Disce aut Discede: learn or leave!

The Latin phrase "Disce aut Discede" is used as the motto of many institutions and schools. It means "Learn or Leave". It's time we adopt this mindset in our sector as well.

There is plenty of best practice available in the sector, as you will see when The Commission on the Donor Experience presents her findings. But to be honest: there is more bad practice happening around us. More then we'd like to see.

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Invest. Experience. Loyalty. Retention. Income. Repeat.

If you are able to keep your donors longer, you will raise more funds for your cause. Simple as that.

The simplest way I can explain it:

We invest in our staff and our fundraising programs. This should result in the best possible experience for both potential and existing donors. This influences satisfaction, commitment and trust, which constitute the donor’s attitude towards the charity. In other words: increased donor loyalty. This leads to the desired behaviour: higher retention rates. In turn this results in more income, which can be invested again. In projects for our beneficiaries, in staff and our fundraising program. And repeat.

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A retention vision like Billie Holiday

Across the charity sector we literally spend days on the creation of boardroom presentations, we meet for hours in cross-functional working groups, and the other half of the day we're either in one-on-one or team meetings... We're all taking selfies. It's all Me, Myself and I. But we're looking the wrong way... we should be taking pictures of our donors. All those snapshots will tell us a story about who they are and what they want.

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Retention Fundraising: adapt or die!

Almost 10 years ago Roger Craver gave me the book Moneyball from Michael Lewis. I was excited, because I have played ball since I was a kid. I love baseball. The book is about the Oakland Athletics baseball team and its general manager Billy Beane.

Roger told me it could widen my horizon, that I would look at things differently and think outside the (batter’s) box. He wasn’t talking about baseball, but fundraising…

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The BIG 5 in fundraising performance metrics

You might love it. You might hate it. But if you respect your donors and your work as a fundraiser you are likely to spend a few hours per week looking at reports. Those reports will tell you all sorts of things about the behavior of your donors, a.k.a. your fundraising results. But, in general, what are the most important fundraising performance metrics you should monitor? Keep reading and get your free download at the end of this post.

What I'm about to share seems somewhat simple perhaps. This is in fact not simple; these are the basics! Unfortunately too many fundraisers out there still don’t respect the basics.

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Testing is not for the faint-hearted

It’s not fun being a fundraiser nowadays: depressing trends like declining responses, high-cost-acquisition in combination with through-the-roof-attrition, rock-bottom-retention and charity-bashing-media… pfff, mission impossible?!

Or, is there still a bright light in the fundraising sky? Sure there is, plenty!

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Essentials of donor loyalty

There are a trillion fundraising topics to choose from, but today I’ve chosen one I consider the most important: donor loyalty.

When I started to use Twitter I decided to tweet only about fundraising. To boost my followers I thought I'd summarize the best Tiny book in the series: Essentials of Donor Loyalty from professor Adrian Sargeant. In the end I tweeted the tiniest summary of the book ever done... in 71 tweets.

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