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Member, American Society of Association Executives
Resources – Newsletter Archive

September, 2006

Welcome to "Karen's Fundraising Tips." Today's newsletter (which you can read in 3-5 minutes . . . tops) includes more golden nuggets of wisdom I gleaned from the 2006 Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference in July ( I've kept my promise from last month and today I share ideas on what can be done to improve donor retention. And I also have a calendar of upcoming events for you.

With regard to my newsletter in general - on the second Tuesday of each month I share tips, news items, and resources all tailored for the non-profit world and folks directly responsible for raising funds. My goal is to make your job a little easier and to help you increase your donor contributions.

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What's your biggest challenge? What would you like to see in my newsletter? How can I help you?

Send me a short note with one or two of your biggest challenges. I'll share suggestions on making them less of a challenge in a future issue. Just send an email to and I'll take it from there.

More Golden Nuggets of Wisdom - Snippets from the "Bridge" Conference
[386 words]

Donor Loyalty [Roger Craver, speaker.]

This session was based on a survey CMS conducted with the Prime Group, and their published results in “A DonorTrends® Whitepaper.”

  • Donor retention rates are dropping. A 30% renewal rate is typical for first time givers with an overall retention rate of 70-75%. This puts more stress on prospecting programs.
  • Good news is that 59% of respondents claim “high loyalty” to a cause or charity they support. This is competitive with loyalty to “my doctor” across all generations. And it surpasses loyalty to sports teams, make of automobile, beer/soft drink brands, and telephone service providers.
  • Loyalty also increases by donor generosity: 81% of $1,000+/year donors (total giving to all organizations) say they are “highly loyal” to their favorite charities. Professed loyalty increases with income and education.
  • Data suggests loyalty increases with age. Also, online donors are significantly more likely to show loyalty than offline donors.
  • Overall data suggest a profile where about one-third of donors lean toward loyalty, on-third show little inclination to bond, and one-third sit somewhere in the middle. If that’s accurate then an overall retention rate of 70% or more per year is a significant accomplishment.

How to Build Donor Retention [Roger Craver, speaker.]

Here I’ll share some of the “intervention strategies” CMS recommends. This topic was part of the same white paper mentioned above under donor loyalty.

  • Analyze your donors’ lifetime value by acquisition source. This can reveal a source worth visiting again for new donors with a potentially high propensity to loyalty.
  • Organizations that chase low dollar “tippers” and rely upon premium-heavy offers will have a greater problem with retention than organizations that don't.
  • Give TOP priority to getting a second gift from new donors. Study data indicates the critical bonding window for a first-time donor is within 1-3 months of the initial gift. In another CMS study, getting a second gift within the first month increased the average 3-year value for donors by 74%!
  • Follow the 80/20 rule and basic economics. Put most of your money cultivating and retaining donors who give the most.
  • Identify and reach out to likely defectors. Look for trends such as gift size decreasing; frequency of giving decreasing; no response or a negative response to surveys. Send out a special communication, different than what they’re used to, and don’t ask for money. Your goal is to re-inspire them or to surface any discontent.

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Hot Tip of the Month - Calendar of Events
[272 words]

These key events will help keep your fundraising skills razor sharp. They’re pulled from various leading organizations within the fundraising profession.

  • Direct Marketing Fundraisers Association (DMFA) awards luncheon, September 26, 2006, New York City. Meet the winners of the 2006 Package of the Year Contest. Learn how Doctors Without Borders and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum developed creative packages with significant donor response. For more details:
  • DMFA monthly luncheon, Boston, October 10, 2006. Major Giving pros from Boston University and The Museum of Fine Arts will share their extensive knowledge of developing larger gifts. For more details:
  • The Center on Philanthropy presents a lecture that promises to be a stimulating presentation on the intersections of faith, public service, and philanthropy. Speaker is Ambassador James A. Joseph. November 1, 2006, Indianapolis. For more details:
  • Recognize philanthropy this year than by taking part in the fifth annual National Capital Philanthropy Day, a celebration of giving, on Friday November 3, 2006, Washington DC. Proceeds from this Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) event are used to support scholarships for area nonprofit organizations around fundraising and philanthropy. For more details, contact AFP/DC at, or at 703-610-9022.
  • 2007 Washington Nonprofit Conference by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) Nonprofit Federation. January 25-26, 2007 in Washington, DC. For more information contact Helen Lee at
  • Critical Issues Facing Nonprofits. An event by the DMA Nonprofit Federation. April 19, 2007 in Washington, DC. For more information contact Helen Lee at
  • The International Conference on Fundraising, March 25-28, 2007, Dallas, TX. It’s built on big ideas. You’ll be among the world’s best fundraisers who attend to improve their fundraising techniques. This is another AFP event. For more details:

Feel free to forward my newsletter to a colleague. Plus, here's how they can sign-up to receive it directly:

1. Just click on this link, In the email message to me, please include the first name and email address of your colleague. I'll take care of signing them up.

Or ...

2. You can sign them up directly on my website by following this link:

"Karen's Fundraising Tips"

Thanks for joining me and until next time . . . continue to keep your donors in the spotlight!

All the best,

Karen Zapp, Fundraising & Sales Copywriter
Perceptive Karen

P.S.  Have a project coming up soon? I'd love to work with you on it.


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Call anytime and we’ll chat about your needs: 800-794-1609
I look forward to helping you prosper.

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