This week we are exploring how a small change in your marketing strategy can make a big difference in your fundraising results. To explain, here are a couple of excerpts from my latest book The Sustainable High ROI Fundraising System.
“Attracting donors takes time and effort. And in the nonprofit world, with so much to do, time is hard to come by. There is so much to do with not enough time that you need to make every moment count. To squeeze the best results out of every effort, you must use the least resources for the most gain. And, with the limited resources most nonprofits operate with, you want to use those resources to get as much value as you can. You don’t want to spend money looking for just anyone to support you. You are looking to expend resources such that they attract as many new donors as possible.
Target the donors who will be most passionate about your mission and have the means to support it. And by target, I mean to define your donor groups as precisely as you can in terms of age, ethnicity, gender, education, income, likes, and preferences. The more narrowly defined your target group, the more likely you will realize success.
Why target smaller, distinct groups instead of going after everyone? Say you want to fish for flounder. You could go out with a boat, cast a wide net, and get a lot of fish, a few of which are flounder. Or, you could go where flounders tend to congregate, cast a small net, get fewer fish but a lot of which are flounder. In the first scenario, you expend a lot of resources to get a few of what you want. In the second, you don’t end up with as many individual fish, but you get a whole lot more of what you want.
If you are trying to realize revenue as soon as possible, target people interested in your mission, particularly those with the capacity to make large gifts.”
Targeting Donors: A Case Study
“Since this organization wanted to generate more donations from younger donors, the first thing we did to excite the community about its mission was to identify the target group it wanted to reach, in this case, people who were in their thirties and forties, as opposed to the people in their fifties who comprised most of its board and sixties and older who comprised most of its donor base. We did some research and learned how the different age cohorts were different from one another. We looked at the different generational histories, needs, values, goals, and communication preferences. Then we designed a communications outreach program that the younger cohort would be more likely to respond to.
Then together we worked on messaging. We created a case for support that reflected the needs, values, and goals of the cohort we were trying to reach. We revised their fundraising materials to be consistent with the case for support and its messaging, including their annual campaign, major gift materials, and website content. Because this agency had already reached out to local businesses, met some of the needs of its business community, and developed solid relationships with them, we also created materials that local businesses could share with their customers and employees.
We also worked on PR and communications. Luckily, the agency was in the process of hiring a part-time social media specialist who was tech-savvy and identified with the younger age group. The executive director shared the support case and directed her to have messaging consistent with it. And, since one of its strengths was its volunteer structure and development, we highlighted the meaningful involvement people could make to the organization, financially and otherwise.
Because this nonprofit had deep relationships with the community, it asked its contacts to help spread the word about the agency. Since the support case highlighted the benefits to the community, they shared the case for support, which was received well. Their existing business and volunteer contacts agreed to do what they could do for the organization. So, area businesses posted flyers in their windows, volunteers put signs on their lawns, and the local press featured them multiple times. Since they had unified messaging, all constituencies got a clear sense of who the organization was, what it stood for, and the benefits of engaging with it.
It wasn’t long before the organization started attracting the business and younger donors it craved.”
In addition to target marketing, the book delves into assessing your organizational strengths and using them to your advantage, engaging board members in fundraising, mobilizing your staff to succeed, and other tips and tricks to reach your community.