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#INNDay14 - Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting


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Publisher and senior reporter Naomi Schalit outlines the strategy behind her news site's recent end-of-year fundraising campaign. Lightning Round presentation at INN@IRE Day 2014, Investigative Reporters & Editors conference, San Francisco, June 26.

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#INNDay14 - Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting

  1. 1. Planning and running a successful end-of-year fundraising campaign Naomi Schalit Publisher and senior reporter The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting
  2. 2. You’re too late already. Not really — but a successful campaign takes months of planning.
  3. 3. MCPIR EOY 2013 CAMPAIGN: 700 letters sent @ 350 had personal notes 140 gifts = 20% response rate Total gifts: $55,293 Average gift: $394 (includes one gift of $3K, two @ $2500, 6 @ $1000 104 gifts had notes on solicitation – 74.3% Gifts from: Lapsed donors: 16 (11%) New donors: 71 (51%) Renewals: 47 (34%) Board: 6 List yield, new donors: ACLU: 14 Constant Contact: 17 MPBN: 8 COSTS: Development temp staff and consultant $9961 Printing, postage, mail merge $966 _____________________________________ __ Total variable expenses $10,927 Cost per dollar raised: 19.7 cents National average CTRD 20 centsThe Better Business Bureaus (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance Standards for Accountability indicate that for all non-profits, fund-raising costs should not exceed 35 percent (i.e., 35 cents to raise one dollar).
  4. 4. Crucial element for our successful campaign: A matching grant. Get one. We love the folks who gave us ours.
  5. 5. Crucial element #2: lists. This may take a form of guerrilla marketing. Hmm, I wonder where I can find that Friends of King Kong donor list?
  6. 6. Start fishing around for them early in the year
  7. 7. Crucial elements numbers 3&4: #3: Get a respected local philanthropist -- whom everybody loves -- to sign and write notes on lots of your appeal letters #4. Have your board members write personal notes on as many appeal letters as possible (do this at a board meeting)
  8. 8. Other things to do during pre-formal campaign stage: • Address lookup for prospects • Clean-up of your current lists • Mailing elements design and printing (brochure – testimonials – remit envelopes – custom notepads)
  9. 9. Timeline for an EOY campaign August • Development committee meets to review proposed timeline and gift table, brainstorm components of the campaign’s case statement, determine prospective campaign chair. • Begin to identify prospects for leadership gifts and segment from prospect mailings. • Begin effort to secure campaign chair. September • Secure campaign chair. • Campaign staff meets with Development Committee chair to review plans and discuss how to best make use of Development Committee and board of directors members • Prepare first draft of case statement. Staff/devcomm review. • Organize major gift solicitations – review names and determine who solicits which person? Not only staff/board. • Develop talking points and solicitation strategies • Make assignments for major gift prospects for October Board meeting. October • Finalize mailing lists and case statement. • Generate letters for prospects and lapsed donors. • Working board meeting at which board members sign notes to go along with letters. • Provide support to Campaign Chair, Board, Staff members and friends with their solicitation assignments. • Draft end-of-year (EOY) letter for renewing donors. • Send prospect and lapsed donor mailing last week of October/early November. • Development committee meeting – updates
  10. 10. Timeline for an EOY campaign, continued November • Provide support to campaign chair, board members, staff and friends with their solicitation assignments. • Send EOY letter to renewing donors; include, where possible, personal notes. • Review gifts from prospect and lapsed donor mailing and consider follow-up strategies. • Organize and design e-solicitations. December • Report progress to date to Board members (early December). • Provide support to chair and board members with their solicitation assignments. • Follow up with prospects, as appropriate. • Integrate e-solicitations with EOY process. January • Analyze results of EOY solicitations. • Adjust gift table for challenge as needed. • Develop solicitation plans for remainder of Challenge period (through August 2014). • Develop spring renewal gift plans.
  11. 11. Making the case Don’t forget: 1. On-line readers appeal 2. Quick acknowledgment 3. Celebrate!
  12. 12. Our secret weapon: Jam