Berea, Gymnastics and Fundraising (looking back to get ahead)

250px-BooneTavernBereaMy mom is in town visiting for a few days. Yesterday we went on an excursion to Berea, Kentucky (the picture above is of Historic Boone Tavern in Berea). Not only is it a quaint town with great Kentucky craft stores, it was also my father’s first residence in the United States. He was a gymnast (from Denmark) and spent some time at Berea College in the mid-60’s as a gymnastics instructor.

Taking some time to reflect on where we come from can be a good way to refocus and develop future plans and goals. That’s one of the reasons ongoing evaluation is so important. We talk a lot about future goals and plans, but it is equally important to know where we are. Directions to get from Washington, DC to Atlanta and directions from Orlando, FL to Atlanta would be quite different.

It might be fun and sexy to talk about big dreams and big ideas, but let’s not forget to take some time to remember where we are and where we’ve come from. Need some ideas about what to review (especially as it pertains to your fundraising program)? Here are a few ideas:

  • Current number of donors
  • Average gift per donor
  • Total dollars raised
But in addition to looking at those indicators, here are some that will help you plan for success. Things that, if done well, will ensure that your donors will be able to identify as partners in your cause. Whether you want to let your donors see themselves as partners is a topic for another post. But the short answer is: Yes! You want your donors to be partners. (I know this may not sit well with ‘lone-ranger’ type leaders, but again, that’s a topic for another post).
So, things to track as you’re planning for future fundraising success:
  • Contacts With Each Current Donor. Try to find creative, low-cost ways to convey your thanks. Marketing theory says that someone needs to hear/see/read something seven times for it to really sink in. This could include update emails, newsletters, thank you cards (both from staff and from your clients), in-person meetings, phone calls, etc. The number and quality of the contacts should be appropriate to the value of the gift.
  • Donors Renewing Gifts. If this number is falling, try sending out a survey to those lapsed donors to see if there is a theme for why they aren’t renewing. Other studies have found that about 93% of people indicated it had something to do with communications (rather than the economy, less expendable income, etc.).
  • New Donors. Are there new people who are choosing to support your organization? If not, chances are you’ll be running in to trouble with declining revenues soon.
Hope this gives you some feed for thought. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section. Looking forward to hearing from you!


Berea, Gymnastics and Fundraising (looking back to get ahead) — 2 Comments

  1. So lovely to have you sharing favorite places with us.

    Some other items to consider that quickly come to mind:
    How many new prospective new friends you’ve made
    How many lapsed donors you’ve brought back
    Donors who may have increased or decreased their gifts

    Thoughts go out to my colleagues and all the residents of who are grieving the loss of favorite places in beautiful Vermont.

  2. Kirsten, I really liked your idea about offering thanks to those to donors. What are your thoughts on partnering with a local business of some kind to offer Fundraising Cards to those that donate a certain amount or more? This would be an immediate return on the donor’s investment, and would provide support to another local business. Seems like a win-win. Love the blog! Thanks for sharing.