Roy C. Jones

New Donors: Plant In The Spring, Harvest In The Fall

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You must begin acquisition planning in the spring each year to give your team time to finalize list procurement and event details for fall acquisition campaigns and projects. Remember, the number of new donors you need each year is contingent upon your attrition rate.  The amount you are spending on acquisition in these channels must be designed to offset attrition.  If you do not do enough new donor acquisition spending, only one thing is certain in direct response fundraising… attrition, lapsed donors and the end of your charity.

Each year, more than 50,000 charities or non-profits close their doors and shut down operations.  Do you want to guess the main reason why?  They were not acquiring enough new donors to offset attrition.  New donors are the life blood any organization.  If you have stopped acquiring new donors, trust me when I tell you, it’s only a matter of time before you too will be forced to close your doors.  Some will contend that they don’t need new donors because they have a foundation grant(s) that renews every year…  This is a very risky business model.

The advantage of having a new donor acquisition program is that it spreads your risk out.  If you can diversify your revenue by having thousands of donors, it is a much safer position that have all of your income dependent upon a few foundations or grants.  The good news is that you can have both!  Foundation grant funding AND individual donors can provide a much broader and much more stable a base of operations.

Where do you begin?

How many donors gave two years ago that did not give the past year?  In order to just stay at the same level of income you must do enough acquisition activities to replace those lost.  Then, if you want to grow revenue over the next two years, you have to procure additional donors over and above the number required to offset attrition.

It really is that simple.  You still have time to get your acquisition plans in place for this year.  March, April, May and June are when most nonprofits reserve their rental names for direct response, begin their keyword buying strategy on Google and planning for fall community events for new donor acquisition.  NOW IS THE TIME to plant in the spring so you can harvest in the fall!

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