The nuts and bolts of direct mail

Posted by on Mar 13, 2017 in Direct Mail, Speaking |

This post was first published on the Charity How To blog. Before I got ‘hooked’ on monthly giving, I was already a direct mail ‘aficionado’. Why? Because direct mail works. Because people respond to it. Because you can measure what you’re doing. You can see how many fundraising messages you mail out and how many donations you receive back. But yet, so many people are no longer ‘trained’ in direct mail. They think that all donations are...

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Why Segmenting Your Sustaining Donors Is Crucial for Growth

Posted by on Oct 17, 2016 in Annual appeals, Recurring giving |

This post was written for and published by Bloomerang  More and more organizations now have a sustaining donor (monthly, quarterly, etc. donor) program. That’s great! Unfortunately, there can be a tendency not to continue appealing to them. But should you continue asking them for money? Can you send an appeal to your recurring donors? The answer is a resounding: YES, YES, YES! If you don’t, you’re missing out. The typical small shop that I have...

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Organization Makes Money on New Donor Acquisition Campaign

Posted by on Jun 10, 2016 in Annual appeals, Case Studies |

When A Direct Solution started working with this organization, serving individuals with disabilities, the organization had some 5,500 donors. It had historically mailed two direct mail appeals a year and two hard copy newsletters. Then the organization hired a new Director of Development. With a small staff, she was tasked to considerably grow the donor base and its fundraising budget. A Direct Solution was hired to help accomplish this. We...

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Monthly (Recurring) Gifts are the future, here and now!

Posted by on Jun 7, 2016 in Recurring giving |

You’ve heard me talking about monthly recurring gift programs and their importance on the long-term retention of your donors. Not to mention how much money you’ll raise! Fundraisers are often blown by away if I mention some numbers, just 300 monthly donors can bring in almost $100,000 a year for your organization. What’s not to like about that? So, if you are not already looking at implementing a program for your organization,...

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How can Nana Murphy make you a better fundraising professional?

Posted by on May 3, 2016 in Annual appeals, Case Studies |

This post was prepared as a guest blog for Michael Rosen.  How can Nana Murphy make you a better fundraising professional? This is a post based upon the session I attended at the recent AFP International conference in Boston. Thank you, Michael, for sharing this post with your audience. The session I attended was called: From Ireland with Love, presented by Denisa Casement, CFRE, Head of Fundraising, Merchants Quay Ireland, Dublin,  Lisa...

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How do Monthly Donors compare to Annual Fund donors?

Posted by on Sep 29, 2015 in Annual appeals, Recurring giving |

During a recent webinar I did for DonorPerfect and the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the question came up: How do monthly donors compare to annual fund donors? The answer is, monthly donors are really annual fund donors, EXCEPT they’re giving MORE MONEY and they give REGULARLY. So, they’re a step up! And even better news is that many monthly donors will also still give to your annual fund appeals (if you ask them). Often they came to...

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Using your Thank You Letter to convert donors to give monthly!

Posted by on Aug 12, 2015 in Annual appeals, Recurring giving |

Wait, you want me to ask a donor who just gave to give monthly? Does that work? YES, it absolutely works! As you know, the key with new donors especially is to get them ‘in the fold’ as soon as possible. That means that you have to ask them to give another gift as soon as possible. Research shows that the longer you wait, the less likely you’re going to get another gift. So, here’s what I recommend: for new donors: Send...

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Every gift matters: What do monthly donors and major donors have in common?

Posted by on Jul 5, 2015 in Recurring giving |

Guest blog for Pamela Grow Every gift matters. What do monthly donors and major donors have in common? The answer: each type of donor gives what they can! As long as you let the donor know that every gift matters. I just finished a book with that same title that was just published: Every Gift Matters, by Carrie Morgridge. It’s an easy read, lots of stories and great examples! On the one hand, Carrie talks about making big gifts through her...

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Asking for monthly donors in the mail

Posted by on May 27, 2015 in Annual appeals, Recurring giving |

Yes, it’s absolutely true. You really can generate new monthly donors by using direct mail. Just remember two things: 1. Ask the right donors 2. Ask the right way So who are the right donors, you might ask. They are donors who just gave! They can be existing donors, but even new donors who just gave for the first time. They are also donors who gave less than $100. They are not your big check writers. It’s crucial to get them to...

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How Little Can You Spend to Generate a Monthly Donor?

Posted by on Apr 21, 2015 in Recurring giving |

This is always an interesting question. How much or how little can you spend to generate a monthly donor? The answer: it depends! From what I’m hearing in the market place right now, a lot of larger organizations are happy if their program breaks even in 2 years. They use more expensive media such as face-to-face fundraising or direct response television as they want to increase their number of monthly donors fast and furiously. For...

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Monthly Donor Acquisition Made Easy

Posted by on Apr 7, 2015 in Recurring giving |

By now, I trust you’re convinced that you must truly get going on generating monthly donors. Here are three simple tips to get started: 1. Ask your donors to join Is it really that simple? Yes, it is. If you ask them, they will come. How else are donors going to know that you have a program and you’d like them to join this really convenient way to support your mission? 2. Make it easy to find Occasionally, an organization calls me...

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Calculating your Monthly Giving Coverage Ratio

Posted by on Mar 31, 2015 in Recurring giving |

Last week I talked about upgrading your monthly donors, a very important part in growing your program. Today I’ll go back to something that’s even more important with any monthly donor program: Retaining your monthly donors. Like anything with fundraising, the rule of thumb is: If you can keep a monthly donor, that’s still cheaper than bringing in a new one. To calculate how you’re doing with your program, we use the...

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Monthly giving: Get buy in from finance…

Posted by on Feb 21, 2015 in Annual appeals, Recurring giving |

I’ve talked earlier about the importance of one person (or department) to be in total control of your monthly giving program. That’s important because there are so many moving parts associated with monthly giving. As a fundraiser, you literally touch every other department or individual in your organization. What this means is that you MUST work with other departments to get their buy in. Note, this is not the same as giving them...

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Do donors know what “Recurring” means?

Posted by on Feb 14, 2015 in Recurring giving |

I was talking to someone recently who was very concerned. And I can see why. Virtually every time a donor goes online to make a donation to an organization, he or she sees the word Recurring. Many organizations have simply added the word: “Make this gift recurring” message to their online donation form. That’s what their online forms or donor base system’ allowed them to use. But, do donors really know what that word...

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Solve the problem where it needs to be solved…

Posted by on Feb 7, 2015 in Recurring giving |

I’ve been working in direct marketing, fundraising and monthly giving for a very long time. And of course, I ran into problems. One of the things I learned early on though is that sometimes it’s really important to make sure that you solve the problem where the problem needs to be solved. In other words, sometimes, it looks as if something is causing the problem, but when you analyze it, it’s really caused by something else....

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Are you serious about your Recurring Giving Program? Part 3.

Posted by on Jan 24, 2015 in Recurring giving |

If your answer is YES, I am serious about your recurring giving program, then you MUST: 1. Evaluate your current processes. 2. Project what you can expect, in terms of number of new recurring donors, existing, types of gifts and projected revenue. 3. Decide if you’ll be able to manage the processing in-house or if you should decide to outsource. This is the third in a series of blog posts addressing each and every one of these areas. In...

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Are you serious about your recurring giving program? Part 2.

Posted by on Jan 17, 2015 in Recurring giving |

If your answer is YES, I am serious about your recurring giving program, then you MUST: 1. Evaluate your current processes. 2. Project what you can expect, in terms of number of new recurring donors, existing, types of gifts and projected revenue. 3. Decide if you’ll be able to manage the processing in-house or if you should decide to outsource. This is the second in a series of blog posts that will address each and every one of these...

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Are you serious about your recurring giving program? Part 1.

Posted by on Jan 10, 2015 in Recurring giving |

I truly hope that you’ve made your resolution that this is the year you’re really going to go all out in growing your recurring giving program. You’ve heard me say this before. There is not one standard plan for a recurring giving program. Each plan is tailor made. That’s simply because your potential depends upon a number of factors. The most important ones: the number of donors you have the number of email addresses...

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New Year’s Resolution 1: Start a Monthly Giving Program

Posted by on Dec 13, 2014 in Recurring giving |

I’m putting on my running shoes! As you’re getting ready to finish this year, here’s my recommendation for your firsts New Year’s Resolution: Start a monthly giving program!  I recommend that you run, not walk so you can reap the results sooner than later and really start building donor’s retention and long-term revenue for your organization. Here are 5 rules to review before you start but don’t take too...

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Sustainers are retainers

Posted by on Jul 18, 2014 in Recurring giving |

  I just came back from a conference, attended by some 1,700 people and I’m so excited! There were 4 (yes, four) sessions on monthly giving aka sustainers!! More and more organizations are finding that ‘sustainers are retainers’. Thank you Dan Allenby for this great word cloud. Many donor base systems are adding monthly giving options to make your life as a fundraiser easier. And research is growing. For example:...

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Myth: Once you bring monthly donors on, you’ll lose them…

Posted by on Jun 30, 2014 in Recurring giving |

Happy Fourth of July week! This is a really important myth to debunk as soon as possible. The number one reason why many organizations are now so interested in generating monthly donors is, because they stay with you for years and years and years. I’ve seen research from organizations that have been offering monthly giving programs for over 20 years and they actually have identified donors who are still giving monthly to this very day! Now, if...

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5 Practical Tips to Start Growing Monthly Giving …

Posted by on Jun 18, 2014 in Recurring giving |

If you haven’t seen the results of the 2013 Fundraising Effectiveness Project study from AFP and the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute, here is the long and short of it: the average donor retention rate is 39%. For first-time donors, the rate drops to 22.9%. These truly are scary numbers, aren’t they? Believe it or not but this truly generated a wave of wake up calls to many nonprofits, large and small! But the good...

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What does a historic building have to do with recurring giving?

Posted by on May 31, 2014 in Uncategorized |

Bon giorno, You may wonder, why I am writing about history all of a sudden? Because I just came back from a terrific but short trip to France and Italy… Something we’d planned for a while and it was finally happening! We saw where our World War II veterans stormed the Normandy beaches and helped liberate our European fellow men and women. And we saw so many amazing (and old) things, one can only be full of awe!! The most impressive...

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You can build a monthly giving program with limited resources

Posted by on May 10, 2014 in Recurring giving |

This past week I had the pleasure of presenting a webinar for Pamela Grow’s Simple Development System members. I’m very grateful to Pam as she introduced me to webinars a little over a year ago! Since then, I’ve joined the subject matter expert team of Charity How To and I am having a lot of fun teaching organizations how they can get started and grow a monthly giving program with very limited resources. A couple of key pieces...

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Monthly Giving for Small Nonprofits: 8 tips for keeping it simple

Posted by on May 4, 2014 in Recurring giving |

This post was written by Joanne Fritz and appeared in about.com.  Thank you, Joanne!! Here’s the full post… It seems to me that monthly giving programs should be a natural for small, even tiny nonprofits. Yet, many in the US still don’t use this form of giving. It may be that they think it is just too complicated. I just recently whizzed through “Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant,” by Erica Waasdorp, and was...

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How one organization increased its monthly donors by 80% in one year…

Posted by on Apr 28, 2014 in Case Studies, Recurring giving |

Some of you may know, I’m the US Ambassador for the International Fundraising Congress, one of the most amazing and inspiring conferences in the world!! On May 21 and 22, the Resource Alliance will organize 2014 Fundraising Online, a webinar event, which is totally FREE, just to share some of the amazing speakers you may enjoy at the IFC. I’m really excited because part of Fundraising Online is a great webinar on my favorite topic:...

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New Donors Do Join Monthly Giving Programs! You should test it sometime!

Posted by on Apr 21, 2014 in Recurring giving |

Another  Monthly Giving myth debunked   a guest post for Wild Woman Fundraising Monthly  Giving is probably the one fundraising program surrounded by the highest number  of myths. All of these myths are used as reasons NOT to start… Well, if  it were my nonprofit organization, I’d RUN (not walk) to get started with  monthly giving! The impact on retention is HUGE! And who doesn’t want to  increase their retention rate? So, if  you’re still...

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Thank you About.com Nonprofit Charitable Orgs

Posted by on Dec 4, 2013 in Recurring giving |

Direct Mail still works, especially for monthly Giving. I’m delighted that this article appeared as guest article written for Joanne Fritz, About.com Nonprofit Charitable Orgs Thank you so much, About.Com! It helps spread the good news about Monthly Giving. “Don’t wait until everything is just right.  It will never be perfect.  There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions.  So what.  Get started now.”...

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