Less is Less

Less is Less

Most organizations would agree that “Less is less” when it comes to fundraising.

If you ask less, you’ll raise less.

But the converse is also true: if you ask more, you’ll raise more.

If your organization believes that “less is less,” but doesn’t believe that “more is more,” you’ve placed a boundary around the generosity of your donors.

It’s worth asking how that boundary came to be.

Most organizations (and the people working in them) are afraid of being rejected when asking for money. So they set the boundary out of fear.

But like most boundaries that are placed out of fear, they are pretty limiting. The boundary around your donors’ generosity limits how much they will give to your organization, and how much money you can raise.

If you can remove your boundary – and embrace the truth of “more is more” – you’ll unlock your donors’ generosity and you’ll do more good.

The Long Cut

improve

“Ship your work. Get feedback. Improve it. Repeat.”

This lesson comes from the Tech and Art worlds, but it applies perfectly to fundraising.

Every time you send out a piece of fundraising, you’ve shipped your work. Celebrate it.

Then you get feedback in opens, click-throughs, # of gifts, response rate, etc. Measure it.

Then you ask, “What could we do to get more opens, click-throughs, etc.?” Improve it.

Then you keep it up. Because when you repeat the cycle, you get the “compound interest” of ever-improving results.

Ship your work. Get feedback. Improve it. Repeat.

It’s not sexy. But it’s a priceless way to serve your beneficiaries or cause.

The Habit

Habits

There’s a habit your organization can develop that will result in raising more money and keeping more of your donors each year.

It’s the habit of regularly using the mail and email to stay in relationship with your donors.  

Here’s why the habit of regularly sending mail and email to your donors is so powerful…

The habit of regularly Asking your donors to do meaningful, powerful things with a gift through your organization results in more gifts.  Donors in motion tend to stay in motion.  Donors at rest tend to stay at rest.

The habit of regularly Reporting to your donors shows and tells them that their gifts make a difference.  Donors who know their previous gift made a meaningful difference are more likely to give to you again than donors who don’t.

The habit of regularly contacting your donors always works better than “going dark” for weeks or months at a time.

The habit of regularly contacting your donors via letters and emails is more effective than Social.

The habit of regularly contacting your donors always works better than sending nothing.

Getting in the habit of regularly sending out mail and email, paying attention to the results, always works better than any other approach.

It’s a habit you must develop 

First, you must get past the idea that mailing your donors more than a couple times a year will somehow result in the mythical “donor fatigue.”  If you need help with that, look here.  Or here.

Then you have to realize that each piece you send out is not precious.  Each piece you send out is an overwhelmingly positive incident that raises money, keeps you in touch with your donors, and learning opportunity.

Then you just have to practice.  You need repetition.  Sending out mail and email is like any other skill; you get better with practice.

Show me an organization that has developed a habit of regularly mailing and emailing its donors and I’ll show you an organization that has deeper relationships with its donors and keeps more of its donors every year.