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December 3, 2018 Aubrey Hoeppner

As you close the books on 2018, now is the time to review your donor file trends and gather information you need to improve your fundraising in 2019.

Is your income growing compared to previous years?

What happened in your donor file last year that caused income to go up or down?

Did more donors give to you in 2018 than in 2017?

If yes, do you have more new donors? That’s great! Now you can focus on connecting with them, so that they want to give again—consider calling them to thank them, inviting them to commit to a monthly gift, or inviting them to tour your ministry.

Or did your retention of current donors improve? These donors might be ready to give at a higher level, so try to upgrade them with higher asks in support of the ministry areas they most love to support. Send handwritten notes thanking your most faithful donors, to make sure they know you’ve noticed and appreciated them.

If you had fewer donors, and you still want to grow, consider a phone call campaign to lapsed donors, inviting them to rejoin the fight for your cause. Also, plan on setting aside some additional funds to acquire more donors. Keep in mind that multi-channel campaigns produce better results than single-channel campaigns.

How is your donor value changing year over year?

Annual donor value is the average amount donors give in the year—your donated income divided by the number of donors who gave in the year.

If it’s down, and not just because of a couple large gifts not coming in this year, look for ways to encourage your donors to give at higher levels. You can test higher ask levels in your appeals or even include a “stretch ask,” challenging higher level donors to give a larger gift than they ever have before. Be sure to recognize any extraordinary increases in giving with a phone call or handwritten note.

Our team is happy to help advise you on what strategy may work best for your organization, but you’ll never know unless you try.

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