UNDERSTANDING DONORS: A LONG-TERM VIEW
In fundraising, it's very tempting to trade short-term revenue gains for long-term donor value. Too many nonprofits and the agencies that serve them adhere to this strategy. While your numbers will indeed look good now, your relationships with donors are often irreparably damaged.
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Donor retention is the fundraising metric that matters most. And retaining your donors comes down to a simple seven-letter word: respect.
The Most Powerful and Effective Fundraising Often Occurs When You're Not Asking for a Gift.
Counterintuitive, but true. Donors are first and foremost people. While that seems like a highly obvious statement, fundraising professionals tend to lose sight of this reality. Donors too often and too easily can become little more than numbers on a spreadsheet.
Today, your donors and prospects are most likely using search engines, communicating via email, getting their news online, reading blogs, are active on social media, as well as reading the mail that arrives in their mailboxes at home.
So establishing and cultivating relationships with donors means communicating to them in all of these channels as well. And communicating doesn't necessarily mean fundraising. It means relationship building. Not just asking for donations.
In fact, we've determined that most of today's digital and social communications channels, including email, are most effective when used to build and cultivate relationships with donors and prospects, rather than being used to simply augment direct response fundraising.
Knowing what to say and where and when to say it is rooted in understanding how donors think and act. It involves a willingness to take the long view instead of the quick gift. It means focusing on the human relationship, the desire we share for connection and to be part of something bigger than ourselves; to have the opportunity to help others in need and to know that what we did has indeed made a difference.
The Right Channels for the Right Tasks
While we provide fully integrated digital and analog direct response fundraising services, we have learned which channels are best used and when to use them in order to move a donor along the full continuum of giving with a focus on long-term value and life-long relationship building.
A Long-Term View Should Drive Short-Term Creative
Short-term, revenue-only focused creative and messaging will quickly burnout your donors. The evidence is a disproportionate and growing number of inactive donors on your file.
Creative and messaging that respects and values relationships over revenue will generate an asset even more valuable — a donor for life.
The Decision Driver
Effective fundraising strategies must be driven by insightful data analytics. At Meyer Partners, the data drives our thinking. We embraced predictive modeling with our clients' house files years ago. In keeping with our long-term view of donor relationship building, modeling enables us to communicate with donors more personally in ways that reflect their clearly demonstrated preferences. It can often mean making fewer asks but still generating higher revenue.
The Revenue Driver
Every year someone predicts the death of direct mail. But it remains responsible for 92% of direct response fundraising revenue. The power of a compelling story told in a letter continues to be the most effective means to engage a donor's heart and mind. Although there is a growing trend for the donation asked for by mail to be made online. But direct mail still feeds most nonprofit revenue. And we can make it sing for your supper.
The Relationship Driver
Think about how you personally use digital media--emailing colleagues, searching for information, or connecting with friends and family on social feeds. Your donors also use these digital channels the same way. Yet we are surprised when digital fundraising efforts produce less than anticipated results. At Meyer Partners, we've learned that the sweet-spot for digital communications is donor cultivation. Digital channels drive relationships first, and support fundraising second.
Adding Value to Nonprofits Making A Difference
We believe in helping those who cannot help themselves. In healing the sick. Housing the homeless. Feeding the hungry. And giving a voice to the voiceless.
It's why we've spent the last 30+ years serving numerous charities and nonprofit organizations. And it's why we do it with diligence, empathy, and passion. It's how we build long-term partnerships with our clients.
If you're looking for team of deeply experienced and committed professionals to stand by your side as partners in your mission, then you've come to the right website.
That's why as a full-service, nonprofit fundraising communications agency, Meyer Partners focuses on the long-term, lifetime value of your donors. Fundraising at its core is about relationship building, not simply generating the highest possible quarterly or annual gross revenue. It's about understanding what it takes to keep a newly acquired donor and shepherd her over her entire lifetime and through the entire fundraising continuum – from her initial gift and gradual upgrading, to monthly and midlevel giving, and on to major and planned gift giving.
It's about treating donors as mission partners, not ATM machines. And it's a philosophy that drives everything we do for our clients. It's why we tend to gain new clients primarily through referrals. And it's why some clients have remained with us for nearly 30 years.
How would you feel if every time you met with a friend, he asked you for money? Not just once in a while. Every single time. And not just when he met with you, but in every email, phone call and note he wrote to you. At the very least you'd begin to avoid him and, over time, the friendship would likely end.
So why do so many fundraisers believe that asking for donations every time they communicate with a donor is the right thing to do? Asking for donations without fostering a genuine relationship with your donors demonstrates a lack of appreciation, a lack of empathy and, most important, a lack of respect.
Donors are people, not ATM machines. And like all people, donors want to know that you value their friendship, that you are grateful for their time, that what they add to the relationship matters to you and that you truly appreciate the difference they make by being in your life.
That's what Meyer Partners brings to the table. By respecting your donors and prospects and communicating with them in the right way at the right time, we will help you build lasting donor relationships that add long-term value to your organization.
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