Good fundraising ideas don’t just happen. And reliable, loyal donors don’t fall from the sky. If you’ve been pulling your hair out trying to determine how to raise more money with shrinking resources, perhaps it’s time to review fundamentals. Last post we discussed the first principle of fundraising – Research. Today, let’s look at the second principle: Identification.
Management expert Peter Drucker said: “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”
Identification will enable you to find likely supporters who “fit” your message and mission. And it helps you find the most effective messages to use and the best ways to deliver them.
The key is to segment your list into categories of similar people. It’s finding the who, where, what, why, and when of fundraising for charity.
The Who, Where, What, Why and When
First, Identify who they are: What age groups will support your cause? Where do they live (city, state, region, zip code or even neighborhood)? How much education do they have and what are their household incomes?
What do they do: What level of activity can you expect from them based on their history? How much will they give? Will they volunteer to attend an event? Participate in your social media? Recruit friends and family to the cause?
Why they get involved: Looking at survey responses, or even the performance of individuals or groups to specific appeals, what messages work best? Are there specific subjects or issues they are more interested in than others? When they get involved: Some donors may give at year-end; others may make routine donations. Others may only give at an event. Timing is everything in determining how to raise funds.
Where, or how they participate: Do they respond best to direct mail? Mobile solicitation? Event fundraising? Is a phone call the most likely way to guarantee their involvement? Identify the best method for outreach.
Example: Identifying text donors
One way to help identify supporters is to overlay market research with your data. This research can help guide you who to seek and how to reach out to them. Using mobile outreach as an example, we know from the mGive 2012 Text Giving Study that the following is identified profile of a likely text donor:
- Thirty-four to 44 years of age
- College educated
Our data also tells us that this universe is also:
- Likely to give amounts greater than $250 that can be solicited through other channels.
- Willing to donate through an organization’s website (increasingly accessed through smartphones)
- Likely to give at fundraising events
- Wants additional information via text on more topics than text donations
- Can be solicited for monthly recurring text donations through their phone bill.
This information enables you to identify who to solicit for text donations, drive traffic to your website, ask the right supporters for recurring and larger donations and build better relationships with donors who want information via mobile.
The principle of identification makes your fundraising more effective. Identifying the supporters and communication strategies that “fit” will make your fundraising blossom. Think of it as landscaping your yard. Plants have different needs, with varying requirements for water and sunlight. Identifying their proper care causes them to grow. Now we have to carefully cultivate — the next topic on our series on the principles of fundraising.