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The Formula for Sustainable Fundraising

It’s October, which means that year-end fundraising is looming on the horizon. Year-end campaigns are a ton of work! When you’re planning a year-end campaign, you want to know that it’s going to be effective and that you’re going to hit your fundraising goals. But what happens after you reach your goals? Will your campaign be able to sustain you after the new year?


Two Easy Exercises to Boost Your Fundraising Revenue

Anyone who has been in the field of fundraising for years can ply you with advice. I’m going to restrain the urge, however, and instead offer you two simple exercises for increasing your revenue. 


Beware of “Truths” in Fundraising

Image by Drakeblack5 on Pixabay

Counterintuitive is usually defined as something contrary to what one would intuitively expect. For example, marketing pros discovered long ago that the fewer choices we’re presented with, the more likely we are to actually choose one, whether it’s a lot full of new cars or a shelf full of pasta sauces in the supermarket.

Fundraising is often counterintuitive as well. Here I’ll share four instances. In my book, The Busy Volunteer’s Guide to Fundraising, you’ll find a fuller discussion of many others.


Full Tilt Boogie (for Fundraising)

“Full tilt boogie!”

When I was a coxswain on my college rowing team, this was the call my coach taught me to use for “full steam ahead.”

A boat that is fully engaged feels like it’s levitating over the water. It’s exhilarating. But it doesn’t happen without the total coordination of every rower in that boat. To reach the point of “full tilt boogie” I had to gradually build our pace, ensuring that the rowers were in sync, blades hitting the water at the same time, all pulling with the same degree of intensity. Only when it was time did the call go out, and then the rowers gave their all.

As a fundraiser, you’re at the helm for relationship building and sustainability. So think of the year-end fundraising push as your “full tilt boogie”:


Boost Your Donor Retention Rates: 5 Fundamental Strategies

Year after year, campaign after campaign, nonprofits find themselves asking the same old question: why aren’t we seeing healthy retention rates?


What Your Donors Really Want: The Simple Truth

Sometimes we spend so much time and effort and energy trying to get all of the systems and materials and research and processes of fundraising right that we plumb forget the most important things.

The Simple Truth about Donors

Your donors—no matter who they are or how much they give—want two things.


Are You Building Relationships Or Collecting Checks?

On December 31, 2017, I became a statistic.

I joined the 60 percent of donors who become former donors to the charities they had been supporting.


Can We Halt the Steady Decline in Donor Retention?

Donor retention continues to fall. According to AFP’s 2017 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report, overall donor retention was just 45 percent last year. It’s down from the previous year. It will likely drop further this year, because that’s been the overall trend for the past decade. 

Naturally, retention varies among charities and even among donor segments, but the message is clear: Too many donors are losing interest. That’s a problem, because low retention requires more spending on donor acquisition,  which is already more expensive than retention. Here are four possible reasons enough donors aren’t staying engaged. 


Five Easy Ways to Build Rapport with Your Donors

Donors love to give but hate to be persuaded. That’s both the problem and the opportunity we face every time we create a fundraising appeal, whether direct mail or digital.


Want to Keep Your Donors? Then Answer These Unspoken Questions

The days of the seemingly infinite pool of new donors available to quickly and inexpensively replace those who have stopped their support are long gone. Today, as more and more donors abandon ship, the cost of replacing them has grown so great as to be no longer affordable for most nonprofits. 


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