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So, what’s the next big thing?

It has been 25+ years since the last game-changer – face-to-face fundraising.

Understandably, we’d all like to find “the next face-to-face” that will dramatically increase our supporter base and provide much needed funds to further our organisation’s cause.

But if the trends and innovations of the past two decades have shown us anything at all, it’s that there is no single, silver bullet to fundraising innovation.

At Pareto, our experience of success and innovation is often to take a different approach.

It’s one that combines what we know – tried and trusted fundraising principles and practice – with the opportunities presented in today’s fundraising environment.

Today it’s about continuing to invest in fundraising – but the innovation comes in the need to overcome the temptation and fixation for the short-term donation ‘sugar’ hit. Instead, the next ‘big thing’ is to:

Focus on the long-term metrics of lifetime value, and invest in donor care and stewardship.

We already know that donors who give a second gift within zero to three months of their first gift, have the highest five-year donation value.

And most major gifts and bequests come at a minimum of five years after the first gift.

That’s why in the contemporary fundraising environment:

The most innovative and lucrative strategy for any charity is donor retention.

Today’s innovative fundraiser knows that they can’t let another year – even another month – pass by without making that critical change.

Our recommendations to you are to:

1.Invest in donor care and stewardship as a strategic financial driver.

2.Use your data to shift your thinking and strategy – and your Board’s understanding – of the impact of donor care and service on income performance.

3.Learn from and adapt the best of commercial customer satisfaction.

4.Move away from immediate and even year one ROI towards a five your ROI and long-term net lifetime value.

5.For your long-term opportunities – major donors and bequests – you must have effective stewardship programs in place.

Of course, always continue to test a range of donor acquisition streams. And when you find one that works, be opportunistic and quickly invest in it. You never know … you might just find the next “F2F”.

But don’t get caught up in the searching and the waiting for its arrival.

Instead, focus on the donor experience as the next big thing … because both commercial and not-for-profit research shows that high levels of donor satisfaction is key to sustainable financial growth.

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