Maximizing the value of a donor base you have worked long and hard to build requires using every tool available and every possible fundraising effort and strategy. For most of our clients, that involves a separate major donor program, monthly giving program, integrated online fundraising and a planned giving solicitation effort.
Whether you are embarking on a long term strategic plan, have hit a rut with one of your income streams, or are just planning for next year, through a fundraising audit ABD Direct can work with you to paint the big picture perspective you need to implement long term strategies and make the case for the resources to bring your plan to fruition.
Sometimes it helps to take an 8,000 foot view.
Most development professionals are juggling so many day to day priorities- getting emails and mailings out the door, monitoring budgets, meeting with donors, responding to executive leadership, executing events and more- that they simply don’t have the time to step back and look at the big picture of how best to take their program into the future. Whether you are embarking on a long term strategic plan, have hit a rut with one of your income streams, or are just planning for next year, through a fundraising audit ABD Direct can work with you to paint the big picture perspective you need to implement long term strategies and make the case for the resources to bring your plan to fruition. An audit may contain one or all of the following elements:
Below you can read more about how one ABD Direct client benefitted from an audit.
In mid 2013 an international nonprofit came to ABD Direct with a broad and significant challenge- diversify income by growing its US based individual giving program. Their US fundraising leaned heavily on events donors and major gifts solicited through their board and organization friends. They wanted not only to improve their retention of these donors, but invest in building more institutional direct marketing, mid level, and major donor programs. In order to do this, the development team identified priority focus areas. They wanted to:
While the team had a good sense of what they were missing, they needed a big picture review in order to put the many pieces of the puzzle into place.
The organization asked ABD Direct to assist them. As a part of their deliverables, they wanted recommendations for quick wins in the ensuing 4 months, and a medium term plan for the following year. This project needed to be completed in a short 6 weeks.
In partnership with the organization, ABD Direct determined that the appropriate steps would be to speak with the team, conduct an analysis of historical data, review the staffing and resource structure, analyze the donor care program, review the solicitation materials and schedule, identify high value donor segments, and wrap it all up into a strategy for growth and case for investment that their leadership could approve. This process began with interviews with every member of the development team. Not only was this cathartic for the team, but it identified key commonly held thoughts on strengths and weaknesses of the development department, helping ABD Direct to prioritize its focus.
We then conducted a review of the organization’s data from the two previous years to get a more empirical assessment of the activity and results of the fundraising program. Our analytics staff reviewed the segmentation schema that was being employed, and the long term value of the different donor segments. During this review we identified significant gaps in data management, and took the extra step of putting in writing improvements that would help the team improve analysis and inform strategy going forward.
When working on the donor care and solicitation strategy, we looked not only at the client’s mail and email schedules, but examined how each segment was welcomed to the organization and how they were cultivated. We looked at solicitation approaches – ask strings, letter signers, email techniques. To finish the analysis portion of the project, we looked at each development team member’s job description and identified areas of redundancy gaps that needed to be filled.
To provide structure to such an all-encompassing project and ensure that we were on the same page as the team, we set up sub-project deadlines. The following was provided to the development team as the weeks ticked by:
It was an incredibly enlightening and satisfying project for both the ABD Direct team and the client, and we look forward to continuing this type of work.