Straight Talk: Fundraising Challenges and Opportunities Lay Ahead
Joanne DelGiorno is the managing director of direct response marketing for the American Diabetes Association (ADA) in Alexandria, Va. As part of her role at ADA, DelGiorno develops and implements a wide range of direct response programs designed to raise more than $40 million to help prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of people affected by the disease. The direct response marketing initiatives she currently oversees include centralized direct mail, residential, memorial, catalog sales and online giving programs. She now pauses to reflect on the obstaclesand opportunitiesthat await fundraisers in 2005.
PB: What core issues do you think direct response fundraisers will grapple with in 2005?
JD: All legislation issues involving privacy, the Internet, telefundraising [do-not-call], etc.
PB: What are the current prospecting challenges facing direct response fundraisers?
JD: The biggest challenge is keeping postage, paper and list costs down while trying to acquire new donors. Also, the field is getting larger. Also, more charities are going after the same pool of donors.
PB: Which media currently offer the most opportunity for direct response fundraisers?
JD: I'm still loyal to our direct mail and telemarketing efforts. I think we still have a lot of opportunity through traditional fundraising methods. We are still seeing great returns on both mail and telemarketingeven with new do-not-call legislation. However, the Internet is proving to be a low cost [medium] to acquire a new donor, yielding a much higher average gift. The Internet certainly has a long-term potential for fundraising.
PB: What role do you think the Internet will play in direct response fundraising campaigns next year?
JD: I think we are just beginning to see many of the large charities looking at how to translate the successes they've achieved through traditional fundraising to their online efforts. I think the Internet will be playing more of an active role in future telemarketing and direct mail strategies, as either follow-ups to traditional mailings or stand-alone "e-newels" (for lack of a better term). I also see an explosion in how charities are using the Internet for special event pledge drives.
PB: What was the last piece of direct mail you responded to, and why?
JD: An effort from the Susan G. Komen Foundation because [the organization] helped my mother with information when she was diagnosed with breast cancer last year.