Many professional fund raiser believe that as much as fund raising has changed over the last 50 years, that many of the concepts like volunteering, direct mail and telemarketing, may very well no longer be pertinent to fund raising in general. Social media, the Internet, the online giving for many organization has become the prevailing way to do business. Many smaller organizations can’t make the transition without innovative staff. Many don’t want to admit there are various outlets of fund raising they to not engage.
With that said there are several continuing concepts that may still be relevant pragmatic strategies on to how to run your annual fund and move forward at the same time. Managing your program to create loyalty rather than money was discussed last week. Your annual fund is a pipeline line for continuous money that will move investors to become major gift givers. More cash will be the critical sign that loyalty is fostering the next generation of givers.
LYBUNT’s ( Last Year But Not This Year) should become your focus as soon as the new fiscal starts. Why? Once again we talk about the fact that it is less expensive to re-engage current investors than to find new prospects. Build a program around retention with the goal of maximum growth with minimal acquisition is the ideal concept. Managing retention is understanding loyalty. Remember new investors aren’t loyal, they are spontaneous givers. What we are really saying is that you will need to create a new program that doesn’t push the new investor away, but engages them to obtain an understanding of the importance of the first gift. Be gentle and clearly articulate the need to raise annual funds.
SYBUNTs (Same Year But Not This Year) are responsible for attrition and in some institutions it can be as high as 70%. Set goals for each segment, i.e. reacquisition, sometime givers and never givers. Understanding that the real issue is not the size of gift, but that gift is generated. Not everyone will increase their gift nor will everyone give every year. Remember that alumni relations are about engagement and the principle means of the engagement is the gift. Most institution have less 60% of their alumni attend events.
What will assist in keeping LYBUNTs and SYBUNTs is to have alumni relations and the annual fund to work together to great programs that will engage and reinvest interest to this constituency. Think out of the box: create an event just for these investors, make it free,make it enticing and don’t ask for money. Your goal should be to re-create loyalty.
Next week we will talk about having a comprehensive annual campaign.