“More Fundraising Mom-Sense”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

May 5th, 2023

It’s no secret that most Mothers are full of advice on everything from how to soothe jellyfish stings to shutting down a classroom bully. But turns out, much of their wisdom also applies to nonprofit fundraising.

Continuing a tradition we started in 2022, we’re celebrating Mother’s Day by sharing more advice MarkeTeamers have received from their Mothers. We recently asked our staffers “What advice sticks with you today as you serve our clients in achieving their goals?” Their responses ranged from the practical to the prophetic.  

“Remember your manners.”
“Treat others as you want to be treated.”
“Mind your Ps and Qs.”

In all relationships, respect and courtesy go a long way. Be sure to acknowledge and thank donors in your cultivation and fundraising direct mail appeals. Remind them how much you value their support. Remember, nonprofit giving is a selfless act that delivers nothing but personal satisfaction. Baking “feel-good” language and imagery into your creative helps donors feel part of the positive work your organization is doing — and serves up an endorphin rush that helps retain donors. 

“Close the door. You weren’t born in a barn.”
“We’re not heating the outdoors.”
“Eat all your food. There are starving children in the world.” 

Like Moms, most nonprofit donors despise waste. Everyone understands that “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” It’s wise to stay mindful not only of how much you spend, but the impression you make. Four color packages stand out in the mailbox, but keeping a humble two or three color appeal in your rotation shows that you’re careful with the funds you raise. Donors entrust you with their hard-earned dollars. Aim to embody good stewardship. 

“Clean up after you make a mess.”
“The right thing and the easy thing are seldom the same thing.”
“Never go to bed angry.”

Adversity is a normal part of living. And as our Moms taught many of us, bad news does not improve with age. There’s no simple, one-size-fits-all answer for how to manage every problem, but accountability is always a good policy. If your organization hits a highly publicized rough patch, consider engaging higher value donors who consider themselves part of your “inner circle.” Address the issue head on and share how you’ll remediate the circumstance. You’ll start a valuable dialog that can preserve donor confidence and respect.  

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
“You’ve made your bed. Now you have to lie in it.”

Mom may not have originated the idea, but she sure believes it. It’s easier to prevent a problem than to correct one. As nonprofit fundraisers, that means following best practices. At MarkeTeam, we help clients stay ahead of potential issues by executing direct mail and digital with systematic program management. 

  • Keep donors informed by sharing new and interesting programs and developments. It’s great to feature your core values in fundraising appeals. But your most faithful donors also want to hear about the new things you’re doing. 
  • Practice good list hygiene to stay in compliance. Cleaning your data file every three to six months is a good way to cut down on expensive waste (like mailing bad addresses), and make sure your budget is working as hard as it can. 
  • Keep a close eye on evolving standards for email SPAM and use of cookies. Failing to cleanse email lists in a timely manner could cost you big with donors — and result in substantial fines. 
  • Stay flexible with formats. In today’s complex printing climate, paper and envelope availability might make your typical direct mail packages less than ideal. A shift to an alternate format could help you maintain your preferred mailing schedule — and might even drive down your price per package. 
Share This Post