May 4, 2021 Mark Mangin

We’re coming up on the halfway point of 2021, which means now is the time to perform a mid-year check-in with your donor data. Assessing your donor file progress now can alert you to any problems developing in your fundraising. You’ll still have enough time to add or adjust communications before the fourth quarter, when the largest percentage of revenue comes in for most organizations.

How many of the new donors you acquired last year have made a second gift?

How does that compare to the trend from previous years?

Which areas are critical to review right now?

  • 1) New Donors: Are you bringing in enough new donors to reach your growth goal for the year? Look at several years of month-by-month new donor quantities to see the trend of how many new donors your organization typically acquires in the first half of the calendar year. Has your number of new donors grown enough over the trend to put you on a growth path this year?
      • If you need to accelerate your new donor acquisition, add a digital acquisition campaign or plan to allocate additional budget to campaigns you have planned in the second half of the year.
      • If your number of new donors is on track for growth, great! Which “asks” have brought on the most new donors? Plan to repeat these asks in the fall to bring on more new donors and activate the new ones who’ve already given once this year.
  • 2) New Donor Activation: Whether your donors provided record support in 2020 or you had a more challenging year, it will be critical to get that second gift from as many first-time supporters as possible. How many of the new donors you acquired last year have made a second gift, and how does that compare to the trend from previous years?
  • Pay attention to the particular offer that they responded to initially. Have you provided another opportunity for them to address that compelling need? Have you thanked them and shown them the impact their donation made?
  • 3) Income by Channel: How does your revenue through each of your main giving channels compare to previous years at this time? This year, you’ll need to account for any shifts that COVID-19 has necessitated in your program, like cancelation of fundraising events or face to face calls on major donors. Are you making up for this loss of income through other channels, like direct mail and digital? For many of our partners, we’ve seen income for these two channels increase in the last year as donors did more of their giving from home.
  • 4) Testing results: Look at the results from testing you’ve done so far this year. What have you learned that can be applied to your communications for the second half of the year? What did you learn from this past fall that you can apply to the next one?

Now is the time to review these critical components and lay the groundwork for a fantastic year-end!

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