In these days of tight budgets and belt tightening, all nonprofits are looking for ways to squeeze every last dollar out of their house files. We’ve found that one of the most effective best practices is to dig deeply into your data to uncover trends and early warning signs that things might be off track.
Avalon VP of Analytics Rick Malchow created an ingenious tool, called Avalon VitalStatsTM (Key Performance Indicator Dashboard), to uncover donor-level trends. A valuable management tool, the Dashboard provides at-a-glance summaries of your program’s current performance metrics compared to prior years, enabling convenient program status monitoring and communications. The summaries include donor counts, giving statistics (overall and by donor type), donor retention rates, and program financial performance.
I had the opportunity to attend this year’s NTEN (Nonprofit Technology Network) Conference recently, along with my colleagues Barb Perell and Jamie Natelson. As usual, the Conference was a stimulating mix of best practices discussions, new ideas, and strategies for how nonprofits can take advantage of technology. Some highlights:
MailSmart Logistics is out with a terrific blog called How Can Mailers Prepare for Five Day USPS Mail Delivery? Since they posted this piece, some members of Congress have introduced a bill to keep six-day mail delivery, and as I write this, we don't know if this legislation will be successful. What we do know is that five-day deliver will affect all mailers (catalogs, magazines, nonprofits, etc.), so in the event that it becomes reality, we need to be prepared. The MailSmart blog describes how the volume of mail people receive each day will increase with five-day delivery, so we will all need to find a way to make our mail stand out even more. Here are MailSmart’s recommendations for getting ready for five-day delivery:
I had the pleasure of attending this year’s Direct Marketing Association (DMA) annual conference recently with my colleagues Rick Malchow and Jackie Biancolli. Some of the key takeaways for us:
One of the puzzles that keeps us all guessing in the field of nonprofit fundraising is what it is that motivates donors to give. Long or short letter? Benefits? Envelope teasers? Institutional messaging? Unfortunately, as we all know, the only way to find out is through consistent, ongoing testing.
Any marketer who’s tried guessing which test will outperform the control, knows that in reality, no one can say every time what motivates donors. Not even donors! But we can make some educated guesses, especially when it comes to arts donors.
I attended the Direct Marketing Association of Washington’s (DMAW) annual meeting recently, and came away with some interesting opinions on where the US economy is heading, and how consumers will react – all critical information for direct marketers.
Anirban Basu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Sage Policy Group, Inc., delivered a spirited and fascinating keynote address. He’s an economist, and took us through the ups and downs of the past few years, where we are now, and where we are going, economically speaking:
As we continue to draw conclusions from Avalon clients’ online fundraising year-end results, here are some overall impressions:
When the Obama campaign announced in August that it would begin accepting text message contributions, the debate on small-dollar giving was off and running. Because if political campaigns can simultaneously engage grassroots supporters, identify voters, and raise funds through texts and online marketing, shouldn’t nonprofits use this strategy, too?
Probably not. And here’s why.
At some point, all nonprofits are affected by a major external event — a devastating natural disaster; a Supreme Court decision; a presidential candidate making an outrageous statement on their issues — and must turn on a dime to raise donors’ awareness and/or appeal to them for support.