It’s the time of year when nonprofits often look to evaluate their donor base – how many donors have renewed from this time last year and how many have taken that all-important initial step to make their first gift.
The fact is that how well your organization retains and increases its current supporters and how many new supporters it has been able to acquire over the same period directly relates to how sustainable and expandable your organization is.
The key in renewing and enlarging your donor data base is really very simple: to excel, as with so much in fundraising, is consistency in your efforts. It’s not good enough to do the right thing or things–you need to do the right things again, and again, and again –consistently.
It’s very much like what you see from any seasoned professional in any field. Take the accomplished musician, for example. To be truly good, much less excel, at what he does, a musician must do the small things, some call them boring, on a daily basis to keep sharp.
I used to give private clarinet lessons (I once was semi-accomplished!) to grade and high school students. Each week when students came in for their lesson it was the same thing over and over until they accomplished a certain task. Before long I would be asked, “When do I get to play something other than the scale or or Mary Had a Little Lamb?” My customary answer was that we would move on when the task was performed 100% correct.
You see, it’s easy to learn more difficult concepts in any field if you’ve mastered the basics first. The same holds true in the field of fundraising.
Rescigno’s presents webinars and seminars, workshops and retreats several times during the course of the year and if there is one piece of feedback we hear it’s that the information we presented at these events is more of what they’ve heard before. And that is probably valid. We do stress the boring, the mundane, the basics of fundraising because it is those very steps that we see being ignored in order to “get to the fun stuff,” like major gifts (before donors are ready to have those kinds of conversations).
We’ve been practicing the basics of fundraising to help our nonprofit clients for over 23 years and will continue to talk with you about them because, over time, the fundamentals done consistently well, will build a powerful base of support for your cause as you go about the business of building relationships with your constituents.
Share with us here what basic rule of fundraising you stress with your staff.