I guess I just started out in a grumpy mood this week, on Monday implying that for most fundraisers, hanging on to their donors was too demanding, beyond their ability.

Roger on Tuesday tried to find some good news in a Bloomerang study indicating that somewhat more nonprofits were monitoring their retention rates these days, an ‘accomplishment’ I treat as akin to tying your shoes before you run a race. Maybe it’s sad, but true, that our sector needs to begin giving prizes for tying our shoes.

I said as much in my Wednesday post, where I attributed woeful attention to donor retention to one simple reality … the incompetence of too many ‘fundraisers’.

Most of the comments on that post — mostly from consultants — deflected the blame away from actual fundraisers and onto the bosses … especially nonprofit boards.

So yesterday Roger gamely tried to urge everyone to refocus and educate their boards on what really matters — donor lifetime value. Of course that requires fundraisers to first master the ‘tying your shoes’ step … measuring retention. So don’t we seem to have a Catch-22 here?

Anyway, I got to wondering … why do the consultants tend to point the finger at boards and chief executives? Maybe because it’s the fundraising staff that hires the consultants. Let’s not bite the hand that needs us … and feeds us.

I’m not sure in the first place why one would need a board to approve measuring retention, but maybe I just led a charmed life during my fundraising and consulting stints.

Faced with a dumbfounded board or CEO, I’d suggest finessing the problem Dilbert style …

The sun has just come out for the first time in a week. I’ll try to be in a less snarky mood next week.


This article was posted in: Board Meeting Swipe File, Donor retention / loyalty / commitment, Fundraising philosophy/profession, Nonprofit management.
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