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Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship
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Responsible Fundraising: Yes, You Can Combine Success, Sustainability and Stewardship

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With your busy schedule, even the 20 minutes or so it takes to read this book is a significant …

With your busy schedule, even the 20 minutes or so it takes to read this book is a significant
commitment of your most valuable resource. So, I have done my very best to give you the kind of
ROI from your time that you’d like to have from your fundraising communications.
If applied, the practices suggested in the book will improve, potentially triple, your
bottom line—gaining better results for your cause, increased commitment from your staff
and board, the appreciation of those who support you and extend your mission.

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  • 1. RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING:YES, YOU CAN COMBINE SUCCESS,SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIPBY WILLIAM ZIERCHERCHAIRMAN, GABRIEL GROUP© Copyright 2011 Gabriel Group. All rights reserved. NEXT
  • 2. CONTENTS 3 INTRODUCTION I Why It’s Worth Your Time to Read This Book 4 CHAPTER ONE I If there were 10 Commandments of Responsible Fundraising… 7 CHAPTER TWO I Twenty-first Century Fundraising—What Hasn’t Grown Old 10 CHAPTER THREE I Rules of Engagement for Future Success 13 CHAPTER FOUR I Data: The GPS for Your Future 16 CHAPTER FIVE I Three Common Responsible Fundraising Roadblocks 19 CHAPTER SIX I Tearing Down the Roadblocks: Create Your Own Information Superhighway 21 CHAPTER SEVEN I Eliminating the Roadblocks: Plan as if You Were Going to War 23 CHAPTER EIGHT I Walking the Walk Environmentally 26 CHAPTER NINE I Gaining Control Through Technology 30 CHAPTER TEN I Finding the Right Partner 32 RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING RECAP 33 ABOUT THE AUTHORn WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 3. INTRODUCTION WHY IT’S WORTH YOUR TIME TO READ THIS BOOK With your busy schedule, even the 20 minutes or so it takes to read this book is a significant commitment of your most valuable resource. So, I have done my very best to give you the kind of ROI from your time that you’d like to have from your fundraising communications. If applied, the practices suggested in the book will improve, potentially triple, your bottom line —gaining better results for your cause, increased commitment from your staff and board, the appreciation of those who support you and extend your mission.n WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 3 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 4. CHAPTER ONE IF THERE WERE 10 COMMANDMENTS OF RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING… The first would be, “Thou shall not waste.” Responsible Fundraising is commitment to making the best and most efficient use of all resources— finances, time and people, along with the natural resources we use every day. It recognizes and respects the interests of all constituent groups—the board, staff, volunteers, donors, recipients and the community. It is a fulfillment of our commitment to those who support us to be good, faithful, and yes, smart stewards. The goal of Responsible Fundraising is a productive, non-wasteful program that reflects well on your mission and that motivates support from your donor base. On the surface, that seems like a no-brainer—isn’t that what you’re doing now? If so, that’s great, but as a long-time participant and observer of nonprofit organizations’ fundraising campaigns, I can tell you that there is still plenty of waste going on, and sometimes it is masked as “saving.” “Spray and Pray” is the Way of the Past There has been, and continues to be, a “spray and pray” mentality among some fundraisers—we need more donors, so we’ll mail, email, call, advertise to and tweet every live body who has given even the slightest indication that he or she might respond. These efforts often get response rates that are only small fractions of a percent, and fundraisers try to make them profitable by cutting production costs. It would be more productive to refine the lists and cut quantities.n WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 4 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 5. CHAPTER ONE It could be still more productive to redirect funds to taking better care of existing donors. It is easier to get a gift from someone who has consistently given to your organization previously or has a great capacity to give. Furthermore, you are more likely to get a bigger gift. Efforts to engage and cultivate new or moderately active donors, to maintain clean, current addresses and to move donors up the giving pyramid can build your fundraising ROI better than anything else…period. Looking Ahead Responsibility, accountability and selectivity are more necessary than ever before. Rising costs, recent years’ weaker giving, and the passing of the Traditionalist generation (will the Boomers replace them?) demand that we take a closer look at our practices. No doubt giving will rebound as the economy improves, but we’re not out of the woods yet. In 2009, 46 percent of donors said they expected to give less than the previous year, the highest percentage since 2001. Conversely, 43 percent said they expected to give more, which was the lowest figure since 2001.* At the same time, there is the increasing demand for “greenness” and sustainability. Can your organization build a program that responds to all these demands? Yes, it can be done! And it can result in even greater success. It begins with paying more attention to things you’ve known all along. And it requires taking continual fresh looks at the world around you because it’s changing second by second. Welcome to fundraising in the 21st Century, the new era of responsibility. *Source: Association of Fundraising Professionals, 2009 State of Fundraising, U.S., Fact Sheetn WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 5 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 6. CHAPTER ONE The Takeaway Building a solid, Responsible Fundraising program is a win-win-win proposition. It can improve results, build morale among your staff, board and volunteers, and position your cause well in the eyes of the community. It’s not as hard as you might think. Often, it’s doing what you already do, just constantly improving the way you do it. n WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 6 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 7. CHAPTER TWO TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY FUNDRAISING — WHAT HASN’T GROWN OLD Active mail and phone fundraising began after World War II, but it didn’t really take hold until a couple of decades later. The ZIP code and the development of computers, combined with relative prosperity and a generation brought up to give, came together for a “perfect storm” of fundraising success. A tectonic shift came about in the late twentieth century when the Internet, email and World Wide Web entered our lives and vocabularies. Thanks to quickly evolving technology, we added communication channels at amazing speed and with little warning. (Five years ago, how often did the words “social media” enter the fundraiser’s conversation?) “Old” Media?—Not So Old After All But are the “old” media—direct mail, telemarketing and traditional broadcast and print advertising— dead? To paraphrase Mark Twain, “Reports of their demise are greatly exaggerated.” The answer is no, and there is considerable research to support that answer, including our own. Several recent surveys reinforce the viability of mail in the fundraising mix. In each, more than 40 percent of respondents favored direct mail as the primary stimulus for making a gift— far more than any other medium, old or new. The organization that drastically reduces mail solicitation is tossing the proverbial baby out with the bath water. However, the organization that sits pat and ignores the new media does so at considerable risk for its future success.n WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 7 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 8. CHAPTER TWO In the interest of full disclosure, I have to tell you that my company, Gabriel Group, is active in the direct response fundraising business (donor analytics, direct mail and cross channel marketing). If that creates a bias, and of course it does, it also gives me an insider’s insight to trends. (Believe me, when mailing results go down, we are the first to hear about it!) But it has also given me an appreciation for the basic principles I learned 25 or so years ago. n I appreciate now, more than ever, the truth that those who make the best use of data get the best results AND generate the least waste in whatever medium they choose. That’s not a trend, that’s a fact. n Direct marketers have always known that a key predictor of responsiveness to a particular medium is—you guessed it—previous response to that medium. n We’ve always known that not all donors are created equal, but if you isolate giving history as the only difference, you may be ignoring some important differences like generation. At the very least, recognize the differences between generations and acknowledge these in your marketing plans. These differences will become increasingly important, given the rapid changes in communication. n It’s easier to preach to the choir. Your investment in upgrading existing donors and reaching out to board members, volunteers and others who have expressed commitment to your cause will deliver far higher returns than your efforts to acquire new donors who have no expressed commitment to you. (Of course, ignoring acquisition will cause your pipeline to dry up, and nobody wants that to happen.) n Success belongs to those who learn. Make it possible for your organization to learn as much as possible by meticulous tracking, data gathering and constant analysis. And keep an eye on what is happening around you. Get on mailing lists, go to seminars, read, click on…whatever. n Test.n WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 8 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 9. CHAPTER TWO Building a Toolbox for the New Age n Data. Add meaningful metrics (and be sure to apply what they reveal). n Discipline. If you don’t already have it, develop a consistent protocol for data entry, and make sure everyone who records responses or donor activity is trained and fully compliant with it. n The global view. Think 360 degrees. Develop productive programs that reach all your constituencies—current donors, volunteers, planned givers and prospects, board members, influencers, etc. Make these programs a regular and consistent part of your program. The Takeaway To quote Bob Dylan, “…times, they are a-changing.” But it’s evolution, not revolution that’s happening. n WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 9 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 10. CHAPTER THREE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT FOR FUTURE SUCCESS Think about what has happened in the last decade or so—iPads, mobile marketing, Facebook and Twitter, Google, cloud computing, 9/11, the Great Recession, the passing of the Greatest Generation and the aging of the Boomers, for example. Now think about what will happen in the coming decade. Do you know? I doubt that any of us do, so it’s best to focus on being ready for change. In the Decade to Come n Build agility into your organization to be prepared for changing times. Don’t forget the past… use it as part of your planning information; but at all costs, avoid “we’ve always done it that way” thinking. Reread The Seven Faces of Philanthropy (Russ Alan Prince and Karen Maru File)— the times change, motivations are consistent. n R ecognize differences. Not all donors are created equal, but we often act as if the famous RFC—recency, frequency and currency—are the only differences that count. They’re not. Generation makes a difference. Source makes a difference. Motivation makes a difference. Meet the individual at their own place in life by customizing programs to age groups and interest groups. There are significant generational differences, and your organization’s long-term success depends on contacting each on its own terms—using its media and its language.n WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 10 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 11. CHAPTER THREE n Build a reliable history of sources, donors, performance and contacts. Edmund Burke, among others, said, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” With due apologies to Mr. Burke, we would amend that to add, “Those who do not record history are dooming their successors to repeat it.” In these changing times, the emphasis needs to be on constant new learning, not continual relearning. Track These (at the very least) n Name source (list [specific, please], referral, ad code, white mail, telephone, web, etc., along with the date), tribute gift, social event, participation event, etc. n Contacts and dates–include all contacts, personal as well as targeted media. n Contact materials–mailing sent, telemarketing script, Facebook message, TV pitch. n How they responded–mail, phone, web, etc.–don’t assume that the contact and response medium are the same. n Gift amount. n Date of response.n WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 11 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 12. CHAPTER THREE n B eawareoftheenvironment.Understand how the world around us affects potential donors. Don’t just analyze the slam-dunks, like the Recession, natural disasters or competing campaigns. There are more subtle currents, as well. Is your organization retaining its relevance? Has the political climate changed? Is your donor base aging? How is it being replaced? n E xpandyourmetrics.Every fundraiser can recite average gift size, response rates, maybe even cost of acquisition. These are all good, basic things to know, but there are other equally valuable pieces of data: retention rates of multi-year donors internally, number of lifetime midpoint donors, internally generated major or planned giving leads and eventually, consumer price index composed of charitable gift annual production, etc. No doubt, your organization measures recency, frequency and currency. But those are measures of a donor’s history only. Start taking a look at potential lifetime value. Begin thinking about measuring giving capacity. You may very well find that you have donors who have the ability, and perhaps the willingness, to give you 5 or even 10 times as much as they currently give, if only you would ask. Think:theywouldifyouwould!n WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 12 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 13. CHAPTER FOUR DATA: THE GPS OF YOUR FUTURE Smart use of data has always been a key to successful fundraising, but it becomes even more important as channels expand, audiences change, and the need for accountability increases. Think of it as your fundraising GPS system, and just let it show you the way. While this new era looks to be filled with opportunity, there are some potential pitfalls and some troubling questions: n What will happen as the generous, charitable Traditionalist generation dies off? n Will the Baby Boomers mature into Traditionalist behaviors? n With so many new communication choices, where should we invest our time and money? n How soon will today’s hot medium become old news? n Is there fundraising hope for those texting Gen Y’s? History in the Making History gives us answers, but there is no history for questions like these. We are making the history. It’s no longer enough to simply tally up the number of gifts and their dollar amounts and call it donor analytics.n WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 13 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 14. CHAPTER FOUR Five survival rules for this new era of media expansion: n Assume nothing. n M easure everything. All the time. n Don’t pass up any opportunities to add to your collection of data. Not having the time is no excuse.ASSUME NOTHING n Learn the differences between your donors. What characteristics indicate a potential andIt was widely assumed that the propensity for a major gift? Who is your most likely planned giver? There are important cluesbest planned giving prospects in your donor file, and a systematic analytics program will help you find them.were over 65 years old. However,recent research by Gabriel Group n When you have data analysis reports, act on them. Those thick reports are far too expensiveindicated that donors actually to use as doorstops.finalized estate arrangementsat a much earlier age. When a Look for every opportunity to build your database and enhance your data. There are verymajor nonprofit put the research sophisticated information databases that can give you highly accurate, appendable information onto a mailing test, the result was a the breadth, depth and potential of a person’s charitable gifts, and even on their charitable interestsdramatic improvement in qualityplanned and current giving lead and activities. Likewise, there are some simple things that when actively applied produce generation and production. markers, an example that comes to mind is a title of “Miss.” Go beyond the computer. Not all relevant information will be found in your donor files, mailing lists, or appended database information. Sometimes you need to talk. Call your major donors. Engage your board members. Become a fan of market research. Data analysis tells you what has happened and what your donors have done. Analytics may tip you off about what a donor will do. But market research can give you a peek into the minds and hearts of the giving population. We are creating history and can ill afford to pass n WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 14 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 15. CHAPTER FOUR up any inputs that will give us direction. Let your donors and prospects help you build a solid communications strategy by paying attention to them. Nothing new about that, but it’s something fundraisers often overlook. One more thing, don’t be shy about getting personal information from donors. Periodically, conduct donor satisfaction surveys. This differs from formal market research in that you are not only seeking to learn how “donors” behave, but also what’s on the mind of a single donor. Ask him or her about contact preferences—how and how often. Find out what they want to know and would like to hear. And for Pete’s sake, don’t let that valuable information gather dust. Make it a part of your database and use it when it comes time to write your next letter or draft your next strategic plan. As important as the knowledge you gain, you are also engaging your donors. The Takeaway A solid and well-rounded program of data collection and analysis is the key to a successful future of Responsible Fundraising. Invest in a very strong analytics program, but don’t limit your data thinking to database analytics alone. Talk with donors and non-donors alike through market research and personal contact and use both statistical and personal information to build effective strategies and relationships.n WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 15 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 16. CHAPTER FIVE THREE COMMON RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING ROADBLOCKS Careless Data Housekeeping Let’s start with data. I am going to speak personally here because almost every day, my company receives a mailing database from a client with serious data problems. There are duplicates, bad addresses, deceased people, sloppy or inconsistent entry, missing codes, missed codes, redundant codes—the list goes on. We clean up the problems, or as many as we possibly can, but it costs money, and in some cases, the cost is substantial. The discouraging part is that often the same database comes back later, with the same problems. Poor data housekeeping has a whole string of negative consequences: n It wastes materials and postage. n It costs money to clean up. n It misplaces or loses valuable donors. n Miscoding leads to inaccurate analysis. n It offends donors who receive three or four of the same mailing pieces. (“If they can afford to mail me all that stuff, they don’t need my money.”) n Survivors get upset when you mail to deceased spouses or loved ones.n WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 16 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 17. CHAPTER FIVE n It depresses response rates in insidious ways. We often find as many as 12 percent bad addresses on “current donor” mail files submitted by our clients. That means 12 percent of the money invested in the campaign is wasted. But there’s another side. Sometimes we are able to relocate those “mislaid” donors, and reconnect the organization with a solid supporter. Some addressing problems are less severe now that the United States Postal Service requires periodic updates of nonprofit and standard mailing lists. These updates reduce the number of problems, but do not eliminate them. The USPS National Change of Address file parameters only catch a fraction of identifiable errors. That’s the NCOA trap. There are good resources that add death and credit bureau files, which greatly improve data quality. Silo Thinking Many organizations have specialists for annual gifts, major gifts and planned gifts with clearly defined responsibilities and often separate databases, all conducting discrete campaigns and maintaining discrete databases. As an example, it is not uncommon for some donors to get 15, 20 or even 30 mailings from a single organization in one year, and for most donors, that would be considered mailing fatigue. Many donors would say that is overcommunication—and overcommunication can cause donor disaffection—the 2009 Bank of America Study of Wealthy Donors identified oversolicitation as a leading reason for donor disengagement. It can be avoided by good, organization-wide communication. Prodigal Production + Wasted Dollars Before the days of digital printing, everything got printed on presses: web or flatbed presses. The process of generating camera-ready materials, making films and plates and then printing took lotsn WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 17 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 18. CHAPTER FIVE of time and cost a fair amount of money even before the presses started running. With all the time and costs of simply getting ready to print, it made sense to print a little extra so as not to run out. That was then. That “little extra” carries hidden costs, like the cost of storage, inventorying and if needed, shipping. Thanks to improvements in digital printing, the process may be changing and overs may become overkill. Now many of these materials need only exist as digital files, ready to be printed on demand. It is worth the time and energy to evaluate which pieces are practical for printing and which should be maintained in digital form because you print them in small quantities, need lots of local variation or they contain content that needs frequent updates. Your printers can help you make decisions that save money, energy, trees and whole lot of hassle. Conduct a Periodic Roadblock Review Take a look at your own processes, and see if you find roadblocks like these. If you do, begin fixing the situations that brought them about. After a time, check again. Your fundraising responsibility—and your results—will grow! The Takeaway You can make a great start toward Responsible Fundraising simply by identifying poor practices that have grown up over time. Take a look at how your organization handles functions like data entry, print purchasing and campaign integration. Improving or changing routine practices can tear down stubborn roadblocks to Responsible Fundraising success.n WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 18 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 19. CHAPTER SIX TEARING DOWN THE ROADBLOCKS: CREATE YOUR OWN INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY If the road to fundraising success begins at your database, it figures that the road should be as smooth, clean, free of obstacles and easy to get on as a well-designed superhighway. Since everyone in your organization is hopefully headed in the same direction, it makes good sense to use a common route. Be Nice–Share! A common database creates efficiencies. With a single master donor record, you’ll have only one address to change, one place to enter a contact and a complete donor history. Your comprehensive database will yield more insightful analytics than a group of discrete databases, and everyone in the organization will be able to share the knowledge gained. Plus it will be easier to manage the flow of donor communications. Data Entry–Zero Tolerance This is worth repeating. Develop firm and consistent standards for data entry and make sure they are followed. (That’s also easier with one master database.) The cost and effort of cleaning up sloppy data entry is far greater than doing it right in the first place.n WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 19 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 20. CHAPTER SIX Clean as If a Drill Sergeant (or Your Mother) Were Watching Clean regularly and relentlessly. Your superhighway is going to develop some potholes over time and the sooner they are fixed, the less damage they will cause. Consider the Source Make sure you source code every donor interaction. That has always been important, but as more types of media come into use, it’s even more critical. Record the communication to which the donor responded, and the medium through which he or she responded. There’s a very strong probability that the donor will respond best to the motivating medium. Use source code information strategically to allocate budget across the spectrum of your fundraising media. The Takeaway The most responsible investment you can make is in an accurate, clean, consistent and easily accessible database shared across the organization. It’s the first line of defense against wasted money, wasted effort and lost donor revenue. A good, clean database is the open road to fundraising responsibility, better resource allocation and better donor retention.n WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 20 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 21. CHAPTER SEVEN ELIMINATING THE ROADBLOCKS: PLAN AS IF YOU WERE GOING TO WAR How often have you heard this: “Okay, what do we do this time?” You’re hearing the mantra of the frustrated fundraiser who thinks from effort to effort. That is about as responsible (and as nerve-wracking) as living from paycheck to paycheck. Remember, you are in a battle for your donors’ dollars! Think like a general. Know your strengths; know your obstacles (donor apathy, economic upsets, mailbox/inbox clutter and media exhaustion to name a few). Have a clear plan in mind from the beginning of your campaign year to the end, including the media you will be using, when…and how media will interact. Make the interaction positive and reinforcing. Small groups, with the greatest need to wring maximum performance from every dollar they invest, are often more ad hoc when planning their efforts. But in fact, these groups need solid plans the most. The mailman is still the fundraiser’s major ally and will be for the foreseeable future. That doesn’t mean that you should ignore other media. Researcher Dirk Rinker of Campbell-Rinker reports that mail is still preferred for receiving charitable solicitations by more than 60 percent of the age 60-plus and age 40-59 audiences, and more than 50 percent of the under 40 group. The second most popular medium for all groups was email. Younger donors then favored giving at events.n WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 21 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 22. CHAPTER SEVEN While the heavy artillery makes the biggest noise and creates the greatest impact, it creates greater effect with good support. Even Patton needed air cover. Adding new channels to your campaign (broadcast, telephone, email, social media) will pick up potential donors who are not mail responsive. Email and social media can very effectively maintain conversations with donors, keeping them engaged between mailings and giving early alerts to emergency needs, all while reinforcing the power of their gift.HERE’S A CASE OF REINFORCING MEDIA! Include PR as part of the media mix, and whenever possible, place stories about your mission in the press and broadcast media leading into a major solicitation effort. And by all means, use the socialA national fundraising group media. Make your “friends” your advocates by asking them to pass your messages along.got a double-digit increase inresponse percentage by leadingmail with an emotional telephone Skew your efforts where the payoff is greatest. You unquestionably get more bang for the message from a person who was buck when you invest in building stronger commitment from current and longer donors. Buthelped by the cause’s mission you will always have to replace donors who move, die, lose income or simply become disaffected.telling potential donors to watch Your good donor profiling will help you hone in on the best prospects in outside lists.for the mailing. However, thatwas a few years back. Would it The Takeawaybe the same today? Only testswill tell. There’s an old saying, “Fail to plan and you plan to fail.” Never more true. Consider all your options, and don’t forget that others in your organization are planning, too. Coordinate! n WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 22 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 23. CHAPTER EIGHT WALKING THE WALK ENVIRONMENTALLY In his book, The Triple Bottom Line, Andrew Savitz suggests four specific ways for organizations to rate their own environmental performance—and, by extension, that of their partners. n “What (an organization) says… n “How (an organization) operates… n “The nature of its business (or mission)… n “How sustainability applies to (its) (mission).” Commitments to sustainability and to the environmental welfare of the community are just as important for nonprofits as they are for businesses, maybe even more. Environmentally responsible practices can be as simple as recycling employee trash and waste paper or reducing use of water and energy resources…to eliminating as much waste as possible in your fundraising efforts. I can’t emphasize the word “waste” enough. It is simply not sensible to cut back on a medium that works. It is sensible to make it work better. It is also sensible to seek out partners with a commitment to the environment. Look for partners that align themselves with industry monitoring groups. Check for Certification For those who use paper and paper products, look for certification by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Rainforest Alliance, dedicated to responsible management and conservation of forests. You may require printing on post-consumer recycled materials, but theren WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 23 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 24. CHAPTER EIGHT are costs and some would say a loss of quality by doing this. These trade-offs could be necessary and right for groups with environmental causes. But the use of papers from farmed sources is an excellent alternative for most. Are your partners working with groups in their own communities as well? Will they work with you to improve your sustainability practices? These are fair questions. Feel free to ask them. Why is this so important? Quoting Andrew Savitz once again: n “Doing business in this emerging world—freer, more interdependent, wired, and filled with powerful, vocal stakeholders—demands a high degree of accountability. You can’t pretend you are operating in a vacuum. Instead, you’re in a crowded neighborhood where everyone knows your business, has an opinion about it, and feels that he or she has the right to express that opinion and try hard to change your behavior. Call this period the Age of Accountability, a new era for business in which responding to the demands of sustainability is a necessity, not an option.” The Challenge of Sustainability There are two ways to look at this: n See it as an additional burden that you must contend with, or n Embrace it as an ongoing challenge to develop a program that is free of waste and efficient in its use of all resources. The first will get you headaches. The second will get you approval—and improved ROI.n WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 24 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 25. CHAPTER EIGHT The Takeaway This is the dawning of the Age of Accountability. And it’s not just the board that “accounts.” Your donors, peers, community and the world are watching more closely than ever before. Set the example of responsibility to the environment by working more efficiently, and you are likely to be rewarded with better results and boardroom smiles.n WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 25 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 26. CHAPTER NINE GAINING CONTROL THROUGH TECHNOLOGY Today, the fundraiser’s arsenal contains an amazing and often confusing array of “weapons.” Traditional Maturing New n Direct mail n Email n Social media n Telemarketing n The Internet n SEO n Advertising n Affinity marketing n Mobile n PR n Retailer tie-ins n Pay-per-click web ads n Events It is wonderful to have so many tools, but at the same time, it can be daunting. How do you resist the temptation or pressure to experiment with a medium that is new and perhaps risky? How do you optimize communications through expanding channels? And how do you pull them all together? While technology is creating the problems, it is also providing solutions. Most fundraising organizations already use well-developed tools for tracking gifts and donor behavior. Now, there are a number of technological aides to expand on and react to that knowledge. There are analytical tools that track donor’s or prospect’s progress on the web, down to every last click on the website. There are tools for measuring the Internet “drumbeat,” how often your organization’s name is mentioned in social media, and keywords that denote favorable or unfavorable mentions.n WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 26 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 27. CHAPTER NINE There are tools that help you automate communications with donors, creating a virtual back office that improves the accuracy, efficiency, timeliness and the cost of your communications—and may very well decrease payroll costs as well. Imagine establishing a digital command center with 24/7 access for every authorized user in your organization, in headquarters and in local chapters. Imagine that this control center will connect you to an archive of all your marketing assets and give you an assessment of how often they’re used. (If they are not, do you really need them?) Your control center can include all this and more: n Communication building blocks such as logos, photos, approved case histories, case statements, grant request materials. n Complete brochure and letter templates, needing only customization and/or personalization. n Ads, commercials, YouTube videos, music clips to go into presentations. n Correspondence templates. n Legal boilerplate. And that’s just the start. Imagine that this technology connected your library, your donor database and the Internet with a multi-faceted production output system capable of printing and distributing printed pieces or deploying electronic communications. Imagine simply clicking a few times to activate an email emergency appeal to donors who have permissioned email contact and who have responded to similar appeals in the past.n WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 27 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 28. CHAPTER NINE Forget about imagination…this is real. Systems like these are foundations for a future of practical, Responsible Fundraising, with huge, practical “responsible” benefits: n More focused and timely communications that lead to better results. n Just-in-time production of print materials eliminates wasted paper and money. n Better use of staff and volunteer time through highly improved efficiency. n Better control over cost and allocations through automated billing or account assignment. n Efficient customization of materials for organizations with local entities and offices, along with… tighter control over messages and graphics. Sounds good, right? Sounds…expensive?? Not necessarily. There are companies who already have such systems in place and are willing to effectively offer fractional ownership. They take on the responsibility for setup, maintenance, training, upgrading and increasing the scale and charge based on actual use. In the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you that Gabriel Group is one of the these companies. Why not establish a system like this in-house? There are some practical reasons: n Unless you are a very large organization, it will be too expensive. n Your time is better focused on raising money (your strong suit) than on technical project management. n For maximum benefit, the system should be linked to printing and mailing capabilities.n WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 28 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 29. CHAPTER NINE n Building your own system from the ground up, you are probably years, not months, from launch. By that time, it will be obsolete. n If you have your own system, you have the responsibility for maintenance, training, upgrades and addition—all very expensive responsibilities. n When your tech person or people leave, the new techs will want to build a new system, and there you go, starting all over again. This is one of the cases where outsourcing is a truly cost-saving solution for most organizations. The Takeaway Today’s fundraiser has more tools than ever, but managing this complex array can be a huge, seemingly impossible task. However, there are high-tech solutions that give you even greater control over your fundraising communications than you might have achieved before, even in less complicated days. Furthermore, these systems can improve results, save money and are environmentally friendly. And you can get them on a pay-for-use plan. What’s not to love about that?n WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 29 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 30. CHAPTER TEN FINDING THE RIGHT PARTNER The right marketing services management partner should offer all of the capabilities listed in Chapter Four, but you should look beyond just capabilities. Remember, breaking up will be hard to do. Here are some things to check out: n S tability —Ideally, this will be a long-term partnership. Stable management and a good financial position are not just desirable but necessary. n A gility —Is this a company that is prepared to deal with a rapidly changing marketing world, or does it seem slow to adapt? n A daptability —Will your company be forced into your prospective partner’s processes, or can their processes be easily customized to mesh with yours? n C apability Strengths that Match Your Media Mix —If your company is strong in direct mail, your best output partner will match that strength and will be able to handle massive amounts of data. The partner will print, insert, sort and deliver mail to the postal service. If your fundraising communications travel electronically, look for strong digital capabilities. The ideal is a partner who can coordinate both print and electronic campaigns. n C orporate Personality —This isn’t online dating—there are no 24-question tests to rate your corporate compatibility, but even the most automated systems have people behind them, and you need to be comfortable with them. n C onnections —In today’s wildly complicated fundraising environment, there are few, if any, true “single-source” providers. Your partner will have partners, and this is not a bad thing.n WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 30 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 31. CHAPTER TEN A fundraising services management company with a well-developed network of specialized suppliers is a valuable asset. As a volume purchaser, such a company can usually negotiate better- than-market pricing and has the buying expertise to know exactly where to find good prices on anything from paper, to special printing needs, to mailing lists and shipping. n R esponsibility —Thus far, we’ve talked about selecting a Responsible Marketing partner in terms of the financial benefits. But Responsible Marketing has an environmental conscience. It uses resources wisely, works actively against waste and constantly looks for ways to achieve its objectives with minimum negative impact on the environment. You have a right to expect this. n C ommitment to Excellence —Look for a company that will work hand in hand with you every step of the way to achieve the very best possible result.n WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 31 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 32. RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING RECAP Responsible Fundraising is a commitment to making the best possible use of all resources—financial, personnel, natural and good will. It is an important step to the sustainability of your mission and of the world we live in. As members of the nonprofit community, we are in a position to be influential leaders by example. As advocates for worthy causes, we owe it to those we serve to do our best, most responsible job. Every step we take toward eliminating waste and making the best use of resources is a step for good. And a step for good results.n WILLIAM ZIERCHER RESPONSIBLE FUNDRAISING: SUCCESS, SUSTAINABILITY AND STEWARDSHIP n 32 PREVIOUS NEXT
  • 33. ABOUT THE AUTHOR William (Bill) Ziercher has been advising fundraising clients on ways to achieve results responsibly for nearly 30 years. He is a passionate advocate of building better ROI by increasing efficiency, improving productivity, eliminating waste and making prudent use of resources. While he does not think of himself as an environmental activist, the practices he preaches result in real sustainability. Bill is Chairman of Gabriel Group, a company that produces fundraising results for a wide range of philanthropic groups. To contact him personally call 314.743.5702 or email bill.ziercher@gabrielgroup.com To find out how Gabriel Group can help your organization, contact: Pierson Gerritsen, Executive Vice President, Fundraising 314.743.5717 l pierson.gerritsen@gabrielgroup.com Elsie Listrom, CFRE, Vice President, Fundraising 314.743.5710 l elsie.listrom@gabrielgroup.com Renee Durnin, CFRE, Director, Fundraising and Planned Giving Consultant 314.743.5713 lrenee.durnin@gabrielgroup.com Traci Basden, Director, Fundraising 314.743.5712 l traci.basden@gabrielgroup.com For more information and case studies of Gabriel Group’s work, visit www.gabrielgroup.com. Gabriel Group 3190 Rider Trail South, Earth City, Missouri 63045 l 314.743.5700AUGUST 2011 PREVIOUS

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