Escape from Fairy-Tale Fundraising—Roger Craver, Part 1

Roger CraverPart 2—In which Roger recommends specific changes to make in mindsets, methods and metrics.

Among other adventures recently, I met and learned with famed fundraiser Roger Craver at the fabulous Engage Conference.

Roger is a guy who doesn’t hold back. He shares what he knows, sees and suggests with absolutely no restraint.

You may agree with him or not, but his bold, evidence-based recommendations are a huge gift to the rest of us. Roger always gives you something that’s worthy of consideration. Whether you follow his guidance or not, the process of consideration itself will move your fundraising forward.

Roger’s main message today is that organizations like yours are losing 7 of 10 donors every year due to fairy-tale fundraising. Here’s what you should do about it:

Escape from what’s holding you back
Shift your focus away from these time- and budget-wasters. They are the greatest threats to successful fundraising:

  • Relying on the cost of fundraising/overhead to assess organizational success
  • Perfecting the old, old thing (like the renewal envelope teaser and email p.s., ugh!)
  • Testing in an improper or half-a___ way—Sloppy testing will lead you in the wrong direction every time, but there’s lots of guidance on doing it right
  • Isolating key players in silos—No wonder supporters get confused by divergent (sometimes conflicting) messages and look and feel when the disconnect is built into your organization.

Pivot towards your donors
Your only chance of getting to happily-ever-after fundraising is 24/7 focus on donor loyalty, says Roger. Here’s his list of key success factors:

  • Consistent donor communications—possible only when silos are blown to smithereens
  • Investment in donor services
  • All-org fundraising team—everyone sells, all the time
  • Staff training and appreciation—to ensure team success, and minimize the dismal turnover rate in the field (40% of development directors plan to escape from fundraising within the next two years).

Are you trapped in fairy-tale fundraising? What’s keeping you there? Or, if you’ve escaped, what was your escape route? Please share your questions or your pathways to freedom here.

Part 2—In which Roger recommends specific changes to make in mindsets, methods and metrics.

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Nancy Schwartz on May 14, 2013 in Fundraising: Innovations & Research | 3 comments
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  • Elizabeth

    Where does this guidance about testing exist? I’ve asked several industry leaders about it, and I haven’t gotten good answers. It’s
    like a unicorn!

    We’re trying to test, but we haven’t been able to find ANYTHING
    about how to make sure you’re designing a test correctly and how to interpret
    the results. We feel like idiots, because it seems like it would be very
    simple.

    Can you help us find the unicorn of this guidance of doing
    testing in the right way?

  • http://GettingAttention.org Nancy Schwartz

    You bet I will, Elizabeth, in posts over the next few months or so. I’ll start with A/B testing.

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