Monday, September 16, 2013

AF Strategy Habit Or Data Driven?

40 years ago this month Art Garfunkel sang this tune “All I Know”. In those four decades all we have seemed to know in the nonprofit sector is to continue doing the same things and measuring things the same as well.  Almost a decade ago the concept of donor centric fundraising hit the street and today I can't find where that model has led to significant increases in donor retention. The reason is really quite simple. Saying the words donor centric but not creating any new metrics or implementing new strategy has just become a catchy phrase for the status quo. 

As you prepare for this year's annual fund initiative I'm sure you're acutely aware that the single activity that will generate the majority of your success in the current fiscal year will be related to your organization's ability to renew your donors from last year.  The donor centric model conversation never seemed to advance anything that changed the nature of the questions regarding this highly critical fact.

Peter Drucker made a wonderful statement decades ago that every business model reaches a point of
diminishing return. To use the title of Art Garfunkel's song, “all I know” is the way we've measured and designed our fundraising is pretty much over. Best Practice, as we've known it, is of little value, look at national statistics on sustaining donor relationships. The rock bands of yesterday don't fill the seats based on their latest hit, they are living off of what use to be. How many bands do you see able to do that for 5 decades? It may work in music despite their venues get smaller. Is your operation a breath of fresh air and original or are you
going through the same old motions. Are you and Mick Jagger trying to figure out how to keep living off Jumpin Jack Flash?

Today's donors require significantly different customer experiences and this new thinking requires a
completely new dashboard and strategy. I had the privilege in the last month of being part of two board retreats. What was exciting for me was seeing that the data in the new dashboards were compelling from a measurement perspective and logical when reviewing the organizations track record over a decade. Both boards could quickly see that the logic of the past four decades was simply no longer able to generate the kind of roi needed in today's development effort. One example: we did an exercise on naming a single invoice that could be paid by a participation number. zero

I would love the opportunity to discuss how your organization can dramatically benefit from shifting from decades of similar metrics to a new and dynamic dashboard that will accelerate your fundraising success. Email

If you are interested in an online tutorial of new annual fund strategies that can accelerate your operational cash flow click here.

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