Last week on June 15th we held a seminar in our offices for nonprofit marketers and directors entitled “How to Grow your Donor Base to Create a Monthly Giving Machine“, presented by Erica Waasdorp of A Direct Solution. One of the topics that Waasdorp touched on, was how often should you reach out to your supporters to ask for donations? When is asking too often a problem? According to Waasdorp, there really isn’t a point that you ask too often.
“There are gurus out there that say that you can ask 21 times a year, even more. And there’s proof out there that the more you ask in email, the more money you’re going to raise.”
But there are a few guidelines within each channel you should follow.
“I recommend at least four appeals per year with direct mail, at least one email per month, and then of course once you have email, you can do as much as you like on social media. For email, I like to see at least one email newsletter a month, and then one appeal a month; one story with a specific ask, but every organization is different. But you can do a lot more. I worked with an organization that mailed 15 times a year, and they make money every time.”
But the biggest problem with getting donations from supporters according to Waasdorp is that organizations don’t ask or don’t follow up to ask for another donation later.
“If you don’t ask, you’re not going to get it. That’s the reality.”
But you can’t just keep asking, you have to let them know how important their gift is.
“If you do it right – you thank the donor every time you send them an appeal for their gifts, you tell them the impact this gift has made and then say, ‘but let me tell you another story, this is why we need your help again’- it works. To my experience 4 times a year is a minimum.”
Erica Waasdorp is the president of A Direct Solution, located on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. As an AFP Master Trainer, she works with non-profit clients all over the country as well as internationally, helping them with their appeals, monthly giving, grant writing and PR.
If you would like to see the video recording of Erica Waasdorp’s full presentation, please click here.
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