Friday, January 30, 2009

Good fundraising practice beats the economy blues

In my paper 'Ten Point plan to recession-proofing your fundraising' I argue that good fundraising practice is needed now more than ever, regardless of how the economy is doing.

I had a great boost to this theory with the results of our first ever direct mail appeal in Canada. Amongst all the doom and gloom there, and the seemingly accepted fact that charities are suffering, this mailing made over 50% more than last year.

The mailing is up from about $1m income last year, to $1.5m this year. And the charity's staff are still processing donations. This is after mailing the same set of donors as last year. Although the costs were higher (the pack was bigger, longer and was personalised) the increase in costs were not significant compared to the extra half million in the bank.

At the same time I hear of appeals for many other Canadian charities being down for the same period.

Of course, I am pleased with the efforts of the charity staff and the Pareto Fundraising people in Canada, Singapore and Australia who worked on the job but I am not trumpeting this as a free advert.

All we did was follow good fundraising practice. We did nothing that isn't in the fundraising or direct marketing books or on courses; the charity was willing to invest more on a respectful, highly personalised and targeted approach.

With this appeal alone, the charity effectively 'ticked off' half of the points in the ten point plan and it worked. (See 1,2, 6, 7 and 8)

You don't need to hire us (or other agencies) to make this work - just make sure you are implementing good fundraising practice, please. Don't try and do things on the cheap.

(A note for North Americans readers: this is not an ad, but of course our regional director would love to help you, email Jonathon Grapsas).


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