FundRaiser Blog

The FundRaiser Software Blog is an excellent resource for nonprofit organizations looking to learn more about fundraising, donor management, membership management, and much more.

Reviving On-Hold projects (Revisited)

The economy is on the rebound, or so most of the news I've heard says, even though we individuals may not be feeling the positive effects as strongly as we'd like.  In light of the rebound, I'm re-posting a blog I wrote a while back, thinking that it might be time for some of you to think about revisiting projects or campaigns you've had on hold.

Sometimes it's necessary to put a project or campaign "on hold" to wait for more positive circumstances. But it's still important to keep up with your donor database changes, because, someday, those circumstances will arrive and you'll want to get back in the swing of things as quickly as possible. The economic climate change has profoundly affected many non-profits these past few years, and some have had to take a step back to reassess their plans in light of these changes.

How can data that you've kept in the past help with reconnecting with donors and prospects once you've got things sorted out?

With FundRaiser, there are many pieces of information that can be used to determine how you're going to approach people (and organizations) to re-establish and reinforce old relationships.

Groupings can be invaluable in segmenting records for targeted mailings. You might be sending one letter to those who had given to your original project/campaign to explain your reasons for putting it on hold, and how their donations have helped keep it alive (though dormant). Another grouping might be those who had given for reasons unrelated to the project/campaign, but haven't given since you shelved the original project. You know best when separating people/organizations into common-ground groups for targeted communications, and what you want to say to each of those target groups.

Here are some tips on how to prevent overlaps in those groupings, so that you're not sending multiple letters with different content to the same people.

First of all, of course, you need to define for yourself the makeup of the different segments you'll need to cover all your donors and prospects. And you need to determine the best way to identify a record as belonging to one group or another. This may be gift-related codes for people who have given to the project in the past, or it may be category or other donor-related codes for folks who had not given but had expressed interest, and so on.

Sometimes it may be impossible to select criteria for different groupings that create mutually exclusive groups, allowing a single donor to legitimately be in multiple groups. So, for those records that could be in multiple groupings targeted for different communications, you need to determine which communication takes precedence, or whether you may want a separate communication for those folks. In any event, you need to be able to know who fits in what slots, so to speak.

One of the easiest ways I've found to do this is by using "throw-away" category codes. Let's say I have three (3) groupings of name records, and I know that some folks may be in more than one grouping. To determine this for certain, and to know, definitively, which records are affected, I simply apply (read: Mass Assign) separate category codes to each grouping. For the first grouping, I might (while the Grouping is open) mass assign the code "AAA" to all the records.  Then I mass assign the code "BBB" to the second set of records, and then "CCC" to the third set.  This allows me to create a group of records that fall into all three groups, by using just the category codes I've assigned and requiring that a record has to have all three (AAA, BBB, and CCC).  I can also create groups that includes two-code combinations:  AAA+BBB, AAA+CCC, BBB+CCC.  

With this coding approach, I could send a primary letter to one group (let's say the AAA group), and another letter to the second (BBB) group EXCLUDING any AAA people, and a third letter to the CCC group, EXCLUDING both the AAA and BBB people.  It really depends on the message you're sending, of course, as to how you want to do this, but I hope you get the idea.  By the way, with FundRaiser Professional, there is a special "Combine/Subtract" feature in the Groupings menu that can do virtually the same thing without creating those "throw-away" codes, but I find it easier to wrap my head around the codings. For Professional users, the choice is yours, so do it whichever way is more comfortable for you.

To learn more about how FundRaiser can help you with maintaining the records you need

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