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15 September 2017

Nonprofit Feasibility Study

3 Tips to Know Before You Begin

As you start thinking about undertaking your nonprofit’s next fundraising campaign, you may be tempted to dive in head first to get the ball rolling. While this enthusiasm is great, completing some groundwork before getting started is important.

What kind of groundwork, you ask? Before starting any large-scale fundraising campaign, nonprofits should always begin by conducting a feasibility study.

Nonprofit feasibility studies are assessments designed to determine an organization’s readiness to take on a fundraising campaign. They reveal your organization’s strengths and weaknesses (in regard to development) and clarify opportunities for improvement. 

A comprehensive feasibility study will reveal how key stakeholders feel about your upcoming campaign, the types of fundraising strategies they respond to, and what resonates with them as supporters. Ideally, you will use study results to shape campaign elements and strategy—or focus on areas of improvement before embarking on your campaign.

Nonprofit feasibility studies are informative tools that can help nonprofits avoid fundraising catastrophe . . . yet many organizations elect to skip them. Big mistake! 

Start your next big fundraising project off right by taking time to conduct a thorough feasibility study. Read on to learn how you can make the most of this important assessment.

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18 July 2016

Ways to to Grow Your Active Donor Base with Data, pt 3

In Part 3, the final part, of this post, we'll discuss simple ways to optimize your direct fundraising processes to help grow your active donor list.

Selecting and segmenting lists to which you send appeals, as well as direct mail fundraising, are both art and science. Taking a fresh look at how you do them can help grow your active donor list.

  • Try segmenting lapsed donors based on preferences like their preferred giving channel and on issues in which they expressed interest. Both provide more targeted appeals.
  • Use the “monetary” part of RFM segmentations to make decisions on approaches to lapsed donors. For instance, begin your ask level based on the donor’s last donation so you’re not asking a former $50 giver for $25.
  • Try using philanthropic rating on your lists, importing the screening data to help you select lists for mailings. By doing so, one client organization increased its response rate to acquisition mailings by 67% while decreasing its expenses because it sent fewer appeals to more appropriate targets.

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18 May 2016

Ways to to Grow Your Active Donor Base with Data, pt 2

We’ve been discussing ways that your nonprofit can address attrition and generate new donors to help grow a healthy active donor base.   Part 1 focused on tightening up your data management.  This article looks at analyzing your list for active vs. lapsed donors.

Thoughtfully analyze your active donor list

Has your organization taken a hard look recently at which donors in its current list are active and which are lapsed? Analyzing your list thoughtfully in this way can help you make sure your data reaps the benefits it should.

Exactly what does your organization consider an active donor? Have you specified when donors are considered lapsed? Some organizations say two years without a response to an annual appeal. Others say 18 months. Still others don’t specify at all, and their list of “active” donors actually contains many, many more lapsed donors than active.

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18 March 2016

Ways to Grow Your Active Donor Base with Data - pt1

Without a healthy active donor base, you’re in trouble. That’s a truism all nonprofit fundraisers acknowledge. Growing the number of active donors is a constant process, but you can take steps today to boost that effort. The following strategies focus on reactivating lapsed donors and acquiring new names.  Upgrading current donors is certainly important, but these folks are already active givers.

For most nonprofits, addressing attrition is the key to growing a healthy active list.  Most also recognize the need to generate growth in new donors.  Making sure the data your organization has is working the way it should can address both needs and translate to better results.  And, no, your data doesn't have to be “big.” You can make use of data already in your systems to encourage growth.

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