where there is difficulty, however, there is also opportunity. Tough margins mean that every little improvement can make a big difference.
- With that challenge and opportunity in mind, Roger Hiyama, senior vice president, client services for Wiland; Kelly Leech, a vice president at CELCO; Angela Struebing, a fundraising consultant; and Martina White, director, member acquisition for The Nature Conservancy presented their program “Back by Popular Demand: Eight Ideas to Improve Acquisition” at a nonprofit direct response fundraising conference in Washington, D.C. The ideas included:
- Legacy.com. Many families will ask for a donation to a specific charity in lieu of flowers in loved one’s obituaries. Working with Legacy.com, which publishes obituaries, direct links to organization websites can be embedded into the text;
- Oasis said not to look back in anger, not to not look back at all. Internal audits do not have to be a frightful experience. They can be beneficial in noting trends and identifying new ideas or old ideas worth revisiting;
- Take advantage of database cooperatives serving the nonprofit sector. Keep abreast of what’s trending in telemarketing, budgeting, modeling, and other areas;
- Utilize data partners to match online gifts with direct-mail prospects. Gathered information can help fundraisers understand the true contributions of direct-mail files and inform future investment decisions;
Capitalize on emergencies. Go deeper into your file than with usual campaigns, including reaching out to lapsed donors. Make sure that you choose an emergency that will last long enough to remain relevant for supporters; and,
- Remarket and readvertise with premium search bids. Specify a specific percentage extra that you are willing to bid for prospects that have searched a particular term. Seek out those that began — but did not complete — transactions, recent visitors, and lapsed supporters.