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What Can K, L, M, N and O Teach Us?

An alphabet’s worth of things every fundraiser should care about (Part 3).

February 21, 2013 By Pamela Barden
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A fundraiser’s day is seldom boring. From the planned work to the unexpected crises and opportunities, it’s hard to accomplish everything — let alone keep a sharp eye on the day-to-day tasks.

That’s one of the reasons for this series of articles. No, they won’t touch on everything that matters for fundraising success. But each one highlights a few things to consider … and maybe incorporate into your daily routine.

Special thanks to Sue Pargman, senior copywriter at Masterworks! She took on my challenge last week and provided suggestions for all five letters. So, welcome Sue, my co-author for this article. I’ll be sharing some of her thoughts along with mine. So with that, let’s look at K, L, M, N and O. (You can view A-E here and F-J here.)

K is for knowledge
Sue’s suggestion was “know your donors,” an important piece of knowledge for a fundraiser. Two dangerous thoughts we can have are, “I like this, so our donors will,” and, “Our donors are different.” Remember, you are not the target audience! You need to meet the donors where they are at, and that means unique messages for different groups. Something as simple as adding some lapsed language to a letter or e-appeal can greatly improve response.

Also, don’t assume proven fundraising tactics won’t work on your donors because they are “different” from all the other donors in the universe. Studies show that the best donors to one nonprofit are most likely also giving to one, two or more other organizations. They respond to best practices, which are called “best practices” because they have been proven to lift response time and time again. Test — don’t assume.

And don’t neglect increasing your knowledge about fundraising. There are great conferences, like the upcoming one sponsored by FundRaising Success — the Engage Conference — webinars (many free or low-cost), whitepapers available for download, etc. Keep learning!


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