Like Roger in yesterday’s post, I was quite impressed by the observations Marc Chardon. CEO of Blackbaud, made in this 4-minute video about the fundraising year ahead.

Lots of nuggets in there, but what most popped out at me was his comment predicting a donor “flight to quality”, as he put it — he thinks donors will support fewer organizations.

Perhaps charitably, he left “quality” undefined!

Could your nonprofit withstand a flight to quality?

Look at your retention rate trend line before you answer that!

Here are some suggestions for helping to pass the flight test.

1. Show the video to your boss (es) … even your board. Surely they can withstand four minutes of well-delivered intelligence.

2. Make a list of the half-dozen or so nonprofits, including at least a couple in your immediate category, whose marketing and communications you most admire. Then get very specific about listing precisely what it is that you believe they do exceptionally well. Rate your organization against that list. Come up with a plan to close the gaps.

3. Survey — much better, call — 50 or 100 of your best long-term donors. Find out what they most admire about your organization. Look for the source of their emotional bond to your organisation (that’s why calling them is best). Then, with this ‘best perception’ in hand, call a similar number of newbies. How close are they to understanding, articulating and appreciating the perception your best donors have? Come up with a plan to close the gaps.

4. Conduct some phone research with your recently lapsed donors. What has happened? Even the donors who say “I’m just cutting back for financial reasons” have made a choice. There’s a cut list your organization didn’t make. Why?

It’s hard for an organization — of any size or stripe — to be self-critical. To confront harsh realities.

But the times demand it. Quality will prevail.



This article was posted in: Communications, Donor retention / loyalty / commitment, Nonprofit management.
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