It can feel hard to keep up. But the basics remain key.
To succeed, we must make learning part of our practice.
I want to suggest you grab a copy of a new little book from TrueSense Marketing.
Who doesn’t need a guide?
Their Fundraising Field Guide is packed with basic information you need to fundraise better. And remarkably, they pack a ton of useful information into just over 100 pages.
This handy little guide covers everything: fundraising strategy, storytelling, writing for donors and much more. Need a quick refresher on storytelling? Or how to plan your fundraising program? Maybe you need to focus more on meaningful testing?
You’ll find it all in here. And it’s a fun read!
One of my favorite chapters is about direct response pitfalls. No matter how long we’ve been at this, there are mistakes we have all made or might make.
Are you making these potential mistakes:
Do you think you’re your target audience?
I’ve often run into staff or board members who use their own reaction to an email or mail appeal to judge its worth. Big mistake. Anyone on the inside has a different perspective than most donors. Your gut reaction can steer you wrong. Instead, learn all you can about your donors. (Hint: they’re undoubtedly older than you are.)
Are you ignoring other departments in your organization?
If you’re smart, you’ve been working to develop a culture that celebrates philanthropy in your organization. While you might find it easier to keep fundraising to yourself and just get it done, silos are death to fundraising. And donors don’t discriminate. When they contact your organization, they want to be helped – by whoever answers the phone or opens the mail.
Are you working well with a consultant or outside agency?
Learn how you really need to work WITH them to get the best response for your money. If you hand something off to a consultant or agency and never communicate, you’re missing opportunities. Check in with them. You’ll learn, and they’ll learn, too. And your results will improve.
And are you using the right metrics so your measurements are meaningful?
I guess I’m a nerd, because this was one of my favorite sections.
If you want to improve, you need to know what to look at, and what to test. It’s easy to gather a group of metrics and share them with your board or staff colleagues. But if they’re not useful metrics, you’re wasting everyone’s time.
Are you judging results too quickly?
I will confess: I loved waiting for the mail to come after an appeal was sent. A little bit like Christmas for fundraisers. The first week would see stacks of envelopes or lots of opens. Then things would get quiet.
At the same time, everyone is eagerly waiting to know: how’d we do?
So that’s when to judge how well you did, right?
Not so much. Sometimes you need more time to get a sense of that mailing. Don’t jump to conclusions too fast or you might miss the big picture.
The real kicker?
This guide is free. Yes, free. And here’s how you can get your hands on it.
We all need to keep learning. And we all need some great advice to help us improve. This little guide is something you’ll want to tuck above your desk or save to your desktop so you have it at hand.