card trickWhen I meet with nonprofits to talk about Excalibur’s development expertise, I’m frequently asked, “What’s the trick to successful fundraising?” The fact is, there are no tricks. Your winning formula depends on knowing your donor and member characteristics and developing a plan with consistent implementation.

I recently presented a session on successful direct mail fundraising for the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ (AFP) Triad NC Chapter. If you missed my session, here are some of the big points I discussed:

Are you primarily focused on social media and online strategies? If you’re looking to attract younger donors, you’re smart to devote resources to this. But keep this in mind:

Direct mail appeals account for 79% of all giving nationally. Surprised? While online giving is growing at 1% annually,  it still represents only 10% of all giving nationally. And while email works well as an acquisition method—16% of new donors—email is not as successful for renewals, accounting for only 7%.

Take a hard look at your own organization’s donor and member characteristics and behaviors. What are your donor acquisition and retention pathways?

What’s likely to be the key to your success:  a truly integrated marketing and brand strategy that pushes across multiple channels, with direct mail as an important element in delivering a coordinated, consistent brand and message.

More often than not, nonprofits tell me they think integrated, multi-channel fundraising is beyond their reach. It isn’t. But that’s why some might think it’s a trick.—George Newstedt