Understanding donors is key to keeping donations steady
As the need for emergency services throughout the USA continues to rise, overall donations to emergency management organizations have fallen. The local United Way of Moscow/Latah County is succeeding at holding its own because of two important factors. The first is their own skill and understanding of their community and its evolving needs, and the second is thanks to their donor management database, FundRaiser Select. The purpose is of United Way of Moscow/ Latah County is to increase the organized capacity of people, in Moscow/Latah County, to care for one another. They are FundRaiser Select user
“By using FundRaiser to track and monitor our donations and their giving history and patterns we have managed to keep donations steady in spite of the economy,” says Cretia Bunney, executive director at United Way of Moscow/Latah County. Keeping a close eye on giving patterns and trends helps to keep Cretia keyed in to who is most likely to donate. Previous donors to the United Way of Moscow/Latah frequently become repeat donors. “They are loyal to us and make ongoing donations.” Targeting these previous donors with fundraising appeals has brought in the best return.
Targeted appeals increase donations and save money
She learned this through trial and error. Cretia has tried two strategies for mailing out fundraising appeals. Her first strategy was to send out large mailings which included people who had not previously donated to United Way of Moscow/Latah. What they learned is that the large mailings cost them more in time and money, but brought in almost no additional return. “We increase only a very tiny bit or not at all when we do larger mailings compared to just sending it out a letter to our loyal donors,” says Cretia.
Having learned this, Cretia now only sends out appeals to previous donors and is able to do this because of the records she keeps in FundRaiser. To make sure that United Way of Moscow/Latah can contact people who have donated in the past, Cretia records donors’ contact information, gift amount, and gift motivation in FundRaiser. She uses FundRaiser to automatically print out thank you letters for all donations.
She also uses FundRaiser to track corporate donations. “That way I can pull a list of corporate donations. We track them in FundRaiser and then contact them in person.
Cretia also sets up reports that show donors by their giving levels. “That way, I can pull a report to say which are the donors who are giving $1,000 – $2,500, and I can recognize them that way.” This encourages them to maintain or increase their high level of giving.
Effective donor management can be simple
The features Cretia uses in FundRaiser are all core features. They are easy to learn. Even with very limited time, any organization could maintain the kind of records that Cretia has used to maintain donation levels. Cretia works at United Way of Moscow/Latah only one day a week, and in that time is able to do this tracking in FundRaiser as well as her other office work.
In addition, organizations do not need to be tech savvy to implement this level of donor management. The core features can be learned quickly, and FundRaiser provides training. Cretia recommends that organizations take time for training. “I took a little training and it was really easy to understand. It helped me understand how things were set up.”