Annual Giving & Membership
What makes an Annual Fund exciting to donors? [Back to top]
Donors understand why you have annual appeals. That doesn’t mean they eagerly rip open your mail appeal, rush to grab the phone when you call or read your e-mail the instant it arrives. But your annual budget is often the beating heart of your work, the critical funds that allow you to respond to needs, be creative, serve more people. Let’s tell that story with the energy and creativity it deserves.
Why do your annual appeals work? Because donors know you need the money. But to give much bigger amounts far more frequently, they need something, too – news, fresh messages, authenticity and a reason to make a bigger commitment.
We start by interviewing anyone in your organization with a good story to tell. Executives, program managers, policy wonks, volunteers or the very people you serve. We’re trying to stamp out dull, institutional-sounding appeals!
We’ll pour over your past results and database, looking for patterns or segments with more potential. We’ll scour your acknowledgments, publications, website and CEO’s speeches. We won’t rest until we’ve create an appeal that makes donors think, “I had no idea this organization did so much – I’m going to give right now.”
How can your communication channels help each other more? [Back to top]
Donors demand flexible ways to respond to appeals. The most successful annual giving programs embrace and serve that trend. Can your mailings, website, e-mail and phone programs support each other more effectively – to raise more money for your programs?
How much overlap is there between donors who give to you online, by mail or by phone? We can help you spot key trends and enhance or create new fundraising tools to boost results from every channel.
Do more than 20-25% of your annual donors or members give more than once a year? If so, your program is healthy and has potential for increasing gifts to higher levels, midlevel clubs or monthly sustainer giving.
If you haven’t hit the 20-25% metric yet, it’s time to review the targeting and messages of your appeals. Let’s review your strategy and results together.
How to increase gift sizes written in stone. [Back to top]
“How much did I give last year?” Have you heard this from donors countless times on phones, and seen it in mail or online response? It’s a fair, understandable question – yet you would like the person to make a bigger annual gift, especially if this is likely to be their only gift this year. They like you – but need a reason to give more money. Your mail, phone scripts and e-mail messages all ask for increases. Are you getting as many upgrades as you need or want? Could some message and strategy tests help raise more money from the same number of donors? Let us develop an upgrade test plan for your program. It’s especially important if most of your donors only give once a year.
Ivy-covered walls, not moss-covered appeals. The challenge for higher education.
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Your institution’s history, traditions and permanence produce pride among your alumni. But immediacy produces annual gifts. Donors need to know what’s new, urgent or exciting on campus.
We can help you engage your alumni, parents and friends by:
- Creating a new scholarship, alumni or parents campaign
- Developing new messages for new appeal signers
- Rethinking how your phone program, direct mail appeals and e-mail work together
- Testing new appeals targeting academic areas, student needs, athletics or international activities
While we’re at it, let’s look together at your acknowledgments, phone pledge fulfillment kits, donor recognition and stewardship. Fresh thinking now can lead to higher retention and bigger gifts sooner than you think.
Does your public broadcasting station make the most of its Annual Fund?
Do you have one? [Back to top]
Members of your audience enjoy recognition and benefits as members of your station. You need them to stretch a little more with additional gifts throughout year – they just need to know why. Our client stations have hit fundraising highs with carefully crafted messages, coordinating on-air, online, mail and phones.
- Special appeals like the “Fund for Independent Journalism,” “Save Classical Music” and “Annual Fund for Children’s Media” have generated bountiful extra gifts from members in markets throughout the nation.
- Web support, on-air promotion and e-mail mini-series have turned direct mail appeals into community-wide campaigns, boosting giving at all membership levels.
Membership: What works – deeper discounts or better benefits? [Back to top]
Donors who choose membership organizations expect a lot. They’ve signaled a willingness to stick around. If they’re treated right. If they’re engaged.
They pick a membership category because it offers them a benefit or privilege, shows their loyalty, puts them in good company or just seems like a good buy.
We focus with equal energy on discovering fresh ideas and applying best practices.
Professional teams dig into your membership program, scan the competition and find the sweet spots where your program can improve, providing:
- Complete customized membership program reviews, from benefits and recognition to targeting
- New member acquisition strategies
- Membership upgrade, sustainer & retention initiatives
- New message development and communications strategies
- Copy, design and testing that cuts through the clutter in any medium