Annual giving teams are under pressure. The numbers show that teams are squeezing more money from fewer donors than they ever have before.
Among Reeher Community institutions:
- Donors are down 1.4%
- Retention rate is down 2.7%
- But dollars are up 2.1%.
Dollars may be up, but annual giving teams should be concerned about decreasing participation and retention rates. Expecting a smaller pool of donors to support your annual fund each year isn’t sustainable. To combat these worrisome trends, annual giving teams need a new strategy to increase donors and improve retention rates. There is a tremendous opportunity for annual giving teams to harness the power of person-to-person fundraising for converting constituents into donors.
People Give to People
Annual giving teams already know the power of person-to-person fundraising. Phone programs have traditionally relied on the connections donors make with student callers. However, in recent years phone has been declining in effectiveness as a fundraising outreach channel. People are less willing or available to pick up the phone to talk. As phone’s effectiveness wanes, something has to replace the dollars and donors that are no longer coming in.
Creating the Personal Touch Across All Your Channels
You can use a person-to-person approach to enhance the effectiveness of your strategy regardless of channel. For example, if your institution employs students to solicit for annual giving, have the same student who makes the phone call to a certain group of donors sign off on the emails these donors receive, or be the name in the text solicitations. Connecting a student name and story across channel types helps reinforce to donors the direct, personal impact of their donation and provides them with a sense of continuity.
Schools have also experimented with content and storytelling that delves deep into the personal experiences of a student, or a group of students. Institutions have long known that direct, hyper-focused stories help donors form a personal connection that spurs their gift. This great strategy can be expanded to bridge multiple channels so that when a donor hears from you by direct mail, email, phone, or more, they’re getting a continuation of a personal story.
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