As my inbox has filled with requests for donations and gifts to deserving organizations over the waning days of 2011, I've been reminded of a few insights from my clients and conversations this month.
My first observation was in response to a query about why we all get so many "Asks" around the Holidays. The main reason we all get so many Asks this time of year (whether by e-mail, direct mail, phone calls or other ways) is that people give this time of year. Whether it's the "spirit of the season" or just the fact that taxable deductions for the calendar year ending force donors' hands, some charities will receive the vast majority of their donations over the last many weeks of any calendar year. Fundraisers know not to miss a single opportunity to raise funds (particularly as their fiscal year end comes up!), so if this is giving season then you can expect to get a lot of requests!
The other observation was based on a reminder from a client conversation a few weeks ago. I was asked to give advice on which metrics were best used in marketing and communication with prospects in order to get their attention and sell the organization's value. My reply was that ideally you would want to highlight areas that were of most concern to this potential donor. And my client's response was that this meant that all the other important measures of impact, effectiveness and efficiency weren't much good if we weren't addressing needs that were important to that prospective donor.
And that's a simple truth. If your organization if making a difference and changing lives, doing so efficiently and using every dollar well, then in the end the only metric that matters is what the donor wants done with their money. If you are busy saving whales, and the donor wants to end hunger, you're unlikely to get their donations. So at this time of year as you get so many asks for your giving, ask yourself what impact do you want to have? In the end, so long as the recipient organization meets certain "baseline" criteria, then the only metric that matters is what you most want to see changed!
Wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2012.