Escape from Fairy-Tale Fundraising—Roger Craver, Part 2

Roger CraverPart 1—In which Roger advises how to stem the tide of lost donors.

Roger Craver tells it like it is. Right now, he’s all about donor loyalty, all the time. That’s because nonprofits like yours are losing 7 of 10 donors every year. That adds up to a 25% decrease in retention rate over the last ten years. Ugh!

Here, in this out take from the fabulous Engage Conference last month, Roger drills down into the specific changes in mindsets, methods and metrics essential to your organization’s growth. (Teaser: Marketing plays a vital role here.)

Get your donor-centered Mindset in place

1) Commit to retention—Your shift here is worth $250,000 in lifetime value (LTV) of each donor if you do it right.

2) Banish these time- and money-wasters:

  • Obsession with overhead
  • Overfocus on the new and shiny, just because it’s shiny
  • Sloppy testing, or none at all
  • Barricading staff in their silos or tying them up in too many meetings.

3) Embrace these paths to happily ever after:

  • Investment in donor services
  • Consistent donor communications
  • All-org fundraising team—everyone does it, all the time
  • Staff training and appreciation.


Put these Methods into play

1) Show board and donors the value of investing in acquisition and retention, using case studies of competing orgs when possible.

2) Put a Donor Services program in place, including:

  • Thank you process—tweaked and tested
  • Donor feedback and resolution system
  • Marketing, a.k.a. keeping donor relationships strong between your asks
  • Training and support for your team (after you ask for their help).

3) Seek alternative funding for your donor program—Earned income, mergers or acquisitions, bonds or equity (I’ll ask Roger more about this titillating idea)

4) Hunt down drivers and killers of donor commitment and loyalty.


Use  these Metrics to assess & fine-tune your approach
1) Retention rates (annual)

2) LTV by source

3) ROAI (return on acquisition investment-annual)

4) Ratio of dollars earned for every 1 point increase in retention rate.

Clear, ambitious but highly-doable! Thank you, Roger.


Part 1
—In which Roger advises how to stem the tide of lost donors.


P.S. Get more in-depth case studies, templates and tools for nonprofit marketing success in the twice-monthly Getting Attention e-update. Subscribe now.

Nancy Schwartz in Fundraising: Innovations & Research | 2 comments
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