Silver Bullet for Your Fundraising Program

in Acquisition & Prospecting,Integrated Multichannel Fundraising & Marketing

Is your fundraising program struggling? Not raising enough revenue? Trying all sorts of new tools hoping to find that silver bullet?

Still looking for a silver bullet to fix your fundraising program?

The only silver bullets I know of are those fired by the Lone Ranger.

This TV character from the 1950’s saved many a person from the bad guys. He came to their rescue and pulled off the seemingly impossible.

But in real life there are no silver bullets. No hero is going to ride into town and save you.

But there’s still hope.

Instead of pinning your hopes on a magical silver bullet …pin your hopes on the fundamentals.

Back to Fundamentals

For starters:

Overhaul your fundraising strategy.

– Which channels will you use; why will you use those channels; and when will you use them? This includes maximizing effectiveness and efficiency of the 3 most important channels: Your website, direct mail and email.

Create an editorial / communications calendar (what you’ll publish or mail and when)

– Identify your strengths and where you need help (skills, resources, talents, software and technology, database, etc.).

What makes sense to keep in-house based on skills and what should be out-sourced? And remember, trying to do it all in-house COSTS far more than you think you’re saving.

What have you cut from your budget that you probably should NOT have cut?

– Acquisition (you’ll pay for these cuts for 4-8 years in lost revenue; loss of major donors; planned gifts; etc.)

– Testing. Incremental improvements found ONLY through on-going testing raise more revenue.

– Targeted mailings. Now you’re trying to make one letter or email do the job of two or three (e.g., using the same copy and design for lapsed as well as current donors or members), and readers aren’t as responsive to generic messages.

– Integrated campaigns. You’ll raise more money with multiple channels.

Cultivation and stewardship

All too often nonprofits make budget cuts thinking they’ll save money. And all too often those short term gains end up costing more in the long run from lost revenue. In other words … Short term gain; long term loss.

Remember the Lone Ranger I referred to earlier?

After saving the good people of the old West from the bad guys, the Lone Ranger would get on his trusty horse Silver … shout, “Hi-yo, Silver! Away!” … and ride off into the sunset.

Again, no need for you to depend on the Lone Ranger and his silver bullets. Gather your team – both in house staff and consultants – and get back to the fundamentals to revive your fundraising program. Then ride along on a stronger program that raises more funds for your nonprofit. A happy ending indeed.

Find more help with the fundamentals in these related posts:

Donor acquisition lessons learned

Are you cultivating website visitors? 10 suggestions for your site.

Revive direct mail

5 Most common mistakes in fundraising copy