2021 brings us all hope, optimism, and the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our staff, clients and the communities we serve.
2020 was certainly a year like no other. While we will not be able to fully move on from 2020 until COVID-19 is behind us, I am thankful that there are signs we will soon put the worst behind us. Vaccinations are beginning to be distributed across our country, our employees remain safe and healthy, and we all have a renewed energy and sense of possibilities as 2021 begins.
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.
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 programs offer a win/win for both donors and nonprofits, but in order to maximize the benefits, it’s important to establish an effective processing and management system for receiving and managing sustainer gifts.
Recently a prospective client made a second visit to our facility in Hagerstown, Maryland, to do a deeper dive into our capabilities and how we’d handle the nonprofit organization’s direct mail responses. As part of that process we asked the Director of Development to bring samples of their primary direct mail packages to review.