In the fundraising arena, premiums often are used as an additional lure to give to a cause, but that lure can be pretty unimaginative. Tote bags, stuffed animals, umbrellas and fleece blankets are still worthy gifts for prospective donors, but they may appreciate the institutions that go a little further in their premium offers. How does becoming part of that cultural organization's story sound? That's called a premium that's hard to top, and you'll see it in several packages I examine this month.
The Philadelphia Flower Show, produced by The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), is the largest indoor flower show in the world, attracting more than 250,000 visitors to its 10 acres of floral designs and presentations.
In part one of this article, published in our April issue, we discussed how the Obama for America campaign became so powerful online, raising half a billion dollars total in small donations. It's true that a political campaign has unique elements that make it ripe for online marketing, such as constant media attention, big name recognition, high emotions and a quick deadline to meet, yet there are many best practices that fundraisers can take away from the Obama campaign.
Puzzled over how to piece together a building fund? Dawn George, vice president of fund development for Wesley Enhanced Living Foundation of Southampton, Penn., provides background on how she's using magnetized jigsaw bits to solve her fundraising problem for one of the retirement communities the foundation supports.
A recession puts stress in all kinds of places, including the relationship that nonprofits have with their donors. In his recent book, "Fundraising When Money Is Tight: A Strategic and Practical Guide to Surviving Tough Times and Thriving in the Future," Mal Warwick—founder and chairman of Mal Warwick Associates, a Berkeley, Calif.- and Washington, D.C.-based fundraising agency specializing in direct marketing—says that your organization must have programs in place that recognize the importance of that relationship, especially during down economic times.
KCSM FM is so jazzed its member retention drive struck the right chord with donors that the station plans to sing the same tune for at least the next year.
Many outers in the fundraising field are colorless, or ride heavily on the name of the nonprofit or the celebrity backing it. World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization, turns that classic design on its head with its four-color 6" x 9-1/2" mailing-and it has numerous implications. In fact, it asks the outer to do a lot of the work for this highly efficient mailing (Archive code #605-171939-0901).
In the current climate of shrunken personal savings and swelling unemployment percentages, many folks are feeling less fortunate, literally. Of course, many of these direct mail prospects know that others out there, at home and certainly in Third World countries, have it worse, but the self-preservation instinct is kicking in more than usual, with 2008 ranking as one of the worst years the fundraising sector has seen. At its 46th International Conference on Fundraising in New Orleans, La., held earlier this week, the Association of Fundraising Professionals reported that less than half of charities raised more money in 2008 than in 2007 and, more importantly (or frighteningly), fundraising gains dropped significantly across the board.
There's no question that the Obama for America campaign set a new standard in online fundraising. Of its $750 million raised, half a billion came in online. Let me say that again. Half a billion dollars came in online; that's 6.5 million small donations, with an $80 average gift, from 3 million donors. Those numbers are staggering. So how did Obama for America do it?
When Lighthouse International abandoned its labels acquisitions control package in 2006 in an effort to bring in higher-dollar donors, it turned to a proven renewal package and adapted that to reach out to its acquisitions audience-a move that led to the founding of a new control that it has relied on since.