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You Have $75. How Should You Spend It?

Written By: Cam Shapansky on June 03, 2015

There’s no doubt — we’re living in a tough fundraising environment.

Best Money Spent on FundraisingJust look at how different things are today, compared to 10 years ago (and I’m not just talking about what happened to my hair).

Today, nonprofits spend about $50 to $100 to get one new donor on board. That’s one person. One gift. And no guarantee of future giving.

Ten years ago, if you spent $50 to $100 on marketing, you could bring in one new monthly donor — someone committed to long-term giving.

While I never want to think of donors in terms of numbers, the reality is that nonprofits today have to spend a lot more on marketing if they want to attract new people to their cause.

So the question I want to ask you is this:

What is the best use of your marketing budget?

Say you have $75 to spend per donor. Is it better to invest that money in bringing a new donor into your organization? Or is it better to invest in retaining your existing donors? (The retention investment would consist of relational touches like thank-you calls, welcome packages, impact reports, and so on).

I’m going to suggest that treating your donors exceptionally well — especially your new donors — makes very good business sense.

It’s a significant opportunity for most organizations to improve their fundraising.

To be clear, this isn’t a “one or the other” option. To have a healthy file, you have to work at both acquisition and retention. But if your retention numbers are low, this is definitely the place to start.

I’ll talk more about this in future posts and I’ll show you in more detail what I mean.

Topics: Donor Journey, New Donor Onboarding, Acquisition, Donor Experience, Stewardship, Retention

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