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New Year's Resolution: Improving your annual appeal


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New Year's Resolution: Improving your annual appeal.

A webinar from Third Sector Labs and Adcieo.

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New Year's Resolution: Improving your annual appeal

  1. 1. 800.383.3854 | a webinar from Adcieo and Third Sector Labs © 2014 Third Sector Labs, Inc.
  2. 2. Welcome The holidays just wrapped (pun intended) and everyone is recovering Your 2013 year-end appeal response should finish soon We’d like to talk about how to improve the appeal … now … before you become swamped by the next task or event
  3. 3. Agenda 1. Introductions 2. Talk about the fundraising appeal process a bit 3. Review what the experts are telling us about better appeals 4. Separate content from data 5. Look at an example 6. Recommendations 7. Conclusions
  4. 4. Who are we? Adcieo Adcieo is a leader in fundraising consulting, social media and the use of fundraising technology Debbie Snyder is the VP of Sales and Marketing Debbie’s leadership experience includes EDS, KindMark, Kintera and Merkle, Inc. Website: Email: LinkedIn:
  5. 5. Who are we? Third Sector Labs Third Sector Labs is a data services company challenging nonprofits to re-think their data practices Gary Carr is the Founder and President Gary’s leadership experience includes Carr Systems, Kintera, KindMark and United Way Website: Email: LinkedIn: Our data tip of the week: Facebook & Twitter
  6. 6. Shall we get started?
  7. 7. How was your year-end appeal? It’s January … Planning was done Website was updated Direct mail was sent Emails were sent Social messaging updated And now … Responses coming in Results being tallied
  8. 8. What’s on everyone’s mind?
  9. 9. Chairman: “Did we hit our goal?” Executive Director: “What’s the number?” Anonymous staffer: “It feels like feast or famine.” Director of Development: “Can I keep my job?”
  10. 10. Is anybody talking about the most common mistakes made with an annual fundraising appeal? And is it too late? No … and, no!
  11. 11. The anatomy of the annual appeal Let’s break it down (briefly)
  12. 12. #1: Components Planning & budget Content Materials Style Data Year-end appeal
  13. 13. #2: Schedule of activities Before • Planning • Messaging • Materials • Website • Direct mail • Email • Social media During • Donations received • Results tallied • Inquiries answered After • Enter data • Update records • Send out responses
  14. 14. What are the most common mistakes? What do the experts say?
  15. 15. Let’s find out Start with the leading search engines … Use a variety of search terms and questions … To find the most consumed advice …
  16. 16. And our survey found … Top 30 articles 90%+ in the past two years 156 total recommendations Which we organized as follows: Content only Content and data Data only
  17. 17. Examples of what we found Content only Weak call to action (CTA) Failure to tell stories Content only = messaging, style, mat Failure to demonstrate impact erials, communication Failure to personalize frequency, etc. Small fonts Too much content … too little Too many communications … too few Sloppy mistakes, misspellings Failure to thank donors
  18. 18. Examples of what we found Content and data Treating all donors the same The ask is too small Failure to track responses to the appeal, analyze the results Failure to research prospective donors / audiences in order to determine the right message Content + data = Content decisions depend upon data analysis
  19. 19. Examples of what we found Data only Data only = Failure to reach out to lapsed donors Action is strictly Failure to reach out to new donors data related Failure to track fundraising stats Failure to clean and update your donor list
  20. 20. We graphed the problem (because we are data-heads)
  21. 21. Examples of the advice Before …………. After Thank donors Track responses vs messages Track donor stats Send reminders Collect the pledge Convey urgency, impact Simple writing style Larger asks Personalize Don’t treat all Tell stories Stronger CTA donors the same Envelope design Fonts Research prospects Better plan Don’t ignore lapsed donors Mailing list Content …………. Data
  22. 22. Before …………. After 4% 2% 1% 4% 81% 6% 2% Content ………..…. Data
  23. 23. The mistake about the most common mistakes What does the survey data tell us?
  24. 24. The survey data says … 81% focus on content related activities before the appeal 12% vaguely discuss content-related data issues, but offer little direction Only 7% discuss what to do after the appeal … and most are thank you reminders Only 3% address data
  25. 25. Problem: Nobody is talking “data” Recommendations for “Content + Data” … Recommendations for “Data” … All require interpretation to understand that the issue is data. For example …
  26. 26. Bigger Problem: Nobody is explaining “data” Nobody explains things like … How you do something such as track an appeal response against the message, or How do you NOT treat all donors the same, or How do you analyze lapsed givers This work starts with data.
  27. 27. “Feast or famine” In other words … With so much of your effort going into pre-appeal, content-related activities … This is why every fundraising appeal feels like “feast or famine”.
  28. 28. What do we do? Where do we start?
  29. 29. Good advice “The temptation to form premature theories is upon insufficient data is the bane of our profession.” – -- Sherlock Holmes Is he talking about solving crimes or fundraising?
  30. 30. Start here: two simple rules Rule #1: If the data is poor, the content does not matter Rule #2: What you do AFTER the appeal matters as much as what you did BEFORE
  31. 31. So, how can you improve the appeal? Let’s look at an example
  32. 32. GEDCO Donor Individuals ‐ ‐ ‐ ‐ ‐ ‐ ‐ Corporations ‐ ‐ ‐ Older Adults Professionals Retirees Faith Based Baltimore Natives Volunteers Member Organizations Baltimore Based Shared Vision Personal Connection
  33. 33. How does GEDCO reach it’s donors? • • • • • • Direct Mail and Newsletters Online Engagement Events Phone-A-Thon Board Fundraising Individual Calls
  34. 34. From data to impact
  35. 35. Results: Comparison of EOY Giving $160,000 $140,000 $120,000 Online Donations $100,000 $80,000 Appeal Responses $60,000 ThanksGiving Tribute $40,000 $20,000 $0 EOY 2012 EOY 2011
  36. 36. Why the Increase? New donors Higher gifts from current donors Use of communications  Supported and framed final appeal  Personal look at residents and clients
  37. 37. Bringing it all home
  38. 38. First and foremost Act now! The “after” to one appeal is the “before” to the next one. Your appeal response is producing thousands – tens of thousands? – more? – of new data points … are you prepared?
  39. 39. Our recommendations Plan and commit to the plan Separate the management of donor data from the activities needing that data. Data management requires you to be not PROACTIVE REACTIVE
  40. 40. Our recommendations 1. Clean your data … REGULARLY 2. Check all data sources into your database 3. Ask for the data that you want from your donors This is the easiest and cheapest way to enrich your data 4. Segment your donors and messaging Do you know how your donors want to communicate? Are you delivering the right messages to the right people? 5. Plan to turn higher quality data into improved fundraising results
  41. 41. Hint This approach applies to ALL of your fundraising activities … Not just your annual appeal … But you probably figured that out!
  42. 42. How we can help ... Start with a data assessment, schedule data hygiene or develop a data quality plan … Strategic planning and execution, to turn your improved data into better fundraising results
  43. 43. Conclusion Every organization must (a) plan and (b) budget for good data management
  44. 44. Before …………. After Go from “feast or famine” fundraising 4% 2% 1% 4% 81% 6% 2% Content ………..…. Data
  45. 45. Before …………. After To sustainment 4% 2% ?%= $$ 4% 81% 6% 2% Content ………..…. Data
  46. 46. Executive Director: “We are tracking to the plan.” Anonymous staffer: “Already working on the next appeal.” Chairman: “We hit our goal!” Director of Development: “I can keep my job!”
  47. 47. Questions ??? You can read more about this topic on our blog at:
  48. 48. Thank you for attending! Please stay tuned for upcoming webinars in February: 1. “You can’t take it with you: why you don’t want to migrate all of that old data into a new CRM” 2. “If your data isn’t getting better, it’s getting worse: why?”