Recent performance trends confirm that nonprofits are acquiring fewer donors than ever before and retaining less of the donors they acquire. Lackluster response rates in the low single digits continue to plague nonprofits' acquisition programs, while abysmal new donor retention rates remain in the mid-twenties. Nonprofits need new donors far more than new donors need nonprofits.
Yes, “why are nonprofits losing half of their donors?” is an important question that fundraisers need to reflect upon. But it’s not the only question they should be asking themselves, and certainly not the most important.
What are we doing about it? is the million-dollar question, and the answer is sadly, not much.
We’ve been promoting the first phase of Rapport services to our clients — solutions focused mostly on undeliverable mail and our ability to help organizations minimize mail that doesn’t reach its intended recipient and maximize the results of their fundraising campaigns.
The reason Merkle RMG is critical is because we are the eyes and ears for a nonprofit. Think about it — we are the first to engage with a donor. Whether it is processing a donation, flagging a piece of comment mail, responding to an email, or answering a phone call — we are first to react to a donor’s behavior.
Sorry folks, I’m just going to come out and say it. Nonprofit organizations do not practice true personalization. While many nonprofit organizations profess that they are providing experiences and communications that are “uniquely relevant” to existing and potential donors, the truth is — they’re not quite there yet.
Finally, organizations are using technology to complement and strengthen their fundraising program. But is this really the case? I’m not sure. In one conversation, I heard about how excited an organization was that it could marry its online and offline sustainer programs.
Sustainer. It’s the buzz word in nonprofit fundraising for the past few years. And there’s good reason for it — sustainer programs are one of the most valuable segments within a fundraising program because of the compound effect of the gifts.
A data breach at your nonprofit would be devastating to your donor relationships and ability to fundraise. When donors see that their gifts are handled responsibly — with speed, accuracy and security — it builds their confidence in your organization. To successfully retain them, you must be able to assure and demonstrate to donors, first and foremost, that their data is safe.
When nonprofits think about how outsourcing can help their donation processing, they probably have some standard advantages in mind. In a typical outsourced solution, the benefits are mostly tactical; the donation processor receives the mail, puts money in the bank, captures data, delivers it to the client, and then starts all over again, always serving as the last link of the chain. This kind of solution supports the core competencies of caging and data capture, but it’s missing a strategic element.