Okay so today is a little slimmer on the notes... not because there wasn't as much said, but just because it was a different layout / format from yesterday... oh yeah, and it was shorter...
First Afternoon "TREND" Session -
I attended the
TCG Trend Session: Friday @ 2pm
Donor Cultivation & Fundraising Benchmark & Goal Setting
with Paul Larson - Taylar Development
researching and cultivating individual donors - and annual fund.
(just a note - we clearly needed more than the 90 minutes we had, but it was a nice tasting.)
segmenting & prioritizing
benchmarking & goal setting - what can you expect from your donors
1. acquiring new donors
- people already in your database, but is not yet a donor, ticket buyers, subscription etc.
- note: Single Ticket buyers are not necessarily harder fundraising prospects than or less committed than subscription buyers
- people who have been to your organization at least once
- ST buyers from last two years, Subscriber non-donores from last 2-3 years
- goal? participation - $ - what? what is central goal of the drive?
- the level between $100 and $250 is a point of diminishing returns - (the worst thing is not to offer them the chance to offer more, or to offer less... most prospects have no idea what you need/want or what impact each of those levels can have on your organization
- ask multiple times, ask for specific levels, explain why you need it
- small amounts are hard to keep them retained, the $100-250 are more likely to stick with you regularly - if you are going to ask for less than $100 make sure the ask is low impact and cheap to do...
- most effective if you ask for a specific dollar amount (you can offer them the chance to give more), but make a case for a specific dollar amount, $150 pays for X, please give $150.
- this is a step towards finding the larger donors
- "ticket add ons" - online or your renewal forms - how you ask for this is important - round up, suggested amount, blank line - create a campaign for it - ex. "make our organization whole" (figure out what supplemental amount would bring their payment up to cover the full expenses - ticket costs $25 at subsidized rate, at unsubsidized rate the ticket could be $60) - get this message out, that box office only covers 30% of costs...
- snail mail fundraising is PASSIVE ask - you can't change the way you ask.... you could try two or three different types of asks to three different test groups... is there a DIRECT ASK, make sure there is a direct ask in the text somewhere, specific amount.
Paul talked a fair amount about phone-asks as if they were common-place practice, which made me wonder at first 'who the hell has the time or money to sit there all day making phone calls asking - or hiring teams of phone banking volunteers or whoever to do this?' and then I remembered two things - 1. I am surrounded by people from organizations who do in fact have development staffs or more than 1 and volunteer teams of potentially double digits, AND 2. and more importantly - if you segment and strategically target your phone asks, everyone has the time and money to make phone calls, even you tiny companies with annual budgets of $6000 out there. Heck I tell artists with no budgets to CALL their audience members when they have a show and ask them what night they are buying their ticket for... why can't they also take a day or three and sit down and start making phone calls to ask for donations?
2. retaining current donors:
- important to recognize them as past donor, at what level they have given, but don't necessarily remind them of the amount they gave because they might give that amount again, instead of giving more... give them a reason to give more - if they ask, then tell them, but don't tell them right off the bat...
- use the life time giving and buying to figure out how you are going to pursue/retain them as a donor
- Tesatura software that gives the most information
- set an increase - 10% or 20% more than last year - if you can say that your Board Members are all giving X% more, you give the general givers an incentive...
- individuals tend to trend upwards at higher rates than Board donors
- Renewal 1 - gave last year, but not before, hardest to retain
- Renewal 2 - given for two consecutive years
- Renewal 3 - given for 3 consecutive years - should be most committed
- can strategize according to amount, but perhaps by donor type (i.e. level of commitment) is better
3. bringing back lapsed donor
- number one reason lapsed donors don't give is that they have not been asked recently
- lapsed 1-5 years
- need to be strategic in what you are asking them for - they are akin to acquisition donors - you still have to make a clear case for what they should give and why - they not remember when they last gave
- lapsed 1 -
- lapsed 2 -
- lapsed 3+ -
You have to be CONSISTENT from year to year. Inconsistency leads to lapsed donors.
Pay attention to current events / big news events - they can impact individual giving...
- try to plan around holidays & foreseen events when you can, but don't obsess about it
- email is really just direct mail. sometimes direct mail is more effective now because people actually look at it now, and emails maybe not so much
- individualize the emails!
- adopt an artist (profile the artist, have them write about their project, and include in the ask)
- Integrate development & marketing activities, but you don't necessarily want merge them entirely, people are more likely to purchase tickets and give donations at separate times (some software engines are doing this now - TheaterMania/Ovationtix has plans in this direction in their next iteration I believe.
Once you have identified who you have in your database
Scoring - assign points based on certain activities.. weight points according to the activity's importance to org
- attending shows
- donating - gift amounts, frequency
- attending events
- zip codes/ financial demographics
- wealth screening? (costs $ to do and its questionable whether it is fruitful esp without a plan on how to use it and evaluate it)
- gala ticket buyers
- where else do they go? what else do they buy?
Over range of last 3 years
DO different things with/to/for different point ranges, ask for different things from them
5 or 6 criteria
top 5% you ask for significantly higher amounts, take them aside and do something special with them
minimum ask level: 4 tiered process over the year with these people - sell them subscriptions, annual fund, thank them (build relationship), ask them again
increase "touches" to people more involved... and start to connect them slowly to personal relationships with individuals in the organization...
have a plan to nurture single ticket buyers, flex-plans etc
-might be more beneficial than subscription, just because you don't have to include the discount
-membership can be difficult because it lumps together donation & tickets/discounts and these are two different actions
-but the terminology of "member" vs. "donor" is something that might be worth thinking about...- use membership to sell "donor" benefits, package them in a way that makes them feel "more" connected... the Benefits cannot have any taxable value though...when you make a donation, you become a member....partner with your corp/local sponsors to get them to cover the costs of member package, and then help them target prospects with appropriate discounts/offers...
Assign different segments to different plans of action
ex. different people contact different categories, for higher segments have non-traditional staff members/artists make the phone calls / thank you campaign - it feels more individual when it comes from people outside the "development" line of the staff...
Benchmarking & Goal Setting
Renewal Donors - track the following information
- response rate (measures retention)
- increasing or decreasing amounts (5% more or 10% less in $)
- Current Subscriber Non-Donors : phone & mail = 12-18% response rate, ave $100-125
- Single Tickets : phone & mail = 6-10% response rate, ave $70-80
this is how you can set your goals (based on past information) - goal = # in database * % response rate * ave gift
Here are the notes he gave us.
Friday Early Evening Budget Session
Budget Group $1-2.9Million
these are just some of the ideas mentioned that stuck out to me..
- aggressive Pay What You Can- those who can pay for those who can't - coupled with aggressive publicity, and the box office is up 20%!
- pay plans - over the year...
giving on the board level is down
don't let board decide where the cuts happen
do help us identify where new money can come from
task forces - give people actions to do, if they can't give $
- ask people to send new patrons instead of just asking them for money?
grow your way out of the crisis - don't shrink your way into a deeper hole
add 2-3 board members at a time: "board class" who can challenge each other...
collective bargaining with vendors... (Mayor Bloomber actually spoke about this a couple of months ago at a thing for NonProfits at Wagner... collective bargaining for ad space, but also for toilet paper.)
ticket prices bump up when sales reach a certain point automatically - first 20% of sales at $20, next %20 at $25 etc etc...?