Marketing honchos from three of the nonprofit mega-brands made some interesting observations that were buried in DM News’ Outlook 2007 edition.

From Habitat’s Tim Daugherty:

“[We] are realizing the importance of leveraging online giving in a much more integrated fashion … It is no longer acceptable to treat all of your donors in the same manner, no matter the source of acquisition. A fully integrated approach is becoming an expectation of the donating public.”

Asks The Agitator: Does your database give you a single, unified profile of the donation history of each contributor, whatever the medium of soliciting and responding?

From ARC’s Carol Cassidy:

“Donors are savvy and continue to raise the bar of expectations for timely and accurate acknowledgements. The investment in strong and healthy stewardship programs remains critical.”

“The greatest tip we can give is transparency and accountability. We intend to be centered on how donors want to give, to what they want to give and to continue to spend their money as they intend.”

Asks The Agitator: Do you invest enough in timely, personalized acknowledgements? How would you judge what is “enough” when it comes to thanking contributors? Finally, how explicit are you about reporting progress on the specific issues or programs that prompted the individual donor’s gift? Is this all too taxing for you? Then don’t complain about a 25% or 30% first year renewal rate!

From UNICEF’s Jeff Towers:

“Increasingly, nonprofits are being scrutinized by media, by watchdog groups and donors who expect more results, greater efficiency ratings and less overhead … In a market that is flooded with causes, scrutiny and competition, we must continue to stay relevant and competitive using the same, if not fewer, dollars for fundraising costs.”

Asks The Agitator: What are the surest paths available to nonprofits to improve the yield of your fundraising spending?

We think two are most important: 1) shifting as much donor engagement as possible to the online medium; and 2) being brilliantly inventive and even maniacal about donor retention. We know your reaction: “Duh!” But we’ll assert that most organizations are not pressing the envelope on either score … we see far too many copycat programs out there.


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