When in doubt—ask

Taking a disciplined qualitative and quantitative look at your organization’s fundraising program may be one of the most productive—that is, raising more money—activities you can spend time and money on. It’s a shame it isn’t done more often.

The for-profit community has long regarded basic customer (read, donor) research and statistical improvement methods has worth their weight in gold. And why not? Experience as shown that such undertakings often yield upwards of five times the investment needed to conduct such research in increased fundraising totals in the first year alone. A five-fold return in twelve months; try that with the stock market.

It’s really rather basic. Donors are the drivers. Your organization needs to know exactly what makes them tick—and why. You can’t assume. Conventional wisdom comes from the organization’s point of view, and it’s almost always wrong.

As donors become more sophisticated—and demanding—in the performance of the charitable organizations they support, the organizations that prosper—the ones that even approach their true potential—will be those who ask. They’ll ask not only for the gift but first they will ask the donor what’s important.

Larry C. Johnson
M. E. Grace & Associates